The new Flyte Celsius-9 aluminum 29 inch wheeled hardtail frame. $399.99!! Guitar Ted Productions
The Airbourne Bicycle Company has had to change it's name, due to a licensing agreement, to Flyte Bicycles. Okay, now that that is out of the way, we can get to the really important stuff! The once promised, then nixed 29 inch wheeled aluminum hardtail frame is now available! What's more, it's only 399.99! This is great news, as the 29 inch world is chock full of single speed hardtail choices, but very few geared frames. The geared frames that are available are usually custom ones, which isn't bad, just not budget friendly. Now it will be possible for anyone to swap over most of their existing drivetrain parts, get a fork, and a wheelset, and have a 29 inch wheeled bike to check out for less than a grand. Of course, you could also choose one of Flyte's complete bike kits, or get a complete bike under a grand from Fisher. The choices are starting to proliferate, so if you've ever had a hankerin' to check out the larger wheeled format, now's a good time!
The frame sticker reads, "Super Lite", "1020", "Taper Wall Main Tubes". So, I guess they aren't solid! They sure felt that way! Guitar Ted Productions
We got this childrens 20" wheeled bike in the shop for a flat rear tire repair. When I went to put it in the repair stand, I about threw out my back! This thing was solid! (Not in the funky, good way, either) I had to weigh it! Yeeeeeaaaah! Riiiiggghhht! 30 and a third el-bees! You've got to be kidding me. A kids bike that weighs thirty plus! No wonder they give up on bikes at an early age. Think about it. If you are a kid, and your bike is this heavy, then how heavy is an adult bike going to be? (I'm using kid logic here, so bear with me) And something else that would bother me is how often the thing breaks! I mean, here I am, ready to head over to my friends house to hit the X-BOX, and my tire is flat, my chain threw off, and the front wheel wiggles worse than it did when Dad brought it home from Mall-Wart. Man! This bike sucks! I can't wait to get one of those tuner cars! Or a H2 with spinners!That'd be sooo pimp! Soooo tight!
I'm beggining to think that the oil companies have to be behind this somehow! How else can you explain this! The bikes would make me hate any form of two wheeled travel! Then there is the question of how? Like, how can this bike be that heavy? Is it made from some secret material that the government of China is using to infect our wee ones with a genetically altered disease that causes the kids to grow up corpulent, lazy, and complacent? If it is that, then it's working!
All I know is that my back hurts! I'm going to have to look for one of those lumbar belts if this keeps up!
Well, here it is. "Part time employee" Ron Saul's new Trek EX-7. Check out Mr. 24, as he assembles it with love!
The bike comes out of the box almost assembled, but we do several checks, and test ride the bike before the customer gets thier hands on it.
Jeff made several adjustments to the bike's suspension, based on the customers, ahem!.....measurements!
We were pretty impressed with the parts spec, and the minimal test rides we got. This bike seems pretty dialed in for what it's intended use is. That is, long, epic trail riding and endurance events. While it's not XC light, it's pretty stout, and I thought it pedaled way lighter than it was. Of course, that might all change if things got more vertical. However; the tires seemed pretty grippy, so as long as you can turn over the cranks, this thing should haul up a climb pretty well. I thought the suspension felt a little more "bike like" than the Cannondale Rush I rode a week or so ago. That bike felt a little more dissconnected to the ground than the Trek. Both are great bikes. The Cannondale had a great parts spec, and the Trek was less money, but still pretty good. In fact, you could buy 1.5 Trek Fuel EX-7's for the price of the Rush we saw. (Not sure if you can buy half a bike!) To be fair, Cannondale has less spendy Rush bikes. ( sorta like a cheap high!)
Well, I don't expect Mr. Saul to be hangin' around the shop much for awhile! That's for sure! Enjoy your new ride!
The "Big Announcement": Well, to one young fella, anyway! I decided that the bike I loaned out to Jimmy this weekend for the race at Ingawanis fit him so well, that he had to have it! I made him a rediculus offer to take it off my hands, more so that he would feel some ownership in it. I suspect he is still in shock over the whole thing, but he really seemed to enjoy the rides he got in on it, so what the heck! I wish him miles of smiles, and I am glad to see someone getting some use out of that sled. Go Jimmy!
So, here's to two new mountain bikers out on the loose! Ron and Jimmy will be tearin' up the local trails soon, so look out for them and say hi!
Travis Brown's single speed 29" front/ 26" rear bike. Picture courtesy of cyclingnews.com Guitar Ted Productions
There has been alot of experiments done recently involving the use of 29 inch front wheels on a otherwise traditional 26 inch rear wheeled hardtail bicycle. Of course, you wouldn't normally see such a thing. Namely; a bike with two differing wheel sizes, unless you had just traveled into the future from the 1890's. I am not an advocate of such a setup, but I will try to impart the percieved benefits of such a bicycle.
First, the idea is that a 29 inch wheel is harder to spin up to speed from a stop, or from a slow speed to a faster speed. This is fact. A larger diameter wheel, with a large, fat tire on it will take a litlle extra effort to spin up to speed. What most people do not talk about is how that same wheel has a tendency to want to keep spinning, or hold it's momentum. Additionally, the larger wheel has somewhat better gyroscopic tendencies, as well. So, to re-cap, the big wheels spin up slower, but have better stability, and carry more momentum than smaller wheels.
