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Specialized Dealer Show Highlights

July 23, 2015

The 2016 Specialized Dealer Show was recently held and our buyers were on hand to see all the new offerings from our friends in Morgan Hill, CA. There’s so much to see and experience at these shows, not to mention work to be done and even some fun to be had. Here are a few of the buyers’ favorite 2016 bikes and pieces of equipment, many of which you’ll see soon at your favorite Bicycle Sport Shop location.

Obviously everyone wants to talk about new bikes. How about an aluminum aero road bike, called the Allez Sprint, to start?

Specialized Allez Sprint

The Allez Sprint takes the aero advantage of the Venge and the aluminum knowhow Specialized has developed over the years to create a value packed rocket ship.

Off the charts fat bikes are nothing new anymore, and there’s “seemingly” always another variant coming out. Why not one for your next ski adventure?

Heading to the slopes and want to bring your board along on your ride? Not a problem!

Heading to the slopes and want to bring your board along on your ride? Not a problem!

It’s no secret that Specialized’s cycling shoe game is tight. They’ve been the industry leader in that department for years. And there are a host of great looking new shoes for 2016, in some pretty great looking colors.

Specialized Motodiva MTB shoe

The women’s Motodiva MTB shoe is a perennial favorite

Specialized SC Tri shoe

The all new SC Tri shoe is staggering light and built for short course racing.

Specialized Sworks road shoe

The S-Works 6 road shoe comes in men’s and women’s versions and features a very refined finish.

We’re believers in ebikes as a way to get folks into cycling, back to cycling, and as a means of alternative transportation when the car is too much trouble and a regular bike isn’t quite right. The next evolution? emountainbikes.

Specialized pedal assist mountain bike. ebike

emountainbikes like these are coming. It’s no secret. But there are going to be some learning curves and growing pains to get over. We’re committed to keeping trails open and users riding responsibly. Stay tuned!

It’s not all product presentations. Sometimes you go ride bikes with mountain bike legends like our parts and accessories buyer, Kelly Oden, did with Ned Overend.

Ned Overend Specialized

Kelly takes a spin with Ned Overend on the new Specialized Sumpjumper S-Works 6fattie.

For what it’s worth, the guys said that the new Specialized Sumpjumper S-Works 6fattie–the 650b+ rig, which is new for 2016, is ridiculously fun and THE mountain bike to get.

Adventure cycling, exploring by bike, gravel grinders, whatever you call it, it’s getting bigger and more popular each year. The 2016 Specialized AWOL Evo is the bike our bike buyer, Scott Linville, was drooling over.

Priced at about $2,500 the AWOL Evo has a supernova integrated generator that doubles as a USB charger.

Priced at about $2,500 the AWOL Evo has a supernova integrated generator that doubles as a USB charger.

AWOL Evo

Front view of the AWOL Evo. The front rack and integrated light are really slick.

AWOL Evo

The AWOL Evo sports an integrated bar end switch, custom made for Specialized.

Chris Donahue, our clothing buyer, was on hand as well. Checking out all manner of soft goods, he likely did more work than Scott and Kelly put together. He was pretty excited about some of the helmet offerings for 2016.

Airnet helmet

The new 2016 Specialized Airnet. A $150 offering in a great looking shape that’s more aero than anything else in the Specialized quiver, save the Evade.

Tactic 2

The new Tactic 2 retails for $74.99 and is a great looking MTB lid.

Boels-Dolmans Specialized

Just a sample of some of the great looking kits, particularly women’s gear, that Specialized is doing for 2016.

But again, it’s not all work at these shows.

Win Tunnel wind tunnel

Scott got a chance to put his baggies to the test in the Specialized Win Tunnel.

Win Tunnel wind tunnel

To give you some perspective on how big the Win Tunnel is, Chris is 6’3″.

Like I said, I’m sure Chris did more work than Scott and Kelly.

Ridden & Reviewed: the Fairdale Goodship/Badship

July 14, 2015

“It’s not your bike.”

