#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.

Ryan’s Personal OPEN ONE+ Plus Mountain Bike

OPEN Cycles ONE Plus. Contender Bicycles, Salt Lake City, Utah.

What started as a few dirt rides on my snowbike, turned into an obsession with better traction than my daily rider provided for the trails around Salt Lake City. While I wasn’t really interested in riding with the wider stance and greater weight of most fat bikes, the increase in traction was awesome. In the fall of 2015, I bought my first PLUS bike, an Orbea Loki. It was fun and the traction on the dirt was much closer to riding a fat bike than riding an XC full suspension bike or a high-end hardtail. I also rode it as a snowbike about a half-dozen times, as I waited for my true fatbike to show up. It did surprisingly well in all but the softest conditions.

My next purchase was a Scott Scale 710 Plus. This bike was a little more than 3 pounds lighter than the Orbea. I was sure I was going to love it. With some small upgrades, I had this alloy framed bike down to the mid 25 pound range with 27×2.8 tires. Huge improvements in the lighter, quicker and snappier categories. I rode the majority of the 2016 season on this bike and was sold on its performance. The Plus tires paired with a nice hardtail frame made for a great balance of cush, light-weight and grip. I could stand to charge over the top of climbs that I would normally sit and eventually bog down. Going downhill, the lighter bike still offered the same sense of security and confidence. Despite a hugely positive overall vibe on the Scott, I still wanted something lighter. Once you’ve had a 21lb. hardtail, you sort of expect the rest of them to be that light.

In the spring of 2016, we were asked to help OPEN co-founder Andy Kessler assemble his personal ONE+. We were blown away to see this “cut-no-corners” plus complete bike that ended up in the 18lb range. We did a soft launch of this then-new product at our store before it’s official launch at Sea Otter a few days later. Once I saw that, I knew that I needed an upgrade.

Fortunately for the shop, the summer of 2016 was a busy one at Contender. Unfortunately, this meant I was not able to get my OPEN up and running until September. I kept riding all summer on my Scott, and I kept saying how much I loved the Plus concept. Every time I rode, I had a huge smile on my face, and I knew it was only going to get better.

OPEN Cycles One Plus riding in Salt Lake City, Utah. Contender Bicycles.

Finally, I had an opportunity to build my OPEN. Someone had borrowed my Scott and hadn’t returned it in time for me to ride on the weekend. This was a perfect opportunity to rally a couple of mechanics at the shop and get my OPEN ONE+ up and running. While the Scott was perfect for solidifying my support of the Plus bike concept, the upgrade to the OPEN was awesome. No longer did I second guess the few extra pounds on the longer climbs, something that was inevitable when riding with a bunch of guys 15 years younger than me, most riding 20lb hardtails.

My first ride on the OPEN was a long climb with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain, followed by a descent of the Wasatch Crest Trail. On the climb, I never second guessed having 2.8″ wide tires. When the trail got steeper, I stood up and charged the gradient and recovered when the trail slacked out. This is something I could not do on a normal 29″ hardtail. While most people on this trail are riding 120mm-150mm travel full suspension trail bikes, I felt ready to throw down (at least I was wearing a helmet with a visor). On the downhill, I was faster than I would have been on my 100mm travel full suspension bike. The bike floated over the chewed up terrain and offered incredible control and braking. For sure, really rocky sections made the lack of suspension damping an obvious weakness. It was easily forgotten, however, as I reminded myself that I carried 5 fewer pounds up the hour long climb.

Now, with around ten rides logged on the One+, I’m sold. The Scott was a great bike and served me well as the perfect gateway-drug to the benefits of Plus tires. Yes, I can see times where I would want full suspension. And yes, the sub 21 pound build makes me feel like I can actually put the hammer down on climbs again. I can say that my days on mountain bikes with tires narrower than 2.6″ are in the past.

