Spooky rises from the dead, introduces Frank The Welder built Mulholland road bike

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Photos c. Spooky Cycles

When it comes to the East coast bike scene, few brands elicit as much emotion as Spooky Cycles. Started in 1992, Spooky frames were known for their legendary build and ride qualities which left many riders lusting after their frames. Riders like Brandon Elliot who so desperately wanted a Skeletor for years during his time as a shop owner, that he began scouring the used bike market in 2014 to try to find one. Coming up empty, that led him to a search for the original guys behind the brand which led him to “a DH course in New England, a dojo in New York, and then to a law firm in Colorado Springs. It was a wild goose chase.”

Finally, Brandon made contact with Adam Mitchell who gave him the unabridged history of the brand from ’92 to the present. With the last Skeletor and Havocstaff frames rolling out sometime around 2012, the Spooky mark was currently in limbo. Wanting to bring Spooky back to its roots, Brandon decided he wanted to bring the brand back to life with the blessing of Kevin Hopkins and Adam Mitchell who were two of the original founders. That meant more Spooky bikes built by Frank the Welder, which starts with the new Mulholland which was announced on Friday the 13th…

Continue reading “Spooky rises from the dead, introduces Frank The Welder built Mulholland road bike”



When it comes to the East coast bike scene, few brands elicit as much emotion as Spooky Cycles. Started in 1992, Spooky frames were known for their legendary build and ride qualities which left many riders lusting after their frames. Riders like Brandon Elliot who so desperately wanted a Skeletor for years during his time as […]

Posted in Feature, Industry News, Road Bike28 Comments

Review: Eddy Merckx Strasbourg 71 alloy gravel road bike

MerckxStrasbourg71-Review-2016-30

MerckxStrasbourg71-Review-2016-1

If the name Eddy Merckx doesn’t ring a bell, Google “greatest bicycle racer of all time”.

Assuming visits to resulting websites are true to form, the number one response is Eddy Merckx. His palmares include 525 race victories spanning eighteen years including eleven Grand Tour victories, a record which stands to this day. The Eddy Merckx Strasbourg 71 bike is a machine we featured last year, and pays homage to Eddy’s stage victory in the 1971 Tour de France over Roger de Vlaeminck, a great champion and cyclocross specialist, on a gravel road surface with a well-timed bike throw.

The Strasbourg 71 is the first and only gravel bike from the brand, and is centered around a 6069 aluminum frameset and carbon monocoque fork. Shimano’s workhorse 105 11-speed groupset ties the frame and wheelset together, and features 105 level hydraulic / mechanical shifters and hydraulic brake calipers. We put it through the paces…

Continue reading “Review: Eddy Merckx Strasbourg 71 alloy gravel road bike”



If the name Eddy Merckx doesn’t ring a bell, Google “greatest bicycle racer of all time”. Assuming visits to resulting websites are true to form, the number one response is Eddy Merckx. His palmares include 525 race victories spanning eighteen years including eleven Grand Tour victories, a record which stands to this day. The Eddy Merckx Strasbourg 71 bike […]

Posted in Bicycles, Feature, Gravel Bikes, Reviews12 Comments

Review: 2016 Kona Hei Hei DL Trail 29er mountain bike

Kona Hei Hei DL Trail bike review (10)

Kona Hei Hei DL Trail bike review (6)
Categories. It used to be a mountain bike was a mountain bike. You’d use the same bike for trials, DH, and XC, and all in the same weekend.  Now it seems like there is a category for everything – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Given the varying speeds, terrain, and riding styles across the full spectrum of mountain biking, having something a little more purpose built will usually improve the experience, as long as you pick the right tool for the job.