Secondly: The 29 inch wheel is better at rolling over trail obstacles than it's 26 inch wheeled sibling. This is fact. The "lower angle of attack", or the effect of the larger diameter of the 29 inch wheel causes it to roll up and over stuff with less deflection of the wheel. You percieve this as a smoother, more stable ride. Think of it this way; your car would have a very difficult time getting over a parking barrier. By putting yourself in a four by four, with 36" tires, you can walk right over that barrier. The tires are bigger, so they don't bump into the barrier and bounce backwards. The bigger tires, with it's lower angle of attack, rolls up onto the barrier, and over it. Got it? So, to re-cap, 29 inch wheels roll over stuff better.
Now we come to this mix of the two wheel sizes. 26 inch and 29 inch wheels. Why? Well, the prevailing wisdom here is that you gain the benefit of the big wheel by putting it on the front, where it will roll over stuff better. (I guess we won't worry about the back wheel, it'll just follow along- right?) The benefit of the 26 inch wheel in back is that it is easier to spin up to speed. This is supposed to be the best of both worlds. I say, it's a misunderstanding of the 29 inch wheeled bike. Here's why.
The smaller back wheel, while retaining the good spin up factor, does not roll over stuff better. Less comfort, less control. Also, a 29 inch wheel has an elongated contact patch with the ground. (Another effect of the larger diameter) This gives much better grip than a comparably sized 26 inch tire. Wouldn't you want better grip and comfort- especially on a single speed? What about the spin up factor? Well, this is where most people don't get it. You just cannot ride a 29 inch wheeled bike like you do a 26 inch wheeled bike. You have to re-learn a few things. Namely, how to conserve your momentum. ( I'll get into that on another post!) Finally, I really wouldn't want to carry two different sized tubes along for every ride, or have to invest in two different tire standards for one bike. Especially if I'm just getting into mountain biking, or am on a tight budget.
My conclusion is, that while Travis' bike is a single speed Trek, pink, and has cool sliding drop outs, it is not something I would invest in. Don't make this bike, Trek! If you do something, do a full-on 29 inch wheeled bike, or 26 inch wheeled bike. This compromise is a bad idea. VERY bad!
Several things have struck me today as being rather interesting. Here are my thoughts. First, I would be remiss for not sending out my thoughts and prayers to the people of the Gulf Coast as they are about to suffer a major calamity. I hope you do the same. Now.....on to the stuff.
1. The information that I got last weekend at the Trek Show concerning the Super Caliber Race Day bike and the 29 inch Bontrager tubeless tire/rim systems has again popped up in discussions here and here. In the first hyperlink, you will learn that not only will we not be seeing a tubeless system anytime soon, but that Bontrager and WTB have apparently pulled all their 29 inch aramid bead folding tires from the market! The second hyperlink will take you to a discussion that includes the interesting tidbits of information pointing to a long delay in the arrival of any 29 inch wheeled Race Day bike from Fisher. Oddly enough, this is exactly what I reported last week, and what the marketing head at Fisher said I was dead wrong about. I would tend to think that the information coming out the back door at Trek is a little more reliable than what we are used to hearing out the front door!
2. I really am not sure I want to say too much about this next subject, for fear of appearing that I am tooting my own horn. So, briefly I will say that I had the great pleasure to provide a young man with a mountain bike that I had laying around here at Guitar Ted Labratories so he could race it at today's Camp Ingawanis XC event. It was his very first mountain bike experience, and he pulled down a 5th place in the beginners class! ( I should mention that he won the state championship BMX race the day before for his class!) Way to go, Jimmy! I'm proud of ya! There will be a major announcement coming in connection with this, so hold on, ya'all!
3. I spent alot of time monitoring the reaction to the banning of Jeff from the world solo 24hrs of Adrenaline championships. I am afraid that the director of that series has made a grave mistake. The ball is in his court now, and it will be interesting to see what type of reaction, if any, will precipitate from all of this. I think the future of this series hangs in the balance. It's too bad that it had to end this way. I don't forsee anything positive coming from this, but let's hope I'm wrong about that!
4. I have been questioned as to my plans for the coming weekend- whether or not I might come to the 24 hour race at Seven Oaks, near Boone. Well, regretfully I have to decline. You see, a certain Mr. 24 and his co-hort, Carlos: Lord Sith of the Jackals(umm....like, whatever, doode!) are going to be down there. That leaves me to be working on Sunday with Leans on Wood. So, no cavorting amongst the woodland creatures for me! I am; however, planning on doing a major gravel grinder after work on Sunday to Alden, Iowa. Well, if the weather holds out!
Note: This was briefly posted up by mistake on Jeff Kerkove's blog! Sorry for any confusion that this might cause! A result of the days from when I was a contributor to his blog. Hit the wrong button! Whoops!....and now on to your regularly scheduled blog!
It seems that the recent action taking against Jeff by the director of the 24hrs of Adrenaline has stirred up a tidal wave of reaction amongst the endurance racing community. Although Jeff would not want to admit it, he is an extremely popular and influential racer. I think the whole enchilada is best summed up on a recent post by Jonathan Maus on his blogsite, entitled JustRiding Along.
On the topic of blogs. Sites like Jonathan's are a great example of what is happening in today's media. I like to call it the culture of the internet. It basically can be thought of as electronic word of mouth. You may have heard that there is no advertising like word of mouth. This is similar, it just gets around a little faster! The individual now has a voice that can affect the actions and policies of larger corporations and political entities. It's a powerful new way of communicating that can't be ignored.
