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Photos: 2012 Bontrager Vella Bags

1 Screen shot 2011-08-15 at 8.33.57 PM

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

Review: Answer Products ProTAPER 650 XC Handlebar in Pink

0 Answer ProTaper 650 XC Handlebar

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.

Preview: Ergon PC2 Pedals

4 Ergon PC2 Pedal Preview

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!

Preview: 2012 Bontrager Vella Bag Line

0 Bontrager Vella Bag Line

Bontrager has released a new line of bags called the Vella. Modeling after what many European companies have known for the past few years, women don’t want bags that look like bike bags when they get off the bike. Functional bags with style. My main concerns on these bags are #1 for the panniers it utilizes the Bontrager Interchange specific hardware, rumor is you can switch this out for standard rack hardware but most shops don’t stop that type of things and I can hope the shop doesn’t stock oversized tubed racks. #2 I hope the handlebar bag holds up better than their last attempt 3-4 years ago.

Bontrager Vella Kava

· Handlebar bag
· Interchange hardware with flap to cover when not on bike
· Internal Velcro strap holds shoulder strap in place while on bike
· 450 cu.in.
· MSRP $100

Bontrager Vella Bag Line

Bontrager Vella Camu

· Shopper pannier
· Interchange transit hardware with zip-over flap to hide hardware when not on bike
· Expandable main body
· Padded straps can be stowed while on bike
· 1755 cu.in.
· MSRP: $110

Bontrager Vella Vana

· vertical shopper pannier
· Interchange transit hardware with zipper pouch to cover when not on bike
· Padded strap can be stowed when on the bike
· 1300 cu.in.
· MSRP: $110

The bags haven’t hit Bontrager.com, but I’ll have more photos uploaded soon!

2012 Raleigh RX Women’s Cyclocross Bikes

1 2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women's Cyclocross

This is part of a series of short posts releasing the new 2012 Raleigh Bicycles women’s line. Everything from 29er mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrids, more carbon and women’s cyclocross bikes. I’ve got the scope, but we can thank Raleigh’s Sally on this one.

Want to know how I can tell you with 100% certainty that the bicycle industry is finally valuing women? Two things, women’s 29ers and women’s CYCLOCROSS bikes. Yes, it is old news (other news sites scooped it a couple weeks ago) but I need to share with you one of those things that I am so super excited about. Two, yes two, women’s cyclocross full bicycles from Raleigh Bicycles in 2012.

This could be do to Raleigh’s Sally having a girlfriend these days and realizing the needs of women. Maybe Raleigh’s Sally needs the shorter top tube and taller head-tubes that women’s bikes have to offer. Raleigh is taking a stand for cyclocross in 2012 with 8 models for cyclocross and I am proud of them for stepping up.

2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women’s Cyclocross $1,650

2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women's Cyclocross
Aluminum frame, EC70 carbon cross fork and BB30.  SRAM Apex & Rival 10 Speed.

2012 Raleigh RX Women’s Cyclocross $1,100

2012 Raleigh Women's Cyclocross Bike

Same frame and fork as the 1.0 but stepping down to Shimano Sora 9 speed.

Photos from Bike Rumor

Stealing the photos from BikeRumor.com

2012 Raleigh RX Women's Cross Bikes
2012 Raleigh RX Women's Cross Bikes

2012 Raleigh Bicycles Women’s 29er Mountain Bikes

0 2012 Raleigh Eva 29 Comp

This is part of a series of short posts releasing the new 2012 Raleigh Bicycles women’s line. Everything from 29er mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrids, more carbon and women’s cyclocross bikes. I’ve got the scope, but we can thank Raleigh’s Sally on this one.

2012 Raleigh Eva 29er Women’s Mountain Bikes

You are hearing it here first, two models of 29ers for women from Raleigh for 2012. Yes, another large bike manufacturer seeing that women like 29ers too.  Each model of the Raleigh Eva 29 will be available in three sizes, Sm, MD, LG, with women’s geometry (waiting for geometry chart.) Both bikes are mid to entry level but a great place to start for Raleigh. Once I see the geometry I’ll give more feedback! Raleigh did get the brake rotor size right. 180mm front rotors and 165mm rear rotors on both bikes.

2012 Raleigh Eva 29 Comp $1,050

2012 Raleigh Eva 29 Comp

SR Suntour 80mm fork with lockout. A mix of Shimano Deore and Alivio in 9-speed and Tektro Draco Hydralulic brakes.

2012 Raleigh Eva 29 Sport $770

Suntour XCR 80mm fork with lockout. Shimano Alivio 9-speed and Hayes Mechanical disc brakes.

