Friday, September 30, 2005

Some News,Part V

Already surfing the pics and news this morning out of Interbike. The wave is cresting now! Some minor product introductions, but really, nothing smashing as of yet! The new Ibis has all the old retro-grouches bemoaning the fact that the new models are in carpet-fibre! The SRAM road group is still under glass, and no one seems to know how it works yet, although I have a pretty good idea. Sew up mountain bike tires, titanium road brakes, and several road bike intros are some of the more interesting bits. You can see most of this on . Just look at the upper left corner of the home page for several links to the show. TONS of pictures!

Last thing I want to point out is Ergon's new magnesium bar ended grip that Jeff spoke of yesterday in his fast and furious post from the Interbike show floor. That's a pretty sweet grip. Mr. 24 should have one to show you soon! In fact, he should be on his way back to boring ol' Iowa today.

Final Interbike Post: Well, the show is winding down. The link I put up a couple of posts ago on the Blue Collar Mountain Bike guys is still my favorite post. They really got it captured best. Check it out. They will have several updates in coming days. The Go Clipless guys will also be updating, as well.

My final view is this: Nothing really new. SRAM road group is exciting, and it has potential, but it's still "unobtanium" , so it doesn't count. Many other items fall under this heading. The current trends of carbon fiber, on the road side, and "all-mountain" full suspension, on the MTB side, show no signs of abating. Last years oversaturation of chopper bikes has faded, thankfully! Hardly any to be seen this year! 29-inchers have gained traction in numbers of bikes available, but component manufacturers are still too cautious to enter into the market. No new tire, fork, or other 29 inch specific products as of this writing. The coolest bike of the show, for me, was Ibis' new Carbon Mojo full suspension frame. Carved from thermoplastic carbon fiber. That's right! Carved! CNC'ed to be exact. It is a piece of art, that just happens to be a bicycle frame. It's one of many mountainbikes this year that are influenced by a more organic design element.

Well, that's all! Mr.24 is on his way home, and we'll all be waiting for his take on the show. Monkeytron should be a hoot for a few days, as well. Until then............

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Some News, Part IV

Check out Jeff's update from the floor of Interbike. Hilarious! He had to commandeer a sponsors computer! Good updates and teases on some new gear coming from some of his sponsors for '06. Somebody get this guy some shoes!!

Additional Entry! Here are some more cool Interbike related blog posts and sites. My favorite so far is the Blue Collar Mountain Bike boys account. They really got the overall flavor of the event down with thier photo gallery. For some "mainstream" type coverage, check into this. Finally, some endurance racing oriented stuff from Karl Etzel.

P.S.!! Additional screed on Interbike with pics here, from Go Clipless boyz! Lots o info here! Scroll down till the cows come home!!!

Some News, Part III

More on Interbike, singlespeeds, and 29-inchers here. It's a nice article from the standpoint that the author has his first ride on a 29 incher, and gives a thumbs up. It seems pretty well thought out, and has the usual, "it doesn't accelerate out of corners" rap, which we all know by now is just a matter of riding it differently. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Mr. 24 Sighting At Interbike!

We got an e-mail from the shop's buyer, who is attending Interbike. It said that Mr. 24 was spotted in the Elete booth, and was really working hard. That's what I would expect from Jeff. He is a stand up kinda guy, and he knows what it means to be a sponsored athlete. He is one of those that actually gets it. I wouldn't have expected anything less from him.

The way I see it, Jeff could have easily said that there was something else he had to do. That he couldn't go to Interbike. Or, he could have taken the Elete folks up on the free ride, and showed up late at the booth, or not at all. He could have cheesed out a lot of different ways, but he didn't. He showed up, and worked hard, because he felt that was the least he could do for a company that supported him, and gave him free product to use. That's how you keep your sponsor and gain more. Yes, you can even get more! The cycling community is a pretty tight knit one. People talk. If you are one of the good eggs, it'll come back on you. And if you are not, well that comes back on you too. If that is the case, well, you can expect less. Probably nothing.

I'm sure Jeff would rather be riding and prepping to go to Japan to do the 24 hour race there. In fact, he's only back for a few days before he has to go there. I'm sure that it will be a tough schedule, with this Interbike trip. But, Jeff saw an opportunity to give back. So, he did. Need any pointers in how to keep a sponsor happy, and get more, than look no farther than Mr. 24. He's got that wired tight!

Yeah, I know that there are others of you out there doin' the right thing. Kudos to you guys and gals too. I just wanted to point out Jeff and say that this is how it's supposed to work. Okay, enough gushing! Take it for what it's worth. I hope somebody gets inspired by this, and takes it even further!

Some News, Part II

On the InterBike front, and specifically 29 inchers, here is a thread to get you started. I'm sure more will pop up now that the show moves indoors today. The photogs always take awhile to post stuff up, as well. I'm still reading that 29 inchers had a big prescence at the Outdoor Demo. But then again, so did a "monster mtb"!

Mr.24 must be "out of reach", or in shock at finally laying eyes on what very well could be his weapon of choice for next year. I wonder what he'll think about it's supposed "nervous, XC handling"? Anyway, I haven't heard from him, but then again, he doesn't own a phone! No cell phone, no nothin'! And I'm sure that any Internet access available has a huge line in waiting. He doesn't like waiting! So, I wouldn't expect to hear from him soon. Then again............

