The Importance of Proper Shoes and Pedals

In cycling, there are three contact points a rider has with the bike: the seat, the bars, and the pedals.  All three contact points are important, but it is your shoe and pedal interface that has the biggest impact on your overall comfort and performance on the bike. The shoes and pedals are the foundation of a rider’s ability to make power and move the bike forward.

The area where your cleat meets the pedal is quite small. As you pedal and apply force, this small area takes on a tremendous amount of load. If not properly supported under this load, your feet can become easily irritated and uncomfortable. This can be made worse when riding in hot weather as your feet swell even more. No two people’s feet are alike. There are a lot of different shapes and types of feet, requiring you to give time and attention to the proper combination of shoes, insoles, cleats and pedals to keep your feet in comfort as you ride.

When you are pushing 90 RPM for several hours on a small imperfection in your alignment, this is quickly magnified leading to inefficiencies and possibly to injury. A stable foot is the starting point for keeping proper knee and hip alignment lessening the potential for injury. In addition, a stable foot combined with a rigid shoe/pedal platform can mean more energy goes to moving your bike forward. Keeping everything “in line” allows for a better application of force to the pedals and for a more efficient use of your limited energy stores.

With a huge variety of shoes and pedals to purchase, it can be overwhelming to determine what the proper combination should be to maximize your comfort and performance on the bike. To help you in your gear search, we’ve put together a list of tips for choosing shoes and pedals that will keep your feet pedaling happily.

1. Get shoes that fit

Seems like a no-brainer, right? But you would be surprised the number of riders who overlook what goes into a proper fitting shoe. Remember, any slight imperfection will be amplified over the miles you are riding.  Shoes should not be too tight as your feet need to have room to swell as the day warms up and the time “on your feet” adds up. At the same time, a shoe that is too loose will result in your feet moving inside the shoes, decreasing stability and efficiency.

Shimano S Phyre WhiteCyclists often experience pressure or “hot spots” on their feet as they ride. To alleviate the chance of this happening, it is important to wear shoes with a good retention mechanism that can be adjusted easily on the fly. Whether ratchets, laces, or Velcro straps, find the retention mechanism that works best for you and can be easily adjusted to keep your feet secure and comfortable. It is also important to buy shoes with room for footbeds or arch support that can also help eliminate pressure points and correct for misalignment to work towards pain free pedaling.

Giro Empire ACC Reflective

2. Use footbeds to correct alignment

Foootbeds allow for a more precise and secure fit of your cycling shoes, providing proper alignment and tracking which is critical for efficiency and healthy knees. Since everyone’s feet are different, the footbeds that work for one cyclist might not be the best choice for another. The right footbeds should give your feet ample arch support for the huge amount of load your foot carries as you pedal and offer as much or little cushion as you need to keep your foot comfortable over the course of a long ride.  Features such as metatarsal bumps will also help with “hot spots”.

3. Get help with your shoe setup

From cleat placement to footbed choice to pedal type and shoe selection, there are a lot of pieces that need to work together to ensure you are pedaling comfortably and maximizing efficiency. While you might be able to feel areas of discomfort as you ride, having an expert view your pedal stroke as you ride can help identify any misalignment or inefficient movements. It is important to have your fit evaluated by a technician who has a thorough understanding of biomechanics and how they relate to cycling. This can help ensure that your fit is optimal and that you are riding as comfortably and as efficiently as possible, while at the same time minimizing the chance of injury.

Sidi Wire Vent Carbon Push redHere at the shop we have the Contender Biomechanics Fit Studio. We have built a dedicated fit studio utilizing all of the latest technology available. All of our fitters at Contender Bicycles have undergone comprehensive training to understand the human body and the biomechanics of the body on the bicycle. We offer a 1-hour Basic Fit session to cover all the major areas of adjustment necessary to establish a safe and neutral position including cleat, seat, and handlebar adjustment evaluation. The 2-hour Contender Biomechanic Fit combines our fitting principles of the Basic Fit with data acquired through Dartfish’s video analysis software and the CompuTrainer. Feel free to come down to the shop or call for more information.

4. Care for Your Cleats and Pedals

There are lots of great pedals out there. Make sure that you choose a pair that you are Look Keo 2 Max Pedalscomfortable with clicking in and out of the pedal quickly. Certain pedals offer more adjustability and others are easier to for entry and exit. Make sure to focus on what will work the best for you rather than what is the lightest or cheapest. Whatever pedals you choose, it is important to stay on top of cleat wear and tear. Worn out cleats are unsafe. They impede your ability to safely engage/disengage your pedals, and they can cause instability which will put added pressure on your joints and ligaments particularly in your ankle and Achilles, increasing chance of injury.

Shimano XTR 9020 PedalAs the one point of contact that is responsible for powering the bike down the road or trail, this area is of utmost importance to have a successful day on the bike both for comfort and performance. We hope our tips and suggestions for getting the most out of your shoes and pedals will help you find further success in your riding. Come down to the shop or give us a call to discuss our wide selection of pedals and shoes or to schedule a fit session to make sure you are properly aligned for the most comfortable and efficient ride possible. Happy cycling!

Introducing the Pinarello Dogma F10

 

2017-Pinarello-Dogma-F10-Full-Frame-Driveside-Rectangle

Undoubtedly, the winningest road bike of recent years has been the Pinarello Dogma F8. With the current Dogma taking the world’s fastest riders to almost countless Pro Tour podium visits, Pinarello has relentlessly tested and improved their premium model to meet and exceed the demands of such riders as Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins. Each iteration of the Dogma racing bike has taken the approach of applying asymmetry and aerodynamics to the latest carbon fiber construction techniques. For 2017 we see an all new Pinarello, the Dogma F10, bred from the same stock but enriched with the latest in technological advancements that are only available by working hands-on with the most talented engineers and the world’s fastest teams.

Pinarello is ringing in 2017 with the release of their latest road racing weapon the Dogma F10.  Following in the footsteps of the now legendary Dogma F8 won’t be easy, but Pinarello is proving that they have plenty of sharp ideas to implement into their newest creation. At Pinarello there is always an emphasis on aerodynamics and asymmetry throughout the frame, and neither of these are allowed to diminish the top-end bike’s exceptional ride quality.  The 2017 Pinarello Dogma F10 sees the evolution of the tried-and-true Think Asymetric design philosophy – utilizing larger tubes on the frame’s drive side – with a frame design that subtly transfers power and responsiveness without harshness or discomfort to the rider.  With lessons learned from the specialized Bolide Hour Record and TT bikes the F10 gets a dose of next-level aerodynamics with no portion of the frame overlooked in the design process.  Noticeable advancements are found from tip-to-tail starting at the front fork.  Pinarello dubs the unique dropout shape Fork Flap and transfers their use to the F10 to reduce drag at the bike’s leading end.  On the frame’s downtube we find a concave top-section that allows air to flow more smoothly around the downtube, over the water-bottles and past the seat-tube, in turn reducing drag in this crucial area by over 12%.  The seat-tube itself is purposely off-center and features a pronounced conical shape in comparison to the F8.  This asymmetry and idealized shape build a stiffer structure while removing material and weight from the frame. With each step Pinarello has been able to increase stiffness in the Dogma F10 by 7% and dial down the weight by over 6%, which is impressive considering its predecessor is already one of the most capable race bikes of all time.

