Stray from the beaten path on the Orbea Terra

Orbea Terra Salt Lake City Utah

Gravel bikes may be the latest trend in cycling but do they make sense along the Wasatch Front where true gravel rides are far and few between? The answer is yes. After taking out Orbea’s highly anticipated Terra on a ride that combined trail, dirt and gravel all within a short radius of Bonneville Shoreline and Emigration Canyon, I am sold.

We carry a number of great gravel bike options at the shop but the Orbea Terra piqued my interest. Yes, I have been a fan of the brand for a long time but this model in particular excites me. Orbea nailed the aesthetics of the frame which always is a plus. Additionally, the weight of the Terra frame and fork comes in lighter than most of the other gravel framesets. But ultimately it all boils down to ride quality. After taking out a demo bike for a solid ride, we are ready to add the Terra to the Littlefield quiver.

First, the geometry worked. More relaxed than my road bike but more aggressive than my mountain biked combined into a comfortable position for me to do a little bit of everything. Second, the bike handled solidly. The front end was nimble climbing and I was able to descend with confidence. Third, I was comfortable. Sure some of this is from geometry but it is also due to Orbea’s engineering of the carbon layup and molding of the frame. No I wasn’t as fast on a road descent and I wasn’t as quick through the switchbacks on the trail but who cares! When I can combine both into one ride, I’m happy. The only downside I found to the Terra was that the top tube was pretty beefy. Yes, there was a little bit of thigh rub. But hey, I guess that is a motivator for me to get out on the Terra even more.

For more technical information on the Orbea Terra, visit BikeRumor.com or Orbea.com.

Orbea Terra Shimano Ultegra Mechanical HydroOrbea Terra Shimano Ultegra Di2 Hydro

Orbea Terra SRAM Rival HydroOrbea Terra SRAM Force 1 Hydro

Orbea Terra FramesetOrbea Terra Shimano 105 Mechanical Hydro

Bike to Work Day

Ryan Littlefield, Contender Bicycles. Stromer E-Bike Coffee Run

Bike to Work Day

This Thursday, May 11th, marks Bike to Work Day across the nation. In small towns and in major city centers, participants will navigate the streets to work on two wheels highlighting the benefits cycling brings to individuals, the environment, and to communities. For a lot of people, commuting by bike might be a good idea in theory, but when it comes down to it, it seems like a hassle. With many of our staff commuting by bike to work here at the shop, we have a lot of first-hand experience with keeping bike commuting safe, comfortable and fun. A few tips from our seasoned bike commuters:

Bike To Work DayTake Advantage of Layering

Weather in Utah can be varying and unpredictable. From cold and snow in the winter to hundred-degree days in the summer, weather conditions for commuting change season-to-season and even day-to-day. There is no weather harsh enough, however, that the proper gear can’t help you successfully commute in it. In general, it is best to adhere to layering for every ride. In summer, a good pair of arm skins will not just protect you from the sun, but also from the chill of early mornings. The same with a lightweight vest. For winter, a thick wind and water proof jacket and proper layering on your hands, feet, and under your helmet are a must.

Make Yourself Visible to Traffic

Contender Bicycles. Stromer Electric Bicycle.It can be intimidating riding next to traffic. The best way to prevent traffic from interfering on your bike commute is to make yourself as visible on the road as possible. If you’re riding during dark hours or in low visibility weather conditions, be sure to ride with a strong head and tail light.

Reflective elements on your clothing and gear are also a great way to enhance your visibility on the road. Be sure to choose layers of clothing and gear that have reflective elements, from your jacket to your backpack, even to your gloves. You can get fancy with a string of LED lights on your wheels or just stick to the classic, clip-on light reflectors. Whatever you choose, just make sure your visibility is enhanced and your presence on the road is known.

Quickly Freshen Up

For many, it’s hard to think about arriving to work a sweaty mess. Many workplaces have showers where you can freshen up, or consider using a neighboring fitness facility’s showers. Sometimes, however, it’s just not possible to take a shower. In these cases, pack some baby wipes with you to freshen up in privacy. It’s also a good idea to leave a bag full of items and extra clothes you will need to get ready for work at your workplace, so you don’t have to carry everything with you as you ride.

Share Your Data

For those using Strava, be sure to record your commute. Strava says that every time a commute is recorded, anonymous data is created. Strava Metro aggregates the millions of human-powered commutes uploaded every week and then partners with urban planners to improve city infrastructure for cyclists and for pedestrians. So not only are you burning calories and lowering your carbon footprint by bike commuting to work, you are also providing data to make it easier and safer for others in your community to do the same thing.

