Over the past couple of months, we’ve looked at a few bike shops with very unique business models. From opening their stock up as a rental fleet, to stocking only Rivendell and Bob Dylan, and roadside attractions, looking to recycle as much as possible, we’ve run quite the gammut of business models this summer here on the Radavist. Another shop that I recently documented was Santa Fe’s Broken Spoke and they’re doing something unique in the modern internet sales versus the Local Bike Shop climate…
Happy Father’s Day!
On our road trip up to Bozeman for the Swift Campout, we mosied up through Abiquiu to visit some friends who own a nice little tract of land in the hills. At a favorite lunch stop of ours, we bumped into a father and son bikepacking duo from Arkansas. They are riding the Tour Divide from south to north, beginning in New Mexico. They were 14 days into their trip when we bumped into them. They looked cooked!
Frostbike 2019: Three Shots of Whisky With a Carbon Back
Photos and words by Jarrod Bunk
Whisky Components chose Quality Bicycle Products Frostbike to unveil some new products this year, and along with it, they proved that the sum of a well-appointed bicycle is in its parts. With three unique builds designed around a Surly Wednesday, Surly Karate Monkey, and Surly Midnight special, all shod in a certain shade of retina burn that when entering the expo halls was sure to catch your eye.
There’s much more going on than at first glance, but the paint/carbon combo worked out really well, I’ve been told the Wednesday weighed under 27lbs.
e-Bike hate is all the rage these days, yet pry open the myopic, short-sightedness of those scoffing at e-anything and look at Surly’s new Big Easy as a literal definition of what it is. In short, cargo made as easy as possible. Somewhere us Americans got it wrong, the bicycle that is. We look at them as instruments of pain, of punishment, of fitness, of sport. Oftentimes, the clamoring horde fails to look to the rest of the world’s reliance on two-wheel transport, over our enamorment with four-wheel. Our cars are easy. Bikes are meant to be painful and e-assist is cheating. You have to work for whatever it is you’re pedaling for. This is why I believe people hate e-bikes on their city streets.
Our friend Pepper Cook was recently interviewed by Surly!
Favorite bike-related memory.
I don’t have one specific bike memory, but I think my favourite thing on a bike ever is when you ride in Autumn and it’s flannel weather and the sun does that thing where it shines through the tree branches all dappled and you get to ride over a thick carpet of fallen leaves. You can hear the quiet crunching of the different coloured leaves and it’s cool enough outside where you don’t get sweaty. It feels like you’re riding in a time machine that got stuck on pause, or like you’re the last person on earth and you’ll never have to hurry anywhere ever again.
The Karate Monkey has seen many permutations over the years, with various wheelsizes and build kits, but the latest might be my favorite. The most obvious change is on the front. That squishy thing is a RockShox Sektor RL, 27.5+ 140mm travel. This iteration of the KM is also 27.5+, to offer some extra cushion for all the hardtail buckin’ you’ll do. Check out more info at Surly and see one in person at your local dealer.
… a 26+ city shredder. Check out the video above and more information at Surly!
We made the joke that the new bike from Surly, the Bridge Club was an homage to a card game. In fact, Surly’s newest bike is an homage to hanging out under the many bridges in Minneapolis. Those who work and design at Surly seek refuge under bridges, to wait out the elements and seek seclusion, so it’s fitting they’d name their newest tourer after this behavior.
Check out the Bridge Club in video!
No, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke. Surly’s newest touring bike is named after that card game your grandma plays, but don’t let the name fool ya, this is a touring bike meant to take on just about anything. See more at Surly.
Stephanie’s Surly Wednesday with Studs and Sim Works
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor
Stephanie’s Surly Wednesday represents layers of history, each meaningful and useful in their own right. When studying architecture and art history, I learned that such layers of history are referred to as a palimpsest. Rome is the classic example of a palimpsest, a city in which successive generations have built on top of what came before. New additions have been built on top of existing infrastructure, though the original shape and character still shines through.
Stephanie’s Wednesday has been successively repurposed over the past couple of years, moving away from its original life as a fat bike with trail geometry, to where you see it currently as a cold weather commuter with signs of its enjoyment along the way. Used and adapted, used some more, collecting knicks and character throughout. Our bikes are where we layer our history: through experience, they become greater than the sum of their parts.
