2012 Cannondale Bad Girl

Preview: 2012 Cannondale Bad Girl Urban Line

2012 Cannondale Bad Girl
Another sneak peak into the new bikes for 2012. This time it is an urban Cannondale Bad Girl, the newest bike from Cannondale and the sister to their long time Bad Boy. The commuter and random alley hunting, urban lover, in me is jumping up and down to share this with you!

2012 Cannondale Bad Girl

Available in 3 models, (1, 2, 3) and two sizes “small” or “tall”.

Cannondale had this to say about the new Bad Girl

Sophistipunk.  Urban mobility with attitude, sleek and stylish with a street scrapper’s heart yet nimble and fun handling, with a “heads-up” riding position.  Bad Girl’s unique frame design combines a kickass silhouette with great standover clearance.  Couture inspired artwork ensures that, punk show or premiere, you arrive in style.

Cannondale Bad Girl 1 $1670

2012 Cannondale Bad Girl

The frame mimics that of the old school “Delta-V” mountain bikes. The Bad Girl 1 also has the Cannondale Lefty Headshok, with new OPI (one piece integration) fork The drivetrain is a good mix of Shimano Deore/SLX, with Magura Hyraulic disc brakes. Rip up the streets or commute in style, this bike takes the fitness hybrid and commuter to another level.

2012 Cannondale Bad Girl 2 $1100

2012 Cannondale Bad Girl 2
Everything from the Bad Girl 1 but with a little less parts. The same frame, different fork and downgrading the drivetrain. Still hitting the right price point and hydraulic disc brakes!

2012 Cannondale Bad Girl 3 $800

2012 Cannondale Bad Girl 3

Again, the same frame but with 8 speeds in the back (instead of 9) and more basic mechanical disc brakes. This is the budget friendly, go to commuter rig for ladies!

Trek 2012 Lush Carbon Beauty

Preview: 2012 Trek Lush Full Suspension Bike for Women

I think bike manufactures are finally getting it. Women’s bikes are not taking a “unisex” bike, shortening the top tube and throwing a women’s saddle on there. Let me introduce you to the 2012 Trek Lush. There aren’t too many details but this is what I have so far.

Trek 2012 Lush Carbon Beauty

120 mm of suspension. Ground up design with a lower center of gravity and lower stand over. The spec’s and prices haven’t been released but with 4 different models from “Lush” to “Lush Carbon” I would bet that the pricing and spec will mirror the EX line that has been Trek’s mainstay for the past few years.

Trek 2012 Lush Carbon Profile

Specialized Jett

Preview: 2012 Specialized Jett Women’s Mountain Bike Line

When the Specialized carbon fiber 29er, the Fate, was released there was talk about the Jett. An aluminum version of the sporty carbon hardtail. Now there is details to share!

Specialized Jett

Highend Aluminum Women’s Racing in 26″ or 29″

The new Specialized Jett comes in two models, Comp or Comp 29″. Exact same “mid-level” build on both, only difference is wheel and tire size. I really wish that the build was a step up on parts. 9-speed with Alivio cranks (SLX rear derailleur and hydraulic brakes..) doesn’t seem to fit the need of an aggressive rider. Full SLX or XT would have been a better fit for in my mind.

Specialized Jett Spec

Details to Note

  • 80mm of travel on both models
  • Frame size specific spec. This means a smaller frame will have shorter cranks, smaller brake rotors and narrower handlebars.
  • M4 aluminum, 2nd from the top level of aluminum that Specialized has to offer
  • Lock out and adjustable rebound on a coil sprung fork
  • Super low stand over (still waiting on geometry to confirm) and short front end to fix the 29er downfalls.

 

2012 Trek Neko

Preview: 2012 Trek Bikes Neko Dual Sport Line

Pretend we are listening to the Superman jingle in the background… “Is it a hybrid? Is it a mountain bike? No! It is a Dual Sport bike!”

Joking aside, the Trek Dual Sport lineup, when it was under the Gary Fisher brand originally, was a huge favorite of stocking bikes when in my shop. It has 29er size wheels, strong enough to take light off roading, but efficient enough for rocking on the road or commuting. For the average person it is the true DO ALL bike. Think of it in line with a cyclocross bike, but for folks on a budget or not wanting drop bars and a leaned over position.

Starting in 2011 Trek brought the Dual Sport to the women’s line. Welcome the 2012 Trek Neko Dual Sport lineup.

2012 Trek Neko $529.99

2012 Trek Neko

21 speeds, double wall (stronger) wheels, and 700x38mm tires. A perfect starter bike. Room for racks, fenders and with a slightly “dropped” top tube, this bike is a great alternative to a hybrid.

2012 Trek Neko S $599.99

2012 Trek Neko S WSD
The same frame as the base model but an extra gear in the back (7 gears to 8), nicer tires, grips, handlebar and most importantly a lock out on the fork. The lock out makes it so you aren’t bouncing up and down on the suspension on the road, and the nicer tires will avoid more flats. The nicer gear system (8 speeds) will last a longer, and the shifters alone are worth the upgrade.