We’re glad to share with you that OPEN has now been presented the 2017 Design & Innovation Award for their ONE+ frame. This is hot on the heels of receiving the same prize for the U.P. Gravel Plus frameset, definitely an excellent showing for a small bike brand that has only released three frames so far! This is what the selection committee had to say “the OPEN ONE+ is a bike that doesn’t just exceed the current confines of mountain bikes, but launches itself over them and hurtles away from any category.” We at Contender Bicycles couldn’t agree more.

If you are interested in building up an OPEN ONE+ please feel free to contact me with questions. I can be reached by email at ryan@contenderbicycles.com or by phone at 801-364-0344. Here’s what my personal build (21lbs with pedals, cages and a bell) looks like this:

OPEN Cycles One Plus Complete Bicycle. Salt Lake City, Utah.

OPEN One+ Frame (Medium), Rockshox SID RLC 29”/27.5” Plus Fork (100mm travel), Sram Eagle XX1 Drivetrain (32T chainring), Stan’s Flow MK3 27.5’ Wheels (Boost spacing, 29mm internal width), Schwalbe Rocket Ron 27.5”x2.8” (Setup tubeless)

Based on the performance of Ryan’s personal rig (and similar builds we’ve selected for other One+ fans), Contender Bicycles has created our own signature One+ build. Our OPEN One+ Eagle XX1 Complete Bike offers our go-to build that, we believe, maximizes the performance characteristics of the One+ frame. It’s nearly identical to the rig Ryan is riding, and a full spec list can be viewed here.

OPEN One+ Eagle XX1 Complete Bike

And just a few more photos from out on the trail…

Open Cycles ONE Plus Top Tube. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Open Cycles ONE Plus SRAM Eagle Cassette. Stan's NoTubes ZTR Flow MK3 Wheelset

OPEN Cycles ONE Plus. Night ride, Salt Lake City, Utah.


Orbea Mountain Bike Demo

Orbea Demo Salt Lake City, Utah. Contender Bicycles.


Now through October 13th  is your chance to demo Orbea’s mountain bike lineup! The Orbea demo trailer is at the shop and contains the much talked about Loki 27+, Oiz, Occam and Rallon. Don’t take a rest day, take a test day!

There will be no charge to demo a bike and you can demo a bike for a full day on your favorite trails! We will require making a copy of your I.D. and credit card and you will need to sign a release form.  Please contact us at info@contenderbicycles.com, call us at 801-364-0344 or swing by the shop to reserve a day on any bike listed below. We have complete size runs in almost all of the bikes.

Orbea Loki H-LTD 27+

Orbea Oiz M10

Orbea Rallon X-10

Orbea Occam AM M10

Orbea Occam TR M10

Assos Gift With Purchase Offer

Assos Gift With Purchase Offer


With the temps dropping, it’s time to pull out the winter apparel to keep you comfortable well into the cold months.  There are few companies (if any) as good at creating ultra-technical cycling apparel as Assos, and their outerwear is no exception. Now through October 21st, Assos is pairing their advanced, technical riding jackets and tights with their equally great gloves and booties.  Their reputation as being the very best means its rare to find a “deal” on anything Assos – thus this is an amazing opportunity to kit up for winter.  The promotion works like this:

Purchase any current Assos jacket and you will receive a free pair of Assos gloves from the equivalent climaRange.


Purchase any current Assos tight or knicker and receive a free pair of Assos shoe covers from the equivalent climaRange.

Assos Bonka climaRange

Bonka climaRange

Meant for the worst weather winter can muster, the Assos Bonka climaRange will keep you toasty warm on even the most frigid winter days. * Select one of the following Assos “Bonka” jackets or tights, and choose a glove or bootie from the list to receive as a complimentary gift.

Assos Bonka climaRange Combinations

Shop Bonka climaRange

Assos Habu climaRange

Habu climaRange

Meant for riding in late-fall and early-winter, Assos’ Hubu climaRange offers excellent breathability for high-tempo rides, with wind-blocking protection for warmth on crisp fall mornings, long descents, and bluebird winter days, where temps hover around freezing.  The Habu is a shop favorite and an absolute go-to. * Select either the the Assos Habu jacket or tight, and choose a glove or bootie from the list to receive as a complimentary gift.

