Monday, March 31, 2014

Cannondale releases Two 27.5" Mountain Bikes

   Hot off the presses Cannondale has announced entering the 650b market. "What the hell is 650b?" 650b is a wheel size equates to 27"5 inches, and falls between the aging standard of 26" and the big turning 29".

Standard mountain wheel sizes

   Recently, the popularity of the in-between wheel size of 27.5" has really taken off, with companies like Trek and Specialized introducing models. Never one to be left behind, Cannondale introduced a couple models of 27.5" wheel bikes last week:

2014 Jekyll 27.5

2014 Trigger 27.5

   There are a couple differences in these models. The first is the travel: the Jekyll is 160/95mm travel and the Trigger is 140/85mm travel (The two numbers are the full travel and locked down travel). The second difference is and the suspension linkage configuration. The Jekyll 27.5 uses the linkage system from the Jekyll 26" and Claymore 26" frames. The Trigger 27.5 adopts the linkage from the Trigger 29er.
   In addition to the frames, you get the Lefty Supermax fork, the longest travel Lefty to be released:

Lefty Supermax 27.5

   This fork replaces the Fox fork that came on these long travel bikes in the past. It comes in both 140mm and 160mm travel for either configuration. True to form, people are up in arms in attack and defense of the Lefty. "It's an abomination!" "It's the best thing ever!" No such thing as bad press, eh?

   With the mid season release, there's been some muttering about Cannondale pulling the rug out form under their retail shops, leaving them with hard to sell stock. Two shop owners had this to say:

"As a cannondale dealer we have known about the mid year release for almost a year, cannondale has given us increadible (sic) pricing and ample warning, in fact this has been our best year yet because of it."

"We didn’t book any 26″ Jekylls knowing that no one wants it. I doubt many did. We’ve been waiting for the 650b to show up and now they are here."

Good to know this wasn't a complete surprise to anyone but me!

   Whether you like 27.5" or 29" wheels, everyone can agree on one thing: 26" wheels are on the way out. Now, to convince my wife that I need a third mountain bike...

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday WTF: Best Seat Ever?

   This week's WTF comes from Essax saddle makers, and is supposed to keep your pelvis aligned with:

Top view

Back view

Face View

  I think we all know what a real shark saddle would look like:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bikes + Coffee

   While in Oakland a few weeks ago, I had a chance to check out a farmers market. The farmers markets in CA are a lot different than the ones in Colorado. In addition to a lot more vegetables, this farmers market had a pretty cool mobile coffee shop set up:

Bicycle Coffee Co

   So the Bicycle Coffee Co is a coffee shop that sets up at events like this, and gets everything there via bicycle. Awesome! Here's a few pics of their set up:

Tables / trailers

Tent and another trailer

One of the bikes

   So the cool thing was that a lot of the trailers served as counter space as well. One of the guys there was super friendly and explained all about how they break everything down and haul it around. He said the water was the biggest hassle since it's so heavy (fixed gear BTW).
   In addition to a cool business model, they brew a mean cup of coffee (according to Natalie, to whom I defer to for that kind of decision)
  In addition to both of those things, they had a pretty cool bike on display. This is a bike from 14BikeCo out of London. 

14 Bike Co

   This was a rad fixed gear set up for urban riding. Nice tall headset and beefy frame. It was jsut a good, clean bike that made me want to ride it. So we got a coffee, some strawberries, and saw a cool bike company! Good day!

Monday, March 24, 2014

New Bike Post!

Bike post?

   No, no not that. A new bicycle! With Calvin getting more and more mobile, we recently decided to get a cargo bike. This way we can travel together comfortably all summer. Since Cannondale doesn't make a cargo bike, Natalie and I had to do a lot of research. We didn't want to end up on something like this:

  We looked at several styles. Here are three common styles of cargo bike, with the cargo in several places:

   We decided the bakfiet ('bok feet') would be the best because Calvin can ride in the front and we can talk to and see him. Next - what brand to buy...
   There are a lot of differences in these bikes. Most were steel, had a pretty upright seating position (common for this kind of bike), had a drum brake, and no thought for weight. A local store had a Metrofiets on display, and in a weird sales tactic wouldn't sell it without an electric assist.
   Shortly after that, Natalie found this company in Portland that sold several kinds of cargo bike.

   What was better is they had a couple demo models on close out! JACKPOT. We ended up with the Larry vs Harry Bullitt Superfly. Here's the unboxing:

Fully assembled!

   And here's the bike ready to go!

White rocket

There were several things that I like about the Bullitt over other options:
  • Aluminum frame (comes in 40 pounds lighter than the next bike)
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 11 speed internal hub
  • XT front hub
  • Stout construction and aggressive riding position
  • The owners of Splendid were super cool and supportive
  All in all, I'm stoked with this bike, and super excited to get a box on it and start carrying around the family!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday WTF: Cool Trailhead

   Apologies for an absent week, it's been riding and taking care of a restless baby for us. but here's a sweet trail head:

Looks like about a 3000mm

   Despite all my Googling, I couldn't find anything about where this thing is. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Look's Weird Rocket Carbon Hardtail

   Look has always had some really cool designs. Take the 675: Full of features! Of course it has all the best in bottom bracket and frame material technology, but one of the cooler features is the sleek looking steam and headset junction.

