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:

Bike Maintenance: DIY Don’ts

DIY Don't Rusty Cassette

We at Contender Bicycles believe that the only thing worse than not riding your bike is not taking proper care of your bike. The good news is that the most beneficial preventive maintenance, such as keeping tires inflated and lubing the chain, are also easy to perform. Unfortunately many bike owners get these tasks wrong and cause themselves trouble down the road, but don’t worry we’re here to help with our list of Do It Yourself Don’ts.

1: Don’t leave tires under inflated. Properly inflated tires deliver a safe, comfortable ride while keeping flats at bay. For best results skinny road tires need to be inflated about once a week or before any long ride. Also, even good inner tubes will lose air over time, often going flat as your bike sits (particularly during the winter.) Most commonly they just need to be pumped up and you are good to go.

Easy fix: Keep a floor pump, with built-in air gauge, handy, and use it at least once a week. Remember, the required PSI range for your tires is stamped onto the side of the tires themselves.

2: Leaving sealant in tires too long. Here in Utah many bicycles, mountain or road, have some type of liquid sealant in the tube or tire. Commonly Known as Slime or Stan’s Tubeless sealant, they greatly improve the ability to ride flat free. However, with time the liquids will congeal, forming large globs inside your tire, and lose it’s ability to stop leaks.

Easy fix: Remember, that tubeless mountain bike tires need their sealant changed once or twice a season, two years is pushing it! Sealant-filled inner tubes last about as long and are easy to change. 

3: Not cleaning your bike. A dirty bike is an unhappy bike. It is easy to wipe a bike’s frame and drivetrain down with some old towels or shop rags. Use a clean rag to to remove road grime from the frame, fork, rims, spokes and hubs before moving onto the chain and gears. Removing excess grit and grime from the chain will prolong its life and allow for smoother shifting. Cleaning the frame and wheels keeps corrosion away and just makes your bike look better! Feel free to use mild soap and a little water pressure. Beware to not over do it as this leads to the next most common mistake made by bike owners…Over Cleaning.

Be like Omar and clean your bike regularly!

Be like Omar and clean your bike regularly!

4: Don’t over clean your bike. The quest to keeping a bike clean often leads cyclists to their local self-serve car wash. Don’t do this as the high-pressure will blast vital lubricant from the chain and can actually compromise seals in the hubs, bottom-bracket or headset removing their grease along the way, in turn leaving a bike rusty and squeaking.

Easy fix: Start with clean, dry or damp rags and avoid high-pressure water hoses. Running a dry rag over your chain after every ride, or two, will dramatically decrease the grim build up, saving you time during cleanings and helping your chain last longer.

5: Improper chain lubrication. Any bike cleaning needs to be followed by thorough drying and then re-lubricating the chain. Use chain lubricants sparingly as only a thin application is needed to keep running quietly. Applying more-and-more lube will attract excess grit, accelerating chain wear and making a mess of the drivetrain. Only lubricate the chain itself, with a drop or two dripped onto each and every roller (the little round parts sandwiched between the flat outer links), and does not need to be applied to the gears or cogs.  

Easy fix: Buy a proper chain lube from your favorite bike shop and use it about once or twice a month or whenever you hear squeaking. Always removing any excess about 30 minutes after application.

6: Not replacing chain often enough. Replacing the chain on your bike is like changing the oil in your car, the more it is done the longer all of its moving parts will last. Chains “stretch” over time as dirty wears down the pins connecting the links together allowing the links to pull further apart from each other than intended. When left unchecked the sprockets and cogs, which are normally made from aluminum, will wear out as the elongated chain sit down on the teeth improperly and drivetrain performance will begin to suffer. Dropped chains, or slipping and skipping while riding are all symptoms of a worn drivetrain. Though you can still ride a bike in this condition you are basically eroding all of the moving parts with each pedal stroke and will need to replace all of them at the same time!

Easy fix: Roll your bike into your favorite shop and have them measure the chain for stretch, replace as needed.

7: Improper installation of parts and over-torquing of bolts. Everything on a bike is held together with small nuts or bolts, most of which require a a 4,5 or 6mm allen wrench for tightening. There are also many component-specific tools needed when disassembling your ride or installing new parts. This is most important on lightweight carbon and alloy parts as they can break if over-tightened or improperly installed. Remember that almost every bolt needs grease or Loctite upon installation to stay in place and be removed easily down the road.

