Fall is the Perfect Time of Year to Experience the Central Lakes Trail

Image Credit: MN DNR

Fall is the perfect time to take a ride on the Central Lakes Trail.  This former railway bed is a 55 mile paved trail that travels through ten communities in west-central Minnesota.  Riders will experience the cooler weather and Fall colors as they pass by the woods, wetlands and lakes between Fergus Falls and Osakis.

Below are video previews from the MN DNR highlighting each segment of the Central Lakes Trail to help you plan your ride route. The Central Lakes Trail Association also has a detailed trail description page that uses trailside markers developed from old Burlington Northern Railroad mile markers.

Fergus Falls to Dalton
10 miles

Dalton to Ashby
5 miles

Ashby to Melby
4 miles

Melby to Evansville
5 miles

Evansville to Brandon
6 miles

Brandon to Garfield
6 miles

Garfield to Alexandria
8 miles

Alexandria to Nelson
 5 miles

Nelson to Osakis
6 miles

The Central Lakes Trail map is available for download from the MN DNR and the Central Lakes Trail Association.  Visit CentralLakesTrail.com for more information and links to lodging and bike rentals along the trail.  Get out and enjoy the beautiful gem known as the Central Lakes Trail.


The Fatbikes of Interbike '15-Part 2

The large number of fatbike offerings at this year's Interbike and Outdoor Demo proves that fatbikes are not a fad.  Many new things were seen including new lightweight carbon frames, multiple wheel size options and new fatbike tech.  There was something here for every size, budget and ability.  Some of these bikes are now available while others are coming to your local bike shop in the near future.


Origin8's Amarok XLT was introduced at Interbike and according to their Facebook page, it will retail for under $1000 but no further information could be found on the web or J&B Imports' website regarding details of the build and when it would be available.

The Scout XLT comes with SRAM X7 shifters, a 2X10 drivetrain with a SRAM X5 crankset and Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes with 6 bolt 180mm rotors.  Sizes are 15.5", 17.5", 19.5" and 21" and retails for around $1600.


Borealis premiered their new carbon fiber model, the Crestone which they claim is the "lightest and toughest carbon fatbike on the market".  It comes in two color choices and two builds, SRAM XO1 or XX1 components.  The SRAM XO1 build lists for $5150 and the XX1 build lists for $6050.

The Borealis Flume "capitalizes on all the sweetness of the Crestone, but does so in lightweight, 6000-series aluminum".  It comes with SRAM GX components, a Bluto suspension fork, two color choices and hand-built wheels for $2399.


9:Zero:7 debuted their new carbon race model, the Whiteout Team Edition fatbike.  The build they had at the Outdoor Demo weighed in at an incredibly light 18 lbs. 15 ounces.  No word yet on when it will be available but I was told that the frameset would list at $3100.


KHS was at the Outdoor Demo and the show with several models from their 4 Season line.  The 4 Season 3000 (shown above) comes with a 2X10 drivetrain with SRAM X9 Type 2 rear derailleur and SRAM X7 front derailleur with SRAM X7 shifters.  This model also sports Hayes Prime Sport hydraulic disc brakes and Vee Rubber Snowshoe XL 4.8" folding bead tires.  Retail price is $2199.

For the more budget-minded rider there is the 4 Season 1000 which also comes with a 2X10 drivetrain but with a SRAM X7 rear derailleur and SRAM X5 front derailleur with SRAM X5 shifters.  Hayes Dyno hydraulic disc brakes and knobby 4" folding bead tires round off this build which lists for $1399.


Fatback introduced their new carbon Skookum trail-ready fatbike at the Outdoor Demo.  This bike optimized for 1X drivetrains comes with a 197mm rear axle, Bluto suspension fork and 4.8" tires but can also accommodate 27.5+ and 29+ tires.  Pricing and availability are not available yet but Fatback is expected to release that information soon.


Canadian bike company Devinci enters the fatbike market with their 2016 Minus RS.  This is an aluminum frame build with a 1X10 drivetrain, Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes and Vee Bulldozer 4.7" tires.  This bike will be available in small, medium and large.  No information yet on availability but the list price is $1599.


Surly introduced their new "OmniTerra" bike, Wednesday to riders at the Outdoor Demo.  With Surly's proprietary 4130 CroMoly steel frame, this new offering boasts a centered 170/177 mm rear end, is Bluto-ready, comes with the new My Other Brother Darryl 80mm-wide tubeless compatible rims and 3.8" Surly Nate tires.  Wednesday's new one-piece cast Surly Dropout allows for more clearance that will fit 4.6 ̋ tires.  The fork will accommodate tires up to 5.25".  Comes in Robins Egg Blue for only $1499.


