Archive for April, 2010

Photo Friday

April 24, 2010  |  1 Comment

A day late. I was too busy riding! To be fair, this picture WAS taken on Friday =)

Enjoy the weekend folks. May the weather smile upon you and the trails be well swept.

The bicycle for the man who has $34,000 burning a hole in his pocket

April 22, 2010  |  Comments Off on The bicycle for the man who has $34,000 burning a hole in his pocket

It’s carbon fiber!

Wait…so is every other premium road bike on the market…

It’s designed by F1 engineers!

I think the guys over at Trek, Specialized, Giant, and Felt know what they are doing. Their time trial bikes actually have wind tunnel time.

It’s…expensive?

Yeah, that’s about all I can really see being the benefit of dropping 40 grand (for the Di2 version) for this bike. Granted, I’ve picked up a nearly 20,000 dollar bike, however that bike was a rocketship provided you had the legs to push it to potential (which I, in my current SuperFred status, definitely do NOT). So why would you spend $40k on a bicycle? What would possess a sane person to do this? Nothing, really. The only reason to own that bike is the very fact that it was designed by F1 engineers. No doubt most of these bikes will end up where all the other expensive boutique bikes end up: adorning the wall or hanging above the fireplace of a man or woman who admires bicycles, yet never finds the time to ride them. At the very least, whoever buys this bike won’t have to change their wall hanging next year when Cervelo comes out with an even better, more aerodynamic, stiffer, and sexier bike.

As much as I admire the disc brakes, I’ll take a Di2 equipped R3SL instead. At least that bike would be built with a purpose other than being mounted up against the wall.

Lately, I am preparing for an exam which I will sit for on Friday. The lack of time or sometimes will to get out and ride after putting in a 10 hour or more study session really highlights how easy it can become to make a habit out of not getting in the daily spin.

That being said, I am heading out this weekend to Warda, TX and Smithville, TX to hit up some of the nicest trails in the state.

See you all next week!

src: Autoblog

Specialized 29ers take a win at the Sea Otter Classic

April 21, 2010  |  Comments Off on Specialized 29ers take a win at the Sea Otter Classic

You can see the race takes place partly on the Laguna Seca road course, and later veering off into the trail section. It looks like an absolute blast to ride! Another thing to note is how smooth the XC courses are compared to our local trails. You can take a good look at the riders dragging the rear tire coming into downhill corners and then whipping the bike around the tight sections.

As a drinker of the proverbial 29er koolaid, it’s pretty interesting to see the wheel size making a move towards the mainstream. Personally, I like them because I have odd proportions that put me pretty much sitting “on top of” most 26″ frames, geometry-wise. As you hear one of the riders say, the bigger wheels really do provide a little boost in the flat sections. I have found myself punishing the local trail with a lot more speed and confidence than I ever had before (although most of this is due to a proper frame size)

Check out the video, and leave some comments.

-video courtesy of I Am Specialized

Crank Brothers New Titanium Pedals: Eggbeater 11

April 20, 2010  |  3 Comments

174 grams. Shiny.

This week Crank Brothers announced an entirely new product line, including a replacement to their 2ti and 4ti lines of ultra-lightweight mountain biking pedals. We managed to get our hands on a set of the outgoing 4ti, at a reduced rate, in order to see if they live up to the hype and flashy gold coloring. Still no verdict on the new ones unless Crank Bros decides to take pity on a budget weight weenie.

roughly 18 number 2 pencils, a.k.a an egregious abuse of scientific equipment

If you just have to have the blingingest and lightest pedals out there, consider throwing a set of these on your weeniebike.

How lightweight are they? Glad you asked. Let’s make some stupid comparisons: each pedal weighs about the same as 18 number 2 pencils…(I would have used jellybeans but Whitey a.k.a. C-Dub a.k.a. Chris Wellhausen ATE ALL OF THEM. THOSE WEREN’T JUST JELLYBEANS! THEY WERE PRECIOUS SCIENTIFIC EQUIPMENT YOU PIG.) Needless to say without the precise comparative analogy of jellybeans, we were forced to make do with office supplies.

The new pedals feature improved needle-style bearings and apparently better sealing to reduce the frequency of required rebuilds. My old Eggbeaters (steel model) are holding up fine a couple years later, though not nearly to a high level of abuse. The new pedals are 10g heavier but reported to be a lot more durable.

At the moment I am eagerly awaiting the sound of a postman knocking to deliver the “old news” 4ti pedals which I’ll throw on the scales and possibly on the bike, time provided.

The old pedals were no slouch, and I’m sure the new ones will be just as reliable, albeit a lot more sexy.

