Over the weekend I had the opportunity to test ride on a local trail a few women’s specific 29er mountain bikes. As I had mentioned in the past I was very excited about this new idea of women’s sizing in 29″ technology but that is where my research ended.
The idea of fitting smaller individuals (men or women) on to the larger wheel technology has been something that I’ve had hopes for. A few years ago when the 650b movement started I was completed behind it for that reason. The 26″ wheel, to me, is not the solution for everyone based on how they ride and where they ride. People deserve options, an example of this is why 3″, 5″, 7″ and 9″ suspension systems exists.
Back on topic, riding women’s specific 29ers
I didn’t have the ability to check saddle fore and aft, saddle to handlebars or any specifics other than seat height. Now that my disclaimers out of the way….
The bike didn’t handle well. I don’t know how else to say it…. The geometry of it all doesn’t make any sense. Take a normal size 29er, keep the wheel base the same length and shorten the top tube. What you get is a very slack, very flip flop, very slow handling bike thanks to changing the head tube angle to something that would mimic a 5″ travel “all mountain bike”.
To a point I understand why they did this. Shorter top tube to fit women with shorter upper bodies.
My Opinion : How to fit women on 29ers
My bike fit is 140% female. I have a super long inseam and super short upper body, even my arms are short. This is my take on fitting my own personal 29ers. Longer top tube than I would ride on a 26″ bike, and an inch shorter stem. My effective length from saddle tip to handlebars hasn’t changed, but how I achieve it has. My handling is changed to make up for the bigger (heavier and larger) front wheel and often more raked out fork. Faster steering is achieved with the shorter stem and my front wheel isn’t tucked up under me either.
Your Bike, Your Opinion
Fitting mountain bikes is a very dynamic effort. It’s not as straight forward as fitting someone on a road bike. You take everything that you know from fitting road bikes, tie in your own mountain bike experience and then tie in the person RIDING the mountain bikes own feedback. Test ride, try out things, and repeat.
Depending where you ride, how aggressive you ride, and your own body type (size, shape, fitness, strength & flexibility) every bike will fit you different. A bike out of a box most likely won’t fit you. How the mechanic that built the bike probably won’t be how you need it to fit.
The above feelings about how the 29er women’s specific bikes rode is my own experience, I ride aggressively, I push my bike and body every time I’m out riding. The handling of the bike was too slow and did not excel for technical riding. Inquire with your local bike shop, talk about bike fitting and your own needs!
A few months ago when I was trying to inspire myself to get back on the road bike, I changed out some parts on the Raleigh Clubman I had received for review. I made it a bit more “women’s fit” and classed it up with Velo Orange Leather Bar Tape. I’ve always loved the look and feel of the Brooks leather bar tape but it was a crazy price to try out a new type of bar wrap.
Initial Preview & Installation of the VO Leather Bar Tape
When I received the leather bar tape I was hesitant to install, to be honest it sat in my parts bin for a couple months after receiving due to be run over by a car and the lack of will to ride. Slowly I realized the bar tape, among other things, is what I needed. I needed to find beauty in road cycling again.
Installing the bar tape is much tougher than installing normal cork style bar tape. There is next to no give and the bar tape in the bend of the bar wants to crease. I had to try two or three times to get it right and have enough to end properly on my 42cm bar. This may be due to liking more padding and overlapping half of the wrap as I went around, but I don’t know how it would wrap a 46cm bar and not be super thin. Or, quite possibly my upper body strength isn’t what it should be to wrap leather bar wrap?
Riding with Leather Bar Wrap
The words I can put in this paragraph won’t sum up how nice the leather feels in your hands. It reminds me of a well loved baseball glove, or settling into an expensive car with the glamorous baseball glove leather seats. Grabbing on to the bars, and the soft feel that the bar wrap gives back is like a nice hug back from your bike. The padding is another story. I have to wear gloves when riding this bike, and padded gloves are not something I normally wear.
If you look closely at the pictures there are two where the bar wrap was stitched together half way through the roll.
White leather would be hot.
If I had a carbon fiber 14lb road or cyclocross bike, I wouldn’t use this bar wrap. For a nice classic steel ride, this will be my staple bar wrap. No question. And the $55 is well worth it as it will last 5x more than the cork wrap. When installing it again, I may find one of my strapping muscle clad friends to help man handle the leather, but its good to know the bar tape will be able to take it!
Last summer I mentioned Soul Run products and carrying your tools in style. Now that I’ve had some time under my belt with their tool roll and jersey pocket wallet I’m ready to reveal my feelings and emotions around their products.