2012 Trek Neko SL $839.99

2012 Trek Neko SL WSD

Still the same frame but they’ve upgraded everything else. 9 gears in the back, pretty industry standard and easy to find if you need replaced. DISC brakes (great for commuting and longevity), much better wheels and an all white saddle. The saddle alone will make you faster, I can guarantee and prove it!

2012 Specialized Amira

2012 Specialized Amira: Preview

We have already been lucky to see the 2012 Specialized Women’s 29er carbon hardtail, the Fate, but there is another new high end from Specialized this year for women.

2012 Specialized Amira

The Specialized Amira

Specialized has tagged this as a true women’s race bike. Using years of development from the Allez Dolce in 2003, and Specialized sponsored elite women’s road bike teams through the years they now have a new model, the 2012 Amira.

Specialized Women's TimelineClick to enlarge

High End Technology for Women

Finally, a ground up HIGH END women’s designed bike that doesn’t borrow everything from the guys model with a shorter top tube. This includes shorter chainstays, and completely differently geometry.

  • Frame Module Weight = 1970g, more than 100g lighter than the 2011 Amira (I’m assuming this is the weight for the smallest size available)
  • Stiffness to weight = The stiffest women’s frame on the market
  • Women’s performance geometry teamed with FACT IS 11R carbon

Is there a Need?

I am interested to see how many Amira’s Specialized sold in 2011. Apparently it was enough to justify more engineering time on the 2012. My hopes with high end bikes like this one, it will give women another reason to compete, be inspired and have their own toys designed around their body type. Not every woman needs a womens bike, but having high end bikes makes it easier for a woman to grow in the sport without being intimidated or feeling “boxed in” by bike company marketing. How many women are watching the Tour de France this year and thinking, “God that is amazing” now they have a pretty package, designed around them, to answer that calling.

2012 Specialized Fate Womens 29er

A Carbon 29er for Women from Specialized

2012 Specialized Fate Womens 29erIn the past year 29ers finally hit the women’s niche of the market.  Locally I have only been able to put my hands on the Trek versions of the women’s 29ers.  After the test ride and looking deeper at the geometry I wasn’t sold. The bike didn’t ride well, but that was one brand trying their hand at the women’s 29ers. Specialized has had their own cross country recreational women’s 29er line out as well, the Myka. The line has several different models, from 26 to 29, including two different levels of the 29er hardtail.  Now, Specialized wasn’t the first company to the original 29er market – they were actually very slow about the movement. They must really love the bikes, and what 29ers can do for women (I Told You So) as they have released a couple new lines of 29ers for women, including a carbon hardtail.

The Fate – Women’s 29er carbon mountain bikeSpecialized Fate Women's 29er

Some of the details: Performance fit (race ready), 80mm travel, and a higher level of components. The Fate will be available in stores in September in two models: the Comp and the Expert. Each will come in three sizes: 15″, 17″ and 19″. Pricing is not yet finalized, but is expected to come in between US$2000-3000. (Details from CyclingNews)

Depending on the level you’ll see the spec of something of the following:  Roval 29er wheels, Renegade 2Bliss tires, XX chainrings with custom gear ratios, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and Specialized saddle, handlebar, stem and post. (Details from BikeRumor)

The Jett – Women’s 29er aluminum mountain bike

The Jett’s full details haven’t been released but this is what we found over at TwentyNineInches. M4 Aluminum (2nds from highest grade in Specialized library) and the same performance fit as the Fate. The exception will be rack mounts.

What is Specialized doing different with women’s 29ers

You’ve heard my rant about the wacky geometry that Trek’s 29ers possesed. I haven’t seen Specialized by the numbers, but they are doing some custom things to their new line.

First is a “women’s designed carbon layup”  which I am questioning to their product managers but it is an interesting thought. From there Specialized teamed up with Rock Shox for a custom fork.  At the 15″ size the offset of the fork is different, it goes to 51mm. Finally the headtube is as shortened as much as I have seen especially with the integrated headset that most production 29ers are using now.

From Bike Radar‘s Q & A

Hughes said Specialized has noticed that women have been slower to adopt 29ers than men. Part of the reason is that many shorter women believe they are too small to fit on a 29er. And in fact, looking at the geometries of bikes like Specialized’s popular Stumpjumper hardtail 29er (for which the smallest size is a 15.5″), that observation proves true for many women although possibilities for smaller female riders vary by manufacturer and model.

The Fate’s geometry will naturally position female riders lower and longer than they would be on the Myka. For example, on the 15″ Fate, a 10mm shorter headtube drops the front end of the bike, an 8mm longer top tube puts women in a longer, more racing-oriented position while 17″ and 19″ Fates have 20mm shorter head tubes. With 6mm shorter chainstays for all sizes, the Fate also climbs better and ends up with a shorter wheelbase (14mm for a size 17, for example) for quicker handling than the Myka.