The old 4ti eggbeater: reportedly 167g for the pair

Notice how the construction of the new pedals seems to be a lot more seamless. The spring mechanism still looks pretty much the same, but the spindles are noticeably shorter, probably affecting “Q factor” (the distance between both your feet as you pedal. Road bikes tend to be narrow, MTB tend to be wider stanced). Indeed the major complaint a lot of people had on the 4ti was remedied in purchasing shorter spindles from crank bros. I’m guessing enough was heard that they just provided them from the factory now. Also the reduced length should reduce the effective torque on the threading and hopefully help the pedals last longer.

Check out the new and improved specs over at Crank Bros. They’ve got a whole host of new sweet gear for the mid-year.

GIANT XTC 29er gets some weight weenie love

April 16, 2010  |  3 Comments

The Giant XTC I just picked up is a great bike. It handles the trails solid and it’s even pretty light for a completely stock mountain bike. We tipped it in at just over 26 lbs (about 11,800 g for the metric lovers) completely stock.

Handlebars: Easton EC90 Flat bars

The first step to getting the bike set up right was cutting down the boat tiller handlebars. After a particularly nasty run in with a narrow pair of trees, a quick trip to a friend’s house yielded bars that were a little more adept at passing through those tree gateways you see all too often at the last minute on the trail.

Still, these bars were quite heavy and stock, and finding a good deal via ebay on EASTON EC70 flat bars with Carbon nanotubes (and since they used a fancy word like nano it must be really high-tech and sciencey) really sealed the deal. The nanotubes thing is supposed to make you feel confident that these bars won’t snap like dried pasta when you huck and shred through some gnar descents. At the very least, they will look super cool cruising to the coffee shop where I can pretend to be a “real mountain biker” and “impress” the cute sleeve-tattooed rayban wayfarer wearing ladies?

TOTAL WEIGHT SAVINGS: 241g-131g= 111g

Stem: KCNC Bone 100mm Stem

The next thing to go was the stem. The factory stem is great, but I had two problems with it: It had the company name “GIANT” all over it (I think the name of the company appears over 20 times on the bike already) and it was big and heavy. I opted for a KCNC Bone stem (scandium with titanium bolts) in a similar size to adjust my position on the bike.

TOTAL WEIGHT SAVINGS: 160g-108g=52g

Grips: ESI Grips

The next step was the bars and grips. The GIANT grips are sweet lock on grips: They even got a great review in this month’s bicycling magazine. The problem I had was that they were made for someone whose hands must look like Chewbacca’s. I can’t hold on to the end of the handlebar and actually reach my shifters from the edges of these things. I opted for some really nice foam grips from ESLGRIPS. Minimal weight savings, but I’m a long time user of these grips and they absorb vibration and stay sticky whether wet or dry.

TOTAL WEIGHT SAVINGS: 102g-56g=46g

Shimano SLX Gear indicator removal:

This process was the easiest. Shimano’s new “SLX” group has nifty little gear indicators. This would be cool if you’ve never thrown a leg over a 2 wheeler since before you had locked lips with anyone other than your mother, however I think most people can at least make a quick glance back if they are confused provided they aren’t drunk, suffering from an ear infection, or coming down from a 3 day methamphetamine binge. Yeah. These dorky things had to go.

TOTAL WEIGHT SAVINGS: 20g

OVERALL WEIGHT SAVINGS: 229g or .505 lbs

That wasn’t a bad way to cut 1/2 lb off the front of the bike. More to come…


GIANT XTC 29er 1 Riding Update: The seatpost SUCKS!

Now, I have one gripe with the XTC 29’er: The seatpost sucks. It’s absolutely awful. I’m not the only one with this problem either. Giant, please take note, the seatpost has this great fancy looking mechanism by which you can angle the seat with all sorts of clever indicators, and the parts are even anodized a fancy blue.

The problem is that when you stick a post that pivots with only one bolt holding it in place, the moment you hit a nasty change in elevation (say, going down a drop and then back up again) the saddle angles straight up into taint pounding, anus puncturing attack position. I’m honestly lucky I somehow escaped this seatpost’s failure without feeling like I’d done a month in the state penitentiary. I’m still waiting to ride this thing hard until I can get either a different seatpost from GIANT, or a Thomson, which would fix the problem once and for all. GIANT: please stick to making frames. This foray into parts making almost left me with an anal prolapse.

(update: the Thomson is on and it is WONDERFUL to be able to ride this thing again. I can now remove the local colorectal surgeon from my speed dial.)

What’s next? A new set of brakes, as the juicy 3’s work fine, but they gobble like turkeys and are a bit squishy compared to my old, trusted, and solid HAYES 9 Carbon brakes on my SANTA CRUZ BLUR (which is for sale. Hey-o!)

And after that? A new set of tubeless wheels. Currently debating the benefits of Industry nine’s 3 degree engagement versus the very time entrusted and allegedly bulletproof Chris king hubs laced to some Stan’s rims, and hopefully utilizing what would be the absolute ugliest color combination I could put on my bike. Any suggestions?