Stromer Electric Bicycle. Salt Lake City, Utah.Commuting can be more than just getting from point A to point B. When you’re on a bike, you’re not separated from your environment. You interact with the space around you and feel more of a connection to the road, the scenery, and the general community. More than just a way to save money, improve fitness, and help the environment, bike commuting is a way to connect to the community. If you’re interested in bike commuting and you need advice on routes in the Salt Lake Valley, gear, or just want general encouragement, feel free to call or visit us down at the shop. Hope to see you out on the roads on May 11th for Bike to Work Day!

Tour of California Preview

Chris Putt racing the Tour of California

Its finally May, which to bike racers means its time to put the one day classics to the side and make way for the onslaught of stage races. While the Giro d’Italia has already had a few stages, the North American riders have their sights set on the Tour of California. While the Tour of Utah holds a special place in my heart, the Tour of California is without a doubt the most prestigious race this side of the Atlantic. Tour of California has taken the top billing on the US racing calendar since it’s introduction eleven years ago. This is the one event where each year where World Tour teams race in the States competing up and down, or sometimes down and up, the state of California showcasing both stunning scenery and incredible terrain. I was lucky enough to earn a slot on Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis’ 2016 Tour of California squad and compete in the America’s biggest race alongside my brother Tanner Putt from the United Healthcare Pro Cycling. It was without a doubt the toughest 8 days I’ve ever had on a bike racing against many of my cycling idols. Over the course of those 8 days it tested every bit of my cycling ability. Although I didn’t come away with any personal results, finishing that race was one of my happiest memories from my time as a professional. Here are some thoughts on this year’s stages.

Stage 1 Sacremento > Sacremento (Sprint Stage)

Unlike last years edition, the 2017 ToC kicks off up North in Sacramento with a similar route to the finale of the 2016 version. Having raced almost this exact course last May its safe to say that it will be a day for the sprinters, but if its anything like 2016 there will be enough wind to potentially split the peloton. Look for some of the smaller domestic teams to animate the breakaways while the larger teams sit back and wait for a final bunch kick in downtown Sacramento. Stage 1 won’t be the day where the tour is one but it can certainly be lost in the fast, twisty, and dangerous run into the finish. Mark Cavendish took the honors on this circuit course last year and is always hard to bet against on any sprint stage. My prediction for the win and first leaders jersey is the Norwegian powerhouse Alexander Kristoff but keep an eye out for the “king of California” Peter Sagan to be in the mix as well.

Stage 2 Modesto> San Jose (Medium Mountain)

Stage 2 will is set to be the first test of who the real GC contenders are going to be. The second day of racing features 5 categorized climbs and 9,000 feet of climbing in just under 90 miles. This particular course is different to any I ever raced in the Tour of California but looks to be a grueling day for the peloton. It won’t be the decisive day of the race but gaps in the field and cracks in the Chris Putt Tour of California riders will certainly show after its all said and done on stage 2. If I were a betting man I’d put all my money on Peter Sagan to take the stage and the leaders jersey today. The course is tailor made for his abilities and baring any mechanicals or crashes I think the day is his for the taking. Other riders that could be a threat today are Olympic and 2017 Paris-Roubaix champion Greg Van Avermat and 2016 Tour of California winner Julian Alaphillipe.

Stage 3 Pismo Beach > Morro bay (Sprint Stage)

Stage 3 will be another day for the fast men. With just one Categorized climb early on in the race it should be fairly status quo in the field. These were always my least favorite days in the Tour of California because its always hot and the outcome of the race is more or less set in stone. Like stage 1 look for the quick men such as Mark Cavendish, Alexander Kristoff or Dutchman Dylan Groenwegen to take the win on Stage 3

Stage 4 Santa Barbara > Santa Clarita (Medium Mountain)

The deceptively easy profile of stage 4 is going to catch some guys by surprise. The fourth day of the race sees features more then 7,700 ft of climbing, 4 categorized climbs and a white-knuckle descent through Grimes Canyon. This day will test the nerves of everyone involved and a small group of riders are likely to sprint it out for glory. Like stage 2, Peter Sagan is the odds on favorite for another stage win. The darkhorses include American travis McCabe who has seen a lot of early season success riding alongside my brother, Tanner Putt. Both of these guys could fair well on parcours like this.

Stage 5 Onatrio > Mt. Baldy (Mountain)

This stage will be the most decisive of the race. Stage 5 features the Tour of California’s most iconic climb, Mt. Baldy and looks to be the day the GC contenders come out swinging. This course is absolutely relentless and the overall results will see some major shake ups. Mt. Baldy is without a doubt one of the most difficult climbs I’ve ever ridden and if the GC contenders take the reigns early on the climb, there field will be decimated. If the race plays out like it did the last time they used this course in 2015 then the gaps will be huge. While my pick for the win is Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez, I am hoping to see friend and former teammate Tao Geoghan Hart (who’s been using our local Utah climbs in preparation for the race) in the mix.