Someday, I could even envision this blog being podcasted. I could give information as it happens. For instance, a cycling product that I want to be reviewed could be done on the fly, as it was being used. I wouldn't have to wait until I got around to a keyboard, and risk losing my thoughts and initial impressions.
And finally....... I saw this on the forums of mtbr.com. It is a new system of attaching spokes to a rim without drilling holes through the rim. It's one of those things that, when you see it, you say, "Why didn't someone think of this years ago!"
I was at work today when the e-mail came in to Jeff that the director of 24hrs of Adrenaline, Stuart Dorland, has "Suspended" Jeff from competing at any Adrenaline events for a year! This all based on comments Jeff posted on a thread on mtbr.com. Check it out here http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=121068 .
In the thread, you will start to see a picture unfold of this event director, and it ain't pretty, my friends! I'm disgusted by this action, and baffled. How in the world does this guy ever hope to gain a positive image for his events by banning someone for voicing an opinion? Goofy!
Wow! What can I say! There is so much going on here. I'll leave it up to you. Guitar Ted Productions
Tonight the Europa Cycle and Ski staff held a small party to honor the services of John, who we know as Whizbang. He is officially done at the end of the month, so we're a little premature in booting him down the road, but hey! What are co-workers for, anyway? I'm not even going to start commenting on this photo, and no- don't ask me what Mr.24 is looking at! I don't think he knows either! HA! Anyways, a big Guitar Ted Productions salute to you, John. You'll be missed!
Notes from the Sea of Web: 1. I recieved a very nice e-mail from Gary Fisher today. He was relating how he felt my take on Trek Show was "right on". He also appologized for the lack of info, but promised that things are looking good for '06 and beyond on several fronts. Cool! It also would appear that the Fisher Rig was a huge hit amongst the single speed crowd as the event saw a ton of them at the Single Speed World Championships held in Pensylvania over the weekend. I am going to give Gary a huge thumbs up for taking the time out to communicate with me! I was impressed!
2. I got a question here on the comments section that I'll address here. It dealt with the disc vs. linear pull brake argument. I am a big believer in keeping things light, and simple when it comes to my bicycle. That said, I do run Avid BB-7 disc brakes on the Monkey. I feel that they have undoubtedly saved me more than once during commutes to work in less than ideal conditions. Linear pull brakes of high quality, used in mainly dry conditions will do you no wrong. However; if your running anything that has major downhills, mud, creek crossings galore, or in rainy, wet, and snowy conditions, linear pull brakes just don't match up to disc brakes. Choose your weapons carefully my friends!
3. I got a comment dealing with the "Someone is Watching" post that said, yes! we are watching you!. Well, thanks! I guess. Apparently this blog serves a functional purpose after all. Look for more bicycle related industry diatribe as it formulates from the slimy crevasses of my cranium soon! Say it with me: I am a tool!...I am a tool......
4. And finally.............. This is something that really gets to me! (Rant mode....AGAIN!) I got a call from a local cyclist at work today relating how all his bicycles have been stolen! Talk about ripping the heart out of a guy! What do you say? I tried to be supportive, but I know...Iknow that there is nothing that can assuage that man's pain right now. I only hope he'll rise from these ashes to pound dirt once more. These bikes were cherished treasures. You might have an inkling how that feels. Maybe you have gone through something like it. I just don't know, ya know? I just hope I don't ever see someone else riding those bikes. I know what they are, so it would be easy for me to spot them. Why don't I want to see someone riding them, you might ask? Well, it'd be just too tempting to lay the smack down on 'em, that's why! These people that perpetrate such crimes are akin to horse thieves, and worse. BAH!
Ever wonder how much time you lose to interuptions, snafus, and general mayhem at work? Have you ever thought, "If they'd only leave me alone, I'd get all this work done!" Well, I have, and I decided to look into it. I did this once before at another job. It was pretty amazing. Check this out.
Total Time Spent At Work August 24th, 2005, 7hrs. 30min.
1. Time spent helping customers on sales floor......................2hrs, 8min.
2. Time spent answering and handling phone calls...............13 min.
3. Time spent listening to Leans On Wood.............................32min.
4. Lunch Time.............................................................................16 min.
5. Time spent actually working on bicycles.............................4hrs, 21 min.
Pretty cool! I thought I got interrupted more than this. It might be helpful to know that besides two customers, the most time spent helping a customer was five minutes or less! You know, "just looking" types? Or asking quetions and leaving right away, or picking up repairs. Also, I was alone out on the floor for th first 5hrs, 30 minutes until Mr. 24 came into work. So, these "little" interuptions are pretty devastating when your up to your elbows in grease and trying to adjust bicycles as best you can.
I'll be doing more random time studies in the future. Maybe you should try it too? That way when the boss says, "How come you didn't get that done?", you can show him how many minutes got wasted doing other schtuff!
On a completely unrelated note: Check out this sneak peak at SRAM's new road shift/ brake levers, due out next year. If these things work well, Shimano is going to be in trouble! Check out the simiarity in lever shape. Patent infringement, anyone? I like the campy-esque cable routing. Clean machine!