Not known to ignore even the smallest details Pinarello has looked to the future to give the Dogma F10 seamless adaptability to any and all mechanical or electronic shifting systems.  Internal cable routing is as much a boon to aesthetics as it is to aerodynamics and Pinarello keeps the bike looking clean with integrated guides for sleek performance.  Riders opting for use of the new Dura-Ace Di2 groupset are rewarded with ease of access to the interior downtube, called E-Link, for ease of set-up and maintenance. To keep the custom Pinarello seatpost in place is their Twin Force Clamp technology that utilizes two smaller, low-torque screws that reduce risk of over-tightening the all-carbon parts.  After much success with the proprietary Toray T1100 carbon, used in the F8, Pinarello has chosen to use this lightweight, resilient and strong material to build the Dogma F10.  In doing so they have developed the all-new Pinarello Dogma F10 with intensified responsiveness, focused power transfer, and a superior ride quality that is as perceptible on the first pedal stroke as it is on the last.

Check out this new frame in our store or online.

Keeping it fun in 2017!

2017 is here and with it renewed commitments and new goals to achieve on the bike in the New Year. But, let’s be honest for a moment. No matter how much you love cycling, sometimes it can be a struggle to peel yourself off the couch or out of bed to saddle up for yet another ride. To keep your motivation fresh throughout the year, we at Contender Bicycles have compiled a list of things you can do to mix up your riding and help you stay committed to making 2017 your best year on the bike yet.

Take the Computer Off Your BikeImage result for paralysis by analysis

Far too often people experience “paralysis by analysis” on the bike. There can be too much focus on stats like power, HR, mileage, and what others are posting on Strava. Sometimes you just need to take your computer off your bike and simply enjoy your surroundings while you ride to help you realize why you fell in love with cycling in the first place.

In addition to focusing on the pure enjoyment of cycling, it is also valuable to take the computer off your bike from time to time to know how to gauge your effort based on how you feel as opposed to what the data tells you. It seems each year with bike racing, fewer folks know how to read the race and respond to what is happening on the road because they are too focused on their power profile informing them what level of racer they should be. You can produce all the power in the world, but if you don’t actually know tactics during the heat of a race, it will be hard to progress.

Limit Your Time on the Trainer

Spending countless hours on the trainer is simply too hard on the central nervous system.  Constantly put under the stress of high intensity workouts, your body’s stress levels can become elevated and recovery can prove more difficult. Every year we see people who spend hours and hours on the trainer during cold weather months only to get burned out shortly after the spring cycling season begins, when summer and fall provide the best cycling of the season.weightlifting-png

We are not suggesting you give up indoor training completely. Maintaining a level of fitness during winter months is important, but be careful not to overdo it. Spend 1.5 hours or less on the trainer and supplement aerobic work by hiking, snowshoeing, skate skiing, or snow biking. Winter is also a good time to spend some time at the gym working on muscle groups that don’t get used in cycling or tend to weaken throughout the cycling season. For riders wanting to optimize performance, it is imperative to keep these groups active and strong.

Stock-Image-Snow-Hiking-Mountains

Participate in a New Event

There are so many great cycling events and races popping up, and you don’t have to be a racer to enjoy these events.  Many you can enter to race or just approach as a fun event for participation. Check out the Utah local Crushar in the Tushar, Giro’s Grinduro in Santa Cruz, or the Belgian Waffle Ride in San Diego. To further mix up your riding repertoire, if you have only raced road, try a mountain bike race. See what all the hype is about and try gravel racing, which is becoming more and more popular. If you’ve exhausted the local race circuit, travel to the neighboring state for a different racecourse and new competition. Not only does a new race or event give you a solid deadline to achieve a level of fitness, training for a course you have never experienced before provides a level of “unknown” to further motivate you to get in your training miles.

Event-logos

Take a Cycling Trip to a New Area

New scenery adds a new experience to any bike ride. If you live and ride in the pine and aspen of the Wasatch Mountains of Northern Utah, driving down to Southern Utah occasionally to ride amongst the red rock and sandstone will give your eyes new vistas and scenery to soak in as you ride. If it’s in your budget, taking a trip to another state or even another country is an exciting way to add variety and excitement to spending time on two wheels. Consider touring the coasts of New England or experiencing the cobblestones, culture, and architecture of European countries. Skip the tour bus and get to know a new area more intimately in the saddle of a bike.

Orbea Oiz White Rim Trail

Try a New Cycling Discipline

captureTaking on a new type of riding can be a fantastic way to stay fit and motivated, learn new skills, and maybe even discover a hidden talent. From mountain biking, road riding, fixed gear riding, gravel riding, snow biking on fat wheels, BMX, to riding the bike terrain parks for those seeking an adrenaline rush, there are so many ways out there to have fun on two wheels. Forget crushing the competition on every ride, sometimes just the challenge of learning something new is enough to keep a smile on your face and motivated to hop on a bike.

Find the Road Less Traveled in Your Area

It’s easy to fall into the grind of doing the same rides time after time for your workouts. Sometimes this can take a bit of joy out of riding, experiencing the same roads and scenery each day. It’s important to get out of your habit doing the same rides in your area and instead mix things up to keep you fresh and focused on the bike. There are always new places to ride and discover, even around the Wasatch Front. We like getting out and exploring areas like Farmington Canyon or even riding places like Killyon Canyon. These areas may not provide the most exciting terrain but it is still fun to explore.

To quote Robert Frost,

[…]
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
 — Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

Commute by Bike

Ryan Littlefield. Contender Bicycles. Stromer ST1.Whether commuting to work or opting to bike to the grocery store, coffee shop, or other place of errand, it can be refreshing to ditch your car for a bit and get around town by bike. Not only do you save money at the gas pump and lessen your carbon footprint, you also might find yourself growing a deeper connection to your surroundings and community. It’s also a great way to help you unwind your legs after putting in some serious training miles.

Add Variety Off the Bike

Winter months are not the only time you should look to add variety to your time on the bike (see Limit Your Time on the Trainer above). Mixing up your workouts by spending a little time off the bike, even during peak riding months, is a great way to keep your time on the bike fresh. Taking the occasional break to get involved in another sport like rock climbing, hit a round of golf, or any other outdoor activity that interests you will go a long way in helping you feel fresh on the bike physically, and just as importantly, mentally.

outdoor-activities

The easy part about new goals each year is setting them. The hard part lies in staying motivated to achieve them throughout the year. Whether you are training to someday win the Tour, trying to get into the best shape of your life, or just want to be able to hang on long enough to enjoy a ride with friends, we hope the tips we have shared will help you stay motivated on the bike for 2017. For further encouragement and motivation or for help outfitting yourself for riding in 2017, feel free to call or visit us down at the shop. It’s our goal to make 2017 your best year on the bike as well. Happy riding!

