Thursday, November 29, 2012

Papa's got a new pair of shoes.

Quite a few years ago now Trek had a partnership with Nike for cycling footware.  They made a shoes called the Poggio.  It was a minimalist road shoe with little padding, a slim profile, and three straps instead of a ratcheting buckle.  I had a pair and loved them.  They were the most comfortable cycling shoes I've ever wore.  

A few years ago Bontrager introduced a set of shoes based on the same concept as the Poggio's were.  A lightweight, trimmed down performance shoe with minimal everything.  I've wanted a pair of them ever since.  Having worn out my current road shoes, I finally have a good reason to get a pair.  The Race XXX Lite shoes come in a few different versions and several colors.  I like these the best! 

There's no two ways about it, these are brighter red than a bloody graphic novel.  The standard version of these come in a more conservative black or silver.  These shoes feel like putting on a second sock, and the weight is something to feel for sure.  I'm very much looking forward to putting some real miles on these this year.  As with everything Bontrager offers, these are covered by their unconditional 30 day guaranty. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New road bike on the way.

We talk a lot of fat tired bikes here.  It's no secret that the bulk of our customers come to us for such bikes.  Whether they are fatbikes, mountain bikes, or gravel bikes, we've come to be known as a shop who builds fine examples of each.  That said, we also ride and build great road bikes!  

I had a blast this summer riding on the road.  Between my geared and singlespeed Madone I enjoyed some of my most memorable rides of the year.  From riding around Duluth in search of the best espresso, to before work rides around Rice county lakes, the bulk of my miles this year were on asphalt.

I've been riding Madones for years now.  I love how responsive the bikes are, and how solid they feel under power and through corners.  The Madone is a play bike, a classically quick and nimble. This summer I got the chance to ride Trek's new Domane.  This is Trek's new endurance performance road bike.  Ridden by their pro team in the spring classics, by Fabian at le Tour, and even to a win at this year's Gravel Worlds, it's at it's best ridden in all kinds of situations.

The Domane utilizes a small axle and a set of bearings that detaches the seat tube from the top tube and seat stays.  This is the heart of what makes the Domane special.  By isolating the seat tube this way the seat tube can flex along it's entire length.  The comfort this adds over even small bumps is huge.  I'd say this is actually the most innovative thing Trek has come out with in years.  It's really quite simple, and it works exceedingly well.  To sum up the Domane, it feels like a lower, longer, comfortable and more stable Madone.

I love how this bike rides.  It's a great fit for how I like to ride road bikes.  It's stiff, efficient, and very comfortable.  I ordered this Project One Domane yesterday.  Mine will come with Bontrager's new tubeless wheels and tires, and it'll be speced with Shimano's outstanding new Dura Ace 11 speed group.  I also got a chance to ride this new grouppo this summer, and I was really impressed with how it performed.  After riding the best from Sram, Campagnolo, and Shimano in the past, this is hands down the best performing parts kit I've ever used.  Shifting takes far less physical movement and force, and braking is simply the best I've ever felt.

The Domane is due here in about two weeks.  Through the Project One program I was able to select bike color, drivetrain options, bar spec, and colors.  This is a great program Trek offers.  My preferred crank length, bar width, and stem length all differ from the stock 56cm, 6.9 Domane.  By changing these through P1 prior to receiving the bike I saved hundreds of dollars as opposed to making changes after the fact.

I'm really excited to get this bike.  It should be a heck of a machine.  If the weather holds like it has been, I'll be bundled up and headed for a test ride in about two weeks!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Mukluk on Black Friday

Black and purple Mukluk builds have been popping up on the interwebs lately.  Paired with the limited edition purple Surly rims they look awesome!  Here's a shot of a XS we built for a customer recently.  It looks killer with all black components!

We have one large black and purple frameset left, along with a set of purple rims to match it.  Give us a call or send an email round if you're interested in a build!

We are also having a Black Friday and Small Business Saturday Sale!