Assos Habu climaRange Combinations

Shop Habu climaRange

Assos Tiburu climaRange

Tiburu climaRange

Layering is key to staying warm, but layering with the wrong items can be bulky and uncomfortable.  Assos’ Tiburu climaRange is meant for days when warmers and a vest aren’t quite enough.  The Tiburu range isn’t too heavy or light, it’s just right for spring and fall riding. * Select one of the following Assos “Tiburu” jackets or tights, and choose a glove or bootie from the list to receive as a complimentary gift.

Assos Tiburu climaRange Combinations

Shop Tiburu climaRange

Assos climaX climaRange

ClimaX climaRange

Assos’ process for developing their proprietary fabrics is as advanced as it gets, so it’s no surprise to see their rain gear achieve the ultimate in protection from the elements. * Select one of the following Assos “ClimaX” jackets or bottoms, and choose a glove or bootie from the list to receive as a complimentary gift.

Assos climaX climaRange Combinations

** Because of the various options Assos is offering, please purchase the jacket or tight that you want, and leave a message at checkout with the glove or bootie you would like to receive complimentary. With questions, please call or contact us at info@contenderbicycles.com.**

The Contender Camp – Season Eight


It’s that time of year again. Leaves are changing color, daylight is dwindling, sweaters are resurfacing and everyone is anticipating the first snowfall of the season! …What we’re trying to say is that Contender Camp is just around the corner!

This year you can register online, over the phone or in person at the shop. If any participants are interested in paying for all three blocks in advance, we’d again like to extend a special offer by including one lactate test free of charge. Once you have registered, your spot is reserved.

Already in our eighth season, the camp gets further refined every year. We will continue to offer a Saturday make-up/bonus class and as always the trainer room is open during the shop’s business hours for use by all Camp participants. Plus all your favorite instructors are back this year!

The Contender Camp has been known to…

  • turn you into lean, mean, pedaling machines just in time for spring riding
  • create a new and improved passion for cycling
  • forge friendships that last lifetimes (or until the next group-ride-grudge-match up Emigration)

It’s a little thing we like to call The Contender Consortium. The brain trust of Ryan boundless cycling and training, Dr. Eric Taylor and Blake’s knowledge and impressive backgrounds in sports physiology combine to make this camp the best training option in Utah.

How Does Our Class Work?

We take the latest science-based training principles, combine them with our lactate testing and state-of-the-art CompuTrainer facility for catered training parameters and accurate measurements of your cadence and power output. This is essential to get maximum results from your training time in class.

This scientific approach creates the ideal formula necessary to make the greatest improvements in our fitness. Our goal is to make sure you’re not just simply fit and ready for spring riding but to make sure that the fitness, knowledge and skills you’ve gained forge a more confident and better performing rider.

Split into three 6-week training ‘blocks’ or phases, each block uses specific training principles. This challenges Camp participants and helps us see improvements along the way ultimately motivating us to become a better cyclist.

But let’s not forget one of the best reasons to sign up for the class – the chance to meet cyclists who are motivated to stay fit, to work hard and to have fun during those chilly winter months. Plus our expert staff and the legendary playlists keeps you motivated for the entire 90 minute workout.

To sign up for the Camp Special or just for Block I & your initial lactate test, please see the Class Schedule below for a direct link to each time slot and registration option.

CLASS SCHEDULE (Classes have already started! Some classes are currently sold out however registration changes from block to block. If you are interested in starting mid block or at the start of another block, please email Blake at blake@contenderbicycles.com.)
M/W Morning:  6:00 AM – 7:30 AM
M/W Evening: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
T/TH Early Morning: 5:15 AM – 6:45 AM
T/TH Late Morning:  9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
T/TH Late Afternoon: 4:15 PM – 5:45 PM
T/TH Evening: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

BLOCK II:  MON, DEC 19 – THU, FEB 2 (HOLIDAY BREAK – DEC 23 through JAN 1)

FOLLOW-UP LACTATE TESTS (if desired to reestablish training zones): $100.00
CAMP SPECIAL: $840 (all three blocks and one free lactate test)*
*First time participants MUST have a lactate test prior to the start of camp. For those seasoned veterans, please feel free to use your lactate test at any point throughout the camp. It is important to have at least one lactate test during camp to properly monitor your progress and optimize your training.

