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Introducing Giant’s WheelSystems

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No lie, wheels matter. Wheels are some of the most important pieces of a well riding, quickly responding, bicycle. Giant and other bike manufactures are focusing more efforts on their own components. I’m interested to see how these ride and compare to wheel specific manufactures.

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New for 2012, Giant WheelSystems are the result of a holistic approach to creating the best-performing wheels for every type of rider in any condition. The design philosophy behind Giant WheelSystems is called System Engineered Performance. In creating them, product developers and engineers analyzed the ways the individual parts of a particular wheel affect each other. Every rim, spoke and hub is designed to optimally serve the system.

System Engineered Performance considers four key performance factors—stiffness, aerodynamics, weight and comfort—and seeks to perfectly tailor these factors to the appropriate user, bike and WheelSystem.

Currently there are four road models available: P-SLR1 Aero, P-SLR1, P-SL0 and P-SL1. These WheelSystems can be found on 2012 Giant road bikes and are also available to purchase as aftermarket components.

P-SLR1 Aero
A lightweight, deep-dish aerodynamic WheelSystem designed for high-performance riding and racing. Maximum stiffness and aerodynamics at the lowest possible weight.
• 50mm deep, 21mm wide scandium-composite tubeless-compatible rims
• Durable precision Swiss hub internals
• Aerolite bladed stainless steel spokes (16 front radial; 20 rear radial/2-cross)
• Individual wheel bags included
• 1575g

P-SLR1
Superlight high-performance race wheels engineered for a stiff, comfortable ride. Hand-built with the highest-quality components and materials.
• Tubeless Ready Scandium 21mm wide rims with CNC-machined alloy braking surface
• Asymmetric rear rim design for more uniform spoke tension and additional wheel stiffness
• Durable precision Swiss hub internals
• Aerolite bladed stainless steel spokes (16 front radial; 20 rear radial/2-cross)
• 1390g

P-SL0
A versatile performance WheelSystem for road riding and racing. Light enough to race yet tough enough for everyday training and riding.
• Tubeless Compatible rims with CNC-machined alloy braking surface
• Asymmetric rear rim design for more uniform spoke tension and additional wheel stiffness
• Durable precision Swiss hub internals
• DT Aero Competition bladed stainless steel spokes (16 front radial; 20 rear radial/2-cross)
• 1595g

P-SL1
Designed for performance road riding, aimed at enthusiasts or beginner racers seeking a stiff, durable WheelSystem.
• Light, durable 21mm deep 6061 alloy rims, sleeved joint
• Durable precision Swiss hub internals
• DT Champion stainless steel spokes (18 front radial; 24 rear 2-cross)
• 1775g

Laurel Trail Review at Lake Norman State Park

2 Lake Norman State Park MTB

When I am riding locally in Charlotte NC I have roughly 4 trails I visit, either due to distance from my house, work or time restraints. One of my favorite trails,that is also one of the closer ones to my house, recently had a trail addition that opened earlier this fall.

Lake Norman State Park which is about 25 minutes north of center city Charlotte is a great trail for all levels. 20 or so miles can now be found wrapping around the lake. Well maintained with a decent amount of length it will give you a reason to make the drive. The words I would use to describe the whole circuit of trails is flowing, moderate, and scenic. The Tarheel Trailblazers have done a great job building and keeping up with the trails, the State Park Rangers keep an eye on the trail, encourage use but also make sure it isn’t abused when the weather is foul.

The recently finished addition, the Laurel loop added 8 miles to the other two loops that have been staples at Lake Norman. The loop is a bit more technical, adding fun switchbacks, little kicker climbs, man built log rollers and will give you a work out no matter your experience. Those in shape will hit the trail harder, those looking to step up their game the trail is completely rideable, you may need to walk a couple hills but there is not shame in it!

The trail reminds me of a tamed Warrior Creek in Wilkesboro. Not as much elevation change, not as many berms, but fun. 20 miles of mountain biking, with 10 more planned will make this a destination spot. I’m lucky to live relatively close to the trail (10 minute drive)!

 

Lake Norman Bike Route Ribbon Cutting This Weekend

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If you are a local to me (Charlotte/Lake Norman, NC) then you should know about the dedication event of the Lake Norman Bicycle Route. The route is planned to circle Lake Norman on marked roads, greenways, and showing points of interest. The route is 3/4 of the way marked and mapped! Read more about it or view the map here. 

Lake Norman Bicycle Route

This Saturday is the event to kick things off, including a bike ride!