The Fatbikes of Interbike '15-Part 1

The large number of fatbike offerings at this year's Interbike and Outdoor Demo proves that fatbikes are not a fad.  Many new things were seen including kid's versions, tandems, trikes and new fatbike tech.  There was something here for every size, budget and ability.  Some of these bikes are now available while others are coming to your local bike shop in the near future.  More bikes will be highlighted in part 2 of this post.


Norco brought their new Sasquatch and Bigfoot 24" to the show demonstrating they are also getting into the 24" fatbike market.  The Sasquatch ranges in price from $1875 to $2575 and the Bigfoot 24" for $860.


Momentum by Giant introduced the iRide Rocker.  This very affordable fatbike features 26 x 4.0 tires, a 1x7 Shimano drivetrain and mechanical disc brakes.  It is available in Small and Regular sizes and three color combination options for only $590.  Available from Penn Cycle and other Giant dealers in just a few weeks.


Cannondale introduced their new fatbike, the Fat CAAD at the Outdoor Demo.  This model comes in two builds, the Fat CAAD 1 (shown above) with the new Lefty Olaf suspension fork (100mm of travel) and Fat CAAD 2.  The top-tier CAAD 1 lists at $3730 and the more affordable CAAD 2 at $2130. 


Turner was at the Outdoor Demo with the King Khan full suspension fatbike.  Turner's fatbike kit build lists from $5364 to $5614 depending on shock choice and frame only $2695.  It is available from Turner dealers and direct to consumers from the Turner website.


11nine showed off their fixed pivot full suspension Epicyon.  This fixed pivot suspension is designed to have "more of a traditional mountain bike feel".  Comes in green/blue and orange/black.  Complete build lists at $4599 and frame for $1999.


Framed added the Wolftrax Alloy SRAM Series with multiple colors, sizes, drivetrain and fork choices.  A 24" version (shown above) is for older kids and smaller adults that may not fit right on 26" wheeled fatbikes.  Penn Cycle is now carrying the new Wolftrax in several models.  Stop by one of their locations for more information and a test ride.


From Sun Seeker comes the new Fat Tad CX fatbike trike.  With 20 x 4.0 tires, a 3x8 SRAM drivetrain, front mechanical disc brakes and front & rear suspension, this trike will go places that other 3-wheel recumbents won't go.  Available soon from bike shops supplied by J&B Imports.


For tandem riders, Santana is working on the Drop Fat Tandem.  These are the two prototypes of this bike seen at the Outdoor Demo that are designed for gravel and touring.  For more information on this bike, visit MTBR's Interbike 2015 Show coverage page.

SE Racing

SE Racing was at the show floor with their Fat Ripper 26 on 26 x 3.5 tires and disc brakes.  "BMX meets Fat".  MSRP $849.


Interbike 2015 Outdoor Demo Finds

I spent two days looking at all the new offerings from the bike industry and what a better place to see them first and test some of them out than at the Interbike Outdoor Demo.  While my posts concentrate on the fatbike and gravel scene, I came across some products for those that also share my interests.  Below are some of my finds.

Vee Tire Snowshoe XL

Vee Tire is introducing the Snowshoe XL Studded fatbike tire for 2016 with a 120 tpi folding bead (shown above) and a 72 tpi wire bead with a silica compound that is designed to hold traction at lower temperatures.  This 4.8 inch studable version has 240 carbide-tip studs and a Vee rep told me the folding bead will retail around $200 putting it more affordable than 45NRTH's folding bead Dillinger 5 and Bontrager's 3.8" Gnarwhal.

9:Zero:7 Whiteout Team

The 2016 9:Zero:7  Whiteout Team carbon limited edition frame/fork combo to build up was displayed at the Outdoor demo as a super lightweight build of 18 lbs. 15 oz.  $3100 price tag to start your build.  This bike was crazy light and is expected to be the fatbike racing choice coming into this Winter.  Get one before they are all gone.

Raleigh Roker

For the gravel enthusiast, Raleigh has taken the Tamland to the next level with two lightweight carbon choices.  The Raleigh Roker LTD is their top-notch carbon gravel/adventure bike with clearance for tires bigger than 40c, hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic shifting.  MSRP on the Roker LTD is $5299.99.  For the budget-minded cyclist that wants the same lightweight carbon chassis there is the Raleigh Roker Comp.  This model features the new Shimano 105 shifter and hydraulic disc brakes with a price tag coming in at $3299.99.

