Review: Mountain biking in Pactimo’s all new Apex MTB Apparel

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kona-ride-2017-7624
Photo c. Caleb Smith/Kona from the launch of the Hei Hei Trail in Squamish, BC. 

At this point, there is certainly no shortage of options when it comes to riding apparel. It seems like every day another company pops up with a Kickstarter or new line of threads. With that said though, I still get excited when presented with the opportunity to try something new – especially when that something comes from an established clothing manufacturer that happens to be one of my favorites.

When Pactimo’s Josh Cook mentioned that they were going to be launching a full line of mountain bike apparel, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. At the time, the company was known for their experience with lycra for the road crowd – not performance MTB apparel. But after getting a first look at Sea Otter, it was clear that Pactimo was onto something, and I couldn’t wait to try it out…

Continue reading “Review: Mountain biking in Pactimo’s all new Apex MTB Apparel”



At this point, there is certainly no shortage of options when it comes to riding apparel. It seems like every day another company pops up with a Kickstarter or new line of threads. With that said though, I still get excited when presented with the opportunity to try something new – especially when that something […]

Posted in Clothes-Gear, Feature, Mountain Bike, Reviews1 Comment

Knog halts PWR campaign; What that could mean for all Kickstarter backers

knog-pwr_kickstarter-close-out

knog-pwr_kickstarter-close-out

Australian accessory maker Knog first let us know over the weekend that they had just decided to pull the plug on the recent Kickstarter for their PWR range project. We had just featured it a week earlier and it was likely on track to getting funded, although as they put it: underwhelmingly. The reason why was that they saw feedback from a few vocal supporters of their previous crowdfunding for the Oi bell that weren’t happy with how that product and delivery was turning out. As Knog puts it “out of respect for that community response” they decided to end the campaign before it got funded. What does that mean for backers of this project? And with the growing number of failures, delays, hiccups, and increasingly expensive projects on Kickstarter, what does that mean for the continued prospects of crowdfunded bike products…

Continue reading “Knog halts PWR campaign; What that could mean for all Kickstarter backers”



Australian accessory maker Knog first let us know over the weekend that they had just decided to pull the plug on the recent Kickstarter for their PWR range project. We had just featured it a week earlier and it was likely on track to getting funded, although as they put it: underwhelmingly. The reason why […]

Posted in Feature, Industry News, Kickstarter28 Comments

Just In: Why Cycles’ R+ titanium gravel adventure bike

why-cycles-r-titanium-road-bike-gravel-adventure-review-first-look-reynolds-carbon-plus-terrene-tires-chunk-wazia-elwood-9

why-cycles-r-titanium-road-bike-gravel-adventure-review-first-look-reynolds-carbon-plus-terrene-tires-chunk-wazia-elwood-3

It’s getting to be that time of year where a little (or a lot) of extra rubber is welcomed for your drop bar builds. Whether you’re exploring dirt roads and hidden single track that is overgrown most of the year, chasing down competitors on the cross circuit, or cruising the gravel highways, fall is a great time for a gravel/dirt road/adventure bike.

That’s why we were pretty excited when Why Cycles offered up their new R+ for review. The most “road” out of their three debut titanium bikes, the R+ is one of those category defying “gravel” or “road plus” bikes we’re starting to see more of. The bike is really  based around 700 x 40/42 tires, but with clearance for 27.5 x 2.1″ wheels and tires and options like the Lauf Grit fork, the R+ won’t be confined to your typical routes…

Continue reading “Just In: Why Cycles’ R+ titanium gravel adventure bike”



It’s getting to be that time of year where a little (or a lot) of extra rubber is welcomed for your drop bar builds. Whether you’re exploring dirt roads and hidden single track that is overgrown most of the year, chasing down competitors on the cross circuit, or cruising the gravel highways, fall is a […]

Posted in Bicycles, Feature, Gravel Bikes, Reviews, Road Bike9 Comments

One Ride Review: Trek Fuel EX full suspension trail mountain bike

2017 Trek Fuel EX ride review

2017 Trek Fuel EX ride review

Earlier this year, the Fuel EX received rapid fire updates that first introduced a 27.5+ version then quickly made it the standard model by adding 29er wheels and tires for most of the stock builds. The frame was all new for both, bumping travel to 130mm, and it effectively did away with the standard 27.5 version except in a few smaller sizes for the women’s models.

