2011 August

Bontrager RXL WSD Mountain Bike Shoes
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Review: Bontrager RXL Mountain WSD Shoes

If you can recall I have been using a pair of Bontrager RL shoes for a couple years, I wrote a review about them a couple months ago. After using and abusing my RL’s for a couple years I have taken a step up to the RXL shoes. Hopefully the carbon isn’t too stiff and I’ll be able to rock the gold and black.

What Bontrager has to say

Updated for 2011 with Bontrager’s new proprietary Micro-Fit buckle, the RXL MTB WSD gives hardcore cross country racers a distinct performance advantage. Using top-notch materials to cradle the foot in comfort and an efficient Silver-series carbon outsole to transfer power to the pedals, the lightweight and durable RXL WSD stands ready for all-out efforts on the most rugged World Cup circuits.

MSRP: $229.99

Details: Silver Series Carbon, Micro-fit buckle, women’s specific fit, eSoles insole system.

Initial Thoughts of the RXL Shoes

A few key things (other than the price) of the RXL to the RL that were quickly apparent to me.
#1 The buckle upgrade from 2010
#2 The insole was a lower arch support than the one that came in the 2010 RL
#3 the shoes were the same size (42 euro) but feel smaller than the RL. This could because my RL’s are so worn out they have “flattened” and “stretched.”
#4 The RXL and my 2010 RL shoes are within 3 grams of each other

Details that Matter

 

Bontrager RXL WSD Mountain Bike Shoes

The bottom lugs of the soles are much softer and gummier than the RL.

Bontrager RXL WSD Mountain Bike Shoes
Micro-fit buckle clicks at 1.5 increments

Bontrager RXL WSD Mountain Bike Shoes
The shoes have decent airflow but the “anti slip” fabric on the back of the shoe can rub when you don’t have socks on.

After Two Months Review of the RXL Shoes

These shoes are everything I wanted them to be. Stiff, breathable outer, amazing colors and can do well on the road and longer distance mtb rides. I’m not convinced these will be my goto cyclocross shoes because they are so stiff but I can certainly tell my power to the pedals with these shoes.

After a couple more months I’ll check in with these shoes, give you feedback about cyclocross and how the outer of the shoes last.

 This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.

Adjust Avid BB5 Brakes
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How To: Properly Setup and Adjusting Avid BB5 Brakes

Tech TuesdayOne concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

As you know I have beenrocking the Airborne Delta CX bike for this summer going into cyclocross season. Originally I was struggling to adjust the Avid BB5 road calipers that come stock on the cyclocross bike. (Yes, it is a disc brake cyclocross bike.) After several tries at adjusting the brakes as Avid outlines on their website I finally started from scratch using good ole common sense! Once I sorted out my disc brake issues I was getting messaged and questioned about what I did to get them to stop well and not rub!

There are tons of great resources out there showing you the basic ways to adjust the brakes, but they left out key details. Let’s forget about those other instruction and start from the top.

Tools You’ll Need

Tools for Brake Adjustment

Torx wrench, 5mm allen, business card and a computer to read this how to on.

Setup and Adjusting Avid BB5 MTB Brakes

Avid BB5 Brake Diagram

Click to Enlarge

Check brake pads for wear. If your brakes are used at all there is a great chance the pads were worn incorrectly and will never align right. Remedy by sanding or replacing the pads, normally sanding with a fine grit will fix this problem.

Loosen the mounting bolts for the caliper, some bikes have the caliper mount directly to the fork, loosen those bolts. This will allow the caliper to move side to side. Check if your washers are worn or if you can see any grooves out of the normal. If you do, file/sand down or replace.

Adjust Avid BB5 Brakes

Loosen brake cable fixing bolt, this will allow the fixed pad to pull all the way out.

Turn the adjustable brake pad (red knob with Torx in middle) counter clockwise to turn out.

Business card in Disc brakes

Place a business card between a the fixed pad and rotor. Fixed pad is on the outside (look at diagram above)

Adjust BB5 Torx Brake

Turn the adjustable brade pad (red knob with Torx in middle) clockwise, use a Torx wrench if need be to tighten down as tight as you can with out breaking it!