Easy fix: Invest in a bike-specific tool-set or bring your bike to us when it comes time for new parts! A mini-torque wrench goes a long-way in ensuring that you are applying the right amount of elbow grease.

8: Incorrect shock set up. This one pertains to mountain bikes and their front or rear suspension. Properly set-up suspension allows a mountain bike to ride it’s best with improved traction and shock absorption. Most shocks and forks hold a tiny amount of air that allows them to work properly, this air pressure is adjusted in accordance to a rider’s weight and will vary between brands and styles. When left unchecked, air pressure will escape from the suspension and can actually cause internal damage when ridden this way. In the shop we do what is called a Sag Test – where a rider sits on their bike and we measure how much their static body weight deflects the suspension. Conveniently, most suspension has an o-ring located on the stanchion that can be used as an indicator, and we look for ¼ to ⅓ of total travel as being  ideal “sag.” This works particularly well for the frame-mounted suspension, front forks are done a little more by feel.

Easy fix: Have a shock pump (these are different than a tire pump) on hand and learn how to perform a Sag Test to check your suspension.  

9: Neglecting your bike’s brakes. A bike’s brakes are its most important safety feature and need to well maintained for optimum performance. The rubber pads on a set of rim brakes normally have a wear line that makes it easy to check how much life they have left. Also, keeping the the rims and pads clean will remove excess dirt that could impair their functionality. Disc brakes are bit different. Many of them have hydraulic calipers with fluid that must be checked and possibly replaced – known as “bleeding” – to keep them functioning properly. As well, their composite-compound pads and metal rotors need to be inspected periodically for wear and tear.

Easy fix: Become familiar with the style of brakes on your bike and learn how to inspect them for wear. If your brakes ever feel mushy, become noisy, or just don’t stop like they used to bring them to us and we can get them working like new again.

10: Ignoring the basic safety check. With the numerous nuts, bolts, moving parts and quick-release levers found on modern bikes – and the fact that they can loosen with use – it is important to periodically inspect their adjustment. Here at the shop we practice a 5-point Safety Check on each and every bike we handle, it goes like this, 1: QR levers – should be hand tight. 2: Handlebar and stem – push down on bars, and with a foot holding the front wheel, side to side to check for movement 3: Seat and seatpost – check for movement. 4: Brake levers – squeeze the break levers to make sure they can lock up the wheel when standing with the bike. 5: Tire pressure – at minimum by hand, although you should insure your tires are inflated to the desired pressure before each ride. If any of these feels loose, or makes concerning noises, the bike goes back to the workstand for proper adjustment before riding.  Definitely, have a professional mechanic take a look at your bike if you have any questions!

Easy fix: Get into the habit of doing a Safety Check yourself and feel free to bring your bike by the shop with any questions or concerns.


For more advice on maintaining your bike check out our YouTube page, stay tuned for future posts and contact us here at the shop.

A Beginner’s Guide: flat kit

One of the quickest ways to find your day on the bike turn from a fun adventure to a day of stress and frustration is being unprepared to handle a flat tire or other simple mechanical issues that can arise during a ride. Without the proper gear you’ll soon find yourself stuck on the side of the road or trail, in the best case snagging a tube and tools from a riding partner or friendly passing cyclist or in the worst huffing it back to your car or begging a loved to drive out of their way to pick you up. With that in mind the experts here at the shop have put together two sample kits to help direct you towards the accessories you’ll need to handle most basic road side maintenance.

For the road:


The necessities are:
1) A spare tube
2) Tire levers
3) A way to inflate your tube after fixing a flat.

It may be obvious but it is important to insure you have the proper tube size for your bike (1). For most on the road this will be a 700c x 18-23mm presta valve tube. If you are unsure, the size will be printed on the sidewall of your tires. While wider tires have become quite popular over the last few years for the plusher ride, better traction and lower rolling resistance a 18-23mm will easily expand to fill a 25mm or 28mm tire, while being more compact and lighter for your road maintainance kit.