Blake Vatne will again be doing all of the lactate testing at Contender Bicycles. Please feel free to set up a time with him during the month of October before classes begin. Please note we recommend establishing your training values before the start of camp and, if needed, retest once during camp to reestablish values in order to maximize your gains and foster continual growth throughout the classes!

For additional information, please feel free to contact our shop (801.364.0344) or email Blake at blake@contenderbicycles.com. If you are interested in a class that is full, please email Blake so he can put you on a cancellation list.


For half a century, lactic acid has been considered the cause of muscle fatigue and burning sensation during high intensity exercise. In the body, lactic acid is present in very small amounts even in resting condition. Most of it is dissociated as lactate. The most recent theory on lactate metabolism and exercise is that lactate is a great way for the body to “move” energy between cells. We also know that lactate doesn’t cause fatigue but correlates to it. Lactate can also be used as an energy source. Studies show that without lactate recycling we would need to carry a 150 lb backpack of ATP to complete a marathon. The rate of production and reutilization of lactate stays equal up to the individual reaching their lactate threshold. Lactate threshold is the point where the rate of production exceeds the rate of reutilization of lactate. After this point, excessive lactate begins to build lowering blood pH and resulting in muscular fatigue.

Lactate testing allows you to see exactly how the body is responding to the muscular stress you apply. Using a hand held blood lactate analyzer along with power output data from the Computrainer, your training zones can be established to maximize the effectiveness of the training. In other words, your lactate values and your power levels help map the zones that will stimulate the greatest fitness gains.

A lactate test is performed using a hand held lactate analyzer, heart rate monitor, and a Computrainer displaying power output. When a test is performed there is a standard warm up of 10-15 minutes. This warm up increases your muscles temperature allowing the reactions for energy production to be faster and more efficient. After starting the test at a predetermined workload, intensity is increased every three minutes until you go just beyond OBLA (on set of blood lactate utilization). During each phase of the test, heart rate, perceived exertion and blood lactate level are taken along with current power output. Normally this takes around 15 -20 minutes.

Using a hand held analyzer, blood lactate levels are determined using a pen-point sized blood sample on a disposable chip. The small drop of blood is taken from the earlobe using a sterile, disposable lance. Once testing is complete, the lactate analyzer readings and power output levels are imported into a graph. This graph helps to understand how you body responds to different levels of work and aids in determining your “intensity zones”. These zones are much more effective to use over heart rate zones based on formulas related to age or maximum heart rates.

1. Heart rate changes dramatically with temperature.
2. Heart rate is affected by diet and hydration levels.
3. Heart rate lags increases or decreases in the actual workload.
4. Heart rate does not accurately allow you to see when you are riding in an anaerobic state. In short, the combination of power and heart rate provide a clearer picture of how your body responds to your effort.

Our cycling camp staff brings a unique approach to indoor cycling training. With Ryan and Dr. Eric Taylor having worked closely together to develop our program, our staff shares the same theories and practical approach to training. We believe in using a science-based approach to make you a better athlete.

Ryan brings to the camp over twenty years of experience in the bicycle industry. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Ryan started bike racing and working in the industry at the age of sixteen. As a cyclist, he competed as a top regional rider with success on a national level both as a rider and a manager. Ryan helped develop and manage the most successful team to have ever come out of Utah. What started as a team of up-and-coming local riders turned into a launching pad for several of today’s top American professionals including Dave Zabriskie. With an honors business marketing degree from the University of Utah and over twenty years of bicycle industry experience, Ryan has built Contender Bicycles into what it is today.

