There’s old school and then there is Old School. Old as in the 1800s, Civil War old, Industrial Revolution old even. The earliest two-wheelers date back to the early 19th century with patented designs and working models first popping up in 1817. As usage accelerated and technology (yes they technology back in the day) the early balance bike or “hobby horse” was upgraded with pedals attached to the front wheel or actual drivetrains – consisting of various treddles, pedals and linkage – pushing them forward. All of these designs rolled on heavy wooden wheels, sometimes shod with steel strips – the resulting rough ride lead to the nickname Boneshaker.
There is also a well-documented Bicycle Boom from the later part of that century, that saw sales and participation soar, with thousands of two-wheelers taking to cobbled streets; recent improvements like metal frames, metal-spoked wheels and solid rubber tires making the Boneshaker much more enjoyable to ride. As the centuries changed and world-wide tensions increased many of these old models were recycled in support of their country’s war efforts. On another front, the introduction of the automobile played a major role in drastically reducing the number of two-wheelers being produced. Not to be out-paced, struggling manufacturers used a constant stream of mechanical advancements such as pneumatic tires, chain-driven transmissions, and more structurally-sound metal frames to keep pedal-powered transportation relevant in the 20th century and in doing so the turned the Boneshaker into what we know as the modern-day bicycle.
The Boneshaker hanging from our rafters made its way from Belgium to Utah when an avid collector wanted to add another antique to his stable. He then realized that it may not be necessary to posses two 150 year wooden bikes and found a good home for it with us. Weighing about 90 pounds this metal-framed relic has stout iron handlebars that you can easily imagine being hammered-out by a blacksmith. The smaller moustache-shaped bar above the front wheel is actually a leg-rest for when it is time to coast along! Thick wooden spokes and metal treads make for a heavy wheelset but are amazingly serviceable – when the wheels get wobbly one just dips the bike into the nearest body of water, this causes the wood to swell and the spokes to tighten. A lot of visitors to the shop find it difficult to believe that it is a real bike that was actually very common place in a century long past. As much as we at Contender Bicycles crave the latest-and-greatest from the bike industry we all feel that it is very cool to have this true piece of cycling history hanging in the shop.
Join BMC Switzerland and SRM Training Systems at Contender Bicycles this Thursday for an opportunity to be one of the first cyclists in the country to test ride BMC’s 2016 models. Riders attending this FREE DEMO can expect:
– 2016 BMC bikes equipped with SRM PC-8 power meters
– BMC SWAG with every demo
– A Chance to win $500 in BMC apparel!
– Food and refreshments provided by BMC Switzerland
What to bring: Pedals, Shoes, Helmet, ID, Credit Card Where: Contender Bicycles: 989 E. 900 South Salt Lake City, UT 84105 When: Thursday, August 6th 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Looking to score a great bike at a really great price? We have over 200 bikes including a gigantic fleet of Cannondale demos and bikes from their 2016 launch. Select from a huge range of bikes from kid’s to road to mountain to cyclocross.
Great savings on other brands from Giro, Mavic, TIME, BMC & 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.
Bring your old helmet down to the shop this Thursday any time between 5:00 and 7:00 PM and receive 25% OFF any Lazer helmet!
Lazer offers a full range of helmets for road riders, mountain bikers and commuters. There is something for everyone. An ultra-light Z1 or helium helmet is ideal for fast road riders while other models are suited for off-road use or commuting. We can even order the size and color you desire if we don’t have it in store.
This offer was very popular last year and we packed up boxes and boxes of old helmets to be recycled. Lazer has the ability to recycle old helmets in the effort to reclaim materials for new ones. Now is your opportunity to take part in this year’s event and score a nice deal on the Lazer helmet that is right for you.
Lazer helmets from Belgium is the oldest manufacturer of sports helmets in the world dating back to 1919. Since then they have developed protective headwear for skiing, motorsports, paragliding and of course cycling. With features like Rollsys rention, MIPS and Autofit, Lazer produces a lightweight and comfortable helmet for every type of rider.
We absolutely have to share with everyone one of the coolest bikes (for equally cool people) that we have ever built at the shop. Ross and Patti have quite the quiver of tandems and we have been lucky enough to be a part of many of them. This one might take the cake. When Ross and Patti decided to participate in The Crushar in the Tushar, they went all in with this custom Calfee tandem gravel bike.
With 29″ wheels and running drop bars, this is a super versatile tandem. Technically Calfee considers this a mountain tandem. While the primary use of this tandem was more of a gravel/dirt ride, throwing a pair of 700×28 road tires on would make it a top-caliber road tandem. The extra tire clearance and wider range gearing aren’t necessarily something that preclude this bike to being used in the dirt. Swapping between a rigid and a suspension fork up front would be relatively easy and make the bike just “that much better” for specific rides or applications.
