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.
Cyclocross bicycles to me don’t require you to race cyclocross, or even to know what cyclocross racing is. Instead, I’ve always looked at them as utility road bikes. You are able to run skinny tires (most cross rims can go down to 700×23) with more clearance for fenders, racks and all in a more upright position for commuting or those starting to ride on the road. These bikes are often equipped with more durable wheels, easier gearing and sometimes more durable frame/forks. The person buying one won’t have to worry about staying only on the pavement as ‘cross bikes handle gravel and light off road very well. Before the “comfort” fits that companies started coming out with 6-7 years ago I would put customers on ‘cross bikes for the more upright and comfortable fit.
The first time I rode the Delta CX was commuting from Monterrey California to the 2011 Sea Otter Classic. Straight up a huge hill, with the very aggressive tread cyclocross tires that come stock on the bike. I knew the bike wasn’t really setup for me, and all I had was 9 miles of trying it out but I really enjoyed the bike, especially the mountain bike cassette on the rear!
Fast forward a couple months, my second ride on the Delta CX was again a commute, 27 miles from my work in Charlotte North Carolina home to Mooresville North Carolina. Unfortunately it was a commute from hell. A flat in the middle of the worse part of town, a slipping seat post, and a creaking bottom bracket. All of these things are my own fault, a demo bike that was used in Sea Otter deserved a complete overhaul before a serious first ride. I didn’t give my little bike that luxury.
On my commute I did realize a few things on the bike quickly:
Initial weight of my 55cm without pedals or bottle cages was 23.5 lbs
In no specific order there is several things I feel folks should know about the bike when they are looking at it.
Obviously is the SRAM Apex drive train (minus cranks) which gives you 2×10 technology with gearing of 46/36 cranks and 11-32t cassette. Perfect for someone looking for a do all bike, and someone getting into cyclocross.
Next up is the disc brakes. This is something that is becoming a trend now that the UCI (main rule makers for pro cyclocross racers) have approved disc brakes starting this coming season. We will see in the next couple seasons a ton of manufactures expanding or switching their current cyclocross line up to disc brake equipped or at least disc brake ready frames and fork. You should know that the front disc is 160mm, standard disc brake sizing. The rear is a 140mm, which is perfectly fine for this usage but you normally only see this size on XC weight weenies.
Ability for fenders and a rear rack. The main guy behind product development, Jeremy Mudd, wanted this bike to be able to a little bit of everything. With rear rack mounts on the top of the seat stays and mounts for fenders at the bottom bracket chain stay bridge, and fork drop outs. You will need a disc brake rear rack, the guys at Airborne recommend the Blackburn EX-1 Disc that comes with a skewer to mount the bottom of the rack to.
Well equipped and well priced. Airborne Bicycles takes out the bicycle shop from the equation, saving the end user the extra margin that the bike shop would need. At an MSRP of $1,199 I can guarantee you won’t find a well equipped bike like this, with proper research and development behind it.
A warranty. Do I need to say more? How many “mail order” companies deliver a warranty with their bike, and a customer service line to call with any questions.
Tires were swapped to my normal Kenda Small Block 8 that I live on other than muddy races. I’m able to pump up the tires to 80lbs and ride the bike on the road while still having the ability to hop off road when I need.
When I swapped handlebars I installed Lizard Skin DSP 2.5 in Pink, but kept the stock stem.
After swapping out these parts and installing Crank Brothers Candy SL (in pink) the bike currently sits at 22.1 lbs
Overall I am really enjoying the Delta. The disc brakes are encouraging when I hit some single track on the bike, and the mountain bike sized rear cassette has bailed me out on some steep mountain bike climbs. Now that I’ve swapped out all of the “touch points” I can say that the bike is handling and riding as I want. The last large upgrade will be the wheels, in hopes to bring the bike under the 20 lb mark for hauling over barriers this fall and winter during cyclocross races!
The Avid BB5 disc brakes do take some time to setup and be proper. Part of that is the long throw road calipers and disc brakes, part of that is the close tolerances I like to run on my disc brakes.
If you are in the market take the time and go check out the Airborne Delta CX before they sell out for cyclocross season. The bike might not fit your needs, but it will crack open that nut of the cyclocross market like no other mass producer will have the ability to do so.
Visit Airborne Bicycles, tell them I sent you.