Eric has extensive experience as a physiologist, coach, and athlete. Eric has a PhD in physiology, completed a postdoctoral fellowship in muscle metabolism and exercise physiology at Harvard Medical School, and is a currently a professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Iowa. His research on mitochondrial metabolism was recently published in the prestigious journal Science. Eric has broad coaching experience with all levels of runners and cyclists. Eric competed as a track athlete for Brigham Young University, running the 800 and 1500 meters. He currently competes as a Category 3 road cyclist and also races cyclocross. Although Eric now calls Iowa home, expect to see him from time to time out on the Utah roads.

Drawn away from his native Minnesota by Utah’s big mountains and deep winter powder, Blake chose the University of Utah to earn a BS in Exercise Physiology. Blake has worked at Contender Bicycles throughout college. Since graduating in the spring 2010, Blake has taken on an integral role in organizing and managing the Contender Camp throughout the fall, winter and early spring months. Besides being a great skier, Blake is an equally enthusiastic cyclist who enjoys riding on both the road and mountain bike. Blake is also very interested and knowledgeable about nutrition, so we at the shop often seek out Blake’s advice when choosing nutritional products.

Time to break out the bike lights!

Commuter Lights

As we head into fall, temperatures start to cool off and the best riding is ahead of us. Unfortunately, along with Fall comes shorter daylight hours. This means that if you ride before or after work, or at times to avoid the full heat of the sun, it is imperative for your safety on the roads and trails that you ride with lights.

When deciding what light to buy for riding, it’s important to determine what the main objective of the light will be. Is the main purpose to help you be seen in traffic to other cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists? Or is the main purpose to illuminate the road or trail so you have a clear view of what is in front of you? Or do you need the light to do both? Once you determine the objective of the light, this will help guide you in your choices in variations of LED lights, lumen strengths, and also what beam pattern the light will cast.

At Contender, we try to squeeze a ride in any time we can. We are huge fans of riding on the trails at night. It’s a whole different experience than riding during the day, and quite simply, it is a blast. Whether waking up early morning to get a ride in on the road before the shop opens or hitting the trail when the sun goes down after the shop closes, we are always prepared with bike lights to help us ride safely. Here are our top picks at Contender for bike lights for mountain and road riding:

Top Picks for the Mountain

Handlebar Mounted

Light Motion Taz 1500 Black Front Light

Light & Motion TAZ 1500: Putting out a whopping 1500 lumens, double that of a standard car headlight, this light has you riding in full light on the trails at any time of night. Even more impressive is that for the immense light it puts out, the TAZ 1500 weighs just 216 grams. Designed to mount on the handlebars, the TAZ 1500 gives 180-degrees of visibility with a 45-degree arc relative to your movement. You will have a wide view of the trail ahead, helping you to easily anticipate obstacles and direction changes. You can use the TAZ 1500 for touring or commuting with its settings for 750 lumens, 350 lumens, and Flash, so you can be seen as you ride without blinding someone heading in the opposite direction.

Helmet and Handlebar Mounted


Light & Motion URBAN 800: Requiring no tools for installation the URBAN 800 can mount to your handlebars or your helmet according to your preference. Small and compact and perfect for commuting, the URBAN 800 weighs only 121 grams. With its ability to crank out 800 lumens, however, it is also strong enough to illuminate the trails at night. The URBAN 800 has 180-degrees of visibility and a reflector system to give evenly dispersed light across its entire beam. This means obstacles both near and far will be fully illuminated, giving you time to plan your line and not hold back on the trails. In addition to the High 800 lumen mode, the URBAN 800 also has a Medium 350, Low 175, and Flash mode.

Top Picks for the Road

Front Lights to See

Knog Blinder ARC 640 Pewter

Knog Blinder ARC 640: Weighing in at just 150 grams, the Blinder ARC 640 blasts up to 640 lumens out in front of you to illuminate each curve of the road for a safe, smooth ride. It uses an elliptical beam of 16-degrees vertical and 24-degrees horizontal, with evenly dispersed light that maintains consistent brightness throughout its specified run-time. In addition to its High 640 lumen mode, it also includes Medium and Low steady modes, and a Flash mode, for times when you want to increase your visibility without blinding oncoming traffic. The Blinder ARC 640 is versatile in its mounting, easily attached to handlebars with two tool-less, removable, silicone straps or to a helmet with an included mount.