Tighten the mounting bolts to the caliper.

Pull the brake cable tight to the fixing bolt, make sure the barrel adjuster on the caliper and the barrel on the brake lever both are turned in all the way, then backed out a full turn and a half. Tighten down the fixing bolt on the brake cable.

Back out the adjustable brake pad one or two turns, counter clockwise so  it isn’t touching the rotor. On the back of the Delta I had to back out an extra 1/4 of a turn for out of the saddle movement of the rear end.

Pull out the business card.

Use the adjustable brake pad to change the feel of the brake lever, use the barrel adjusters to adjust cable tension as well.

Check over all bolts and proceed to ride beautiful riding Avid brakes.

IMG_3182
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Improvement Continues to Fuel the Fire

Last week I posted about the first cyclocross practice of the season. How painful it was to feel so slow, and how I really needed to give myself a head check on where I have been to where I am going.

The past 2 weeks I really have been putting forth effort into a consistent workout regimen. Tracking and plotting on TrainingPeaks.com. Bike riding, jogging and today started back with weight lifting. Goals of cyclocross racing ring in my head, but more than that leading into the 2012 season as injury and worry free. Planned days of active recovery, or general days off that mirror days with family.

Today at lunch I decided to hit up the gym for some basic weights and to weigh in. While I normally weigh in the same time in the mornings, I hadn’t weighed in for over 3 months (I got depressed back in April) and was shocked and surprised today for what I saw.

159 lbs

The last time I looked at the scale I was at 169 (April), earlier in the I was around 180 but I was frustrated and decided to give up on the scale..to live. Boy, am I glad I did so but I am glad I did a mental check today of my progress. There hasn’t been any dieting or active “focused” eating since March and all I’ve been doing is being more aware with what goes in my mouth compared to what type of activity is going on in my life.

I can tell you that seeing the scale today will make it more motivating to wake up early and hit the gym tomorrow morning before work!

Screen shot 2011-08-15 at 8.33.57 PM
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Photos: 2012 Bontrager Vella Bags

A few more photos of the new bagline, Vella, from Bontrager in 2012.

Stephanie Cole
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Motivational Monday with Stephanie Cole

Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement!

What’s your name and location?

Stephanie Cole, Charlotte NC (EM:PWRteammate and motivator)

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Road, Mtn, CX – Cyclocross is my favorite!

What is your first cycling memory?

My Dad gave up on teaching me how to ride a bike because I didn’t want him to let go of the seat, I had to teach myself. Yes, I have always been stubborn!

Who inspires you to ride, and better yet WHY?

I can find inspiration everywhere; it might be someone improving their riding, someone coming back from injury/illness or someone just starting to ride again as an adult.

What has been your best moment on the bike this year?

Every time someone says ‘you’re riding well…’

All About My Bikes

Cannondale Hybrid, Giant TCR Road, Specialized Epic full suspension, Giant TCX CX, Gary Fisher Rig

Answer ProTaper 650 XC Handlebar
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Review: Answer Products ProTAPER 650 XC Handlebar in Pink

While at Sea Otter this past spring I was hooked up with the new pink Answer Products ProTaper XC Flatbar. After installing and riding the bar for a couple months (15 or 20 rides) I can give some honest feedback.

ProTaper 650 XC Bars Details

Width: 685mm Weight: 235g (flat) Back Sweep: 3º Colors: PINK, Mango, Red, Green, Brunette (brown), Black

Answer ProTaper 650 XC Review

While the handlebar got me at the word “pink”, the weight and options are really what kept me interested. Even though flat bars really aren’t my gig, not giving enough sweep for my longer distance hauls. I ended up riding these bars for a couple months on my geared Airborne Goblin and then moving it to my Surly Karate Monkey single speed. The weight and taper were confidence inspiring, especially when you use a stem like Thomson that can sometimes crack handlebars when not installed correctly. A bike shop could carry a few of these bars in different colors and really add some flair to customers bikes. Check out more Answer bars on JensonUSA.com

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.
NC CX
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North Carolina Womens Cyclocross Clinic

Bicycling skills clinics are an interesting thought. Adults, having skills clinics in the way you would for your favorite sport as a kid. For myself I need to become confident again going into barriers, and $40 for 6 hours of someones time is a great deal. Stackhouse is limiting the field for good instructor to class size so please sign up so I have friends at the event!