But at the same time we’re also starting to see more bikes that blur the lines between established categories. The Kona Hei Hei DL Trail is definitely one of those bikes. Possessing only 100mm of travel in the rear, the combination of 120mm up front and slightly more playful angles will leave you asking if this thing is an XC bike on steroids, or a leaned out trail bike? Yes…

Continue reading “Review: 2016 Kona Hei Hei DL Trail 29er mountain bike”



Categories. It used to be a mountain bike was a mountain bike. You’d use the same bike for trials, DH, and XC, and all in the same weekend.  Now it seems like there is a category for everything – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Given the varying speeds, terrain, and riding styles across the […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Bicycles, Feature, Mountain Bike, Reviews6 Comments

Niner AIR9 RDO hardtail gets lighter, stiffer and more aggressive

2017 Niner AIR9 RDO lightweight carbon fiber hardtail race mountain bike

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The original Niner AIR9 RDO was the second generation of their carbon hardtail AIR9, which was known for its spine rattling stiffness. The RDO, then, was made not just lighter, but also more compliant with the goal of making it more comfortable than the original.

But, Niner says that reworking of the layup also resulted in less lateral stiffness than a top-level race hardtail should have. While it was no slouch in our own testing, the chance to rework it also opened up opportunities to make it lighter and modernize the geometry. Borrowing the long, slack “XC” geo from the recently introduced RKT9, the all-new 2017 Niner AIR9 RDO gets some big changes and an impressive 10% weight reduction…

Continue reading “Niner AIR9 RDO hardtail gets lighter, stiffer and more aggressive”



The original Niner AIR9 RDO was the second generation of their carbon hardtail AIR9, which was known for its spine rattling stiffness. The RDO, then, was made not just lighter, but also more compliant with the goal of making it more comfortable than the original. But, Niner says that reworking of the layup also resulted in less lateral […]

Posted in Feature, Mountain Bike21 Comments

Review: Dean’s titanium Antero cross bike takes “custom” titanium to a whole new (price) level

Dean Bikes P1120116

Dean Bikes P1120116

Dean Titanium has a deep history and since long time employee and welder Ari Leon has taken the reigns, we’ve seen a lot of new shapes and offerings coming out of the Boulder frame builder’s doors. After chatting with them at Interbike last year, they suggested we check out one of their new “stock” offerings, so we did!

Getting on a nice titanium bike for close to the cost of (high quality) steel was great, but Dean’s Antero cross bike has a few tricks up its sleeve… plus you can customize the frame to suite your needs…

Continue reading “Review: Dean’s titanium Antero cross bike takes “custom” titanium to a whole new (price) level”



Dean Titanium has a deep history and since long time employee and welder Ari Leon has taken the reigns, we’ve seen a lot of new shapes and offerings coming out of the Boulder frame builder’s doors. After chatting with them at Interbike last year, they suggested we check out one of their new “stock” offerings, […]

Posted in Bicycles, Commuter, Cyclocross, Feature, Reviews11 Comments

Rockshox SID goes back to XC roots with lighter, stiffer race-ready design

2017 Rockshox SID lightweight suspension fork specs details and actual weights

2017 Rockshox SID lightweight suspension fork specs details and actual weights

While their Indy SL from about 1997 was their lightest fork ever, SID was their first fully modern, lightweight air sprung fork. It’s seen several revisions over the years, going from a minimal 30mm stanchion to the current 32mm, and travel jumping from a minimum of 68mm at launch up to a max of 120 trail-worthy millimeters.
As the winningest XC fork out there and now in it’s 19th year, the new 2017 Rockshox SID gets every part of it updated.

It also goes back to it roots. When 120mm travel became popular for XC about five years ago, they had to bring the SID up to that level. Since then, though, that 120mm mark has skewed closer to trail and even light enduro, so for 2017, SID goes back to a 100mm max and is aimed at the race market. That doesn’t mean it’s delicate. Courses are getting gnarlier, and all of us continue to push our gear past its well intentioned designs. Thanks to new lowers, new damping, and so much more, the SID is up to the task…

Continue reading “Rockshox SID goes back to XC roots with lighter, stiffer race-ready design”



While their Indy SL from about 1997 was their lightest fork ever, SID was their first fully modern, lightweight air sprung fork. It’s seen several revisions over the years, going from a minimal 30mm stanchion to the current 32mm, and travel jumping from a minimum of 68mm at launch up to a max of 120 […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Feature, Mountain Bike22 Comments

