Radavist top 10 bikes of 2015


i love this site their picks are mostly esoteric and custom but definately  of the bike porn variety

 

2015 was an amazing year for the Radavist. Not only in terms of traffic, or stats, but in terms of content. We take pride in the site, the rides we record, products we feature and yes, the bicycles we document. This year was huge in terms of the places we traveled to and the people we met along the way. With people and places come Beautiful Bicycles and a lot of work!

Without rambling on too much, here’s a list of the Top 10 of 2015 ranked by traffic and social media chatter, from highest down…

01-My-Speedvagen-Urban-Racer-3-1335x890

01 – the Speedvagen Urban Racer

This bike was the most controversial post on the Radavist this year… who thought people took riding bikes so seriously?

The Speedvagen Urban Racer. How can I even begin here? These bikes are… uh. Well, they’re kinda completely ridiculous. They’re not a traditional commuter bike, a cruiser, or a touring bike. They’re not meant to be loaded down with gear, or to be casually ridden around a park. Like a cafe racer of the bicycle world, these rigs are stripped down machines, meant to be ridden like a rocket… on 27.5 wheels and 43mm tires. Skids anyone?”

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02 – Benedict’s Romantical Clockwork Bikes Dirt Droop 29’r

2015 was the year of the UltraRomance and ya know what? The cycling industry needs more souls like Benedict.

“Benedict, aka Poppi, aka @UltraRomance is a wild one. One that cannot be tamed by modern ideologies, or technologies for that matter. His Clockwork Bikes frame is a time capsule of the old days of yore when men would gather or hunt for their food in the woods. Even when something appears to be modern, it’s executed in a way that harkens back to the early days of klunking. Disc brakes? He slices fresh mushrooms on them and truthfully, he only uses them to stop for a tanning session. The throwback version of the narrow wide chaingrings is just a “narrow narrow” ring. An outer “bash guard” ring pressed up against an inner ring with a spare “rabbit” personal massager holding it in place. Even his “marsh mud” tubeless setup is pulled from nature. Literally…”

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03 – the Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer with Gevenalle Shifting

Clearly we’re seeing a trend here with dirt-drop tourers. I wish I hadn’t sent this bad boy back to Washington!

“The Elephant Bikes NFE is alive. A beautifully-elegant specimen of the bicycle that dances with you on the climbs and lets you really lean into it while descending. While clearly its intent is to be a back country tourer, inspiring you to explore National Forests, we here in Austin, Texas have no such place nearby, so I took to exploring our local trails, State Parks and swimming holes.”

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04 – Paul’s Black Cat Monster Cross

Even I was amazed at how much traction this monster cross got in the muddy world of the cycling community. It’s easy to see why!

“When Paul Component owner Paul Price started to “make it big” he told himself that he wanted to order a bike each year from a NorCal frame builder. Retrotec, Rock Lobster, Sycip, etc, etc. At the time there were a handful of builders and for a few years he kept to his yearly deposit.

Then he got busy, the framebuilding industry grew and technology changed. For a few years he focused on the company and put his frame builder promise on hold. He then came back around to his promise and at the Sacramento NAHBS, picked up this Black Cat monster cross from Todd. Soon it became his staple bike. Like many custom frames, Paul had an idea for this bike that surrounded a specific component or part.”

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05 – Rusty n Dusty Rat Rod Titanium Firefly Disc All Road

This one broke my savings account, luckily I had disc brakes and my hands weren’t sore after the fact.

“Cycling is an experience that should continue to mature overtime. I’m weary of people who stand firm in their ideologies, rest on laurels and refuse to embrace the “new,” especially when it comes to riding bikes. Look, it’s not that hard to have fun. Opinions can change with experience, its normal. Embrace it.

You see, I knew I wanted a Firefly. I kind of felt like that brand and my own brand have grown together over the years. When Jamie, Tyler and Kevin started the company, it had a breath of energy, creativity and their final products all expressed experimentation. Those guys can make anyone a dream bike but deciding what kind of bike is a challenge. Part of my apprehension was not only where I felt like cycling’s technology was heading, but where my own riding would be taking me over the next few years.”

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06 – The Black Cat Bicycles Operation Thunder Monkey 29r MTB

Black Cat was the only builder to get two hits on the top 10 list. I wonder why? Oh yeah, his bikes are amazing!