Sara Stearns is a reader of Bike Shop Girl and is an inspirational woman through and through. While at the Sea Otter Classic I was able to meet Sara face to face. She’s a pilot for an air ambulance that services the Sea Otter Classic every year. One of the days she was working she landed her helicopter and walked in to the Ladies Lounge in her pilot uniform! When I asked her to be one of my motivational Monday features she bulked, why would anyone find her motivational? She is your normal middle age (don’t take that personal Sara) woman, she has a job, she enjoys riding with her friends and rocks an awesome bike stable. Sara shows you what it is to live life everyday. Follow her on Facebook and you’ll see!
Sara Stearns, Seaside, California.
I’m a rabid roadie, but as of late, a interest in off road has taken seed. I am not a competitive rider, although I might try a criterium one day to see what it’s like. Believe me, if I do, I’ll stay towards the back and stay out of everyone’s way!
Ha! My dad taking the training wheels off of my first bicycle and sending me down the sidewalk for my first solo flight! I could only go straight. I was afraid to make turns – but, it was such fun, and I could do it!
Georgena Terry for her advocacy, her courage, and determination. She builds bikes, apparel, and she offers advice and inspiration. I also admire Evie Stevens for her come out of no where talent, and she’s such a sweetheart! She’s also a voice for safety and reason, and that’s so cool. I admire Fabian Cancellara, because he’s a huge talent, a nice person, and well – he’s pretty easy on the eyes, too. LOL! I also like Jim Felt, because his company built my first road bike and my tri bike. He also sponsors Sarah Hammer, and well – wow!! Above all, I am indebted to the local women riders whom I have come to know as I learn my way into and around the sport. Each and every one of them has offered advice, encouragement and has been a huge part of my enjoyment and bliss on my bicycle. I owe them HUGE…
My first triathlon! It was me against the clock, and all of the training I had done, plus the courage I mustered to do it, all came to fruition on that 12 mile course. It was a blast!
More triathlons, century rides, solo rides, more fitness, more enjoyment, more socializing, more empowerment. I love to see other women getting involved in the sport, and it is a delight when they take a loving to it. I also so enjoy watching gifted athletes, female and male, as they struggle and then excel in this beautiful endeavor. More inspiration, that!
A 2009 Look 566, a 2004 Felt B2, and a 1996 Cannondale M500 (about to see the dirt for the first time!)
Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement!
This past Interbike I saved my vacation time and dollars for other things, leaving my coverage to be from industry friends and stalking the internet for worthwhile product to talk about. On return from Interbike a few female friends that work within the bicycle industry emailed or texted about the outrage from an article running in the daily version of Bicycle Retailer.
The attached scanned in version of the article talks about how difficult the job is. The women are paid between $100-500 a day, and are paid to “attempt to charm strangers and lure them into trade show booths by talking about products you know little about.”
As a woman in the industry that does know what she is talking about this insults me. Pretty faces and large breast may attract guys to the booths, I get that. The ways of marketing to guys isn’t something that bothers me, hell I even second the notion if it means you see more women in the industry supported.
I could give you a list of a 100 women that either work or race within the bicycle industry that could compete in the “looks” category of the booth babes. Here’s a thought :
Hey Mr. Bike Industry Guy, if beautiful women attract people to your booth, why not support more women (that actually ride bikes) year around to attract more people in general to bicycles.
Think of that cute shop girl that sold you a tire a few weeks ago, or the mechanic with full sleeves that could kick your butt in the alley cat. These are the woman we need to turn into poster girls. I bet most women in the industry would be happy talking shop in a booth, to be paid for it would make it that much better.
That $2,000 you spent on the booth girl at Interbike could be spent sponsoring a well deserving female athlete to get to the next level.
Women are needed in the industry. I wish I could throw you a fancy fact about how women in the bike shop or at shows give off more participation but I can’t. Somewhere there must be one if companies are spending such large amounts of marketing cash for the booth babes at Interbike or Sea Otter.
A friendly, KNOWLEDGABLE, woman with a contagious personality is going to attract all types of people to your booth, shop or company. Women tend not to be as intimidating to strangers, easier to approach and less cliche. This isn’t always true but if you are a bicycle shop employee or consumer you have probably felt the “boys club” feeling when walking into a random bike shop.
This goes for booths as well. A bunch of guys in sweatshirts, tshirts and baggy cargo shorts, guys that could be super nice but not over the top welcoming, I would say this is 7 out of 10 booths at any show I’ve been at. If it isn’t sweatshirts and cargo shorts it is crisp polo’s and khakis that you feel they are above you, if you aren’t going to talk to the about Campy Super Record that they are waiting to put their nose up at you.