A simple set of plastic tire levers (2) should do the trick to get your tire on and off after a flat (if you haven’t ever changed a flat check out our videos below on the types of flat tires experienced in cycling and how to change a flat). Somewhat burlier and longer levers like the Pedro’s pictured here may take up a little more space but are less likely to break on you in your time of need. For those rocking carbon fiber wheels it is particularly important to use plastic, and not metal tire levers, so as to not damage the rim.

Finally to re-inflate the tire we are huge fans of CO2 chargers (3). While they do cost a little each time you need to inflate a tire for a new cartridge you won’t be stuck on the side of the road for 20 mins trying to get a tube up to 90psi with a minipump. To keep things compact a charger that only accepts threaded cartridges works great. It is important not to screw the cartridge in until you are ready to use it as otherwise it will slowly leak and you’ll find yourself without a way to inflate a tire when it matters. For a road tire a 16g cartridge will get your tire up to pressure.

You’ll need a way to carry all these items and for this task we find a small to mid sized saddle bag (4) the most convenient, freeing up jersey pockets for your food, phone or clothing accessories and keeping your back free of a bag will help keep you cool. While there are saddle bags large enough to carry all your tools and tubes while also bringing along a picnic for lunch we find smaller saddle bags (just large enough for the essentials in this article) less cumbersome on the bike.

Aside from these absolute basics bringing a few extras along can be extremely helpful. The first is a simple multi tool (5), such as this CrankBrother’s B8, with hex bits from 2.5mm to 6, a Philips and flat head screw driver and a t-25 torx will allow you to adjust nearly any bolt on your bike or cleats. It is also handy to carry a small glueless patch kit (6) along in the event that you or a friend need to fix a second flat. It’s always nice to have something to boot a sidewall blowout (7) with such as a piece of an old tire, duct tape, a gel wrapper or even a dollar bill (or higher demonization) so you can limp home instead of calling for help. We also like to bring along a $10 or $20 bill for emergency cash and I keep an old driver license in my saddle bag so there is always some way to identify me in a worst case scenario.

For mountain biking a similar set up will work well.


Many of us ditch the saddle bad as we are already carrying a hydration pack that can hold all our essentials. For mountain biking it will be more even important to insure you have the proper size tube (1). While you again will have no trouble getting a 2.1” tube to stretch up to 2.2” or even 2.3” if necessary the plethora of wheel sizes mean you are going to be out of luck if you carry a 29er tube while riding a 27.5” wheel bike (or vice versa), so if in doubt double check the sidewall of your tire and tube to make sure they match up. With more space and weight being less of a concern many of us at the shop like to take advantage of the cost savings of using a cupped CO2 charger (2) that can accept threaded or the less expensive unthreaded CO2 cartridges. Speaking of CO2 you are going to want to bring along a 20g cartridge (3) if you are riding a 27.5” or 29er tire to fully inflate the tube. With not being able to fix a second flat likely meaning a long hike out (vs on the road where you will likely be able to call a friend or a cab for a ride) it is always good to carry an extra cartridge. To this end, it is always a good idea to have some burlier glued patches (4) (and glue) on hand if you experience a second flat. A way to boot a sidewall blowout is a life saver in the backcountry is even more important out on the trails. Contender Bicycles owner and general bike guru Ryan finds wrapping one of his tire levers in duct tape a handy way to bring some along for just such a problem (5) Because there are more things to adjust, and the increased likeliness of a broken chain we like to bring along a larger multitool on our mountain biking adventures, particularly one like the Syncros 13CT Composite Tool with Chain Tool, (6) so we can fix most problems on the fly. The chain tool addition makes it easy to remove any damaged sections of chain, while a SRAM PowerLink (7) makes putting your chain back togher a breeze.

For guides on how to fix flats and other mechanical issues check out the videos below and subscribe to our youtube channel.

It’s time to OPEN U.P.

open up

At Contender Bicycles one of the things we most love about our jobs is setting customers up with the bike that fits their needs. For many this simply will be a stock bike from one of the great brands we carry. For others slight modifications may be in line, different gearing or crank arm length are common. As one of the premier bicycle retailers in the US we are also privileged to put together a number of custom builds for customers looking for something very specific. Last fall we joined the OPEN Cycles community as their newest dealer. We were really excited by what they have to offer, namely the lightest production 29-er frame on the market, the O-1.0. Based on the response we have gotten, clearly, are customers have been as excited as we were.

