Friday, March 30, 2012

TREK Releases the Much Anticipated Domane Classics Bike

"I knew where I wanted to be and now I am there." - Fabian Cancellara describing his impressions of the new TREK Domane Classics Road Bike

Race-ready performance, All-day comfort, Stable, predictable, confident Ride

Imagine a road bike with incredible vertical compliance to isolate vibration and jarring road conditions from your body without sacrificing a single Watt of power transfer to the pedals.  Dream-on, right?  TREK turned this dream into reality today with its release of the Domane Classics Bike

This bike is a completely new design from the ground-up with new patents and features never before seen in a road bike.  IsoZone handlebars, IsoSpeed fork, IsoSpeed technology and Power Transfer Construction.  Individually, these are groundbreaking technologies; collectively they deliver a bike that will become legendary. The TREK Engineers developed these technologies to actually dissipate vibration and impact energy without transferring it to the rider.  This video describes the design process and features: Domane Behind the Scenes

Finally, the Domane produces better power transfer and vertical compliance than the Specialized Roubaix at less weight.

We already have one on the way so stay tuned for its arrival in the shop.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Temptress in the Shop

We love the 2012 Superfly Elite, but this little beauty came sauntering in this morning (in a plain brown wrapper no less) and captured our imagination.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Maybe it is just part of getting older, but the cold, wet, dark days of winter seem to get to me more each year.  So when we get a warm, clear day I just can't contain my joy and have to get out and ride.  Today was no exception which broke clear and was projected to hit 60.  Road bike or mountain bike - hmmm tough choice.

I saw lots of folks out on road bikes everywhere I went today, but I was really itching to ride the new Superfly Elite in some more technical stuff to test it out.  This means heading to RSP and riding the 24 hour course which provides a little bit of everything.

First the course.  The recent rains have left the course in very good condition and even tacky and fast in most sections.   I only saw snow in two areas on the inner loop, neither of which were a big deal.  As far as I am concerned, consider the course open and ready for riding.  Someone even went to the trouble of building little raised paths with rock retaining walls on one side of the holes that always seem to have water - nice touch.

Now the bike - I did not think I would notice the new beefed-up front end because I never considered the old one whippy or wimpy but I do like the new feel.  It just feels like you can stuff it into tough stuff and know exactly where the bike will go - no guessing.   The new frame also feels a little stiffer in the bottom bracket without punishing the rest of your body.

I was pretty happy with the redesigned XT components up to this point, but now I am totally head over heels in love with it.  The shifting and braking are just spot-on.  No hesitation or complaining when downshifting on climbs - it just got the job done.  The brakes saved me a couple of times where early season overconfidence and diminshed skills had me cooking into a few corners a little too hot.  A quick tap on the brakes and I was back on line.

Finally, I like the additional travel in the front end and seemed to use most of it if you look closely at the O-ring in the photo.  The Fox -F32 just keeps everything under control without a lot of fuss.  All this makes for a nice package and a very capable XC bike.  The Bontrager Race Lite wheels are pretty bullet proof, but I think you pay a penalty in terms of weight.  An upgrade to a lighter set of race wheels might be a good investment for serious racers.  Average Joes like me appreciate the dependability of the more industrial stuff.

The Superfly Elite is a very forgiving bike that does not punish too much for mistakes and an absolute screamer in the hands of someone who really knows how to ride.  I am not capable of the latter, but it sure is fun to try.

See you on the trails.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

You Still Say Hello!

The world can be an unfriendly place to cyclists and some days are worse than others.  Whether it is dodging cars, potholes or loose dogs it can be a challenge to get from point A to B on a bike.  Yet still we endure and press doggedly on because we love being out on our bikes.  Other times, we are riding and feel like it is starting to get to us and all we need is a little encouragement to keep going.

We all have different styles and I get that.  Sometimes it is a discrete nod like a gangster before something goes down - at least is is something. Other times it is an overt wave (up high or down low) - an acknowledgment from one cyclist to another. You are both out on two wheels for reasons only you know, but hey, give each other a little love no matter what.

I am reminded of the old bit in the Seinfeld series.  Regardless of the circumstances,  Jerry was always expected to say hello when he saw a relative.  In the following scene this is demonstrated when Jerry is accused of not saying hello when confronting his Uncle Leo for shoplifting.

It is no different in the world of cycling.  I would propose that regardless of what you are riding, where you are going or how many watts you are producing, you still say hello. 

I recently was on a road ride with a friend last weekend when we passed another cyclist riding in the opposite direction. We both waived from our road bikes, but received no acknowledgement from the other rider - you still say hello.  It is not as if he was distracted or did not see us - we passed on a 2 lane road miles from anything but the occasional cow, but he just stared ahead and did not even flinch at our passing.