Surly’s Midnight Special is Truly a Fat Tire Road Bike
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor
The Surly Midnight Special is a drop bar bike that fits big tires – real big tires. Beyond fitting huge tires, what makes it unique among the expanding options in this category is that its geometry is derived from a road bike rather than the ‘cross bikes that most “Road Plus” bikes have descended from. Chainstays are short and head tube angles are relatively steep across the board, making for a quick-handling bike that loves to carve corners at any speed – but especially when you’re going fast.
Don’t let the massive tire clearance fool you; despite the wide 650B tires, it handles on the road more like bikes you’d expect to see narrower tires on. Because of this, the Midnight Special is difficult to classify. It fits big tires and it’s got disc brakes and drop bars, but it’s not a ‘cross bike and it’s unlike any bike being marketed as gravel. It fits more tire than a Straggler but its geometry is more like that of the Pacer. So let’s get into that.
Classics never go out of style, they just get a facelift from time to time. As is the case for Surly’s Pugsley, the veritable, do-it-all fatbike. The Pugsley 2.0 is filled with new features to make it an even more bicycle touring-capable bike. Be it sand or snow, or just really slow on roads, the Pugsley is designed to take you where you want to go. Even if it’s just the bar… See actual technical information at Surly’s blog and head to your local dealer to see it in person.
Surly calls the newest edition of the Krampus “Pickled Beet,” yet I find that nomenclature to be, I dunno, too organic for a bike with such evil in its DNA. So, either ride it to the farmer’s market or slay some singletrack with it, hell you can even do both on the same ride. The Krampus is back with a deeper, darker red, I’m dubbing Red Rum. Head to Surly’s Blog to see more.
What is the Surly Pack Rat? Well that’s a question a lot of people have been asking since a photo was leaked courtesy of Mr. Pubes a few weeks ago. Yes, it’s got rim brakes, and according to Surly, the geometry’s been optimized for riding with a front load and to reduce toe overlap.
That means it’ll ship with 650×42 tires on the larger sizes, and 26×1.5″ on the smaller sizes. With a 44mm fork offset it’s not a low trail bike, but it does have a relatively steep head angle compared to other bikes in those sizes – 74º on the 650b bikes and 72.5º on the 26″ bikes.
This whole conversation is a minefield, so… jump on in! Surly’s got a huge blog post up about it, so head on over there and dig in if you’re into it.
For those looking for a more economical porteur bag for their touring bike or commuter bike, Surly introduces the Petite Porteur House Bag. This bag is designed to strap down to any porteur rack, is lined with fluorescent, removable liner bags and is sized to fit an array of items, including but not limited to six-packs, inflatable pool floats and the entire Stanley Kubrick Criterion Collection on DVD. See more information at Surly and holler at your local shop for ordering!
Our Saddle Drive photos continue with a custom-built Surly Karate Monkey, pulled together by the team at Teravail tires, specifically to model their Coronado 27.5+ tires. Painted Jade Green, I can’t help but think of it as a trail dragon, with the Teravail logo and tire tread being the scales. This thing scorches the trails and I love seeing in house brands at QBP work with the other family brands on something special like this.
Stephanie’s Blacked Out 650B Straggler
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor
For what is admittedly a bit of a mish-mash build, Stephanie’s Straggler has come together with a lot of character. The parts kit borrows heavily from other bikes, so you may very well recognize some pieces from other builds. It’s the collection of parts, and the stories behind all of them, that makes this bike something special.
Cool Stuff at Frostbike
Photos by Kyle Kelley and words by John Watson
Frostbike. It’s part party, part bike industry tradeshow and all fun. Each year, Quality Bicycle Products, the largest distributor for bike shops in the US, invites a handful of media and tons of shop owners to its facilities in Bloomington, just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Once within its walls, attendees get a sneak peek at many of the brands QBP carries’ newest offerings.
This year, we didn’t line anyone up to cover the event, but Kyle was there for his shop, Golden Saddle Cyclery. Because he is a shop owner and a regular contributor to the Radavist, Kyle’s eye for what is “cool” really resonates. You’ll see a lot from the brands commonly featured here on the site and if you’ve got any questions, just drop them in the comments.