AXS eTap: Not just for annoying roadies who don't know how to adjust it anymore

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First you saw it on bike websites. Then you saw it on pro bikes. Then it showed up everywhere on the bikes those road racing children ride. On those bikes, the brakes don’t work great and the gears don’t shift too good neither. What is it? SRAM AXS eTap. It has twelve gears, and it’s here.

Jeff wanted a bike that he could do everything on and he wanted it to be the best it could be everywhere. It got the full PDJ treatment: Astrals, Compass (nee Rene Herse) tires, and eTap.

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Count the gears! 12!

And the most important touch: a Hardly Even Custom splattercap.

Carbon Astrals, Orange Condor

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This very, very orange Condor has made its way onto our feed before. It’s a sweet bike, and we would like to take it off Hank’s hands (without paying for it, obviously, because it’s a very expensive bike and we own/work in a bike shop). We default to the aluminum Astrals for upgrade wheels, but this bike needed a bit more. So the Astral Veils were the obvious next step up. Astral makes the best wheels. What’s better than aluminum? Carbon. Always carbon.

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They also look good in a three-quarters shot.

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Astral!

Klatch Up, Young Guns

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We’ve featured a Klatch before on here, so we’ll spare you the full rundown. It’s the best steel gravel bike on the market, no contest. And when Riley’s dad cracked his Fargo (for the second time, Steve…) there was no question. It had to be a Klatch. In Memphis blue.

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The build was pretty no-brainer too: Astral wheels, Vittoria Terreno tires, Ultegra groupset. All the standard-for-a-good-reason stuff.

And every custom bike deserves a headtube badge.

The Last 27.5+ Jet 9... In the World

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Well, here we are. Posting a bike that Niner doesn’t do anymore. But that’s really your fault. The customer might never be wrong, but as a group—as a consumer base—y’all are almost always wrong. Slacked-out 150/140mm plowin’ machines are the cool thing right now, but what if we told you you could actually have more fun?

Things that are fun, a ranked list

  1. Scaring your cat with a cucumber.

  2. The Niner Jet 9 RDO

  3. Huge mountain bike tires

And #2 plus #3 is even more fun than scaring your cat with a cucumber.

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Unlike Riley, who absolutely aced the heat-shrink job on the cabling here, y’all ruined the 27.5+ Jet 9. How, you might ask? By not buying them! That put us in a sticky situation when Niner HQ decided overnight to stop (Evil the) Offering the plus-sized bikes without telling anyone. But since we’re geniuses, we got Luke on a plus Jet anyways. Because Luke knows what y’all don’t: this is peak fun.

Just look at all that rubber! We want twelve, but once again: y’all ruined this. You can still get a 29” version and put a 2.6” on it. But you ruiiiiinnnneeeed this.

Andrew's Hardcore Hardtail

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Some things will never go out of style once they come in. At the top of that list for mountain bikes we find:

  1. Hardtails.

  2. Trail bikes.

  3. Hydraulic cantilevers.

So when Andrew built something up to go with his dialed Transition Sentinel, it had to be an aggressive trail hardtail. Our friends are Cyclefab are warming to the idea of welding canti studs on.

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When it comes to mountain bikes, Andrew will not stop until they’re perfect. Suspension, brakes, aesthetics… everything has to be perfect. And silent. Where Matt just wants to schralp corners and Riley just wants to not break both wrists, Andrew wants to hit 27 with a freshly rebuild shock. And so this Commencal Meta HT is spec’d and diaaaaled.

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The high polish Guide RSCs take a good brake and make it bulletproof and meaty. The construction on these is fantastic, but the best part is how good they look. Which matches nicely with the bike’s party piece…

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The silver cranks! Not an eeeeeewings because that’s sheer insanity (we’d still take your money for a set) but a Truvativ Descendant that Andrew spent three days sanding, buffing, grinding, and stripping to a raw aluminum finish. It paid dividends. The finishing kit is Tenet, and the gold chain is necessary.

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Necessary.

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Purple and Black Offering

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When you want a really evil Evil what do you do? Black and red? Fire and brimstone? No, the evil of Evil is cunning, devilish, subtle. The answer is purple and black.

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Continental Der Barons for predictable and fun grip! Industry Nine hubs to carbon Ibis rims for stiff!

Continental Der Barons for predictable and fun grip! Industry Nine hubs to carbon Ibis rims for stiff!

So when our buddy Isaac decided it was time to upgrade from his old Hightower to an Evil, we all agreed that it had to be purple.

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Hope brakes are boutique heaven.

Hope brakes are boutique heaven.

ODI grips are grippy but also can be customized with purple bits. (Other colors available, but why would you?!)

ODI grips are grippy but also can be customized with purple bits. (Other colors available, but why would you?!)

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If you needed more reason to want to buy a set of Hope brakes than the modulation and power, check out the machining marks! Oh MY.

Obligatory EDC tool.

Obligatory EDC tool.