Today is the day for the big ultra-endurance race pow-wow. I'll be keenly interested in the results of that meeting. Mr. 24 will be representin' for Trans Iowa. I wonder if he'll be eating any of the available sushi at the meetings host restaraunt.

That's it from a gloomy, drizzly Iowa town called affectionately "Ghetto-loo", by a few nut-cases like me, and Mr. 24. What do you call it?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Some News

Current State Of The Monkey
Guitar Ted Productions

Well, here is a bit of news! Turner Bicycles, a previous "naysayer" of the 29 inch wheeled bike concept, has decided to make a 29 inch wheeled model afterall! Hmm......motivated by the percieved market, perhaps? Well, no matter. Another quality builder of 29 inch wheeled full suspension bikes is allright by me!

I wonder how many other companies we will see jumping on the big wheeled band wagon? I suspect that Specialized may be the next to fall into the market, seeing as how they have a tire with no bike to fit it to!

"Mondays With Mark" was a resounding thud! I had five people show up, and two of them just happened to be standing in the store at the time! Me thinks that perhaps the PSA's didn't get out! That wouldn't surprise me! Other than that, it was well recieved. We'll see how next week goes. It's perrenially the best attended session. "Modern Drivetrain Maintenance" The folks love it!

Supposedly, the On Dirt Demo was crawling with 29 inchers! No- really! Well, at least that's what I read! I'm still surfing for the latest! Until later!

I'm Somwhere, Out There!

Mr.24 is now airbourne! He is taking his first plane ride today! He was pretty excited last night at the shop. I hope he doesn't get too much turbulence going over the Rockies! That can be a bit bumpy.

I reminded him that what happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas, unless it gets into your bloodstream!

Just saw some of the pics from the On Dirt Demo. Nothing really earth shattering.......yet!
But I'm keeping my eyes peeled for some cool stuff. Generally, the whizbang, neeto schtuff doesn't really get shown, or discussed until the actuall show starts, tomorrow. Stay Tuned!

Look for a report on the "Mondays With Mark" class this afternoon, along with any Interbike reports worth mentioning! OUT!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Some Updates

We have some updates here! Check out what Mr. 24 has done. Don't forget to leave him a comment on what you think of the changes! Another little update has happened here. This is going to be a doozy! I can't wait for that event to take shape again, and to see it happen! I'll be putting up a link to this one soon, and also, I encourage you to give any thoughts you might have. To that end, I'm going to put up an e-mail link, where you can voice comments, concerns, or encouragement. Look for that soon! Finally, I want to remind you all of the shop where I work at. The design was done by Carlos the Jackal, so tell him how he did, here!

Until I get that e-mail link done, feel free to reach me @ anytime!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

It's Starting!

This is the beggining! The week of InterBike. The week that I'll probably spend more time on the 'net than any other, with the possible exception of Tour de France time! (Which wins out by the sheer fact that it's three weeks vs. one for the show) Pics will be flowing, stories will be told, and the things that happen in Lost Wages will NOT stay there! I'm going to focus on the really cool 29 incher stuff, which I'm expecting there to be a lot of. Already, there has been some leakage of new product intros.

The rims, frames, and other bric-a-brac that have already been reported on here are now joined by the news that Pace will be distributing it's much coveted carbon fiber forks in the U.S.A. through Quality Bicycle Products. QBP is a distributor that just about any local bike shop should be able to order from. Pace is also offering this fork in a never before available 29 inch specific version, suspension corrected for an 80mm travel fork. Look for a pic soon!

Mr. 24 starts his whirlwind tour of the world Tuesday, when he leaves for InterBike. I'll be back at the "ranch" doing the first "Monday's With Mark" gig tomorrow. I don't suspect that the shop work will be very taxing, now that the weather has "cooled" down a smidge. The cyclists around here pretty much hang up the bikes for winter when the highs get back down into the 60's. It's a shame, too, because the weather and the scenery are some of the best in the Fall for cycling in the Mid West. Oh well, their loss! They don't know what they are missing.

Speaking of Fall riding, check out this from Adam Lisbonee. Is he lucky, or what? I'll have to see how our Fall colors come out, and post up a pic or two. It won't be anything near as grand as that stuff, though! (sigh!)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rainy Daze

Well, it just rained most of the day here, so NO cycling for me! I had another project, anyway. I had to replace an inner and outer drivers side, front door handles on a '96 Toyota Camry. I was sucessful! I guess that's what I should expect after working in the auto repair business for five and a half years! Pretty nice being able to actually enter my car in the correct door now!

I guess I don't get too bummed out anymore if my rides get rained out. I commute every work day, so I at least get that ride in. It can be a tough ride, if I make it so. I just chalk it up to rest days, which are important. There are several techniques used for gaining proper rest, but I usually just have an ordinary day, which I may use to do other things that need doing. It seems to work pretty well for me, so far. At least my wife approves! She likes it when I fix things like car doors and leaky drains. Go figure! It also gives me time to focus on the kids, and they really like that, too!

It's supposed to rain tomorrow, too! Oh well! I guess I'll just have to clean up the basement, or play with the kids, or something! Sheesh!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday Rants and Raves

Today brought some interesting news concerning ultra-endurance events and their future. Check out the info, and if you at are all interested in such things, either plan on attending this little suare', or stay tuned to this channel for a synopsis of the goings on! I am excited to see the results of this think tank!

