Saturday, May 26, 2012

Custom Wheel Build: Rob's Fat Front

I finished up this fat front wheel for Rob's stunning lime green Jeff Jones Space Frame.  Rob was looking for A light, durable, full fat front wheel to use 45North's excellent Hüsker Dü tire. Jones bike's are built using the front 135mm disc standard, so we started with Paul Components' Whub front hub.  I have three forks using Whub hubs on my personal bikes, and I love them.  They build up to amazing wheels, and the hubs themselves are gorgeous.  Built with all black components to match his 29er rear wheel, this is a mean looking set up.

Sapim's excellent CX Ray spokes were used with brass locking nipples on this wheel.  They combine light weight with excellent durability.  Oh, and they look really cool.

This should be a great wheel for Rob.  We're looking forward to seeing the completed project with this wheel in a lime green truss fork!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Custom Bike Build: Mike's Salsa Vaya Ti

This week we finished up another spectacular Salsa Vaya Ti build.  This one was kitted out with a wide range Sram 2x10 drivetrain, sensible wheels, and great looking controls from Ritchey.  I love the way these bikes look.  The classic lines and color scheme make this a timeless bike.

Sram's Apex crank in 50-34 paired with an 11-32 rear cassette can tackle almost any terrain.  We've had very good success with this set up on Vaya's and similar bikes.  A 11-36t rear cassette can easily be swapped if a lower gear is needed for full up touring. 

Schwalbe's Mondial tires in 40c were used on this build.  The successor to the wildly popular Marathon XR, these tires look amazing in this bike.  Lots of clearance around what really is a large tire as well. 

The look of this bike is just superb.  It'll ride even better than it looks.  

I love the simple looks of Ritchey's stems.  Their 4 bolt face plates are particularly good looking I think.  The Ritchey drop bars have one of my favorite anatomic bends as well.  The bends on these are fairly flat and shallow, unlike many really curve anatomic drops.  Both Curtis and I found these particular bars to be quite comfortable.  

Mike should be very happy on this bike.  It's built with no nonsense, no compromise components, and the ride quality of these titanium frames are superb.  It's always hard to see these bikes leave, but it's a joy to build them up and have them around for a bit.

Happy Friday everyone.  Here's to a great weekend!  We will be closed Monday in observance of Memorial Day.  Please take a moment this weekend to think about all of those people who have served all of us in service to our country. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Almanzo 2012 Part One

Last Saturday's Almanzo 100 was one of the hardest bike rides I've ever been on.  Conditions were brutal.  Temperatures peaked at ninety four degrees, and winds were variable from twenty to thirty miles per hour.  The only saving graces were that it wasn't all that humid, and the roads were in wonderful shape.

Smiling faces and happy riders marked the first 40 miles.  About 20 of these first miles were with the wind.  It was deceivingly easy, and we all knew it.  It was a great start to the ride.

This first section in particular rolled through some gorgeous farm country.  The farms and valleys on the whole route were highlights of the ride for me.  My grandparent's had a farm growing up.  I love rolling through the country and dreaming of those times.

There were a ton of old farms with dilapidated or abandoned equipment as well.  This "Motor" brand windmill was particularly appropriate I thought.  It was hard to get the logo on the vane, but it's barely visible here.

As I said, lots of smiling faces on this part of the ride.  It was quite pleasant.  The wind was deceiving though.  Riders who didn't start hydrating right away paid for it later.

There were tons of Salsa, Surly, and All City products on the ride.  Kevin was rocking his Salsa Las Cruz with Salsa kit.

At about mile forty we took a turn into Preston to refill water and our stomachs.  They were having a town celebration, so streets were closed in downtown, and a lot of people were about.  We must have been quite the sight.  Eight hundred lycra clad cyclists in a small rural town will turn a few heads.  The bikes and us were covered in gravel dust by this point.  My big black tires looked dead white.

That's all for now.  Part two will come later this week.  Have a great day folks!

Monday, May 21, 2012

2012 Almanzo wrapped up.

Finished the Almanzo 100 Saturday feeling pretty good. The weather was brutal with 94 degree temps and 20 plus mph winds. I had a great day riding with good friends through gorgeous scenery. I'll have a full write up with lot of photos asap, but here's a good quick one for now. 

Thanks to all of you who made the race happen, it was superbly run! Thanks to everyone who made the day fun, it was great to hang out on the bike.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tuesday Night Ride Photos

We had a great ride last night.  Nine of us left the shop in perfect mid sixties temps with a cool breeze.

This field is about 3 blocks from the shop.  It's dirt from here on in to the mtb trails.

Graffiti makes for cool ride shots.

While not at a great photo, I love the feel of this shot.  The colors in the fading sunlight were gorgeous.

It was a ride filled will wildlife encounters.  The River Bend deer are almost tame.  These were feet off the trail, and stood here for minutes.

This guy was up a tree down the road from the deer a bit.  He was a big feller, and looked a bit groggy.  It was strange to see it out in the light so close.

I love this shot of Ken rockin the corners on the Mukluk.

The sunset was quite pretty from the Nature Center lookout.  Again, the colors in this light were awesome.

Retiring to the shop, we refreshed ourselves with a few beverages.  The beer was good, and the stories were great as always.  It was a a fabulous way to spend the evening.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday Morning Gravel.