Front Lights to Be Seen

Knog Blinder MOB Eyeballer Red

Knog Blinder Mob Eyeballer: To make your presence known to surrounding traffic on the road, the Blinder Mob Eyeballer pumps out a bright 80 lumens of light up to 1,000 meters while weighing just 35 grams. You can choose between five modes (two steady and three flash) to alert others to your position, depending on what your ride conditions call for. It uses tool-less, removable straps to easily attach to any handlebars, even Aero or Oversize bars. It also was smartly designed with a longer button push to prevent against any accidental turning on of the light, helping to extend the time between battery recharges.

Rear Lights

Knog Blinder Road R70 Pewter

Knog Blinder Road R70: At first glance, what is most impressive about the Blinder Road R70 is its unique, sleek design. More than just a pretty light, however, the Blinder Road R70 also puts out a strong 70 lumens of light at just 52 grams, as it makes your presence known to those behind you. It has five different modes (two steady and three flash) for you to choose from depending on your ride conditions, and projects light to the sides to make sure you are visible at all angles as you ride. It uses easy-to-use interchangeable seatpost mount straps that are even compatible with Aero seatposts, so you have no excuse not to be riding without the Blinder Road R70 for your safety.

Knog Blinder Mob V Mr Chips Silver

Knog Blinder Mob V Mr Chips: With a name that references its unique Chips On Board (COB) LED technology, this light can put out 44 lumens at a weight of just 39 grams to increase your safety on the roads. It has a 120-degree beam and reflective faceplate that not only makes sure you are visible from the rear but also from the side as well, making you visible up to at least 1.2 kilometers away. It uses three interchangeable straps so you can swap the light between different sized seatposts, giving you no excuse to ride without it. You can choose between the light’s five modes (two steady and three flash) to best alert surrounding traffic to your presence on the road.

Blackburn Click USB Rear Light Hi Viz Yellow

Blackburn Click USB Rear Light: This will be your go-to, no-frills light that provides simple, but reliable performance on the road. Simply press down on the front lens, and the light illuminates to alert traffic behind you that you are on the road. It provides basic features that all our suggested lights do including being waterproof, USB rechargeable, and having a charge indicator. This LED light includes a very stretchable silicon mount attachment for easy, tool-less installation, so there is no fuss when its time to put the light on and ride. Additionally, there are a bunch of fun colors available.

Two-for-One Front and Rear Light

Blackburn 2Fer

Blackburn 2’Fer: When you’re having a tough time choosing between front and rear light options, the Blackburn 2’Fer will kill both birds with one stone, weighing just 18 grams. With the ability to work as either a front or rear light, the no-frills 2’Fer pumps out 60 lumens on Front mode and 20 lumens on Rear mode, so you can stay visible to traffic when darkness is falling. It has both steady and flashing modes for Front and Rear, and uses tool-less installation on your handlebars or seatpost. If there is a chance you’ll be caught riding when the light is fading, the Blackburn 2’Fer is a smart choice to carry with you so you can guarantee your visibility.

There are a lot of choices on the market when it comes to choosing between bike lights. Our concern at Contender is that whatever time you are riding and whatever light you are using, you are always visible to others and always have a clear view of the road or trail ahead of you. Give us a call or visit us at the shop to have us walk through our selection of bike lights with you to make sure you get the lights that best suit your cycling needs.

Labor Day Parking Lot Sale – This Saturday, September 3

Labor Day Parking Lot Sale

Looking to score a great bike at a really great price? We have over 200 bikes including a large fleet of Scott scratch & dent bikes and Cannondale show bikes. Select from a huge range of bikes from junior to road to mountain to cyclocross at close to 40% OFF.