Another little nit that has been gathering attention, and much discussion, is the appearance of a little thing called a "96er". The whole premise of this idea is that the "best of both worlds" has been achieved in a single bike. A heady claim, to be sure. My take on this idea is that it is a compromise at best, and a bad idea, at the worst. To understand, one must see the reason for the execution of the "96er" in the first place.

One of the percieved downsides to a full-on 29-incher is that the wheels are harder to accelerate. To get the full advantage out of a 29-incher, you have to actually change up your riding style, as I posted on another forum. However; some don't see that as a possibility, so they change the bike to suit thier needs. They end up putting a 29 inch wheel in the front, to gain the "roll over advantage", and keep the 26 inch rear for it's quicker acceleration, and percieved lighter weight advantages. This is a valid way to go, but it is not better than a full on 29-incher! Here's why I think so.

First, let's look at the "advantage" of the rear tire versus a 29 inch rear. The rear tire, in 26 inch size, accelerates easier, yes. But it also decellerates easier. A 29 inch wheel carries momentum longer. This can be used to the advantage of the rider, especially when you consider that the rear tire has more grip in the 29 inch format due to it's different contact patch. More grip is better! Go faster into the corner, and keep it upright due to the increased grip. Also, the very reason that the front tire is desirable in a 29 inch format is even more important for the rear tire. Some say, "the rear tire is just along for the ride". My experience tells me differently. Your rear tire is weighted more than the front, most of the time. Wouldn't you want it to roll up and over trail obstacles more easily? It seems that you would desire this for the rear tire, especially when you consider that your weight is driving the rear tire downwards into the ground more so than the front is. Again, what's good for the front tire is even more important for the rear tire!

I can see some instances where the idea might be of some use, such as trials type manouverings, where there is more emphasis on technical moves than actual trail/ XC riding. Many trials rigs actually have a smaller rear wheel set-up. However; a smaller rear wheel in the twisties usually results in a bike that wants to swap ends in fast twisty singletrack, or steeper downhills. The gyroscopic effect is less with a smaller wheel in back, and usually results in a less stable condition in the rear of the bike, handling-wise. Besides, on a hardtail that 26 inch wheel is a harsher ride. I like the ride of a bigger wheel better. Think what your road ride would feel like with a 650c rear and a 700c front! This feeling is less of an issue with an off-road bike, sure, but it's there none the less!

And that name! Can't they come up with anything better than that! "96er" is such a mis-nomer anyway. It comes from the wrongly tagged "29er", which is a common mistake made by many of my big wheeled brethren, but I digress!

Hurricane Rita is looking to be every bit as bad as the Katrina disaster before it! Please, if you could keep these people in the Texas/ Louisianna area in your thoughts and prayers, it will make a difference! And I hope that you all can assist the needy when the opportunities present themselves. This is an unprecedented time that we are living in, let's step up to the challenge!

With that, I will sign off for tonight! I hope you all can get away on a bike ride this weekend to enjoy your passion. Ride well, and keep the rubber side down.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Just a short post here with a few things of interest. Check out the new post on Twenty Nine Inches that I just posted. If you are headed to the On Dirt Demo at Interbike, you owe it to yourself to check this out!

Speaking of Interbike, I just can't wait for all the new information to come out! It's like Christmas time for a bike nut like me! I feel a little left behind, though, since Mr. 24 is going out. I hope he enjoys himself out in the desert!

A bit of a rant now! I have had a car in the bodyshop for repair due to an accident that occured in September of 2004. That's right - 2004!! I have had some patience with the shop, because of the rarity of the vehicle, which has caused some difficulty with sourcing some special parts. But, upon the anniversary of the accident, I decided to start ratcheting up the pressure on the owner a little. Here is what really distresses me about the whole deal. If the customer has to motivate the service provider to complete his job, then maybe the provider should reconsider his being in that particular business. It' not up to the customer to provide the motivation to complete the task at hand, other than providing the funds required to pay the provider. When I enter into a relationship with a service provider, I expect that he/ she wants to do the job! Not that I will have to pester him to get the job done! That takes my time and energy which is valuable to me, which is why I pay to have someone else take care of such things!

This shop does high quality work, has great repoir with it's customers, but if they cannot see fit to do the job without me puttin a size twelve up their booty, then how can I recommend them to anyone else? Well, I can't. They just lost me as a customer and as a reference! Rant mode off!

Hey! The shop just re-did the website! Check it out here! Give your props to Mr. 24 and especially to Carlos the Jackal for a job well done!

Hmmm...............looks like this went long! Oh well!

Thanks to J.Y., Mr. 24 is now ready for a hug!
Guitar Ted Productions

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"Cross" Training!

Mr. 24 and Monkeytron threw down today at the shop! Jeff said he was in need of some "cross" training after spending so much time on the bike this season. Monkeytron thought he could take on a kangaroo, so he was looking for a training partner. Well one thing led to another and next thing I know, here comes Jeff in his ninja/ Mexican wrestling get-up! Mr. 24 had his kung-fu wired tight. Look out!!!

And then there was one! Monkeytron took a beat down today, but he'll be back! Oh yes!

Could this be bad karma for Mr. 24?
Will Monkeytron seek his revenge at InterBike?
How can a primate ever hope to subdue a marsupial?
And finally! Can you find the "other monkey"?

