9/29/2013

First-Ever Wild Ride Mountain Bike Festival Coming to Lebanon Hills


The First Annual Wild Ride Mountain Bike Festival will be taking place on Saturday, October 5th at the Lebanon Hills West Trailhead located at 4801 Johnny Cake Ridge Road in Eagan.  This free event will be held from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and everyone is welcome.  Penn Cycle, Valley Bike & Ski and Boehm's Cycle will be on hand as well as the Minnesota High School Cycling League and IMBA.  Bring your own bike or demo one from the Trek Demo Rig and bikes from Giant and Felt will also be available to test ride.

Image Credit:  Lebanon Hills Mountain Bike Trail Facebook page

Scheduled activities include group rides, mountain bike demonstrations, bike tune-ups, gear expos and prize drawings.  The B-52 Slider Squad and the Cave Cafe food trucks will be on site to satisfy your hunger after riding the trails.

"This is event is ½ fun community festival trying to introduce mountain biking and the fantastic amenities at the West Trailhead at Lebanon Hills Regional Park to a greater audience and ½ recognition for MORC for the many MANY hours their volunteers put in making that system possible." - Katie Pata, Park Operations Coordinator for Dakota County Parks


Event parking will be available at the West Trailhead and at the School of Environmental Studies just a couple of blocks to the south on Johnny Cake Ridge Road.  Look for the signs.  Updates for the Wild Ride Mountain Bike Festival can be found on the Lebanon Hills Mountain Bike Trail Facebook page.  Let 'em know you're going by visiting the Wild Ride event page on Facebook.  Spread the word to help make the first-ever Wild Ride a huge success and an annual event for years to come.

9/28/2013

Pictures from Interbike 2013-Outdoor Demo

Photos from the Outdoor Demo at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada September 16 & 17, 2013.

 The new 9:Zero:7 Carbon fatbike weighing in at around 23 lbs.

 36'ers!

The new Borealis Yampa.  Carbon fiber frame, forks and wheelset.
Weighing in at a mere 21 lbs.

Calfee MTB Tandem.
Carbon frame and full suspension.

Plenty of Santa Cruz models to demo.

Here's the one I test rode, the Santa Cruz Bantam.
A 27.5'er with full suspension and 5" of travel.
 With temperatures hovering around 100° 
both days of the Outdoor Demo,
the Camelbak Oasis was a popular spot.

 A lot of new gear and bikes to see.

Time to demo ride some Surlys.

First up, the Pugsley.

Next, the Krampus with 29X3 Knards.

 And finally, the newest addition to the Surly line, the Straggler.

Out on the trails.

 Happy hour at the end of each day provided by
 Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

9/26/2013

Interbike 2013 Cool Bike Gear-Part 2

After five days in Las Vegas for Interbike, I have seen anything and everything bike related.  There was so much to see that it took all three days at the show and both days at the Outdoor Demo to take it all in.  I felt like a kid in a candy store and there were many things that caught my eye.  This is the second installment of four posts highlighting some of the cool new products at Interbike 2013 that are now available, available soon or are coming to a bike shop near you.

Kryptonite Evolution LITE Mini 6 U-Lock


New in the Kryptonite line for 2014 is the Evolution LITE Mini 6 U-Lock.  This is their lightest weight u-lock at 1.65 lbs. (747 grams) which is 16% lighter than their Evolution Mini-5.  Its design implements the New MAX-Performance steel shackle  material which provides high security with a smaller shackle diameter.  It also has a new key design with a replaceable LED key fob and a new patent-pending hybrid cylinder technology for increased security.  It's small enough to fit in a pocket or can be attached to a bike frame using the optional Transit FlexFrame-U Bracket.  Look for it coming soon to a bike shop near you.

Hydrapak Soft Flask

For 2014 from Hydrapak comes a new version of the Soft Flask in three new sizes, 350 (12 oz), 500 (17 oz) and 750 ml (25 oz) bringing the line to five choices.  The original tube version of the Soft Flask was meant to be used with energy gels but this new design is larger, has a wider cap, a hardened rounded bottom and will work great as a soft collapsible water bottle.  It comes with a shut off valve to prevent leaks, has a high-flow bite valve and it collapses as you drink from it.  When empty, stow it away using minimal space by simply scrunching it up.  The Hydrapak Soft Flasks will start shipping out in October and retail for $11.99 to $20.99.