Great savings on other brands from GiroTIME, BMC, POC & 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 any bike purchase over $1000, you will receive your choice of either a Contender Bee Jersey or a Contender Corgi Cross Jersey.


Two Weeks To LOTOJA


Now that the Tour of Utah has raced through our great state it is time for what is arguably our biggest cycling event of the year, LoToJa. On September 10th, 2016 the 34th edition of this one-day challenge will take place on the roads between Logan, Utah and Jackson, Wyoming. Covering over 200 miles with an impressive 10,000 feet of climbing, the route represents a big day in the saddle for any rider. And if that isn’t tough enough, LoToJa is organized as a race, slotting its 1500 participants into categories competing for the fastest times. Knowing that many of you will be rolling out at this year’s LoToJa we are here to offer some simple tips to make the distance a little easier on you and your bike.

Lotoja banner

For the rider: During training you have most likely discovered your favorite flavors of hydration mix and nutrition, stick with these! There is no reason to experiment while pounding out the miles on during the event. Just remember that all of the old rules still apply; drink before you get thirsty, eat before you get hungry and rest before you get tired. Following these rules will keep you fresh as the hours tick by. Also, remember to consume a lot of water along with your sports nutrition, this aids digestion and keep stomach cramps at bay. All of the gu and chews are great to keep sugar levels up, but you will need real food and calories to keep you going all day. Plan any rest stops around consuming plenty of food to keep you going. We would recommend eating a huge breakfast the day of as well.

For the bike: Now is the time to get your bike sorted for LoToJa. The basics like lubing the chain and checking the tires are always key. After all of your training you may need new brake pads or tires too. If you are experiencing any issues with shifting it is best to get those taken care of now, that way any new cables or parts have a chance to “break in” before being subjected to 200 miles in one day. You definitely want to avoid riding a bike with any squeaks or creaks as they are indicative of worn parts that need maintenance. Of course the great mechanics at Contender Bicycles are here to help make sure your bike is in top notch shape for this year’s big event. We’ll leave the riding up to you.

100 Farhrenheit = Hot Summer Riding Jerseys

Top Picks for Hot Summer Riding Jerseys

Hot Summer Sun

Summer is in full swing and with it comes the peak of the cycling season. Around the Salt Lake Valley, the hottest days of summer can hover around a blistering 100 degrees (and this year we have had way too many days over 100 with no end in sight). With scorching temperatures comes the necessity of wearing appropriate cycling clothing to comfortably carry you through the heat as you ride. Of utmost importance is your choice of jersey. The right jersey will help you stay fresh and dry during a long endurance ride whereas the wrong jersey choice can leave you drenched in sweat and fighting dehydration.

With countless options of jerseys to choose from, it can be hard to know what to look for when shopping for the right hot summer jersey. To help you as you shop, we compiled a list of features to consider when deciding on which jersey will best help you beat the heat of summer riding.


The best summer jerseys use technical materials that are masters of wicking moisture away from your body to the surface of the jersey’s fabric for quick evaporation. This allows you to stay comfortable and dry and without fear of catching a chill should the wind pick up and catch you drenched in sweat. In addition, pay attention to the fabric placement. A lighter material that is vented at the back and side panels of a jersey, for instance, will increase air circulation and keep your body breathing instead of suffocating under too much material.

Sun Protection

Long, summer days in the saddle can mean hours of prolonged exposure to the sun. Many jerseys use lightweight fabrics that are easily passed through by the sun’s harmful UV rays. This can leave your back susceptible to a nasty sunburn and long term damage to your skin. To mitigate this risk, many manufacturers have started producing jerseys with SPF and UPF ratings. Alternatively, look for a jersey that can accommodate a sun protective base layer comfortably beneath it, so your back is not left exposed to the sun.


It doesn’t matter how well a jersey breathes if it doesn’t give you the right fit. Over the course of a long ride, an ill-fitting jersey that rubs and irritates your skin can suck all the joy from your ride. Be sure to know the purpose of your riding to narrow down what you’re looking for. For instance, a racing or aero jersey will fit much tighter through the body and arms than a relaxed jersey that uses a more generous cut for rides that are more leisurely.

