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Building a Budget 23 Pound 29er

4 Lightweight 29er Mountain Bike

It’s easy to say I have too many bikes but since leaving the industry full time and my amount of review bikes really rolling in I needed to slim down the stable.   One of these targeted weight loss areas was my mountain bikes.  Five months ago I had a 29er hardtail geared, singlespeed, 26″ full suspension (x2), 26″ single speed, 26″ hardtail geared and numerous frames not built.  Back in the fall when I started riding again I knew I wanted to get back to riding a single speed mountain bike pretty exclusively, atleast for what personally I owned and abused.

Lightweight 29er Mountain Bike

Budget Bike

Going with what I had in the garage I started with a Surly Karate Monkey frameset (MSRP: $465.) Next was wheels,  I had found a good deal about two years ago on clearance Bontrager Rhythm wheels (my cost : $100.) The other details:

  • Frame : Surly Karate Monkey (heavy)
  • Bontrager Rhythm Wheelset
  • Bontrager XDX Tires (Take off customers bike who didn’t want them = $30)
  • Avid BB7
  • Origin8 Space Bar
  • Race Face Stem (used at swap meet: $5)
  • Shimano Deore cranks
  • Thompson Seatpost
  • Fizik Vesta Saddle
  • Ergon GP-1 Grips

Finished Product

Lightweight 29er Mountain Bike

The Surly Karate Monkey is a great frame to start your 29er life on, it can be single speed or geared, disc or v-brake.  Plus, the price you can’t beat .   Without breaking the bank I got this single speed 29er to 23.15 lbs.  If I went tubeless and changed out some parts I’m sure I could get it closer to 21 lbs!

Don’t Forget to Hydrate

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As the summer cools off and we are entering the perfect temperatures of late summer/early fall I find my eating and drinking habits have suffered.  During the summer it is very easy to remember to drink water and eat healthier.  You can’t forget with the summer heat beating down on you as you ride, and amazing summer fruit and veggies available.

Camelbak Insulated Bottles

Constant Reminder to Hydrate

For the past couple weeks I haven’t been drinking water, and my hot coffee consumption has increased thanks to the sub 90º weather.  Every morning last week I woke up with this hang over feeling, half of the feeling was due to lack of caffeine, the other half was being dehydrated.

Today I took a Camelbak Better Bottle into work with me, hooking it on to my bag for a constant reminder on the way in. When I arrived at work I took the bottle and sat it down right in front of me.

This is my quick public service announcement to remind everyone to drink a big cup of water before bed.  We just received a small box of goodness from Camelbak of Insulated Better Bottles and Insulated Podium Bottles for review.  Check in tomorrow for a preview!

Commuting : How Not to Wear Spandex

6 Outlier Pants

Originally posted at our sister site : CommuteByBike.com

My tri-modal commute to Charlotte has partially changed my perspective of commuting concerns. One of these concerns is clothing which I’ll be deep diving in the next few articles.

Photo Credit : Outlier

Photo Credit : Outlier

Business Attire and Dress Codes

Since I now work back in the marketing and advertising industry there is more of a dress code than what you find in the bike industry. There are days that one is able to wear khakis or even jeans, but on the days that there is a slight chance of a meeting or client call those clothes won’t cut it.

Dress clothes, especially nice ones, don’t wear well for riding a bike and sweating. They also don’t do well with being shoved into a messenger bag. While I’m looking into a better solution of carrying the business attire, laptop and paperwork I still haven’t found it.

Shopping for Bike Friendly Dress Codes

While my better half cringes when we go shopping, I’ve been shopping for styling clothes that are “bikeable.” If I was a guy, this would be easy but it seems like the idea of technical fabrics and womens dress codes are very rare.

Thankfully the mornings have been cooler so I can pull off the 2.5 mile bike ride from the bus to work by simply rolling up my pants legs and pedaling slowly not to sweat. This won’t always be the answer, especially when it’s raining! (Currently those days I walk.)

Bikeable Work Clothes

What do you use? What brands or fabrics wear well and still can allow you to walk into a board meeting?

Tracking Your Progress

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Polar CS200

Polar CS200

As humans we like to track things, some humans more than others, but needing to know speed, averages and time is built in from birth. This need is sometimes justified, you track miles and distance on a car to calculate gas expenditure and to know hoe much gas is left, or when you may need more. Your body and bike are no different.

