Pinarello Dogma F8 and Dogma K8-S Demo

Pinarello Demo

Saturday, May 14 through Wednesday, May 18th is your chance to demo a bike in the iconic Pinarello Dogma line-up! The Pinarello demo truck will be at the shop and contains the much talked about Dogma K8-S and their Tour de France winning Dogma F8.

There will be no charge for a same-day demo on either Pinarello Dogma. A photo copy of your I.D. and credit card will be required. Additionally you will need to sign a release. Please contact Cody at, call 801-364-0344 or swing by the shop to reserve a day on any bike listed below. We have most sizes available for both the F8 and K8-S.

The new ROTOR UNO Groupset & a Visit to HQ


When we were invited to Madrid to visit Rotor Bike Compenents HQ, we really didn’t know a whole lot about the company. Mostly, we knew about their cranks and chainrings with them having a lot to offer from aero cranksets to cranks with powermeters to round chainrings to their oval Q-rings. We’ve seen the high quality of these parts as they are featured on just about every model in Cervelo’s lineup. However our limited knowledge certainly did not lessen our excitement to be part of the official launch of Rotor’s new Uno hydraulic shifting system. This is a huge step for Rotor to take further inroads into component manufacturing especially when taking on Shimano and SRAM. Needless to say we were excited to take a look.

We arrived at Rotor for a quick lunch and then a tour of the operation. In the States, they’d probably call it something catchy like the Rotor Campus as it occupies a few buildings and all facets of the business are taking place here. The buildings were in a small industrial park and it seemed like they had just grown into vacancies in the complex as needed. On display in the entryway were winner’s jerseys and the matching colored cranksets from three grand tour vicitories of Sastre, Hesjedal and Cobo.

rotor tour cranks

These guys are proud of the athletes and teams representing Rotor. Probably the best endorsement is that by Marianne Vos (who many argue is the best female cyclist ever) where she has basically strong-armed Shimano into allowing her to use Rotor’s Q-Rings.

As we waited for other members of our group to arrive, we were able to look at some of the inventions of founder Pablo Carrasco. During our visit with him it was obvious he is an innovator. So much so that he had once been offered a position in a engineering roll with a Formula One program. Hanging on the wall were probably twenty different iterations of his original project (what was eventually called the RCX) , a crankset where the crankarms traveled at different speeds, and out of sync with each other, during each pedal stroke through a series of gears and cams. The original crank is in the photo below.

The Original Rotor Crank

Pablo thought, and studies showed, there were efficiencies to be gained and that such a system might have less wear and tear on the body. The oval chainrings, or Q-rings, represent this idea at the simplest level. Pablo said that he and his team are working on just about everything on the bike other than seats, tires and frames and that he is trying to eventually bring to market a newer version of the RCX crankset.

Rotor seems ready to take on the future. They recently “merged” with a long time machining partner who is basically next door. They are well-funded and seem like a company just the right size to be able to innovate, produce and sell great bike components. We were shown a new powermeter and a mountain bike crankset that can use their oval chainrings.

Rotor’s Uno hydraulic system was the focus of our visit. With Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo only having cable-actuated and electronic systems, this system is definitely unique. Basically hydraulic pressure from the shift lever triggers a clock-like mechanism in each derailleur to move the chain. In a cabled system, the ratchet is in the shifter and signals the derailleur to shift by pulling or releasing cable. Things like tight curves for internal routing, weathering of the cable and worn out housing all deteriorate the quality of this “signal”. The Uno system partnered up with German company Magura for both rim and disc brake options and to capitalize on their strength in hydraulics. Unlike most disc brakes, the shifting hydraulic line is very thin gauge (3mm in diameter) and it can run anywhere a Di2 wire can go.