Soul Run Tool Roll
The Tool Roll is a great concept. It is somewhat like a seatbag, but it unrolls to display all your tools, tubes or bits without having to dump your goods on the ground to find that tube patch or tire levers. You can keep it in your messenger bag, under your seat or in your pocket.
Overall this roll has been a great addition to my daily riding, especially when commuting or changing bikes/bags. I can easily take the tool roll from one bag into another, or throw it under my seat with a toe strap. It won’t ever replace a seat bag as it is impossible to attach a light to it, but again for someone with several bags I use to commute with – this was a lifesaver. I no longer had to make sure I had everything I needed every time I set off on a different bike or with a different bag.
One of the coolest features to this tool roll was the custom colors, I was able to pick anything I wanted for no additional charge!
The only con I found of this roll is due to the pockets and limited space I couldn’t fit too much in the roll. I routinely kept a CO2, adapter, tube, tube patch and tire levers. That’s all that fit and even with that it was very bulky and looked “over stuffed.”
Soul Run Pocket Wallet
This wallet was the lifesaver that I never knew I needed. I carry an Android smart phone and a small digital camera on every ride. As the summer is hot and humid in Charlotte, NC, I would often put these electronic devices in a plastic bag to keep the moisture of my sweat out. This wallet saved me from looking like a fool, and I started to use it daily for other uses. On the one side I put my phone with license and credit card, the other either my camera or cash. It kept everything dry and stink free! It also kept everything easy to find in a huge messenger bag, or backpack with out stash pockets.
Other Mentions of Soul Run
Back in October when I was run over by a car, Soul Run sent me a “get well card” to my house due to them having my address from sending me their product for review. It was one of the sweetest things and motivating factors to my healing process.
Check out Soul Run on Etsy to check out their latest colors and products. Personally I’m eyeballing the pro bike tool roll!
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.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been able to have some great conversations with the marketing gal over at Chrome about their womens clothing line and their different models of bags. The clothing line details will be another day but let’s talk about the bag I selected for review.
Chrome Mini- Messenger Bag
There’s no hiding it, I’m a bag whore. Over the next few weeks we’ll be reviewing a great amount of bags for you guys and you’ll see what I mean about being a bag whore. As my daily needs for a cycling bag have changed, I decided to scale down on the size of bag I would normally pick. I wanted something to hold the needs of my daily work, including laptop, book and needed cords. When commuting, I need the basics of shoes and clothing, sometimes a lock.
The limited edition colors are awesome. The size is perfect for my 17″ laptop and all my needs. I haven’t begun to use it on a daily basis but I think it seems to have enough spunk yet, hopefully, be able to pull off a semi-professional look to roll into work.
Check out Chrome online and we’ll be back with a full review in a few weeks!
Nalgene On the Fly MRSP: $12.99 Size: 24 ounces Companies Pitch: Nalgene’s newest leak-proof loop-top swings open wide to reveal a contoured, high-flow drinking spout that’s easy to fill at the fountain or sink. One-handed push button for easy open/close; locking bail for ultimate insurance against leaks
From Nalgene on their OTF Bottle
Nalgene’s newest leak-proof loop-top swings open wide to reveal a contoured, high-flow drinking spout that’s easy to fill at the fountain or sink. One-handed push button for easy open/close; locking bail for ultimate insurance against leaks.
Holds 24 ounces
Silicone stopper seals off the drinking spout
Leak-proof with bail engaged
Fits standard cup holders
Molded-in measuring marks
63mm cap fits other Nalgene wide-mouth bottles
Compostable EarthFirst® bottle “shrink sleeve” packaging is made from renewable plant resources
OTF bottle is made in the USA from copolyester manufactured without Bisphenol A (BPA). OTF closure is made in China from polypropylene manufactured without Bisphenol A (BPA).
Tested and abused for the past 8 weeks. Brutal testing done by not only myself, but my testing team. The team consist of two athletic 9 and 10 year old boys. I knew when it came to testing a “leak proof” bottle they would be the best abusers.
The above bottle is one that was tested, we haven’t gotten around to taking the label off but even that has worn well. The two bottles that were supplied for review have been taking to sports practices, school backpacks, and even slept in bed with them. I’m happy to report there hasn’t been even one leak!
On the Fly Conclusion
For $12.99 and BPA free I think it is a great lifestyle bottle.
The Nalgene bottle isn’t for me. I prefer either a cycling bottle top or a drink with a straw. The biggest positives for me for this Nalgene bottle is that there are no hidden pieces to pull out or to find moldy down the road, the top design does not leak and is easy enough for kids to use well. For $12.99 and BPA free I think it is a great lifestyle bottle.
Product Disclaimer : 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.