Most of the stock 2017 Fuel EX builds come as 29ers with meaty 2.4″ wide Bontrager tires, and that’s what I rode here. The Fuel EX 9.8 comes spec’d with Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes, Fox Performance 34 Float fork and EVOL Float rear shock with the Trek-exclusive RE:active damping, Bontrager Line Comp wheels and XR3 Team Issue tires. Here’s how it rode…

Continue reading “One Ride Review: Trek Fuel EX full suspension trail mountain bike”



Earlier this year, the Fuel EX received rapid fire updates that first introduced a 27.5+ version then quickly made it the standard model by adding 29er wheels and tires for most of the stock builds. The frame was all new for both, bumping travel to 130mm, and it effectively did away with the standard 27.5 […]

Posted in Bicycles, Feature, Mountain Bike, Reviews12 Comments

2016 Taiwan KOM Challenge: Part Two – Preparation and Culture

taiwankom2016-2-14
taiwankom2016-2-1
Photo by Paolo Penni Martelli: Instagram @paolopennimartellicycling

Continuing where I left off earlier – 2016 Taiwan KOM Challenge: Part One – Showing Up – myself, along with invited journalists and riders woke early on Wednesday morning for the trip by people-mover van to Hualien, Taiwan, home of the KOM Challenge. Even this early into the trip I was impressed by the organization of the event’s staff.

The logistics associated with moving around luggage, bikes and other gear for 14 individuals is no easy undertaking. Yet, I was treated like a professional cyclist! My luggage and bicycle were loaded by the drivers and helpers into the assigned vans, leaving me to relax and focus my worries elsewhere; like how was I going to ride my bicycle up what is possibly the longest and toughest climb on the planet?!

Continue reading “2016 Taiwan KOM Challenge: Part Two – Preparation and Culture”



Continuing where I left off earlier – 2016 Taiwan KOM Challenge: Part One – Showing Up – myself, along with invited journalists and riders woke early on Wednesday morning for the trip by people-mover van to Hualien, Taiwan, home of the KOM Challenge. Even this early into the trip I was impressed by the organization of the […]

Posted in Feature, Road Bike, Training4 Comments

Review: The Kona Hei Hei DL Carbon 29 is positive proof of XC Evolution

kona-ride-2017-8336
kona-ride-2017-8336
Photo c. Caleb Smith/Kona

For a number of years now, Kona has categorized their Hei Hei 29er as an XC or XC Race platform. It still falls under that category, though they’ve added XC Trail and MTB Trail to the naming structure. But that doesn’t really tell the whole story. Going back to 2012, the Hei Hei has been mostly about 29″ wheels and going fast. As we’ve seen with many other manufacturers though, the concept of what XC actually is has been changing fairly rapidly. Slacker angles, slightly more travel, droppers, and wider bars are transforming disciplined race rigs into more enjoyable trail slaying machines that are still super efficient.

In 2017, Kona introduced the new Hei Hei Trail platform which adds a 27.5″ wheel option to the category, but they also increased the number of 29″ models. With five different 29″ models to choose from, small tweaks in spec will help change your mindset from ‘podium’ to ‘play,’ but there’s nothing slow about the new Hei Hei DL 29er…

Continue reading “Review: The Kona Hei Hei DL Carbon 29 is positive proof of XC Evolution”



For a number of years now, Kona has categorized their Hei Hei 29er as an XC or XC Race platform. It still falls under that category, though they’ve added XC Trail and MTB Trail to the naming structure. But that doesn’t really tell the whole story. Going back to 2012, the Hei Hei has been […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Bicycles, Feature, Mountain Bike, Reviews12 Comments

Tantrum Cycles goes live – First look & first ride of Outburst & Meltdown shape shifting mountain bikes

Tantrum cycles meltdown outburst first ride prototypes (12)

Tantrum cycles meltdown outburst first ride prototypes (9)

You may not know Brian Berthold’s name, but there’s a pretty good chance you’re familiar with some of his work. His most recent and well known design in the bike industry would have to be the Magic Link which was licensed to Kona, but his expertise goes back, way back. Before he ever got mixed up with bikes, Brian started on his path to suspension enlightenment through a motocross career which involved shock testing. That led him down the path of motorsports suspension and car design which included everything from rally, to Indy Car, and even a brief stint with F1.

