Don’t let the colder weather stop you

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Fall is in full swing and the temperatures are dropping quickly but don’t let it keep you from getting your bike rides in. With a few key items you can keep ridding; here are a few of our favorites.

fall ridding essentials

1. Lights, even if you are ridding during the day it is a good idea to have some bike lights blinking to help make you more visible, especially in our resent fog.

2. Fenders are well know but by adding some Rainy Day Biking reflective mud flaps to your fenders provide highway grade reflectivity on a full coverage mud flap, both front and rear; to help keep your feet and your friends behind you dry.

3. Castelli Nano Flex knee, arm, or leg warmers are not technically “waterproof,” Castelli’s Nanoflex fabric offers incredible resistance to wet conditions. And even though the rain rolls right off, the Nanoflex Arm Warmers still maintain great stretch, warmth and breathability.

4. The Castelli Diluvio shoecover has been a best seller for some time because it does exactly what it’s supposed to do— protect your feet—without much fuss. Fits both road and mountain bike shoes.

5. Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Glove  is great for a rainy commute, ride, or race, the waterproof P.R.O. Barrier WxB Glove will keep your hands warm and dry, while not being to bulky or hot.

6. Skratch Hot Apples and Cinnamon drink mix and Powerbar performance energy blends are great ways to stay fueled with real food, with lots of electrolytes. Also on cold dry days grab a set of toe warmers to keep you extra toasty so you can keep ridding all day.

7. Castelli Leggero jacket is an extremely lightweight and packable layer. When you need protection from wind, cold, or rain, the best jacket is the one you have with you. It is windproof, water repellent, and breathable, and keeps your core warm when you need it most. And comes in both men and women’s cuts so it fits close to body without binding.

 

 

Kona Cinder Cone Review

2013 bike mountain bike review ride

Kona Cinder Cone

I love bikes. I’m not a bike tech, nor do I follow a strict training program—but I know that bikes make me happy! That being said, my experience in the cycling world has mostly been with my road bike, and racing track. Mountain biking? Definitely not.

The unfortunate thing about both road and track cycling is that weather is a huge factor; track gets cancelled in the event of rain, and it’s hard to convince me to get my road bike too wet and dirty once that rain really begins. In years past, once mid-September/October hits, I know it’s time to say goodbye to my bikes for the next 6+ months.

Once I realized that mountain bikes are generally fine with rain, I knew I had to try one out! After the folk at Mr. Crampy’s got me out for few trial rides, I was officially hooked. The search for a bike began.
Since I’m a beginner, I wanted a bike that would be good enough to allow me to develop my skills without breaking the bank. I needed a bike that I could learn on and grow with, but of a high enough quality that the bike itself wouldn’t hinder my progress or hold me back once I got the hang of it.

With so many options in mountain bikes, I tested out all sorts of combinations of sizes and styles. Kyle and MacBeth managed to wrangle up a wide assortment of bikes for me to borrow and try out, which was a huge help to someone as indecisive as I am.

As a shorter rider (5’4”), I found that I had a hard time with 29ers—the wheels were big and easy to roll over obstacles, but I felt like the bike was controlling me rather than the other way around. 26” wheels were much easier for me to handle, but the smaller wheels made it noticeably more difficult to get over things. For me, 27.5” wheels were the perfect compromise! This wheels size is somewhat new to mountain bikes (or so I’m told), but in my case, they truly did bring the best of both worlds together.

I also settled on a hardtail; riding full suspension bikes was nice and comfy, but the relative simplicity of hardtails made them a lot of fun to ride. I might change my mind later, but I figured a bike that would force me to learn good biking habits (versus a forgiving, full suspension bike) would ultimately be the best to start with.

Of course, we still had to find this elusive 27.5” hardtail that came in my size and fit my budget. Luckily, Mr. Crampy’s became a Kona dealer right around this time. Kona has a huge range of bikes, offering a great selection at all price points, and of every style and size imaginable. The Cinder Cone fit the bill perfectly for me—the fact that it’s a really attractive-looking bike was just the icing on the cake.

