Archives: Review

Blackburn Design Makes Great Things

imageBlackburn Design, making everyday tools for the everyday rider.

Loving the Wayside CO2 Inflator. An easy decision to pick up. As far as CO2 inflators go… this one gets the award for best looking. It’s CNC alloy construction and simple, proven spring loaded valve design that accommodates both Presta & Schrader valves is easy on the eyes and the wallet.

Bottle cages are always a tough purchase for me. Obviously I LOVE Stainless Steel (like the Blackburn Chicane’s I currently have on my road ripper) and drool over anything Titanium, but the price point can get up there pretty quick. I needed something not so fancy for my mountain and touring bicycles but still added style points without jacking up my water bottles. Low and behold… Blackburn had me covered yet again. Their Comp Aluminum Bottle Cage is only 6 grams heavier than the Stainless Chicane Cages (if you even care about that, which I don’t, but made me wonder why I bought the stainless version, OH that’s right… because they look bad ass) and $10 cheaper!! Easy. Purchase!! I love them for multiple reasons, but what stuck out the most is the fact that they don’t have Blackburn’s logo blasted on them like many of the other comparable price point cages out there, keeping my bicycles “clean” and simple look in tact.

I hope you dig these simple products as much as I do. Blackburn Design has been my one stop shop for the last several years. Pumped on’em.

The Pulsar Got Squishy

Squishy PulsarIn 2004 I bought my first bicycle, a Trek 4600. A few months later I upgraded the cockpit, saddle, brakes, and eventually put a Fox Talas RLC on. My world would be changed forever. This was before phones were smart, Instagram was even a thought, and social media meant calling friends to grip and rip; so unfortunately those memories weren’t captured to be remembered for years to come… until this happened. All the memories from my ridding infancy came rushing back in.

As you may have read in posts below, I had an issue with the ridged fork that came equipped with the SS Pulsar and ended up getting upgraded to the RockShox 30 Gold TK State Bicycle Co. offers with their Deluxe SS Pulsar. State’s customer service is on point!!

Adding a 100mm of travel makes a HUGE difference! especially when your background for the last several years has been CX and Road. It reminded me of that first ride I took on the Trek 4600 all those years ago, smashing through rock sections and climbing like a goat. Speaking of climbing… I’ve ridden plenty of mountain bikes in the last 12 years but only rode hardtail on the very first mountain bike I owned. This has been the dumbest decision I’ve made on two wheels. I enjoy full suspension fine, but the control I have on a hardtail doesn’t even compare. Sure it’s a little more jarring, but that’s when the years of cyclocross knowledge kicks in.

  • But Matt, the Pulsar is Single Speed (SS) right?
    • Yes, this set up is, but you can order it geared if you’d like. If you want to add gearing later down the trail, the SS option comes with a derailleur hanger and is easily upgradable.
  • So how’s the SS gear ratio on the mountain?
    • Freaking great!  I recently discussed how it was way too easy on flat single-track when I rode with Team Loblolly out of Panama City, FL. Once I took it on the rocky trails of Monte Sano Mountain, North Alabama; the 32 x 18 killed it!!!
  • What would you recommend for a first time mountain bike purchaser?
    • It really depends on your riding history and/or style of riding desired.
      • CX: I LOVED the ridged set up to handle something a bit more aggressive than your normal gravel road. The full ridged offered enough cushion with the larger tires and steel frame construction to soak up larger tree roots/rocks.
      • TRAIL: The first rock section I bombed down sealed the deal for me. IN. LOVE! with smashing up and down the mountain, not even thinking of large obstacle in the trail. I couldn’t be more satisfied with the SS gearing and 100mm of travel the Deluxe SS Pulsar offers.

I hope you enjoyed my take on the State Bicycle Co. SS Deluxe Pulsar. This set up has made me fall in love with the mountain again and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Follow along on our Instagram for ride recaps and day-to-day use of the Pulsar. Cheers!

RIDE x CREATE

State Bicycle Co. Pulsar SS Review & Ride Recap

OK… here it goes…

It’s hard to prevent myself from venting about certain hot button topics that get under my skin when it comes to bicycle or product reviews. My goal in each item I bring to your attention is to present my transparent honesty that will help you make better educated decisions when you dedicate your hard earned money to a product I throw up here.

I have been working with State Bicycle Co. (SBCo.) for a few years now through things as simple as race sponsorships to working bicycle collaboration like the Megalith. SBCo. has been absolutely great to work with and work hard to resolve any issues that arise when working from afar. With that said, I have yet to receive a bicycle from them that was in a rideable condition. What does that mean? It means that although each SBCo. bicycle is shipped 90% assembled, it doesn’t mean adding 10% of your wrenching skills will allow you to head out the door and have fun. SBCo. mentions this with their statement “We strongly encourage having your bike professionally assembled” and I second that.