Chris Putt Jelly Belly Cycling Tour of CaliforniaChris Putt Jelly Belly Cycling Tour of CaliforniaStage 6 Big Bear Lake (TT)

I’ve done this TT course a few times (not very quickly but that’s besides the point) and it is really hard. For the guys from sea level, the course’s altitude (near 7000 feet) will definitely have them suffering. This stage will sort out the GC heading into the final stage. My pick for the win is Taylor Phinney, a TT specialist who lives at altitude and has had success in this race before. He probably won’t have to empty the tank as much as the rest of the GC contenders on the previous day up Baldy.

Stage 7 Mountain High > Pasadena (Medium Mountain)

Stage 7 will see the peloton head into Pasadena for the finale of the 2017 Tour of California. The day starts off on a dangerously fast descent before taking the riders over 3 categorized climbs on their way down to Pasadena. I think that there is potential for a breakaway to make it to the line today. With a bit of bias, I look for my brother Tanner Putt to animate the breaks on a day like today especially with his love (and skill) of descending. Once again, Sagan is the favorite if a group comes to finish together.

The Tour of California has always been one of my favorite races. Whether I was watching the race on TV or actually riding in it, it has always been able to get me excited to ride my bike! This year’s edition looks to have a strong field and a tough course. The action kicks off on May 14th so be sure to tune in and watch all the excitement and if you going to cheer for anyone cheer Utah rider Tanner Putt!

The Giro is more exciting than the Tour. Here’s why.

Giro d'Italia blogpost

All bike racing fans know of the three grand tours of cycling that happen each year in Europe. In May, the Giro d’Italia kicks off the grand tour season. I’ve been lucky enough to be at the Giro and the Tour a few times and have been an avid fan of both events for nearly thirty years. I want to encourage people to take-in the Giro as I really think it is the more exciting of the two events especially for us spectators. For those who can travel to the race, it is hard to argue that there is anything better than the route the Giro organization offers up each year. Besides the Italian Alps and the Dolomites, the rolling hills of several regions of Italy provide both scenic backdrops and exciting racing.  I think there are a few major differences that make set the Giro apart from the Tour in the exciting category.

First, the Giro is only the second biggest stage race in the world. While the Tour is big business, commanding the most TV coverage and drawing the largest number of fans, the Giro seems to be just the right size.  The Giro seems to have the right balance of being prestigious sporting event without taking the fun out of it, at least for the spectators.  At one stage, they had junior bike racers doing street sprints on the finishing straight of the course right up until about twenty minutes for the race ended. I’ve also seen the promotional caravan stop at a place on the course where there are lots of spectators and everyone jumped out of the cars and did a choreographed dance. From inside the race, it also seems like the riders are a bit more at ease and they have a chance to relax after each stage. This could be from either a smaller media presence, not sleeping in bad hotel rooms in the France’s July heat or maybe their just really tired from slug-it-out racing.

Giro kids

Second, the Giro organization likes to mix it up and takes more of a “anything goes” approach. Whether it is a 2km climb with pitches of 20% grade for the finish or a 30km uphill time trial up Monte Grappa, they’re not afraid to throw it into the mix. A few years back, they finished a stage at a ski area and then went up a dirt road most of the way up the ski hill. The road was so steep that the follow cars weren’t allowed on the final kilometer. A few of mechanics just got out and ran with spare wheels in hand next to the riders. This year, they’ve really done it. They’ve added a best descender’s competition. Maybe this is the real King of the Mountain.  The difficulty and unpredictability of the course seems to increase the chance to have a “bad day” at the Giro. One rider said, “You’re either loving it or hating it”.  Maybe the “hating it” part refers to frequent rain and snow on many of the mountain stages. American Andy Hampsten cemented (or maybe slid into) his overall win riding away from his competitors in several inches of snow on the road. I asked Dave Zabriskie (the only American to win a stage at each of the Grand Tours) if he could give me a few words about the Giro and he said, “Vietnam”.

Finally, the riders who participate in the Giro are more of a mixed bag. There is a different dynamic between the teams in the race. The Giro has a few more continental level teams (think “tier 2” teams) that participate. These guys are so excited to be in “the show” that they race with a nothing to lose attitude.  They attack out of the gate on nearly every stage to fly their colors (and their sponsors’ logos) on TV. This added combativeness makes it hard for leader’s team to defend the lead of the race day in and day out. The Tour is very different, the best teams come with their best riders with each rider on their best form. At the Giro, a portion of the rider are riding the race as preparation for the Tour. These guys are likely to have some “hating it” moments as they race into shape. In all, the Giro is very dynamic with frequent lead changes and chaotic stages. If you have found that LeTour can sometimes be LeSnooze then get ready to watch this year’s Giro.

