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Review: 2011 Airborne Delta CX

0 Airborne Cyclocross Bike

I won’t lie, the Airborne Delta CX was the most exciting part of becoming a member of the Airborne Flight Crew this past spring. I was going to have the inside scoop, test ride and ride for a season a wonderful cyclocross bike that hopefully would crack open a huge “hidden nut” in the bicycle industry. A budget priced, disc brake, cyclocross bike. As a lover of cyclocross bikes for the utility and functionality, this bike fit right into my arsenal to refer friends and followers to.

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Budget Minded Airborne Delta Cyclocross Bike

1 Airborne Delta Cyclocross

When friend and follower Rick Vosper sent along spy photos of a new cyclocross bike he had up his Airborne Bicycles sleeve, I was impressed and excited.  I was sworn to secrecy until they finished testing it.

Here’s the low down.  $1099 for a SRAM Apex equipped, custom carbon fork, disc brake cyclocross bike.  Yes, you read $1099.  Do you know how rare it is to find a cyclocross bike around $1000?   Meet the Airborne Delta CX.

Now Airborne Bicycles is a unique company as it is everything that local bike shops hate.  You can only purchase them online, and because they take out the middle man their bikes are cheaper.   There’s going to be a specific customer for their niche, one that knows what they are looking for, and either knows how to put their unbox their bike, or is okay to take it to the bike shop.   Personally, I’m a fan of this concept.   Buy your bike online, as long as you know what you are doing, bring it to the shop for them to properly build it and then pay them again to fit you.   No low margin bikes for the shop, and only money making profit on the labor of the services.  This is a completely different rant, but for now I’ll save you.


The Airborne Delta CX One Part CX, One Part Commuter

This bike will be ready to rock well before the cyclocross season comes back around.   It is also equipped with bosses for your rack, as a disc brake cyclocross would be a perfect commuter.   That’s the great thing about a good cyclocross bike.  The ample tire clearance gives you room for fenders, rack and all those goodies plus a slightly more upright position than a road bike.  While living in DC, Boston or major cities cyclocross bikes were my go to bikes for 80% of people wanting to “tool around”, commute and go for a fun road ride.

View more photos on Airborne’s Facebook Page.

Airborne Bicycles: A Partnership

5 Airborne Bicycles Flight Crew

In February Airborne Bicycles put out a call for Flight Crew members.   Essentially Flight Crew members are a small group of brand ambassadors.   You get to ride a bike, for free, goto Sea Otter (to work the booth), for free, and encourage cycling.   When I heard this news I was ecstatic.  I already had my eye on on an Airborne Goblin for the 2011 season, and if I could become part of the team? Great!

“A” Stands For :  Arleigh Awesome Airborne

That was my tag line for my entry to the Flight crew.  Apparently it worked, but I think I won them over with my sweet talking on the phone.  How could three bike guys from Airborne turn down a girl on the phone that knows a crap ton about bikes?

Red Tape Around Every Corner

There were concerns along the way.  I didn’t want to muddy any water on Bike Shop Girl by having a product sponsor, but on the flip side Bike Shop Girl is a purely passionate investment of my time.   It is a personal blog and doesn’t generate enough money to buy me anything but bottom shelf beer.   Now that I work in marketing full time, the bike industry is not my job and I am going to continue to give unbiased views of bikes or product.

Other details include more guest posting for product reviews that compete with Airborne Bicycles.   Say Specialized wants a mountain bike reviewed, I’m going to ring up one of my em:pwr team members and ask them if they would be interested in reviewing a bike.   Basing it completely on their experience, riding style and needs that fit the bike the best.   Instead of having one person to review a bike, we have 38 voices and opiniongs!

I’m a Bike Rider and Racer

Airborne Goblin 29er

Cycling is an expensive sport and if someone wants to give me a bike, I’m not going to stop them.   If a company structure that I believe in (direct to consumer and brick ‘n mortar) want to sponsor me, why would I turn this down?    As long as I am upfront with my goals and what it means for my readers…why would I say no?

Officially, I am a Flight Crew Member

Thank you Airborne Bicycles for wanting me, I’m honored and flattered as I know what type of competition there was! In two weeks I’ll be flying to Monterray California to ride many Airborne Bikes,  I’ll take many photos but most importantly it will be the first time I’ll swing my leg over my race rig the 29er Goblin and the new Delta CX bike for my cyclocross season!

