Sage Titanium already has a gravel bike, the very capable Barlow, in its lineup, but if you have met founder Dave Rosen then you’ll know that the Beaverton, Oregon-based one man band company is always working on cooking up the next best thing.
I also remember those back-and-forth emails regarding the smallest details while we were getting ready to review the PDXCX cross bike – the guy’s level of attention is simply amazing – and welcoming for a truly customized experience.
As gravel riding trends toward bigger and gnarlier rides, so does the need for a different geometry and bike design. Sage’s new Storm King reflects that change. Gravel 2.0.
Named after a namesake singletrack outside Bend, the Oregon-built Storm King has tire clearance of up to 700×50 or 650×2.4 thanks to a subtly curved seat tube near the standard BSA-threaded bottom bracket with a more off-road based geometry “best-suited for buff single track and rocky fire roads”.
The 3/2.5 titanium-tubed frame also adopts the 148×12 boost thru-axle more commonly found on mountain bikes and is still friendly to those hoping to run a compact 50/34 crankset.
Other amenities include mounting points for three bottle cages, front and rear rack mounts, bosses for a frame bag on the top tube, internal dropper post compatible with Sage’s own proven Cable Clip System for cable management. We were told the 56cm frame weighs around 3.75lbs… Sounds like a sweet monstercross platform made for the long haul.
The Storm King frame will come in seven sizes starting today at $3,200 and complete bikes will be offered starting at $7,500 along with option of going full custom like this $15,000 version with custom paint, ENVE bits running Shimano GRX 1x grouppo. More info on Sage’s website.
A monstercross bike with clearance for 650b x 60 or 700c x 42 tires? What’s not to love? Well, Surly has got you covered with their new Midnight Special. Starting with a TIG-welded double-butted 4130 chromoly steel main triangle, the Midnight Special is made for pretty much any riding besides racing. It’s got front and rear fenders including rack mounts, flat-mount disc mounts, a 142×12 rear thru-axle with vertical dropout out back complimented with a 100×12 thru-axle steel fork.
Photo: Surly Bikes
Photo: Surly Bikes
Photo: Surly Bikes
Photo: Surly Bikes
The Midnight Special comes in eight sizes from 40cm-64cm and is available now at a very reasonable $625 for the frameset (with chromoly fork) or $1,799 complete featuring a SRAM Rival 22 2×11 groupset and a pair of TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes. Ride all day, anywhere, anytime.
If you could only have one bike, be sure to take a hard look at the new Ibis Hakka MX.
For the past few years, the spotlight on Ibis has largely been focused on iterations of the Mojo and the Ripley mountain bikes. And that’s for a good reason as they’re incredibly fun to ride plus they have some of the best customer service one can count on.
Scroll through all the mountain bike offerings on Ibis’ website and you’ll find the Hakkalügi sitting near the bottom of the site. First launched in 2009 with cantilever brakes, then in 2012 with updated geometry and ditching the cantilevers in favor of disc brakes. The Hakkalügi arguably didn’t get as much buzz as its mountain bike brethren but it has garnered a solid reputation as a competitive cross steed that also excels just about everywhere you’d like to take it to.
As good as it is, though, the Hakkalügi is getting a bit long in the tooth in the presence of the ever-growing market of gravel, aka the latest buzz type riding where all the cool kids are taking over and wanting to find a bike that can do it all.
So Ibis set out for a redesign. And the Hakka MX is it.
The Hakka MX has a carbon monocoque frame that is said to be some 150 grams lighter than the already respectable Hakkalügi. All cable routings are internal, be it Di2 or mechanical.
Further, the Hakka is compatible with both 700c and 27.5 wheels with plenty of clearance to spare (up to 40c in 700c and 2.1″ in 27.5), a 142 rear thru-axle spacing to stiffen up the rear end, and an ENVE disc cross fork up front to handle the steering.
There are even fender mounts too if you decide to throw some fenders on. From the race course to daily gravel riding, commuting, and the occasional bike packing trip, Ibis really means it when they say they design the Hakka does it all.
In addition, the Hakka features a T47 bottom bracket, a 1.5″ taper head tube, compatibility with dropper post, and the ability to decide whether to run a 2X or a 1x drivetrain without being forced to ride a particular set up. The choice is yours.
“You can seriously haul ass in the dirt: think road bike speeds on singletrack. So. Much. Fun.” Says Ibis engineer Andy Jacques-Maynes.
The Hakka MX will be available in five sizes in either fireball or coal finish on the last week of November. The Hakka MX is $1,999 as frame+fork while complete bikes will start at $3,299 with SRAM RIVAL 1 and $6,499 with Shimano Ultegra Di2. Since the bike is compatible with both 700c and 27.5 wheels, a selection of wheels will also be offered as upgrades. It’s nice to have choices and the holidays just can’t come any sooner.
After the first day of introductions, a shakedown ride, a whole lot of names to remember and even more Sierra Nevadas involved, came the second day of Paul Camp in Chico, named and organized by none other than Paul Price of Paul Component Engineering.
I know, there are a lot of Paul’s in the previous sentence.
The plan for the day was to ride bikes. Precisely, custom handmade bikes made specifically for this one ride.
I was set up on a 27.5 drop-bar mountain bike built by Robert Ives at Blue Collar Bikes in Sacramento. Painted in bright candy red and adorned with just about every anodized blue component Paul makes out of his shop.
The bike was gorgeous as it was playful and surefooted to commandeer… very much like Ives himself, who was a welder at Ventana and Ibis before dabbling between his own bike company, a day job as a metal fabricator, and being super involved in a Pitbull rescue in town.
“I want to build bikes that people can go out and get rad on,” said Ives when I asked him about his design as we slowly pedaled closer to Bidwell Park.
Once we quickly treaded through the trails we rode on the previous day, it was game on. Although the post-ride strava revealed we didn’t climb a whole lot, I was getting reacquainted with rock navigation 101. It wasn’t that the trail was really gnarly, but let’s just say I was rusty while everyone else was in tip top shape.
Whatevs, I was riding with a badass group of frame builders and their bikes. This must be the rideable version of NAHBS.
After a quick descent on the double track and ripping through the shrubbery (read: poison oaks), I made it to lunch.
It was a picnic by a Big Chico Creek. After what seemed to be an eternity of riding with no overhead covering, it was a much welcomed break.
But we had more to ride.
“Stop at parking lot P on the way back,” said Travis, one of Paul’s employee.
We did as we were told and out of nowhere, boom, came the view of the canyon. Definitely not huckable, but the size of the canyon was unexpected. It was amazing and for a second I wished I was at that sweet looking swimming hole at the bottom of the canyon.
I spent the last few miles in and out of paved bike paths and parallel singletracks.
Further down at the front of our dirt peloton, Adam from Sklar Bikes was giving Burnsey of Oddity Cycles and Maurice from Dirt Rag a quick tow. I quickly snapped a photo on my camera and that essentially summed up the entire laid-back rad nature of Paul Camp.
Minutes later, Curtis from Retrotec ditched his bike and dashed into the water at Five Mile while Paul tried to hustle all of us back to the hotel. We weren’t done just yet!