Swing by the shop this Saturday if you are looking for a great deal on a new bicycle! The weather is looking great and there will be plenty of options to choose from and test ride.
The much awaited Speedplay SYZR pedal has finally made it’s big debut! Richard Bryne, Speedplay’s founder and inventor worked tirelessly on the pedal system, constantly tweaking and refining it until it met his expectations – needless to say, it just might be a game changer. Unlike all other mountain bike pedal systems currently available, the SYZR doesn’t rely on the softer rubber lugs on the bottom of the shoe to provide lateral stability for the foot as the cleat was cleverly designed to accomplish this. What does this mean for the rider? A more solid and secure connection to the pedal to improve power transfer. But wait there’s more! Not only is there a more secure pedal/cleat connection, the SYZR’s cleat offers ten degrees of silky smooth float, which is significantly more than any other option currently available.
Staff member David picked the Assos T.rallyShorts as his pick for best new product for 2015.
Assos of Switzerland is known for making the highest quality cycling shorts available today. Their use of unique textiles and European based manufacturing create cycling-specific clothing that is nothing short of amazing. After decades of producing high-end road wear Assos has released their first mountain specific bibs and jerseys. The Assos T.rallyShorts_s7 bib shorts take cues from their road wear with a supportive, slim fit, compressive fabric and extra-comfortable Golden Gate chamois pad. For the T.rally bib Assos uses an extremely robust textile to resist abrasion from branches and removable hip pads for crash protection. Seamless bib straps are configured for comfort with a wider placement on front and crossing in back to enhance ventilation under a hydration pack. Inside you will find the ever-popular Assos Golden Gate chamois with a new, more durable fabric cover. This extra-thick padding is expertly hand-sewn only on the ends allowing the chamy to float with your body as you move on and off of the seat. Designed for long days in the saddle the Assos T.rallyShorts have been tested and proven – during the grueling 8 day Cape Epic mountain bike event in South africa – to provide all day comfort for aggressive riders.
We always love introducing youth into the sport of cycling whether it be on the road or on the dirt. We are lucky to have newly retired professional cyclist Jeff Louder as part of our junior program. He is a great resource and coach for anyone looking for some direction in their cycling endeavors. From racing mountain bikes as a junior to having raced all of the legendary Spring Classics as a seasoned European professional, his experience speaks for itself. To contact Jeff, check out www.trainlouder.com.
Zane likes dirt. He is often found rallying Dry Creek to Bob Sled on his blinged-out Pinarello hardtail or racing a Cannondale Super-X in local cyclocross events. Zane chose the new Shimano XTR 9000 11-Speed drivetrain as his hot new product for 2015. Shimano allows the rider a choice between 1, 2, or 3 chainrings on the impressive new XTR cranks. Their 11 – 40 tooth 11-speed cassette is compatible with existing Shimano freehub bodies, thus not requiring new wheels to retrofit your current ride. We have a bunch of the new XTR 9000 parts in stock at and soon we will see the electronic-shifting Di2 and race versions too.
I remember hearing about some electric bike that Lee Iacocca was behind over ten years ago. I thought it was a pretty ridiculous idea. I had a lot of reasons to doubt them. I was a category one bike racer who was definitely too proud to even consider one. I also thought that if the batteries on my laptop would only last 75 minutes, how good could the batteries on these bikes be? The question marks went on and on. Ten years later, Alison was looking at Orbea’s city bikes in a catalog made specifically for the European market and she saw an electric model that she thought would be cool. We tried and tried to get them to import one for us. It never happened. In 2013, we were (admitingly with some reluctance in my mind) able to get our hands on one of Cannondale’s European electric bikes. Alison immediately adopted the bike into her day to day routine and my doubts were declining quickly. The only problem was that we couldn’t source another one as this model was only for the European market. A few months later, the guys at BMC introduced us to their Swiss sister company, Stromer and told us to bring a couple of bikes in to try. Within three months, we each had the ST1 model my Buddy Gas scooter was on KSL.com. Needless to say, we were hooked.