Saturday, October 15, 2011 at the Troutman Depot 
137 South Main Street, Troutman, NC 
Starts at 10am

Description of the Troutman Loop to be ridden after the ceremony Saturday

Begin at Downtown Troutman’s landmark Old Depot at US 21/NC 115 (Main St.) and Wagner Rd.  Careful crossing US 21 to start your ride south on Wagner.  After 1.5 miles, veer right onto State Park Rd.  The scenery becomes more rural and wooded approaching Lake Norman State Park.   Past the first bridge, see a parking area at Park Lake.  Boats can be rented here during summer.  The building provides restrooms and drinking fountain (mid-March to November).  A Porta-John is located at the north entrance of the parking lot by the Itusi Mountain Bike Trail entrance.  A mile further on State Park Rd., turn right after the Park’s west gate.  St. John’s Rd. ends at E. Monbo Rd.  Turn right, and in a ¼-mile, veer right to stay on E. Monbo and the Loop.  E. Monbo stretches another 4 miles through hilly, rural horse country before reaching Old Mountain Rd.  (To visit Daveste’ Vineyards, divert right onto Talley St., past Hicks Creek Rd., and another right onto Lytton Farm.) Continue to Troutman, turning right on Old Mountain Rd. to reach US 21/NC 115.  At the light, turn right.  After a ¼ mile, turn left at Old Murdock, then right onto Eastway.  Notice the “Richardson Greenway” path across from Town Hall.  In ¾-mile return to the Depot.  If you’re hungry, enjoy one of the several restaurants you just passed along Main St.

Review: Lizard Skins DSP 2.5 Bar Tape

4 Lizard Skins DPS Bar Tape Review

Lizard Skins DSP Handlebar Tape Review

Details from Lizard Skins:
2.5 mm thick for that extra bit of comfort. At 82” of lengththere is ample length for any bar & 50 grams per set
MSRP: $38

Initial Thoughts

When I first saw the Lizard Skins handlebar tape popping up in the local bike shops I was intrigued. Anytime a company comes out with a product that is twice the price of their competitors they are either idiots or they have some amazing technology worth the cost.

Second thing I saw was that the Lizard Skins company doing a great job with merchandising. They give shops that order a certain amount of minimum product a great eye catching point of purchase. It is a handlebar that allows a consumer to try out the tape, some even have pieces of all the colors and styles available, this is the seller. The tape is different and Lizard Skins knows this – allowing you to try it. It reminds me of the really nice tape you can buy for fancy tennis rackets. It is a bit tacky to touch and only becomes more tacky if it becomes wet. It really hits on the name of the company “Lizard Skins.

There are many colors to chose from, along with the thickness of tape. 2.5mm is the one I went with for better shock absorption, but there is also a 1.8mm for those that like to “feel their bars.” The color, pink of course!

Long Term Review of the Lizard Skins Handlebar Tape

While my review package of tape showed up in early summer, I wanted to put the tape through its paces. As the tape is almost $40 to wrap a handlebar I wanted to make sure it was worth the cost and continued to feel tacky, padded and pink.

Every time I get on my cyclocross bike with this handlebar tape installed, I am impressed. 600 miles on the handlebars, and the pink is still going strong. A bit dirty, but still pink and tacky.

Lizard Skins DPS Bar Tape Review

Overall Thoughts

Not everyone needs to spend this much to wrap their handlebars. If you have a problem with sweaty hands, slippery handlebar tape, maybe have to wear gloves for grip, or you wear through tape a couple times a season.

This tapes for you. 

I’ll leave you with this. While at my local cyclocross practice a friend and gear whore, George, saw my tape, felt my tape, asked me about my tape then quickly went out and bought his own tape (not in pink). We both realized quickly that it is durable and perfect for cyclocross.

Disclaimer: Lizards Skins provided this tape free for review, I wasn’t paid or bribed. 

Changes to Maryland Drivers License to Benefit Bicycles

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From Bike Maryland website

Thanks to the efforts of a diverse coalition of regional groups that worked closely with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration and State Highway Administration, a revision to the Maryland State Driver’s Manual that addresses sharing the road with bicycles is being issued this Fall (2011). This Manual will serve as the basis for
improved driver’s education and new driver’s licensing examination questions. It is hoped that this can serve as a model for other jurisdictions as a means of introducing bicycle safety education into the automobile drivers’ mindset early in their training.

Details at http://bikemd.org/files/public/documents/advocacy%202011/drivers%20handbook%202011.pdf

Section VI – Sharing the Road (New 2011 Maryland Driver’s Manual Page 29-30)

Headings are:
Right-of-Way
Expect Bicyclists on the Road
Following a Bicyclist
Pass with Care – Give Bikes at Least 3 Feet
Use Caution at Intersections, Bridges, and Driveways
Driving at Night
Watch for Children

Motivational Monday with Wendy Davis

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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?

Wendy Davis in great Missouri

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

mountain, single-speed, gravel, cross, road

What is your first cycling memory?

June 16 2007 was my first mountain bike ride as an adult. I pedaled 1.5 miles and launched myself over a cliff. A visit to the ER confirmed a broken elbow. In that short time I found my destiny. I fell in love with mountain biking that day.

Who inspires you to ride, and better yet WHY?

I ride to inspire others to ride. I want people to see that if I can do it, so can they. The bike has made me happier and healthier. I keep riding because it makes me a better human.

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

Racing at Sea Otter courtesy of Airborne Bicycles and crushing gravel at the Dirty Kanza 200

Tell us all about your bikes

2009 Specialized hard-tail singlespeed
2011 Kona Jake the Snake
2011 Airborne Goblin

Read more about Wendy over at her blog!

