Thursday, December 27, 2012

New bike project planning.

I'm taking a slow day to put mouse to BikeCAD to draw up a Rice County special Monster Cross bike.  This one will turn into a project early this year that I've been wanting to start for a very long time.  It'll be a bike for myself that shares things I like from many bikes in my collection.  Color me excited!

The general concept of this bike is to fit 700c x 45-50mm wide/tall tires, slack headtube angle and way low BB for stability, paired with a short wheelbase to keep handing reasonable nimble.  Wrap this all up in a classically build, aesthetically old school package with stunning modern parts.  There are a few bikes that get close to my proposed set up, including Singular's Peregrine and Black Mountain Cycle's Cross Bike.

The idea was kicked into motion by these bikes from Bruce Gordon.  Mine will be similar in concept, but different in geometry and in one other very big way.  These bikes are to die for good looking, and incredibly functional in set up.

Check out these bikes on Bruce's blog.

I can't wait to start this project.  Timeline for completion will be somewhere in early spring. I'll have updates along the way as I have them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

All City Macho Man

All CIty's geared cross bike, the Macho Man has arrived at our shop.  Curtis and I have been eagerly awaiting these bikes since we rode them at Saddle Drive this summer.  The Macho Man is basically a geared version of the All City Nature Boy.

I've been riding my Nature Boy for a while now, and I love it.  It's a great riding steel bike.  It's stiff enough to be lively, and smooth like a great steel bike should be.  The Macho Man uses a proven Shimano drivetrain paired with other nice components through out.  Salsa Cowbell bars and stem make for a great control set up on the front.

The Macho man sells for $1595, and is a great value for the money.  All the parts are quite serviceable, and will work very well for a long time.

The Macho Man comes with the same crowned fork as the Nature Boy, one of my favorite aesthetic features of the bike. The All City headbadge is also a favorite of mine.

This is a sweet bike.  It's reasonably priced, real good looking, and rides great!  Stop in and check these fine steeds out!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Remember Snow?

I woke up really early this morning to the sound of rain falling on my roof.  After three days of plus 32 degree temps today will be the practical end to the snow we received last weekend.  I'm bummed to say the least.  Oh well, more will undoubtedly fall again.  Here's my favorite shot from last Sunday's ride.  Not a lot of snow picutred, but it's one of my favorites lately.

Here's hoping for real winter weather again soon.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Monday Morning Fatbiking.

Monday was perfect for fatbiking.  The weather was still cold enough to preserve the light weekend snow, and the light was just gorgeous.  Meg and I took our friend Alli out for her first fatbike ride.  Conditions could not have been better.

The light and long shadows were awesome.  We took a fair bit of time and just rode around through the powder snow around Teepeetonka park along the Straight River.

A few snowmobiles had ridden on the trails leading into River Bend.  There are several snowmobile trails that lead through River Bend.  They make perfect access roads to get fatbikes into the park.

The atmosphere was quite different once in the woods. The sky clouded up, and the light changed to a more subdued tone.  The snow still clung to the trees and bushes, offering a true winter wonderland to play in.

Alli rocked it.  I'm glad she got to experience the best fatbike conditions I've seen in a long time.

Meg had a blast on her Mukluk with Big Fat Larry's.  Her bike is set up just like my Beargrease.  It's a combo that works well in a variety of conditions and certainly did Monday.

As well as they work, even this set up slides out from time to time!  At least Meg had a soft landing!

The ride couldn't have been better.  Great friends, good bikes, and a trip through River Bend once again made for an amazing day.  I'm looking forward to more days like this to come.  Here's hoping for colder weather again with more snow to acommpany it!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Salsa Beargrease Forks Have Arrived.

Salsa Beargrease ultralight aluminum forks have arrived at the shop.  These are the same forks that come stock in their Beargrease bikes, but differ in finish.  The complete bikes come with an annodized forks, while the aftermarket forks are finished in gloss powdercoat.  They are quite handsome.

These forks average about 760gms over three units.  The compares to around 1200gms for a stock Enabler fork.  These will fit any bike with a 44mm headtube.  They will fit 2013 Alloy Mukluks with the addition of a proper lower headset cup.  They would also make a great place to start for a very lightweight fat front set up for a 29er.

These sell for $250, and are in stock now.  Give us a call if you have any questions about these forks, or if you have questions about build options.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Morning fatbike grooming.

This morning I spent some time making laps through some of River Bend's primitive trails.  Most of the trails in River Bend are either multi-use snowmobile trails, or are groomed for skiing.  Some walkers get back to trails we usually ride, but not many.  Surly's Big Fat Larry's mounted on Rolling Darryl rims do a fine job of prepping these trails for fatbike use.  With warmer temps today and cooler ones on the way, the packed snow from today should firm up quite nicely over night.  

I got Hidden Trail and a few others on the northeast side ridden.  I'll head out to the other areas as soon as I can.  What a great morning for a winter cruise!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fatbike riding begins in earnest.