2012 Raleigh Bicycles Capri Womens Road

0 2012 Raleigh Capri Carbon 3.0

This is part of a series of short posts releasing the new 2012 Raleigh Bicycles women’s line. Everything from 29er mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrids, more carbon and women’s cyclocross bikes. I’ve got the scope, but we can thank Raleigh’s Sally on this one.

2012 Raleigh Capri Women’s Road Bikes

You may or may not know but I’ve been test riding a 2011 Raleigh Capri for the past couple months. Timing seems to be everything as right when I’m about to post a review about a bike, Sally turns around and sends me the new information for the 2012 line.

Raleigh Capri Carbon 3.0 MSRP $3,000

2012 Raleigh Capri Carbon 3.0
Full carbon frame and fork with the same geometry as the Capri from 2011. A mix of Shimano Ultegra and 105 but mostly all Ultegra besides the 105 shifters and brakes. Available in 49, 52, 54, 56cm

Raleigh Capri Carbon 2.0 MSRP $2,400

2012 Raleigh Capri Carbon 2.0

Same frameset, full carbon as the Capri Carbon 3.0. Full 105 groupo and a lesser quality hub but same rims. Available in 49, 52, 54, 56cm

Raleigh Capri Carbon 1.0 MSRP $2,000

2012 Raleigh Capri Carbon 1.0

Same frameset, full carbon as the Capri Carbon 3.0. New Shimano Tiagra 10 speed and KMC chain (come on Raleigh.) Available in 49, 52, 54, 56cm

Raleigh Capri 4.0 MSRP $1,650

2012 Raleigh Capri 4.0
Hydroformed aluminum frame, carbon fork with alloy steerer. Full Shimano Ultegra 10-speed except for brake calipers. Available in 49, 52, 54, 56cm

Raleigh Capri 3.0 MSRP $1,300

Same aluminum frame and fork, but with a downgrade on parts to Shimano 105 10-speed for the majority of the drivetrain. Available in 49, 52, 54, 56cm

Raleigh Capri 2.0 MSRP $930

This bike takes a step down to Shimano Sora 9-speed and FSA cranks. A step up from the 1.0 with 8-speed but still not with the mainstay of 10 speed. Available in 45, 49, 52, 54, 56cm

Raleigh Capri 1.0 MSRP $710

The starter model for Raleigh, Shimano 2300 8-speed. A good beginner bike but if you get riding you’ll quickly ride out of this bike. Available in 45, 49, 52, 54, 56cm

 

 

 

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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Exclusive Preview: Road Holland The Aalsmeer Jersey

2 Road Holland The Aalmsmeer

A sneak peak exclusive for Bike Shop Girl from our friends at Road Holland. The folks at Road Holland are pulling their subtle styles and beautiful reasoning into a lighter weight merino wool (and polyester) full zip jersey, The Aalsmeer.  It helps the jersey comes in two of my favorite colors, light blue and ORANGE! Did I mention they are being made in Miami?? Most of the photos displayed are the women’s jerseys but we are sneaking in a few of the guys for all you male lurkers out there! Road Holland The Aalmsmeer

Welcome The Aalsmeer Jersey from Road Holland

When we launched Road Holland, we were flooded with emails from women who applauded our no girly-girl flower print design aesthetic.  However, we underestimated a couple of things.  One – that women like full zip jerseys just as much as men (even moreso if they wear bibs and we’ll leave it at that…).  And two – that they really like Royal Orange.
We listened and The Aalsmeer, our newest poly-blend merino wool cycling jersey, is our response.
Cut from a lighter than air fabric, The Aalmsmeer is the perfect combination of sophisticated styling and serious performance.  We’ve included a subtle Road Holland crown embroidery on the collar which is then lined with a smart tulip print (the only flowers you’ll see on our jerseys!).
On the back, there are 3 ample cargo pockets and an exterior stash pocket that is perfect for holding credit cards and cash – things you don’t want flying out when you reach for that energy bar.
The Aalsmeer is available in Royal Orange (Go Cavs!), Carolina Blue (Go Heels!), and Milky White.
KEY FEATURES
79% Polyester / 21% Merino Wool
Road Holland embroidered accents
Striped print inside the collar
Three rear cargo pockets
Angled exterior stash pocket
Waist gripper
Earbud/headphone cord pass-through in middle pocket MSRP of $120
With an MSRP of $120 it makes these jerseys very competitive, as long as the fit goes along with all the wonderful things I have heard about Road Holland I’m sure these will be a knock out of the park.

What is the word Aalsmeer mean?