The results is a group that seems to have a solid foundation for strong and precise shifting and that can compete with the electronic systems on the market. It also shares a lot of positive attributes of the electronic systems: it is very light, it should hold adjustment for a long period of time and it should require less routine maintenance, without the need to replace cables or charge batteries. Rotor is constantly improving the ergonomics and the actuation of the shifters through feedback from testing by two major professional teams. The future will bring multiple shifting points for a time trial bike, longer cage options for gravel and cross bikes and a mountain bike option. For bikes that get muddy, the Uno system should really be a plus. We are particularly excited for a one-by-eleven version to be released down the road.

Testing out the new Roto Uno hydraulic groupset.

Testing out the new Roto Uno hydraulic groupset.

The Cannondale Scalpel -Si

Cannondale Scalpel-Si in front of shop

We’ve been wondering when this day would come. Cannondale is finally launching the second iteration of the 29r Scalpel platform. The last platform spent five years at the top of the list for best cross-country bikes. This one is poised to do the same. How did they make it better? While we really need to get out and ride this thing, there are a few features that really stand out as nice improvements to what was a solid performer.

Cannondale Scalpel Si Complete

First, Cannondale has extended the System Integration (SI) treatment deeper into the new Scalpel. We are most excited about even shorter chainstays through using asymmetry in the rear wheel and the rear triangle. For 29″ full suspension, the new Scalpel should live up to it’s name in being able to cut up the trail. Second, the new suspension linkage seems much improved. Not only does it look cleaner, it seems simpler and also should take a bit more a beating. Cannondale is building the Scalpel to be ridden hard and aggressively like cross country race bikes really get ridden. The new linkage should accommodate. Finally, we have to give Cannondale a high-five on having eight killer build options. Not only did they go heavy on Shimano brakes, they offer the right wheel choices in Enve, CZero and Stans. They offer great choices in 1×11 and 2×11 drivetrains from both Sram and Shimano. Cannondale didn’t forget about the ladies this go-round. Not only did they offer three sizes, including a XS that will offer the most petite riders a seat at the table, but they also offer every model in a small sized frame that now features 27.5″ wheels.

The new 2017 Scalpel looks like it literally and figuratively can cut to the point. It builds on a platform through a series of tweaks and improvements while combining the best component selection in the market to create a family of Scalpels that has something to offer everyone. Good thing 2017 came early!

Cannondale Scalpel-Si front end

Cannondale Scalpel Si

Cannondale Scalpel Si body

Cannondale Scalpel-Si rear shock

Cannondale Scalpel Si rider view

Cannondale Scalpel-Si highlights 2

Cannondale Scalpel-Si highlights

Cannondale Scalpel-Si highlights 2

Cannondale Scalpel-Si drivetrain

Spring Parking Lot Sale!

Spring 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 demo & 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 Giro, Cannondale, 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.

Additionally with any bike purchase over $1000, you will receive your choice of either a Contender Bee Jersey or a Contender Corgi Cross Jersey.


Preview: The OPEN ONE+ Mountain Bike

OPEN ONEplus driveside


While we only started carrying OPEN Cycles this past fall, we have always been closely following their rise since Gerard and Andy announced their ambitious plans a few years back. Gerard’s pedigree as co-founder/engineer of Cervelo combined with Andy’s industry background was attractive from the start. Over the years OPEN has gone through some trials and tribulations that they’ve shared through their blog including the story of a friend and potential dealer who broke a prototype of the OPEN O-1.0 MTB frame during testing. It has been, perhaps, an auspicious start for the small start-up with a goal of being more than just a company that designs and manufactures bikes. Their approach is refreshing. After following them through their first few years, we are excited to partner in “OPENing up” Utah.

Recently we were contacted by Andy Kessler at OPEN and asked if we wanted to share with our friends and family a glimpse of their new bike before it was officially launched at the Sea Otter Classic. Clearly there was no answer other than “YES!” that would be coming out of our mouths.