May Fit & Training Promotion

Contender Bicycles Professional Bicycle Fitting

The saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Sometimes we’re reluctant to make a change in shoes, pedals, saddle, bar or stem as the alterations could lead to pain or discomfort. At the same time, worn out shoes or a broken down saddle might also have negative consequences in the long run. If you have some touchpoints in your cycling gear that are a bit long in the tooth but you are reluctant to make a change in fear of a fit issue, we have the solution! Our Fit & Training Promotion was created to help ease these concerns.

For the month of May, book a Contender Biomechanic Fit and receive 25% off any touchpoint equipment on your bike*. Refine your fit, increase your performance and improve your comfort while receiving a great deal on the cycling gear that you have been eyeing.

Touchpoint equipment includes:

  • Shoes
  • Pedals
  • Cleats
  • Saddle
  • Bar
  • Stem
  • Bar Tape

Read a little bit more about our theory on bike fitting and the importance of touchpoints by visiting our blog.  See what is included in our Contender Biomechanic Fit and learn about our bike fitting philosophy. Read more on the importance of proper shoes and pedals and why your points of contact on the bike are so critical.

To book your appointment with Blake or for additional information, email him at blake@contenderbicycles.com or call the shop at 801.364.0344.

*additional installation labor may apply

Trail Etiquette

Mountain Bike Trail Etiquette

Temperatures are finally heating up and the mountain bike trails are starting to be released from winter’s snowy grip. After months of waiting out the cold, snowy weather, riders are saddling up to hit the trails. With trails closed in the higher elevations due to snow and mud, it seems like everyone is forced onto a limited number of trails at the lower elevations. Trails like Corner Canyon and the Bonneville Shoreline are packed not just with riders, but also runners, hikers, and even people on horseback. With so many users occupying limited trails, it is a great time for a refresher on trail etiquette so all users have a safe and fun time on the trails.

Obviously, trail etiquette is important for your own and other trail users’ safety. Beyond that, however, trail etiquette is also important for the protection of the trails themselves. Trail etiquette will preserve access to trails and promote gaining access to new trails. So for all trail users’ safety and the preservation of the trails themselves, stick to these basic guidelines:

YIELD APPROPRIATELY

In general, do your best to let other trail users know that you are approaching. Hollering a “hello!” or offering a friendly bell ring are great ways to alert others that they have company on the trail. Always anticipate there could be other trail users as you round corners and make sure you slow down. And if you are yielding, its best to get your wheels as far to the side of the trail as you can and stop. Give as much room as you can for the other trail users to pass while still maintaining a safe position yourself.

Miles Havlick. Jem Trail, Southern Utah.Yielding to Other Riders: When approaching another rider, the uphill traffic gets the right of way. Even if you are bombing down the mountain, stop and let the uphill rider by. Yes, you might temporarily lose the sensation of flying downhill, but it’s better than the uphill rider losing all momentum grinding uphill. If the trail is wide enough for riders to pass safely, it is often possible for the uphill and downhill rider to slow down and pass without stopping.

Yielding to Hikers/Runners:  As soon as you see a hiker or runner approaching, slow down. Give a friendly greeting or bell ring in advance to make sure the hiker or runner is aware that you are approaching. Once you have their attention it doesn’t mean you can just bomb by them at full speed. Slowing down, calling out “On your left” or a suggestion for safe passage is the best way to ensure everyone’s safety. Always remember to say “thank you” to those who move to accommodate your passing. Friendly relations on the trails go a long way for open trails. Remember, runners and hikers always have the right of way, so be patient and allow them to find a safe place where they feel comfortable having you pass.

Yielding to Equestrians: Immediately upon seeing a horse, slow down. More exactly, slow way down. Holler a friendly greeting, calling attention to your presence well in advance. Bikers have been known to scare horses, so give the horse plenty of time to acclimate to your presence on the trail before passing. Be patient and pass slowly, even if it means walking your bike, at the next safe spot.

NEVER SCARE ANIMALS

On multi-use trails, there always seems to be consistent conflict between users and those riding, hiking or running with their dogs off leash. On the Bonneville Shoreline trail system, dogs are required to be on leash. However, the vast majority of dogs run off leash and leash laws are rarely enforced. While most responsible pet parents only allow their dogs off leash is they are well behaved, there are always exceptions. It is best to slow down when approaching or passing a canine. We have all heard stories of serious injuries that have occurred to riders and pets due to collisions on the trail. Be safe and pass with caution.

In addition to horses, you might also encounter cattle and local wildlife on the trails. Do not run over, chase or taunt any animals you come in contact with. It seems like common sense, but it’s an important point as disturbing wildlife is a serious offense. For your own safety and theirs, give animals enough room and time to adjust to you on the trail before approaching and passing. 