Tiger Mountain crew ride

I’ve taken this bike out a good number of times now, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. The bike is surprisingly light for having an aluminum alloy frame, which was the biggest surprise. It feels solid while riding, but not definitely not clunky. It’s only been a few weeks, but I’m already learning how the bike will react in various situations, which means it’s predictable and reliable and not fussy. It climbs like a beast, but I also took it down Tiger Mountain, where it handled great even on the drops I sent it over. I can’t wait to explore more, develop my skills, and see all that this bike can really do! With just a few component upgrades later, I may not need to upgrade the bike for quite a while (if ever), since the frame itself is great.

Aside from the trails, I’ve spent a good amount of time tearing around my neighborhood and jumping off of things. I’m not going to lie—this bike makes me feel like a little kid, and is just plain FUN! And shouldn’t that be what a bike is all about?

-Rossane

Bike Love with WD-40

bike favorite things mountain bike new review

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The shipment of all the new WD-40 bike specific line arrived a few days ago at Mr. Crampy’s. Justin showed me a bit of love and gave me a sample bottle of the chain lube that I’ve been using on my Argon-18 Krypton. Not only is it a rocking lube, according to at least a couple of the better looking crew members, it smells great.

Today, I had a bit of extra time to spend cleaning up and tuning the Krypton. It had a nice layer of the road grime that only those of us that love riding in the Pacific Northwest experience. I started with the “Bike Foaming Wash”. I did a quick spray down of the bike, let it soak for a bit and then wiped it down with the shop standard blue paper towel. Result was a nice clean bike with minimum effort.

Next I applied the “Bike Frame Protectant”. I was a bit leery of this thinking it was a bit of a gimmick. In application and result it reminds me a bit of a car wax finish. It goes on with quick, just wipe it on, you let it sit for a minute, then buff it out with a rag. It’s like waxing your car, but for your bike. Since I like my bike more than my car this started to make sense to me. The result is my bike looked like it had just been detailed…I guess it had. I was happy and my bike was happy.

Next up was cleaning my cassette and chain with the “Bike Heavy-Duty Degreaser”. Then I put the bike back together and finished the bike-love session with the “Bike Chain Lubricant (wet)”.

My Krypton now looks and smells great. Ready to roll.

I will be getting some of each of the WD-40 products to use on my bike in-between services to keep it looking, smelling, and rolling at it’s best.

– Ken

Quick Lube Special!

I talked Justin into offering a free application of the WD-40 Frame Protectant on all bikes that come in for a quick lube for the rest of the month of May. If your bike needs attention, bring it by the shop and mention this blog post to get some extra love for your bike!

Pivot Mach 429 – Review of a Mountain Bike (more or less)

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ken-pivot-300

Pivot Mach 429 – Review of a Mountain Bike (more or less)

I know almost nothing about mountain bikes or mountain biking. Until recently, my impression was that a mountain bike was a heavy version of a ‘cross bike with this straight handlebar and weird shifters. Then my buddies started getting into mountain biking, so I needed to get a decent bike. Having had the pleasure of riding on several different road, tri, and cross bikes, I knew that it wasn’t “all about the bike”, but the bike could help…or hurt. In any sport, good equipment can make the learning curve much nicer and bad equipment can make you think the sport is too hard.

So I started to do a bit of research. The Internet shorthand, “tl;dr” came into play. There are hundreds of options, and each of those options has hundreds of options. Downhill, cross country, free ride. Inches of travel, hard-tail, full suspension. Rebound, CTD, lockout. I’m still not sure how many inches of travel my shock has. Totally confused by all the options, I applied some rigorous science to the problem, “Kyle, which one of these should I get?” I got the Pivot Mach 429.

I’d like to now go on and give you a detailed review that would make you think you just picked up a recent copy of Bike, but as I pointed out, i’m new to mountain biking. Being new though, I’ve abused the [redacted] out of this bike and it’s held up without complaint (I did lose a dust cover on one of my trigger shifters). In very little time I’ve gotten comfortable on the bike and learned, to some degree at least, how it’s going to react. I don’t have to spend a lot of brain cells thinking about what I need my bike to do, I just ride it.