All-new Cannondale Scalpel puts another X in XC w/ lighter, faster & more capable frame

2017 Cannondale Scalpel Si full suspension XC mountain bike

2017 Cannondale Scalpel Si full suspension XC mountain bike

Cross country courses are getting more technical and more challenging. If you haven’t been to a World Cup race lately to see for yourself, you can simply take the fact that more and more of the top racers are aboard full suspension as evidence of that. Cannondale’s no newcomer to racing full suspension at the top level, having put riders like Kashi Leuchs, Tinker Juarez and Christoph Sauser on them as far back as 2002.

And they’ve done it by making incredibly lightweight bikes, particularly the more recent full carbon versions of the Scalpel. But, just making something super light and stiff is no longer enough. They needed a bike could excel in rocky terrain like Nove Mesto and Cairns.

Because, as they say, cross country races are still won on the climbs, but can be lost on the descents. It’s time to add another X to XC…

Continue reading “All-new Cannondale Scalpel puts another X in XC w/ lighter, faster & more capable frame”



Cross country courses are getting more technical and more challenging. If you haven’t been to a World Cup race lately to see for yourself, you can simply take the fact that more and more of the top racers are aboard full suspension as evidence of that. Cannondale’s no newcomer to racing full suspension at the […]

Posted in Feature, Mountain Bike22 Comments

Juliana hits the trail 29er spectrum with new Ultraviolet Joplin

Santa Cruz Tall Boy 29 27 plus joplin womens mtb mountain bike_-23

Santa Cruz Tall Boy 29 27 plus joplin womens mtb mountain bike_-23

As the sister company to Santa Cruz Bicycles, it probably comes as little surprise that when the Tallboy 2 gets an update, so too does the women’s focused Joplin. For awhile now the companies have shared frame technology but with different builds suited to their target audience. For Juliana, that target is clearly the female mountain bikers of the world and while the bike uses the same frame as the all new Tallboy, it does get a few modifications to make it “women’s specific”…

Continue reading “Juliana hits the trail 29er spectrum with new Ultraviolet Joplin”



As the sister company to Santa Cruz Bicycles, it probably comes as little surprise that when the Tallboy 2 gets an update, so too does the women’s focused Joplin. For awhile now the companies have shared frame technology but with different builds suited to their target audience. For Juliana, that target is clearly the female mountain […]

Posted in Feature, Mountain Bike4 Comments

Third generation Santa Cruz Tallboy grows slightly longer legs, ability to run fatter tires

Santa Cruz Tall Boy 29 27 plus joplin womens mtb mountain bike_-2

Santa Cruz Tall Boy 29 27 plus joplin womens mtb mountain bike_-2

For many, including those at Santa Cruz, the Tallboy has been a revelation in big wheel form. The first generation was introduced at a time when 29ers were still a hot topic of debate and it just happened to be the first 29er from Santa Cruz – a 4″ travel VPP carbon stunner. Needless to say that in spite of the company’s wariness of big wheels, the bike was a hit thanks to geometry that didn’t suck and the touch of VPP suspension. That first gen 29er was eventually followed up by more 29ers including the Tallboy LT/LTc long travel version, and most recently the Tallboy 2.

Now with the Tallboy LT gone from the Santa Cruz website and replaced with the new Hightower, the Tallboy sees another update. Growing into a bit more of a modern trail bike with big wheels, the gen 3 Tallboy adds new geometry, enhanced suspension, and yes… the ability to run 27.5+ wheels and tires…

Continue reading “Third generation Santa Cruz Tallboy grows slightly longer legs, ability to run fatter tires”



For many, including those at Santa Cruz, the Tallboy has been a revelation in big wheel form. The first generation was introduced at a time when 29ers were still a hot topic of debate and it just happened to be the first 29er from Santa Cruz – a 4″ travel VPP carbon stunner. Needless to […]

Posted in Feature, Mountain Bike8 Comments