First, Road Holland names all their jerseys after a town in Holland (get it, Road Holland?) and Aalsmeer is where 90% of the world’s flowers pass through…. goes with our saying “women want real flowers, not flower prints on their Jerseys”

About Road Holland

We make serious and stylish cycling wear. Serious because cycling demands clothes that fit well, perform well, and last. Stylish because we believe riders shouldn’t look like ad-emblazoned corporate team clowns just because they are on two wheels. Do you wear a full Redskins kit for that casual weekend match of flag football? What about an authentic Yankees uniform for the afterwork softballl game? We didn’t think so. So if you’re looking for skin-tight, dye-sublimated cheap polyester with lightning bolts, cereal box characters, and team sponsor logos, you won’t find them here. You also won’t find any pretentious attitude here about what and who constitutes cycling. What you will find are friendly down-to-earth people with a love for top-notch materials, always in style designs with fun accents, and flattering cuts that make you look good on and off the bike, whether you are a male, a female, a whip thin racer, or a Clydesdale.

Road Holland is essentially two guys, the founder is Jonathan Schneider the designer and guy behind all the designs and reasoning. Richard Grossman seems to be the man keeping all the wheels turning in the background! Both having essential jobs to making Road Holland a quick success over their first year.

Review: Chrome Sherman Race Tool Bag

4 Chrome Sherman Bag Review

Chrome Sherman Bag ReviewThere have been many reviews released for the Chrome Sherman “Utility” bag. These reviews are mostly by folks riding their track bikes down to the local velodrome, swapping out wheels and gearing to race that same bike. For me this bag introduces a new look at doing business as a mechanic and ease of use for tool storage.

The spring and early summer season is always my busiest. First to Sea Otter, a couple local endurance races, a 24 hour mtb race and a handful of South East crit series to hit up. As a racer, but more importantly as everyone’s friendly female mechanic it is my job to be organized and prepared for whatever you need at the race.

Using the Chrome Sherman


At first this bag is overwhelming, so many pockets and clasps. In fact three weeks after actively using the bag I found a hidden pocket to hold my chain whip and pedal tool! The bag trifolds to easily be carried on your back, or the top flap folds back to be clasped on a repair stand, fence or whatever is close by. Once you figure out all the pockets, what zippers, what velcro’s, and what can go where is when you can start pushing the bag to its extreme.

The Chrome Sherman for Daily Use

Chrome Sherman Review
As I mentioned, I use the Sherman for different purposes than others. I use it as my tool bag, that travels on my back from car to pits, of garage to car to races. I’ve never ridden more than 2 miles with the thing on my back, but the bag is used daily with my bike tools.

To be able to grab the Sherman from where it hangs off my bookcase or repair stand, fold up the tri-fold and head off to wherever I am going. It is amazing. I’m not repacking all my tools, questioning where I left my measuring tape or 3-way. It is where I keep it, organized and always in the same spot.

If I am doing a full overhaul in my garage I will take out most the tools I know I’ll need and put them on the bench or on the wall for their homes, but this is more for speed than anything else.

What Goes in my Chrome Sherman

A random list of what is normally in my Sherman for daily use. Each race is different, if I’m going to a road race I may pull something different than a mtb.

  • Full run of allen hex’s. from 1.5 to 10mm
  • 4 main allen wrenches, 8,9,10,15
  • Adjustable wrench x 2
  • Chain tool
  • Cassette tools
  • Pedal wrench
  • Side cutter
  • Needle nose
  • Phillips screw driver x2
  • Flathead screw driver x2
  • Shock pump
  • Small squeeze of grease
  • Wax based lube
  • Teflon based lube
  • Electrical tape
  • Cable ends
  • Small tackle box of misc parts (quick links, headset spacers, tire boot, co2 head, pens,
  • 3-way
  • Spoke wrenches
  • Cable ties
  • Zip ties
  • Single speed cogs x2
  • SRAM 9 speed chain (new)
  • SRAM 10 speed chain (new)
  • Tire levers
  • 700c tube
  • 29″ tube
  • Mechanics gloves
  • Small container of Stans NoTubes
  • Crank tool x 2
  • Shimano crank tool
  • BB tool x 4 (outboard, octalink, square taper and Campy)
  • Brake cables x2
  • Shifter cables x2
  • Brake housing
  • Shifter housing

Overall Review of the Chrome Sherman

The Chrome Sherman is a bag that makes you think out of the box. (No pun intended.) It has allowed me to expand my services as a mechanic, and be more efficient when doing so. It handles cross country trips well, being shoved in the trunk of a car, or slapped on your back to haul on a bike.

There are things I would change, pockets I would expand, tool slots I would stitch in but for a non-custom bag at MSRP of $190 the bag does what it needs to do. Now at $190 you need to utilize the thing to death to justify the cost, but keeping my tools safe and organized in all conditions is worth it to me. Chrome, please add custom colors to the mix in the future!

Visit Chrome’s store for more details.