For those not in the know OPEN was founded by Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervelo, and Andy Kessler, former CEO of BMC, two men who clearly know bikes. Their goal with is to build simple bikes in a community driven manner. To this end they have done their best to involve their community in the bike design process as much as possible (from personally engaging in feedback with their community, to posting videos explaining the technology or having the community decided the color of their new frameset). The standards at OPEN are also incredibly high. to the inherent variability in manufacturing some O-1.0 end up outside of the tight weight tolerances OPEN is willing to accept. Instead of scraping this frames they have decided to give them an layer of paint and a new model name, the O-1.1, same great frame… just little heavier and little less expensive.

With the recent release of their Unbeaten Path (U.P.) Open has broken the model again. While many serious cyclist follow the mantra that the right number of bikes to own is “n+1” where n equals the number you currently own the OPEN U.P. may be the first bike that will truly be an “n-1” addition. The U.P is a bike that is best explained with one word: versatile. The most obvious example of this is the ability to run either 700c (29er) wheels with 23-40mm tire or 650b (27.5”) with 2.1” tires. Rolling on skinny road tires the U.P. is a capable road bike with confident snappy handling, while the geometry isn’t ideal mixing it up at a crit, few could find fault in its on pavement capabilities. Where the U.P. truly shines however is once the tires get larger than 32mm and the road becomes less than uniform. With such a large selection of tire options available the U.P. is poised to excel anywhere from your next cross race to an epic adventurneering ride. This tire size versatility is afforded by a unique dropped driveside chainstay. In addition to increasing clearance to allow such wide tires it also allowed Vroomen to keep the chainstays to a short 420mm length, giving the U.P. a fun, sporty ride compared to the longer stays common on cyclocross/gravel frames. And while many cross/gravel frames on the market are using one of the various “road” disc hub spacings that have been introduce OPEN went with the standard mountain 142x12mm rear and 15mm front thru axels, so you can choose from a ton of great wheel options.

It is more than just the broad tire selection the U.P. provides that will allow you to tailor this versatile frameset to become your “n-1” bike. A BB386EVO bottom bracket is compatible with any number of mountain or road cranks (with up to a 50t outer ring). While the MultiStop routing plugs allow you to cleanly run any (cable, electronic or hydraulic shifting) cables internally so you can choose the drive train the fits your needs and budget. Finally a set of bolts on the top tube make bring any extras you may need for a long ride along on your next adventure.

Few could claim to have the carbon fiber design, engineering or manufacturing experience of Vroomen, and the U.P. may be the pinnacle of his experience this far. An mesmerizing blend of carbon layup, geometry and logical design decisions make for an amazing ride quality. Light enough, at 1150g for a large frameset, and stiff enough to take the whole shot at your Saturday cross race and comfortable enough with Vroomen’s trademark wire-stays, offering incredible vertical compliance and lateral stiffness, comfortable enough for a full day gravel adventure on Sunday. With the right tire selection the U.P. handles confidently on every path from road to all but the most technical single track. With races like Crushar in the Tushar and a myriad of amazing gravel rides along the Wasatch it is no wonder our customers have been so taken by the U.P. since be began carrying Open this fall.

Open UP

Truly illustrating the versatility of the Open U.P. is the recent build we did for a customer looking for the ultimate commuter, after work grinder and weekend Wasatch exploration bike. Ritchey Logic WCS flat bars give this U.P. a bit more comfort on the commute and more confidence on days with more, and more technical, gravel. A recent update to Shimano’s Di2 components allowed the mixing of XTR Di2 shifters and Dura-Ace Di2 front derailleur and Ultegra Di2 long-cage rear derailleur so he’d always have the right gearing whether he’s riding the road or the dirt. Finally a set of ENVE 3.4 road wheels and 27.5″ M50 wheels allows for the proper wheel selection no matter the days planned adventure. While this is an example of a truly premium build, for those looking for the adaptability and versatility offered by the U.P. our team would be excited to help you design a build that best suits your needs and budget. Give us a call at 801-364-0344 or drop our Open expert, Julian, an email at


Scott Big Jon Review

While few things can beat strapping some sticks on your feet to take advantage of the awesome snow we get here in Utah, we still get a bit itchy to hop on a bike and get some riding in. Until recently getting on the bike in the winter meant slogging through another trainer session or braving the cold and icy streets as the plethora of powder has left our trails inaccessible to a mountain bike. Luckily for us the hard men and women of Alaska (and beyond) had suffered through snow inhibiting their riding ambitions for decades and slowly began producing bikes designed to conquer the most austere of wintery trail conditions.