Some things you may not notice when you receive your 90% built State Bicycle is your wheels needing to be trued, checking/tightening all bolts properly, and checking welds for cracks or misalignments. You will need to have your SBCo. receive a full professional “once over” when you get it in to make sure nothing needs replaced. IF you do find something off with your new ride, State Bicycle Co. WILL expedite a quick turn around to resolve any issues. Their customer service is excellent but that doesn’t mean you should have to sacrifice anything due to poor manufacturing. SBCo. needs to hear your unique stories (if any) to better improve their process and bring you better builds at an affordable price.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning State Bicycle Co. at all, just doing my best to set your expectations when buying a State Bicycle. Once you get your SBCo. dialed you’ll be in love. Fact.

OK… there’s the critique… now onto the AWESOME that is the SS Pulsar!!

Take any aggravation, agitation, or frustration I may have had getting the Pulsar up and riding; crumble that up, and throw it into the fire. THIS. BICYCLE. KILLS IT!!!

You know all the folks that say “Steel Is Real?” Yeah… that statement couldn’t be more true. Smooth. As. Butter!!! The weight isn’t bad at all. I bounced off of obstacles and smashed through sandy Florida single track, falling in love just a little bit more with each pedal stroke. I changed out the tires for some Kenda Small Block 8’s, swapped out the stock brake leavers for Shimano XT’s, and had to change out the front fork (for now) due to a brake mount weld misalignment. Not to worry though… the DKlein designed fork (my favorite piece of this collaboration) is already on it’s way to my front door.  Seriously folks… this is my second favorite shredsled ridden to date! One ride is all it took!!

I love the SS Pulsar due to its simplicity, cost, function, and detailed styling from Dustin Klein. For stronger riders you will need to change out the rear cog. I spun out on the way to the trail and couldn’t keep up while on the trail, but that was on mostly flat ground. I’ll give the Pulsar a go on the mountains in North Alabama before I make a decision on gearing. BUT I love that it would be that simple, just like a track ratio per say, and simple is key for me at least.

To sum all that up… I support State Bicycle Co. They’ve been great supporters of this thing I call FOLLY and have been since day one. As State Bicycle Co. goes down this road of getting more folks awesome bicycles for less money, there seems to be a drop off point that hinders quality. I don’t manufacture bicycles and have no clue what goes into that process. All I know is that on new bike day I want to grip and rip. I’m sure we can all relate to that. Cheers!

RIDE x CREATEFor product reviews, ride recaps, and updates on the State Bicycle Co. SS Pulsar gearing ratios follow along on our Instagram.

Team Loblolly Woodland Rampage

imageOk… sooo… like, it’s Florida and you wouldn’t think the “mountain biking” would be all that much fun; well, you would be wrong. There are no mountains per say (in the Santa Rosa Beach area) but there is tons of single track that are filled with hidden roots, quicksand, mounds of loose pine straw, logging trail detours, and muddy deep pools of water around blind turns filled with more sand that is even sludgier, sucking in your wheels and losing all tracking… IN LOVE WITH IT ALL!!

For me, it’s the unexpected terrain Florida presents that made me so pumped on it. You wouldn’t really need a MTB actually. It’s more so perfect for cyclocross but I just received the State Bicycle Co. Ridged SS Pulsar and brought it along for the ride. It rode like a dream (move on that later).

I meet up with Team Loblolly ringleader Adam McAnulty a few years back and have enjoyed following along via Instagram as he and the team travel from race to race spreading Loblolly shrednanigans. We’ve never been able to meet up at the same time and go out to ride so this was pretty sweet to ride and wreck together. Speaking of wrecking… I’m pretty sure everyone ate it at least twice before the ride was over. Like I said… the terrain was crazier than it appeared even for the experienced locals. I decided to tackle a tree and then completely lost traction going around a sandy corner, pummeling to the ground. After that my confidence level was pretty low on bike handling skills. As I got used to the corners and deep sand pits I started building momentum again, gripping the handlebars white knuckle status.

All in all, if you need to gain better handling for the upcoming cyclocross season look no further than Flo Rida… I mean… what better combo than heading out for a few hours then take a dip in the ocean. Dreams really do come true!!

Here’s a photo recap of the ride. More photos via film once I get those developed.

RIDE x CREATE

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Kreme Delite Krusher

The best race pace group ride I’ve ever attended. Perfect 40 mile distance at about a 20mph average with breakaways, attacks, and climbing throughout rolling country hills. Heaven. On. Earth!

If yer in the North Alabama area and want to push it with a good group of folks I highly recommend attending this ride.

Go check out more info on the Kreme Delite Krusher Facebook Page. Good times all around!

 

First Look // State Bicycle Co. Pulsar SS 29er

imageHOTNESS!!! That’s one word to describe it. I couldn’t be MORE. AMPED! on the State Bicycle Co. & DKlein collaboration Pulsar SS 29er. As soon as I got the Pulsar out of the box I couldn’t rip the packaging off fast enough to check out Dustin’s design brought to mountain bike. It’s so rad on so many levels, not really sure how to put it all into words.