OPEN’s first two frames included a full-out racing hardtail in the O-1.0 and a groundbreaking gravel bike in the U.P. While both of these bikes had instant success, they also had us wondering what would come next. Over the last few years rumors have swirled about a full-suspension frame. We were pretty sure this was what we were going to get a taste of on Friday.  However, as the days closed in on our “launch-party” we got word from the OPEN crew that their new bike wasn’t the much anticipated full-suspension, but rather something else. While we were slightly disappointed, our curiosity was building on what else they had to show. The bike brought by Andy did not disappoint.

Last Friday Andy debuted the ONE+. It may not be the full-suspension frame OPEN fans have been jonesing for, they are still working on making one, but it is clearly an amazing bike we can’t wait to get out and test on the diverse trails here in Utah. This was Andy’s personal bike featuring an envious build including plus-sized tires (27.5″ x 2.8″) and SRAM’s new Eagle twelve-speed drivetrain. Looking past all the bling of Andy’s build, the new ONE+ frame combines technologies developed for the original ONE and the U.P. to offer up a hardtail mountain bike that can crush a XC race one day and then float through some single track the next. Without an in-depth look, it might appear that this is just their previous hardtail squeezing in some wider tires. This is hardly the case. The bike is designed to be ridden with two different sized wheelsets (29″ with normal width tires and 27.5″ with wider 3″ tires) to really be a go-anywhere platform. The ONE+ features several tricks to minimize weight and maximize ride quality that Gerard and Andy have learned over the years.  To make this all possible OPEN also took advantage of some ingenious engineering and SRAM’s Boost spacing to produce a bike with two different, amazing personalities. While we could continue on for paragraphs about this bike’s design we’ll save the tech download for another day. In the end, the ONE+ is a bike that with two wheelsets could literally take the whole-shot at a cross country race Saturday and bomb the trails like a beast on Sunday just by changing out the wheels.

Andy’s personal build really show how far you can take this frame if you are obsessive enough to eek out every last gram and build a bike that takes full advantage of the ONE+’s impressive engineering, and really helps to exemplify how obsessively Andy and Gerard think about building the ultimate bike. While we aren’t sure how long the cassette and chain will stay so shiny gold, we are convinced this bike is going to make a splash at Sea Otter for it’s debut.

The ONE+ should start arriving around the beginning of June.

Update: Open ONE+ frames are now available! Contact us to start building your dream bike today!

Andy’s OPEN ONE+ Build:

OPEN ONE+ Frame (M, 890g)
SRAM XX1 Eagle
ENVE M60/Forty HV Rims withTune hubs
Control tech stem
Lefty Hybrid 29er
MCFK Carbon steer tube and adapter
ESI Chunky grips
Magura MT8 Brakes and rotors
Schwalbe Rocket Ron tubeless, snake skin 27.5×2.8″ tires
Rotor headset
OPEN seat clamp
fi’zi:k Tundra M1 saddle
ENVE Sweep Bar
ENVE 2Bolt 27.2mm Zero Offset Seatpost


Dream Bike: Pinarello Dogma F8 MyWay

Pinarello Dogmad F8 MyWay Front

The incredible staff here at Contender Bicycles could easily pursue more “prestigious” careers: Wall Street tycoon, male model (looking at you Julian), NASA engineer, President of the United States (#ryanforpresident) but when you begin to appreciate the sheer number of amazing bikes, frames and components we get to see, handle and ride on a daily basis it’s easy to understand why we have all chosen to pursue careers in the bike industry in spite of the cooperate head hunters that hound us.

With more victories at the Tour de France in the modern era than any other manufacturer it is clear the folks in Treviso, Italy know a thing or two about making any racer’s dream bike. While the Dogma F8 lost some of the signature “wavy” lines of its predecessors it is still, in our humble opinions, one of the most striking frames currently available. Coupled with improvements across nearly every aspect of the frame’s design (aerodynamics, stiffness, weight, ride quality…) over the impeccable Dogma 65.1 it is no wonder the F8 is lusted after by so many riders. (Check out Pinarello’s Dogma F8 Whitepaper, PDF, for more than you could ever want to know about what went into designing these incredible frames).