Contender Holiday Gift Guide

Contender Bicycles Holiday Gift Guide Cover Image

 

With so many choices between components, sizing, color, etc., it can be a daunting task to purchase the right bike for someone as a holiday gift. In addition, clothing, helmets, shoes, and other cycling accessories are usually a very personal choice that can be made difficult without knowing the sizing of your gift recipient. To help take some stress out of shopping for your cyclist, here at Contender Bicycles we have prepared a list of cycling gifts from $25 and up that are a safe bet for buying the cycling enthusiast in your life this holiday season.

 

bell-feature-finishpairSpurcycle Bell

At first thought, a bike bell might not be something to splurge on, but that is until you have seen and heard the Spurcycle Bell. Made in the USA and guaranteed for life, it has a bell ring that lasts 3x longer than the standard bike bell. You will be able to give notice well in advance of your arrival to prevent any collisions with other cyclists or pedestrians. It can be used with handlebars sizes 22.2 to 31.8mm and looks beautiful with its modern, minimalist design. The Spurcycle Bell is available in two finishes, Raw Metal and Black.

 

Skratch Labs Feed Zone Books

Skratch Labs The Feed Zone Cookbook

In order to perform at peak level, cyclists need to make sure they are fueling their bodies with proper nutrition. Instead of processed bars and gels, the Skratch Labs Feed Zone books encourage nutrient and energy packed foods for on and off the bike that will enhance any cyclist’s performance.

The Feed Zone Cookbook is the perfect balance of science and practice, sharing recipes that are big on flavor, use simple ingredients, and will change the way endurance athletes eat. Feed Zone Portables keeps all the most popular elements of The Feed Zone Cookbook and applies them to recipes that are simple, delicious, easy to make, and easy to pack on your next ride. With the success of these two cookbooks with non-athletes and athletes alike, Skratch Labs created their latest cookbook, Feed Zone Table, featuring healthy, simple recipes that encourage family-style eating to help athletes connect with their loved ones.

Fat (Snow) Bike

While not a bike that every cyclist would consider splurging on for their own use, a Fat Bike provides a unique cycling experience that is super fun and sure to hook anyone who enjoys pedaling on two wheels. Compared to road and mountain bikes, Fat Bikes are easy to size people on easy to size people on, making them a safer bet when you want to surprise your cyclist with the perfect bike. A couple of Fat Bikes that we recommend:

Scott Big Jon – With extra-wiScott Big Jon 2017de knobby tires at low pressures, this bike floats across sand and snow. An all aluminum frame and fork maintain a responsive ride quality. A combination of Shimano SLX and Deore components, with a Race Face crank, comprise the drivetrain while Shimano hydraulic disc brakes take on speed control duties. A set of crazy wide 4.8 inch Jumbo Jim EVO tires give a firm grip on the ground and can be run tubeless. These fatties are mounted to 80mm wide Syncros rims to provide ample stability and use Syncros alloy parts to complete the build.Cannondale Fat Caad 1

Cannondale Fat CAAD 1, 2, or 3 – Cannondale makes the Fat CAAD frame with super-short chainstays and fat-bike specific geometry that bless it with a much livelier feel than other bikes in its class. The Cannondale Fat CAADs roll on 4.8 inch wide tires to give traction and control no matter the trail conditions. Low-pressure tires and low-range gearing allow you to float over and ride terrain that would cause your old mountain bike to sink. The Fat CAAD 1 is Cannondale’s premium Fat Bike with Lefty fork with 100mm of travel and SRAM X1 and X01 components. The mid-range Fat CAAD 2 features a rigid fork with Sram X5 and X7 components while the lower priced CAAD 3 feature a rigid for with Shimano Deore components.

Indoor Cycling Trainer

During winter, daylight becomes scarcer and the temperatures drop, making it more difficult to get a ride in outdoors. This does not mean you have to skip your workout, however, if you have an indoor cycling trainer. Trainers allow you to specifically tailor your workouts, increasing or decreasing resistance and providing accurate power measurements. Without coasting or stopping, as you often do on the road, a workout on the trainer can be done at higher intensity for a shorter time.

At Contender Bicycles, we are big fans of the Wahoo Kickr TrainerWahoo Fitness Kickr trainer and also the Wahoo Fitness Kickr Snap. The Kickrs will woo you with it’s instant, accurate power measurement and controlled resistance that’s controlled via your iPhone, iPad or any Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Smart) or ANT+ enabled device. The Kickr also supports open third-party software such a Kinomap, Virtual Training, and TrainerRoad. It has a whisper quiet drive and it’s space-saving design features collapsible support arms to make it compact for storage or travel.

Base Layers

All outdoor athletes, not just cyclists, can use a base layer in the Fall and Winter months. Whether cycling, hiking, skate skiing, alpine skiing, or doing any other outdoor sport, a Assos Skinfoil Winter Evo 7 Base Layerwarm, dry base layer is essential to a fun day in the cold weather. Because a base layer is worn beneath a jersey, jacket, or other outer layer, you won’t need to worry as much about buying the wrong look or style as a gift for someone since a base layer is not meant to be seen anyway.

At Contender Bicycles, we carry male and female specific base layers from such noticeable brands as Assos and Giordana. For men we like the Assos LS.skinFoil_winter_evo7 Base Layer with its compression design and extra warmth in the winter months. We also like the Giordana Wool Blend Long Sleeve Base Layer for men with its Merino wool making it extra breathable. For women we are fans of the Giordana Wool Blend Long Sleeve Base Layer, made the same as the men’s model but with a specific, slender cut for the female body.

Uvex Jakkyl HDE HelmetUvex Jakkyl HDE Helmet

With the rise of enduro and all-mountain biking, a new breed of helmet has emerged. New, full-face helmets offer the best in crash protection, and the Uvex Jakkyl HDE Helmet is a true 2-in-1 helmet. For trail riding, the chin protector easily removes for storage, ventilation, and comfort. The two dials used to connect and disconnect the protector are easy to use, even wearing gloves.  Most notable is the Jakkyl’s weight at just 630 grams. Compared to the latest full-face from Giro, the Uvex is over 300 grams lighter. Uvex uses a premium Boa retention system to make micro-adjustments to its sizing. A dial at the back of the helmet pulls or releases the boa wire conveniently and quickly. Buckles are clumsy and don’t allow for easy adjustment, so Uvex uses a unique, sliding connector that requires just one hand to adjust. Available in only two sizes, SM-MD (52-57cm) and LG-XL (56-61cm), this helmet can be easily purchased as a gift and sized to your special mountain biker.