Take 10% off all remaining 2012 bikes, (already 20% off!)

Take 20% off all in stock accessories!

Take 30% off all in stock Lazer helmets!

Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

So this happened.

So here's a genuine JRA for you.  Curtis was riding our demo Moonlander shod with new Bud and Lou tires.  While riding arguably the tamest limestone path in the Nature Center he hit this stick.  The results were rather shocking!

The chances of this happening have to be astronomically high.  It's just staggering if you think that this small stick made it through the tire, both sides of the tube, and the rimstrip itself.  The hole in the tire is small enough to be easily repaired, and the rimstrip will simply be shifted over to cover the holes.  This will likely go down as the best flat I've seen in a long time!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Myrna's thoughts on here new Beargrease.

Our friend Myrna picked up her new Beargrease this week. Here are her first thoughts on the bike!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Beargrease bikes are here!

Beargreases are here, and ready to go!  Here's a few shots of the first one to be assembled, Myrna's XS.  It may be the cutest bike I've ever seen.  I love how this thing looks, and it'll ride wonderfully!

We have these in stock in all sizes in limited quantities.  They look great sitting in the shop waiting!

Gotta go, we've got seven more to build today!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Salsa Beargrease Bikes Arrive Soon!

We will have Beargrease complete bikes in stock late this week!  We have all sizes available for purchase, but only a few of each.

Give us a shout to get your name on your's!

Friday, November 09, 2012

California Tour Recap #2

Our first full day of our Stagecoach tour started with a beautiful morning at Bailey's Cabin.We had spread out around the site trying to find the best shelter from the wind.  I was in the green Nemo Gogo, and chose a bad spot.  The wind shifter during the night, putting me squarely unprotected.  I should have went into the bushes pictured in the back ground.  First lesson learned of many.

Andrew confirming the mood of the camp group.  It felt great to be out and going, and the morning couldn't be better. Temps were in the mid 50's.  Cool enough to sleep really well, and warm enough to not be freezing when you got out of the sleeping bag.

Oatmeal and instant coffee were my go to breakfast items.  I ride much better having something like oatmeal to start, and I get really unhappy without coffee of some sort.  Starbuck's Via instant coffee tastes much better than some I've drank in the past, and fit the bill well.  My trusty steep/clothes line in the back ground.  Ultra low humidity had clothes totally dry in no time, which made putting on a dirty kit feel a little better!

This shot of shows the surface of the wash well.  You can clearly see the sings of water, and the small at tracks made it obvious that it was damp at some point.  With the lack of traffic in this area, it's not hard to imagine these tracks being made months ago.  They've likely been undisturbed for some time.

Our fearless leader cruising around a corner.  We were again graced with a nice tail wind.  Combined with the ultra-hard surface this was super easy going.  The colors and shadows in this section were glorious.  With the warm sun on our faces and wind at our backs it felt sublime to just roll along.

The smoother sections gradually started changing rockier as we progressed along.  The track of the wash also started to narrow, making deeper cuts into the surface.  These little mini canyons were fun to ride, though I went over the bars trying to ride a little technical section.  I broke the computer sensor on my fork with this little stunt, a little thing that annoyed me to no end.  I now had no way of telling how far I had gone each day.  This would be a blessing or a curse depending on how you looked at it later.

Into the middle willows.  This is an oasis of sorts along the trail.  The transition from desert to wall of green was impressive.  Picking the hole in the wall closest to the GPS track, we headed in.  

Water was flowing even a little way in.  I didn't think I'd be ankle deep in it in the middle of the desert, but here we were.  Even with the QPS track, a lot of this section was close to bushwhacking.  We took turns at the front crawling through openings, scouting ahead, and looking for the stakes with pink flags on them that marked the route.  It was a lot of fun, but made for slow going.

A ways in the flora changed again, this time to eight to nine foot tall grasses.  In spots this was so thick I lost sight of Andrew only feet ahead!  Being able to see the desert hills in the background made this almost a comical scene.  It was awesome.