Okay, folks! Mr Ryan Atkinson of Fisher Bicycles has informed me that I was misinformedabout Fisher's intents concerning the Super Caliber Race Day 29"er bike, and tubeless tire/ rim production for 29"ers. I say, we'll see about that! Show me the products when you guys say they will be out, and I'll believe it then. My source at Trek didn't say the stuff would never come out, just that it wouldn't be anytime soon! Besides, a late spring intro of the Race Day bike puts that model nearly into Trek's '07 model year! Whatever, doode! And as for Mr. Atkinson's attendance at the Single Speed World Championships is concerned, he says it was a welcomed relief from a week's worth of Trek Show. Well, I guess that means the po-dunk dealers that showed up Saturday through Monday must either have been too much of a pain to deal with, or they were unworthy, or BOTH! Last time I checked, the customers walking in our shops door at 7:55pm. deserved as much attention as the ones that showed up at 9:02 am.! I guess Trek doesn't follow the same business model that the retail outlets do for customer service. Hmmm....
Ah! Too much black goodness this morning, I guess! Rant mode off!
Well, here are the final pics released today by OnOne showing the new 29 inch wheeled Inbred frame. As you might see, the rear drop outs are sliders with an unusual tensioner built right in! Also note the rear derailluer hangar. This frame is "gearie" compatible, and that's how I would run it. It looks as though one of our distributors is getting these in, so I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for a price. If it's good, you just may see Guitar Ted on this thing! It'll look pretty cool with that new Bontrager Switchblade fork, don't you think?
I have been wrestling with html code lately, so if the site has looked a little messed up at times, I appologize! Bear with me, as I try to bring you the best that Guitar Ted Labratories can conjure up for you! Got some suggestions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!
It seems as though that a certain manufacturing conglomerate has been snooping around on some blogs on the ol' net here! Either that, or some cubicle ranger is wanderin' around on company time! You see, there are these little net-bots called trackers that'll let you know from where people are veiwing your schtuff! (Wish I'd a had that capability back in high school!) Anywhoo, it appears that said corporation has been at three different blogs, that I'm aware of, checking on some recent posts! Big Brother is Watching!!
Talking about the recent Trek Show on the mtbr.com forums has brought about a bit of controversy for the Guitar Ted Public Relations Department to deal with. Not to worry! G.T.P.R.D. has it all under control! We pride ourselves on quality, home grown journalism here at the palatial Guitar Ted Labratories. We do not use anything but the finest organically produced thoughts and feelings. Nothing like the mass produced drivel that passes for information elsewhere! No preservatives or un-natural chemicals here! If our stuff starts to smell, we throw it out! Bombs away!
I came across something of interest for those of you that reside in the Tri-State area. (That being, Iowa-Minnesota-Wisconsin) There is a mountain bike summit planned for September 9th and going through the 11th at Lebanon Hills Regional Park, in Minnesota. There will be planned mountain bike rides, commaraderie, and prizes! Check it out here!
Finally, something I've mentioned recently, but didn't link. (Bad Monkey!) I hope ya'all enjoy what you find in that zoo!
All righty then! Don't forget to give Mr. 24 some pre-Worlds love and support! He needs a hug!
Here are some of my impressions from Trek Show '05...............
1. Do we really need a 30 minute fashion show to introduce the '06 Nike line? I think we save the dealers and their employees from looking at female models with bodies that resemble something akin to sausage skins half filled with jello. I mean, did these people have their spines removed surgically? I can't even begin to stand with my hips out past my feet, and my shoulders behind my hips! Freaks! Freaks I Say!!
2. Then we have the amped up rave music, or whatever that noyze wuz. It makes U styoo-pid, that's fer shoo-yah. They playz-zit awl nite long, 2. Kah-ray-zay!
3. Show bikes that are pre-production, or pre-pre-production, or, as in at least one case, is a plastic model! This is great! Dealers come in to make purchasing decisions based on what might be! Yeah, take a look at this new "bike". Wanna sniff some glue? I don't think the joints are cured yet! Fantastic!
4. Road bikes re-invented! It's the "Lance" factor, or something, I guess because there are so many different road bike models that it'll make your head spin. "Okay, here we have the Pilot 5.2, which comes in a double OR a triple crank, flat bar OR a drop bar model, OR you could get a 5.2 Madone, OR you could get a Madone SL, of course there is the triple OR the double crank option...........AAAHHHHH!!!!!!!
3. Klein......yeah, ummm.....there over there, somewhere in an alleyway all by themselves.......mumble.....couple a models......OKAY! Let's move on, shall we!
4. Paper catalogs: In '04, we saw stacks and stacks of catalogs. This year.........(crickets)...........
5. Last year we could easily find a representative to answer any of our questions. This year was more like,"Hey! A little help over here. Do you mind?"........(crickets)........... "Thanks, Buddy!"
6. Paint jobs were pretty cool! I have to have a Fisher X-Cal frame and fork! Orange with green clearcoat, ARE YOU KIDDING! YES!!!!
7. Monona Center, where the show was held, is an awesome place. The veiw over the lake is spectacular. This is where we ate. They could feed me green jello with anchovies here and I'd think I was eating like a king! Stop by and check it out if your ever in Madison. Bonus: It was designed by some "special person", I think his name was Frank Lloyd something or other......Wright? I dunno.........
8. Due to the abscence of helpful Trek employees, Carlos and I were unable to acertain the proper procedure, or times for the dirt demo. Thanks, Buddies!
9. Hillary Duff was in Madison at the same time as I was. I'm sure, just sure that she had goosebumps. I could feel it!
10. Trek Factory Gnome, Zapata Espinosa was no where in sight! I looked for the little twirp, too! Someone did report that they saw him sitting in a chair, cooling his heels somewhere. Slacker!