This week the crew was all a bit ga-ga over this custom painted beaut from Pinarello. While Pinarello offers more stock colorways than a sane manufacturer should (and we have to say the Green Fluo goes quite well with the Contender kit), for those looking to truly make an F8 their own Pinarello’s “MyWay” custom paint program offers a way to add just the right amount of personalization. We were fortunate enough to be able to help a customer go down this route and we have to say the results are, well… spectacular. While we are not building out the bike for the customer it’s hard to imagine it is going to be anything less then heavenly.


And for the rest of us, who can only dream of owning a personalized Dogma F8, Pinarello has trickled the technologies developed for F8 into their new GAN series (you might still dream of an F8, but on a GAN it wont be the bike holding you back…!)

OPEN Cycle: Decode the 3rd Model


Please join us and Andy Kessler, co-owner of OPEN, this Friday to be the first to check out OPEN’s 3rd model. We are so excited to be able to see this model in person prior to the official launch of the bike later this month. Please note that no photography of the frame will be allowed.

Additionally that evening there will be a special deal for all those in attendance on ASSOS cycling apparel. OPEN and Assos have joined up over the last few years with the Assos factory testing team riding both OPEN and Assos products year-round and across the globe.

The Basics of Riding in a Group

Contender Group Ride etiquette

Riding in a group is part of what makes road cycling such a great sport. There aren’t too many sports where you can push yourself physically at the same time as socializing.  Although races also can allow some time for social interaction, a group ride is not a race. So what is a group ride and what are some things to do and not to do. Each group ride is a bit different and recognizing that is a great place to start.

First, a group ride is generally attended by a wide-mix of riders and the number of riders varies from ride to ride. This isn’t a pro-team training ride where the same 15 riders are somewhat evenly matched and share similar goals and know each others strengths and weaknesses. These rides are great for covering more ground than you can by yourself and are also a great place to learn new routes and meet other riders.

If group riding is new to you, or your new to this particular group ride, get a sense for who the riders others are looking to for where the ride will go or how soon until they leave. Paying attention to what these folks are doing is generally a really good place to start.

bike lane
Most group rides will ride in a two-up style of riding. That means two riders ride side by side, handlebar to handlebar with no more than a foot between them. Sounds easy. Not always. I often refer to this style of riding as “Noah’s Ark”. If you are a gazelle, pair up with another gazelle and stay with that person for a good portion of the ride.  This means you probably will not want to pair up with someone who will want to ride at or near the front for the whole ride when you don’t want to put your face in the wind, or vice versa. If your second in line and the front pair pulls off, you have to at least pull for a bit or talk your partner into going back. Identify that you might be getting in a situation like that before it happens and reposition yourself in the group at a stop light, or hang at the back and allow those dropping back from having just pulled in the front ahead of you in the group. It also means do not reshuffle while the group is riding down the road, as dropping out of position requires those behind you work to fill the gap and miss match a pair. You might also want to pair up with someone who you might want to talk to, although don’t be shy- group rides are a great place to make new friends.

The riders in the front are the group’s eyes and make the pace. If you’re at the front, it is very important to point out road obstacles or to warn of slowing for a changing light or a pedestrian. Stay bar to bar with your companion and ride at a similar pace to riders who just pulled off to go to the back. If you feel like you want to ride faster, it is ok to maybe notch it up one or two MPH and to take a bit longer turn at the front. Be considerate of which direction the wind is coming from and think about the “snake” of riders following behind. The front riders often accelerate from stop lights and that tortures the riders in back as it takes them longer to get going and clipped in.

If you’re following, enjoy the ride and stay alert. Rather than staring at the wheel in front of you, focus further ahead on the road and just watch the riders at or near the front. They’ll be the first to react to something in the road and you’ll have plenty of time to adjust.  Stay relaxed to help buffer out any quick movement.  Do not overlap the riders wheel in front of you and stay aside your partner that you’ve paired with. It is also important as always to remember the rules of the road and be conscientious of other user groups. It is better to allow the group to get split, and the front group to soft pedal until everyone comes back together, than have a mass of riders run a red light.

