Got a rigid MTB or an all-road bike you’d like to do some touring or bikepacking on? Not satisfied with the current carbon fork offerings from the more popular brands? Check out Cinq’s new Adventure 27.5+ / 29er fork and Touring 650b / 700c fork, designed to convert your daily rider to something more capable. Each utilizes “no-thread” cargo bosses to ensure no threads will ever be stripped, internal dynamo routing, light and fender mounts, with a pricepoint of €590.00. Head to Cinq to see more information on the Adventure and Touring forks.
Words and Photos by Spencer Harding
It’s easy to get lost in the dreamy imagery of bike tours to exotic far-off lands. I’m always making myself feel like everything has to look like a crazy-ass skid backlight by a Kodachrome sunset at the end of the world…but let’s be real in a world of unreal imagery.
Pepper and Sam came down to Tucson to start their trip on the Sky Island Odyssey. Pepper was in from Australia after being away from the states for many years on her way up to a new job in Seattle. Sam, running from the winter on Prince Edward Island and needed no excuse to come down and get sunburnt. Monique and I had been talking at the shop about going camping for a few weeks without any plan coming to fruition. We decided to take Pepper and Sam on a little shakedown ride into the mountains near Tucson before sending them down south on their odyssey. Colin, fresh off getting an OK from the doctor to do some light pedaling after he tore his Achilles, joined us until the route turned uphill!
A group of friends tour Vietnam from Dien Bien Phu to Muong Te to Son la to Nghia Lo and finally, Tram Tau. They share the beauty and hardships of a tour like this.
Live in the Northeastern Atlantic states long enough and you will come to learn of the macro-scale extratropical cyclone known as a Nor’easter. These storms bring rain, wind, can cause severe erosion on the beaches and in general aren’t that fun, unless you’re a surfer. Coincidentally, that’s where Matt from Crust Bikes came from. The surfing world. If you can call it a world at this point, it’s more like a galaxy. Matt spends a majority of time in New Jersey, at his super sweet shop, and he still surfs, so when a Nor’easter hits, Matt paddles out… These storms inspired the latest from Crust Bikes. While at the Eroica California weekend, I took his Nor’easter ‘light tourer’ out for a sunrise photo session. It still had spider webs covered in dew draped from the salmon pink tubing.
Baja Divide, La Sierra Norte – Daniel Zaid
Words and photos by Daniel Zaid
In 2016 I rode my bike through the Baja California pennisula on the only paved highway, the Carretera Transpeninsular, and as pretty as it was, having to look over my shoulder all the time prevented me from fully enjoying the ride. I ventured in some dirt roads and after some very bumpy rides I thought I’d also look into getting another bike, something that could put more cushion between the rocks and my bones. Few weeks before finishing I read about the Baja Divide project; I saw a photo of the map and did the Cape Loop and thought “This is what I needed.” Three years later I’m finally able to go back again, this time though on a bike made expressly for dirt road touring: Ultraromance´s #RoseEmojiBikes aka the Warthog Wash Wiper aka “Rosita”. Also I’m joined by my partner Karla on her Surly Krampus, who has been dreaming of doing this route for months.
Technology can get a bad rep in these busy modern times but in instances like this, it brings the world together.
Isao’s Falconer Mini Velo Got the Baja Bug Treatment
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
When Cameron Falconer posted what looked like a miniature bike on his Instagram a few weeks ago, I don’t think I had ever seen so many people so intrigued by a Mini Velo in my life. It was kind of like that time when Ultra Romance decided to let the world know how cool Recumbents actually were. While I’m still not entirely sold on Recumbents, the Mini Velo has been on my list of super cool bikes that I’d love to own for a while now.
Do you all know what a Mini Velo is? It’s not just a miniature bike, with miniature wheels. It is a bike that fits a large range of cyclists using very few frame sizes, it usually has 20in wheels, a short wheelbase, and a rigid non-folding frame. And do you all know why this bike came into existence? As our cities become more and denser and real estate becomes more and more expensive, people wanted a small compact bike that could fit anywhere and everywhere, but still ride very much like a full-size bike. People wanted something that was compact, able to be brought inside and stored easily, without the proprietary parts and complexity of many folding bike frames.
Our friends from Russia shared their recent tour to Ukraine.
Over the years, we’ve featured many of Benedict‘s bikes here on the site. They’re always a lil bit of weird with a dash of kooky but the result of a lot of ‘pondering over a wooden pipe’ functional. For the latest build, which we dubbed the Warthog Wash Wiper, all the above applies.
In short, this bike is a desert bulldozer, yet not one you’d find Hayduke underneath with a 3′ wrench and a cheater bar. This is a bicycle, not a machine for destruction. The Warthog Wash Wiper, aka WWW, is an all-rounder dirt tourer, and it comes alive when the sand gets deep, where normal bikes become less than ideal trekking poles.
Salsa Cutthroat, Much More Than a Tour Divide Rig
Words By Spencer Harding, bike photos by Spencer Harding, with action shots by Locke Hassett
While I was able to finagle this incredibly snazzy bike solely for the purpose of reviewing a framebag on it, I figured why not squeeze a bike review out of it as well? First things first, I’m not a huge fan of riding drop bars and as I mentioned before I’m no ultra-endurance racer, which is precisely what this bike is designed for. So, I may be a fish out of water in that regard, but I think there is still plenty of potential in this bike for us humans who enjoy riding less than 200 miles a day and more than 2 hours of sleep a night. At face value, this bike is fast, when you point this thing down a dirt road and put some muscle into the pedals it fucking moves, it doesn’t much care for going slow. When using a combination of the magtank 2000 and two stem caddy style bags, the bike actually couldn’t turn sharply at low speed, but this bike was designed to haul ass on the Tour Divide, not make low speed technical turns. Lets delve into the specifications and all that jazz…
Touring in Greenland on a fatbike gets you out off the beaten path and into wilderness.
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…
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 – 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.
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.
Follow Madrean on Instagram.
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!
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!
Follow Buck on Instagram.
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.