In the following year or so, I’ve really opened my eyes to how many different people an E bike can appeal to. It doesn’t matter who you are (or how fast of cyclist you are), the electric bike is for everyone. It’s just that we will all find different ways to integrate it into our day to day. For us, they are the answer to getting out of the car or off the scooter and to making lots of short trips in and around town. Alison and I use our bikes for running errand, grocery shopping, going to University of Utah games, getting dinner or even taking our dogs for a cruise in our Burley Tailwagon trailer. Other E bike equipped friends make much longer commutes that sometimes includes hopping aboard Trax or commuter rail. Some use E bikes to not have to play the parking game that seems to be getting harder and harder in Salt Lake. Others use them to ride with their fitter and faster spouses or to overcome their physical limitations or to simply get back to their house at the top of the avenues or high-up in Emigration Canyon. One five minute ride on the Stromer will help any cyclist see that there is a place for an E bike in their world.
Frequently I am asked why not ride my everyday bike for these same short trips. It’s a fair question and one that I expect. A normal bike is certainly fine for these types of trips and there are a lot of people doing just that. I certainly respect them for doing it. For me, most of my daily cycling trips aren’t long enough to get dressed up in my cycling gear or even to consider the ride beneficial or physically rewarding/challenging. At the same time, the short half-mile ride from the shop to my house climbs at least 300 feet and is just enough to break a sweat and to drive my heart rate up. Not a great way to end the day and it has even made falling asleep difficult in the past. So I figure if I’m not going to get all geared-up, I might as well ride a bike that allows me to stay cool, to get there quickly, to keep dry and safe (fenders, lights), and to carry stuff that has no place on my road bike. The added bonus is not needing to carry a second pair of shoes or a change of clothes. Also worth mentioning is that there is no need for special licenses or insurance like a scooter. In general, if riding my bike is why I’m getting on the bike, then I’ll break out the mountain or road bike and the appropriate attire to make it happen. If the ride is more of a means to an end, then the E bike (and a helmet) is all I need!
We all know that cycling in general is a pretty green activity and we can easily see how if a quarter of the city’s population rode bikes, that it would be a much better place from several viewpoints. And if E bikes can help us get there, then we should be all for it. It is pretty rare that something like this can appeal to such a broad range of people. From a 14 year old student who thinks of an E bike as their first vehicle to someone who just wants to be cruise the bike paths and feel the wind in their face, the E bike really has something to offer everyone.
So I’d encourage everyone to get out and ride an E bike. I think you’ll see that they really are for Everybody.
Here’s a pic of me on a lunch run courtesy of the Google street view folks.
Nate introduces his choice for great new product of 2015, the Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc road wheelset. Being an avid commuter, bike tourer and uphill racer he likes his bike parts to be reasonably lightweight with a high degree of durability. That being so, he feels that Mavic’s first disc road wheel checks all the right boxes. Mavic is responsible for some of the world’s most popular road rims and mountain wheelsets so they took the best of each to make a bomber road disc wheelset that weights just 1553 grams. Featuring machined rims, bladed spokes and carbon hub bodies, the Ksyrium Pro Disc Road wheels are light and strong while offering great aerodynamics in a wheelset that can be used for cross racing, gravel grinding or daily road use.
TIME’s new flagship, the Skylon Aktiv, was launched last fall. We were excited to see what the new bike offered over the ZXRS model. For sure the claims of lighter and stiffer and more aerodynamic are always appealing, but as always the end-all-be-all for us is how does it fair in a “do-it-all” ride test. Unfortunately, early framesets didn’t have the new Aktiv fork and we had to reserve our judgement on the new Skylon frameset over the winter as production of the Aktiv fork was ramped up.
The Aktiv fork’s goal is to take ride quality to another level through an internal mechanism known as a tuned mass damper. A quick Google search of tuned mass dampers reveals that these things are used for everything from helping the tallest buildings in the world survive earthquakes to damping vibrations on NASA rocket boosters and were used (before being banned) by Formula One drivers to improve control of the car. TIME has long been at the forefront of vibration control in bicycle frames. In the beginning, the carbon frame itself was were this attention was focused. Later, they used different materials in the weave such as Vectran to help improve carbons ability to dampen vibration. When other brands were still touting metal frames as best in class, TIME was researching various methods to take it their composite frames a step further. In 2008, TIME’s filed for a patent with the concepts behind the Aktiv fork.