Remember, group rides are not the place to get a specific workout done. No one cares that your coach said do four by ten minute efforts. If the ride is way too easy or way too hard, then maybe it isn’t the ride for you. The Sunday ride at Contender Bicycles is very friendly and accommodating. A stronger rider might offer a push to help keep you in the group. They might offer you a tip or even change your flat tire. Don’t be offended, this is just part of keeping the group together, riding safe and getting down the road.
hold your line
If the ride seems a bit hard or challenging, remember to conserve energy and stay relaxed.  Know where the wind is coming from and try to stay protected. Watch out for the sudden accelerations at stop lights and try to ride behind someone who puts a bigger hole in the wind and gets up to speed in a smooth and steady fashion.  Try to stay in the group, especially on the flats. No matter how tired you are, it is easier to stay in the group then to get dropped and try to chase back on. Make sure you’re taking food and water onboard and if you feel like you’re getting in over your head say something Who knows, there might be a rest coming or maybe someone will offer to ride back to the start with you. The bigger the group the more likely there are a few others in your same shoes!

If you want to ride harder, maybe plan to do more after the ride ends or after splitting from the group. A two to three hour group ride is a great warm-up for some hard efforts but it is also a bad place to do those efforts.  Riding up and down the side of the group, breaking from the two-up format, is frowned on as it is dangerous as the group gets too wide and someone might get pinched avoiding a pothole or obstacle.  Riding at the back and dropping off and chasing back on is probably a good way to work a bit harder without leaving the group.

In the end, group rides are great as you can meet other riders and new routes at the same time as getting in a good workout.

Dream Bike: Colnago Limited Edition Tri-Color C60

Italians are known for fine clothes, fine wine, fine cars and among cyclists, at least, some of the finest frames available. For many cyclists perhaps no brand exemplifies refined Italian manufacturing more than Colnago. Still headed by Ernesto Colnago, a man who has been at the forefront of frame making since the early 1950’s (and been involved in the trade since he was 13 years old) it is no wonder Colnago produces perhaps the most eye catching frames on the market. More over, through a long-standing relationship with Ferrari and Ernesto’s enterprising spirit Colnago has long punched well above its weight in terms of technological development, with one of the longest histories working with carbon fiber in the industry as just one example. It is therefore no wonder that Colnago’s flagship frame, the C60, is perhaps the most beautiful frame available today.

The C60’s classically refined geometry, lugged construction and star shaped tubes harken back to Colnago’s storied Master frame while integrating some of the most impressive carbon engineering currently on the market (for more on the C60’s impressive engineering check out our Colnago brand page). Based on the feedback from customers and the plethora of glowing reviews online the C60 is the bike of any honest cyclists dreams. Designed to be the final bike you will every want the own Colnago sought to make the C60 succeed on any road: stiff enough to compete in a World Tour sprint, comfortable enough for the longest Gran Fondo, confident enough to dive into a corner faster than you ever have before and built to Ernesto’s near excessive safety and resilience requirements.

Limited Edition Colnago C60

For 2016 Colnago produced 100 limited edition Colnago C60 Tri-Color bikes, celebrating their heritage and exemplifying the elegance of Italian cycling. At Contender Bicycles were lucky enough to see one of these dream bikes come through the shop, although the long wait between its ordering and arrival became nearly unbearable for many staff members. Built up with a special “Italia Tri-Color” Campagnolo Super Record groupset (featuring an Italian flag inspired tri-colored paint scheme on the right brake lever and drive-side crank arm), Bora Ultra 50 Clincher wheelset, Colnago Carbon bars and stem, along with special color matched seatpost it is hard to find a fault with this bike. Indeed the only criticisms that were voiced at the shop were a personal lack of ownership and a near requirement to learn Italian to be worthy of such a bike, if one of the staff were to be fortunate enough to own one.

Bike Fitting Technology: a blessing and a curse.