Tune in next week for, Monkeytron's Revenge! or Up your banana-hole, human!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

29"ers About To Take Off?

I work in the bicycle industry, which is always looking for "the next big thing". Way back in the 70's, it was the fitness craze, and the bicycle industry benifited greatly. Then in the early 80's, it was the mountain bike craze. Finally, in the late 90's, until now, the "pavement sector", including road bikes has really been hot. Along with the rise in hard surfaced riding, the downhill/ freeride/ all-mountain category has arisen. What's next? Well, some say the 29"er is next!

We get an industry paper at the shop called Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. Everyone in the industry refers to it as "BRAIN", an acronym of the rags title. In the latest issue, there is a glowing article on 29"ers entitled, It's Big Business:29-Inchers Are More Than Big Wheels. Remember, this article is aimed at industry people from CEO's at all the big bicycle brands on down to the local shop rats at your bike shop. The article attempts to reveal that what is thought to be an oddball movement, not worthy of pursuing, businesswise, is actually making big bucks for some. It shows how some companies are investing heavily into parts, accessories, and research and developement of 29 inch related gear and bicycles. Apparently, some companies are willing to bet big dollars that this little movement is about to go bigtime. I think they are right. What do you think?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Signs and "Stuff"

Check this out. The sign reads, "CAUTION Do not use as a step". Must be some mighty tiny feet trying to launch themselves off of this component to reach the saddle to cause this sign to be posted. Probably, someone actually did try to use this as a step, and broke it off. The subsequent slip, loss of bodily control, and resulting personal injury led to this sign. I guess I cannot discount the possibility that somewhere in the dark recesses of Shimano Japan, there is a diabolical engineer playing a joke on all of us. ........ummm, wait a minute! No, that would be 10 speed componentry! How silly of me!
This is just one of those things that catches my eye. Crazy stuff that actually had some thought behind it. I'm sure many of you have experienced something similar.

On another note, Mr. 24 was very kind, and picked out a date for me to go recon the Trans Iowa route! (Must think he's the boss or something!) Anyway, it looks as though that it will work out. So, for now the tentative release of information regarding this crazy stuff that actually had some thought behind it, will be late October.

I also started putting together the first session of "Mondays With Mark". It will be on commuting. This should be easy for me since I have been doing it for three years now! Speaking of three years, next week is the third anniversary of my start at Europa Cycle and Ski. Woohoo! Three years since I left the dark side! I used to wrench on cars for five and a half years! I'm glad that's behind me now! Thanks to Leans on Wood for his crazy stuff that actually had some thought behind it, when he hired me!

The shop was busy while I was there today, but wouldn't you know? It was a ghost town when I stopped in at 7:30pm to pick up something! I guess it's a school night, or something! Crazy stuff!

Instead of a Bike Ride...........

I was planning on a bike ride Sunday, but a phone call I got Saturday night changed all that!

My two children don't get to see thier Grandparents from El Paso, Texas too much, so when we got a call that said Grandpa, and Uncle Frank were going to be in I-80 Truck stop outside of Davenport, Iowa on Sunday, well we took the trip!

Here is the rig that they were driving! 53ft of HD TV's aboard! Although I would rather that this country ship things in a more efficient manner, this is reality for us now. This thing is pretty amazing, though. Grandpa showed me around this one, which is fully automatic. No gear grindin' here! And talk about cushy saddles! His seat rides on air, and has about eight inches of travel! The trailer tires inflate themselves, when they need it, on the fly! Pretty crazy stuff! Anyway, I thought you might enjoy a closer look at what we shake our fists at while we are on our roadie training rides! LATE!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Fall Planning

Trying to set up the plan for this Fall. Several things are going on that require my attention. It's going to be a busy, busy time!

1. Trans Iowa: The course is pretty much laid out. I have to get out there in the field and verify it's existence, get the turns, markers, and mileage down for the cue sheets, and explore some opportunities for off-road sections. I'm going to have to be out for at least three days. Camping in the fall should be fun, but finding an appropriate weekend will be troublesome!

2. Mondays with Mark: The series of shop clases that our shop puts on for consumers will start a week from tomorrow. It goes on for four consecutive Mondays. Preparation for each hour long session takes time. Printing hand outs, and doing the research makes the classes more interesting for the attendants. Some material overlaps from year to year, which does ease the load somewhat.

3. Jeff being gone: Yes, Mr. 24 is such a hyoooge pain to deal with! Ha ha! He is probably going to be gone about half of the Fall season, what with Interbike, and his foray into the Orient! That means that I'll be covering for him on those weekends he's gone, probably! That all is in the hands of Leans on Wood to decide!

4. Life outside of the shop: I have alot going on with stuff ouside of the shop, also. Two kids, and a wife, being in the church band every other week, and updating this blog all takes time. Interbike is going to really increase the time spent sifting through all of the information that comes out of that to find the stuff worthy of Guitar Ted Productions. And then, trying to winterize the house, fix the stuff that inevitably breaks, and ride my bikes!

Yeah, besides that there isn't really much going on........ya know? Kinda boring 'round here! ( kicks dirt clod).........(sigh!)........umm, well I gotta go. See ya around. Hope you have a great day!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Saturday Oddities

We get to see some pretty cool stuff at the shop from time to time. Sometimes the stuff is just odd!