LEAVE NO TRACE

Respect the trail that you are riding on. Do not leave wrappers or other litter on the ground. Do not pick flowers or take any artifacts from the trail. The trail and the nature that surrounds it is there to be enjoyed by everyone, not just you. Leave the trail as good if not better than you found it.

Cannondale Women's Trail Mountain Bike. Salt Lake City, Utah.

RIDE OPEN TRAILS

Always respect trail and road closures. Never trespass or ride on private land without the appropriate permits or authorizations. Remember, bicycles are not permitted in areas that are protected as state or federal wilderness. It might seem unfair so many trails are not open to mountain biking, but riders poaching trails will only do harm to efforts being made to open more trails.

STAY IN CONTROL AND ON THE TRAIL

Ride within your limits. If you’re approaching a corner, assume someone is around that corner and slow down when approaching and taking it. Most conflicts happen on the trail when riders are going too fast, so slow down and ride in control.

Stick to riding on the trail. Trail builders spend hours crafting the trail and each of its turns. When you cut corners or ride off trail the surrounding land is eroded, damage is caused and eventually leaves a big mess for the trail builders to clean up. Keep singletrack “single” and don’t widen the trail by riding in the grass, bushes, etc.

DON’T RIDE MUDDY TRAILS

When trails are muddy, they are soft and your tires dig in and create a rut. Eventually when the trail dries out, the rut that was created in the mud is now cemented into the trail, making the trail less desirable to ride. Once a trail is damaged, the ruts act like channels that send draining water down the trail and erodes the trail more and more. Riding a wet, muddy trail can essentially wreck it. Not only does this make other trail users upset with mountain bikers, it also can destroy the trail to the point of where it becomes unrideable. 

Orbea Oiz White Rim TrailBE POLITE

Common courtesy goes a long way on the trails. Treat other trail users as you would like to be treated. Everyone is on the trail to enjoy themselves and have a fun time. Being nice and courteous to the other trail users can often stop a confrontation from even beginning in the first place.

At Contender we’ve been hitting the trails every chance we get with the warmer weather. We want to help keep the trails a happy place for all riders and trail users, and believe following basic rules of trail etiquette is extremely important. Not only does adhering to trail etiquette lead to better trail conditions and safety, it also increases the image of and the respect given to the cycling community in Salt Lake. If you have questions about proper trail etiquette or need suggestions on what trails to hit or gear to stock up on, feel free to visit or call us down at the shop.

 

Tax Day Parking Lot Sale! This Saturday!

Contender Bicycles Tax Day Parking Lot Sale

Looking to score a great bike at a really great price? Select from a wide selection of road, mountain and kid’s bikes at close to 40% OFF. Find special closeout buys from many of our brands. Look for great deals including demos and scratch and dent bikes from Scott! We also have a big selection of used trade-in bikes priced to sell.

Find great savings on apparel and accessories from brands like Giro, Craft, Mavic & more. Take an extra 20% OFF the lowest marked price on any clothing, shoes or helmets already on sale. All sale items are final sale.

Additionally with every new bike purchased on April 15th, you’ll receive a Contender gift card worth 10% of the sale price of the bike. The gift card can be used to purchase accessories and apparel to outfit you and your bike!

 

Spring Sale on TIME Framesets

TIME Skylon, Izon, Fluidity AKTIV Framesets
We’ve always been big fans of TIME bikes. In addition to being handmade in Europe, they come to us as a frame only configuration allowing us to build out the bikes to cater to each rider’s style and needs. Check out some great deals on TIME framesets and suggested builds for spring.

TIME First with Shimano Ultegra: $2800

TIME First Ultegra Complete Bike

This has been a very popular build partly because it represents the most budget friendly frame in the TIME line-up. It’s pretty amazing to think you can get a frame that is made in France and a full Shimano Ultegra build for less than most brands carbon models with similar components. For $2800, which is only $200 more than the regular price of this frameset, this build has a full Ultegra group, Ultegra wheels and a great cockpit of Fizik components. Built with the same RTM process of all of the other TIME models, this bike will shine in the “do-it-all” ride quality category for less than the “out of the box” build from the big brands. Available in limited sizes.

TIME NXS with Shimano Ultegra: $3200

TIME NXS FramesetThe NXS is the predecessor to the current IZON model which runs just over $5000 for the frameset. These two framesets come out of the same mold and have virtually the same ride quality with the main difference being that the Izon model is now offered with TIME’s new Aktiv fork. We have an Ultegra (groupset and wheels) with Fizik R5 alloy cockpit parts. This bike, also available in limited sizes, is $3200. Upgrade to Ultegra electronic Di2 shifting for $800 more.