Hero Kit


The Hero Kit is a bike rescue kit that helps get a cyclist back up and riding and avoid that long walk of shame.  These kits will give cyclists of all abilities the tools and instruction for the most common problems they may face out on the road or trail.   They were designed with the help of expert riders and mechanics to include the necessary tools and easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions to get even the novice of riders out of a jam.  Its small package size can easily fit into a jersey pocket, seat bag or top tube bag.


There is also a Super Hero Kit for Road Cycling, Mountain Biking and Extreme for Mountain Biking with a spare tube, tire pump and seat pack (Road Cycling) or top tube bag (Mountain Biking).  “A Hero Kit is more than just a bag of tools,” says Hero Kit's founder Jason Berv. “It’s confidence in a kit, empowerment to ride a trail that you’ve never ridden before, knowledge that you have what you need, including tools and how-to and support, to get you back to the trailhead safely."  Hero Kits are now available and may be purchased from Herokit.com

Nite Rider Lumina Flare


New for 2014 from Nite Rider is the Lumina Flare.  This light features 650 Lumens to penetrate the darkness and integrates a 1W red taillight on the other end to alert those behind you.  It contains an internal USB rechargeable Lithium Ion battery that will deliver a run time of 1:30 hours on High (650), 3 hours on Medium (350), 5½ hours on  Low (200) and 18 hours on Walk (40) and also has a flash mode.  The Lumina Flare can be mounted on handlebars but is most effective when helmet mounted for use of the rear taillight.  Its one piece design is a great choice for commuters looking for a headlight/taillight combination.  Look for it coming to your local bike shop sometime this fall.  MSRP $169.99.  
A'ME Heated Grips


For cyclists that want to keep their hands warm when riding in cold conditions there is the A'ME Handlebar Thermal Wrap System and Heated MTB Grip.  These thermal grips feature bluPulse™ ‘Adaptive Thermal Regulation’ technology with six different temperature settings that can be selected by pushing a button.  Both units run on a 11.1 volt Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery Pack that can be mounted to a frame tube or handlebar stem and it has watertight connectors.  The MTB grips are available in three styles for $199 and the Road Bike wraps for $199.  All come with a  6 Month Grip Replacement on Manufacture Defects and a 2-Year Half-Price Replacement Warranty on grips for damage due to fall or excessive wear.  Available now at amegrips.com.

9/23/2013

Interbike 2013 Cool Bike Gear-Part 1

After five days in Las Vegas for Interbike, I have seen anything and everything bike related.  There was so much to see that it took all three days at the show and both days at the Outdoor Demo to take it all in.  I felt like a kid in a candy store and there were many things that caught my eye.  This is the first installment of four posts highlighting some of the cool new products at Interbike 2013 that are now available, available soon or are coming to a bike shop near you.

 BikeSpike


BikeSpike is a new anti-theft device featuring patent-pending technologies that will change how you think about security for your bike.  It was crowd source funded through their Kickstarter campaign earlier this year.  Its unique features include GPS location for stolen bike recovery, tamper alerts when your bike is parked, constant transmission of cell signal without use of a smartphone, ride stats tracking with their app and a crash detection system that can alert loved ones.  The unit's stealthy location is integrated into their custom water bottle cage.  Each one comes with a special security installation tool that makes it extremely difficult for thieves to remove it.  Pre-orders are now being taken ($129) and will ship out this winter.   Visit  BikeSpike on the web to learn more or to reserve yours.

GeigerRig Hydration System

Geigerrig has revolutionized the hydration pack by creating a pressurized system for delivery that is lacking from all other hydration bladders on the market.  It is the only system that sprays making it much easier to hydrate during physical activity.  Have you ever tried to hydrate when you are out of breath with a traditional hydration bladder?  It can be difficult because you have to bite the valve and suck to hydrate.  The best way to stay hydrated is to do so continuously, not by gulping a bunch after you catch your breath.

Not only can you spray to drink, but it can also be used to cool down, wash up and share with others or your pet.  Geigerrig hydration engines come in 1, 1.5, 2 and 3 Liter sizes and they have a full line of packs including a new Bike Rig to choose from.  Geigerrig offers a lifetime guaranty against leakage of the hydration engine portion of their pressurized hydration packs, including bladders, drink tube and bite valve.  Visit Geigerrig.com for more information.




Fix It Sticks

Fix It Sticks are an innovative new product from Brian Davis who is a Cat 3 road racer from Appleton, WI.  His concept for the Fix It Sticks was to combine the torque of a 3-way wrench into a compact and lightweight multi-tool.  Through his Kickstarter campaign he quickly was able to fund the project and make his new multi-tool available.  They are lightweight (55 grams-aluminum model), provide lots of torque (10 foot lbs.), contain no moving parts and have steel pressed bits.