Check out this pair of jockey wheels! They look more like spurs or Chinese throwing stars!

Jeff said that the chain was one of those new Wipperman colored chains, but I don't think they come in earth tones!

Here we can see the alignment of the derailluer
compared to the cassette. See anything wrong?

Don't forget, water is your bikes enemy!
Keep it dry, lubed, and cleaned, and you won't
have problems. Problems like a chain that
sounds like it's got a thousand mice in it
squeaking to the chorus of "We're Not Gonna
Take It"!

Here we have the modern day equivalent to the Conestoga Wagon.........or something!

Maybe the local paper boy is missing his bag?

Or, maybe it's a land yacht?

Your guess is as good as mine! Quite inventive, whatever it is!

Looks like the weather around here is going to be fine! Cool, clear skies, and light winds. Perfect Fall weather! Summer is gone, so don't forget to get out early! Sun is gone by 7:oopm. these days! Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Greasey Finger Friday

Guitar Ted's one finger salute!
Guitar Ted Productions

Today, I introduce a new feature. This is reserved for places, people, or things that are not right, messed up, or totally wrong according to me, Guitar Ted! You are certainly welcome to agree, or to convince me otherwise with a well reasoned, pithy retort. So, without further adieu, here is the first recipient of The Greasey Finger!

It actually is two people, and an organization! Dick Pound, Hein Verbruggen, and the UCI get the GF for the colossal mess they have made concerning the Lance Armstrong vs. L'Equipe' affair. It appears more and more that the individuals and the organization in question have worked in tandem to confuse, obfiscate, and cover up the dirty dealings involved in the releasing of sensitive, secret information and it's linkage to use of EPO in the 1999 Tour d'France. Instead of shining a light on the wrong doings, they have resorted to finger pointing, and accusatory statements that further thier precipitous slide into public relations hell.

Okay, you may disagree on some points, but as always, you are welcome to comment! Have at it! It must be noted that the picture for Greasey Finger Friday was taken by Mr. 24, and yes, that really is me! It's not often that I'm not behind the camera!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

New 29 inch Rims, and Notes

More new product news leaking out again! This time it's about some new rim choices for 29 inch wheel bikes. Earlier, I had posted that Salsa has planned a new, wide 29 inch (700c) rim to be available in early 2006. Now it seems that WTB has also been testing some prototypes, that are due to be introduced at InterBike. The first is a version of thier most excellent Laser Disc XC, in a 24mm width. The other rim is to be even wider, at 28mm. The wider rim is supposed to be a new design. This rim can be spotted on a new prototype six inch travel 29 inch wheeled bike by Niner Bikes.

Another choice for a nice rim for 29 inch wheels is Mavic's currently available A317 eyeletted 32 hole trekking rim weighing in at 540 grams. Maybe not strong enough for "freeriding" ( Isn't all riding free?) but certainly a viable XC rim.

Got money burning a hole in your pocket? Try ordering a "Maverick-like" Duo, or DuoLux from Seven Cycles in a 29 inch wheeled format. All custom titanium! Probably worth more than the house I live in!

Well, that's all the big wheeled goodness for today! I wonder when we'll see a proper post again from Mr 24.? He should try pryin' himself away from his 700 channel TV, and get back to the "Real World" of cycling! Ha!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Maxxis 29 inch Ignitor Tire Review

Here is the review of the Maxxis Ignitor tire, which I have finally replaced, as it is nearly worn out! This tire spent it's time on my Karate Monkey single speed. The picture shows the condition of the tire just before I switched it out for a Bontrager tire. First the pertinent info!

Tire: Ignitor folding bead 2.1" tire for 29 inch

Used from March '05 till September '05.

Type of use: Commuting, singletrack, gravel roads. Ridden in snow, rain, and dry conditions.
Used tire pressures of 28psi to 45psi. Average 35psi

Impressions: This tire did everything I wanted it to do without much problem. After some initial strange sensations, I never really noticed anthing unusal about this tire. It performed very well on most surfaces that I had an opportunity to try it on. In mud, it was average. In snow, it worked fine, but again average, nothing outstanding. It shined best in hardpacked dirt. It gave me the best results there. Tons of traction, climbing and cornering. Gravel was pretty good too. Never made the bike squirrely in the rear, even in marbley gravel. The wear characteristics were good. Most of the time, I used it to commute to work and back. I have some "curb hopping" and some dirt paths on the commute which I like the 29 inch wheels for. The Ignitor wore evenly, and in fact, I hadn't noticed how much of the tread was gone until I looked at my spare, new Ignitor. Whoa! I have about a third of the knob heigth left! I still have great offroad traction, plus the tire has been rolling better and better! I'm saving it for any fast, hardpacked courses I might encounter in the future!

Conclusion: Get this tire for your 29 inch wheeled bike if you have hard packed, soft dirt, or gravel courses to ride on. It hooks up well, and corners great as a rear tire. It wears evenly, but sort of quickly, so beware! Finally, I wish Maxxis would come out with a true race tire for a 29"er! My nearly worn out Ignitor is fast! How about a Mimo in 29 inch? Pleeeeeeease!!!