Eventually, mountain bikes entered the picture with the formulation of Therapy Components and his first prototype air shock for Cannondale bikes in 1993. Production rear shocks for K2/Proflex paved the way to one of the first 7″ dual crown inverted suspension forks, and eventually into the world of floating brake calipers for World Cup DH racing for the likes of Trek and Kona, and ultimately back to Kona with the Magic Link suspension design. This is the abridged version, but rest assured, the guy’s got some history.

Why the long winded set up? That’s because Brian is back with his own company now with what he says is an even better suspension design…

Continue reading “Tantrum Cycles goes live – First look & first ride of Outburst & Meltdown shape shifting mountain bikes”



You may not know Brian Berthold’s name, but there’s a pretty good chance you’re familiar with some of his work. His most recent and well known design in the bike industry would have to be the Magic Link which was licensed to Kona, but his expertise goes back, way back. Before he ever got mixed up […]

Posted in Bicycles, Feature, Mountain Bike, Reviews65 Comments

Road to PBE BoB Interview: Eric Estlund of Winter Cycles, Questions by Chris Bishop

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philly-bike-show_eric-estlund_winter-bicycles-8

I first had an opportunity to chat with Eric Estlund at Bespoked in Bristol, England. In a show full of highly polished randonneur and classically styled road bikes, Eric rolled up with the pink and black bike seen above, one he painted himself. The fully rigid New England-style plus-sized mountain bike made my heart flutter, instantly revealing all of my deep-seated and very American biases.

But what was really interesting about this bike is that it wasn’t what I thought of when I thought of Winter Bicycles. There are two things that stick out in my mind when I think of this builder. One is his bi-laminate head tubes, where the top and down tubes seem to originate from the “lugs,” usually featured on a touring frame. The other is his finishes, with wild two dimensional (and sometimes, three-dimensional) finishes.

For this Builder on Builder interview, Eric is questioned by Chris Bishop of Bishop Cycles.

Continue reading “Road to PBE BoB Interview: Eric Estlund of Winter Cycles, Questions by Chris Bishop”



I first had an opportunity to chat with Eric Estlund at Bespoked in Bristol, England. In a show full of highly polished randonneur and classically styled road bikes, Eric rolled up with the pink and black bike seen above, one he painted himself. The fully rigid New England-style plus-sized mountain bike made my heart flutter, […]

Posted in Feature, Interviews6 Comments

Road to PBE16 BoB Interview: Chris Bishop of Bishop Bikes, interviewed by Carl Schlemowitz

philly-bike-show_chris-bishop_bishop-bikes-1

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Chris Bishop established himself early on as a must-follow builder among the slim lug sect, winning award after award for his soldered steel creations at NAHBS. It’s hard not to be a fan of a craftsman who plays in the space of existing traditional lugwork, pushing them to extremes through filling in lug joints, sculpting high shorelines, and tapering down almost to the tube surface for desired effect. Each Bishop frame truly has its own spirit, and the evolution in style of this builder has been really fun to watch over the decade he’s been building under this name.

For this interview, Carl Schlemowitz, an experimental builder on the production level, questions Bishop, an established banner holder for the new wave of single builder, one-off frame shops.

Continue reading “Road to PBE16 BoB Interview: Chris Bishop of Bishop Bikes, interviewed by Carl Schlemowitz”



Chris Bishop established himself early on as a must-follow builder among the slim lug sect, winning award after award for his soldered steel creations at NAHBS. It’s hard not to be a fan of a craftsman who plays in the space of existing traditional lugwork, pushing them to extremes through filling in lug joints, sculpting […]

Posted in Cyclocross, Feature, Gravel Bikes, Interviews, Road Bike10 Comments