There is a Need, a Need for Speed

One of the first things I recommend for a new cyclist(behind a helmet, hydration and padded shorts) is an on board cycling computer or cyclometer. Today I don’t want to sell you on a computer or to explain the basics of computers, as we’ve done that before. Instead I want to talk more about the variety of styles, getting more into technology and why or who would need them.

Starting Basic : A Watch

As simple as it sounds, many of us have a great measuring device on our arm. The watch on your arm can help gauge compared to previous rides or laps, how well you are doing.

Cyclometers or Bicycle Computers

Blackburn Neuro 5.0

Blackburn Neuro 5.0

We have covered the basics of bike computers here before, to recap visit the page over here.  Over the years of use the standard computer doesn’t excite me anymore, but it is a much needed tool for cyclist as they are starting off.  Knowing your speed, averages and distance will make you a stronger cyclist but knowing your limits make you a smarter cyclist, a bike computer can help with that.

Heart Rate Monitor’s

Polar CS200

Polar CS200



The step up from a standard cyclometer in my mind is the heart rate monitor. The key to heart rate monitors is to know your proper limits and zones. With that you’ll need some sort of testing done to check your limits with an accurate test. There are some people that recommend using a formula where you take your age and then subtract a random number. I’m not recommending that formula here because every body, diet and activity level is different. A program for testing I do recommend is New Leaf, I’ve used this only for testing in the past and can’t speak for their weight loss and exercise program. (I’m not paid or endorsed to say this about New Leaf either.)

GPS

Garmin 405

Garmin 405

When GPS first came to market designed for bikes, roughly 6 years ago, it was revolutionary but rather expensive. Pair that with the facts that many people didn’t know about them or what the could do with them. Now, you can get into a Garmin 405 GPS tracking watch for $299. They are easy to move between bikes, or even use it for running and walking. Some of the more advanced styles can double as an on road or trail GPS with street or topography maps.

Bike Rides and Bike Shopping

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As I work in a bike shop day in and day out I have the blessing, sometimes the curse, to play with all the latest and greatest bike parts.  This adds a ton of complication to bike shopping for myself.  I’m able to help anyone that walks in the door, calls or emails to find their perfect bike but as my goals of cycling or life change, my bike wants do as well.

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SRAM Force Brakes, Breaking?

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It seems that there are still batches of SRAM Force recalled brakes out there.  Cozy Beehive recalls a recent story of a mechanic installing SRAM Force brakes to a customers bike and they broke under his touch.

Before you buy any SRAM Force brakesets, for your sake, go check the date stamp on the brake.  If your brake is within the date range below, SRAM will replace the brakes under warranty.

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Single Speed and Fixed Gear : What It Means for You?

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The fixed gear, urban hipster, era seems to be calming a little bit in my area.  This means I can crawl out from behind my wool rock and enjoy riding my preferred style of bikes.  You see I enjoyed single speed mountain biking before pink was the new black, and fixed gear road cycling was part of my off season training for Team Snow Valley racing.  Deeply embedded in my blood is the love for single drive machines, ease of use and less thinking while riding.

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Do You Wear Sunscreen When You Ride?

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A valid question was asked over on Twitter, “Do You Wear Sunscreen When You Ride?”

My answer is yes, and well… no.  Up until this year I have always worn short sleeve jerseys when riding.  Maybe it is the roadie in me where sleeveless jerseys are banned from racing.  I often have freaky tan lines from gloves, helmet strap and short sleeve jerseys.

At the bike shop and at home I have now invested in KINeSYS sunscreen, in the spray bottle!  It is the least we can do for our skin, but in the long term it probably isn’t enough.

Next step is SPF clothing, but that will be another time.

Essentials Purchases for Your First Triathlon

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This week on Bike Shop Girl we are covering triathlons and the basics of getting started in this quickly growing sport.  We began the series with “Talk of Triathlons” and then moved on to “Basic Things to Know About Triathlons.”

Today we are covering the essential equipment or gear I feel with get you across the finish more comfortable and confident.  At the end I will also list things that aren’t essential but a good long term investment.

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Basic Things to Know about Triathlons

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Triathlons are an amazing sport to set a goal for, keep your training varied and there are several short tri’s that anyone with basic athletic or active body can complete.  Across the country women’s only triathlon events are picking up full steam.  Locally, we have the Rambling Rose Series.  This series quickly sells out and is a great attraction to those women simply trying to finish their first tri or testing out this new sport.  The distances are short : 250 yard swim, 9 mile bike and 2 mile run.

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