Boobs sell, so do colors, smiles and warm welcomes. An early morning at Sea Otter, a booth with free coffee will have more traffic than any booth with tank top clad boobs. The Luna Chix team trailer at Sea Otter is always slammed. These women are friendly, gave away free food and took the time to talk to everyone interested. They are real women that come back from warm up laps muddy, that are well versed on the bikes they are riding and to me, are the best sales representatives for Orbea that you could ever have.
You want to attract people to your booth with boobs? Put out a call, place and ad for bicycle industry models or racers. Ship in some shop employees that already SELL your PRODUCT.
You want more people riding bikes? Put more women behind your product, on the front of your booth selling it, in the design meetings, on the sales calls, and so on.
Rebecca Rusch is back at it again. Events across the country to encourage women to get on their bikes and ride!
The Sea Otter Ladies Lounge at the Sea Otter Classic: April 19-22
Drop by the SRAM booth and meet your favorite female pros. Ask questions, check out new gear and listen in on our mini tech clinics. Rebecca and the other pros will also host short ride clinics and pump track sessions. For more
information on tour specifics and updates, please visit www.goldruschtour.com.
Dirt Rage Dirtfest Dirty Girls Clinics in Raystown, PA: May 17-20
Join Rebecca and SRAM/Specialized female athlete, Katie Holden for Specialized demos and free ride clinics during the three-day mountain bike festival.
Sun Valley Media Camp in Sun Valley, ID: July 4-9
By invite-only, eight lucky female representatives will meet Rebecca, Katie Holden, Meredith Miller and Lea Davison for a personal tour of the world class riding in Sun Valley. The camp coincides with USAC XC National Championships in Sun Valley (July 5th-8th) to allow the attending media to cover the event and experience Idaho riding at its best.
“Wheel Girls” Mountain Bike Club in Sun Valley, ID: June through July
Rebecca and her local female mountain bike posse will coach a 6-week teen riding camp for the second year. The classes will meet in June and July for weekly riding sessions on different trails in the Sun Valley area. The camp will focus on riding skills, trail etiquette and volunteer trail work.
Kokanee Crankworx Dirty Girls Clinics in Whistler, BC: August 13-19
The biggest freeride festival in the world, Crankworx is a magnet for the world’s best riders. With a collection of some of the best trails and parks on the planet, Rebecca and SRAM/ Specialized female pros will guest instruct and lead rides for all ability levels throughout the week.
Levi’s Granfondo Ladies Lounge and Media Camp in Santa Rosa, CA: September 29
Activities will include a pre-event social hour with complimentary bike fit and equipment check at NorCal Bike and ride tips from the pros. Rebecca and other female pros will offer a pre-ride preview of some of the toughest parts of the course. Post-event activities will include a SRAM/Specialized VIP reception for women and their guests with refreshments and GU recovery drinks.
Roc D’Azur Ladies Lounge and Dirty Girls Ride Clinics in France: October
This French mountain bike festival is open to riders of all levels and hosts races, fun rides, a huge bike expo and parties. Each day at the SRAM booth, female pros will be available to answer questions and lead mini-tech clinics. The pros will also be hosting short ride clinics and pump track sessions.
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.
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.
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!
Let’s see if I can convince my GF to do this on Saturday…
On Saturday August 18th, at the crack of 11AM Noda-Freedom Park-Noda, the premiere “one day classic” comes to Charlotte and Dolce Vita Wines! Event Starts in the Historic North Charlotte Neighborhood (NoDa). We will race a “tortuous” route through the notorious Charlotte Hinterland to Freedom Park and back.
We ask everyone to read and revere “Rule Five”. This family friendly ride is not for the faint of heart. The organizers have scoured the Charlotte roads and have found multiple “Cols” “Bergs” and “Pave” sections, including the world famous “Greenway”.
Registration opens at 10 am with start at 11am. A $10 entree Fee gets you a feed at the halfway point and lunch at the finish. There will be Music and awards ceremony at the finish.
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?”
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.
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
I’m a color freak. Ask anyone that I’ve built a bike for, I love things to compliment, match and fit pieces together well. Colored housing, grips, zip ties and spacers – they all matter for the end product. For women especially, wanting to ride a bike is almost as important as how well the bike rides. While walking the grounds of the 2011 Sea Otter Classic I spied color, ProTaper XC colored handlebars from Answer to be exact. There aren’t enough bike components made in green, and we all know my love of pink.
