Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chili Con Crosso Supplemental.

Salsa released their 2011 Chili Con Crosso info on their blog and website. It's a great looking bike, and the $1649 complete and $799 frame/fork/headset MSRPs make them a killer value. I really love the color scheme on this year's bike, and the component spec on the complete is pure CX performance for the dollar. They also come with interchangeable horizontal of vertical dropouts, so they are good to go geared or single speed. Arrival dating is set for mid cross season, but well before winter. Let us know if you want more info, or if you'd like to get one coming for yourself.

Photo credit to David of Salsa. Serious props to all of their photography for this year, they have really stepped it up. The photos on their site now truly do their bikes justice.

Full info at Salsa's Website, and Salsa's Blog

Eden at the lake.

We had a chance to go up to a cabin my parents had rented this weekend. It is situated on a really nicely sized lake just west of Detroit Lakes MN. Meg and I had a great time hanging out with family, trying to look like we were fishing, and general hanging out around a nice fire. It was a calming little getaway, despite the rather long drive for just a weekend.

I also got a first chance to play around with my personal Eden 1 from Golite. I have decided that this tent really fulfills what I am looking for in a light weight bike packing tent for myself. It will likely be accompanied by a Shangra La 3 for Meg and I later this fall. I like this tent even more after being able to fully stake it out and tension the body and fly down.Set up is really easy on this tent. Simply slide the poles thought their sleeves, stake out the two end stakes, tighten first the body then the fly on those ends, and then stake out the periphery. Even on my first attempt at fully doing this it probably took less than a relaxed 2-3 minutes.

Once staked, (even with just the two end stakes,) the tent pitches very taught indeed. Once the outer stakes are in it gives the feeling of a ton of confidence. There are additional, included guy out points and lines at all of the hoop peaks, but I can't honestly see these as necessary in most conditions.The tent vestibule features a large vent combines with a nice J shaped, double ended zipper for dry venting even in considerable rain. The vent has an integral pole to help it retain it's shape while not under tension. This could also be guyed out if need be. Nice sized vestibule. You can also see the internal attachment between the fly and the tent body in this shot. They are held under a nice amount of tension when staked, and the distance should be great enough to eliminate a lot of condensation issues. Here's a side shot of the tent with the doors pulled aside. I think I will sleep often with the outer door pulled away. It really catches a lot of wind for venting, and made it pretty comfortable even in a warmish afternoon. I would keep that in mind when setting the tent up as well, aiming the door in the direction of the wind would keep things pretty comfortable. All in all we had a great weekend of family relaxation. It was nice to get away for a bit and just do nothing. Even the drive was uneventful and relaxing. Now it's time to get back at it. We have more new bikes and products coming in this week and I hope to get out for a good ride with Mr. Boucher. Have a great day all. Ours is already going well, I hope yours is too!

Monday, August 30, 2010

2011 Bikes Arriving.

We're looking at a pretty normal week coming up. Last week we received our first batch of 2011 bikes from Trek. Trek has a really strong line up for next season. Their higher end offerings haven't changed much. The obvious exception is how the Fisher line is now integrated. Oddly enough the bike I am most excited about so far is one of the least expensive ones they offer. For 2011 Trek has brought back the venerable Trek 700 hybrid.The 700 was Trek's entry level hybrid for a good decade or so. It was a steel framed, steel forked bike with basic, durable components. These have always had a special spot in Brandon's heart, as his first bike shop job involved assembling probably 40 of them in a row.

The 700's return comes in much the same form as it did then. It is an entry level, steel frame and forked hybrid with just 7 speeds. For 2011 it also comes with nice upright bars and a comfy saddle. This is a great recipe for a townie in my opinion. The 7 speed rear end give you a nice range for casual riding while making the bike less intimidating for less experienced riders. The price is excellent at $300, making it $50 less than this year's Trek 7000. All in all I think it's a wonderful bike. It'll be a nice bike for many bike path bound riders of all ages. It would also make a really affordable, durable commuter for more experienced cyclists as well. The best part is that even with fenders, a rack, and a few bags the bike will still be under $500.

I'll have more posts about some of the new bikes we are excited about this week. There are some small changes to models that have made a big difference for next year. I think it'll be a great year for us and Trek on a lot of accounts.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What's in the stand

Finally one to play with Black Mountain. A later edition Merlin Roots Newsboy with Rohloff drive train. The bike came in for a more suitable set of rubber, and to have the stretched shifer cable adjusted. What a looker. I love the lines on this bike, possibly even more than the original. I'm partial to the Excelsior style frames myself, and I think the lines on this bike flow better than the original. It does need a Type 2 fork of course, but then what doesn't? I like the paint they wear, classy yet modern. Could use a metal head badge, but that's getting pretty particular.Whole lot of German going on.We've been busy building a lot of wheels as well. The latest is a matching Paul hub'd, 700c and 650b matched pair for Sean of Rawland. It'll be interesting to see what he'll do with these, as I'm told they are for a special personal project bike.Happy Friday all.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Supplemental: Rawland Fall Gravel Tour

The annual Rawland Fall Gravel tour through Sogn Valley will be held on Sunday, October 3rd this year. We will have more details and a full even flier to follow, but mark the date on your calenders! Last year we had a great time. 29 people showed up for the inaugural event, we hope to have even more this year. Please let me know if you have any preliminary questions, but I will update info here as it becomes available. Hope to see you all there!

Golite Shangra La 3

In addition to the Golite Eden 1, we also are stocking the Shangra La 3 from Golite. The video we posted earlier last week does a really good job of describing this tent, but we of course wanted to set it up and check it out for ourselves. Set up in the shop, the size of the shelter for it's 2.3 lb weight really stands out. It is an impressive amount of space for so little weight. At almost 10.5' across, it takes up fully half the shop width!
Plenty of space for my 6' frame to lay down in with tons of room to spare. As the video says, they call this a three man tent, though it's really a spacious two person set up.
The reinforced peak is a really cool area. The three big vents are easily seen here as well.
The tent's door is really large, making entering and exiting easy and accessible.
Though the pool is obviously in the center, it is really not in the way that much. Even with the fly set really close to the ground, the interior height is plenty to be able to move around easily. Curt and I are pretty excited about this tent. It's going to be a sure and steady companion for some Mukluk misadventures come the turn towards winter. Golite makes this tent in what they call a 5 person, which would be even more impressively sized for only a pound more weight.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mukluk Preorders

This question has come up a few times now. We are accepting preorders for Mukluk complete bikes and frame sets. Give us a call to reserve what I am sure will be a super popular bike next year! I'm told that the first production run has not been presold yet, so there is still time to get one of the first run. These are slated for a November 1st delivery date, just in time for Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Iowa winters to set in. Let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Engine building update.

Yesterday I spent the day continuing work on the 302 Ford with my grandfather. This is the engine we started last spring. It is a pretty basic, mildly hopped up, nicely put together engine. It should be a huge increase in performance and efficiency over the '63 Mercury Comet's current drive train. It will eventually be matched up to an automatic overdrive transmission with some performance modifications as well. Yesterday's work was centered around the top end portion of the motor.

I love working on older engines and cars like this. Everything is so simple and in the open. This especially is a blast, since all the parts are shiny and like new. It's like jewelry coming together. Everything in it's place, assembled just so. Working with my grandfather is a huge bonus as well. It's amazing to watch someone work who has such extensive knowledge. He's done this work for so long he just doesn't need to think about it anymore.

Torquing the heads on. Hydraulic lifters connect to the Competition Cam with shiny new push rods. Push rods through the heads and top side of the valves and valve springs. Ready for the rocker arms. Rocker arms in stalled ready to be adjusted.
We ended the day by adjusting the valves and taping off the various ports in preparation for painting the heads and block. Plan for paint is traditional Ford blue with classic valve covers. Next on the list is priming and paint of various parts, then painting the block and heads, then we're on to intake and carburetor. I may get to that yet this week. The weather is looking to be good for early morning painting.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Clothing in and displayed.

We'll have more photos of tents tomorrow. Today's excitement comes in the form of a full compliment of clothing. We've been planning to get in clothing in earnest for the better part of this year. Almost all of the work we've been doing this year has been leading up to this.Most of the stuff we have brought it is just really nice everyman bike clothing. Jerseys start at about $60 and are full zip with many other nice features. We have shorts starting at $50, and bibs from Bontrager and Craft starting at $100. As the weather is soon to change cooler, we will be bringing in a full selection of knee, arm, and leg warmers next week. We have a few nicer wool jerseys from Ibex, and will be getting more items along those lines as the season changes.Though I said a few days ago that the changing room was finished, it is getting a little more refined. The room got a little classier today with the addition of one of my favorite Dirt Rag posters. It even matches the new rug. I will make a trip to the hardware store this afternoon for a coat rack to hang items of clothing on. That should do nicely to finish off the room.All in all it's been a great day. It's really satisfying to largely finish something as large and long in coming as this. Stop by tomorrow if you're in the area and check it out. The Paradise Center is putting on their annual BBQ contest and art fair on Central Ave. There will be food and live music all day long! Last year's even was a great success, and was a ton of fun. Happy Friday all.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Golite Tents In Stock

This afternoon we received the first Golite tents in the shop. Up first on the blog is the lightweight Eden 1 one person tent. This is a tent that I would describe as a real world lightweight tent. The one we were shipped weighs in at 1582 grams packed, or just under 3.5 lbs. While not being the lightest option out there by far, it provides a lot of space and creature comforts for a minimal weight penalty. This puts it about a pound heavier than many bivy type tents, or a bit heavier than the packed weight of a ground cloth, overhead tarp, and necessary accessories. Packed size is reasonably small and could be smaller if the poles are packed separately. Outside the tent is a light gray color with green accents. It is made up of a three pole, non freestanding stake system with 8 tie downs and multiple guy out points. The pole sleeves are color coded for ease of set up. One large door with vent allows access to the interior of the tent through a good sized vestibule.Inside it has a large enough sleeping area to spread out in comfortably. It's interior height is sufficient for me, (6',) to easily kneel or sit up in. The sleeping are is fully self contained with no see um netting and is attached to the main tent body at several points. They are not separable pieces and must be set up together. The interior is quite roomy even at both ends. Size 47 feet for comparison. All in all I think this will be a great tent for weekend bike packing warriors, single persons looking to cut weight from their kit while preserving comfort, and people who do not need the room of a multi person tent but will be staying in one campsite for a while.

Stop in and check out the Golite Eden 1. We will be leaving this model displayed on the floor for a while, so you can easily crawl around and see what you think. Up tomorrow will be the Golite Shangra La 3 pyramid shelter. It's also a really good looking set up!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lining things up

Things are clicking along here at the shop. The clothing racks are finished and installed. New lighting has been installed in that corner. Our clothing stock is ordered and should be here Friday. New parking signs have been put up behind the shop in our parking lot. Our changing room is officially finished with the addition of a color coordinated, decorative yet functional floor rug. The bathroom will soon be getting an exciting toilet paper holder upgrade. Golite tents will be in stock tomorrow. Two chickens will soon be going on a waiting hot charcoal grill.

All in all a really good day. Lots of info and pictures coming tomorrow. Take care.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Anticipatory Tent Preview

Next week is when a lot of our new camping inventory is set to arrive. One of the more exciting items we are looking forward to is the Shangra La 3 pyramid tend from Golite. This is a versatile shelter comprised of three main elements. The main tent body consists of the outer tarp, the inner adjustable pole, and six stakes. An inner no-see-um nest with attached floor can be added to combat MN bugs of all type. An attachable ground cloth rounds out the group providing protection from the ground when the bug netting is not needed. All three of these components are sold separately, so you can purchase the system that best suits your needs.

Here is an excellent video we've come across detailing the features of the tent. The video is put out by The Outdoor Station, a British camping resource. One slight warning, there is the use of one swear word in this video.

All in all I think this is a very good year round option for all types of camping. It's capacity is listed as three person, but really I would consider it a spacious two person. This is what Curtis and I have been lusting after for months now. We should have these in stock in the beginning part of the week. We will have one of these set up in the shop to look at, stop in and see what you think!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Tomfoolery

Yesterday we were visited by our QBP sales reps. We talked about all sorts of sales programs, new products, Salsa bikes and components, and we talked about products and ideas that we'd like them to bring about. They brought with them a few of the new Salsa 2011 bikes, including some yet to be released models. We ended up chatting with them for a few hours. It was great to put faces with names, and to be able to talk about a lot of different opportunities for the shop. Let me tell you, there's going to be a lot of stuff coming to Milltown. I'm excited about the sheer number of possibilities that are likely to become realities in the next 6 months.

One of the things they talked about was the new Lazer helmet line. We have been thoroughly pleased with their helmets, I honestly consider them to be the most comfortable I've ever worn. After talking with us for a few hours, and on their return leg of what they told us was a 3 day trip, they packed up and headed back to the warehouse in Bloomington. Such was their focus on getting back that they left the Lazer helmet bag with a full line in it at the shop! A simple mistake that was easily remedied of course, but sufficed to say we had a little fun with it. While I tried to ransom their return for a Ti El Mariachi from certain QBP employees, Curtis tried on his secret weapon for next year's highly competitive Buck Hill race series.Truly stunning. I have no doubt he will be able to shave those precious seconds where it counts. Talk about style as well. What a package. I also predict that in addition to gears and full suspension, Dicky will also undoubtedly be sporting one of these at long distance endurance MTB events soon. I mean come on, they have built in sunglasses. 'Nuf said.
It really was great to meet the guys. We were able to suss out a lot of questions we had, and put down some tentative plans for some big things to come. Moving from big things to small, here's a shot of the color run of Salsa Lip-Lock seat post collars we have in stock. They are a really nice way to add a little style to your bike for not a ton of money. They also work really well, which is a good thing too. $14.99 and any of these beauties could live on your bike. Happy Friday all. Here's to a good weekend.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another new direction.

To say there is a lot of new stuff coming this fall is a bit of a bit of an understatement. Here's a not so subtle hint at the next big thing coming in a few weeks.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Shop Shirts.

New Dickies shop shirts have arrived. We will be stocking a few of these for sale. $40 and one of these fine shirts can be yours. See here for sizing info. Special order sizes are also available.Beard not included. Happy Friday.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Paint is done, racks for clothing are going up today. We hope to have clothing fully in and displayed by next week.
The first camping items are coming in stock slowly as well. Loosely set up in the foreground is a Highland Bivy from Outdoor Research. We have some excellent folding camp chairs from Alite in as well. More details on those to follow later.

Happy Thursday, hope you have a productive one.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Salsa Mukluk

Salsa unveiled their first new model of 2011 yesterday, the Mukluk fatbike. This bike is not so much a totally new idea, as much as it is a refinement of the standard that the Surly Pugsley made popular.Fitting Surly Larry or Endomorph tires at 4" wide on 100mm rims, the Mukluk will accept any currently available tire and rim combo with plenty of mud/sand/snow clearance. The frame Mukluk is constructed of corrosion resistant 6000 series aluminum, and comes with Salsa already released Enabler adventure fork.The Mukluk will be available in early November in both complete bike and frameset form. The bikes will come nicely equipped with real world performing parts for a stellar $1499! The frame and fork will be coming in at an also respectable $599. We are taking preorders for both of these options now. These are sure to be popular bikes, so it would be a smart idea to get your name on one early if you're interested. I will be getting one of these fine steeds for myself, and we are planning on ordering in at least one complete and frameset for the shop. Stop by or give us a call if you have any questions about the bike.The bike is now listed on Salsa's website with full geometry and build specs. Check it out at www.salsacycles.com/bikes/mukluk/ Check it out and see what all the fuss is about. Photo credits to Salsa Cycles.

Mukluk. Adventure by Bike!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Cutest Vaya ever.

A while ago we were asked to build a very special bike for a local woman. Riding her bike is one of the things she really lives for, and it shows. She had been riding a slightly too big for her Trek 730 for around 15 years and wanted something with confident brakes for descending the mountain passes that she rides down every year. She wanted a bike that fit her better, and one that handled in a more relaxed and stable manner. All of these things together led us to a custom Vaya build.The Vaya lent itself to almost every aspect that she wanted to get. It is a fairly inexpensive, stable, comfortable platform to build off of. The disc brakes offered an enormous increase in power and control over her 15 year old, tired Alivio cantilever brakes. These also save a lot of wear and tear on her hands and forearms.

She also wanted a seating position similar to her old bike, namely upright and laid back. What she really needed to achieve this was a shorter TT length than her old bike. On her old bike, she had to use an extremely upright, tall stem to get the bars to a comfortable position. This led to a very twitchy steering set up, which especially longer mountainous downhills was unerving to say the least. By using a shorter Vaya frame, we were able to achieve a shorter overall cockpit length while keeping steering nice and stable.Overall the bike is everything she had hoped for. Since she purchased it a little under 5 months ago she has ridden across two mountain ranges and up racked almost 2500 miles. She truly personofies the Adventure by Bike motto.Here's to her. May she have a lot more happy miles under her tires.