We live in a technology driven society, plain and simple. There aren’t many things we can do on a daily basis that don’t involve using at least some form of technology. And when it comes to the topic of bike fitting, this is no exception.

Essex Shark

Essex Shark saddle utilizes a fin running down the middle of the saddle to help center the rider’s hips for a proper riding position.

It seems that without some type of high tech bike fitting “system” (i.e. Retul, Guru, Trek, etc.), a bike fitter appears ill-equipped and simply wouldn’t be able to perform their job as well as they could have if they had used one of these state-of-the-art systems. Why is this? Why do we rely so heavily on technology when it comes to bike fitting? There are many possible answers to the question, but one comes to mind first; the convenience factor. It’s “convenient” for fitters to blindly follow a system and deliver a predetermined outcome without ever taking into consideration the unique structural and functional makeup of a rider. It’s “convenient” for fitters to fall back on a system too, because after all, who is going to question the outcome of one of these state-of-the-art fit sessions? It has to be right if there were lasers and motion capture involved, right? I’ve corrected enough of these fits now to know that the answer is no, maybe even a HELL NO. All of these systems are just tools, nothing more. If a fitter cannot do their job satisfactorily without it, then they are process workers – nothing more. This is why attempting to standardize the fitting process will never truly work, we’re all different from each other in our own unique way to be “averages”. No one knows this better than the world famous bike fitter out of Australia, Steve Hogg, who is known for his holistic approach to bike fitting that takes into account all aspects of human function in order to deliver the best possible outcome for each and every client. His website contains an incredible wealth of bike related information that’s been aimed to not only educate, but provide REAL solutions to all the issues we as cyclist’s experience. Not to mention, Steve’s work is guaranteed or you get your money back, nuff said.


Tacx’s new bicycle treadmill likely provides the most realistic road feel indoors, for truly refining fit; however the hefty price tag will probably limit it’s utilization.

As much as technology can hinder the process of bike fitting, its saving grace is that it can also be used for doing good too. Luckily for us, there are companies in the bike industry that think outside of the box and recognize the need for more practical products and tools in the marketplace so the future looks promising. Take for example the brand Essax, a saddle manufacturer out of Europe that has developed a rather unusual looking saddle called the “Shark”, which has a fin running down the middle of the seat that’s designed to center the rider’s hips on the saddle and evenly distribute their weight between the sit bones. The hips dictate everything on the bike and are the foundation of everyone’s fit so if we don’t sit square of the seat, everything out to the periphery will eventually suffer. Biomechanical “aids” like this seat could be incredibly beneficial for any rider that tends to sit askew, which if I had to say is the majority of us. Other companies like Tacx appear to be thinking outside of the box too as they recently announced the release of a bicycle treadmill that will be available to the public for purchase in the near future. Sure the idea a little far-fetched and the price tag is rather hefty ($11,000), but nothing else would come as close to feeling as realistic, especially after considering that it’s gradient can rise all the way up to a whopping 25%! Another example of a promising new product made by a company called Redshift Sports is the Dual Position Seatpost. It’s nothing exotic nor elegant for that matter, but it definitely makes up for it with functionality. It best suites cyclists that are just not ready to commit and purchase a TT/Tri bike and want to use their road for both applications. It basically allows a rider to easily switch between the two positions on their current bike without having to worry about altering any important fit parameters in the process, pretty clever concept. Retailing for a reasonable price of $170 too, it’s a lot easier to swallow than buying an additional bike!


RedShift Sports Dual position seatpost may be a great option for those looking to have a dialed in fit for standard road riding or aero TT but can’t afford two bikes.

The future of bike fitting does look promising, however time will ultimately tell whether or not the advances in bike technology will truly benefit us as cyclists or not. What’s important to remember when it comes to things like the latest and greatest fit system is that it is just a tool and what truly matters is the end result – not what was used to get you there. As the late Steve Jobs once said, “you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work your way back toward technology – not the other way around”. So whatever it may be, new saddle or new trainer, as long as it gets you on your bike and puts a smile on your face I think that’s a win on some level, big or small!