TIME Fluidity with Shimano Ultegra: $3500

TIME Fluidity FramesetThe Fluidity is the ultimate bike for long rides with a slightly taller front end and additional layers of Vectran in the carbon layup to dampen vibration. This is a race worthy frame that shines on those long Saturday rides and shows off TIME’s thorough understanding of how to fine tune ride quality through carbon layup. We are building this frame with an Ultegra groupset for $3500. Upgrade to Di2 electronic shifting for $800 more and to a Fluidity equipped with the cutting-edge Aktiv fork for $750. Limited sizes available.

TIME Skylon Aktiv with SRAM Red ETAP: $6750

TIME Skylon Aktiv FramesetThis is it. The Skylon is the flagship of the TIME family and makes you wonder how it gets any better than this. The Skylon is definitely TIME’s stiffest and highest performance frameset. It has a quick snappy ride quality that makes you want to go faster uphill and charge back down. TIME was forced to change the Skylon’s name for 2017 with the flagship now being referred to as the Scylon. There are no differences in these two frames other than the color and the name. The Skylon also features the Aktiv fork which is a harmonic damper located in each fork leg. Think of a something like a noise cancelling earphone for the front of your bike. With two full years on the market, the Aktiv fork is here to stay. We’ll build this top level frame with SRAM’s premiere road group in their wireless ETAP lineup. This drivetrain is light and intuitive and more importantly it shifts great. Our suggested build features Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels and an alloy cockpit from Fizik for $6750.

Contender goes to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show

We were lucky enough to have the 2017 edition of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show here in Salt Lake City this past week.  This gave local bike aficionados the opportunity to geek out on custom bicycles rarely seen beyond the internet.  With bikes, wheels, and parts from all over the world there was serious eye-candy to be seen along with the ability to communicate first hand with their makers.

The NAHBS officials put on their own contests for ‘Best Of’ throughout the event, with exceptional bikes chosen for their quality in design, execution, and looks.  Contender Bicycles took a slightly different approach at the show.  Here are some of the highlights for us.

NAHBS-Judging-Sign-Stinner
Most Custom Custom: Rookey Bike Works and Black Sheep Bikes.  Almost every bike at NAHBS has been custom built for an individual client.  In the process of having a dream bike made every millimeter of the bike can be taken into consideration.  Add-ons, details, engraving, and almost endless customization is available.  This deluxe touring bike from Korean builder Rookey Bike Works stood out to us.  From a distance this bike has a clean, retro-inspired look.  However, once up-close you see that everything from the stem, racks, chainrings, and more have been thoroughly customized.  On the other end of the spectrum is the Adventure Bike from Black Sheep bicycles in Montana.  Completing its bold look this entire bike, from the space-frame fork to deluxe front and back racks, has been made from custom tubing cut, bent, rolled, formed, and fabricated just for this build.

Rookey-Bikes-NAHBS-Banner-Image

Black-Sheep-Adventure-Bike-NAHBS

Hottest Color: Pink!  As choosing a custom bicycle is largely an aesthetic consideration there are countless colors and finishes to add your style to your ride. We saw everything from glossy fades, bright colors, and bold stripes, done up in powder-coating, anodization and even spray paint. What caught our eye were many shades of pink. Remember, in the bike world pink means fast.

Pink-Bikes-NAHBS-Banner-Image

Coolest Look: Camouflage.  Continuing with style choices is the trend of camouflage graphics on everything from frames, forks to jerseys and bags. Whether you prefer a subdued black and grey, razzle stripes, or more the more traditional green and tan Woodland camo,  your customized paint will let you blend in or stand-out as needed.

W.H.-Bradford-Camo-Town-Road-NAHBS

Wheel Size du jour: The bike world has been supplied with a steady stream of new – and often just different – wheel and tire sizes over the last few years, with custom builders often leading the charge towards unique tire options.  At NAHBS there were plenty of fat-tired adventure bikes and mountain bikes with 27 Plus wheels to be seen.  A noticeable trend is bigger tires on road bikes as well, if NAHBS is any indication Road Plus will be the next big thing.  One of the most custom fat bikes at the show boasted custom 24 inch wheels from HED to accommodate fat tires.  Cake Bikes created this variety for cyclists on the smaller end of the spectrum and builds these 24 inch fat bikes for an all women’s fat bike race team.  

24-Inch-Fat-Bike-Cake-Bikes

Metal Militia: LOW alloy bikes.  Custom builders love the workability of steel and titanium tubing to fabricate their frames.  Now a small number of frame-builders are working in aluminum too.  LOW bikes from California showed some sharp looking, lightweight and race-ready alloy bikes in road, track and ‘cross versions.

Low-Bikes-NAHBS-Banner-Image

Natural Ingredients: Calfee Design.  This being a show focused on custom work there are no rules when it comes to what the bikes are made from. Steel, titanium, aluminum, or carbon fiber were all on display.  Many builders forgo these more traditional materials to work with different species of wood and bamboo, which may be bringing bicycles full-circle to their introduction in the mid 1800s!  The look and feel of these wooden bikes is completely different than anything you’re likely to see out on the road.