The fatbiking around here has been exceptional in the last few days.  Most of the area local to us have gotten 6-10" of gorgeous snow!  Curtis and I had planned to meet some of the fine folks from the Angry Catfish for a River Bottom ride.  We got more than we had hoped for!  The day proved to be an awesome one.  The weather was near perfect, with warm enough temps and gorgeous, driving snow falling.

We met some other fine folks out on the trail, and spent a while screwing off in the woods.  It was a perfect day to jsut laugh and ride.  The woods were gorgeous. 

Dogs with bikes are cool.  These dogs are very cool, (the bike and rider aren't bad either.)

Riders on the other side of the river.  I like this shot a lot.

It was a great day.  A huge thanks to Ben and Thomas from the Catfish for being our fine hosts for the day.  

I'll be sharing photos from this ride, and others of the weekend throughout the week.  Get out there and enjoy it folks, this is as good as it gets!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Domane Tire Clearance

A few folks asked yesterday about real world tire clearance on the Domane.  Here are some shots of tire clearance front and rear.  The tires shown are Bontrager 25's that actually measure 25mm wide inflated to 90 psi.  The front shows more clearance than the rear, but not by much.

Either end would fit tires in the measured 30mm range pretty easily.  The dual pivot Dura Ace brakes actually limit clearance here more than the frame and fork, as the pivots intrude into the available space a bit.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

New Domane Assembled.

My new Project One Domane arrived yesterday.  Basically a stock 6.9 model, Trek's Project One program allowed me to make many changes to the bike as I saw fit.  Doing this allowed me to save a lot of money and time over making these changes to a stock bike after purchase.  This bike was ordered, built at Trek, shipped and received at the shop in one week!  Most orders will take longer than that, but to receive a bike built exactly to my specs that quickly is just awesome.  The bike so far is everything I thought it would be.  It rides wonderfully, and weighs in at 16.4 lbs as pictured.

I really liked the stock color of the 6.9 Domane.   I'm a fan of red on bikes.  This particular red is a great one.  The contrast between the black and white is really handsome.

Shimano's new Dura Ace 11 speed grouppo comprises the heart of this bike.  The group has been totally redesigned from the 7900 series.  Curtis and I got a chance to ride a prototype version of this set up at a dealer show this summer.  Both of us were impressed, especially in regards to shifter ergonomics, front shifting, and braking performance.

The shifters feel awesome to me.  They are flatter and more square than the hoods than Sram's levers, similar to Campagnolo Ergo 10 series, but slightly longer than those.  Volume wise the new hoods are considerably trimmer then Shimano's Ultegra hoods, and are a bit longer as well.  There's plenty of space underneither the  hood for me to wrap two full fingers comfortably around it.  The brake levers themselves are easily adjustable for reach.  Overall these offer a combination of a lot of features I really like.  I felt instantly at home on them.

The new Dura Ace crank has received a fair bit of flak for it's unconventional appearance.  I've called it one of the ugliest cranks I've ever seen.  My aesthetic reaction has been tempered considerably by how well the design works.  Paired with the totally redesigned front derailleur, shifting up front is simply the best I've ever experienced.  Whether up or down, under load or not, it simply works flawlessly.  I have to say the look of it has grown on me, especially the longer it's here in person.

Chain rub has largely been eliminated thanks to four front derailleur positions versus the normal three.  Set up on the front derailleur is a bit more complicated because of this.  Using the front derailleur operates differently than traditional.  The positions of the front derailleur are Low Trim, Low, High Trim and High.  In essence there is the normal double settings, but with an additional low trim half click below the small ring.  It's a little hard to explain, but it works wonderfully.  In use it's very intuitive, it took only a few shifts up and down to figure out.  This system virtually eliminates cross chaining derailleur rub.

The rear derailleur has also been changed a lot in regards to the cable pull angles and ratios.  Shifting up or down now feels very similar, regardless to where you are on the cassette.  Most other systems from any company feel slightly different from low on the cassette to high.  Shifting feels the same across the whole cassette range.

The brakes on this group are quite impressive.  Designed with a new true dual pivot design and utilizing a cam to achieve equal pad pull, these are very strong and offer great modulation.  They are noticeably different compared to the Force brakes on my previous Madone.  A designed wider brake stance keeps these working well with the new generation of wide road rims.  The two tone metal finish is carried through on these from the other components as well.  It all is quite good to look at!

The Domane offers Trek's Duotrap ANT+ sensor mount in the chainstay.  Bontrager's Node computer and sleek computer mount  compliment the clean cable routing on the bike.

I've really grown to like the new Bontrager Paradigm saddles.  Flat across the nose, a cut out down the middle, with flexible sloping wings and a slight curve at the rear, this saddle could have been made for me.

There are a lot of new things on this bike that will take some time to get used to and fully explore.  The wheels are set up tubeless using Bontrager's new TLR road tires and rimstrips.  I'll write up a separate post regarding those and other things going on later.  As of now I'm really looking forward to getting some chilly miles on before the snow on a great bike!