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A Three-Season Review with the Fairlight Secan 2.5

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A Three-Season Review with the Fairlight Secan 2.5

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to ride and review a lot of interesting bikes, from hand built one-offs to small batch customs and a whole lot of factory production models. In all that time I’ve only found a few bikes that I really didn’t want to let go of. The Fairlight Secan 2.5 is one of those few.

This bike is perhaps the most adaptable drop bar bike I’ve ridden. To help make that point, Fairlight sent me two dynamo wheelsets to use for the review, and I’ve spent three seasons riding the bike in various configurations. Under myself and my friend Andrew, who helps edit my rambling reviews, the Secan has completed four 200 km brevets, and has been my go-to distance bike for the review period.

Longer, Higher, Calmer: Kyle’s Longterm Review of the Myth Zodiac Steel Full Suspension 29er

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Longer, Higher, Calmer: Kyle’s Longterm Review of the Myth Zodiac Steel Full Suspension 29er

We were catching our breath after the short climb from Warner Lake up to the top of Hazzard County. Burro Pass was a riot–we yipped and hollered the entire way down. After a quick sip of our drinks and admiring the view, we got back on the pedals and began the broad, fast winding trail down the open scrub of this famous section of The Whole Enchilada. Popping and jibbing, sliding, and tucking, we were fully in ‘the flow’…until…THWACK! I slowed down and found a spot to pull off and investigate the source of the racket. My wheels were true, the tires firm, fork and shock yet sprung, when the problem revealed itself: I had impacted a loose chunk of sandstone that penetrated the downtube on my carbon frame…

Salsa Updates its Steel Bike Lineup for 2021

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Salsa Updates its Steel Bike Lineup for 2021

2021 brings a lot of uncertainty as companies scramble to make the best of supply chain shortcomings due to Covid-19. While bikes are sold out across the globe, Salsa is pleased to announce their new 2021 steel model year lineup including the Vaya, Marrakesh, and Fargo. Each of these bikes received new colors and updated component kits. The Fargo, the drop bar MTB, has an Apex1 build kit ($2,399), as well as a titanium ($2,999) or steel ($1,099) frameset. The Vaya, their light tourer/gravel bike comes stock with GRX 600 ($2,499). Last but not least is the OG touring bike, the Marrakesh which is built with Alivio and is the most budget-minded steel complete bike in Salsa’s catalog at $1,799, including racks as pictured.

Head to Salsa to check out the full breakdown.

Forged in the Heat of Albuquerque: DOOM Bars

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Forged in the Heat of Albuquerque: DOOM Bars

The bicycle industry has many layers within the realm of the maker. There are framebuilders, wheel, and component manufacturers, and yes, bar makers. When I moved to New Mexico, I was eager to get to know some of the local metal alchemists. Then the pandemic really hit, so I began to scroll around Instagram, looking for signs of steel and brass. That’s when I found Doom Bars, a small, solo operation based in Albuquerque.

When I saw the bars they were listing for sale on their account, I sprung on a pair of nickel-plated bars, which I just installed on my Retrotec. Let’s take a closer look…

Twin Six Updates Their Standard Rando Colors for 2020

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Twin Six Updates Their Standard Rando Colors for 2020

Twin Six’s Standard Rando frame is a real sleeper. For $700, you get a capable, versatile bike, with a steel fork, all the braze-ons you could want, a PF30 BB perfect for SS conversion, and clearance for either a 700c x 43mm or 650b x 48mm tire. Build it up to ride gravel, or to go on a tour. At that price, there are few competitors! For 2020, Twin Six updated the Standard Rando’s colors with a bright Saffron yellow and an Extra Black. Jump on the pre-order now and get $100 off through May 15th. Head to Twin Six to see more!

Knolly Launches the 2020 Cache Steel as a Frame and Frameset

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Knolly Launches the 2020 Cache Steel as a Frame and Frameset

Building off this year’s launch of the Cache titanium all-road bike, Knolly has just announced a steel version for 2020. The steel Cache maintains the geometry of the titanium Cache, as well as many of the frame details.