Open U.P. (Unbeaten Path) Gravel Bike

Open UP FS Gravel Bike OrangeIf you’re buying for a seasoned cyclist, they most likely already own a road bike and mountain bike. What they probably lack, however, is the next big thing in biking, a gravel bike. As more riders seek adventure on back roads they are finding the need for better brakes and bigger tires. OPEN Cycles provides both of these and more with their unique Unbeaten Path (U.P.) gravel plus frame and fork. This is a disc-equipped road bike that can be ridden with 650b knobbies or 700c cyclecross tires. With through-axles front and back and consistent disc-rotor sizes the U.P. frame and fork can accept numerous wheel and tire combinations. All the rider has to do is decide where the next ride will be, and install the appropriate wheels and tires, then just saddle up and let the OPEN Cycles U.P. do its job on the chosen terrain. Available in just 4 sizes, the Open U.P. is easy to size. It comes as a frameset only, allowing you to let the recipient to pick out exactly how they want to spec the bike.

Electric Bike

For your loved one who lives on two wheels, an electric bike is a no-brainer gift. Not every rider considers buying an electric bike, but once they saddle up and ride, they will wonder how they ever lived without one. Perfect for commuting and running errands around town, electric bikes are convenient, environmentally friendly and loads of fun. For your mountain biker who loves to ride and could use a little assist up the trail to keep up with faster riders, an E-MTB is an excellent gift option. Here are a few of our favorite electric bikes at Contender Bicycles:Faraday Porteur E-Bike Green

Farady E-Bikes – At first glance, a Faraday electric bike looks indistinguishable to a classic city bike. Faraday engineered numerous details to hide its e-bike features, such as a special battery that fits inside the downtube, a sculpted front hub with built-in motor, and a polished aluminum handlebar that houses an LED headlight. Faraday’s elegant design isn’t skin deep, however. Instead of a big, clunky system with a massive motor and a heavy battery, Faraday developed a smaller, efficient system that provides ample pedal assist for up to 25 miles. More importantly, it keeps the bike lightweight and balanced.  At sub-40 pounds, a Faraday rides like a normal bike, which is a great thing. Faraday’s ground-up approach to design affords many unique advantages, many of which you’ll notice the second you get on one.

Stromer ST2 Black E-BikeStromer E-Bikes –Stromer utilizes a quiet, efficient, low maintenance brushless rear-wheel motor, housing the battery in the downtube.  This design allows for miles of reliable riding and confident, stable handling. The Stromer ST1 has been a go-to in the Stromer line for years. We’ve seen continued refinement of the bike, and its current state is perfect for commuting and most any on-road riding. Stromer’s powerful batteries allow the ST1 to travel up to 60 miles on a charge. The new Stromer ST2 takes Stromer’s integrated approach to new levels. The ST2 features refined aesthetics, a more powerful motor, a brand-new series of advanced batteries, and a Bluetooth connected digital display that is tied to a user-friendly phone app. Brand new for 2017 is the Stromer ST1X, which blends many of the new technologies found in the ST2, in the classic body of the ST1. While not quite as advanced as the ST2, the Stromer ST1X offers nearly 90 miles of range, a powerful Cyro Drive motor, and the ST2’s top-tube-mounted digital display.

Orbea E-Bikes – If you’re sticking to the city streets, the Orbea Keram Asphalt is your perfect around-town electric bike. The bike houses a Bosch Performance 20-mph motor with a Bosch 400Wh battery. To help you generate power, the bike uses a 9-speed Shimano drivetrain with matching Shimano hydraulic brakes, to help you navigate city traffic with precision and confidence. You can pedal all day throughout the city running errands, knowing the bike’s motor’s pedal assistance will get you safely to any destination. The Orbea Keram pairs the same motor and battery as the Orbea Keram Asphalt with a 10-speed Shimano drivetrain and Orbea’s big-wheeled concept if you’re thinking of using the bike on and off-road. For those riding mainly on the trails, the Orbea Wild 20 uses a more aggressive geometry and a Bosch Performance Line CX motor with Bosch’s top capacity 500Wh battery to give that extra push up the mountain.

Orbea E-Bikes

Cannondale E-Bikes – For use on the pavement, the Cannondale Contro E-Speed is a great e-bike option. It offers a comfortable, relaxed geometry with low-slung top tube for all riders to find a comfortable position in the saddle. The Bosch Performance 250W drive system is integrated into the bottom-bracket of the frame to directly add power to pedaling. If you’re seeking even more cushion on bumpy roads, the Cannondale Kinneto E-Bike uses a SR Suntour suspension fork and fat commuter tires to dampen out road chatter. Built with male and female specific frames, the Kinneto offers a comfortable, relaxed geometry for everyone. A 9-speed drivetrain consists of Shimano Deore derailleurs and shifters to make being in the right gear very easy. For your mountain biker that needs an extra push up the mountain, consider the Cannondale Moterra E-MTB delivers. As soon as you step on the pedals the Bosch 250W drive unit with 500W battery kicks in to give you a powerful boost. Cannondale has designed the Moterra E-MTB with wide 27.5″x2.8″ tires for superior grip in any type of trail condition. A RockShox Yari fork with 130mm of travel and a rear RockShox Monarch shock with 130mm of travel further help to smooth out the trails.Cannondale Moterra e-bike

Blackburn Chamber HV Floor Pump

Blackburn Chamber HV Floor PumpFor your rider to make quick and easy work of filling mountain bike tires, the Blackburn Chamber HV Floor Pump is a great gift. This pump is designed to push more air per stroke, saving energy that might be needed for riding, made possible by using a low 50 PSI/3.4 Bar max pressure. It uses a huge, four-inch gauge so it’s easy to read the pressures in both the PSI and Bar measurements to easily dial into a specific pressure. It works with Presta, Schrader, and Dunlop valves, to swap tires without worrying about swapping pumps to inflate them. Final touches on the Blackburn Chamber HV Floor Pump include a 47-inch hose for extra-long reach, an oversized pump shaft for increased durability, an alloy cap and lever, a conveniently placed hose keeper on the handle for clean storage, and a bottle opener to help your rider celebrate post ride with a drink.

 

Garmin Edge 1000

In Contender Bicycle’s opinion, the Garmin Edge 1000 is the best Garmin on the market for cycling. As a bonus, through Christmas it is on sale for 25% off!Garmin Edge 1000 The Garmin Edge 1000 will push your rider’s performance on the bike. In addition, your rider will never get lost with the Edge 1000’s bike specific navigation and mapping. Open street maps are pre-loaded, containing routable roads and paths, elevation, address search and points of interest. The Edge 1000 also has a round-trip feature that lists cycle friendly routes based on the number of miles the rider wants to ride.