I can climb up a trail without problem (or at least without the bike being a problem) and especially if I’ve flipped the little levers on the shocks, I can transmit more power into the drivetrain than I have in my legs. As the slope turns the other direction, the bike’s full suspension comes into play. It soaks up the little bumps and roots nicely. I still have some learning to do and tend to be in the saddle when I shouldn’t…I’m very thankful for the suspension. As I go through a trail with “flow” (I’ve come to learn that word means that it will be fast, twisty, and present many opportunities to damage Ken) the bike responds and is easy to navigate; I’ve ridden it with both flats and mallets and in both cases the bike feels connected to me. (I do break this connection at times, but I think it’s usually my fault).

ken-pivot-620

At the end of the day, the real proof for me is how much I’ve improved and wether the bike has gotten in the way of that improvement or helped. I’ve been absolutely blessed with stellar friends that are inducting me into the sport (big thanks to Alex, Andi, Mac, Kyle, Mike, Ryan, Tim and Tom*) and while they’ve helped me adjust the bike to better suit me, the bike has not gotten in the way of learning. Contrariwise, the bike has allowed me to progress at a pace that surprises me. I was out at Soaring Eagle last week and noticed that I was “adding in” little features, going over a rock, taking the more difficult line through a root field, pumping as I hit a dip. I’m actually getting better at this mountain bike thing…and I think my Pivot is helping.

My Pivot 429 lives at the shop; feel free to stop by and introduce yourself…it’s a medium if you want to take it for a ride.

*I went with “ladies first, then alphabetical”, so don’t read anything else into the order.

 

-Ken

Mic’s First XC Mountain Bike Race

bike events mountain bike race review ride

Well, my first ever mountain bike race is officially in the books, and with that, a great deal of what made me nervous in the days and weeks leading up to it, are now behind me.

Hopefully, for anyone even remotely thinking about XC (cross country) mountain bike racing (and you should be, it’s a blast), I hope this will help you feel a little bit more inclined to try it out after reading this, if you are at all like I am, and just nervous to give it a go do to the uncertainties.

One of the biggest uncertainties I had, was how the events are even run. In fact, trying to even find information regarding any of the Washington series was difficult. It took me a while before I found them, and I’m not even sure if I’ve found them all.

For this, I’m going to focus on BuDu Racing’s “Singletrack Cycles West Side Mountain Bike Series”, a mass start XC format race.

Here is a quick rundown of information about BuDu events.

BuDu Racing – Singletrack Cycles West Side Mountain Bike Series : XC
URL – http://www.buduracing.com
Events – 8
Cost – $28 ($17 for under 18)
Registration – Online and Day Of

Categories: (You can skip this if you understand Categories, the only thing to note is MTB Racing uses a 3 category system as opposed to 4 and 5 of other deciplines)

BuDu hosts a self seeding, non governing body sanctioned racing series. You do not need a USA Cycling race license, or any other governing bodies race license. You show up, you fill out your waiver, pay your fee, and you prepare to race.

Racing categories are broken up into age groups. The following categories are:

Cat 3 (Beginner) – Relatively or completely new to mtb racing. This is where you most likely want to start, as it will give you an idea of your own fitness level, as well as help prepare you for what to expect overall.

Cat 2 (Sport/Intermediate) – If you have raced before, or are familiar with XC format, this might be where you want to start. Cat 2 grids will be quicker, as well as have additional laps over Cat 3.

Cat 1 (Expert) – If you’ve raced, and you know you’ll be bored in a Cat 2 race, and are confident you won’t get lapped with the additional laps over the Cat 2 race, then there will be where you are. I am also pretty sure you are bored with reading this already ☺

BuDu events are Family Friendly, in that they will allow pretty much anyone on the course who knows how to ride a bike.

Age Categories are broken up into the following:
12 and Under
13-18
19-29
30-39
40-49
50+

Age groups reflect your age as of December 31st of the current year, meaning that if you are currently 29, but your birthday is in November, you would race the 30-39 age group within your category.

Arrival
You should focus on trying to arrive early enough to give yourself plenty of time to register (if you have not pre-registered), affix your number to the front of your bike on the handlebars, and pre-ride the course if you can. Look at giving yourself a good solid 40 minutes to pre-ride the course. For Cat 3 racers, this means you need to be in line for register when registration opens (and hope to be in the front!) and having enough time to get back in order to prepare for your race.

This also gives you time to go over your bike one last time before the race start, as well as prepare yourself and your gear (such as your camelbak if you are wearing one), and make sure you have enough hydration and food for your race.

