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Pottery, Stickers, and the Eastern Sierra Dream with Casey Clark

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Pottery, Stickers, and the Eastern Sierra Dream with Casey Clark

Pottery, Stickers, and the Eastern Sierra Dream with Casey Clark

Words and Photography by Spencer J Harding

In an all too familiar series of small world events, I ended up at a small property about an hour north of Reno with Casey Clark.  Casey is more known in this bike world for his side hustle of “Camp and Go Slow” stickers and patches, a visual play on the famous Campagnolo logo.  Think of this as a Behind the Music if you will, well behind the sticker at least…

An In-Depth Review of Revelate Designs’ New Dyneema Infused Lineup

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An In-Depth Review of Revelate Designs’ New Dyneema Infused Lineup

Revelate Designs’ Newest Dyneema Infused Lineup
Words and photography by Spencer Harding with additional words by Lael Wilcox 

When I heard that Revelate Designs was planning to release some new bags featuring fancy Dyneema fabrics, I was drooling. For those in the back that remember that pedestrian activity called backpacking, which was my background before bikepacking, you will remember salivating over gram-saving Cuben Fiber everything! I hope our new Dyneema overlords can forgive the reference to the previous name of the fabric, I just get a little sentimental. If you are curious about the name change, you can check this article or fall down a rabbit hole of the many applications of Dyneema fibers here. The most important takeaway is this: Dyneema is the world’s strongest fiber with superior strength to weight ratio, and for a set of bags designed for the express purpose of achieving a FKT (fastest known time) on endurance mountain bike routes, every ounce counts.

The Kids are Alright Y’all: The Grupetto

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The Kids are Alright Y’all: The Grupetto

The Kids are Alright Y’all – Spencer Harding
Words and Photos by Spencer Harding

The Grupetto is a group of riders that have formed at the rear of the race, having either been dropped or having done their job for the team that day.

About a year ago, I was picking Colin Holmes’ brain about what he had in store for El Grupo in the future and he mentioned a youth bikepacking program. He needed not to say more, I was in.  This was even before my partner and I decided to move to Tucson. Once we moved down to the desert one of my first orders of business was to sign up to volunteer with El Grupo!

The kids we have in the El Grupo program, they ride their bikes every day, across town, into the mountains, and now even on bikepacking trips.  I can’t imagine where I’d be if I had known such a world of possibility in middle school instead of my late 20s.  Well, I now have the privilege to pass such knowledge and power onto the next generation of bikepackers.

Hubert’s Madrean Dirt Tourer Prototype

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Hubert’s Madrean Dirt Tourer Prototype

While kicking around his shop one afternoon, I shot two of his recent builds, this one and Sarah Swallow’s Pinion gearbox dirt tourer. Expect that next week!

It doesn’t matter what you’re designing, the best products come from direct experience, and take more than one iteration to get right. This persistence is part of the process for Hubert from Madrean. He wants to design and develop a few production frames, to be made in house at his shop in Tucson. The first is this rigid mountain touring bike. Complete with internal routing for a dynamo hub, 1x clearance, front and rear bag support racks and if you ask nicely, maybe even a set of those bars, although that’s probably unlikely. Bars are a real pain to make!

Hubert coated the bike with a blackened steel treatment and some rattle can at a few key areas. He likes the Fabio’s Chest bags by Ultra Romance and Swift Industries and had a custom Rogue Panda bag made for the front triangle.

Bikes like this have such a presence in space. They command your attention and are full of details. I hope you enjoy viewing this as much as I did shooting it! Regarding price, availability and other details essential to purchasing, hold tight. We’ll post updates here as events warrant.

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Follow Madrean on Instagram.

Tumbleweed Bicycle Co: Prospector Rohloff Tourer Pre-Order

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Tumbleweed Bicycle Co: Prospector Rohloff Tourer Pre-Order

Tumbleweed’s Prospector touring bikes are built around the Rohloff hub platform. These do-it-all tourers are at home in the backcountry, on washboarded roads, or ripping and flowy singletrack. Their geometry is tuned to take on fully-loaded tours, while still being equally as fun un-loaded. Just announced today, the new Prospector frames are now available for presale. There are a limited number of frames available in each size and color and they are due to arrive February 2019.

Select Desert Sandglow or Midnight Blue colors, choose a fork option and whether to add a Rohloff module. The module includes the Rohloff SPEEDHUB, shifter, cables and a 180mm brake rotor (save $500 off retail). Head to Tumbleweed for more information!