What started as little streams of water got fairly big.  Trying to keep feet dry eventually proved impossible, but Andrew's attempt made for one of my favorite photos of the trip.

I wouldn't have thought that the bikes would get so dirty in these few miles, but they were covered with silt, sand and vegetation. My brakes were making horrible noises even in the fully open position.  After a few minutes of cleaning and rinsing brakes, we were out of the willows and back into the dry desert.

Our progress this entire morning was rather slow.  It was actually easy going, but we were even at this point starting to lag behind the schedule we had set for ourselves.  Back on desert roads, we made our way towards Borrego, home of lunch in the form of fabled burritos.

 I'll pick up from Borrego next week.  Have a great weekend folks!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

2013 Salsa Beargrease

The first Salsa Beargrease framesets have started shipping to dealers.  Complete bikes are still a bit out, but are on their way as well.  I built this little guy up out of parts from the Mukluk I rode last season.

All else being equal, it's about 2.5 lbs lighter than my Mukluk with White Brothers carbon fork installed.  As it sits with pretty standard parts and Big Fat Larry's, it weighs in at 30 lbs on the nose.

I love the colors on this bike.  The bright blues against the satin black anno really pop.  The new alloy fork has come great lines to it, flowing from the new tapered headtube really well.

The fork clears the BFL's really well.  This fork will be available aftermarket, and will fit all 2013 Mukluks with the appropriate lower headset cup installed.  Did I mention it's good looking?

One of the major differences of this fork over the venerable, steel, Enabler is the lack of bottle or Anything Cage mounts on the back of the fork legs.  While this makes for a super clean look, it does limit the versatility of the fork.  Standard Enabler forks will fit in Beargrease set ups with the appropriate crown race.

The rear end of the Beargrease is also quite good looking.  As up front, BFL's clear quite easily.  I am running a truncated 10 speed cassette down to 8 speed in the rear, though this is largely for the better chainline it offers.  Graphics on the rear match really well to the front triangle of the bike.

This is going to be a great bike!  We have completes coming in all sizes that have yet to be spoken for, so if you're looking give us a call.  We expect the bikes to be arriving shortly, probably late next week.

Have a good one!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

California Tour Recap #1

Two weeks I took a trip to California to tour the Stagecoach 400 route.  Jason and I met up with folks in LA, then headed to Brendan and Mary Collier's shop in Idyllwild.  The Hub Cyclery is an awesome place.  A full service shop and base for their Siren Cycles hand built bikes, it's a charming place in an idyllic setting.  The whole family was on hand to lend needed tools, talk shop, and offer advice about what lay ahead for us.  Their son Zander provided awesome entertainment, and some much needed stress relief as we got ready.  What a ripper!

In addition to running a kick butt shop, Brendan and Mary are the promoters of the Stagecoach 400 endurance race.  It was their route we would be riding in the coming days. This route is a challenging course spanning desert, coastal, and urban areas.  We planned to ride the route in 5 and a half days, averaging about 70 miles per day.

Winding our way out of Idyllwild we immediately started climbing.  Cowbell alley got a lot of conversation going about the Cowbell bar from Salsa, my favorite drop bar ever!

Out of Idyllwild and headed for the hills, we ran across a different, yet very familiar sign.  The bullet holes brought us right back to rural MN roads, even from west mountain valleys.

The scenery in the area around Idyllwild is just stunning.  Coupled with the giddy feeling of starting our adventure, the first part of our day was pure heaven.  Funny how you can be so far from home, and yet little things are just the same where ever you are.

Gorgeous valleys lined the route at this point.  The light from broken clouds was stunning.  From our vantage point you could see single track trail snaking it's way across both side hills, then through the valley.  It would be an awesome place to explore.  About this time we were passed by a horseman wearing a big hat, a flannel shirt.  The lever action carbine in the saddle scabbard, his big smile, and welcoming hello all took me back to old movies and big western dreams.