Calfee-Thing-Wood-NAHBS

Custom-Wood-NAHBS

Biggest Bike: The ability to get tailored sizing is what leads many riders to order a custom bike.  Case in point is Utah Jazz alumni Mark Eaton.  At 7’4” he not only needs a larger frame but bigger wheels.  His custom DirtySixer rolls on 36 inch tires! Go big or go home.

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Smallest Bike: Triton titanium strider.  The guys behind Triton bicycles traveled all the way from Moscow, Russia to show off this tiny two-wheeler.  With a handbuilt titanium frame, custom wheels and a leather saddle this small strider proves that kids need custom too.

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Blast from the Past: The Breezer from The Pro’s Closet Museum Collection.  With all the attention on modern bikes, new builders and unique wheel sizes it was refreshing to see some of the history of our sport at The Pro’s Closet exhibit.  I really liked this old Breezer mountain bike hailing from the late 1970s.  This bike was built to take on singletrack almost a decade before mountain biking would become the full-fledged activity that it is today.

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Niftiest Gadgets and Gizmos: As NAHBS revolves around all things custom and cycling related, we saw some pretty eye-catching accessories at the show.  If you want a box of wrenches to match your Breadwinner Bicycle, Silca has just the set for you in a custom etched wooden box.  For those who like to pack a picnic and escape on a nice day, Shamrock Cycles created a custom rack for a bike of theirs built to perfectly nestle two bottles of wine.  It has wooden platforms for the bottles and a small platform for a lunch box or bag, complete with rails to tie down the goods.

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Blingiest Bike:  Shamrock Cycles boasted perhaps the sparkliest bike at the show with gold fenders, chrome paint, and a drive train polished to perfection.  The shiny royal red paint only adds to the regal aesthetic.

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Coolest Components:  As usual, Chris King displayed a collection of handmade headsets, BBs, hubs, and small parts of all sorts in a wide rainbow of color – looking so much like candy that they’re nearly good enough to eat.  Industry Nine displayed a similar rainbow of deliciously colored mountain bike hubs and particularly striking spokes in every color of the rainbow.  Wolftooth Components followed suit in creating an array of components in an anodized rainbow.

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Beauty in Simplicity:  As the flashiness and flare increases at NAHBS annually, it was refreshing to see the Gothic webbed-fillet brazed steel frameset from David Kirk at Kirk Frameworks.  In all the color and commotion of other vendors, this frame stood out from the rest for its pure beauty and simplicity.  No glaring colors or bold logos, just shiny steel and the smoothest fillets ever hand crafted and filed by man.

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NAHBS, Moots, Chris King & Contender – All Under One Roof

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Over NAHBS weekend (March 10-12) join Contender Bicycles as we team up with Moots and Chris King to host several events for a fun bike-filled weekend.  On Friday night, join us for an unforgettable social event from 6 – 9 pm featuring special edition Moots and Chris King built bicycles.  There will be tacos and drinks provided by Chris King and Moots.  This will be the final time Portland-based Chef Chris DiMinno prepares food for Chris King’s legendary NAHBS social.  Moots themselves will be on hand with some deliciously built bikes and plenty of conversation.  Come out and meet these two stand out bicycle industry companies to kick off NAHBS weekend in style.

On Saturday, Moots will be at the shop from 11am – 4pm with demo bikes, so you can experience the Moots magic for yourself.  Mountain options available to demo include 17 inch Rogue YBB and 19 inch Mooto-X YBB as well as small and large Mountaineers.  Road options include partial size runs in Vamoots RSL, Vamoots RSL Disc Road, Vamoots CR, and Routt.

Finally, Moots will host a 20 – 30 mile coffee ride at a social pace which will leave from Contender Bicycles at 8am.  Rise and shine and join us for some java and bikes.  Can’t think of a better way to kick off a Sunday morning before you head into the show which opens at 10am.

If you’re unfamiliar with Moots or Chris King, here’s a little bit about these notable companies:

Moots 

Moots Cycles is an American bicycle manufacturer located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  Founded in 1981 by Kent Eriksen, who is now a member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, Moots has been identified as a source for innovation in the bicycle industry since its inception.  Originally, Moots was one of the first companies manufacturing and promoting mountain bikes.  Since 1991, Moots has been manufacturing both mountain and road bicycles from titanium, and has earned praise for the quality of manufacture, light weight, and supple ride of their bicycles.  Their aesthetics are timeless and their reputation precedes them.