While cyclists harder than us have been riding fat bikes for decades, it has only been in the last few years that industry has taken notice. At Contender we have been blasting the snowy slopes near the shop for a several years on a number of different fat bikes that have come through the shop and our winters have never been so fun.

As with most things bicycle related, this first wave of fat bikes were often high-end models with price points to match. For many these bikes, no matter how fun they might be, would fill a niche too small within their bike quiver to justify the price and although there were a few budget models available, we often found these bikes wanting. The last two years, though, have seen nearly all the major manufacturers take notice and introduce a series of fat bikes into their line. We have excitedly watched as the number of options has increased, opening the fun on the snow to the wider cycling community.

At $1499.99 the Big Jon by Scott may be the perfect option for those who have been looking to go fat without their wallet getting skinny or compromising on performance. Like it’s older sibling, the Scott Big Ed, the Big Jon is built around a 6061 Aluminum frame, which keeps things stiff and reasonably light. With the Big Jon Scott has dropped the bottom bracket and lengthen the chainstays a bit compared to the Big Ed, making for a more stable ride on loose snow or sand. While everyone has their personal preference between Shimano and SRAM we are big fans of Shimano at the shop and were excited to see the Big Jon spec’d with a Shimano XT/Deore build, which we are confident will continue to shift reliably even in the stickiest snow. The house brand Syncros finishings offers solid performance while keeping the price down. The stock Schwalbe Jumbo Jim EVO 4.8” tires will float on the softest surfaces, although as with every mountain-esq bike we would have loved to see a tubeless setup. At 32.14lb’s  in our hands for a medium bike, the Big Jon isn’t a welter weight (but what fat bike is); however, similarly weighted offerings from other brands are often coming in at $500+ more and upgrading to a tubeless would certainty shed more than just a few grams.

We’ve been psyched to get several customers out on a Big Jon and based on the photo’s and stories they are as psyched about the bike as we are. Off the show room floor you’ll definitely ready to head off to the nearest snow covered trail and have the most fun on two wheel’s you’ve had since cross season ended. Those looking for alittle more versatility we’ve upgraded the stock alloy fork to a RockShox Bluto for a few customers, a $685 upgrade. At $2184.99 you end up with a darn sexy bike if we do say so ourselves (just check out the awesome studio quality photo at the top of the page that professional photographier and happy Big Jon+Bluto owner David Newkirk shared with us), that is 99% of the way to the Big Jon’s bigger brother and almost $500 less expensive (so you’ll still be able to afford plenty of post ride hot-chocolates to warm back up, or a Charge 20 Cooker so your kid can get alittle fat with you over this winter too… because we all know snow is more fun with your family).


Happy customer Jon couldn’t help but feel the Big Jon was made just for him.

For those not yet convinced by the fat bike revolution we have a number of Cannondale Fat CAAD’s available to rent in the shop.

Come skate ski this Sunday with Miles Havlick!

Miles Havlick Skate Ski

Take a break from the trainer and improve your skate skiing technique with Contender Bicycles athlete, Miles Havlick. Learn something new that will compliment your winter cycling training and get you outside in the beautiful Utah weather.

Many of you chatted with Miles over the summer at the shop. Few knew that Miles is a two-time NCAA Champion from the University of Utah who is now skiing professionally and internationally. Contender was simply lucky to have him at the shop for the summer!

Last week Miles competed at US Nationals and finished on the US podium placing 3rd in the Freestyle Sprint! Check out the podium picture.

Miles Havlick Podium

When: Sunday, January 17 2016. 10:00 to 11:30 AM

Where: Mt. Dell Golf Course in Parley’s Canyon. Meet at the start of the track (You must pay $7 for a day pass)

Bring: Skate Skis, Boots and Poles!