One of the biggest issues encountered during the design process was addressing toe overlap, a common problem on smaller bikes, especially those with shorter wheelbases. To address this, the small 15″ bikes were designed with a 51mm fork offset while the 17″ and 19″ frames will feature the standard 46mm offset.

What does “Women’s Specific” 29ers mean for you?

The jury is still out.  The folks that have given feedback thus far are Specialized branded racers. I have a message out to Lea Davidson, who races for Specialized, for more specific questions from her last race on the bike.  These bikes were designed for those that like a lower front end, but want the benefits from a 29er.  The Myka is their recreational bike that will suit more women off the bat, but for the women wanting to push themselves further and faster or perhaps used to the Epic or Titus Racer-X the Fate is for them..  Finally, I am simply excited that a company like Specialized is seeing the women’s market big enough to design a new carbon line around it.

Once I know more, you’ll be the first people to know!

 

Chrome Salvage Bags

Recycling Things: Chrome Salvage Bags

Chrome Salvage Bags
Companies have done it before. Using recycled material to make messenger bags.  First there was utilizing old truck tarps, then recycled tubes and now there is the Chrome Salvage Series.

Salvage Series uses reclaimed materials for the external panels of our Heritage Citizen to create unique, one-of-a-kind bags. Built in Chico, California, each series is limited by the quantity of available material. Each bag is stamped with the lot size and its unique number within the lot. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!

First of their type Chrome used US Army tents.  For $160 one of these could be yours.  A very cool concept, but I think if I was in the Army or retired this would feel pretty cool to have as my everyday bag!  Too bad my retired Army dad wouldn’t be caught using one. My sources at Chrome say these bags will go quickly and are only allotted to specific Chrome stores and quality retailers.  If you end up with one of these gems please post up!

nuun new flavors

New nuun Flavors and Packaging at Sea Otter Classic

As I started my Thursday off dragging through the Sea Otter venue trying to find a bathroom and coffee, yes in that order, I was stopped by Tall Tyler of Nuun.  A little hand slap and a what’s up “bro”.  Tyler then whispered in my ear that he had some new goods to show me at their booth when I had time.  Soon the California sun was beating down on me and the coffee was wearing off.  I needed hydrated and I knew where to find it.

nuun new flavors

Tall Tyler whipped out some fresh colored nuun canisters.  Gone was the all white with only a small colored trim to differentiate and now there was a new, cleaner logo, with fun colored labels!  With that, thank god, there were new flavors.

nuun Strawberry Lemonade

Let me introduce you to one of my new loves in life.  Strawberry lemonade flavored nuun.   In a 16oz glass of water or bottle it is the perfect hint of tart and sweet, amazing for the long ride or when you are quenching your thirst


nuun strawberry vanilla

The rest of the Sea Otter Classic I literally LIVED on nuun Strawberry Vanilla.  They kept a few water coolers full of their new flavors for people to test, I kept testing over and over anytime my water bottle was low.

There are other new flavors as well : Lemon Tea, Fruit Punch, Grape, and Tropical  I haven’t gotten to those as I am in love with the above.

A full review will be posted of all the new flavors, including how my kids and non-cycling friends like the flavors/concept.

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.
Airborne Goblin 29er Preview

First Taste of a New Bicycle

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

!

Camelbak Octane 18X Preview

Camelbak Octane 18X Hydration Backpack Preview

Camelbak Octane 18X Preview
MSRP: $99.00
Water Capacity: 100oz
Size: Expanded 20L, Closed 16L
Weight: 1LB

Details from Camelbak

The CamelBak Octane 18X weighs in at just a pound and with 18L of fully expanded cargo capacity, this pack is perfect for 3+ hours of nonstop action. The Octane 18X features an independent suspension, easy to reach stash pockets, a harness pocket and an expandable cargo pocket so you can comfortably carry everything you need which moving fast. Great for extended trail runs or adventure races. The CamelBak Octane 18X also includes the new 100 oz. Antidote reservoir which has a quick-snap cap that tightens in a quarter turn and a quick-disconnect tube system.

Video Preview from Camelbak of the Octane 18x

Initial Thoughts and Feelings

I try to use water bottles as much as possible.  Too much weight on my back can kill me on hard and fast rides.  When I venture further away from the car or house, I need to carry things.  If it is to be more of a boy scout with things to fix trail side or more water and food for longer rides.    In the past I have used bags from Camelbak (the Lobo), Deuter, Osprey Packs and more .   Several of these will have final reviews posted in the coming months as well!  I have always wanted something lighter, and Camelbak seems to have delivered that.

The material of the bag reminds me of a parachute.  The zipper in the center helps keep things nice and tight when I don’t have a jacket or extra clothes in the bag.  My only concern is the lack of support on the bag.  It literally can be rolled up (without the reservoir) and put in a large jersey pocket.

Full review after Sea Otter

I will be taking the Octane 18x with me to Sea Otter and will be able to provide a full review after I abuse it a bit more in the heat and sand!