Booth Babes at Interbike are a Turnoff

8 Interbike Booth Babes

This past Interbike I saved my vacation time and dollars for other things, leaving my coverage to be from industry friends and stalking the internet for worthwhile product to talk about. On return from Interbike a few female friends that work within the bicycle industry emailed or texted about the outrage from an article running in the daily version of Bicycle Retailer.

Booth Babes have a Hard Life

The attached scanned in version of the article talks about how difficult the job is. The women are paid between $100-500 a day, and are paid to “attempt to charm strangers and lure them into trade show booths by talking about products you know little about.”

As a woman in the industry that does know what she is talking about this insults me. Pretty faces and large breast may attract guys to the booths, I get that. The ways of marketing to guys isn’t something that bothers me, hell I even second the notion if it means you see more women in the industry supported.

There are Beautiful Women in the Industry

I could give you a list of a 100 women that either work or race within the bicycle industry that could compete in the “looks” category of the booth babes. Here’s a thought :

Hey Mr. Bike Industry Guy, if beautiful women attract people to your booth, why not support more women (that actually ride bikes) year around to attract more people in general to bicycles.

Think of that cute shop girl that sold you a tire a few weeks ago, or the mechanic with full sleeves that could kick your butt in the alley cat. These are the woman we need to turn into poster girls. I bet most women in the industry would be happy talking shop in a booth, to be paid for it would make it that much better.

That $2,000 you spent on the booth girl at Interbike could be spent sponsoring a well deserving female athlete to get to the next level.

Is it the Boobs or That They are Women?

Women are needed in the industry. I wish I could throw you a fancy fact about how women in the bike shop or at shows give off more participation but I can’t. Somewhere there must be one if companies are spending such large amounts of marketing cash for the booth babes at Interbike or Sea Otter.

A friendly, KNOWLEDGABLE,  woman with a contagious personality is going to attract all types of people to your booth, shop or company. Women tend not to be as intimidating to strangers, easier to approach and less cliche.  This isn’t always true but if you are a bicycle shop employee or consumer you have probably felt the “boys club” feeling when walking into a random bike shop.

This goes for booths as well. A bunch of guys in sweatshirts, tshirts and baggy cargo shorts, guys that could be super nice but not over the top welcoming, I would say this is 7 out of 10 booths at any show I’ve been at. If it isn’t sweatshirts and cargo shorts it is crisp polo’s and khakis that you feel they are above you, if you aren’t going to talk to the about Campy Super Record that they are waiting to put their nose up at you.

Look are Everything

Boobs sell, so do colors, smiles and warm welcomes. An early morning at Sea Otter, a booth with free coffee will have more traffic than any booth with tank top clad boobs. The Luna Chix team trailer at Sea Otter is always slammed. These women are friendly, gave away free food and took the time to talk to everyone interested. They are real women that come back from warm up laps muddy, that are well versed on the bikes they are riding and to me, are the best sales representatives for Orbea that you could ever have.

Find the Women

You want to attract people to your booth with boobs? Put out a call, place and ad for bicycle industry models or racers. Ship in some shop employees that already SELL your PRODUCT.

You want more people riding bikes? Put more women behind your product, on the front of your booth selling it, in the design meetings, on the sales calls, and so on.

 

Preview: Specialized Cycloross Tires

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As cyclocross season is getting rolling, cyclocross product is rolling in the door for test riding and abusing in the name of reviews! One of the most sensitive subjects for cyclocross racers (other than bike geometry) is tire choice and pressure.

2012 Specialized Cyclocross Tires

Three new cyclocross tires focused on from the big S, Specialized Bicycles. One for each terrain, hard packed, mixed conditions, and wet or muddy conditions.

Specialized Trigger Tire

Specialized Trigger

This is the tire for the hard pack conditions, and developed with the help of Todd Wells.

Details: Sharp but shallow diamond tread pattern in the center. Increased and more stable blacks in the shoulder for cornering in hard surfaces.

Trigger Tubular TPI: 290 Weight: 420g MSRP: $100
Trigger Pro TPI: 120 Weight: 275g MSRP: $55
Trigger Sport TPI: 60 Weight: 405g MSRP: $35

Specialized Tracer Tire

Specialized Tracer

Details: One tread that covers all courses, a center knob providing good traction, shoulder knobs to adapt on hard or loose grounds.

Tracer Tubular TPI: 290 Weight: 420g MSRP: $100
Tracer Pro TPI: 120 Weight: 285g MSRP: $55
Tracer Sport TPI: 60 Weight: 405g MSRP: $35 

Specialized Terra Tire

Specialized Tracer

Details: Sharp edged tread that clears well in mud and muddy

Terra Tubular TPI: 290 Weight: 425g MSRP: $100
Terra Pro
TPI: 120 Weight: 305g MSRP: $55 

Tires in for Review

One set of each of the Terra and Trigger tires showed up and are being mounted to give you a full review! For now go check out Specialized full run of cyclocross tires on their website.

The FTC makes me tell you that I receive these tires for free for review. I was not paid or bribed, but I wouldn’t mind making a dollar on this.