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Intro: Review of 2014 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women’s Cyclocross Bike

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This past summer Raleigh Bikes released photos and spec of their 2014 cyclocross line, including the RX 1.0 Women’s bike. The bike didn’t change too much other than paint and some small part upgrades. I was excited about the bike (mainly due to the paint job and price) for women and thought it would be a perfect do-all bike for my better half. So here we are doing a second review of the women’s RX 1.0!

This second review of the Raleigh RX 1.0, in the 2014 model, is to look at it as an all purpose bike. This is how most women are looking to purchase a cross bike in this price range as a do all, fun finder.  There could be road rides, green-ways, Rail to Trails,  commuting, baby hauling and maybe a cyclocross race thrown in there to say you did it.

A refresher of spec and pricing can be found here. The original review over here.

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Cyclocross Bicycle Practice, or my First CX Race is This Weekend

20 Cross of the North Colorado

My first cyclocross “race” is this coming Sunday; I use the word race loosely as I’m looking at it as bicycle practice, with a very high average heart rate.

Things to do for my first CX race of the season

Find wheels for my cyclocross bike. I have a pair of Specialized Roval Pave wheels that I’ll be swapping over from my single speed. This way I can leave my Powertap on the road bike, and not have to worry about durability thanks to the Roval Pave proofing themselves over the past couple seasons on my single speed.

Find tires for the above wheels. Not knowing any of the courses I’m going to go with my proven “all – around but slow on hard pack” setup. This is a Specialized Terra up front and Michelin Mud2 on the back.

Sign up for a Bicycle Racing Association Colorado license. This is the statewide governing body for all things bike racing in Colorado. While I don’t have to join to race, it saves me from paying one day fee’s and it gives my team points if I place at all.

Register. Thankfully I remembered to do this, and get the BRAC license earlier this week as online registration has already closed for this weekend’s races! Note to self: Always register the Wednesday or Thursday before race weekend.

Test Ride and Skills. This will be tomorrow. Not too much stress, just making sure my bike is functioning and hips are flexible for the mounts. The first few races will be skills clinics in themselves, but I do plan on working in one or two days of CX skills per week.

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Review Course. Then forget what I reviewed.

Create CX’ing Playlist on Spotify. Do you have songs that pump you up? Maybe some Katy Perry “Roar”? Let me know what is on top of your list!

Rock Out. Because that is why we are all doing this right?

Photo Credit: Cross of the North Facebook page

Intro: 2014 Raleigh Cyclocross Bikes

5 raleigh cyclocross

Hot on the heels of my review of the 2013 Raleigh Capri Carbon 4.0Raleigh USA has released information on their 2014 line up. Over the next week I’ll be breaking down the line up by category. Keep up to date by checking out the search keyword “Raleigh USA 2014“.

While the cyclocross category is specific to women, Raleigh does have the RX1.0 in women but I can’t help but mention the other bikes in their line up as they are pretty stellar.

Raleigh RXC Pro Disc

2014 Raleigh RXC Pro Disc MSRP: $5,000

Spec: Carbon frameset with Shimano Ultegra Di2 (6770) with FSA SL-K cockpit
Weight: 18.9lbs for 55cm
Sizes: 50, 53, 55, 57, 59cm
Thoughts: Disc brake and electronic shifting will be seen more and more this season on the cyclocross courses. Less to gunk up and less to go wrong (in theory.) I’m surprised with the price tag of $5k that this bike is weighing in at 18.9 pounds, but I can only assume most of that is in the wheels. It looks like a great training wheel set that may be adding some rotational weight to the other wise race spec’d bike.

Raleigh RXC Disc

2014 Raleigh RXC Disc MSRP: $2,700

Spec: Carbon frameset with Shimano 105 10 speed
Weight: 19.5lbs for 55cm
Sizes: 50, 53, 55, 57, 59cm
Thoughts: A more reasonably priced cross racing bike that is coming with mechanical shifting and less racy parts. A great build and price for a carbon bike for the racer in you.

Raleigh RX 2.0 Disc

2014 Raleigh RX 2.0 Disc MSRP: $1,750

Spec: Aluminum frame with carbon fork and Shimano 105 10 speed
Weight: 22.3lbs for 56cm
Sizes: 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62cm
Thoughts: I’m a bit biased to this fabulous color, but the bike is a strong competitor for killer disc brake cyclocross race bike. Swap out the wheels and drop off a couple pounds easy.