Fix It Sticks are available in variety of different sets for $29.99 and are available from select dealers and on Fixitsticks.com.

Serfas USL-TL80 Taillight
 
The Serfas USL-TL80 Taillight is new for 2014 and boasts an impressive 80 Lumens.  This USB rechargeable model packs a lot of light in a small package (58mm x 40mm) and weighs only 58 grams.  It is rack compatible and can be strapped to a seat post/frame, clipped to clothing, backpack or seat bag and has an angle adjustment to achieve best visibility.  This light will get you seen on those dark roads with over 1 mile of visibility.  Serfas states a run time of up to 2 hours on High-Steady mode.  Three other modes (Low-Steady, Flash and Alternating Flash) can be used to extend battery life and the mode button also has charge indicator lights.  It is a little more expensive than other rear lights at about $75 but you will definitely be seen in the darkest of conditions.  Now available at your local bike shop or from Serfas

Cardo BK-1

The Cardo BK-1 is a Bluetooth communication and entertainment system for cyclists that is based on their motorcycle helmet communication system.  It is lightweight, waterproof and dustproof, will fit virtually all bicycle helmets and is equipped with hovering speakers and omni-directional noise-cancelling microphone.  Conversations while riding can be done 2 and 3-way bike-to-bike or with up to four other cyclist using the intercom toggling feature.  Intercom range is up to 1640 feet.  Pair the system with your mobile phone to make calls and enjoy unlimited range as long as there is wireless coverage.  Phone calls can be taken, made or rejected by voice command or by pressing a button.  Use it with your GPS/smartphone to receive audio navigation instructions out on the road.  The Cardo BK-1 is now available directly from the Cardo Online Store and can be purchased for $209 for a single cyclist or the Cardo BK-1 Duo that includes two headsets for $389.

9/18/2013

Interbike Outdoor Demo: Day 2 Demo Rides

Day 2 of the Interbike Outdoor Demo was my opportunity to test out several bikes that caught my eye the day before.  First stop was Minnesota's own Surly Bikes.  I have been wanting to test ride the Pugsley and Krampus in the dirt and the trails at Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park would provide some riding conditions unlike those back in Minnesota.
 

First up was the Surly Pugsley.  For all of the rocky terrain out on the trails, those low pressure tires really absorbed the the bumps providing a smooth ride especially when picking up speed on the downhill runs.  It was equipped with Nate 3.8" tires that were inflated to about 8 lbs. psi and they provided the traction needed for the loose rocks and sand that make up the trails in the canyon.  The 2X9 drivetrain and those Nates made it easy climbing those challenging hills.


Next was the Surly Krampus with its 50 mm rims and 3" Knard tires.  While it's not technically a fatbike, those are some wide 29'er tires.  With a 1X10 drivetrain, I could easily handle any elevation changes along the trail.  The Knard tires had excellent traction in the loose dirt with a lot less rolling resistance than the Nates on the Pugsley, but with plenty of cushion on the rocky stuff.


While returning the Krampus back at the Surly booth another cyclist was also returning from a demo ride on one of the new bikes for 2014, the Surly Straggler.  He stated he only takes each demo bike out for one loop to get in as many bikes as possible each day of the demo.  He had to make an exception for the Straggler and go around a second time.  He raved about its performance and handling.  When I asked him how it handled gravel he said "Great!".  The one he was returning was my size and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see for myself.  I took it for a long ride that included paved roads and a variety of gravel conditions.  The Knard inspired tread pattern on the tires rolled fast and quiet on the pavement while giving me the traction I needed on the gravel.  It definitely made the top of the list for my next bike.


The last ride of the day was on the Santa Cruz Bantam. A 27.5'er with full suspension and 5" of travel. I loved it!  It was a smooth ride in some very rocky conditions and handled better in switchbacks and sharp turns than my 29'er.  It seemed to be a perfect fit between 26" & 29". Now I see what all the buzz about the 27.5" size is all about.


Riding in Bootleg Canyon was quite a different mountain biking experience than what I am used to back in Minnesota.  The 2600' altitude, rocky trails, a temperature hovering around 100ยบ and rapid elevation changes made each ride challenging, but what a better way to test a bike.  It was a good day, I just wish I had more time and energy to demo a bunch more bikes.

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