11. Carlos and I took in the Trek Concept Store on the West side of Madison. If you ever get there, check out the bulletin board with black and whites of all the current employees. My favorite: Kitty, shown sitting on a toilet. Really nice! ( Well, you really don't see the toilet, but she looks like she is sitting next to a fixture holding a roll of toilet paper- so, you know....) Did I just write the word fixture?
From outside the show. Parked in the bike rack outside the main entrance was this Trek folder in Pave' flambe', with "J.B" on the frame. Perhaps it's Trek Presidente', John Burkes? Guitar Ted Productions
Another "interesting" bike from Trek, the Soho. Hydro formed Aluminum, rubber inserts on sides of top-tube, (prevents dings from leaning up against stuff), Integrated U-lock handlebar, disc only, 1 x 9 drivetrain, and about 1000 buck-ohs. Guitar Ted Productions
I have seen! I have been there! Umm..........wait a minute, where am I? Oh yeah! Trek Show! Ha ha. I have much to report on, but I have several things to "research" yet. Just a quick note to ya'all out in cyberland that I am chillin' with the Jackal, dirtram, Poppa Vinnie, Pawn Shop Willie, B-Rent, and Juhls. Havin' a great time. Got a messenger bag for swag this year. I could live in this thing, it's hyooooooogggee! I'll have some pics and more detailed product info comin' soon! Should be back later tonight. OUT!
It is time to go to the Trek Show! I'll be leaving Saturday about 1:30 or so to head on up to Madison, Wisconsin. I will be posting a huge report here, and on Twenty Nine Inches.com. There will also be a report on mtbr.com that I will be contributing to. I may get a chance to ride some at the mountain bike trail at the Trek factory, or may not, depending on if I can get away for awhile. I also might be taking in the Trek Factory tour, also dependant on everybody else's schedule. We are staying overnight, but if it's anything like last year, the important people will want to jet home asap after breakfast. Oh well, I'll do what I can do! There will be a ride here tomorrow, possibly to Ingawanis, packing, drop off at the shop to meet up with Leans On Wood for the trip up, and I'm gone until Sunday night. I'll try and post my thoughts then, and hopefully, many pics! Until then..........................
Large, obnoxious, fundamentally tasteless timepiece courtesy of Leans On Wood. Thanks Buddy!!!!!
Slacker: I noticed the other day that Mr.24 had been slacking off a little, and that he missed posting for a day. Well, this is what he has been up to lately, so now you know, and knowing is half the battle! (And on company time no less! Are you taking notes, Leans On Wood?)
Leaks: I see on the message board dedicated to all things 29 inch wheeled that Gary Fisher has shown a sneak peak of several new 29 inch specific goodies coming our way! An under $1000.00 hardtail, The Rig as a frame/ rigid fork only combo, two rigid Bontrager forks, and a new Race Day suspension platform available in spring! Wahoo! I can't wait to get to the show! (Trek Show this weekend, that is)
Geeks: It was geek bike day at the ol' shop! Two recumbent trikes built, and one recumbent tune-up. With only one extended reach clamp for the workstands, the day got kinda balled up. I did get to do an extended test ride on one of the trikes. I was doing two wheeled turns and just about high sided it during a high speed descent! Wa-hoo-hoo-hooooo! I have a new appreciation for why we call these things death sleds!
That's all for today! I hope Mr 24 has his air intakes all ported and polished for this weekends assault on Camp Ingawanis! He'll be puttin' the hurt on anyone that dares to show up, I'm sure! As for me, I'll be blazin' a trail up there the day before, all by my lonesome! Goin' to the show on Saturday! (YES! I am excited!) Sunday I'll be in Madtown whilst the group is ragin' the camp! Can't wait to hear the tales of woe when I get back!
Today's classic is a rather rare example of a top of the line Peugot racing bike. True, there are a ton of Peugot's out there, but think of this as the "Madone SL" of it's day.
The French not only had their own home made frames that they could ride, but also there own groupset- Simplex! For many of you old timers, Simplex= plastic= bad! Well, not this time, buddy! This is kitted out with the all alloy Simplex derailluers, shifters, and the ever so rare Simplex seat pin. Brakes are Campy, along with the levers. Wheels are not standard issue, but period correct Phil Wood hubs on Mavic rims. Campy skewers, and a rare Stronglight Model 99 crankset round out the spec on this Reynolds 531 frame and fork.
Pretty crazy fact about this bike is that is was on loan to a son as a college commuter for about a year! Now it does duty as the "loaner bike" for the owner. Nutty! A true classic relegated to mule duty. Oh well! Until the next dusty, crusty, old gem comes through, adios!
Today our Cannondale rep stopped by with the much anticipated "marathon" bike that he's been teasing me with for over a year now. Say hello to the "Rush" marathon/ endurance bike! This is the third bike model down from the top of the line team model. There are a couple lower models than this one. This baby pictured here runs at a msrp of $3400.00. That's right! You probably won't see this in the secret underground labratory of Guitar Ted. Too spendy for me. So I thoroughly enjoyed thrashing around out behind the shop on this sled today! Mr. 24 even took it for a spin, but I'm not even sure he can speak of it, since he is sponsored by Giant. Let's just say he wouldn't turn down an opportunity to thrash one for a full 24hrs!