In a world where 11 gears of the “one-by” drivetrains seems to be “enough”. This bike features a triple with an eleven speed cassette. While there probably is a 200 gram penalty, the benefits of electronic shifting and a wide array of gearing options seems like a huge win for a tandem. Obviously, cadence on a tandem isn’t probably as easy to vary or to just “power through” a particular steep section of a ride. In the same light, this tandem isn’t going to run out of gears on long and fast downhills. The Di2 shifting also makes quick work of the long cable runs from the captains controls to the drivetrain and allows the captain to see what gear they’re in by looking on his Garmin computer.
If you ever need work on done on your tandem or are looking to get into tandem riding, we can confidently say we are experts. Ross and Patti’s son, Graham, happens to be a long time and highly trained mechanic at the shop. With Graham, we have the ultimate tandem expert having helped design and build not just Ross and Patti’s tandems over the years but a number of other performance tandems.
Here is a little Q & A with Ross and Patti on what keeps them in tandem:
Q. How long have I been “in-tandem”?
A. Ross tried to get me to ride tandem when the kids were young. He bought a Fisher tandem which we rode sporadically for a year or so. When the kids were a little older he bought a Comotion tandem which I was not too interested in riding, so he rode it with a friend for several years. In the late 1990s when the kids were teenage or so, he bought a Davinci tandem. That was when we started riding tandem in earnest. Later we bought another Comotion. In 2008 we bought a Calfee tandem with couplers. A year or two later we bought a Ventana double suspension mountain bike tandem. Right now we are having a Calfee dirt/cross tandem built up.
Q. Marital counseling or marital bliss?
A. I am not nearly as strong a rider as Ross. Riding tandem is the only way we can ride together. I am not much of an athlete but I have some amount of dedication & determination. Ross has mad bike skills & lots of patience. Tandems are not ideal for every couple that rides but they have been great for us. We actually like to share tandem adventures together, not that there is never any friction. But honestly we have had some awesome times!
Q. Favorite road tandem ride?
A. We have been fortunate to be able to experience some amazing road tandem riding. It is impossible to pick a favorite ride. We have ridden in the Dolomites, in the Alps including many of the Tour de France routes, in Provence including Mt. Ventoux, on the Island of Corsica, as well as in many of the western states including the Desperado Dual, the Triple Bypass & the Moab Century.
Q. Favorite dirt tandem ride?
A. We have done less dirt/mountain bike riding. We have found some fun rides in Southern Utah & the San Juans of Colorado.
Q. Scary moments or crashes?
A. Nine years ago we crashed on the MS 150. I had a concussion, a clavicle fracture & several ribs fractures. On our tour through the Dolomites disc brakes were new to us. We experienced brake failure during a descent that could have been disastrous. We attempted one ditching maneuver which luckily worked. We remained pretty much unscathed but very shaken up. Needless to say we got better educated on disc brakes & when we got home purchased the biggest rotors our bike could accommodate. Also we have had several lesser falls on our mountain bike tandem but none of much consequence.
Q. Best moment or memory?
A. So many great memories! One of the best was riding our tandem from Cortina, Italy up to the Refugio Auronzo at the base of the Tri Cime di Lavaredo. All of the riding in the Dolomites as well as l’Oisans area of the French Alps is just spectacular.
Q. Tandem fat bikes?
A. I have been trying to get Ross interested in a tandem fat bike but he is skeptical. He just got a fat bike last year for some snow riding but the season was pretty short. I tend to want to Nordic ski in the winter. So right now I don’t see one in our future.
Q. Advice for new tandem-ers?
A. I imagine many tandem teams are not matched in strength. If the stronger person is not reconciled to riding slower than they do solo that could lead to discord. Riding tandem is definitely different from riding solo. Tandems can go fast on the flats but they are relatively slower on hills. The stoker can’t see much of the road ahead from their position so it is important that the captain communicates well with the stoker. Also the stoker can actually do a lot of steering from behind so it is important that the stoker trusts the captain enough to let him steer. Learning to stand together while riding tandem has been essential to allowing me to ride for long periods of time. It also helps when riding steeper grades. I think it’s a skill worth incorporating. Also, I think riding tandem should be augmented with riding solo.
Are you stumped on what to get your dad this year? Contender Bicycles has a few suggestions that are sure to impress him. We have put together a list of suggestions that are sure to help turn this Father’s Day into one of the best yet.