Perhaps it is a misguided sense of brand loyalty if the opposing rider is on a different make of bike.  Or maybe some are not comfortable with their body image and do not wish to draw attention to themselves in Spandex.  The lack of acknowledgement is perplexing to those who are not confused by brand, road, mountain, cross, urban etc., regardless you still say hello.

Say hello! You never know, you could be encouraging someone who hasn't ridden since high school and got the guts up to dust the old bike off that has been sitting in the garage for 10 years.  If you don't they may think that cyclists are jerks and snobs and put the bike away.

However you do it, just say hello.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Meet Mr. Moots

Two Wheel Transit is pleased to announce that we are now an authorized dealer for MOOTS Titanium Bicycles.  For those not familiar with the brand, MOOTS is located in Steamboat Springs, CO and the premier builder of innovative and cutting-edge road, cyclocross and mountain bicycle frames.

Those familiar with MOOTS already know them for the quality and finish that goes into each hand-built frame that makes them legendary. 

The MOOTS name and logo come from a childhood companion of the founder - best described from the company's website:

Mr. Moots’ (the alligator in our logo) goes all the way back to the founder’s grade school years. His favorite pencil-top eraser was a loveable, smiling alligator character that accompanied him throughout his school days. One day, while sitting a little bored in class, he squeezed together the alligator’s cheeks as if encouraging him to speak. Lo and behold, out of his mouth came the faint cry of Moots, Moots, Moots… From that day on, he named is pencil-top eraser Mr. Moots. Mr. Moots soon took on a life of his own, appearing in numerous handwritten and drawn comic strips chronicling his various outdoor adventures including skiing, cycling and hiking. Thirty years ago, when it came time to put a name to the first custom bikes he built for his customers, the first choice in names was obvious….Moots.

We are excited about the opportunity to represent this brand in our region and working with customers who are in need of a hand-built frame and desire the ride and durability of proprietary American titanium. Stay tuned for more information as we get the MOOTS area set-up in the shop and we are able to share some ride experiences.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It Pays to Have Your Bike Built by a Pro

Here is an innovative new way to route a front brake cable as seen at Costco.

Yep it sure makes a difference who puts a bike together.  You could have just rolled this baby home or brought one home in a box to build yourself.  Not only will it wear on the frame and support bracket, imagine how fun it will be to have the front brake lock-up when you turn the bars to the right (left side of the picture) when riding at slow speed.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Planned Events Improve Riding Season

Looking back on my riding last year, it was basically uninspired. Sure I had fun on the shop rides and rides, but normally I have some big rides coming-up. Tour d Lacs, STP in one day, RATPOD, etc. I usually need at least one big ride to shoot for and keep me focused to ride miles I do not necessarily want to ride. I planned on signing-up for RATPOD, but forgot the date and missed the entry before they cut it off.

Last year the only goal was a total mileage goal. No real anticipation or joy, just getting it done. I did enjoy riding and training and racing the 24 Hour Round the Clock Race on Memorial Day Weekend. Alas, will not be able to race that one this year due to a conflict. I also made it out for the last Wednesday Night Mountain Bike Race and had a blast.

Shop rides are a given again this year and will commence each Thursday evening at 5:30pm in a couple of weeks. Free pizza will be served every couple of weeks.

I was teased mercilessly for missing the RATPOD sign-up so made sure that I had it on my calendar this year and made it in before the cut-off.

RATPOD requires a certain level of fitness with 6,000 feet of climbing, and a maximum altitude of 8,000 feet. So that means some longer road rides and a lot more climbing. The ride is on June 23, so there wont be any time for messing around in getting in shape. I have to get 2,000 to 3,000 miles by the ride date to feel like I can do it without embarrassing myself too badly.

Usually after training for a road ride like that I am ready for a change of pace and look to having some adventures on the mountain bike. The adventure for 2012 is to ride the 30 mile Kettle Crest Trail out and back in one day. I had the good fortune of snowshoeing up there last year and vowed to return for a mountain bike ride. It should be a good long day ride without being a death march (depending on with whom I go).

It has been something I wanted to do for a long time and the planning has begun. Given the altitude of the trails and the amount of snow the area received this year, it will probably be sometime in July to make sure the trails are clear and we can plan on reasonably dry weather. It should be a great change of pace after a lot of road riding and the local mountain bike scene almost like a mid-summer break. Here is a brief write-up in MTBR.

So that is the humble plan for the season until it changes, but it is a plan which is more than I can say for 2011.

See you on the road.

Friday, March 9, 2012

More on the Fox F32

Yesterday, I briefly described the function of the lock-out bypass of the Fox F32 RLC Fit front shock in Let Me Introduce You. Today I rode the bluff from one end to the other and back with the fork locked-out and unlocked respectively. Let me apologize in advance for the poor quality of the photos but I think you will get the idea.

Each photo is of the left stanchion on the fork. Before riding each section I reset the little O-ring on the stanchion all the way down so it would indicate the amount of travel for each setting. The O-ring is also useful for setting the amount of sag by adjusting the air spring pressure and seeing how much of the suspension you are using in different conditions.