What did I think? Well, I haven't really ever been on anything dual suspended that was made in this century, so anything would be a revelation to me! In fact, just about everything bolted to this bike was a "first time" for me! Call me a retrogrouch, and you'd probably be right! But I'm not so dumb that I could step into something new and deny the bennies. So, let's see....tubeless tires- good.....flippy shifters- whatever!.....hydro brakes, good.....Lefty fork, decent......platform technology rear shock, it worked.......Oversize handle bar, and stem- again,whatever! .......2 piece crank/bottom bracket, awesome! The bike overall worked as advertised. Four inches of plush travel. What does that mean? Let's put it this way, curbs disappeared as if they were not there. That's plush in my world! Then again, it could be a Stone Temple Pilots song! Ha! I think this would make a very good 24hr or endurance race platform. It's got a single pivot, (I did get it to "kickback" which is a downfall to this design.) it's spec'ed with durable parts,(mostly XT stuff), and it weighed in at 26.5 lbs, with water bottle and cage.
Plus, you get the added benefit of reflective graphics! How can you miss? Well, it may not be perfect,....it is, after all, a twenty six inch wheeled bike! Make one in the adult wheeled size and you'd really have something! A "leviathan" of sorts!
I e-mailed Jeff to ask if I left my camera on my bench at work. This is the response I got. I guess it's his version of "e-mail". Or perhaps it's "de-mail" in this case- devo-lution! Any resemblance to the artists is purely coincidental!
(These guys RULE, by the way!)
I didn't actually get to work with that monkee today, but the one I did get to work with was rather surly! I think he'd rather be doing something else ..................
Well, Summer is about all gone, and we are fast approaching the time of year that gets me pumped to go mountainbiking.....Fall! Also the time of year for Mr. 24's biggest race. Be sure to keep up with the last minute preparations here. It will also be the time of year that the finalization of the 2006 Trans Iowa course occurs. Mucho window time in my immediate future! Look for future updates on the Trans Iowa page soon!
Well, with the recent Trails Festival Night Ride recently run, I thought I'd post up a review of a typical "commuter" type headlamp that is currently available. On tap for today is Blackburn's entry into the currently hot market of LED lamp technology. The big deal here is that the lamps don't ever really "burn out" since they don't work in the same manner as a typical incandescent bulb. Battery life is also much improved. So, sounds pretty cool, huh? Well, all is not well in LED land, I'll be the first to tell you!
I have been pretty pumped about LED technology for awhile since the benefits and potential is huge. Pulling the whole enchilada off in one package has been pretty tough for most entering into this new arena of light technology, though. I've been disappointed on more than one occaision, and what's more, it's not always the quality of light that is the downfall!
As for today's subject, we have a very promising LED light that, despite it's wierd styling, has a brilliant white light that promised to be a contender to the Cat Eye EL-500 light that is currently the king of commuter lights as far as I'm concerned. In addition to the constant beam, the Quadrant features a couple of flashing modes that, other than extending the battery run time, are essentially useless. By the way, battery run time on steady mode is estimated to be over a hundred hours! Cool! The battery compartment is accessed by using a small rubber thumbscrew that is cleverly designed into the case at the rear of the light. Batteries are included, and mount easily. The quick release handle bar mount is really quick release, and is easily adjusted via a thumbscrew to different handle bar sizes. ( Question- why do we need so many different handlebar sizes?! A possible rant, eh?) Anyway, handlebar size is not an issue with the Quadrant. The main light unit then slides onto the bar mount, and clicks into place. However; I had a HUGE issue with this interface! On the first outing, my normal route home, I lost the main unit off the handlebar an amazing THREE TIMES in about 100 yards!!! These were normal jolts that I feel any light system HAS TO HANDLE in order to be usefull to anybody. One was a typical drop off a curb to a street. The other two were on a section of rough, broken pavement. Nothing unusual. All done at about 12mph. I had to cease the test on the first ride! I was bummed! I will say that the Quadrant took three HEAVY hits and it didn't faze the operation of the light one bit. In fact, the only damage was to the case, as it got scratched up sliding and bouncing off the pavement! Impressive! If Blackburn would re-evaluate that nasty mounting interface, they probably would have a contender here. As it is, it's an utter failure as a usefull piece of cycling equipment. Too bad!
I had an inkling that this might happen, as I had a similar experience in the shop a couple days before hand. I mounted a couple of these lights on a pair of customers bikes and I accidentally knocked both of them off the bar mounts with a slight lean into them while I was adjusting some other bits. Strange, I thought, but now I know why. Blackburn needs to get this fixed, or you'll have to take it WAY EASY on the smooth bike path to get any use out of this puppy!
Well, enough about that! Guess I'll be going with the most excellent Cat Eye EL-500 as my undisputed king of commuter lights! You should too!
That's right, It's raining again! Fantastic! I'm going to take this opportunity to address some recent comments and post topics. Here goes!
1. The Swirling Black Hole of Bicycle Parts: Also, tied into the Trails Festival Fiasco- It seems that Leans On Wood is a reader of these pages. ( Hello! I hope you're having a good day, by the way!) and so, my commenting here on the blog seems to have resulted in the change of a few things. No more "black hole", and I was relieved of my trails festival duties yesterday. Cool! Thanks Buddy! However; that rain outside probably made the turn out rather low, and tonights festivities look to be headed for a soaking too. So, probably won't be too big a deal anyway.
2. Getting "rained out" on my commute: dirtram says, " It's easier to pedal in the snow than the rain." Yes, true that! Not only do you not get soaked, but you also avoid the risk of becoming a lightning rod! Additionally, I was thinking of joining Mr. 24 on that gravel grinder today, but wet, gritty chamois is not my cup of tea, sorry!