Check out our blog post on the importance of a proper bike fit, and our fitness studio page for information about the services we offer or give Blake a call at the shop if you have any questions.

Blake - Bike Fit

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. Since graduating in the spring of 2010, Blake has taken on an integral role in our fitting services and organizing and  managing the Contender Camp throughout the fall, winter and early spring months. Blake is the Fitting and Training Manager at Contender Bicycles and wants to help you be comfortable on the bike, boost your efficiency and reduce the risk of developing overuse injuries. Blake is an 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.

Throwback Thursday: Giordana Superleggero

Giordana Superleggero Complete

We definitely get a bit gitty in the shop every time the lastest and greatest technologies come into inventory. Seeing a Pinarello F8, TIME Skylon or Colnago C60 get built up with top of the line components certainly has much of the staff salivating, even if they’ve seen something similar on the floor or down in the service department before. But if you really want to see the staff here at Contender Bicycles become distracted watch when a classic bike comes through the shop.

Recently we were extremely excited to help a customer, Jim, procure a Giordana Superleggero (XL-Super) Frame. For most cyclist the name Giordana will be familiar for their long history of producing some of the best and most innovative cycling clothing. Few in the shop had any idea that for a brief period in the late 80’s to mid 90’s Giordana also produces some pretty phenomenal frames. This was a period of cycling renaissance, with a number of non-bike brands “producing” frames and huge experimentation with new aerospace technologies (Titanium, Aluminum and carbon fiber). While a lot of these bikes are best relegated to the history books a few truly stunning bikes came out, bikes as worthy to ride or collect as some of the iconic bikes of earlier generations. While we knew a little about Giordana’s brief foray into producing bikes before helping acquire this beauty, after seeing the frame in person and learning about it’s history we firmly believe it is a frame of the latter category, a combination of beautiful hand painted features, refined geometry and top notch steel and production quality.

Jim had come across a 1989 Giordana Antares, manufactured for Giordana by Bilato Bikes in Italy, a while ago and while the bike wasn’t in mint condition (mostly lacking decals) he fell absolutely in love with the ride quality and craftsmanship. Even though Jim has an enviable stable of beautiful bikes and had been saving up for a Ti frame for quite some time it was his Giordana that quickly became his favorite ride. Instead of shopping around the internet to find one of Giordana’s higher end frames he reached out directly to Gita, the US distrubtor of Giordana and several other premier Italian cycling brands, to inquire if they still had any they could sell. Luckily for Jim (and us) they were sitting on a few  sizes and colors nearly two decades after they were brought into the states (although unfortunately were out a paint matched fork for the frame he ultimately chose).

1989 Giordana Anteras

1989 Giordana Anteras

Giordana pulled out all the stops when they decided to make the Giordana Superleggero. Giordana owner Giorgio Andretta teamed up with legendary frame designer/manufacturer Dario Pegoretti to perfect the geometry for this bike. The “mad scientist” owner of Excel Steal, Isadoro (a man who at the time was doing things unimaginable for most others with steal tubing) helped insure the Superleggero would be light, but more importantly provide an amazing ride. Jim finished up the build with some period-ish Campy which really brings the bike together. Even without using any modern, lightweight, component Jim’s Superleggero weighs in at 19b 10oz (substitute in some carbon and you could surely drop a few pounds), further highlighting the crasftmanship of this frame. Unfortunately for the Giordana Superleggero it hit the market at a time when aerospace materials were finally coming into their own so it didn’t get the acclaim it deserved at the time.

It was a beautiful frame to see come through the shop and we are excited run into Jim on the roads riding his Giordana bikes (as he firmly believes bikes are built to be ridden and not just hung on walls). Hopefully he’ll score some classic Giordana Disney or LooneyTunes kits to match his growing fleet of their bikes.

Giordana won an award from Disney for Best Graphics Design of all their licensees.