Raleigh RX 1.0

2014 Raleigh RX 1.0 MSRP: $1,500

Spec: Aluminum frame with carbon fork and SRAM Apex 10 speed
Weight: 21.5lbs for 56cm
Sizes: 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62cm
Thoughts: The only cantilever option in Raleigh’s “unisex” line up this year.

Raleigh RX 1.0 womens

2014 Raleigh RX 1.0 MSRP: $1,500

Spec: Aluminum frame with carbon fork and SRAM Apex 10 speed
Weight: 21.3lbs for 52cm
Sizes: 48, 50, 52, 54, 56cm
Thoughts: Previewed right here on Bike Shop Girl back in June – I’m happy to see this women’s geometry cross racing bike updated for 2014.

Liv/giant Releases 2014 Women’s Cyclocross Line

12 Liv Brava SLR 0

The press release I received last night from Liv/giant was a long one (two pages long without photos.) As I started reading it, every paragraph was making me more giddy than the last. Why?

Liv/giant is about to rock the women’s cyclocross world

Meet the Liv/giant Brava SLR women’s cyclocross line! Two models, the Brava SLR O and Brava SLR 2 both equally stunning in their own category. Light weight, disc brakes, women’s geometry and colors that I personally find attractive.

Liv/giant Brava SLR 2 MSRP: $1600

 

Liv/Giant Brava SLR 2

 

The lightest women’s-specific cyclocross bike—and the only one with disc brakes—is all about performance and versatility. You can race it during cyclocross season, commute with it in all kinds of conditions, or use it for long rides on mixed terrain. The lightweight, responsive ALUXX SLR alloy frame features an OverDrive 2 steerer tube for stiff, responsive steering and a toptube that’s shaped for shouldering comfort. A D-Fuse SL composite seatpost provides compliance over rough terrain. Additional performance-minded features include disc brakes, a 15mm thru-axle for enhanced handling precision, and smooth, clean internal cable routing. – Liv/Giant

Liv/giant Brava SLR 0 MSRP: $4800

 

Liv Brava SLR 0

 

The lightest women’s-specific cyclocross bike—and the only one with disc brakes—is all about performance and versatility. The lightweight, responsive ALUXX SLR alloy frame features an OverDrive 2 steerer tube for stiff, responsive steering and a toptube that’s shaped for shouldering comfort. A D-Fuse SL composite seatpost provides compliance over rough terrain. Additional performance-minded features include disc brakes, a 15mm thru-axle for enhanced handling precision, and smooth, clean internal cable routing. -Liv/giant

Sizing/Geometry of the Brava SLR Women’s Cyclocross Bikes

Brava SLR Geo

I suggest to be familiar with the geometry of these bikes before test riding. Traditionally I ride a 55/56cm which normally equals a Large in women’s bikes, but looking at top tube lengths I will fit a medium. Everything else in the geometry looks straight forward, and should fit many short torso’d women very well. This part (other than pricing and spec) was one of the main reasons I was so giddy reading the press release! Hopefully I’ll be able to swing a leg over one of these bikes to give you a full report on handling and sizing.

2014 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women’s Cyclocross Bike

3 Raleigh RX 1.0 Womens

A couple years ago I did a full review of the Raleigh RX 1.0 women’s cyclocross bike. The articles do get a lot of comments and questions still to date so it is very fitting that Raleigh USA is releasing the 2014 images and spec early!

The spec hasn’t changed too much from years past, the colors may appeal to more of a racer than the while but the mounts are still available for racks and fenders to make this into the commuter machine if needed!

What do you think of the new styling?

2014 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women’s Cyclocross Bike Specs

Frame: 6061 Double Butted Alloy, Tapered headtube and seattube, flat oval downtube and seatstay, PF30 BB

Fork: Raleigh Carbon 1.125″ to 1.5″ taper, Canti-Bosses
Drive Train: Sram Apex, FSA Gossamer, 46x36t chainrings
Wheels: Formula Smooth Bearing Hubs, Weinmann 23mm wide XP Elite rims
Tires: Schwalbe Racing Ralph Performance
Brakes: Tektro CR710 Canti Brakes
Cockpit: Raleigh Short Reach Bar, Raleigh 3D forged stem
Post/Saddle: Raleigh 2014 Alloy Dual Bolt, 20mm offset, Raleigh CX saddle
Bar Tape: CX Specific Bar Tape, all condition grip and increased shock absorption

Preview of Louisville 2013–Cyclocross World Championships

0 Female cyclocross rider in Georgia.  Photo by Nathan Bolster.

A guest post from Laura Colbert of Loose Nuts Cycles in Atlanta, GA

Normally, I’ve just started making my weekend plans by this time in the week, but I’ve had this weekend planned for months…maybe longer.  This weekend I’ll be traveling to Louisville, KY for the UCI Cyclocross World Championships!  So stoked right now!