TUB Simple Wallet
The Simple Wallet made by TUB is designed for everyday use. It could be used for a night out on the town, dedicated to business cards or holding your debit card and I.D. while you are riding or commuting. Each wallet is composed from different tubes meaning no two Simple Wallets are the same. The wallet holds up to 10 credit cards and the bill strap located on the back is snug enough to hold your cash. We currently have a good selection of these wallets in stock and they all have different colored stitching. Plus they are locally made here in Salt Lake City and are only $12.
Contender Bicycles Gift Card – $50 Classic Tune-Up
This is the perfect time of year to make sure your Dad’s road, mountain or cyclocross bike is running at its finest. With many sunny days to enjoy this summer, do your dad a favor and let our service department tune his ride. Our Classic Tune-Up covers the basics to make sure the bicycle is in proper working order. The tune consists of truing the wheels, cleaning and lubing the bicycle, adjusting bearings, adjusting the shifting and braking and finally a test ride to assure our work. If you just can’t seem to find the perfect gift for dad this year, the Contender Bicycles gift card will allow him to pick out his own gear and get him out on the roads in style.
Socks – Because cyclist’s need A LOT of socks…
If you ride bikes, you understand the struggle. Tall socks, short socks, funny socks and of course the new Contender Bicycles Socks; you can never have enough. Get your dad some fresh new socks with a great selection from SockGuy, Giordana, Cannondale, Assos, Pearl Izumi and more. Socks start at $10.
MIPS Cycling Helmet
Whether your dad is still rocking an old-school helmet and needs to catch up with the times or has a helmet that just doesn’t fit, get him a new helmet with MIPS technology. MIPS protects your brain by neutralizing rotational forces on the head during impact. It adds a low-friction layer between the shell and liner which, upon angled impact, allows the helmet to slide relative to the head avoiding concussion and other brain injuries. There is no better gift than making your dad a little bit more safe out on the road or trail. Our selection of MIPS equipped helmets start at $65.
Silca SuperPista Ultimate Floor Pump
For the cyclist that has it all (well almost), the Silca SuperPista Ultimate Floor Pump would definitely be the crown jewel of any workshop. At $445, some might say the claims behind this pump are full of hot air. Not so but yes this pump is a little over the top. The SuperPista will stand the test of time and take the stress out of filling-up tires with those finicky pumps that just don’t work. With every detail taken into account down to a hose used in the brakes on Formula One race cars, this pump will allow any rider to spend their energy pumping hills rather than their tires. Silca has long set the standard of what a bicycle floor pump could and should be and the SuperPista has increased the pressure on the competition.
Folks often ask about the Eddy Merckx hanging above the counter at the store and why it is so special. With today being Eddy’s 70th birthday, we figured it would be fitting to share with you just why this bike is so coveted. Happy Birthday Eddy!
You cannot find a bicycle much more iconic or coveted than this 1970’s Eddy Merckx. Ridden by a teammate of Eddy at Molteni, this bike’s instantly recognizable orange paint, Mavic OR-7 rims, and Campagnolo “drilled-out” components speak of an era of steel frames ridden by the hardest of athletes. The name on the downtube is none other than Eddy Merckx, the winningest racer in the history of the sport. Though Merckx still has a company bearing his name, the carbon-fiber creations they now produce will never reach the iconic stature of this lugged-steel racing machine from Eddy’s heyday.
Famous Italian builders such as Masi, De Rosa and Colnago had all been tapped to make bikes for Eddy Merckx as the Belgian rider exploded onto the world stage. We learned more about the heritage of this bike during a visit at Contender with former Belgian professional racer and United Health Care team director Henrik Redant. Henrik listed a number of features on this frame that identified it as a frame made by Kessels in Belgium. As a kid, Henrik watched Eddy destroy his competition every weekend on bikes like this. This Kessel-made bike was built in Belgium and raced in the glory days by a long forgotten domestique. Molteni racing is the team most associated with this bike’s orange livery while the seat tube sports yellow and pink stripes in commemoration of Merckx’s numerous Giro and Tour wins as a member of that famous squad. Adorning the headtube is a mugshot of the man himself.
The components tell a story as well; A mix of Campagnolo Super Record and Nuovo Record parts show their hard use but are surprisingly in-tact due to the constant maintenance by team mechanics. Everything from brake-pad guides to dust caps on the pedals and gum rubber brake hoods is still there. As was the custom those days, the chainrings and rear derailleur cage have been carefully drilled-out to save weight. Even the mounting bolts for the clip on cable guides and downtube shifter clamp are hollowed out for the same reason. One surprising feature is the presence of fender mounts front and back allowing a racer to train on the same bike year round.