Giordana won an award from Disney for Best Graphics Design of all their licensees.

1994 saw the release of these awesome Looney Tunes Jerseys.

1994 saw the release of these awesome Looney Tunes Jerseys.


Scott Genius LT 700 Tuned Plus
Plus-size? Usually you think of product from a “big & tall” store. When it comes to bikes “plus-size” has a whole new meaning. These are mountain bikes featuring 27.5″x 3.0″ tires that generally get a first impression from other riders of “what the what?”. Similarly to the days when 29 inch mountain bikes first rolled out, there are the believers and there will be the doubters. At first, I was a little cynical thinking can these wheels really make that big of a difference or is this just a ploy by the bike industry to try and revamp the wheel to increase sales? Then I rode one. It isn’t a ploy. These bikes are the real deal. This past fall I spent some time on a Orbea Loki 27+ H10 up on the Bonneville Shoreline here in Salt Lake City. A few weekends ago, I spent three days on the trails of St. George riding the Scott Genius LT 700 Tuned Plus bike. For 2016 whether it is a hardtail on Shoreline or a full suspension bike on the Crest, I am riding a plus-size bike.So why does a plus-size bike make such a difference?

What plus-size bikes offer is a huge improvement in traction. Traction is everything. Confidence, climbing, cornering and descending all came easier to me with these bikes. We liken them to the “shape-skis” of mountain bikes. They make you better at everything. Research done by Schwalbe and Scott shows over 20% larger contact patch with only a 1% increase in rolling resistance. Add a reduced chance of pinch flatting your tire and the improved traction is instantly noticeable. On a fairly smooth climb with some shale and lose rocks, I felt less concerned about my tires breaking free and more focused on putting power to the pedals. I pedaled hard out of the saddle without worrying about power-sapping skids. This was especially evident in St. George. I was able to get up and over obstacles that I didn’t think I could.

Coming back down, it was easy to sense that the bike made me want to go faster. I simply felt more confident maneuvering the bike at speed. Whether on the technical portions of Barrel Roll or on the flowing section of Stucki, the bike handled precisely and convincingly. After having six spine surgeries, I definitely don’t rally it downhill. I am certainly confident in my descending skills yet am conscious of not pushing it too hard. This old bird wants to avoid any further surgeries. Though I have to say, the Scott Genius LT 700 Tuned Plus definitely made me think twice about a few sections. I tried a few sections that I otherwise would not have. Most of them I cleared and on those that I didn’t I luckily walked away unscathed.

Ryan riding the Scott Genius 700 Tuned PlusRyan riding the Scott Genius 700 Tuned Plus on Suicidal Tendencies.
Ryan and Julian riding in St. George

So what is the trade off? Mud and mountain bikes don’t mix. The plus-size wheel definitely adds more surface area to get bogged down with mud. Luckily since Utah is a high desert, this isn’t so much of a big deal for me. Other criticism comes in that plus-size bikes might not be as hot off the line with additional rolling weight. While this may be true, the added confidence I had on the bike more than made up for a little less get-up and go. Unfortunately your current bike can’t accommodate plus size wheels. Your frame has to be specific to plus-size wheels. Most mountain bikes are limited to tires around 2.4″ which forced a complete redesign to accommodate wider tires. Rest assured these aren’t fat bikes where you’ll find yourself debating whether you’re pedaling a bike or a riding a horse. They feel like normal mountain bikes with a couple of extra pounds of wheel and tire on board. Because they’re slightly heavier, we probably will not see these bikes winning cross country races. What you will see is more people on plus bikes riding with big smiles and finding themselves better riders than they ever hoped to be.

At Contender, we feel lucky to offer a wide range of plus-size options across different brands, platforms and price points. We stock plus-size bikes from Scott, Orbea and Cannondale. We even have some demos available if you first want to hit the trail and experience a plus-size ride!

Our selection of hardtail plus-size bikes:

Our selection of full suspension plus-size bikes: