There are three major points of contact when riding a bike, namely your hands, feet and seat. And the more time you spend riding the more important these three become. Each of these can be improved individually for the best fit, function and comfort while pedaling. To begin with, shoes and pedals are fairly easy to figure out as the old adage applies “if the shoe fits, wear it.” With a variety of brands and styles to choose from there are a lot of options for cycling footwear. Besides specific footwear for mountain or road riding, brands such as Sidi and Giro also offer narrow and wide shoe widths to best fit any rider’s foot. Different closure systems such as ratcheting buckles or twist-lock mechanisms add convenience and allow on-the-fly adjustment. As most riders will experience some swelling in their feet during long rides so they choose a shoe that offers a little more room in the toes to accommodate this. In addition, additional arch support through footbeds is something many riders consider.
On the front end of the bike there are numerous options for grips and handlebar tape. Many mountain bikers and commuters opt for the ergonomic grips which provide support for the palms, such as those by Ergon or shock-absorbing silicone grips, such as those by ESI or Fabric. For your road bike, the bar shape is probably the best starting point. Wing shaped bar tops and shallower drop bars have recently gained popularity. To wrap the bars, there is wide range of choices with various thickness and material to help will let you dial in comfort for your hands. For those looking for a bit more comfort, gel padding or a second layer of bar tape (often seen on the pro’s bikes during the cobbled spring classics) can be placed on the bar first before wrapping with new tape although this added comfort comes at the cost of added weight and for some a disconnect with the bike. Popular choices are a wing-shaped road bar with thick and tacky tape by Fizik or Lizard Skins which can offer great grip with extra cushioning. Of course good gloves are a crucial element here with long fingered and short fingered gloves coming with everything from thick gel padding to no padding at all.
Now onto the most subjective of these three, the saddle. There are literally hundreds of good saddle choices available to any and all cyclists. However, there are millions of cyclists so there definitely is not a “one size fits all” solution to saddle comfort. A good rule to follow, when you don’t like your current saddle, is to look for a new one that has a different shape than what you’re using. Basically, no amount of padding will make an ill-formed saddle work well. We have found that the best route to a more comfortable seat is to try a few before you buy. At Contender Bicycles we offer our Saddle Test Ride program with many of the most popular seats from Fizik, Fabric, Adamo, PRO and Selle SMP.
The best way to address these points of contact is with a proper bike fit, as this will give you an expert opinion on what it will take to make your bike both more comfortable and efficient. There are many ways of going about a fitting with most starting with the shoe/pedal interface and working up from there. As avid cyclists we are big fans of using shoe and pedal combos to better connect rider to bike. Being “clipped in” not only creates an efficient pedal stroke it also helps in isolating your body position and finding the best location for your saddle. Once the saddle is properly in place you and the fitter can go to work on finding the best location for your hands on the bars. Many of us have previous injuries or other physical issues that can be easily addressed in the fitting process making our time on the bike more enjoyable.
At Contender Bicycles in addition to offering a free fit with most bike purchases we are pride ourselves on helping customers walk out with the perfect bike, not necessarily the stock bike. While manufacturers often use more neutral saddles and select bar widths based on the frame size some riders find themselves needing to make changes immediately. In these instances we are happy to work with you to pro-rate the value of the parts you need switched out for those that will help you get the most out of your riding.
Please feel free to come by the shop if you have questions on any of these points of contact.
With the weather warming up, snow melting – and summer right around the corner – Utah’s mountain biking trails will be getting busy. From Corner Canyon to Flying Dog and Pinecone, when the trails get crowded we all must deal with an increasing number of obstacles. Runners, hikers, dogs, horses and other bikers can all work together to keep the trails safe and fun for everyone by following these 8 tips for proper Trail Etiquette:
- Yield to uphill trail users; Regardless of mode-of-transportation the uphill trail user always has the right-of-way.
- Yield to horses; Yeah or nay, an equine always has the right-of-way.
- Yield to hikers; hit your brakes and pull over for hikers and runners getting a workout on your favorite trails.
- Ring your bell; a handlebar mounted bell is a great way to politely pass others riding your way.
- Stay on the trail; Resist the temptation of cutting through switchbacks as this greatly increases erosion.
- Avoid muddy trails; Though tempting, riding in the rain has a negative impact on our already sensitive trails. Deep ruts, potholes and other irreparable damage will ruin them for weeks to come.
- Tune in; Riding with headphones in, or bluetooth speaker blaring, may be fun but they both greatly reduce your ability to hear what is going on around you. Stay tuned to your surroundings to better avoid an incident.
- Stay alert; Keep your eyes pointed down the trail to best see what is coming your way and be ready to slow your roll, or come to a stop, so everybody can enjoy themselves out there.
We want all of you to get out there and enjoy all of Utah’s great trails. Share the responsibility of keeping trails safe, fun, and in good repair, and you we will all be enjoying many miles of dirt far into the future.
HAVE AN OLD PAIR OF SHORTS OR BIBS LAYING AROUND THE HOUSE? SHOW THEM TO US AND RECEIVE A $50 CREDIT TOWARDS A NEW PAIR OF ASSOS SHORTS OR BIBS!
Assos T.campionissimo_s7 Bib Shorts
Assos Lady’s T.laalalaiShorts_s7
Assos T.neoPro_s7 Bib Shorts
Assos T.equipe_s7 Bib Shorts
Assos T.cento_s7 Bib Shorts
Assos Lady's H.laalalaiShorts_s7
Assos Lady’s T.rallyShorts_s7
From June 1 to June 30, show us your old bibs or shorts and receive a $50 credit towards the purchase of any pair of Assos s7 bibs or shorts. You can either show us a photo or bring them into the shop! Have two old pairs laying around? Walk out with two pairs of bibs having saved $100!
If you are unable to come by the shop, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org a photo of your bibs or shorts with the following information:
First & Last Name:
Upon receiving your photo, we will email you a coupon code to be used on ContenderBicycles.com to purchase your new Assos bibs!
Any questions? Email email@example.com.
>We happen to think you are a great person and we are pretty sure that your friends and family feel the same way. So of course we want you to stay as safe as possible out on the road and trail. Unfortunately, even if you take all proper precautions cycling can be a dangerous sport. While there are a number of simple practices such as a basic safety bike check or obeying the rules of the road and trail, the reality is that if you ride long enough you will eventually find yourself on the ground. Keeping your head safe is imperative and luckily there are a ton of helmet options to fit any budget or riding style. With that in mind we hope this basic guide can help you find the right helmet. So in the unfortunate event you find yourself closer on the pavement or trail you have your head covered.
Luckily there is a slew of helmet options to suit every type of rider. With options from under $50 to over $300, new technologies and aggressive marketing makes deciding which helmet is right for you a daunting decision. The most obvious concern is safety. Protecting your head and brain in the event of a crash is the purpose after all. Luckily, every helmet sold in the US is required to pass the same standards established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and will have a sticker showing the model has passed the test administered by the CPSC or the independent ASTM inside. As a pass/fail test, it isn’t possible to distinguish helmets based on their ability to protect against impact, that doesn’t mean however that there are not additional safety features offered by various manufacturers that you may want to consider.
These aren’t your grand-daddy’s helmet. Many modern budget helmets, such as the Giro Foray, take their design cues from their top of the line siblings to offer comfort and ventilation that would have been ProTour worthy just a few years ago.
Top of the line helmets, such as the Kask Protone, combine incredibly light weights, wind cheating aerodynamics and ventilation the help keep the head cooler than if you weren’t even wearing a helmet to offer Tour winning performance.
While helmets designed specifically for road cycling tend to focus protection around the front, top and sides of helmets, some mountain biking and commuter helmets such as the Kask Rex or Giro Sutton extend further down the back of the head to provide better coverage to the back of the skull. In addition, many of helmets designed for mountain biking and commuting have fewer ventilation holes to improve protection from objects, such as pointy rocks and sticks, getting past the helmets protective foam. Even the road market has seen a large amount of resources put into improving protection for the areas most likely to impact the ground in the event of a crash. POC, for example, increased the amount of foam on the sides of their Octal helmet over the temples, where their research indicated this was the most exposed area to impact during a crash.
Mountain biking specific helmets, such as the Kask Rex pictured here, generally provide broader coverage to protect more of your head from impact to the back that can be more common while mountain biking.
Many commuter helmets feature more coverage to protect from falls when tackling the complex urban environment, as well as simpler construction and “burlier” shells to keep prices lower and help the helmet survive the rigors of being packed and carried in/on bags.
>Perhaps the best protection a helmet can afford is helping protect from an impact ever occurring. This is particularly important on the road. With more cars and unfortunately more distracted drivers than ever, one of the best ways to stay safe on the bike is to be as visible as possible. While helmets have traditionally come in heavily black or white colorways, the last few years have seen an influx of color options. While greys, silvers and blues may not increase rider visibility significantly the fluorescent yellows and oranges available on many helmets from the budget Giro Revel or Foray to the carefully selected “Attention Visibility Interaction Protection” (AVIP) colorways of the POC AVIP Octal MIPS should help drivers spot you from further away and decrease the chances of an accident. The Belgian manufacturer Lazer has probably developed one of our favorite features for enhancing visibility in their integrated LED upgrade for their Rollsys equipped helmets (many also available in a highly visible orange) including the Z1 helmet. While it is not an LED designed for daytime use, it is a convenient way to ensure you always have a light in case you are caught out as the day begins to fade.
Fluorescent Orange (such as the Lazer Helium seen left) and yellow helmets help increase rider visibility, while still looking cool, to keep you safe on the road compared to more traditional color ways such as the black Lazer to the right.
Another new addition to the cycling helmet market is the Royal Institute of Technology/Karolinska Institutet of Sweden developed Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). MIPS is a thin, low friction insert built to sit between your head and the helmet foam and is designed to reduce the amount of rotational force your head (and thus brain) experience in the event of a crash. Hopefully this reduces the trauma experienced by your brain during a crash. While there hasn’t been a lot of real world data, leading to verification of the lab results, most helmets featuring MIPS only suffer a slight weight and cost penalty ($20 for most Giro models such as the affordably priced Savant MIPS). We think MIPS is promising. For those not wanting to take jump to MIPS, some research indicates rounder and smoother designs are less likely to catch or “stick” to the ground in the event of an impact thus reducing the amount of rotational force.
The yellow MIPS insert (left) provides protection from rotational forces by creating a low friction interface between your head and the helmet foam.
While higher priced helmets do not inherently provide improved safety that doesn’t mean that don’t offer advantages especially for a rider looking for more comfort or better performance on the bike. Most notably, as helmet price increases ventilation, weights, retention systems and as of the last few years aerodynamics, on road helmets anyway, generally all see improvements with each price jump. These become important considerations when selecting a helmet. If you find the helmet you purchased becomes too hot during summer ride, or the retention system or shape causes hotspots you may be less likely to wear it. A helmet left at home does nothing to help protect your brain in the event of a crash.
The Giro Sutton features an incredibly basic retention system composed of elastic cords and cord lock, helping the Sutton stand up to the abuse of urban commuting but may not be the best system for all day riding.
Basic ratchet retention systems offer good adjustability but are often bunker and heaver than their counterparts on more expensive helmet models.
The Lazer Rollsys system is particularly popular with the staff in the shop offering infinite adjustment. The design is almost quite proper among longer haired customers who wear their hair in a pony tail while riding as the design does not require treading their hair between the ratchet system and helmet.
Helmets should fit snuggly but comfortably. Start by measuring your head and comparing with the sizing guide from the manufacturer. Some budget helmets come as one size fits all but these days a lot of models come in several sizes to help you get the perfect fit without looking like you have a mushroom on your head. A helmet should be worn level, with the retention system in the back (the number of riders we see with helmets on backwards is somewhat disconcerting) and the front about midway down your forehead. The retention system should be tightened enough that the helmet does not easily slide in any direction, without feeling like it is squeezing your head in any unfordable way, and the chin strap gently touching to help insure the helmet will remain in place should the worst occur.
Finally, it is important to remember that all helmets have a shelf life. Indeed, most manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 3-5years (each brand has determined their own lifespan so check the owner manual for your particular model to determine the life of your particular helmet). While you may not of crashed while wearing your helmet they still suffer a lot of abuse from everyday use (being tossed on a shelf, accidental drops, and UV degradation to the foam), and as perhaps the most important piece of safety gear you wear cycling you don’t want to find out your helmet is no longer ready to stand up to the forces of a crash after the fact. It is also important to remember that helmets are designed only to provide protection from a single impact, so in the invent to a crash, especially if you hit your head (helmet) at all, it is always best practice to replace your helmet even if there are no visible signs of damage.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The OPEN ONE+ really is a beautiful bike no matter which side you look at.
Andy searched high and low to find a stem that would fit perfectly between the top of the headtube and the upper crown of the Lefty fork (unfortunately this may not be possible on every size of ONE+ but we are certainly willing to experiment for any hoping for a similar build)
A custom MCFK carbon steer tube helps to keep weight down and performance up on this amazing build.
Andy built his ONE+ with a Lefty fork to keep the front end stiff and the travel butter smooth but for those less Lefty inclined a number of great Boost spaced forks are available.
OPEN isn’t just their name, it’s their philosophy as a company and part of the cycling community.
Whether the decal will be gold on stock frames or not is unclear, but OPEN has, well, always been open to community input so drop them a line.
A 27.2mm zero-offset seat tube helps to keep the bike light and compliant.
A nifty little hole, first introduced on the 1.0, helps insure those looking to cut every gram possible by cutting there seat posts can make sure they don’t damage their frame as a result.
SRAM’s new 1×12 XX1 Eagle offers the range of most 2×11 drivetrains without the complexity or weight.
Gold decals and chain are stock options for SRAM XX1 Eagle.
A flat out downtube and large BB shell make sure every watt makes it to the wheels.
The ONE+ gets a more common 92mm BB shell (vs the BBright found on the O-1.0) making the frame compatible with a much larger range of cranksets.
SRAM’s 12 speed XX1 Eagle cassette offers A LOT of range.
Even the pulley cage is blinged out.
Andy had custom decals made by a supplier in Europe (multiple attempts were required to get just the right gold) to really bring the build together for the bike’s debut at Sea Otter.
Tune hubs are some of the lightest, smoothest rolling in the industry (nothing but the best for this build) and of course custom gold to match!
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
OPEN seat clamp
fi’zi:k Tundra M1 saddle
ENVE Sweep Bar
ENVE 2Bolt 27.2mm Zero Offset Seatpost
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…!)
BE THE FIRST TO SEE OPEN’S NEW BIKE
THIS FRIDAY, APRIL 8 FROM 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
DRINKS & HORS D’OEUVRES
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.
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.
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.
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.