“Todd from Black Cat Bicycles knows a thing or two about mountain bikes. Living in Santa Cruz provides a more than ideal testing ground for everything related to dirt. Over the years, he’s dialed in the geometry on his hardtails and recently, this process culminated in what he’s dubbed the Thunder Monkey.

A few months back, Todd emailed me asking if I wanted to review a production bike he was making. His description was right up my alley “slack and low 29r with a tight rear end.” Some time passed and this incredible frame showed up at Mellow Johnny’s to be built up with various SRAM and RockShox products. “

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07 – Tyler’s Icarus All-Road Disc

All-road, endurance road, whatever it is, just don’t call it a ‘cross bike.

“It’s not a cross bike, it’s a road bike with clearances for bigger tires. Sure it uses an ENVE disc cross fork, but the bottom bracket drop, chainstay length and angles are more in line with what many would categorize as a road bike. A road bike that likes to gobble up rugged and rutted roads.

The Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires were the starting point for Ian at Icarus Frames to build Tyler his new all-road machine. He wanted hydro disc brakes and road gearing, which he may or may not swap out in the forthcoming months for a clutch and a wider range cassette. With a burnt orange paint and subtle Icarus branding on the downtube, Tyler’s bike has a confident stance without being overly gaudy. Keep it clean with the paint and get it nice and dirty… “

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08 – the Hunter Cycles Bushmaster

This bike was hands down my favorite to document of the year. Just look at it! But don’t get too close to the Hunter Cycles Bushmaster…

“Holy shit. Where do I even begin here? First off, we just saw where Rick Hunter builds his frames in Bonny Doon, just outside of Santa Cruz so we have context. Second off, the name of this bike is one of the deadliest vipers on Earth, the Bushmaster. These snakes are capable of multiple strikes in milliseconds and will deliver a fatal amount of venom without blinking an eye *snakes don’t have eyelids.*

Multiple strikes, multiple gears. No, wait. This is a singlespeed, right? Look again.”

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09 – Whitney’s 20/20 Cycle’s Kalakala

This bike, like its owner, has quite the story!

“Whitney’s 20/20 Cycle Kalakala is purpose built and can be configured to handle just about any bicycle tour you could imagine. Complete with DFL Stitchworks bags. This bike has never had a place to call home, Whitney has been riding it around the world for the last couple years and with that in mind I had no question about its ability to make it over the mountains I call home and to the Southern California High Desert that I love. Since photographing this bike it’s changed only ever so slightly with the addition of one more National Park badge to the fender, Joshua Tree.”

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Photo by Eric Baumann

10 – Imshi Cycles with a Di2 Road

New builders talking about their bikes and documenting them in an unprecedented manner. No wonder this Imshi Cycles shook the internet!

“Just over a year ago I began a multi-month frame building “class” with Bryan Hollingsworth (Royal H). He taught me the basics of brazing and then we set to work building myself a frame, one night a week kinda deal over at his shop. I had a jig already so I was able to do all the filing/fit up/lug carving at home, then bring stuff in to braze with Bryan. At the same time, I also had the privilege of having a friend in Mr. Nao Tomii, who showed me my way around a fillet. Between the two of these guys, I had some of the best guidance you can imagine for both lug/fillet frame construction. They taught me everything I know…”

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Honorable Non-Framebuilder Born Beasts

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01 – the Salsa Cycles Cutthroat Tour Divide Bike

“Salsa perfected what is arguably their best “all-road”, dirt-tourer: the Cutthroat.
This bike was an exercise in both engineering of materials and design features for the ever-increasing, high demand sport of “adventure touring and racing.” For starters, it’s a completely new carbon fiber frame design, with each tube having a unique profile. The rear triangle utilizes a Class 5 Vibration Reduction System like the Warbird. What does that mean? All you need to know is that supposedly the stays, in combination with the thru-axle creates a “spring like” feel on rough surfaces. The seat stays are long and narrow, while the chain stays are wide and flat. This gives compliance when needed.”

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02 – the Cannondale Slate Force CX1 All-Road Bike

“Since relocating to Los Angeles, a land with endless dirt in both the fireroad and track variety, my preferences have shifted a lot in terms of what I want a bike to take on. Capabilities are often grown in the industry piecemeal, then once and a while, a bike comes along that asks a question: what if?