As a mechanic you become very territorial and particular with your tools. Once you find something you like, and that doesn’t let you down – you stick with it until it does. Ultimate Repair Stands which became Feedback Sports a few years ago is one of those things. They make repair stands, and scales that I would recommend to everyone and anyone. When I was given the opportunity to upgrade from my old and well used Ultimate repair stand to the Feedback Sports Pro Elite Repair Stand, I bit the chance hard!
Specifications of the Pro Elite Stand
Key specs that I like to point out of this stand are the following
Weight : 12.6 lbs. It makes it easy to take with you on the road and for smaller women to manipulate around
Transportable. Tie the weight with the ease of collapsing down the the stand into a relatively compact package
Stable. This is where the importance for a mechanic comes in. I want to be able to do a complete rebuild, full service and do it all on the road. Everything I’ve thrown at this stand, it has taken. This is thanks to the 54″ tripod base system. As long as you position the bike correctly on the legs, you won’t have it tipping over on you, no matter the bike.
Quick Release Clamp. One of my favorite parts of this stand is the quick release button. All repair stands need this, more importantly all stands need this feature with it lasting as long as Feedback Sports release last. If you work on bikes often, you’ll love this one hand use clamp.
More on the Pro Elite Stand
As the testing continues, bikes get heavier, clamps get used more, and so on there are a few other notes to mention that aren’t above. This stand can come with or without a tote bag, I like the tote bag but if you plan on transporting it once a year save your money. MSRP : Between $220-240 depending where/when and if you want the tote bag
Until I’m finished my review, take a look at Road Bike Review’s video of Feedback Sports 2011 line up:
Disclaimber : 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.
Last week I finally received my new Industry Nine wheels that have been on order for about a month. The same time as the wheels I had ordered a couple Continental tires that I’ve had my eye on for awhile that no one has used locally that I have been able to find. The Continental Mountain King 29×2.4 for the front and the Race King 2.2 tires for the rear were what I ordered.
Width of Continental Tires
There’s always been an issue, especially with mountain bike tires, with the wrong advertised spec compared to truth width. Continental seems to be worst of all companies with this. When I ordered the tires I was aware of this but hoped by going with a 2.4 for the front that it would end up around 2.25.
Continental Mountain King 2.4 Measurement from Twenty Nine Inches was originally at 52.6mm or 2.07 inches for the casing. The guys over there went on saying the tire “stretched” and of course a tire will measure out or fill out differently depending on which rim and rim width you install it on.
Personally I need to measure mine. They’ve been installed since last Thursday night, and maybe they have “stretched” out a bit too. Regardless, 2 inch tires aren’t what I was looking for. Especially the front which is supposed to be a 2.4, so now I have a 2″ tire for roughly 800 grams. Not very happy where the weight/width/volume for ride is.
Installing Continental Mountain Bike Tires
Installation of the Mountain King 2.4 tire was a bear on the Stans Arch rim. Currently, I’m running tubed and pinched a tube when there was 3 inches of tire left to roll on and no where to go. I’m not going to be very happy if I get a flat on the side of a trail somewhere, I’ll never be able to get the tire back on unless the tire truly did stretch.
Ride Quality of the Mountain King 2.4
The tire rides well. It’s a true trail tire with well positioned deep knobs that ride over various trail conditions from roots, rocks and floats over sand. If I was riding a full suspension, riding deep in the mountains or had front suspension this tire would lay better with me. Currently it’s on the list to be taken off after a few more rides. I can’t ride a heavy tire with no volume on a fully rigid bike. There are too may other good tires out there to waste my time on riding this. I may try it on the rear once I find a replacement for this as a front tire.
Overall Opinion of the Continental Mountain King 29×2.4 Tire
I’m not impressed. Tires, wheels, grips and saddles make or break a bike for me. There isn’t much else left on a fully rigid 29er but still…these things matter to me. I like stiff wheels, squishy tires with strong yet subtle sidewalls and a comfortable fit. The tires will be measured, I’ll try them tubeless and we will be back for a full review.
MSRP : $149.99 Details : A very stretchy, comfortable knicker that was designed for those that pedal more than stand.
Roughly 11 months ago we were gifted with a pair of Cutter Tech Knickerbockers, which were originally reviewed for commuting purposes at Commute By Bike. Since I’ve been rocking them lately for mountain biking and they will be going in to my “How to dress for winter mtbing” video, I pulled the review over here for all you ladies (or gents) to benefit from.
Aluminum hydroframed with carbon fork, change the spec and you have three different levels of Raleigh’s new womens road line. There are some thoughts I walk away with after looking through the line. First off, I don’t understand the geometry and will look more into it with Raleigh. I wish they would bring the smaller 45cm through the whole sizes, especially since it has a 495mm top tube! Until I have more answers, here’s the 2011 Raleigh Capri womens line up…