Our morning gravel ride started out in two groups today.  Curtis met up with Nate and Matt in Northfield.  Logan and I have to work today, so we started from the shop in Faribault.  The plan was to leave at 6:30 from both towns and meet up at Valley Grove Church.  We figured the distance to the church was about the same from both locations.  

Logan and I got to ride Farmer Trail twice, never a bad thing!  The descent into green was awesome. 

Our plan worked better than hoped.  We all rolled up to Valley Grove at exactly the same time.  Our group was on quite a varied selection of bikes.  We had a Spearfish, a Karate Monkey, a Cross Check, a Gryphon, and a Fisher.  They looked quite the picture lined up in front of the now famous gate.  This was my first real ride on the new Singular, now equipped with one of my Revelate frame bags.  It's a super bike.  I'm really happy with it so far.  It rides very much like my Fargo, but in SS mode.  It will be nice to have to option to swap between the two.  

The hills from the church are great.  The gravel ranges from loose and sketchy to hard and hero like.  The one pictured below is an especially good one.  Yes, Curtis is riding 35c slicks on his SS in the background!

Logan was rocking his monster-crossed Cross Check with 50mm Bontrager tires.  I love that bike, it is so mean looking!

Back into Farmer Trail greenery.  The light and feel of this road have to be experienced.  It's just different somehow.  Nate aptly commented that it felt like a fairy tale forest.  Not a bad place to ride a bike.  I dream of mountain bike trails through these woods...

Anyone need a pony?  This is just off Coe Avenue outside of Faribault.  It's one of my new favorite roads. 

Rolling back into Faribault.  Wrapping things up with a fresh pot of coffee at the shop, for Logan and I it was a great end to the ride.  Curtis and the guys had to make the run back up to Northfield, a quick 13 miles in no wind.  It was a perfect morning to get out.  As the photos show, we had a great time.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Long shadow morning.

Logan and I made it out this morning for a great ride.  We took it easy, spinning along for a total of about twenty five miles.  The weather couldn't be better.  Fifty degrees and gorgeous sunlight we hallmarks of the morning.

Leaving from the shop we wound our way up Ravine street.  Past the apple orchard and through Cannon City we turned west across a south wind.  Logan's Madone with new Bontrager Race Lite wheels looked great.  The white spokes are just enough to highlight the white of the frame.  Blue decals on the rims make them look like they were made for the bike!

Passing by Nerstrand rode by Valley Grove church, we headed towards the infamous Farmer Trail.  Firm and smooth gravel made for an excellent riding surface, even on road tires.  I love this section of road, it's one of my favorites.

Long shadows and laughs were par for the course this morning.  It was a great morning ride.  Rides like these are a perfect way to start a beautiful day!

Have a good one folks.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Shiny bits.

Parts for our 1950 Chevy shop truck project keep rolling in.  Here's the latest, four ten inch gleaming stainless hub caps.  I can't wait to put these bad boys on.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Trek's 7.2 FX, an affordable gravel bike.

We feature a lot of nice bikes on this blog.  A lot of them are made of high end steel, or titanium, or carbon fiber.  These bikes offer more than just reliable performance, they are functional pieces of craft.  The bike featured today is a bike isn't made of some wonder material.  It does not have things like carbon fiber brake levers, or near instant engagement rear hubs.  It is a reliable, affordable, bike.  Far and away, most of the bikes we sell in the shop are similar to these.  Bikes made for real people to ride every day.  We like this particular one an awful lot.

Trek's 7.2 FX offers a ton of performance and quality for the money spent.  At $499.99, they are affordable and come with serviceable components.  They look great in flat black or navy blue, and they come in women's specific versions as well.  Billed as one of the most versatile bikes in Trek's line up, this bike can be set up to do almost anything.  We've set these bikes up frequently as flat bar road/triathlon bikes, fendered commuters, or simply nice all around town bombers.

Show above with Kenda's excellent Happy Medium Tires in 40c, this bike would be a great gravel road bike.  This is a high volume, comfy, high end tire that could be made for gravel riding.  With relatively large side knobs this tire would do fine on many local mtb trails, including out local River Bend Nature Center fare.

The 7.2 FX comes with a predominately Shimano Alivio 8 speed drivetrain.  These parts are easily kept in adjustment, offer a wide gear range to fit a variety of terrain, and they just plain work.  Sure they aren't light, and they aren't particularly pretty, but the goal of a bike like this is to work well for a reasonable price.  I am continually surprised at the quality of components you get for this amount of money.  The stuff works, 'nuff said.

This bike normally retails for $499.99.  With the higher end tires we have it listed at $549.99.  For someone looking for a great performing all-rounder, or to a  person looking to get out and give gravel riding a go, this is a stellar bike that won't disappoint.

Bikes like this show that you don't have to be made of money to come out and play.  This bike would make a wonderful companion to explore the gravel hills of Rice County, and does so without breaking the bank.  Stop in and check it out!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

45 North Hüsker Dü's in stock

We've been getting a lot of emails asking about Hüsker Dü's lately.  We do have these in stock in limited numbers.  I have been riding mine now in summer conditions for a while and they are far away the best summer fat tires I've ridden.

Give us a call if you're looking for a set.