Trails at this point looked largely like this.  The fast sections were really flowy and traction was, for the most part, pretty good.  The trails were around double track widths, the dirt having a light kitty litter over hard pack consistency.  Between off road sections a super fast pavement downhill section eventually returned us to dirt again.  

We rode on into darkness for about an hour on these jeep type trails.  Somewhere on a rocky downhill, the bottle cage on my fork leg broke and jettisoned my bottle.  It wasn't until well later that I noticed it's absence.  I regretted the loss later.  My small headlamp did not provide enough light to navigate the rough trails with any kind of safety.  Bummed about losing my bottle, with my left knee twanging with stabbing pain, and realizing I brought insufficient lighting, this was a tough section for me.  I ended up riding in front of folks to use the flood of their lights to see.  The shadows and indirect light hid all sorts of bumps and rocks.  I nearly dumped the bike several times.

Even with my crappy light, this dark black tarantula was easy to spot in the middle of the light colored trail.  This was a relatively little guy, about four inches in diameter.  I do not like spiders, but it was actually cool to see one of these in the wild.  This is the reason I brought an enclosed bivy/tent.  Though heavier, this confirmed I had made the right choice there!

After a bit we descended into a large river wash from these hilly trails.  This was one of the coolest parts of the trip for me.  Wide open and mostly flat, the light of the stars and the moon were nearly enough alone to light our way.  The ground here was made up of hardened water ways, with lines and shapes accordingly.  The surface had hardened to a concrete like consistency.  I could barely scratch the surface in most spots with my hard soled shoes.  Traveling slightly down hill, following the water ways of the wash with a strong tail wind was one of my highlights of this trip.  Under clear, starry skies it was an amazing sensation.

Our ride on this first day was to end at Bailey's Cabin, about in the center of Coyote Canyon.  The route to get there was meandering.  Sometimes times it followed the wash, sometimes not.  There were intermittent signs, and quite a few posts without signs on them!   We cruised on following the GPS route marker, wondering if we'd miss the cabin by a hundred feet and never know it.

About two thirds of the way down the wash Jason saw something we wished he hadn't.  About 500 yards up a side hill were a pair of predatory eyes watching us.  Likely a Lynx, it nonetheless had us thinking of mountain lions and all manner of creatures we'd like to not meet!  It served as ample encouragement to pick the pace up a bit and find camp.

Thankfully camp proved to be close at hand.  We were all relieved to find the cabin squarely where the GPS route said it would be.  Though the rodent signs inside the cabin proved less than inviting, it was comforting to be near some structure with tables and other amenities nearby.  Winds made a campfire out of the question, but we were all ready to crash out anyway.

We'd made about thirty five miles, right where we'd wanted to be the first half day out.  Riding at this point had proved to be a bit tougher than we had expected, a harbinger of things to come for sure.  We all went to sleep content and in relative comfort.  Despite the hard riding, and the very long day with travel, I fought the wind and position for sleep all night.  This too would be a trend throughout the trip for me.

Bailey's Cabin come morning.

There ended out first night in the desert.  It had already been a wonderful, challenging, and rewarding trip.  Laying in a small green bivy with the fly flapping noisily next to my head, I lay in my sleeping bag contemplating what lay ahead.  It would be a heck of a journey.  

More to follow.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Chris King Limited Edition Purple Components

Chris King has announced a planned run of limited edition dark purple components.  We will be able to place orders for a select number of their products.  Finished products will be shipping to dealers in February-March.

Details here.  Chris King Purple Limited Edition Run.

Let us know if you are interested in ordering any of these items.  We have until the end of the month to order.  This is not going to be a standard King color.  They will be producing what they receive for orders.  We will likely stock a few items, but it'll be in very limited quantities.

This would be a stunning way to start a build such as a Salsa Ti Warbird, Fargo, or El Mariachi.  We can easily discuss these as part of a custom build as well.