Look 675

   Here's a closer look at the headset:

   This design is supposed to give maximum rigidity, reliability and safety. Here it is on the 986 hard tail mountain bike:

Look 986

   The 986 also uses Look's A-Stem technology, bringing the quick handling and rigid response to the cross country scene. This frame comes in at 1300 grams, and MSRP of around $5500.
   And what post would be complete without a Lefty? Well, the Lefty can apparently be shoehorned onto this frame as well:

Above stem spacers galore

Monday, March 10, 2014

Carbon BMX: Next big Thing or Waste of Time?

   You may remember my post about Redline's carbon Olympic BMX frame, the Project 79. While several companies have shown prototypes, here are a couple companies that are already offering a carbon BMX frame:

   Obviously, the right side of a carbon bike it the photogenic side. BMX racers will be interested in carbon for a lot of reasons, not least of all that it is sexy! But why carbon? Well let me show you with a video:

5:31 running time

TL;DR - Nm to failure:
Steel: 1376Nm
carbon: 4728Nm

   According to this video for you: Steel is inferior to carbon. Why? Because you can build the carbon to resist specific forces. The builders of that shaft engineered it to resist twisting. With steel, you are limited by the material to what you can do. Back to BMX:

   In BMX racing there are a ton of forces at play. Strong forces. Starts, corners, and jumping all put incredible stress on the drivetrain and frame.

BMX start

   This is where carbon is interesting. You can build the frame to resist the forces at play by how the carbon is constructed. Stronger chain stays and bottom bracket will resist twisting during sprints and a beefier head tube will keep you going straight in the corners.

   Carbon will bring some good competition to BMX racing. It will be exciting to see what the pros are going to do with these new awesome frames.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday WTF: Couch bike

   Looks like these fellas are enjoying a drive through window, all thanks to Couchbike.

For when comfort trumps efficiency... Couchbike.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Folding Helmet? Sure!

   When I think of a folding bike helmet, Something like this comes to mind:

Vintage leather helmet

      These things were safer than nothing, but only slightly. Speaking of only slightly safe - here's a concept folding helmet:

Flat pack helmet

   1. This thing looks larger unfolded than folded into a helmet, and 2. it looks like it's about as safe as wearing a paper bag on your head.

   Carrera, the sunglasses company, thrown their hat into the bike helmet game. Thy've been making ski helmets for a while, and they have a folding bicycle helmet now, check it out:

Carrera E00414 folding helmet

   Based on this pic, I was thinking this was pretty cool! But then I saw it from the side:

Less cool looking.

   I don't hate it, but it's kind of goofy looking, like a skate board helmet. Here's what it looks like folding up:

Open                    Closed

   I am not sure it's so much smaller closed that it matters. It loses about 3 inches in width when collapsed. It meets the safety standards all helmets must, so it keeps brains in. For a commuter with a premium on space, this might be revolutionary. Looks like they run about $90 and are available everywhere form Amazon to eBay.

   The point is:

Monday, March 3, 2014

Badass of the Day: Andy Hampsten

   If you look up 'manly' in the dictionary, you'll see a description of Andy Hampsten's 1988 stage 4 assault on Mount Gavia. Gavia is a long, steep, partially paved road was host to both the '88 Giro d'Italia stage, and a late spring blizzard. Check this out:

Andy Hampsten atop the Gavia

   Reading this guy's bio is like reading the diary of a bullied 6th grader, "Today Andy dropped us all in the Tour of Switzerland. AGAIN. Today Andy attacked with 18 kilometers left! Andy took my lunch money and solo'd another mountain top stage win." He came to beat Europeans and ride his bike, and he was running out of Europeans. 
   Enter the 4th stage of the '88 Giro. At the bottom of the climb Andy was fighting rain that quickly turned to snow. The road turned form two lanes to one, paved to dirt, and 4% grade to 16% grade. Armed with a sweet pair of full coverage Oakleys, he attacked. 

Base of Gavia climb

   After building a size gap on the climb, Andy was faced with what many of the riders called the worst descent of their racing careers. Blinded by snow and cobbling together whatever warm outfits they could from support cars and fans, they navigated the ice packed roads to the finish at the bottom. Many resigned or came into the finish in tears. 

Andy Hampsten's 7-11 Huffy

   Fun fact: I actually saw this bike at the 2013 NAHMBS, and it was still cold from that descent.

   Back to the race - finishing closer to a human popsicle than a cyclist, he went on to win the 1988 Tour d'Italia. He also finished in the top ten three more times, only retiring in protest to the pressure to use performance enhancing drugs. Read a full Sports article on the stage here.

And that's why Andy Hampsten is your bad ass of the week.