Crank Brothers Candy 7

Crank Brothers introduced its new Candy 7 pedal for 2016.  Although not yet available, the Candy 7 is "competition-oriented with new integrated traction pad" with an all new body shape.  This pedal has upgraded the Candy 3's inner needle bearing with an igus LL-glide bearing and an enduro cartridge outer bearing that the rep told me would not have to be rebuilt as often as the Candy 3.  When available, the Candy 7 will retail for $165 a pair.

SKS Fatboard Fender Set

Coming in January from SKS is the Fatboard Fender Set.  The quick-release rear fender with an adjustable two-hinge arm to accommodate your bike's geometry and a downtube front fender with straps,  they quickly and easily attach to to the bike.  Made of rigid plastic, they have plenty of coverage to keep you dry on those messy Winter/Spring rides. MSRP is $54.99 for the set.

GoPro Hero4 Session

GoPro introduces their new Hero4 Session, which is their "smallest, lightest, most convenient camera yet".  It shoots video in 1080p60 and photos in 8MP.  This tiny camera weighs in at only 74 grams and has an easy one-button control to capture video or time-lapse photos.  Use it with the free GoPro app for your smartphone or the Smart Remote to access most of its modes.  It is compatible with all GoPro mounts, is waterproof to 10m and has Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity for remote app control and social media sharing.  Available now for $399.99.

Surly Wednesday

I had a chance to ride Surly's newest offering, the Wednesday fatbike.  It's a 100% Surly 4130 CroMoly steel frame bike who's geometry I felt really comfortable with.  I test rode a small frame and it felt really good out on the trails at Bootleg Canyon.  I don't have a chance to experience the elevation changes and climbing like Bootleg Canyon has to offer and this bike made me feel right at home on trails that are much more technical than those back in Minnesota. The Surly Nate tires grabbed the loose terrain nicely proving that they are not just a snow tire.

With its 2X10 drivetrain, I never felt the need to shift into the smallest chainring on some of the steeper climbs where converting the Wednesday to a 1X10 drivetrain is definitely an option.  This bike is Bluto-ready and comes with the new My Other Brother Darryl tubless-ready rims for the affordable price of $1499.


3rd Annual Wild Ride Mountain Bike Festival at Lebanon Hills October 3rd

The 3rd Annual Wild Ride Mountain Bike Festival is coming up on Saturday, October 3rd at the West Trailhead at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan.  This fun-filled free event is made possible through Dakota County Parks and a partnering with MORC (Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists), local area bike shops, businesses and organizations. 

Join in on the fun and celebrate one of Minnesota's best mountain bike trail systems and the many hours of volunteer work that MORC members have put in to maintain nearly 12 miles of single-track.  This event is not only for the avid mountain biker but also a fun and festive way to introduce new riders to the sport.

Scheduled activities include Build Your Skills Sessions, Gear Talk Sessions, Fix-It Clinics, bike demos, group rides, timed competitive events, kids’ activities and live music.  Food and beverage, including beer will be available for purchase on-site.

"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

Updates for the Wild Ride Mountain Bike Festival can be found on the Wild Ride Mountain Bike Festival Facebook event page.  Let 'em know you're going by visiting the new online reservation system page for the Wild Ride Mountain Bike Festival or by calling 952-891-7000 during standard business hours.

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.  Overflow street parking is also available along Galaxie Avenue with entrance to the bike trails.  Overnight camping at the Lebanon Hills Campground (located just across the road, and south about half mile from the event grounds) is an option for those needing accommodations.  Camping reservations can be made by visiting the Dakota County Campgrounds page.


Two Trek Factory Demo Days Coming to the Twin Cities This Fall

Trek has announced two more Factory Demo days for the Twin Cities this year.  They will take place at Lebanon Hills Mountain Bike Trails on Saturday, September 26th and Elm Creek Singletrack on Sunday, September 27th.  Both demos will be held from 10am to 3pm.

Some of the bikes (in various sizes) that will be available to test ride include:

Road Bikes
Domane 6.2 
Emonda SLR 6

Mountain Bikes
Procaliber 9.8

Don't miss this opportunity to ride some of Trek's best bikes.  The Trek Demo Rig will be loaded with new bikes that most people have yet to see, let alone ride.  These demos are a great way to try out several and get a feel for the one that will be your next new ride.  Bonus, receive a $100 coupon for demoing a Trek bike.
*List of bikes for demos is subject to change.

*Demo is subject to weather and trail conditions at that time! Riders will need their DL and CC in order to demo. Must be at least 16yrs old and have a parent present if under 18.
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