Without a doubt our Eddy Merckx is a conversation starter and one that riders of all ages are enthralled with. This wonderful museum-worthy piece is on loan from the owner and we are proud to have one of his prize possessions hanging in our shop.
Jeff is a newer staff member at Contender Bicycles yet he is no stranger to riding all types of bikes and working in a bike shop. After riding BMX bikes and mastering dirt jumps when he was younger, Jeff later got hooked on full suspension bikes and never looked back. Jeff prefers all-mountain downhill mountain riding and brings a unique perspective to those who seek the thrills of going quick downhill. If you have ever ridden your mountain bike at Canyons Resort in Park City, you may have seen Jeff riding his favorite trail known as Insurgent. Insurgent is very steep, loose and has plenty of drops and big rocks to dodge at high speeds. If you are planning on attending the Red Bull Rampage in Virgin Utah later this year, you may see Jeff cheering on some of his favorite downhill riders. After starting at Contender Bicycles, Jeff has become very fond of the TIME Skylon AKTIV due to its hands-on craftsmanship and revolutionary fork with a built in internal mechanism known as a tuned mass damper to improve ride quality and offer ultimate rider comfort. Jeff hopes to purchase a new mountain bike later this year and will continue to refine his downhill skills and explore all the trails Utah has to offer.
Q: What was your first bike ever?
A: Red Line RL 340 BMX race bike steel frame with 44×16 gearing.
Q: What was awesome about it?
A: Got it when I was 9 and I still have it!
Q: Did you ever take it off of any sweet jumps?
A: Yes, broke my first bone on that bike! Collar bone and shoulder separation…
Q: Dirt or road?
A: Dirt of course.
Q: Why not road?
A: You don’t leave the ground often enough on the road. I like riding down steep hills and jumping on dirt.
Q: Hardtail or full-suspension?
A: Full Suspension…see above. Because I like to hit sweet jumps.
Q: 27.5” or 29”?
Q: 26”…are you serious? Do you know what century it is?
A: Yes, I’m a little behind the times but 27.5” will be next. It is getting more and more difficult to find good 26” tires. I would like a Scott Genius LT 700 or a similar long travel trail bike.
Jeff picked the revolutionary Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm Sunglasses as his favorite product for the 2015 season. These advanced sunglasses feature Prizm lenses that help increase vision for cyclists in all types of environments. These lenses enhance the road and your surroundings so you can see obstacles like rocks and potholes quickly and feel more confident as you ride. Unobtanium is a texture that Oakley developed to increase adhesion when wet to grip and stay in place when you sweat. Some other cool features that Jeff covers in his video include adjustable arm length for different size heads and helmet setups, Switchlock technology to easily swap out and remove lenses, and a full-coverage design to protect your eyes from the elements. We have multiple color and style options of these sunglasses at the shop if you would like to come down and try them on. Jeff guarantee’s that you’re going to like the way you look.
The one-the-only Nick Gaitan is excited for Skratch Labs latest release called Fruit Drops. He enjoys the taste and benefits offered by the Fruit Drops so much that he selected them as his favorite new product for the 2015 season! Fruit Drops are made with simple ingredients and flavored with real fruit to create an energy chew that isn’t sticky like wax. One Fruit Drop contains 4 grams of carbohydrates and 16 calories. The best part about Fruit Drops is they taste great and are not sticky when you pull them out of your jersey pocket while riding. Currently the Drops are offered in two flavors: raspberry or orange. If you ask Nick what his favorite flavor is, he will tell you to try both at the same time. Use the Skratch Labs Fruit Drops as an easy and convenient source of carbohydrate to help maintain blood sugar and performance during prolonged exercise. A single pouch contains ten ‘drops’ comprising two 80 calorie servings. When you run into Nick running to the top of Granger, you will see the drops bouncing in his pocket!
Patrick may be one of Contender Bicycle’s newest staff members but he is no stranger to hard riding and fast racing. That being true, he knows that a quality carbon wheelset is the best place to add horsepower to your race bike. The Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40c wheel system is his choice due to their technology incorporated in the wheelset to reduce braking heat. This technology involves laying up multiple layers of resins and then fixing them to the rim using a proprietary heat treatment process to achieve the most resistance to braking heat. This is extremely useful for riders who enjoy climbing canyons without having to worry about their wheels getting too hot on the descents. Built with a 40mm deep rim profile, bladed spokes and Mavic’s own tires this wheel system is race-ready and Patrick approved.