With a color touchscreen and brightness that adjusts to light conditions, the Edge 1000 is easy to use. It tracks speed, cadence, and heart rate and if integrated with Shimano Di2, displays the current gear on screen. With a dual-sensing Vector power meter it displays Cycling Dynamics metrics for pedal stroke analysis to improve cadence and power. It also displays incoming calls and texts, receive weather reports, and use social media with the app.

Whether you’re shopping for new rider or for a seasoned professional, at Contender Bicycles we want to help you find the perfect gift that will put a smile on your cyclist’s face and make them want to get out and ride. For questions or concerns related to any of our above suggested cycling gifts or other potential gifts you are thinking of for your cyclist, don’t hesitate to give us a call or visit us at the shop. Happy Holidays from our team here at Contender Bicycles!

Holiday Stocking Stuffer Ideas from Contender Bicycles

Holiday Stocking Stuffer Ideas from Contender Bicycles

Contender Bicycle’s Top Picks for Stocking Stuffers

Hard to believe the year is winding to a close and the Holiday Season is in full throttle! Besides feelings of peace on earth and goodwill toward men, this time of year can also bring stress and anxiety over finding the perfect gifts for the special people in your life. At Contender Bicycles we are no strangers to seeing tired shoppers enter the shop overwhelmed by the inventory of items available to buy for their favorite cyclist. We also know a brand new bike or top-of-the-line wheelset is not in every shopper’s holiday budget. With those things in mind and without further ado, we give you Contender Bicycle’s Top Picks for Stocking Stuffers! Each item is sure to please any cyclist regardless of skill level or discipline, and they won’t break your holiday budget either.

Knog Oi Bike Bell

Knog Oi Bike Bell

Typically clunky in both sound and looks, bike bells have never much been an accessory to envy. With its sleek low-profile and specially tuned ring, the Knog Oi Bike Bell is set to make bike bells an object of desire. Throwing away the traditional dome design, Knog created the Oi as a hollow cylinder that simply clamps around the bar. A spring loaded striker built into the mount rings out a chord rather than single note when operated, creating ample sound to warn others of your location without being hard on the eardrums. The Knog Oi is available in two sizes, adjustable to any size handlebar, and uses an integrated cable tidy to keep cables tucked away safely. Produced from alloy, the Knog Oi Bike Bell comes in four finishes: Brushed Aluminum, Brass-Plated, Copper-Plated, and Black.

Giro HRc+ Merino Wool Socks

Giro HRc+ Merino Wool Cycling Socks

Often the dryness and temperature of your feet can dictate the fun on your ride. To ensure comfort on the trails and in cooler temperatures, wrap your feet in Giro HRc+ Merino Wool Socks. Using a core spun Meryl Merino wool, these socks provide a soft touch as they insulate your feet from the cold while wicking moisture to their surface for quick evaporation to keep your feet dry. With their gentle compression, the socks promote increased circulation and provide arch support, while the reinforced toe and heel add durability. For added protection, the socks use a high 7” cuff length to protect your ankles as temperatures drop. The Giro HRc + Merino wool socks are available in sizes S – XL in the colors Black/Charcoal, Blue Jewel/Black, Mil Spec/Black, Bright Lime/Black, and Ultraviolet.

Blackburn 2Fer Light

Blackburn 2fer Front Rear Lights

For safety and more confidence riding in low light conditions, an easy-to-use, simple yet reliable bike light is a necessity for every cyclist. With the simple push of a button the Blackburn 2Fer light allows you to switch between a 60 lumen front light and a 20 lumen rear light. The Blackburn 2Fer Light conveniently remembers the last mode you used and turns on in that mode. You get excellent side visibility with a 180 degree bezel to make sure you are safely seen at all angles. The 2Fer light comes with a silicon mounting bracket that fits easily to any handlebar or seatpost, and a USB charging cable to charge the battery. Each light is waterproof, has a three-hour recharge time, and runtime of 5 hours on flashing or 1.5 hours on high.

Tüb Simple Wallet

TUB Simple Wallet

Recycling, sustainability, rehabilitation of local prisoners, and fashion all intersect in the locally made Tüb Simple Wallet. Contracting with the sewing operation of the rehabilitation program for prisoners at the Utah Sate Prison, Tüb transforms piles of used rubber from bikes, motorcycles, and cars into wallets, bags, and phone cases. The Tüb Simple Wallet fits up to 10 credit cards and uses a bill strap for securing your cash. Each wallet is handmade and no two wallets are alike. Not just a means to carry money, the Simple Wallet also signifies commitment to conservationism, the rehabilitation of prisoners through meaningful work, and support of local craftsmanship.

Contender Bicycles Water Bottle

Contender Bicycles Water Bottle

You can never have too many water bottles, and we think the Contender Bicycles Water Bottle will look extra cheerful with holiday spirit when filled with goodies that any cyclist needs to stay energized on a ride. Stuff a 20oz or 26oz bottle with candy, Skratch Labs Apples + Cinnamon Hot drink mix, Hammer Hazlenut-Chocolate gel for the season, or countless other nutrition items to energize the cyclist in your life. The bottles are BPA free and promised to steal looks out on the roads and trails.

DZ Nuts Chamois Cream

DZ Nuts Chamois Cream

Nothing communicates your complete desire for your serious rider’s well-being on the bike more than gifting them with chamois cream. Yes, it might illicit giggles from others as it is unwrapped and revealed, but any rider who has experienced saddle soreness knows just what a life-saving thing the right chamois cream can be. For female riders, we recommend DZ Nuts Bliss chamois cream with its pre/probiotics complex that reduces the chance of infection and encourages beneficial skin flora growth. For male riders, we recommend DZ Nuts Men’s Pro chamois cream, paraben-free, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial to effectively reduce the chance of infection

Fabric Chamber Tool

Fabric Chamber Tool

Every cyclist venturing far from home should carry with them a reliable multi-tool to be properly prepared should a mechanical happen as they ride. Ideally this tool should be light, compact, easy-to-use, and hold all the essential tools for fixing common bike repairs. The Fabric Chamber Tool checks all of these boxes. It carries 13 tools plus a ratchet in a compact and light weight cylinder so you can easily carry it in your back jersey pocket, saddle bag or hydration pack. The T-bar head and multiple locking grooves on each bit allow you to adjust the length to help provide the perfect amount of reach and torque we you need for any bolt on your bike. Tools included on the Chamber Tool include Hex 2/2.5/3/4/5/6/8, Torx 10/25, PH 1/2, and FH 3/5. The Fabric Chamber Tool also has a unique, sleek design to keep in looking good while getting down to work fixing your bike.