Pre-Ride and what to expect
Pre-riding the course will allow you to take mental notes of obstacles, area’s you feel you will possibly struggle, and area’s you know you will excel, allowing you to better strategize and ride comfortably during your race and prevent injuring yourself.

Pre-riding is obviously completely optional, but for some, such as myself, I find it to be relaxing to be able to see the course prior to racing (I pre-ride the course once or twice before a CX race).

XC race courses are made up of single track (1 bike width) and double track (2 or more bike widths with climbing, and descending, fast sections, slow sections, mud, loose dirt, roots, rocks and trees.

Race Start
Race starts are mass starts based on age group within your category.

Show up to the starting line about 10 minutes prior to a start to get situated, and in place, and be able to listen to any instructions that the race starter gives. This is when you will be notified of any last minute changes in the race course or schedule.

Age groups are called up to start a race as waves, you will line up with your age group (in rows) and the starter will count down, and your race will begin.

The Race
You’re racing! Pedal Pedal Pedal!

The Finish
You finished! You can collapse now!

Stick Around
BuDu does their awards ceremonies after the race has fully completed and results are posted. You can look up your results once they are posted and know how you did.

Plan for the next race
Now I know you will be hooked, so I expect to see you at the next race ☺ Hope this little write-up encourages some of you to come out and race! It really is extremely exciting, and you’re on a mountain bike, so how could it not be?

Michael McLane

BIKND bike box review

review

I’m off to Kona for vacation in 2 days with my bike in my Hellium!

I’ve been looking for a bike carrier for a long time. Some offer very good protection from the outside, but the internals are rarely completely thought through, and you end up having to add straps and foam to protect your bike. Additionally, many are large enough to be easy to pack but this makes them difficult to maneuver into smaller vehicles.

The BIKND Hellium is different. Its semi rigid, with the base and ‘nose’ being high strength plastic and hardened ballistic nylon, respectively. The carrier uses a fork mount and strap to hold the frame in place. The wheels, in essence have individual carriers with the hubs protected, and the case is intended to carry 2 sets of wheels. To protect everything, the case is made of sturdy ballistic nylon and has 2 inflatable bladders that provide cushion. To further protect your bike, they provide fork leg covers, a stem cover, a crank/chain stay /chain cover, and several Velcro straps, they basically thought of everything that most leave out. finally, it has uncommonly free rolling wheels making it quite easy to move, and loaded, it fits on the back seat of an older Subaru (sedan) with no problem or strain.

A few things to note that I was not as excited about. You have to take the stem off, I’d love to be able to just drop the bars… And the pump they provide, while it works just fine, does not show the level of thought that was put into the rest of the carrier.

Overall, it’s the best thought out piece of equipment I’ve seen in a long time, and I’m pretty picky, looking forward to traveling with my bike!

– Eric Clark

Argon 18 Krypton 2011 Review

bike review

Just finished my second ride on my Krypton, Francis and I headed out to Snoqualmie and back, decent pace, gorgeous weather. My previous ride was just a quick loop around Lake Sammamish so this was the first time I got to put the bike through it’s paces.

The bike was responsive when I got on it, the BB held tight and transferred power. It felt good coming off a stop or during a burst of effort. No flex, all go. With the power transfer I would have expected it to beat me up a bit, but it was also comfortable. Even when I went over some pretty rough road I was able to stay in the saddle and not feel like I was being beat upon.

The bike felt good climbing and descending. Not sure I have enough experience to compare and contrast the climbing feel, but again “comfortable”…not an adjective I normally associate with climbing. Descending the bike felt awesome. I suspect the 3D headset contributed to the feel, but I felt comfortable hitting the curves fast coming down from the falls. Got going pretty fast and no speed wobble, I’ll be looking forward to big descents on some curvy roads in the future.

Overall Verdict: Two thumbs up. I will recommend this bike (especially with the Force build) to any of my friends looking for a new road bike.

Ken with his new Argon 18 Kryton

Tech Specs:
Argon 18 Krypton 2011 (Medium)
Force build with TRP brakes
Wheels – hand built with Mavic Open Pro and Ultegra 6700 hubs
Schwalbe Ultremo Zx tires
Speedplay CrMo Light Action

-Ken