Basically the Aktiv fork works on the same principle as a noise canceling earphone. The movement of the damper itself is designed to absorb or dissipate (or cancel) the unwanted vibration. In the Aktiv fork’s case, this is a small weight mounted to an alloy/composite lever arm inside the fork blade. Sounds simple. It isn’t. The tough part is first figuring out what frequency range you want to try to cancel out. Luckily, TIME has years of research isolating which frequencies are fatiguing to our body or detrimental to controlling the bike. Ultra high frequencies don’t have the negative effect on our body as a lower frequency. Second, how the damper works in one frame isn’t how it is going to work in another. In other words, the damper has to be precisely calibrated for a frame based on stiffness of the frame. The weight of the damper changes from frame size to frame size and from model to model.
So that’s a lot of science. Does it work? The answer is undoubtedly yes. In a world where spongier bar tape or swapping from 23mm wide tires to 25mm wide tires has everyone chattering about how much more comfortable their bike is, the Aktiv fork might be the start of the second French Revolution. Our initial testing on Salt Lake City streets with a narrower than average set of tires has us amazed at what the fork is doing. Although you still feel the bigger bumps, the effects of cracks/seems in the pavement are greatly reduced and overall road chatter seems to be minimized. We definitely wonder how the Aktiv fork and a set of nice 25mm tires will eat up chip-sealed roads.
In the end, the Skylon Aktiv frame is an incredible frame. TIME’s commitment to 100% French production and to building the best riding bikes out there has not been forgotten. Keep in mind that the Aktiv fork is available on other models that might appeal more to other types of riders.
Be sure to check out TIME Sport USA to learn more about the Aktiv fork and all of TIME’s other great products.
Staff member Cody Wignall shows you one of his favorite new products for the 2015 season, the POC Octal AVIP MIPS Helmet. One year after the release of the Octal, POC decided to feature MIPS technology in the same helmet. The helmet is lightweight while offering lots of ventilation for warmer rides. MIPS aids in reducing the rotational forces to the brain in the event of an angled impact.
Check out more details on the POC Octal AVIP MIPS Helmet.
You may have heard Ryan referred to as “Bird”. At a big bike race years ago, his name was reported in the VeloNews on two occasions as “Ryan Littlebird”. Someone started calling him “Littlebird” and it eventually evolved into just “Bird”. Later on, in trying to come up with a catchy screenname, in a reference to that song that goes “bird-bird-bird, bird is the word” (Surfin’ Bird by the Trashmen), he came up with Word is Bird and it has stuck with him for nearly 20 years.
So why not start a weekly column called “Bird is the Word”. This week’s installment covers Ryan’s take on why Blood Lactate Testing is the preferred performance testing of choice for cyclists.
We often get asked why we use a blood lactate test rather than a twenty-minute test (or one of the other testing protocols) to determine lactate threshold and to structure training zones. We could just say “that is what the pros do” and that would probably be good enough. Works for them right? Really, there are a lot of good reasons for doing a blood lactate test.
First and foremost, a blood lactate test more accurately pinpoints the important physiological breaking point between the balance of lactate production and clearance. Using a twenty minute time trial as a test is physically challenging and mentally difficult. We’d prefer to use that hard effort for a training session rather than a testing session. In addition, poor pacing during a steady state test, going out too hard or making a hard push at the end, will lead to diluted numbers. In an effort to make the most of our training time and effort, accuracy is critical to help draw the line where we are doing enough work but not too much.
Second, a blood lactate test offers more insight than simply telling you your lactate threshold. The shape of the curve helps tell how your low, mid and high-end are trained. In addition, comparing lactate test results over a period of time (say monthly) will also tell the complete story on where progress is being made and where work still needs to be done. Since a lactate test is not a maximal effort, or even a 20 minute time trial, we can do them more frequently without impacting our overall training regime.
Blake Vatne is a seasoned pro. He has performed hundreds and hundreds of lactate tests. With a degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Utah, he knows his stuff. To schedule a test with Blake, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.