Cost: $0.00 (The clinic is free but you need to pay $7 for a day pass to use the skate track at Mt. Dell)


Win a TIME Skylon

TIME Bikes Le Defi

At Contender Bicycles we love bikes. We love mountain bikes, we love road bikes, we love cyclocross bikes, heck, some of us even still love strider bikes. With all the amazing bikes on the market, and in our shop, we really can’t (and shouldn’t) pick a favorite; however, anyone who’s ever been into the shop know that TIME Bicycles have a special place in our hearts. Perhaps it is their classically beautiful lines, or that being handmade in France using RTM (the only manufacturer in the industry to utilize this more exacting, time intense method) they truly are unique from the dropouts to the top tube in the crowded bike market. Mostly though it is because they really do ride like a dream without sacrificing on performance. They truly are amazing bikes to ride. As much as we love TIME we realize not everyone can afford these amazing bikes (although, the TIME First is an incredible bike at a price on pair with the offerings from even the largest brands).

Now, though, with a little time in photoshop everyone can have a shot a winning one of these incredible bikes. To celebrate their 30th anniversary, and in memory of their late founder Roland Cattin, TIME is having a contest to design a TIME Skylon inspired by principles of “Le defi” (“the challenge”) Roland put forth to his company (“quality,” “passion,” “elegance,” “innovation” and “made in France”). The winner’s design will be produced as a limited edition frameset, to be debuted at Eurobike 2016, and the winner will also receive one of their very own. As an added bonus, if one of our great customers win, there is always a chance you’ll get to see one of “your” bikes hanging up in the show room for sale. So get on it folks! (and let’s be honest, we know you’d be more excited to win this than that billion dollar lottery… err… atleast you have a shot of winning, especially some of our creative customers!).

For more details on the contest head on over to the time-logo-185f9e972c2df65218466557f86c33cd website or Facebook page.

Come Hang with Eros Poli

Eros Poli

Slow down and take a short break from your busy holiday schedule to meet former professional cyclist Eros Poli. Come talk cycling, enjoy some light snacks and drinks and bump elbows with this cycling giant (he’s 6’3″!). Eros will be at the shop Monday, December 14th at 6:30 pm.

Eros is an Olympic and World Champion and was THE leadout man for the legendary Mario Cipollini. However his crowning moment came unexpectedly at the 1994 Tour de France.  At 190lbs, this Italian literally crept into cycling history during that year’s Mt. Ventoux stage. With a 25 minute gap at the bottom of the climb, everyone was cheering for the escapee to survive. Cresting the mountain with over four minutes, he won his first and only TdF stage win and that tour’s “most aggressive rider” award!

Join us in our 2nd year to help Kit Up Africa!

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

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

Contender Bicycles Kit Up Africa

So clean out your closet and help us Kit Up Africa! Last year we donated over 400+ lbs of cycling clothing. Help us beat that number this year!

Here is what we collected last year:

  • 425+ jerseys
  • 250+ shorts & bibs
  • 50+ long sleeve jerseys
  • 75+ jackets & vest
  • 30+ skinsuits
  • 70+ pairs of shoes
  • 100+ accessories including baselayers, warmers, socks and gloves

*Eligible items include all clothing apparel and shoes that can be reused. Discount does not apply to items already on sale. Please note we cannot accept helmets.

The POC Venti Pumpkin Spice Helmet – Happy Halloween!

POC Protection goes grassroots to bring us the world’s first edible helmet. Working directly with Contender Bicycles’ own Ryan Littlefield and national time trial champion David Zabriskie, POC is now ready to unleash their latest lid this Halloween. As prototypes took months to grow, a crack team of crafty carvers – Alison Littlefield along with Cody and Emily, Ernie the Mutt, Penny the Corgi and Leo the Senior worked out the details that would soon become cycling’s tastiest choice in head gear. The Venti Pumpkin Spice helmet is DOT, CPSC and ATK (America’s Test Kitchen) certified to protect your melon in the event of bike crash. An added bonus is that at the end of the season you can throw it in the garden and ten more helmets will grow in its place. Mmm, mmm, Pumpkin Spice – Enjoy!



National time trial champion David Zabriskie testing out The Venti Pumpkin Spice Helmet.