The Cannondale Slate is a what if bike. What if 650b or 27.5″ wheels with a 42mm tire makes more sense for “all-road” riding? What if a damn Lefty shock with just the right amount of travel can instill confidence in new riders while offering an added fun bonus to experienced athletes?”

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03 – Ted King’s Cannondale SuperSix Six Six SRAM Mountain Magic Shifting Road Bike

Ted King is technically still a pro, until January 1st but yesterday the two of us took off on a ride into the ANF. The last time Ted got to experience Highway 2 was in a peloton during the Amgen Tour of California, which as Ted so gracefully put it, was very, very painful. Luckily pain wasn’t on our agenda yesterday. Instead, we took a super casual pedal up to Mount Wilson and back down to Mount Disappointment. ”

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04 – Erik’s Sparkle Abyss: the Custom Skid Sled

“If a beast were to crawl its way out of the Abyss, only to find itself mutated into a two-wheeled, human-powered machine, it might look like this thing. When I first saw it in person, with the Supernova light dangling from the stem, I was reminded of a Deep Sea Anglerfish. A fish that spends its life in complete darkness, only illuminating its path with a luminescent organ called the esca at the tip of a modified dorsal ray. Could that be this bike’s spirit animal?

Erik works at the big, bad S. He’s a designer for the AWOL and other excursion-oriented bicycles. He made this bike as a special project for his plans on taking on the SF-area’s Super Brevet Series. Initially, he wanted a bike that would fit a 45mm slick 700c tire, with a tighter geometry than the AWOL and a tapered headtube, mated to a carbon fork. He spec’d the main tubes from a stock AWOL with the geometry more like a cross bike, milled a head tube to spec and used a Secteur fork for its rack attachments. While the AWOL is a dedicated touring bike, this is closer to a light-tourer or randonneur. So, in short, this is a one-off custom, made in the USA bike that gave Erik the ability to test out a few concepts.”

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Thanks to all of the frame builders out there, putting out exceptional work and the customers who keep those men and women in business. Keep rockin, y’all!

Rohloff changes for 2016


It was only as i was looking at a thru axle bike that I was wondering if a Rohloff could be be retrofitted for them. But the news on looking is even better ….

FOR 2016 – Three big new changes have been revealed: there are 12mm thru axle hubs, new post-mount axleplates and a cheaper, completely new sprocket design which can be retrofitted to ANY Rohloff hub!

Rohloff Speedhub XL

1. 12mm Thru Axle Compatibility

The Speedhub 500/14 A12 is designed for 12mm DT-Maxle, X-12 Syntace and Shimano E Thru frames. In fact, this is the first internally geared hub to be available in the thru axle design. Unfortunately, current Rohloff users are not able to convert their current hubs to suit thru axles.

Rohloff thru axle hubs will be available in three different widths: 142mm, 177mm and 197mm.

142×12 is becoming a popular standard for cyclocross and mountain bike frames and is somewhat likely to be found soon on touring bikes. 177mm and 197mm hub spacing are reserved for fat bikes which typically use 4-5 inch wide tyres. It’s interesting that there is no 148mm version, a standard becoming popular on both 27+ and 29+ bikes.

Rohloff Speedhub A12 142mmRohloff Speedhub A12 Fat

2. Post Mount Brake Axleplates

If your frame doesn’t have a Rohloff dropout, but instead has a post-mount brake, you’re in luck. Six new axle plates have been released catering for 135, 142, 170, 177, 190 and 197mm rear axles. That makes Rohloff compatibility much better for any frame not specifically designed around these hubs.

Rohloff Speedhub PM Bone

Rohloff Speedhub Fat Bone

3. New Sprocket Adapters

The current sprocket style is screw-on; Rohloff owners know how much of a pain these cogs are to get off! For 2016, the latest sprocket design is splined, and all you need is an adapter kit and cog to upgrade. The adapter fits to the existing driver allowing splined sprockets to slide right on, and here’s the best bit: all you need is a flat head screwdriver to replace a rear cog. Prise the circlip off and on and you’re done. No chainwhips or spanners required!

Rohloff Speedhub Splined SprocketRohloff Speedhub Splined Sprockets

Theatre Thursday: Freeride Fat


 

Geoff Gulevich, Wade Simmons, and Noah Brousseau got rad on fat bikes this winter.