I was caught taking photos by one of the Answer guys, I inquired if they were making a flat bar in pink. 29ers ride very well with flat bars… The nice guy said “Yes, yes I do! How about you check out the matching gloves?”
How could I turn this nice guy down? White gloves, pink accents, and a clean subtle feel to the palm. The graphics on the handlebar and gloves are matching, the main graphics will be hidden under a grip other than the very prominent brand and model logo’s displayed in the middle of the stem.
The gloves have been used daily for riding and a couple times for wrenching, they work perfectly so far. Longer term I’ll document the fit and a full 360º of the glove as well. The handlebar will be installed this week and tested for fit, weight and awesome color flare!
As I’m traveling to the 2011 Sea Otter Classic I wanted a quick reference for everyone in attendance over the four days. Please share and add in comments any other twitter names I left off.
If you are talking about the event, please use #SeaOtter
@BikeShopGirlcom – Bike Shop Girl owner
@Arsbars – Personal handle of Bike Shop Girl
@Airborne_Bikes – Airborne Bicycles (a partner of Bike Shop Girl)
@al_loutit – Cyclist from Canberra, Australia. Riding for JellyBelly p/b Kenda this year in the US.
@andrewhersam – The Competitor Group (VeloNews)
@BeyondCoastal – A healthy alternative to regular sunscreen.
@bikemonterey – Tips for bicycling in Monterey County from local resident since 1981.
@BicycleFashion – Part of Cyclelogical
@BicycleRetailer – The leading trade magazine for the global bicycle industry.
@CarbonDrive – Gates Carbon Drive
@CarltonHawkins – FRS Director of Brand Mkt, Social Media and eCommerce.
@ClifWine – Making great wines and food with a focus on sustainability in the Napa Valley.
@contour_cam – Cameras that inspire people to share epic stories of adventure, travel, and sports from around the world.
@craigrandall – Verde PR
@CrowdTogether – CrowdTogether helps close-knit groups engage and activate their members
@cyclelicious – My friend Fritz from CA
@DBStudiosMedia – Video, web design and all printed materials.
@eva_lu_ – Employee of Felt Bikes
@FeltBicycles – Felt Bikes
@GirlBikeLove – Empower, inspire, encourage more women to ride bikes.
@GoChuyGo – Ride to work. Work to eat. Eat to live. Live to ride!
@GStech - Tech guy from SRAM
@HayesComponents – Hayes Disc Brakes, SUNRinglé, Manitou, Answer, & Wheelsmith.
@HERHelmetThurs – Discounts for male & female cyclists on Thursdays
@Interbike – Interbike’s Rich Kelly
@JeremyHK – Olympic MTB racer, ten-time National Champion. JHK races for the Subaru / Trek professional mountain bike team.
@Jvalen – Motorcycle racer turned runner turned bicycle racer.
@liam_obrien – Think of me when you think of Assos, BMC and Suunto. Wandering sales rep and court jester.
@lmlightlife – Light and Motion Lights.
@MarthaVan – Action Wipes owner. Get clean with Action Wipes
@MasiBicycles – A legendary brand with a bright future!
@matt_simpson1 – New Hampshire
@MikeSted – 9x US National Champion Stunt Rider
@MissRidingKay – Student, Folsom, CA
@MootsCycles – Handcrafted Titanium Bicycles
@MTBR – Mountain Bike Review
@OspreyPacks – Backpacking, hiking and hydration back packs.
@TeamTWENTY12 – Turning Olympic Dreams into Olympic Reality. Sponsored by Peanut Butter & Co.
@thequeenofpain -6x World Champion 2x Leadville 100 Winner and course record holder.
@RadicalLights – Australian Lights for MTB
@rick_vosper – 30-yr Bike Biz veteran. Amazing mind, crusty outer layer
@Ryan_MeyerMTB – MTB Rider from Vancover
@SIDIAmerica – Celebrating 50 years of making the best cyling shoes in the world
@talltylersmith – nuun bike sales chap, avid cyclist, husband to wonderful woman.
@tjwoodruff – Pro mtb’er riding for Trek – Boulder. Owner of and coaching full-time via Momentum Endurance.
@veloimages – father, friend and photographer
@velorambling – Bicycle pedaler & peddler, Velorambler.
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