The Details

Extra details can come with an extra price, but there are a few details you should pay attention to when purchasing a summer jersey. A nice zipper down the front of a jersey will help you control how the jersey ventilates, while rear jersey pockets should be sturdy and easily accessible. To keep yourself covered at all times, a rear silicone hem will keep the jersey in place as you move in the saddle, and reflective details are important when riding at off hours in low light conditions when you’re trying to avoid the heat of riding under a full sun.

Now that you know what to look for when shopping for a summer jersey, here are our favorite jerseys here at Contender for riding in the hot, Utah summer:


Assos SS cento s7 Jersey Blue

For long endurance rides, it is hard to beat the Assos ss.cento jersey and its dialed-in fit that we’ve come to expect from Assos. Designed around a cyclist’s position in the saddle, the fit of the jersey stretches and contours in all the right places whether you’re in the drops or up on the bars. The jersey uses Assos’s low volume and highly breathable Type 145 fabric to skillfully control your body temperature. The fabric varies the speed of moisture transport from your body, speeding up when you’re working hard sweating but slowing down as you cool down and need more insulation to stay warm. A full-length front zipper and mesh panels under the arms also help keep the jersey ventilated and your body temperature regulated. The jersey includes three lower back panel pockets, a zippered pocket for valuables, rear reflective visibility stripes, and a silicone hem at the rear.


giordana men's short sleeve jersey sahara white green front

While it’s the lightest jersey in Giordana’s collection weighing in at only 90g, the Sahara won’t leave you unprotected like other lightweight jerseys when you’re pedaling up the climbs. It uses a woven ceramic material with UV protection at its front and back panels so your skin won’t burn as you ride beneath the intense sun. It also takes special care to keep your body cool and breathing with lightweight mesh at the shoulders and sleeves. Plus sleeve cuffs finished with a soft turned-up edge to feel gentle against your skin. A full-length CamLock front zipper adds further customizable venting while three rear pockets with a pocket lip for protection keeps your small items safe and secure and easy to access as you ride.

CRAFT GLOW JERSEY (men’s and women’s options)

Craft Glow Jersey black flumino frontCraft Women's Glow Jersey view front

When riding at dusk or dawn to avoid the heat of the midday, it’s imperative to stay visible on the road. The Craft Glow Jersey does just that with its highly designed reflective print across its chest and upper back. It uses a cooling, polyester fabric to draw moisture from your skin to keep you dry and your temperature regulated, with bodymapped mesh inserts in particularly moisture prone areas for extra breathability. The fabric also contains just the right amount of elastane to give the stretch you need moving both in and out of the saddle. A wide, soft elastic band keeps the jersey firmly in place with a silicone print at the back, while three rear pockets give you plenty of room to carry your riding essentials. The Craft Glow Jersey is available in both a men’s and women’s option.


Contender Bicycles Elevation Jersey Front2016 Contender Bicycles Classic Jersey

We are partial to the Contender Bicycles Elevation Jersey and Classic Jersey not just because they bear our name, but also because they keep us cool and ventilated when climbing up the Utah canyons that the Elevation jersey proudly highlights. Made from super lightweight fabric with advanced fibers and construction, the jerseys are highly breathable while blocking cold air and moisture from coming in. This allows your body temperature to be effectively regulated when riding in the heat. A full-front zipper and mesh side panels allow for further ventilation when the weather is particularly muggy. The jersey contains UV protection to protect your skin from burning in the sun and its antimicrobial properties keep you smelling fresh no matter how much sweat is dripping.

Finding the right summer jersey for your riding style is ultimately a personal choice. Our main concern at Contender is that you’re riding as comfortably and confidently as possible out there in the heat. Give us a call or come visit us at the shop to let us walk you through our selection of summer jerseys. Let’s take advantage of riding in this warm, sunny weather for as many miles as possible before winter hits and we’re begging for the heat once more!