Buck’s Unique Chesini Light Tourer

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Buck’s Unique Chesini Light Tourer

Chat with Buck enough and you’ll pick up on it. By “it” I mean his desire to get a deal on unique things. Or at least that was my impression. He rolled this Chesini into Golden Saddle this week and it immediately piqued my interest. Turns out, he bought it from a shop in Seattle that was liquidating its inventory. It came mostly as you see it here, minus the Swift saddle pack and top tube pad. It also had a longer pandographed stem, which Buck swapped out for a Nitto. The seller noted that their shop commissioned Chesini to build them a lightweight touring bike, with a randonneuring influence. To my knowledge, this wasn’t Chesini’s specialty and was their first attempt at creating such a bike. It’s a prototype of sorts if you will and prototypes are often a bit buggy. Idiosyncracies aside, this bike has style and is not ashamed of its detailing. If you’ve seen Chesini frames before, you’re familiar with how extravagant they can be. That being said, there are a few head-scratchers. For starters, there are no provisions for a front rack, hence the pipe clamps. Those dropouts are a bit uncharacteristic of Chesini’s craftsmanship, and the angles do look a bit steep for a tourer.

Still, when Buck rolled this bike through the shop, I had to get some photos of it. Documenting well-used bikes like this is always fun and I know y’all would enjoy it. Now, I know someone out there has more information about it, so let’s hear it!

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Follow Buck on Instagram.

El Camino de Los Huasos: A Ride Through the Central Chilean Andes

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El Camino de Los Huasos: A Ride Through the Central Chilean Andes

El Camino de Los Huasos: A Ride Through the Central Chilean Andes
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

More than anything else, I’ve learned two things in my time in Northern Argentina and Chile. First and foremost, never trust a zipper. Little known fact: over 8.9 million zippers have been destroyed in Argentina’s desert in 2018 alone. OK, so maybe I made that up, but if I owned 8.9 million zippers that would definitely be true. The second lesson? Avoid shipping here at all costs, but if you must, you’d better have it planned out well in advance. Unfortunately, after damaging my derailleur and a number of other pieces of equipment in the harsh northern desert, planning and shipping in advance were not really on the table, so upon arriving in the sprawling urban center of Chile known as Santiago, my trip was in the notoriously slow hands of the Chilean customs offices and postal system.

Philly Bike Expo 2018: Crust Nor’Easter with MicroSHIFT 12-Speed Eagle

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Philly Bike Expo 2018: Crust Nor’Easter with MicroSHIFT 12-Speed Eagle

Philly Bike Expo 2018: Crust Nor’Easter with MicroSHIFT 12-Speed Eagle
Photos and words by Jarrod Bunk

A cross between evasion and romancer, the Crust Bikes Nor’Easter is a low-trail bike, with a slightly shorter rear end than the Romeo. It’s a 1-1/8″, 1x specific bike, with internal routing. The Nor’Easter comes in 4 sizes, with the two largest rolling on either 27.5+ or 29, and 26+ or 27.5 on smaller two sizes. This beautiful color pictured is not the final color unless you all express just how much you love it.

The beauty of this specific build is that it utilizes the new MicroSHIFT, all-new 12-speed “Eagle” barcon. That and those Swift Industries bags!

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Follow Jarrod on Instagram, and Crust Bikes  on Instagram

2018 Philly Bike Expo: Winter Bicycles S&S 27.5 Dirt Tourer – Jarrod Bunk

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2018 Philly Bike Expo: Winter Bicycles S&S 27.5 Dirt Tourer – Jarrod Bunk

2018 Philly Bike Expo: Winter Bicycles S&S 27.5 Dirt Tourer
Photos and words by Jarrod Bunk

Versatility, that would be a word that would sum up this bike fairly well.  It’s a Cerakote-coated S&S dirt rando touring machine from Winter Bicycles out of Nittany Pennsylvania. RuthWorks teamed up on the bags to complete a package that is totally integrated so that the Ultralight Randonneur bag is free of a decaleur. Along with beautiful handmade racks to distribute an even load this bike even has bolt-in frame bag compatibility along with three pack bosses on the fork legs to let this dirt rando bike switch between traditional bags as well as a more of a bikepacking setup.  With 27.5 x 2.6″ clearance, this bike can tackle the road less traveled.  Full internal dynamo wiring with quick disconnects, as well a Sinewave Cycles beacon make for a very clean setup that allows for plenty of off-grid touring.

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Follow Jarrod on Instagram, and Winter Bicycles on Instagram

2018 Philly Bike Expo: Sim Works Doppo Off Road Tourer

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2018 Philly Bike Expo: Sim Works Doppo Off Road Tourer

2018 Philly Bike Expo: Sim Works Doppo Off Road Tourer
Photos by Jarrod Bunk, words by John Watson

At the Philly Bike Expo this year, Sim Works shared a booth space with Crust Bikes and Swift Industries. On display was this Doppo touring bike, set up for some lightweight off-road touring, thanks to the Swift Industries XPac Hinterland Ozette Randonneur Bag, Hinterland Zeitgeist Saddle Bag, and the Porcelain Rocket partial frame bag, made for Circles Japan. The Doppo is rolling on Thunder Burts, a White Industries R30 cranks, Chris King Hubs, Velocity rims, and Shimano drivetrain, with Sim Works Klampers. Shifting is provided by Gevenalle.