The first photo shows that the fork traveled about 3cm while in the fully locked-out position. That means that there was sufficient force applied from riding over terrain to activate the bypass set to about medium. A testiment to how well this works is that I never really felt anything that registered as a significant jolt during that section of the ride.

This setting is also useful since the shock does not have a remote lock-out switch on the handle bars, you have to turn the little lever on the top of the right stanchion. By being able to set it to become active when needed, you are not tasked with remembering or reaching down while riding to turn the lock-out on and off for different conditions.

This photo depicts the amount of travel with the shock set to full travel on the return trip. The suspension felt active without being mushy, but I could definitely feel it moving during standing climbs. The full travel of the shock is 100mm so it did use not all of travel even set to active mode.

Finally, some areas on the HD trails still have some moisture that turns into mud and then freezes at night. It makes for some sketchy areas when there are frozen tire tracks before the temperature rises enough to turn it back to mud. Be careful if you are riding early in the morning.

If you want more information on the F32 or Fox shocks you can check them out on

See you on the road.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Let Me Introduce You

Trek is constantly improving on it's entire line of bikes and its mountain bikes are no exception.  The original Gary Fisher Superfly was a very nimble carbon fiber hardtail with 29" wheels.  I have been riding the 2010 model equipped with a SRAM XO/X9 3x9 speed drive train and Avid Elixir CR brakes for a couple of years now.  I love the bike and still ride it almost daily except for long/fast road riding.  The Fox F29 RLC FIT shock kept things in control up front without making the bike a porker.

Since the introduction of Shimano XTR group last year, I have been anxiously awaiting a Trek 29" hardtail with Shimano XT.  It was a foregone conclusion that the new XT would incorporate the cool stuff of XTR at a more affordable price.  The wait is over - meet the 2012 Superfly Elite.

Superfly Elite 2012 on Stoughton Road, west of Freeman, WA

The SF Elite has XT 2x10 drive train and brakes, a super stiff carbon frame, Fox F32 RLC FIT front shock and Bontrager components. I got to take it out for the first time this week and hit the gravel roads south of town to Freeman and back. The XT setup shifts flawlessly under power and is very quick and smooth.  The SRAM was very prone to chain suck if I got sloppy and tried to go to a smaller chain ring - no such tendency on the XT in my limited attempts at abusing the front shifting. The rear index shifting also has this cool little feature that lets you shift multiple cogs on the the upshift by pushing the lever a little further just like on the downshifts.

The migration of technology from the XTR to the XT was well executed. The brakes are very linear in their response with just one finger and no surprises. They also do not have any of the harmonics or howl that plagued me with the Elixir CRs.

The Fox shock now has 100mm of travel and 4 different adjustments that let you fine-tune the ride and control to your heart's desire. In addition to the stiffness with air pressure you can adjust the rebound speed, low speed compliance and lock-out force. The latter adjustment lets decide how big of a hit it will take to bypass the lock-out. This lets you lock the fork for climbing or bombing, and if needed it jumps back into action to keep things smooth and in control, then it goes back to lock-out mode.

This was one of my favorite features on the F29 and is even better on the F32 since the lock-out does not allow any bobbing when pedaling. In fact, the entire front end has been redesigned with stiffness in mind. Starting with the larger hub flange all the way to the E2 head tube with a 1.5" lower bearing - Solid. The front wheel rotates on a QR15 hollow axle to complete the package. No flex or hesitation in changing direction - it just goes where you point it.

The ride is stiff without being punishing as I learned when I hit every pothole and washboard that presented themselves with the shock in both active and lock-out modes. I have yet to run it on single track, but expect it will be just as fun and responsive as the 2010.  Hopefully, I can work a ride in on the HD trails as rumor has it they are tacky and fast now.

Finally, this bike is gorgeous to look at.  Trek has really perfected the nude carbon/carbon reveal which is accented with minimal paint.  This one is a real head-turning beauty.

If you are looking for a fast XC bike with the latest features and performance, this is the bike for you.  All manners and no bad habits to wreck a great ride.

See you on the road.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Future Longing

It took until May in 2011 for the HD Bluff Trails to hit full bloom.  The brief glimpse of warmer, sunny weather yesterday really got me thinking about the fun commute where I ride about 1/2 road and 1/2 dirt trails to work and back.

This will have to sustain me until the trails are in suitable shape. 
Road Less Traveled

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Pleasant Surprise

I was expecting another morning indoor trainer ride after looking at the weather forecasts prior to bed last night.  I was surprised to see only a skiff of snow this morning and a temperature of 31F at about 6 am.  I quickly checked radar and saw now precipitation headed our way, threw on the Ibex and headed out the door.

I was greeted by reasonably good roads, sunshine and light winds.  It really does not take much to make a cyclist happy this time of year.

See you on the road