Thanks for reading, and have a great ride SOON!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Monkeytron Infects Local BMX'ers Brains

Here we have an invasion of epic proportions! Monkeytron has exerted his influence over the impressionable youth of the Cedar Valley! The left pic shows Jimmy "The Fizz" getting his brain frothed by the filthy critter. The other pic shows one of "Jerry's Kids" after his brainwashing. The BMX world will never be the same!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mr. 24 lickin' his chops as he lusts after the tots in the Team Maxxis fridge.
Guitar Ted Productions

Fox Fork For 29"er?!!

This thread came up recently on which shows a 29 inch wheeled Lenz Behemoth sporting a Fox 36 thru-axle fork. This has caused quite a stir, and for good reason. First; Fox does not make a fork compatible with a 29 inch wheel. Secondly; Fox has been pestered to death to do a 29 inch fork, and would probably be the instant king of the 29 inch suspension players if they came out with one.

Here is the Guitar Ted take on this: If the heads of Fox suspension were really listening, they could easily take over the market for 29 inch suspension forks. Since they will not respond to the demand, it has forced a small custom fabricator named Devin Lenz to come up with a solution. This is a move undoubtedly made by Lenz to help spark more interest in his newly designed Behemoth dual suspended 29"er, which is making it's debut at InterBike. Also, it's more fuel for the fire in the demand for a 29 inch specific Fox fork. Fox, are you listening?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

That's "Mister 24" to You, Bucko!

Check out this sweet shirt that thumbs it's nose at those smarmy desk jockeys at a certain endurance race promotion company. You can get yours here.

If your going to InterBike, grab one of these, and go to the Elete booth, where Jeff will be pressing the flesh whilst wearing his Cat Eye team kit. Say "Hi" for me, okay?

Overheard at the shop: A customer comes in with an old, blue three speed bike. She is of college age, and has one other female friend along with a male friend acompianing her. I ask her, "What can we help you out with there?" To which she replies, "Well, my friends rode my bike drunk last night, and now the brake is messed up." She feebly tries to squeeze the lever to demonstrate. I begin the repair ticket process: "...and can I get your name here, please?" She replies, "Stephanie...." At which point, her two companions wheel about and in unison say, "Stephanie, Stephanie, Stephanie!". Umm.........yeah! Okay, now can I continue, please? As I finish up the repair ticket, the female companion gets a cell phone call. "Hello?........Yeah, I'm here with Stephanie at the bike shop...............Yeah! We're havin' a "potty", A "potty party"! Ha, ha, ha..........Yeah, you can come as you like..........You're gonna come as a taco? That's great! You can come as a taco! Ha, ha, ha................and then, mercifully, they walk out the door.
A "Guitar Ted" Public Service Announcement: Remember people, cell phones are the devil! Don't you dare carry on your conversations in public places! Why? Because it's annoying the rest of us that do not need to hear about half of your personal goings on. Besides, it makes you look foolish! Okay? Thanks!

All righty then! Hope that prevents some of you from making a complete idiot out of yourself! Ha! Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Future of 29 inch Wheeled Bikes

I just perused an interesting prognostication on the future of the 29 inch wheeled bike. Apparently, some out there feel that the 29 inch wheeled bike is really going to take off in '06. I'm not quite so inclined to see things that way. Judging from the recent bicycle show in Germany, called Eurobike, the twenty nine inch wheels barely made a dent in the conciuosness of the Europeans in attendance. I feel that until the Europeans get on board with the idea, the big brands will stay away. The idea is definitely taking hold here in the U.S., but only small pockets of interest are to be found elsewhere in the world. The future is looking bright in a few areas, but it's not a trend that is going to set the bike industry on fire, say the way freeride/ downhill has. At least, not until the market grows outside the U.S. borders.

I definitely do not think things are stagnating, or slowing down! On the contrary! There are many exciting new developements coming up for us fans of the big wheels. InterBike is only a couple of weeks away, and with it more things will become known that will positively affect the future of the 29"er. I have personally seen a surge of interest in the big wheels recently in the form of e-mails to me asking for advice on new bikes. This is a flattering thing for me, but also, it causes me concern. Something is not quite right out there!

Here is the deal in a general sense. If you work at a shop, and you are a human, you are going to look for the path of least resistence. Okay, here it is in layman's terms: you are lazy! You sell what you have. What you have always sold. If something comes along, and it doesn't fit in with your version of normal, it's labelled as whacky, stupid, or worse! I know, because I have fallen prey to this mindset, and it is a cancer! It doesn't have to be about 29"ers. It could be that you feel this way about recumbents, trikes, or tandems. Maybe you feel this way about BMX, skatepark, or dirt jumping rigs. Whatever! Maybe you just can't sell that kind of schtuff for whatever reason, but it doesn't mean that it's not valid!! Bicycle shop employees owe it to themselves, and to their customers to be knowledgeable, friendly, and encouraging to all forms of human powered transportation! Your shop will benefit, and prosper because of your helpful, encouraging attitudes towards these "off-shoots of cycling", even if you don't sell them. (And- perhaps you should be selling them!)

Oh allright! Rant mode off! I just wanted to write all of that to prove a critical point. If I am getting e-mails from all across the country regarding my opinion on 29"ers and what people should be buying, then maybe some shop people are dropping the ball. Maybe. Or maybe I'm just cool like that! NOT! So, really it boils down to people in the industry either getting behind a "ball that is already rolling", or getting run over by it! What's it going to be? I don't know for sure, but the big wheels are a rolling! Watch out!!!