3. Trip to Madtown! I will be having to ride up with someone else to the show. I still am down to one car yet. ( a long, sad story!) So, in order that my wife and kids can get around while I'm gone, I'll be hitchin' a ride with the rest of the shop crew. We are due to arrive on Saturday, so I'll be looking up the following folks: dirtram, Poppa Vinnie, jed gammel, Pawn Shop Willie, and any body else hanging around on Saturday. I am planning on doing some dirt riding at the new mountain bike park too. We will probably bug out Sunday morning, late. See you there! Unfortunately, I won't be able to bring up a bike, or ride anywhere up along the way. I'm sure that the others wouldn't be too keen on sittin' around whilst I was galavanting around in the woods!
4. Coffee Machine, 86'ed! The ol' coffee machine died last night, so I had to break out the Mr. Coffee micro machine for this mornings black goodness. Word to you coffee addicts, ALWAYS HAVE A BACK UP PLAN! You never know when a coffee emergency may arise in your life!
Okay, enough of the trivial! Some more bicycle related stuff will be up later this afternoon, so stay tuned!
Got rained out on the commute this morning. I think the group ride probably got a little wet, as well. I'll have to wait to hear from Mr. 24 on how his "ragin'" went! Swirling Black Hole of Bicycle Parts Update: The thing must have imploded upon itself last night! I got to work this morning and it was completely gone! I suppose it reached critical mass, and just sucked itself into oblivion..........or something!
Well, the Trek Show fiasco has garnered some attention apparently. I'm getting some e-mail about it. I just wish that companies like Trek would realize that things like this tend to have a negative effect on bicycle shop employees. I do not have the same level of trust and loyalty that I had before this "incident". Think about it this way. I was pretty pumped to see the new model year merchandise. I was excited to talk about it, then the news that Trek wanted to charge my shop $200.00 for me to come. It used to be no charge! What? They must not want me to come, because neither my shop, nor I can swing that kind of cash, just for me to come up and stay overnight. Well, thankfully that has been resolved for this year. What about next year? hmm...............maybe we could all camp out, ragbrai style and have a wing-ding! Sounds good to me!
This years Trails Festival may turn out to be a wet one! Saturday's forecasts are calling for scattered thunderstorms throughout the day. whoopee! Dodging raindrops and lightening bolts sounds like an exciting way to spend my Saturday. Of course, Mr. 24 would just call it an extreme case of swamp-ass conditions and merrily go about his business, but then again- he's not quite right now, is he? Well, I suppose he's no less touched than I am! I just hope that the surly people stay at home! I have got a totally jacked up schedule this weekend, and I won't suffer fools gladly! Bad attitude? hmm........... maybe, but I seem to remember being promised that I wouldn't have to work on weekends the rest of the summer awhile back, and it being still summer and all..............Let's just say that a split shift on a supposed weekend off isn't going down too smooth! Add to that the weekend that I have to work on Saturday coming up on September the 10th, ( still technically summer) and you might see how a bad attitude would be hard to resist! Well, maybe not! Maybe your nicer than I. maybe! Okay, whining mode off!
I guess it must be the gloomy weather, because this post sounds pretty negative! Time for the bed, sleep, and a new day tomorrow! OUT!
The Swirling Black Hole of Bicycle Parts has reappeared in the shop area at work! Guitar Ted Productions
Well, I guess we aren't getting this out of our system. "Someone" seems to think that Mr 24 and I need to run an obstacle while we are at work! We had a similar problem earlier in the year. I think some people are just wired a little differently. They just can't seem to function without a certain level of chaos in their lives. Unfortunately, this tends to have a very negative effect on those of us in society that could just as well do without such nuisances. Anyway, place your bets on how long this mess will lay undisturbed and the winner will be deemed wisecracker of the week! Tip: It's already been dormant for three full days, so far! Jeff swears he can hear it softly speaking to him....suck.....suck.....suck......
Warning to anyone visiting our shop! Stay out of the shop area! You might just get tripped up by the Swirling Black Hole of Bicycle Parts! Well, if that doesn't get you, then Carlos Lord Jackal of the Sith may obliterate you from his Imperial Star Cruiser now circling our planet! Carlos, you are trippin' us out here, doode!
Pancakes are about to arrive here at the Guitar Ted family table! OUT!
Well, it looks like maybe things will work out for me to attend the Trek Show afterall! I guess there has been enough squeeking on the net here to bring the attention of the wheels at Waterloo to bear on the problem. Good! I'm a bit grumpy about how the brass in Trek-land tried to pull that off under the radar, but I'm the forgiving type. (smile- wink!) So, I guess I'll be seeing some old friends and aquaintences, which should be fun! Also, the dirt on the new 29 inch wheel stuff will be dug up and proffered here for ya'all's perusal. Can't wait! Plan on the dirt demo too! It promises to be a hoot! ( So says Poppa Vinny!)
I got word that I have bike check in duty on Saturday am. for one of the trails festival rides. ( Insert yawn here!) I'm sure there will be plenty of gratuitous tippers on hand, pleased to return in greenbacks what I have offered in service! ( kaf! kaf!) Keeping in mind, this is Waterloo,Iowa we are talking about! Speaking of which...did you hear? Waterloo was mentioned in national radio news reports as being one of the cheapest housing markets in the U.S.A. Just goes to show you, it's not Waterloo, it's Ghetto-loo! Bet we'll see a huge influx of potential housing buyers from that news! Awesome!