ED coating has been added to ensure the lifespan of the bike, as well as a few pricepoint tiers: frame only for $999, frameset for $1399. While there are no details yet of the Cache steel coming as a complete, we can expect it’ll be an option in the future. See more information at Knolly.

Problem Solvers Now Owns Frame Saver

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Problem Solvers Now Owns Frame Saver

If you have a steel bike and live in a part of the country where it rains a lot, or the roads are salted or otherwise treated to melt ice, then surely you’ve heard of Frame Saver. Last year, Peter Weigle sold the Frame Saver brand and now Problem Solvers owns it, opening up the distribution platform to all QBP bike shops. So now, when you get a new steel frame, it’s even easier to order.

Eddy Merckx Debuts the Corsa Steel Bikes

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Eddy Merckx Debuts the Corsa Steel Bikes

Designed, handmade, hand-painted, and built in Belgium. The new Corsa steel frames from Eddy Merckx embody the legacy that is the MX-L and Corsa models of the 1980’s and 1990’s. Teams like Motorola, Panasonic, and Kelme rode these frames to victory. Icons of the peloton. Steeds of Columbus steel with proprietary tubing and Eddy’s own private geometry. These bikes have a legacy and one that Eddy Merckx is looking to reinvigorate with their road disc, road rim, and all road models. All made from a unique Merckx blend of Columbus Spirit HSS tubing and Columbus Xcr tubing.

We saw a hint at something new from Merckx at this year’s Tour and now we get a deeper look. Unfortunately, the product photos on Merckx’s website don’t give us much detail, which is a shame because they look great and at 3,299 EUR for a frame, I doubt I’ll be seeing one in person any time soon…

Check out the Corsa line at Eddy Merckx.

Steel is Real: The Starling Murmur 29 Factory Roosts in the Mountains of Los Angeles

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Steel is Real: The Starling Murmur 29 Factory Roosts in the Mountains of Los Angeles

In 1890, the European starling was released into New York’s Central Park by the American Acclimatization Society. They were an organization that believed European flora and fauna should be present in North America for cultural reasons. The head of the AAS was a fella named Eugene Schieffelin, who decided any bird mentioned by William Shakespeare should be in North America and he pushed for 100 of these birds being released into New York City. Thus, the invasive species has taken over. You’ve probably seen them, en masse, as they fly in a tight flock, moving like a black mass across the late afternoon sky. This swarm is called a murmuration.

You see where I’m going here, right?

Unlike the European starling, the Starling Murmur, a full suspension, steel mountain bike was a welcomed species in the San Gabriel Mountains of Los Angeles.

Cole’s Early 90’s Rossin Road with Campagnolo Athena 11

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Cole’s Early 90’s Rossin Road with Campagnolo Athena 11

There are very few experiences like riding a custom bicycle, but when it comes down to it, there are plenty of frames out there that are completely fitting for most people. These frames were designed to be raced, or just plain ridden, like many of the bikes on the market today. While they might not be custom-fit, they were fine-tuned for their intended use. In short: if the frame fits, shred the shit out of it.

Cole was looking for a new road frame last year and while it was tempting to go continue saving for a custom steel rig, he decided to keen an eye on eBay and Craigslist, in hopes that something, light, tight and Italian might pop up in his size. Low and behold, it did. A NOS Rossin crit frame from the early 90’s hit eBay one day and soon, it arrived in Austin. All for around $700.

He chose Campagnolo Athena 11, Mavic Open Pro rims, a classic 3TTT Pro Chrome Columbus stem, Deda bars, Zipp post, Fizik Antares VS saddle, Speedplay pedals and some reliable Conti rubber. The build is very tasteful and the lines of this classic race bike are seducing enough for even the seasoned carbon ‘pro-minded’ consumer to second guess their recent ‘upgrade’…

Thanks for dropping by the office today Cole!