This weekend in Louisville is sure to be amazing for several reasons:

1. It’s the first time that the CX World Championships has been held outside of Europe.  Last year, UCI gave Louisville a practice run with the Master’s World Championships.  The masters returned to Louisville again this year and brought the rest of the World Championship events with them.  The first time for anything is fun and challenging and special.  This weekend will set the bar for US-hosted world CX events.  If it goes well, maybe the World Championships will come back to the US.  If it doesn’t, you can bet that Europe will be hosting all the major CX races for years to come.

2.  It’s taking place in Louisville’s Eva Bandman Park.  Bandman Park is the only park in the U.S. that is specifically dedicated to the sport of cyclocross, which means that the course should be great.  If you want to preview the course, check out this guy’s blog.  If you want to know what cyclists and officials think about the course, Velo News has a great article with thoughts from a lot of the top cyclists that have ridden it.  If this weekend goes well, maybe other cities will consider building their own cyclocross specific venues.

3.  European-style excitement about cyclocross!  The event organizers say that they’re expecting 5000-6000 people to attend each day of the event.  In addition to massive crowds, I fully expect that we’ll see some amazingly ridiculous cheering and fanaticism.  Cyclocross is not exactly America’s national pass time, so American cyclocross events don’t often elicit the same enthusiasm that they do in Europe.  That will not be case this weekend.  The U.S.’s biggest cyclocross fans will be out in full force, with some back up from European visitors and guests from around the world.  Expect awesome crowds, creative fans (I bet we’ll see some face/body paint despite the cold temperatures), and lots of noise.

4.  The possibility of home court victories for the American cyclists!  If you’re not familiar with the US’s world champion roster, check out USA Cycling’s report and 22-person roster here.  I do not usually shine with national pride, but I inexplicably swell with patriotism during sporting events.  I can’t help it.  The world championships are here, at home, and may never return to US soil.  Our American cyclists have to make the most of this moment and capture some podium spots.  Win on their home court.  Prove to the Europeans that America can produce cyclocross champions.  Velo News has a good analysis the American chances of winning this weekend.

If you have a weekend with few plans and live in any state that borders Kentucky (or are otherwise reasonably close), you should cancel your plans and make your way to Louisville.  If you aren’t able to make it this weekend, no worries.  CX Magazine is live streaming the event right here.  Also, check the Louisville 2013 Facebook page for updates.

I’m going to be taking lots of pictures, checking out the course, pits, and venue, and talking to as many cyclists and spectators as I can.  Next week, I’ll be reporting back about the weekend and the races.  Leave a comment if you want me to try to chat with a specific cyclist, or get a picture of a particular part of the course, or whatever.  I’ll do my best.

Photo credit to Nathan Bolster of Bolster Photography.

Race Report: Atlanta AlleyCross

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A guest blog from Laura Colbert of Loose Nuts Cycles in Atlanta, GA.

Saturday was a beautiful day in Atlanta, one of those occasional Southern winter days when it feels like spring–the opposite of what cyclocross weather should be.  Other parts of the country have muddy, sloppy, cold cyclocross races.  In Georgia, the weather always seems to provide us with boring, but beautiful race days.  This pattern held true for Saturday’s 4th Annual AlleyCross race.  It was 70 degrees and sunny, the kind of weather that’s perfectly suited for looking cute while riding your city commuter, but not so much for cyclocross.  Luckily the 2 days before the race had been pretty rainy, so the course was sufficiently sloppy, even if the weather was behaving itself.

AlleyCross is organized by No Hipster Left Behind and is a fun combination of cyclocross and alley cat races.

The event started with mandatory parade lap to familiarize everyone with the route.  That turned out to be fortunate, because it took the better part of an hour to complete (8.5 mile route…so slow) and included a couple wrecks.  Parade laps are not usually that eventful.  However, the extra time also gave us spectators plenty of opportunity to find a good spot for photos and get a head start on beer drinking.  When the racers returned from the parade lap, they left their bikes at the mouth of an alley and were sent down a gravel hill for a Le Mans start.