*sigh*

The Fairdale Bikes Goodship, or in this particular case, the Badship, is such a great bike that I wish it was mine. It had been years since I’d ridden a steel road bike and from the very first short spin on Fairdale’s flagship, I was sold on the old adage of “steel is real.”

Not only is steel “real,” but it’s also a great material to build a high-quality frame like the Goodship out of. After all, with modern steel tubing companies like Fairdale can have enormous control over the tubes’ butting profiles and diameters to give a bike a particular feel.

In the case of the Goodship, Fairdale works with a leader in titanium and steel tubeset production to get custom butted and sized seamless tubes, called the Drawnright Tubeset. In short, the properties of each tube of the Goodship are set not only to Fairdale’s specifications, but are also specific to each size the Goodship comes in. The result is not only a strong frame capable of taking years of good use, but also one that rides exceptionally well.

I had the pleasure of riding a one-of-a-kind, hand-painted Fairdale Goodship, dubbed the Badship, for a week and it’s one of the best bikes I’ve ridden this year. (You can get your hands on the Badship on August 1, but more on that later.)

The Goodship is a purpose built machine—a road bike from a company you might not expect to see a dedicated roadie come from. After all, with a deep BMX history and bikes like the ever-popular Weekender, a road racer isn’t exactly what most expect Fairdale to be leading the charge with. But they are. And road cycling enthusiasts everywhere are better off for it.

The Goodship has excellent road manners. Helped capably by the steel frame and Enve fork, the bike soaks up road imperfections unlike any other bike I’ve recently ridden. Yes, I’ve been on a number of carbon wonder-bikes, including the excellent Trek Domane. But the “total sensory experience” as a colleague mentioned gives a very slight edge to the Goodship.

Why?

The Goodship, being a steel bike, not only softens rough patches of tarmac thanks to its inherent characteristics, but also offers a nearly silent ride. Gone is the hollow din often associated with internal cables rattling in an aluminum or carbon frame. Gone is the occasional creak of a press fit or other modern bottom bracket standard. The Goodship, being primarily a classic bike, rides much like a classic car when pointed in a straight line over nearly any surface. Like butter.

badship

But the bike is also point and shoot. Aim the Goodship at a turn and counter steer a bit and the bike holds a line like it’s nobody’s business. At speed or cruising town, the Goodship capably does what’s asked of it when it comes to handling. And that holds true out at the Driveway Series as well. Hanson at the Lamar store has a Goodship that stepped on the podium a few weeks back. Not for nothing but he rolled away from a bevy of guys on the latest aero everything and just missed the win taking second. All aboard a Goodship.

The calm but responsive handling is aided by the frame’s feel for sure, but also the bike’s geometry. Admittedly I wish the Goodship was a bit racier feeling in terms of position on the bike. But the Goodship is a balance, and I can respect that. The slightly taller front end lends itself to the long solo or small group rides I did on it, while the short wheelbase lends to the snappy feel one expects from their bike in a crit. At one point during my time on the Goodship there was a nasty crash in a group I was with. While I was in full panic-stop mode, the bike never once flinched or overreacted to my overreactions and I was able to pilot it to safety with seemingly little trouble despite my racing heart.

And although it’s steel, the Goodship holds its own when talking about weight. After all, there are plenty of roadies out there that care desperately what their bikes weigh in at, regardless of ride quality. I fully expected the Badship to weigh in at roughly 19 pounds—and I was ok with that. (I’m not too particular about my road bike’s weight. My cyclocross bike is another story since I have to pick that thing up midrace.) The modern steel Goodship frame and carbon fork outfitted with a SRAM Force 22 kit, Zipp Service Course SL finishing bits, and Zipp 30 wheels came in at just over 17 pounds. (This Badship build is slightly different than the stock Goodship parts selection.) Right in line with my long-term loaner Domane and my personal road bike. Nice!

I really didn’t want to give the Badship back. But I had to. So you can have it.

Yes. You can have it.