Matt's Niner RIP 9

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When Niner rolled out the redesigned RIP 9, everyone wanted the grey and blue colour, including us. So we got a couple in as demos and the first people who took them out called from the trailhead after their first ride to buy them from us. So we need another one to demo. Unfortunately at that point everyone wanted the Santa Fe sand colour and they were on backorder, so we only just got it in the shop! Also unfortunately, Matt likes it and it’s now his bike that you can borrow whenever.

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The bike is low, long, and modern.

And since Riley put it together, it’s unique and custom. Note the topcap! We’re out of the first run of the splatter caps, but a new batch should be ready in a week or two.

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Our friends at Tenet Components make a gnarly 9-degree sweep bar that Matt is crazy about and it pairs really well with the 2k19 trail bike geometry.

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And god, that paint is so beautiful! This bike shreds Tokul.

Doug's Offering to the Gods

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Doug is a PDJ regular, and one of the nicer/friendlier people you could hope to meet. Doug races cars and has a Niner RLT 9, so suffice it say, Doug is pretty cool. We love Doug (in a friend way) and we love Doug’s adorable little beagle even more (sorry, Doug). So when he came in asking about an Offering, we knew it had to be loaded with all the parts that we love.

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The stock builds on the Offering are pretty sweet, but there’s always room to perfect a great platform. Doug designed some Industry 9 Trail 270s on their anolab designer, which is an easy place to waste hours and hours.

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And no mountain bike in 2019 is complete without an EDC tool. This is the quality-of-life upgrade to end them all. And it matches the wheels! Doug is more than set to shred Tokul and Tiger and Raging River and…

Rossman Randonneur

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Sometimes there’s no big story to a bike that we like and it’s just simply cool and nice. All we did here was install some Dura-Ace bar-end shifters (which are some of the nicest-feeling shifters of all time!) and admire the bike. The stem cap turns the lights on and off!

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Han Rossman is a Seattle framebuilder who embodies the same values that we do: let’s find out what you like to do and imagine what you will want to do in the future and make sure you never think about your bike, only how much you love it. From his website:

When you pin a number on for 1200K brevet or just an hour of muddy suffering I want you to have total confidence that you have the best tool for the job and that it was designed and built by someone who shares your passion for the task at hand.

Han is a good friend of ours and we see his orange cross bike every now and then. There’s no doubt that he’s the real deal and a great person to talk with for a custom steel bike. Dude knows his ish.

Bags are cool again!

Bags are cool again!

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Belated Squid Completion Post!

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It’s been a minute since we got onboard with Squid, but there’s been plenty of activity since then! It’s cross season and it’s also the first month of school, so Riley’s had limited time for bikes right now. But it’s done! It’s dialed! It rips! Riley likes a really responsive and flickable bike, and the Squidcross is just that: turn hard and sharp, pedal the back end around. The bike communicates what’s going on with grip better than anything we’ve tried.

Riley stands by the fade+splatter fork being the best thing he’s ever done, and it’d be hard to argue. The only disappointment is that you don’t see the inside of the fork that often… It’s the design that started PDJ’s Summer 2018 splatter obsession—there are still one or two splatter caps left at the shop, and we’re taking preorders for 1x chainring paint that will fulfill in December.

We love, love, love Astral wheels—handbuilt to order, serialized, White Industries hubs? Yes, please! But Riley wanted to have something a little zestier, so he did a custom build with gold W.I. CLD hubs and Wanderlust rims. It’s the same amazing wheel, just more gold-er this time.

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Taking care of grip and mounted tubeless (because why the hell wouldn’t you?!) are a pair of the Wet tread Vittoria Terrenos. Victoria’s cross races were mud fests from round one, and the awesome Dry and Mix treads might not be needed this year. Although the 40mm Dry was the perfect choice for the couple gravel grinders outside of Victoria, and this bike is a great gravel weapon too!

Shifting is taken care of by a Shimano Ultegra R8000 drivetrain and RS685 shifters. Brakes are Shimano Zee freeride calipers because if you have four pistons that’s cool, right? Right? Thru-axles are the purple Paragon Machine Works specials!

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The cockpit is our increasingly ubiquitous choice: Nitto UI-25 and Soma Highway One bars. It’s just so classy. A nice blue/purple/red finish tape matches the paint fade.

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And if you’ve forgotten… it’s a Squid.

Ballin on a Budget

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Riley lives in Victoria, BC 2/3 of the year for school, so he needs a mountain bike that can take some abuse and can handle tech on a budget. And then handle some more tech on wet rocks. His very upgraded aluminum Jet 9 has done its job.

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There's not a whole lot to say here: Reverb, Minions, XT group. It's a ripper. The Wolf Tooth bag mounts nicely on the downtube and holds a tool, a tube, some carbon dioxide, and trail snax.

To fit a longer post in this frame, Riley slapped a Wolf Tooth ReMote Sustain on in place of the Connect-A-Majig and it works! Cable Reverb, comin' up.