AlleyCross

The race consisted of two laps along the 8.5 mile race course, and it started and ended at Loose Nuts Cycles.  The route sent cyclists through city parks, gravel and cobblestone alleys, grass run-ups, the relatively new Atlanta Beltline, and regular city streets.  There were several notable obstacles/stops along the way:

  1. The cobblestone alley—I’ve ridden and run up and down this hill.  It’s steep and cobblestone-y, and there’s no visibility to check for cars at the bottom of the alley.  One Saturday, it was also extra slippery from the previous days’ rain.  It’s no joke.Atlanta AlleyCross
  2. The whiskey stop—Down an alley in Grant Park, the racers had a choice: 1. Take a whiskey shot and be on your way; 2. Shoulder your bike and run through a 30-second pine straw section.  I know which choice I would have taken… (whiskey!)

Atlanta AlleyCross

            3.  Barriers—traditional cyclocross barriers (made out of PVC instead of wood planks
4. The Beltline—a neutral zone for the race.  Racers were not allowed to attack in this section.  The Beltline is full of children on bicycles, dogs on and off leashes, roller bladers, skateboarders, and a woman who walks her dog while playing violin.  Even if it wasn’t against the rules, the Beltline is so crowded on nice days that usually it takes most of a cyclist’s attention to just avoid hitting anyone.

The race brought out a great mix of people–serious cyclocross racers, cyclists who have never raced before, and everyone in between.  The 49 race entrants (including 6 women) showed up in everything from full race kits to jeans and tshirts. The spectators were just as diverse–Grant Park and Inman Park residents, other cyclists, friends of cyclists, and future cyclists.

Atlanta AlleyCross

The race went smoothly for the most part, with relatively little drama (only one emergency room visit).   There were comments from experienced riders and new racers alike about how challenging the course was.  It was a well-designed course that really pushed everyone. Even cyclists who just rode the parade route commented on how much effort the route required. Race organizer, Dustin Morado said, “After organizing most of the city races in Atlanta for the last year and a half it was so rewarding to see so many people come out to really push themselves, go fast, and get competitive.”

At the end of the 2 laps, Gary Gomez (male winner), Elizabeth Lee (female winner) and Tim Barrett (single speed winner) beat out everyone else to earn the $40 payout for first place. (Second and third places earned $30 and $10 respectively in all categories.)  Their success was celebrated by everyone by emptying a keg’s worth of Fat Tire beer cans (Thanks Chip!) and then floating another keg in addition.  Needless to say, at the end of the day, lots of bicycle fun was had and everyone needed a beer recovery nap.

Atlanta AlleyCross

Luckily we don’t have to wait too long for another great event like this.  Here are the next race events from the  two race organizers.:

Kyle is running another, easier alleycross in March alongside SoPo’s BHBP 9 weekend.
NHLB will be hosting a fixed course road race in April.
Photo credit to Wil Hughes.  Thanks to Dustin of NHLB for providing me with some extra details about the race.

Bike Shop Build: Parlee CX

0 Bike Shop Build: Parlee CX

The thoughts and details during a bike build are what make a great bike shop a resource and a dream factory for bicycle geeks like myself. These custom bike builds are what keep me inspired and excited to continue to work within the industry. Few more bike profiles over yonder.

 

Parlee CX from Reality Bikes in Cumming, GA

 Photo credit: Duncan McGuire

2013 Surly Bikes Preview

2 2013 Surly Bikes Cross Check

I’ve been biased to the Surly brand since 2003. This is about when I purchased my first Karate Monkey “29er” and then again in 2004 when I picked up a hidden stock of the pink 1×1. Since then I’ve had many bikes with the Surly logo stickered down the side. Multiple Karate Monkey’s, a Long Haul Trucker, a Big Dummy and Steamroller.

There hasn’t been much change to the 2013 Surly lineup, some colors, a 14″ Pugsley and of course, the Krampus.

Disclaimer: I am now the Southeast rep for Surly. If you buy a new Surly Bike in NC, SC, TN, AL or GA, from an independent bicycle dealer, I will make money from it. I encourage it, and look forward to being able to afford a Krispy Kreme donut in your honor. 

Race Face Single Ring for 9/10 Speed

0 Race Face Single Ring

MSRP: $37.99
Details: 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40T x 104 BCD (4 bolt) 9 and 10 speed Compatible

Running 1×9 or 1×10 is huge these days. With the range you can get on a cassette many folks like the ease of use and less headache of dropping chain, shifting, etc.

I’m sold on the color and plan to be running a blue one on a new cyclocross 1×10 build I’m working on!