Dustin Klein has personally inspired me for years, like many of you, to ride x create. Not letting perceived limitations get you down, and to push past the fear of the unknown… well, that’s how he has inspired me at least. To ride with THAT vibe in tact will bring a smile to my face for many pedal strokes to come. Stoked!

Now… this entry level ripper isn’t going to have all the bells and whistles, and it shouldn’t for the price tag of $649 delivered; but it does have what you need to get out, have a killer time, and look good while doing so. Some of the things I did / noticed immediately when building it up:

  • Flipped / dropped the stem (personal preference / will cut steer tube asap)
  • Super comfy but solid fork flex
  • GREAT grips that will grip heavily
  • Bike weight lighter than expected

The entry level Pulsar SS is the perfect place to start for those that don’t know what direction they really want to go with their build, OR that just want a GREAT looking entry level ridged single speed. You can upgrade with better components and suspension fork if you would prefer. State Bicycle Co. has a couple different build options on their site. I recommend checking that out. Something I will never change on my personal Pulsar is the ridged fork. Dustin’s design is just too plain good to discard.

Some things I will change out immediately (aka this week): Brakes, chain, pedals, and cog. It’s not that I’m not ok with them as they came, I just have some extra goodies laying around waiting to be used.

I haven’t spent a lot of time on the Pulsar yet… but from my initial exploratory back woods gutter sessions, I’m really into it!! Great ride all around!!

I hope you enjoyed my initial take on the State Bicycle Co. & DKlein Pulsar SS 29er collaboration thus far. Make sure to follow along on our Instagram (@createfolly) for daily inside looks with my interaction on the Pulsar. I will be posting updates and exploration recaps on this two wheeled shred sled via the blog and the GRAM for many summer months to come. In the meantime, head over to State Bicycle Co. and check out more details on the Pulsar along with all the options you have when building your own.

RIDE x CREATE

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Escadrille Cycling // Ride With Founder Jordan Humble

EscadrilleI mean… WOW!

As you fine folks have followed along with me on this journey called FOLLY, you’ve been able to see all the people, places, and things that have inspired me to keep doing what I do. No place thus far has caught me by surprise as much as Chattanooga, TN. It is a hidden gem of the Southeast that is THRIVING with young, successful, creative businesses that are making what I want. Case and point… ESCADRILLE!

Ok… “Matt, but what does Escadrille mean?”

Glad you asked. Escadrille literally means a French squadron of aircraft; which is pretty cool and makes me paint a mental picture of a sleek, stylish French fighter pilot, cigarette in mouth, ready to bring pain to anyone that crosses his/her path. NOW… that has nothing to do with the brand but it’s where my creative mind goes with it. What does remain intact with my creative interpretation of Escadrille is the luxury cycling and outdoor apparel aspect that is VERY apparent in the fine details that Founder Jordan Humble and the Escadrille Team have put into the gear. Jordan’s vision to bring high quality products to the cycling community is very apparent and the foundation of what makes Escadrille so solid. Furthermore, it goes beyond just creating quality cycling apparel and transitions into the underlying drive to build the Southeastern cycling community. It’s a beautiful thing.

Here is a photographical representation of a start-to-finish day with Escadrille Founder Jordan Humble; we chat, we caffeinated, we climbed the most BEAUTIFUL climbs. Great things to come in the near future from the both of us.

RIDE x CREATE

SILCA / Yanco / DKlein Tool Roll

imageSolid three-way collaboration. Diggin’ it.

“In the SILCA booth for NAHBS 2016 we will highlight the skill and creativity that goes in to creating functional art.  As a kickoff to the show we have collaborated with Dustin Klein and YANCO to create a tool wrap to showcase the live painting that will go on by DKlein himself in the SILCA booth at NAHBS. Joshua Portner, president of SILCA says, “Our vision has long been the creation of ‘Functional Art’ so It is so amazing to be able to partner with these two amazing artists and watch as every single detail of this project was created from scratch from the hand drawing of the art, to the custom printing of the canvas, to the hand sewing of each individual piece.”

Dustin Klein is the creative force behind many cycling related art projects, as well as the Cadence Collection. In Dustin’s words, “Having the opportunity to work with such a legendary brand as SILCA has been a surreal experience. Josh’s support of creatives has been very impressive. I look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts at NAHBS this year as we have some new hand painted projects that will be unveiled at the show.”

Knog Blinder MOB Four Eyes First Look

imageI gotta say… I’m impressed! Just received these yesterday and after a first look I’m really liking the design and function of the Knog Blinder Mob Four Eyes.

I’ve yet to ride with these, which will change as soon as the weekend hits, but will report back next week with that review. Until then here are a couple shots to oogle over.

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