On August 1 as part of El Diablo’s Poker Dash & Bash we’re going to be auctioning the Badship off with our friends TexasBikeRacing.com to one lucky person. All you have to do is come to the party at the ABGB that night, after the morning’s poker ride at the Lamar store, and place the winning bid on the Badship. Not only is it that easy, but the proceeds from the auction benefit the Texas High School Mountain Bike League. Win-win.

HH_ElDiablo_ROT

So come out and ride with us and the guys from Fairdale the morning of August 1. See the Badship at the party that evening with TBR.com at the ABGB, bid on it and other great items, and support youth MTB racing in Central Texas.

And take good care of my bike.

Support the IMBA Trail Fund!

July 6, 2015

 

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IMBA’s 2015 Trail Fund is live! The Trail Fund provides direct support to dozens of projects each year. And last year the Trail Fund supported 30 projects in 15 states. It’s likely no surprise that we’re a sustaining supporter of IMBA having contributed $5,000 annually in a commitment to their Public Lands Initiative. We hope you’ll consider supporting IMBA and the 2015 Trail Fund and feel great about helping mountain biking grow! Watch the video below and then go here to donate!

League of American Bicyclists Does It Again!

June 18, 2015

Ever wonder what the League of American Bicyclists work means or what they accomplish. Here’s but one example of the important work they are doing at the Federal level that directly impacts localities everywhere. Read this recent email from the good folk at League of American Bicyclists, below!

BL

One of the most frequently asked questions we get these days is whether our work at the Congressional level is relevant and valuable to local cyclists.

Tuesday evening in the House of Representatives we got an important part of the answer to that question. Without any warning, there was a vote to eliminate funding for projects that make new transit systems safer and more accessible for bicyclists and pedestrians.

This was pretty wonky stuff, and could easily have been missed. The word “bicycle” didn’t actually appear in the language of the amendment – it would have eliminated “enrichments as defined in Appendix A to part 611 of Title 49…”, effectively overriding the local planning process to prevent any funding for new start transit projects from being used for sidewalks, bike lanes, bike parking, etc., at train and bus stations.

Imagine that. Investing billions of dollars in building transit systems and then deliberately preventing any of the funds from being used to let people walk or ride their bikes to get to the system!

Fortunately our Vice President of Government Relations, Caron Whitaker, was on top of the action in Congress, and working with Margo Pedroso, of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and key Congressional offices managed to flag the issue and rally members of Congress to defeat the amendment by just 2 votes – 212-214. 

Perhaps this “enrichment” funding isn’t the biggest  source of funding for bike projects in the Federal transportation program – but this vote was critically important for four reasons:

1. We won!

2. It sends an important message that a majority in Congress support funding for bike investments and value local control and a good planning process. Hopefully, that sets us up well for future votes.

3. In this most partisan of Congresses, 32  members chose to vote against their party line and make this a “bike-partisan” vote of support for our issue. That’s a big deal.

4. The vote proved the value of the Congressional Bike Caucus, as it was the caucus, which is lead by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), who reached out to their fellow caucus members when crunch-time came. So, if you’ve ever wondered whether it’s worth asking their Members of Congress to join the Congressional Bike Caucus, the answer is a definitive “yes”!

We invest a lot of time and money in our government relations work – including the National Bike Summit, where your passion and commitment shines so brightly – to make sure that your voice is heard. Even with no notice, Caron managed to get tweets and e-mails into key Congressional offices because she was there, paying attention to the details, reading the fine print, and taking advantage of the local contacts we nurture throughout the year.

Tu esday evening was a timely reminder of the value of our work, even in the challenging environment of the United States Congress.

Thank you for your support of our work. Please donate today to help us sustain this important work and, with you, build a bicycle-friendly America for everyone.

Thank you,

Andy Clarke

Another Real Ale Ride is in the Books

June 15, 2015

Thanks to everyone that came to this year’s Real Ale Ride! We had another record turnout and the weather proved to be just about right. Considering all the rain we had before and after the ride, we won’t complain about the winds that we faced as the ride finished up at Real Ale Brewing!