PROBAR Fuel

ProBar Fuel Bar

It can be hard to find a nutritious, energy rich bar to keep you fueled on a long ride that does not taste like flavored cardboard. With newly designed flavors and a texture that will go down easy, the PROBAR Fuel is wise choice for riders who don’t want to sacrifice edibility for energy on the bike. It offers fast energy and hydration support while you work on your ride. This gluten-free bar is packed with superfruits and nuts. It’s soft, chewy, rich, and nutritious making it a delicious snack for action packed days on the road or the trails. The bar is balanced with chia seeds to regulate hydration and raw oats for easy to digest energy. The PROBAR Fuel is certified organic by QAI and is also non-GMO project verified. PROBAR Fuel is available in 5 delicious dessert flavors, making them the perfect sweet treat to stuff in your cyclist’s stocking this holiday season.

Assos tiburuGlove_evo7

Assos TiburuGlove evo7

On and off the bike, keeping your hands warm is necessary for surviving the chill that comes during colder months of the year.  The Assos tiburuGlove_evo7 is the perfect lightweight glove for chilly weather where your summer gloves are too sheer and your full winter gloves would leave your hands sweating. Built with a lightly brushed interior for superior comfort and warmth that keeps your hands cozy on cold mornings or during those fall and spring days when you don’t need the warmth of a thicker glove. With it’s cycling specific fit and a low-volume, high-stretch material, the Assos tiburuGlove_evo7 also features gripper palms to keep your hands on your bars as well as a touch screen compatible index finger and thumb to make sure you can stay connected without having to slide your glove off. On or off the bike, these gloves will keep your fingers warm and ready for action.

Contender Bicycles Gift Card

Contender Bicycles Gift Card

Does your cyclist already have so much gear you’re not sure what is missing? Do your eyes glaze over when he or she talks about the latest cycling gadget they are dying to have? Take the guesswork out of your holiday shopping and purchase a Contender Bicycles Gift Card to make sure your rider gets the exact item they want. Buy the card specifically for a tune-up or just for your rider to buy what they please. The Contender Bicycles Gift card is available with increments from $5 to $500 online, or purchase a custom increment by emailing or calling the shop directly.

For a new rider or for a seasoned professional, a stocking filled with one or all of these items is sure to be appreciated and have your rider itching to get back in the saddle as soon as winter ends. For questions or concerns related to any of our suggested stocking stuffers or other potential gifts you are thinking of for your cyclist, don’t hesitate to give us a call or visit us at the shop. Happy Holidays from our team here at Contender Bicycles!

The 3T Exploro & How It Compares to the OPEN UP

With both the 3T Exploro and  the OPEN U.P. now in stock at the shop, we felt the need to clearly understand the differences between the two. Of course, this is only possible with some serious time on both bikes. After a summer on the OPEN U.P., Peter spent the last few weeks on the 3T Exploro. Check out his take on the 3T Exploro and how it compares to the OPEN U.P.

3T Exploro vs OPEN UP

The 3T Exploro Gravel Plus aero road bike has a lot of descriptors for one bike which begs the question “well, what is it for?” According to 3T – the venerable Italian parts manufacturer – the Exploro frameset is built so you can “Go Slow Faster,” and it does just that. The concept of gravel road bikes has been well covered in the last few years, with nearly every bike brand launching some new do-everything bike.  While most of these are fully capable of mixed road riding, few maintain the feel of a performance road bike. We’ve come to learn that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, but done right, a large volume road tire can be a blast to ride.

3T takes a different approach than most. By using Gerard Vroomen’s Gravel Plus technology, the Exploro accepts a range of tire options, up to a 40mm wide cyclocross tire on 700c rims. Because of the frame’s geometry the Exploro maintains a “normal” road bike feel, meaning it’s not sluggish on pavement like some all-road bikes. Actually, it is the opposite. Outfitted with 35mm tires, our Exploro feels fast…race bike fast. Adding to the race bike feel is the frames incredible stiffness. Power transfer is seamless, and cornering is crisp. It really feels like a race bike, that happens to be able to run bigger tires.

Back to the original question – “what is it for?” The whole point behind this bike is that it isn’t for any one type of riding. It’s meant to ride like a road bike on the road. With bigger tires, it can make singletrack and drop bars into good times. And dirt or gravel roads?  Heck yeah it does that too. The whole speed component doesn’t necessarily mean much for some rides, but there are a growing number of competitive gravel rides across the US and the Exploro is perfect for them. We’d expect to see a handful of these out at races like the Dirty Kanza and Crusher in the Tushar.

When someone brings up the 3T Exploro, the conversation always includes another bike designed for this “mixed-use” called the OPEN U.P.  They have a lot of similarities. Both companies are co-owned and heavily influenced by Cervelo founder Gerard Vroomen. Both fit a wide range of tires and run the 3T fork up front. Having built both of these bikes up with almost exactly the same kit, we have had opportunity to ride both in a variety of conditions. With subtle tweaks in design and in intended use, we were curious to see just how these two Gravel Plus bikes compare.

On pavement, the Exploro is fast and responsive. Handling and power transfer feels a lot like the Cervelo S-series aero bikes that Vroomen developed years ago. Shorter chainstays than the OPEN result in a slightly stiffer rear-end and more nimble road feel. The aero tube shaping is great for speed (and let’s face it, it looks really cool) but often aero tube profiles can translate into a harsh ride. Compared to the OPEN, the 3T did transmit a bit more road buzz through the frame, but it didn’t feel overly harsh. We’d expect the majority of the compliance (or lack of harshness) to come from the larger volume tires and lower tire pressure, which might make it the perfect platform to use aero tubing. Regardless of the aero benefits, the Exploro is a blast to ride at high speed on road and dirt. On the other hand, the OPEN offers a longer wheelbase, a damper ride and more stability. These characteristics make this bike ideal for rougher surfaces and rides where the dirt might outlast the pavement.

Both the 3T Exploro and the OPEN U.P. have variations of road geometry, which places the bottom-bracket slightly lower than what is typically found on cyclocross bikes. Doing so creates a nice, stable ride both off and on road. The OPEN seems to have more of a stable mountain-bike feel when riding off road, especially on more technical sections of trail. Enough so that we were left wanting even more time on the dirt. Given OPEN’s lightweight cross country mountain bike pedigree, this is no surprise. While it is a blast to ride off road, it is at home with some of the best road bikes out there. We have seen several riders ditch their road bikes in favor of the U.P. as their everyday road bike. While the Exploro is a bit newer to us, we definitely feel this bike combines versatility with performance characteristics of the top-level of road racing bikes.

Choosing between the Open U.P. and the 3T Exploro is tough. There’s a lot of overlap and either will take you farther than most bikes out there. We heard someone describe the difference as “the OPEN is a mountain bike for the road, and the 3T is a road bike for the dirt.” Given the handling differences, this is a great way to put it. The 3T fits a huge range of tires to provide traction and compliance when needed. It handles race-bike fast and offers a sense of power-transfer that makes you want to go fast wherever you’re riding. The OPEN fits the same range of tires and has an even smoother ride. It handles more like an endurance bike featuring a taller cockpit and extra stability. These go-all-day traits are noticeable on road and shine off road.  If you’re a roadie and want a road bike, take the 3T.  If you don’t mind losing a bit of the Formula-One-esque handling in favor of better off-road characteristics, choose the OPEN. Both are awesome and have the versatility to take you from road to dirt and back to road on the same bike.