Chris King

Handmade in Portland , Oregon, at Chris King they believe in parts that last.  They specialize in building investment grade hubs, headsets, and bottom brackets that start with their legendary bearings.  Fully serviceable and without compromise, Chris King bearings get even faster with age.  When other bearings wear out Chris King bearings wear in.  Chris King small parts and components use strictly the highest quality materials and finishes, and feature an unwavering attention to detail and craftsmanship.

The junction of these two brands represents a collaboration between two of the finest and most established names in the cycling industry.  We are pleased to host and welcome them to Salt Lake City for NAHBS this year.

From all of us at Contender, can’t wait to see you all here for the show and have a happy NAHBS!

NAHBS Preview by SRAM and Contender Bicycles

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Join Contender Bicycles and SRAM in welcoming the North American Handmade Bicycle Show to Salt Lake City.  We will be hosting a NAHBS sneak peek of custom bicycles from some of America’s top builders at the shop on Thursday the 9th from 6 – 8 pm.  This meet and greet event will feature steel, titanium, and carbon bicycles from Stinner Frameworks, Strong Frames, Kent Eriksen Cycles, Breadwinner Cycles, Shamrock Cycles, Mosaic Bespoke Bicycles, and Allied Cycle Works.  The individuals behind these independent bike brands will be in attendance to answer questions, share their cycling knowledge and just hang out.  The fine folks from SRAM components will be giving away swag while everyone enjoys tacos from local favorite Alamexo and beverages courtesy of Contender Bicycles.  All are welcome to attend, we look forward to seeing you there.   

Allied Cycle Works

Allied Cycle Works has set their sights on developing and producing world-class carbon fiber bicycles right here in the USA.  In a world where most high-end frames, regardless of brand origin, are manufactured in increasingly fewer locations, Allied want you to enjoy the ride on one of their light weight, high quality, and expertly engineered carbon bikes made in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Stinner Frameworks

Stinner is confidently building high end bicycle frames in sunny Southern California. The Stinner crew are offering custom steel or titanium road, gravel, and mountain framesets; built up with carbon forks and ready to take your choice of parts.  Their minimalist paint schemes create aesthetically pleasing bikes that are claimed to ride even better than they look.

Shamrock Cycles

Tim O’Donnell is the sole proprietor and man behind the scenes at Shamrock Cycles. A veteran frame builder based in Indianapolis, Indiana, he creates lugged and brazed steel frames in the classic tradition.  Shamrock Cycles have stayed up to date with their UCI approved track and cyclocross race frames and mountain bikes designed around your current favorite wheel size. Shamrock Cycles offers almost endless custom options to make your new custom dream bike a reality.

Breadwinner Cycles

Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan of Breadwinner Cycles, also located in the PNW, create handmade custom steel made-to-order works of art inspired by the people who ride every day.  Portland is one of the world’s greatest bicycling cities, and it has long fostered artisan makers and small businesses.  Breadwinner’s steel road bike, the Lolo, was a 2016 Bicycling Magazine Road Bike Editors’ Choice Winner, and they’re excited to show off more of their work at NAHBS this year.  The beauty of Breadwinner is not just that they make great steel road bikes, they make all around great road bikes that just happen to be made of steel.

Strong Frames

Hailing from Bozeman, Montana is Carl Strong and his eponymous bike brand Strong Frames.   A lifetime of riding and wrenching lead Carl down the path of designing and building his own frames.  Now, a few decades in, Strong Frames is known for their functionality, reliability and stealthy good looks.

Kent Eriksen Cycles

Kent Eriksen is well known in the custom bike world for personally crafting exceptionally designed rides for the discerning cyclist.  Unlike many small builders Eriksen offers full-suspension mountain bikes in addition to a line-up of high end road, gravel and cross frames.  We are excited to see his award winning steel and titanium bikes here during our NAHBS and SRAM preview event.

Mosaic Bespoke Bicycles

Mosaic Bespoke Bicycles is making a name for themselves by building excellent steel and titanium bicycles in their Boulder, Colorado workshop.  They offer a wide range of models and custom options in their road, cross, and mountain framesets all hand-crafted in-house.  Being passionate about building quality bikes keeps Mosaic moving forward with high performance custom bikes for riders of all types.

 

Oh my! It is MyO from Orbea!

 2017 Orbea Orca MyO Custom Road Bike

Our first Orbea MyO custom frame rolled through the shop this week. With Orbea’s new MyO custom paint program there will be no mistaking who’s Orbea this is. This custom finished 2017 Orbea Orca Carbon OMR was built with the new Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 Mechanical Drivetrain, a Rotor 2IN Power Meter Crankset, Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon Exalith Wheels and a carbon Fizik cockpit. The complete build looks fresh! This bike was meant to rule the roads of Salt Lake City. You see a lot of red, white and black in this territory. If you have any questions or would like to order a custom painted Orbea MyO please contact anyone at the shop or email us at info@contenderbicycles.com.