We’ve got a few interesting stats on the ride we thought we’d share with you. first and foremost, our ride beneficiaries, Friends of Blanco State Park and Bike Austin each will receive $5,000.00 thanks to the tremendous number of riders we had register for this year’s ride. We’re also happy to report that thanks to our friends at Real Ale we’re committing an additional $25,000.00 to Bike Austin through 2015. This commitment has been in the works for some time and we’re pleased that everything has aligned to make it happen.

There were over 125 teams represented at this year’s ride, the largest of which was the national Instruments Cycling team, which brought 55 riders! While 74% of the riders were from Austin, 12% came from San Antonio, and 4 % came from Houston. Riders also came from mexico and all over the US including, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington!

We couldn’t have done the ride without our generous volunteers–all 125 of them! They were at the start/finish, helping with parking direction, and at our 8 rest stops. If you made a pit stop at any of those rest stops, you likely saw just some of the 500 fig newtons, 400 pounds of bananas, and 1,500 orange slices!

Ya’ll also drank a LOT of beer. $4,000 or so dollars worth in fact! Real Ale Brewing went through 32 kegs and 4 mini-kegs were consumed across 9 varieties of beer. The top 5 beers were Devil’s Backbone, Fireman’s, Full Moon, Hans’ Pils, and White. This year was the first year the new tap room was open and it was a big hit. Be sure to not wait until next year’s ride to go back for a visit!

You can see all of the great ride photos from Susan Beth Photography on our Facebook page. And you can read a take from the front of the 80 mile ride over here.

We hope you had a great time and are planning to join us May 21, 2016, for next year’s ride.

Ridden & Reviewed: Bontrager Flare R Tail Light

June 11, 2015
image1

Tail lights. Not exactly the most exciting product out there. But perhaps the one of the most important aside from a helmet. A quality tail light keeps you visible when riding, and when riding after dusk or before dawn keeps you in compliance with Austin’s city ordinances regarding bike lights. Of course with bike lights options abound. There’s all manner of light for every budget, but some lights, like the Bontrager Flare R really stand out in the crowd.

The Bontrager Flare R is designed as a daytime tail light. Yes, you read that right. Daytime. Visibility is not just a matter of being seen in low light conditions. And the Flare R is up to the challenge of being seen in Austin’s typically abundant bright sunshine. The light is designed with balanced optics and 270 degree visibility with two day-time visibility modes and two night modes. It offers 65 lumens of visibility with a claimed range of 2 km. That’s a good long way to be seen from–a good thing when were talking distracted drivers and the like. At $59.99 the Flare R offers a lot of light for the money.

Perhaps the biggest selling point for me is the running time. The day steady mode will give you a claimed 4.25 hours of run time, the night steady mode 21 hours, the day flash mode 5.75 hours, and the night flash mode a whopping 23 hours (claimed). I ran my Flare R for 8 hours with no issues and then used it again the following day for another 2 hours and the light never went into its “safe mode,” where it runs a lower output and simpler pattern once the battery is depleted to 5%.

The Flare R sports a nearly ubiquitous mini-USB charging and an easy on/off mount that can be positioned vertically or horizontally on posts up to 35mm in diameter. It also comes with a clip mount for placement on a backpack, saddle bag, or jersey pocket. My only gripe with the Flare R is the small rubber cover for the USB mini port. It doesn’t stay closed too well, at least on my light. It’s not the biggest deal, and it hasn’t affected the light’s performance. But I do get nervous about getting the charging port contaminated when riding in wet weather like we had last month.

PicFrame-1

The Flare R comes neatly packaged with all manner of mounting options.

All in all the Bontrager Flare R is the right light at the right price. It does more than the minimum to comply with Austin’s bike light ordinance, is easy to use, and truly offers exceptions visibility.

Stop by and let us show you how to be seen.

Southwest Austin Cyclists and Pedestrians Take Note!

May 22, 2015

Here’s the latest on the MoPac Bicycle & Pedestrian Bridge. This is going to be great for Southwest Austin!

MoPac Mobility Bridges Construction Update_Spring 2015 (1)

MoPac Mobility Bridges Construction Update_Spring 2015 (2)

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