While I haven’t pedaled either the 3T or the OPEN with the widest possible tire (2 inch knobbies) to see how they handle straight-up mountain riding, I can say that the 3T Exploro will easily change how and where you ride on the road. It is your road bike, your workhorse trainer for winter and a hard-charging gravel grinder.
Gravel Bike Wheel Size Versatility

Take a 3T Exploro or OPEN UP out on a test ride and experience the road and trail in a whole new light. Email Peter at peter@contenderbicycles.com to discuss which frame is right for you and how to custom spec out your bike. Additionally, we created a Contender Bicycles stock build for both the 3T Exploro and OPEN UP to give you a starting point to customize your ride.

3rd Annual Kit Up Africa

3rd Annual Kit Up Africa

Need to make room for all the new riding garb you’re gonna rake in for the Holidays? Want your used cycling gear to get in the hands of folks (fellow riders) that will truly appreciate it? ‘Tis the season for giving! This is our third year of teaming up with Kit Up Africa, a nonprofit that delivers donated cycling clothing, gear and shoes to cyclists in Africa who love to ride just as much as we do. Last year we donated hundreds of pounds of cycling clothing contributing to Kit Up Africa sending over 2000 kits to Africa. This included kitting up a Botswana national champions and scores of kids.

This year we are trying to rally everyone early! For Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, donate a piece of used cycling gear and get 30% a matching piece – so donate a jersey, get 30% off a new one. Need a new jacket? Donate your old one and it’s 30% off the shiny new one you’ve been eyeing since October. The same goes for shoes, bibs, gloves, hats, etc – anything you think is donation worthy. For the entire month of December we will continue to support Kit Up Africa in the same way however the percentage off a matching piece goes down to 20%.

So clean out your closet and help us Kit Up Africa!

Kit Up Africa. Contender Bicycles.

First Look: Scott Scale 710 Plus Video

The bike that sold us on Plus hardtails is now offered with more options for 2017. The Scott Scale Plus offers plus tire confidence and stability in a lightweight, great handling package. All Scale Plus models share the same premium alloy frame, allowing for sub-25lb complete bike weights. We’ve brought in several of the top-end Scott Scale 710 Plus bikes to keep as demos at the shop, and have been getting out on them as much as the weather allows.

While the 2016 Scale Plus was a new platform in Scott’s mountain bike line-up, Scott redesigned the 2017 Scale Plus to be even more fun out on the trail, and make better use of its 2.8 inch-wide tires. The new geometry features a slacker headtube, shorter chainstays, and longer top-tube. These tweaks mimic changes seen on the brand-new Scott Spark, and increase high-speed stability while allowing for more nimble handling.

Our early tests show the Scott Scale 710 Plus maintains its hero-level grip for awesome climbing on loose trails, while roaring down technical descents with even greater confidence. Our 710 Plus came stock with the new, 2017 Fox Float 32 fork (with 120mm travel), a Sram GX1 1×11 drivetrain, and tubeless wheels and tires that we ran down to 10 psi.  At this tire pressure, traction and stability are unreal, especially mid-summer, when our trails turn to moondust. Scott completes the trail-worthy build with a Syncros dropper post that, so far, has been trouble free.

While we won’t claim a plus hardtail matches the compliance or descending control of a full-suspension rig, they’re great for shorter singletrack rides, and offer a new level of fun on the dirt. For more information on the Scott Scale Plus, or our other Plus hardtails (including Moots Farwell, OPEN One+, Orbea Loki, and Cannondale Beast of the East), please give us a call or shoot us an email at info@contenderbicycles.com.

#ContenderRideUtah Photo Contest Winner

Our annual “Show Us Your Favorite Ride” photo contest is in the books. We were overwhelmed by the submissions, and want to thank everyone who contributed. Judging by the your photos, it’s been a great season of riding, and we hope next season will be even better! It was tough to choose just one, but this photo from Ellyn is just too dramatic to pass up. Moab is an impressive backdrop, and stormy skies only add to the beauty. Congrats to Ellyn – swing by to pick up your $50 gift card!

Moab Utah. Ellyn, Photo Contest Winner.

These are just a few of the great photos we received for the photo contest. We wish we could share them all but we have over 100 photos! If you haven’t picked up your free t-shirt please swing by the shop and pick it up while supplies last.

Lisa Rider. Saint To Sinners.
Carl Kjeldsberg. Park City, Utah.
Porcupine Trail. Park City, Utah.
Miles Havlick. Jem Trail, Southern Utah.
Cycling. Fall Colors.
Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Salt Lake City Utah.

2017 Scott Spark 900 Ultimate Review

Scott Bikes rides into 2017 with a brand-new Spark 900 series, fully revamped and ready for the trail. Paying attention to weight and performance, Scott didn’t hold back, completely reconfiguring the suspension and geometry of one of their most successful bikes. In doing so, the new Spark becomes smoother and faster on technical terrain, while maintaining its race-inspired pedaling efficiency. We had the opportunity to ride the new 2017 Spark 900 Ultimate numerous times and can attest to Scott’s numerous improvements.

The most noticeable difference is the vertical shock positioning. Scott revamped the Spark’s suspension kinematics (how the suspension actually moves), making the most of their ultra-lightweight single-pivot suspension design. The new rocker system provides better small bump sensitivity, and makes the most of the 120mm of Fox Nude shock travel.  The main frame has been modernized, too, with a longer top tube, steeper seattube angle, and slacker headtube angle, improving high-speed stability and rider efficiency.  Scott continues its use of their TwinLoc remote, allowing for in-ride adjustments between three distinct modes of suspension travel.

On the dirt, our 2017 Scott Spark 900 Ultimate Review bike showed improved descending confidence, while it maintained a firm pedaling platform on the climbs. With its Sram Eagle 1×12 drivetrain and 120mm of travel, the new Spark 900 falls within the lightweight trail bike category, and is ideal for the long climbs and fast singletrack we have here in the Wasatch. All of this comes in at just over 24 pounds (24.25 lb for the size medium) with a dropper seatpost, making the Spark 900 Ultimate both trail and race worthy.

2017 Winter Cycling Jacket Comparison

New Jacket Comparison 2017 Contender Bicycles

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan is known for saying “the times they are a changing.” We’re here to tell you “the weather is a changing.” While we’ve had an unusually warm fall, the crisp mornings remind us of the winter that’s to come. Utah winters are primarily dry, with the occasional snow storm to keep the ski resorts in business. Because of the dryness, winter can be a great time to ride. To stay comfortable, getting an appropriate jacket is a great place to start. A number of brand-new winter-ready jackets have just arrived at Contender Bicycles, ready to keep you on the road as the weather changes.