So, if you are so inclined, you too can get my unbridled opinion at . I will attempt to be fair with any and all inquiries, but you will definitely know where I'm coming from! Be forewarned!

Have a great weekend, all! Get out and RIDE!!!

New Skins For Karate Monkey

Izabel models my new Bontrager XR 29 inch folding bead tire. It's what all the "girls" are wearing, darling!
Guitar Ted Productions

There will be some new tires mounted soon for the ol' Karate Monkey. These come in the form of the Bontrager XR front and rear specific tires. They have a folding bead, low knob height, and are supposed to be 2.2 inches wide. We'll see about that width! My daughter thought it would be fun to model one of the tires for you all, so there she is!

With the addition of these tires, I will be temporarily retiring the ExiWolf, and Maxxis Ignitor combo that I have had on most of the year. The Ignitor has worn down to almost semi-slick status! I'll have a full review on these tires soon!

Rumors are starting to circulate about a "wide" offering in 29 inch rubber. We've heard these rumors before! Perhaps InterBike will bring more news. I'm keeping my ear to the ground, and will let ya'all know what I hear!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Garage Bike Classics & Answer

Circa 1992 Specialized Rock Hopper. Totally unmolested!
Guitar Ted Productions

First, I'll give you what you're all probably wondering. What the "accesory" was. "J.Y." got it! It pulls the young mans golf bag to the course everyday! Pretty inventive of the young fellow, and keeps the parental units from having to ferry him around. Good job J.Y.!

Now what we have here is...........(No! Not "failure to communicate!)'s a time capsule of a bike! This bike had nothing changed out on it since it came out of it's bike box. Original tires, saddle, yadda,yadda.................. This was as close to new old stock as it gets, coming out of a garage. Full LX with the DX first generation Rapid Fire. ( the push-push type) Double butted CrMo frame and fork, with Ground Control tires, and yes- there are still nubbies on 'em! A really nice bike in it's day that's been sittin' around WAY too much! Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What Is This?

Portable welder?
Guitar Ted Productions

Today I have a customer fabricated bicycle accessory. Any guesses as to what it does for it's owner? It's mounted to a department store bike, branded Honda! (They should be ashamed......VERY ashamed!) It was all fabricated by an eight year old boy! Not bad, I'd say. Looks like a pretty inventive, if not totally whacked solution to his problem. By the way, I cheated! I asked his mom what it was! The answer tomorrow!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Westward Trek

Got to ride some fine gravel this weekend. I had to work until 4:30pm. I got out on the road by 5pm., and headed west. I had a pretty good pace going considering that I had a 37 X 22 gear on the Karate Monkey. I suppose it was about 7pm. when I took this shot after taking a break to swap out bottles. I had the Powerbar drink mix with Elete goin on. It didn't let me down either!

After I got into the dark, the Cateye EL-500 lit the way perfectly. The going was slower, as I had several turns to make, and I didn't have a helmet mounted light to see the signs by. That meant dis-mounting, checking the sign, check my map, yadda-yadda! I finally got where I was going by a little after 9.00pm. Boy, was I glad to get there! Let me tell ya, Iowa could use some rain, judging from the amount of gravel dust on me and the bike! The freewheel was nearly locked up this morning when I checked it. Apparently, the moist air was drawn in by the lime dust and made everything around the bearings into semi-rock! Guess there is a little maintenance that is going to be happening!

I was soooo stoked on this ride by the great news of the results of Seven Oaks. Great job Jeff, and Carl! Going one-two! Who'd a thunk it?!!! Thanks for the motivation. I'm not in your league, but I'm workin' on it!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

More News!

Just a few quickies!

1. Looks like, barring any body shutdowns, injuries, or other wierdness, that Mr. 24 will be wrapping up another solo win at 24hrs. of Seven Oaks! As of 7am. he had the thing "wrapped up", according to Jeff Yielding, who also is participating in the event on Team Bike Tech Racing.
We got a little rain here last night, but nothing compared to the soaking they are getting at the World Solo Mountain Bike Championships in Whistler, B.C. I'm sure Jeff would rather have won that event, but seeing as how he is "banned", I'm sure a win here in his home state of Iowa, in reletively dry conditions is going to be pretty darn sweet!

2. I reported, in yesterdays post, about some new 29"er goodness that is heading our way. One thing I didn't get to was the Specialized Fast Track 29 inch tire. This really makes me laugh when you know that Specialized has turned it's nose up at any suggestion that they make a 29"er. Yes, you can buy tires from them, but not a bike that they can be mounted to! Hilarious! At any rate, these are supposed to be some fast rolling tires, so for you racers, these just might be the ticket. Contact your local Specialized dealer for more info. Or, maybe not! The dealers may not even be aware of what a 29"er is, or that they can sell tires for one. Tell them that Guitar Ted says the part number is in their '06 dealer catalog!

3. And finally....... In some more local news, I see that Citron Rob has fallen under the spell, and gone off to get himself a righteous ride! Apparently, it is a new Fisher X-Cal! Congrats on the new sled, Rob! I'm glad to not be the only 29 inch wheeled rider around! You might wonder how this may affect the nickname. Well, not to worry! The beautiful X-Cal for '06, (You did get an '06....riiiggght?) Is orange metalflake, with a green pearl clearcoat! So, there is some element of "green" in there yet to connect with the nickname!