For now go visit Airborne Bicycles and check out their line.  The new Delta CX will be up on their site sometime this weekend.

Airborne Flight Crew at the Sea Otter Classic

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The main purpose of my recent trip to the 2011 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, CA was a homecoming of sorts for the 2011 Airborne Flight Crew members.  It is the one time a year that we are brought together from across the country.  Some of us race, some of us banter and we all work the Airborne Bicycles booth for a couple hours a day during the festival.

The team has already been introduced over on the Airborne Bikes Blog, they do it better than I so click on over there to read!

Round Up of Events

Airborne at Sea Otter Classic

Day 1 (Wednesday) :

Some members were flown in a couple days early to get become Airborne models for the website and print use. From my understanding the photos were taken by Ian Hyland of PinkBike fame. There was a ton of hiking, re-doing shots and back and forth shuttling.   (This is also the day I was flying all over the country getting to Monterey.)

Sea Otter Bike Box

Day 2 (Thursday) :

Every day started off with unpacking the trailer we had packed with bikes the night before. This is the official first day of the Sea Otter Classic. We were all given our Airborne Flight Crew gear. Dickies work shirts, hoodie, beanie, long sleeve jersey, a couple XC jerseys, shorts, and a downhill jersey.

Airborne Bicycles Hoodie

It is “industry day” so it is the day most vendors are getting their booth’s properly setup, running through demo bikes again and it is also a good time to split up booth duties to walk the festival.   Airborne Flight Crew members test rode all the models, for most of us it was the first time to test ride the new Goblin 29er, Wingman DJ and Delta CX.   From 2-4pm I was found over at the Ladies Lounge. Then it was time to start shutting down and putting all the bikes and goodies back in the trailer.

Airborne Goblin 29er

Thursday night we went out as a group for authentic mexican food and really started to get to know each other.  Several folks stayed out in the hotel room, I went back to my room to recover from the past 48 hours of travel and going.

Day 3 (Friday) :

Airborne Delta CX in Hotel

Woke early to go over the Delta CX I had brought back from the festival to ride in. Grabbed breakfast with a few Flight Crew members and started riding.  9 miles = 1.5 hours = a crap load of climbing! It was a beautiful ride, but very humbling thanks to the long sustained climbs on the cyclocross knobby tires. I look forward to having a geared cyclocross or 29er bike to take it to Pisgah for the fire road climbs that I miss being able to ride.   My legs were miserable the rest of the day, but it was a good feeling even though I regretted it during the long walk back to the car at 6pm.

The day consumers really start mingling.  It was a really good fit with most Flight Crew Members. It is a very even split between the gravity style riders and XC. I think I’m one of the most “dedicated” cyclocross racers, so I tried to pinch hit as much as possible on that one.  It was also very helpful to have so many knowledge folks of the Taka and Wingman bikes.  A good amount of bikes were test rode and talked about.  Several magazines and websites came to take photos or chat about the bikes.  This included someone from 650b.com to check out Tony’s custom Zeppelin that he converted to 650b.

I can’t forget the Ladies Lounge with Rebecca Rosch and other pro-super star ladies.  There were tons of tech questions, I ended up greasy after it (always a great sign.)  One of the readers of our site (link/name?) who’s a pilot for a heli-ambulance landed her helicopter to come to the show and join Ladies Lounge!   That was such a great treat to meet someone with an amazing story and a friend of Bike Shop Girl.

Tuesday through Thursday was the BLC (link) which many vendors and “who’s who” in the industy were at.  Friday those folks finally made it to the Sea Otter Festival, including my dear Pam Sayler from Kurt Kinetic (link.)   After the festival ended for the day I spent a couple hours catching up with her and then we all went to sushi down at the Wharf.    If I have a chance to make it back to Sea Otter next year, I will go a day early to fully experience Monterey.  The wharf alone was amazing with the seals on the coast, the boats in the harbor and the mountains in the background!

Day 4 (Saturday) :

The busiest day of the festival, my last day of the festival and the day I became inspired to get to more races to photograph.  All our downhillers were racing and running around frantic in the morning, parking was crazy and included another long walk up hills but it was a great day.   I walked every inch of the show it seemed!

Our downhillers had great success in their racing.

