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.

Riley's Canadian Cross 'Dale

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Riley made plans for a new a-bike, and so we had to figure out what to do with his a-bike from years prior. Sure, it could be sold—but where the heck is the fun in that?! Time to do a flat-bar singlespeed like all the cool kids in British Columbia. And boy. Did it work.

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Affixed are a pair of 800mm Renthal Fatbars, as is traditional in Belgium. A pair of absolutely destroyed Deore brakes off of Andrew's first mountain bike deliver cantilever levels of clamping force.

A schrader adapter is only acceptable when adapting a valve stem to take a delightful skull cap.

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Being one of Riley's bikes, it had to have a custom touch, so here's a gold top cap that's getting really chipped up. Something to make it unique.

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39x17. A manly gear for PDJ's boy genius.

Niner Jet 9 RDOh, Yeah

When we got to ride the new Niner Jet 9 RDO, we fell in love. This is probably the most playful but still plush trail bike on the market at the moment. This particular build features a 140mm air spring in the fork, which ships at 120, and this makes the bike even better.

This bike is what we'd choose for our only mountain bike. Pedals pretty dang good, descends in a way that forces you to smile, jumps how you expect it to.

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We heatshrunk the cables to keep it as clean as it rides.

And this is the bike that introduced us to the awesome OneUp Comp pedals. So we love it for that, too.

Andrew's Following

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Our friend and wrench Andrew is great. He's got an awesome Stevie Smith mustache, he drives a cool truck, and he can lift heavy stuff. So of course Andrew has a sweet bike. A few sweet bikes, in fact, but his Kawasaki Green Evil the Following v1 is pretty damn rad.

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Andrew built it up to his liking - Shimano drivetrain, Hope brakes, salvageable bits from his beloved Stumpy.

It's key to be remind yourself how important dinging your bell at foot folk is by checking your speed. Andrew is typically in the 20-25 MPH zone.

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Silver stickers pop on the green.

Squid Has Landed!

Bikes are fun! They are, and you know it. Bikes rule because they're fun, and we like having fun. Which is why we're stoked to have partnered up with Squid and are now ready to sling their awesome, fun DIYFS bikes! The first one arrived the other day in a spraypainted box, ready to shred. Well, ready to paint. We get to ready it for the shreddy.

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If you aren't familiar with Squid, they're a Sacramento company whose values really reflect ours. From their website:

"Riding bikes is about as dumb and futile an endeavor as many other hobbies, which is to say it's worthwhile and existentially gratifying in ways that are hard to explain. Bikes are simple machines that bring deep joy. They're a way to find clarity and peace, not to mention a great way to get around."

Yes to all that.

Squid makes this cross bike (the $quidcross), a hardtail ripper, a steel cross bike, and a BMX cruiser. They all ship stock as raw frames. The aluminum ones are welded by Ventana. When they arrive, you can paint them yourself, or we can do it for you for a fee. Squid's artists will also paint one if you ask nicely enough (pay). These bikes RIP and they're cool. Be the only one in the MFG with a PDJ-painted $quidcross!

Astral Buenos Aires Upgrade

These days, as you can tell, we look first to Eugene, Oregon for wheels. Rolf/Astral are making aluminum rims in-house, getting White Industries hubs, and building them by hand to order. Every set comes with a card with your builder's name.

So when Mitch walked in with this beautiful LeMond Buenos Aires and a pair of dangerous Bontrager wheels, we knew exactly what was needed. A 1370g wheelset that's stiff enough to let a Vittoria Corsa shine in all its suppleness.

And we were all pretty jazzed on how they look, too.

Eyewater — Holy Moses

Wow. What the heck can we say?! NAHBS Best New Builder of 2018 Eyewater Bikes is all the best stuff that we like. Locally crafted? Tick that box—Corey Lowe builds the frames down Lakeside Ave in Mt. Baker. Fully-custom? Check. Handsome? 110%. Corey's method makes sure that you don't end up with three inches of material above the top tube and a top tube halfway down the head tube. It'll always look like a bike. Performance? Uh, yeah. But like Vittoria Corsas, while the speed is unbelievable, the comfort is what makes it dreamlike.

These bikes have the best carbon layup and molding we've ever seen. Go check out the Eyewater Instagram to see the cross-sections and be astounded. Corey says he could do a colorful finish on the frames, but he prefers to leave the carbon raw so you can see the beautiful iridescence in the tubing. The decals were inspired by a pair of holographic Doc Martens.

The NAHBS judges were understandably blown away by the craftsmanship evident at every seem and joint. These aren't glued like normal carbon lugs—they're wrapped with carbon and cured together so that the frame is stiffer and stronger. Incidentally, it's gorgeous.

Condor II: Electric Blue-Ga-Loo

There's a thing that happens in bike shops when you see something incredibly rare for the first time and suddenly see another in the next few days. We got that with Condor for a little bit. This is our friend Scott's beautiful blue Italia RC.

The classic steel handmade Condor, complete with polka dots! How fitting.

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Campy goodness is the only choice on a bike called "Italia RC," even if it's really British.

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There's a bit more Italian flair goin' on here, though.

An all-round classy, elegant, and sophisticated machine. A well-tailored tuxedo to a Venge ViaS' highlighter yellow bro tank.

This Condor Bespeaks to Us

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The phrase "bespoke carbon bike" is enough to make even the crustiest road freds turn away from a Venge ViAS and take note. Condor are a brand from London who make painfully gorgeous and luxuriously smooth steel and carbon bikes. Black, orange, and Campy Record is a beautiful way to dress up such a fantastic frame. Oh, and those shoes! Italian group and Italian tires = correct.

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If you like the look of this bike and want in on the action, it's time to buy a plane ticket to England since they're only available from the 49-53 Gray's Inn Road storefront.

Everyone knows we love these tires, mostly for the ride quality and partially for the look.

Every Bike Is Special, But A Pegoretti Is Something Special

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It's awesome that every bike has the potential to be the greatest bike in the world. It doesn't matter whether it's a locally-made custom geo Eyewater or the rigid 26" mountain bike your uncle had behind his garage: any bike can be the best bike, and every bike is special. But there are always going to be frames, builds, and paint schemes that demand examination and attention and draw second looks.

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Pegorettis will always fit that description. This Marcelo was painted by Dario Pegoretti in the way only he does, and that's exactly how it should be. The PDJ Crew™ have taken to calling him the "Michelangelo of Steel," but his paint is so modern and avant-garde that it would be appropriate to liken his style to Basquiat.

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The build ticks many of our "favorite things" boxes. Vittoria Corsas, Lizard Skins bartape, White Industries hubs... the list goes on and on. And now, in 2018, it's time to induct Dura-Ace 7900 into the classic component hall of fame. The first legitimate electronic shifting and the last high-end five-arm Shimano cranks came from the 7900 era.

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