All of the jackets mentioned here offer some level of protection from rain, but none are truly waterproof. Waterproof hardshell jackets are inherently not as good at allowing moisture to pass through, away from the body. Because of this (and the mostly-dry winters we see), we typically steer our customers away from true waterproof jackets. The jackets we list here are fully wind-proof and allow varying levels of moisture regulation – ie they breath.

Assos milleintermediatejacket evo7 Jacket Red Front

One of our favorite new pieces, this fall, is the brand new Assos MilleIntermediate Jacket. At $199, it costs far less than what’s typical from the premium Swiss brand, which certainly had us intrigued. The front panels are made from a new windproof and water-resistant fabric called Plutocrat Lite, developed at Assos’ Lugano, Switzerland facility. Rear panels and most of the sleeves are made from a jersey-like fabric, for supreme breathability. The MilleIntermediate Jacket is a good in-between piece – paired with the proper base layer, it provides ample warmth down to the low 40s on spirited rides. Given the temperature range, ability to layer, and the fact that this is as cold as a lot of people ride, the MilleIntermediate Jacket should be a go-to piece for cool riding fall riding.

Assos Millejacket Evo7 Jacket Black

For rides dipping down into the 30s and below, the new Assos Mille Jacket is one of the warmest jackets you’ll find. The Mille is another new jacket developed in Switzerland, and also uses Assos’ new Plutocrat fabric. However, where the Mille Intermediate Jacket uses Plutocrat Lite, the standard Mille Jacket uses the more insulative, heavier Plutocrat fabric. The entire inside features a soft fleece lining for additional comfort and warmth. The shoulders, sleeves, and back panels feature a smooth nylon outer fabric, with DWR (durable water repellent) treatment, for additional protection from the elements. Assos’ premium S7 line of jackets, notably the iJ.Bonka Cento and iJ.Habu, ooze quality – they’re in a league of their own. The Mille Jacket still fits great still has plenty of details, but it’s not quite in the same league as its big brothers. That being said, it’s nearly half the price at $289 retail, and we’re confident it will function as good or better than most other premium jackets on the market.  The fit of both the Mille Jacket and Mille Intermediate Jacket is slim, but not race-cut like the Habu and Bonka.  At 6’, 170 lbs, we’d comfortably wear a Large in both.

Velocio ES Jacket Red

Another new jacket (and newer brand at Contender) comes from Velocio, an impressive young apparel brand. The Italian-made Velocio ES Jacket is a beautiful piece, with a more traditional aesthetic than Assos. Velocio uses Polartec fabrics in many of their pieces, and chose to use Polartec PowerStretch Pro for the ES.  PowerStretch Pro is a high-tech windproof fabric, that also offers good water resistance and a high level of breathability. Rear panels are a robust Super Roubaix fabric that hugs the body and provides good warmth and great breathability. For dry climates and/or hard efforts, this jacket is one of the best options on the market. The fit and finish are top-notch, too, which is no surprise given other Velocio pieces we ride in. It has a tall neck, three rear pockets, reflective trim, and a windproof front zipper flap. We’d wear this jacket from around freezing (with a heavier base layer) up to the mid-40s, which is a pretty optimal range for most winter riding. Combine its temperature range with the classic styling and beautiful finish, the ES Jacket is a favorite. For extra low-light visibility, choose the Velocio ES Jacket in classy Red. The fit is on the racier side, and we could go with either a Large or XL, depending on the type of layering we’d expect to use.

Giordana AV 100 Jacket Black front

The last two jackets we’ve selected are from our long-time favorite Italians over at Giordana. The Acqua Vento range is brand new for Giordana, and the AV 100 is one of two premium jackets we offer in the line. Giordana makes nearly all of their apparel in Italy, but unlike most other brands, they actually owns their own manufacturing facility. This allows for better quality control and experimentation of fabrics and manufacturing processes, ultimately making for better apparel. The Giordana AV 100 Jacket is the most weather-proof jacket in our comparison. The shell is crafted from a 100% waterproof and windproof EVent fabric that still offers excellent breathability. It is a lightweight piece that is best used in the shoulder seasons, but can also work well over a warmer base layer. At $300, it’s an expensive jacket. We haven’t had the chance to put it to use, but our experience with other Giordana jackets has been excellent, and the AV 100’s features are pretty unique. Weight-wise, it’s more like a long-sleeve jersey, but with its wind and waterproof technologies, it serves double duty.  Fit is more race-cut – a Large works but for winter-appropriate layering, we might size up to an XL.

Giordana Fusion Lightweight Jacket Red front

The Giordana Fusion Lightweight WindFront Jacket is another new addition to Giordana’s Fusion line of more cost-effective apparel. While less expensive than the other jackets in this write-up, for $200 you still get a highly effective jacket. It offers a fleece-lined interior, and a windproof and water-resistant exterior. In terms of warmth and function, I’d put this in the same category as the Velocio ES Jacket, and for an extra $70, I’d probably splurge.  The Fusion’s fit is slightly more relaxed than the AV100, and we’d run a Large.

ASSOS LS.skinFoil_spring:fall_s7 Base Layer front

Today’s jackets are optimized for layering over a base layer. While these jackets do offer some amount of insulation, their primary intent is to offer protection from wind (and in some cases, rain), while allowing for efficient moisture transfer. Once a jacket is selected, we recommend varying the base layers (generally long sleeve) for different temperatures and ride-intensities. For all but the very coldest rides, we generally use just these two layers, forgoing a mid, insulation layer.

For additional details on these or any other winter apparel pieces, please give us a shout or email us at info@contenderbicycles.com.

Show Us Your Favorite Ride Photo Contest

Contender Bicycles Photo Contest

Send us a shot from this past season of you on your bike riding your favorite route in Utah! We’ll kick down one of our new Utah license plate inspired t-shirts.

Every entry receives a Contender Bicycles tee! However only one photo receives the grand prize of a $50 Contender Bicycles Gift Card! So send your pics ASAP! You can email them to cody@contenderbicycles.com or simply submit a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #ContenderRideUtah. We can only see hashtags from public Instagram accounts. So if your account in private, direct message us.

We can’t wait to see all your pictures! Contest ends Saturday, November 5. We’ll announce the winner on Instagram and Facebook on November 7. Stay tuned!

After submitting your photo, please swing by the shop to pick up your t-shirt. Limited to one t-shirt per person while supplies last.*

Contender Bicycles License Plate Tee Shirt

*If you submit a photograph for the Show Us Your Favorite Ride Photo Contest, you grant Contender Bicycles a royalty-free, nonexclusive right to use your photo for Contender Bicycles marketing purposes.