Results :

Tony learned that 650b.com was the brainchild of the one and only, Bike Shop Girl.  There wasn’t any “scoping” of his bike and Airborne Bicycles wasn’t going to change their mind this season on NOT having a 650b Zeppelin.

Airborne 650b

Unfortunately I wimped out and didn’t go out after we closed down shop.   With a long day of traveling the next day, I stayed behind at the hotel to eat in and pack.   From what I hear our team husband, Jim Davis, stayed behind at the festival and has some wild stories to tell.  (Including hitch hiking home!)  Wendy and I talked racing a bit before bed, and I had to say my final goodbye to many of my teammates until the next time I see them (probably 360 days!)

Other Notes :

While I wasn’t present for the last day of the festival, there was still tons going on.    Wendy placed 10th in her race!  First race on the Goblin and gears (from my understanding), she rocked it!  Other Flight Crew members also had snafu’s with their flights and spent way too much time with airlines..

Jerry Hazard

Jerry Hazard Sea Otter

Hopefully all my teammates can understand this when I say it…   When I learned the roster for the 2011 Airborne Flight Crew the one thing that I was jumping up and down inside about was the name Jerry Hazard.   Jerry is an amazing photographer that I followed almost 10 years ago on Deviantart.com.  His photo’s have been featured in many magazines and his personality around photography and riding is a treat to be around.   To be able to pull from that type of fountain was alone something to fly to California for!   During my trip he allowed me to borrow his fish eye lense, evidence is above and on many photo’s through out the Sea Otter post you’ll see.  Walking me patiently through the settings and recommendations.   It was humbling and inspirational to see his photography coming from the event!

2011 Airborne Goblin 29er Full Review

2 Airborne Goblin 29er

Airborne Goblin 29er
With over 300 miles on the Airborne Goblin that I’m riding for the season the bike has been tested.  I’ve ridden the bike to the limits and pushed it, then pushed it a bit more.  Now it is time for a good and fair review for all of you holding your breath wondering if you should purchase one!  During the 300 miles the Goblin has seen a little bit of everything, from commuting, local single track and a 24 hour race on its shoulders.  I haven beaten and abused the bike to the best of my ability thus far and this is my review based on those elements.

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2011 Airborne Goblin 29er: On Review

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MSRP: $1,199.95 A well built bike for  5 cents under $1,200.   For the person looking to upgrade their entry level bike, getting into 29ers or simply a deal finder that will upgrade the parts as they need. (I fit in the latter.) Weight: 18 inch is 28 lbs Key Parts: Aluminum hydroformed (shaped) frame, SRAM X7 2×10 drivetrain, Avid Elixir R brakes, RockShox Reba RL fork, WTB Trail 29 wheels.

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How To: Properly Setup and Adjusting Avid BB5 Brakes

13 Adjust 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.

First Taste of a New Bicycle

0 Airborne Goblin 29er Preview

When I was first notified that I had made the cut for the Airborne Flight Crew my selfish first thought was “when do I get to try out the bikes?”

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No longer do either the dreaming of bikes, or critically going through the specifications or grams of a bicycle do it for me. Every bike is built different, and other than the geometry of a bike your early can’t know how all the ingredients of the end recipe will turn out. Every piece of the puzzle matters and even in sales I often would tell a “upgrade crazed” consumer to simply give their new ride a few weeks as stock.

Some great examples :

I cycle through 4 different saddles. Depending on the bikes reach, drop, handlebar width, seat tube angle and “cush” I may fit on one saddle better than the next.  There are 3 tires I prefer on my mountain bike. If it’s a suspension bike, full suspension bike, 29″ or 26″, and finally how aggressive the fit is. All of these things change the handling of your bike, which will change how you ride your tires. Do you have more weight on your front tire through the turns, are you able to run lower air pressure, will you ride rockier trails (all mountain style) and the list goes on.

The First Taste of a New Bike

Where was I? Oh yes! I know the generic spec off paper of how the bike will be built. I don’t know how all of those spec’s in this “bike recipe” will taste, and I can’t wait to get my butt on the bike to taste my new bike!

Today’s the Day

As I walk into the 2011 Sea Otter Classic I have a few things on my mind, and a few things to take care of but I am ultimately excited to be testing out what I’ll be riding the rest of 2011. Between the Airborne Goblin 29″ and the Airborne Delta CX my butt will mostly be rotating between some variation of these two bikes.

Look for an initial preview of my first test ride

!