Today, it's off to the shop at 11:30-5:00pm. and then a gravel grinder 60 miles to Alden, Iowa to meet up with my family. (Only one car, so I gotta ride!) I'll be back later on Monday, so ya'all have a wonderfull Labor Day holiday!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

New 29"er News!

EuroBike is going on in Germany right now, and a bit of news for 29"er fanatics has come from there. It seems that Salsa, a small bicycle and component company based in Bloomington, Minnesota, are going to release a new rim for 29"er use.

In the past, Salsa has produced the now classic Delgado, which turned out to be a workhorse rim for many 29"er advocates. Now, Salsa has seen fit to produce a rim specifically made for 29"er usage! The new rim, (Name unknown at this point) is to be a disc specific rim. Most importantly, it is slated to be 29 millimeters wide! Right now, rims in that width neighborhood are few and far between for the 29"er. This news would be enough for most of us, but to add icing to the cake, Salsa expects these rims to come in at a sub- 500 gram weight! I find this to be a tall order, but if Salsa can pull this off, then they are to be commended. I only hope that the strength is as astounding as well. Release date is scheduled for the Spring of '06. I will definitely be building a set of wheels around these rims utilizing my purple anodized Surly singlespeed disc hubs that are chillin' out here at Guitar Ted Labratories.

The other bit of news comes from the high country of Colorado. White Brothers Suspension has been secretly field testing it's new "platform" suspension technology for a year now. Having passed Mike Curiak's thrashing, White is now ready to unleash this technology on all the rest of us! The new technology should be just what the 29"ers out there need to bring their front fork technology up to par with what the 26"ers have.

Well, the news keeps tricklin' in! Interbike should be very interesting! New 29" stuff, Monkeytron nuttiness, and there is a high probability that Mr. 24 himself will be in a vendor booth! A chance to shake the hand of the man whose words are golden in Lost Wages! Awesome!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Good Luck, Mr.24!!!!

This is it! The 24hrs. of Seven Oaks, and there better not be any plans for sleeping on the racers parts, because I know one guy who won't! In case your wondering what it is that keeps somebody like Mr.24 going all night long, well here is the secret!

It's not "Enduro-plasma", or "Cyto-lete", or any other weirdly named nutritional product you may have heard of. It's not a gel, an electrolyte, or carb booster either. (Hey! my first car had a carb!) It's not EPO, cocaine, or methane! Nope!

It's the intense burning desire that only an elite few have. The desire to get through the whole thing so he can relax with a Coke and a Golden Creme while perusing the latest Mad Magazine! You know, some things are just so simple! Sometimes you just miss it!

To Jeff, Carl, J.Y., and all those pedaling in anger this weekend, good luck, and good ridin'! Don't forget to have loads of fun, ya'all!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Monkeytron Invades Europa Cycle and Ski! Part II

There are some strange things going on, now that Monkeytron has come. Check this out! Mr.24 was seen with Monkeytron whispering into his ear for part of the day. One can only guess what the devious little primate was up to! Next thing I know, I catch Monkeytron riding Jeff's NRS rigs, both at the same time! He quickly jumped off as I grabbed the digi-cam. As I snapped the photo of the now swollen and enlarged Brown Menace, all he had to say for himself was, "WHAT!............." Looking closely at the photo later, I saw the banana that he ripped from Jeff's secret supply. That would account for his sudden increase in size. D*#@ that corpulent chimp!! Obviously, there is much more training that must occur before we can safely allow this animal to run around the shop unsupervised. I'll be keeping a VERY close eye on you, Monkeytron!!

Monkeytron Invades Europa Cycle and Ski!

Well, as you can see, I managed to get the digi-cam pryed from the hairy brown mits of our Overlord of the past few days. At his first appearing, you can see in the upper photo where he was crushing the Man of Steel into a pint sized joke! This he did in order that he might show his superiority, and then came the demands! Well, needless to say, we had to go into "damage control" mode. We ushered Monkeytron into the oft vacant office of Leans on Wood, and told him to assume the role of our leader. We motioned that he should sit in the "Throne of Power", and take up the "Scepter of Sabaceous Secretions". After ensconcing him in the royal posistion, he was content to pronounce several maledictions, and inevitably became an instant meglo-maniac. Perfect! Now we could twist things to make it seem that what we wanted was his idea! It was only after several small steps, and very patient handling that we were able to actually convince Monkeytron to give up. Of course, Jeff's bananas were quite helpful!

Now, Monkeytron has become our friend. We have convinced him to become the Europa Crash Test Pilot! Look for him doing QC on Jeff's 24hr rigs in tomorrows post!

Monkey Business

In order to recover my digi-cam, and to restore order at Europa, I have had to resort to calling in an expert to disarm Monkeytron!
Guitar Ted Productions

Well, there's no business like monkey business! So, without further delay, let me introduce you to this contraption. I'm not sure if it's a Zefal pump gone bad, or something out of George Jetsons closet. You tell me! I just love Interbike time! We used to go to the lower level, where they'd squirrel away all of the nuttiest stuff, and have at it. That had to be one of my favorite things to do there. A veritable cornucopia of optimism gone awry. Maybe if I get rid of Monkeytron, I can convince somebody to take him to Interbike. He could sniff out all the "monkeybusiness" going on in the basement there! Sounds like a good idea. Hmmm.......