This bike is made from a healthy mix of US-made and Japan-made components, ready to tour all over the world!

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Follow Jarrod on Instagram, and Sim Works USA on Instagram

Quicksand, Camaraderie, and Existential Optimism in Canyon Country – Spencer Harding

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Quicksand, Camaraderie, and Existential Optimism in Canyon Country – Spencer Harding

Quicksand, Camaraderie, and Existential Optimism in Canyon Country
Words and photos by Spencer Harding

Sometimes you plan a trip months in advance and mother nature decides that the normally dry ground you planned to ride your bike will now be a raging soupy brown milkshake of a river. 

Sometimes you help a random couple push a broken down vintage Jaguar in the middle of nowhere in the rain. 

Sometimes you get stuck in waist-deep quicksand in said raging soupy brown milkshake river and have to yell for help until your friends come to rescue you covered in cockle burrs. 

Sometimes you ride your bike even though the map says you are underwater in Lake Powell. 

Sometimes you decide to drag your bike and raft upstream for some damn reason.

Sometimes your overnighter was shorter mileage-wise than an average grocery run. 

Sometimes in desperation, you make a pipe out of the darndest things and then eat it.

Sometimes you realize maybe you should have left the damn bike at home this time.

Sometimes you decide to go for a leisurely ride to see pretty fall colors on the way home, which turns into a two hour long hike-a-bike ending with Y’all running from a snowstorm.

 

And finally, sometimes none of these things matter because the people and places around you are so dang beautiful…

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Follow Molly on Instagram follow Brenda on Instagram and follow Tyler on Instagram

The Brother Cycles Big Bro is on Sale

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The Brother Cycles Big Bro is on Sale

A rigid mountain bike makes for a great bikepacking rig, or singletrack slicer, and rigs like the Big Bro from Brother Cycles are timeless. It has mounts for bags and cargo cages, clearance for 3″ tires on 27.5+ wheels or up to 2.4″ if you’d prefer a 29er. Best of all, it’s on sale now, at 30% off, bringing the price in to £384.30 INC VAT. See more at Brother Cycles.

Scratching from the Silk Road Mountain Race – Max Burgess

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Scratching from the Silk Road Mountain Race – Max Burgess

Scratching from the Silk Road Mountain Race
Words and photos by Max Burgess

So what happens when you make the decision to quit the first edition of one of the most anticipated endurance races on the planet? I’m laying outside a yurt at 3,000m above sea level, next to Son Kul Lake in Kyrgyzstan. I’m exhausted. The last few days of the Silk Road Mountain Race have tested me to the limit both physically and mentally.

It is the first time for my race partner Justin and myself to take part in an endurance race and if the truth be told, we never really came to race. It was evident from the first day out of Bishkek, as we meandered up Kegeti Pass along with our friend Jon. A few weeks earlier, I had divided the entire race route into manageable chunks that would put us at the finish in 13 days. But, as I’m lying by Son Kul lake at the first checkpoint, the reality dawned on what we are actually taking part in. We are already 24-hours behind our schedule within five days and can’t afford to loose any more time. Missed flights home are not an option for either Justin or myself, especially that I have a ten-year wedding anniversary only a few days after my return!

Ramblin on the Moots Baxter Rigid 29’r

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Ramblin on the Moots Baxter Rigid 29’r

When the Ramble Ride popped onto the horizon in my late summer travel and photo shoot plans, the guys at Moots offered up one of their prized models, the Baxter, for me to ride. Out of all their bikes in what I would consider a stout lineup, the Baxter is one that always stood out to me as the most versatile. The beauty about this bike platform is the Baxter is what you want it to be, although it’s designed to essentially be a drop bar 29’r. How you build it is up to you and there are options like with a suspension fork, or with a rigid fork, with or without a dropper post, and everything in between. Di2 or cable, double crankset or 1x, and now with the updated boosted rear spacing, compatibility with your “other” mountain bike wheelsets. The guys at Moots are great at constructing these frames, it’s just up to you to make them roll…

Trek’s 2019 520 Disc Touring Bike

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Trek’s 2019 520 Disc Touring Bike

It doesn’t matter where you reside on this pleasant globe, chances are you’ve come across a few Trek 520 touring bikes in your day. Keeping with the tradition of a no-hassle, utilitarian design, the brand just launched the 2019 iteration of the tried and true steel platform with a complete bike ready for your next road tour, down to the front and rear racks, with a price tag that’s hard to argue with of $1,574.99 for the complete. There’s also a 520 frameset with throwback decals for $639.99. Head to Trek for more information!