Shop repair madness is abating somewhat. Seems that the new bike business is starting to pick up already again, though. Just sold a bike today to a returning college student, so we have a bit of that to look forward to. Plus the night ride for the trails festival should wipe us out of lights. If you don't know what I'm talking about, imagine 4-500 people out on the local bike path all at the same time, at night, with cheesy 2.5 watt halogen candles strapped to their bars! Add in copious amounts of alchohol, perhaps a smattering of recreational drug use, and a few meth heads, and you have a recipie for disaster! I went on this ride once..........once!
Okay, that's it for me! Time to hit the hay and look forward to getting my Salsa stem tomorrow! Wahoo!
Note the water on the floor. It all came out of this bikes headset when I hung it in my stand today to work on it! Guitar Ted Productions
Today I got a wet surprise when I hung this nice Trek 5200 in the stand. Water! Ach! "Must be another open bottle in a cage", I thought to myself. Nope! It was coming out of the headset. Last time I cracked open a headset, I didn't find any water. Just grease and bearings. So, where did all that water come from? Well, my guess is this fellow washed it after his ragbrai adventure. Water, especially the high pressure delivered kind, likes to get into places it doesn't belong. Like the inside of your frame! This particular bike sat for a couple of days in the back room of the shop before I got it out to work on it. Soooo, that means that the bottom bracket got marinated in a watery bath for at least that long, if not longer. When I removed it, sure enough, I could tell there had been water all over it, and probably inside it too. Nice! But what do I know? Maybe this guy wants a new bottom bracket. This might just be his twisted call for help! Hmm.......maybe NOT!
Remember cycling fans, water in your frame is BAD! Go easy on the wash cycle. Don't be gettin' all manly with the Briggs and Stratton power washer, okay? Gentle! Try mixin' that word in with your cleaning routine, and you'll have a happy bike. Use water out of a bucket with a sponge, if you have to use water. I like spraying on a product called Pedro's Bike Lust for that sexy shine! But other stuff used in moderation can work too. Like Formula 409, or plain ol' Windex. Hey, maybe just clean your bike! Like, once in while, okay? It's a good way to inspect your bike, ( something else you should be doing!) and it keeps mechanics at the shop happy. Nothing like working on a worm gutted, greasy, white lighteninged, neglected bicycle. BAH! Come to think of it, maybe the owner of the 5200 had me in mind after all! I got to work on a clean bike, AND I got to laugh about it at the same time! WOW! Am I happy, or what!? Thanks, Buddy!!!
Today was the shakedown cruise to Ingawanis for the new set-up on the Karate Monkey. Also, it was the first time in almost three years that I'd ridden up there. That's a downright shame! This place has more trails, and better riding than about anywhere in Iowa. There are a few things that could be better, but I'll get to that in a minute.
First, the new handle bar set up is going to the cat's pajamas! Yes, going to be! I've got one minor problem to solve yet, but that will happen just as soon as the Salsa Moto Ace stem I ordered shows up. The parts bin special I have on there now is pretty marginal, and in fact, it let the bars slip, and rotate foward on a downhill today. I decided to get out of Ingawanis after that! No need to eat it because my stem isn't right! Other than that, these bars rock! Several hand posistions kept my hands happy, and numb free for the duration of the ride. I even found an "aero" type of grip/ posistion that worked great. (That reminds me- I need new brake hoods, too!) The brakes worked exceptionally well. The control on downhills, and switchbacks was good. (YES! They have switchbacks in Ingawanis!) Climbing was awesome! I didn't even think about it until after a few uphill grinds, but holding the bars in the drops, standing, and pounding was so natural. I was able to keep the rear end hooking up with no problem. Some of that was due to the nature of 29 inch wheels, no doubt. I did feel a strange sensation during a particularily tough climb towards the end of my time at the camp. Liquid running down over my fingers! I was squeezing the life juices out of the bar tape! Kind of yuck! Oh well, sweat has gotta go somewhere! So, these bars have found a "permanent" home on the Monkee- for now! At least until I'm convinced that there is something better!
A few words about the camp. I am really impressed with the different types of terrain, and the length of trails that Camp Ingawanis has. Several newer trails have been opened up, and the established ones are very fine! I did not make it to the South Unit today, and I understand that it is "better" over on that side, so take the next statements with that in mind. The North Unit is a maze of trails that are bewildering, and I actually got lost for awhile! I finally ran into Paul Meyerman, one of the key individuals in charge of the trails up there. He gave me some pointers which helped me navigate a little better. If you ever run into Paul, please thank him! He has worked like crazy on this trail system, and it's maintenance! Anyway, the trail map at the sign in might help, if it was available to trail riders, but I doubt it. Those trails out there are not marked, and it's easy to get turned around out there. Perhaps a marking system of some sort will be worked out someday, but I'm not complaining! I'm just tickled that we have a place so near to Waterloo/ Cedar Falls that is so nice to ride at! I'll have to hit the South Unit next time up. If you can race on the 28th of this month, you'd better jump at the opportunity to ride these trails! You also can purchase a yearly trail pass from the Ranger, (Tim) or from Paul. Follow the check in procedure, and enjoy!
See the "photo blog" below for more of today's ride!
Entrance to main campground at Ingawanis. The Ranger's house is directly to the left, after entering. Stop by and let Tim know your around. If he isn't, go to the sign in board down the service road to the left side, under a covered bulletin board. Guitar Ted Productions