Bike: Rocky Mountain Blizzard — bikes.com/blizzard

Shot at the Coquihalla Lakes Lodge, Kamloops Bike Ranch, and Coastal Mountains, BC
Filmed & Edited by Liam Mullany
Additional Cinematography by Harrison Mendel
Produced by Liam Mullany & Brian Park
Special Thanks to Cory Leclerc & Eric Simmons
Music: Jet Trash — Baby C’mon

fat free 


the fat bike is gone – sold on eBay and as an experiment it has been interesting. I discovered it wasn’t fat biking I liked but rather bikepacking so now with the experiment done it is time to think about the bike I want for bikepacking off-road.

So wish list would be:

29er or 29+ – I don’t need super wide although 29x 2.7 to 3.0 wide would give a similar footprint but quicker rolling. 27.5+ is interesting but not sure if widespread enough just yet.

Dynamo front hub – for electrical generator / phone charging on tour

Rohloff rear – but whether I need to share between the bikes or get a seperate one remains to be seen.

Jones h-bar handlebar …..

Simple really so a cartoon to fill the space

  

Bike Packing Weekend – 125km through the cairngorms


Not the best start this ride as the night before Friday had been a night of beer and bento with the lads. Woke up early then drove to Blair Athol

assembled on bike rack
assembled on bike rack

Set off up Glen Tilt and then realised that my spare batteries for the GPS were still on charge at home.

first bridge
first bridge

Only had half a charge but had my OS maps ready with me so off I went through the first wood and spotted my first red deer in the Woods. 20km in and had to stop for recovery food beans and sausage lunch cold but effective hangover cure.

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Headed on and track became muddy and rocky and nearly too narrow for the bike was feeling calorifically low.

path gets rockier and narrow
path gets rockier and narrow

The valley is obviously used by the RAF for training as a Hercules buzzed me about 80 foot up. More red deer crossing river and bounding up slope opposite – very skittish of humans sign that it must be hunted.

ruin
ruin
selfie
selfie

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Stopped at Glen Tilt ruin where the trail opened onto flood plain valley floor then afterwards headed left over the muddiest moor i have seen in a while. Normal mtb tread just disappeared into gloop but i was fat so did better but still had to get off every 50 foot to cross burns or mud holes.

over falls
over falls

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Crossed makeshift crossing over the river by waterfall and then faced with two deeper river crossing but misjudged depth which came to crotch so shoes were sodden.

The last 2 km to the Bothy screamed down a technical downhill smacked a rock hard and punctured – was going to walk to the bothie but decided to change tube and discovered that the small lezyne pump I had with me unscrewed the valve when I was taking it off – what a pain after 4 mins of huffing and puffing to get the FAT tube pumped up to have it all WOOOSHHHH out.

better roads
better roads – just before e the descent that punctured me

Sunday 5:40 AM woke up in bothy after a good sleep maybe helped by the contribution of the two Edinburgh climbers with either their 2nd hand dope smoke or a rum and Coke I drank.

in bothy
in bothy
morning
morning

Packed and try to inflate me a tyre some more and enjoyed the unscrewing of the valve once again. Decided to divert to Kingussie and the food co-op there to restock on food I haven’t figured that the ride would take so long at a slow 10km/h average.

fern lane
fern lane
Fern Lane
Fern Lane

Cycled out the enjoining valley which was much easier going ( a tip from Fossil cyclist) past 2 fast 29er riders and then later by 2 female mountain bike on their way to Nethy bridge (a long haul for sure)

Finished the ride with a long section of tarmac which felt so slow on the fatbike into Blair Athol – Tired drive home my arse tender and my legs sore.

DAY1
DAY1
DAY2
DAY2

Dream Bikes: Twenty2 Cycles Ti Rohloff Gates fat bike


Screenshot 2015-07-03 10.07.24

titanium Rohloff Gates Belt – this is one for the roughest track trip through any continent.

Twenty2 – The Bully is a four season fatbike that loves snow and ripping singletrack. Short chainstays and perfect geometry make the bully the most high performance fatty available. The highest quality aerospace grade titanium tubing is the basis for this Colorado handcrafted machine.

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Full fat Rohloff

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And obviously custom paint. I love Raw titanium but there is something about these split tone paint jobs that screams lovely.