North Carolina Women’s Cyclocross Clinic in Boone

Sunday September 11, 10AM to 4PM

Boone Fairgrounds, 738 Roby Green Rd, Boone, NC 28607

NC CX

Two clinics at one location: our second annual Women’s’ Only CX Clinic featuring National Champion Ashley James and MSG champ Kim Bishop, and a cyclocross skills clinic for the boys led by Jacob Florence.

The Boone Fairgrounds, home of the High Country Cyclocross Series, is a great venue with agood mix of easy and challenging terrain where you can hone your skills, covered pavilions for lunch and lecture sessions, as well as ample parking. Clinics will be held at separate parts of the Fairgrounds so each group can separately practice skills including starts, cornering, barriers, run ups, and more, as well as pointers on training, nutrition, bike setup, pre-race rituals and more from National Champion Ashley James and some of the best cyclocross racers in the Southeast

Early Bird Registration is only $40 until the end of August, Pre-Registration is $50 until September 10 at Noon. Day-of registration is $65. Lunch is included.

Online Registration now open – clinics are capped at 30 participants each

USAC license (Road or MTB) is required. One day license is $5.

For Directions Click Here

Register at BikeReg.com or email us to learn more

Ergon PC2 Pedal Preview
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Preview: Ergon PC2 Pedals

Pedals on a commuter are always an interesting dance.

Platform, clipless, toe clips, and then which brand/level? For my around town getter I try to keep platforms on year around to be able to hop on and just GO! The bike I keep at my office in Uptown Charlotte is this type of bike. Originally with BMX style platform pedals, $10 Wellgo pedals, they did well as a pedal but only when I had soft bottom shoes on. When I had dress shoes or some sort of heal the pedal’s “spikes” didn’t grab and became very slippery when wet.

Ergon PC2 Pedal Preview

Ergon PC2 Pedals

For 2011 I am on the Ergon Commuter Team where we are testing out their new products and talking bike commute goodness! In July I was sent a pair of their new PC2 pedals to give a spin and give feedback on. While this isn’t going to be a full review I did want to preview them and give my initial thoughts.

Details from Ergon on the PC2 Pedal

  • Developed composite by Magura (the brake and fork company)
  • Inner foot stop to keep correct foot positioning on the pedal
  • Ultra narrow q-factor
  • Integrated reflectors
  • Anatomically contoured platform, 6º angle for better joint alignment, knee angle correction
  • Maintenance free polymear bearings
  • 3M-SafetyWalk™ creates a slip free platform
  • MSRP $69.99

Initial Thoughts of the Ergon PC2

The PC2′s remind me of beach cruiser pedals with the sand paper feel on each side. This works very well and no matter the shoe so far, they hold a grip.

The pedals are size specific, I’m on a small pedal but at the maximum shoe size with a euro 42 shoe. Two of these pedals do feel very large in your hand, but once on the bike they feel supportive under feet and keep traction between your shoe and drivetrain.

After a handful of rides I am really enjoying these pedals. With an MSRP of $70 I hope they continue to impress me and provide a good alternative to BMX pedals and clipless for commuters!

Cyclocross Training
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The First Cyclocross Practice of the Season

Have I mentioned how excited I am about the cyclocross season that is coming up? 50% excited about the racing and 50% excited about the environment, friends and culture.

Last night was the first cyclocross “practice” of the season. It really is a reason for friend, George Berger, and I to get out to Fisher Farms with barriers and ride around in circles. Another one of our friends, Mark, showed up to crush us.

Eye Opening Fitness

It is always easier to feel fast when you ride alone, and then you ride with folks that have been consistently riding…that’s when you realize you are slow as a snail!

All I can do is put my head down and plow ahead with training and efforts. Riding with folks that have had solid seasons, and consistent riding for over a year…it isn’t fair to judge myself next to them. Hell, I need to stop judging myself.

Be proud you are out doing it, be proud to be on the bike and keep moving forward!

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