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Review: 2012 Trek Lush Women’s Full Suspension Mountain Bike

16 2012 Trek Lush Carbon

Since posting the first photos back in July the 2012 Trek Lush has been a buzz around Bike Shop Girl. The Twitter stream gets many comments, Facebook gets many questions and my email has its own little folder of women waiting to hear more on first test rides and availability. As I mentioned a few weeks back I was fortunate enough to be loaned a 2012 Trek Lush Carbon for review and demo purposes from the East Coast Women’s Trek Demo rep.

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6 Hours of Warrior Creek Race Prep

0 Warrior Creek

I haven’t been on the bike enough during the pre-season to consider myself “in training.”  Riding and working out were a priority, but so was getting used to eating differently, lacrosse games and life!   The past couple months I am proud the direction my cycling riding and can say that I am starting to feel that cycling is back as part of my life like it was prior to my bike accident in October.

Training and prep work done for Warrior Creek wasn’t as swell as I had hoped.  The weekends I hoped to pre-ride the course, or simply ride in the mountains it was either snowing or pouring down rain.   There is no pre-ride of the course until the first lap this Saturday, there is no checking tire selection, pressure or single speed gear.   Everything I would recommend an individual to do before a race, won’t be happening this time around.  With all these negative thoughts I can tell you I am excited and glad to be part of a duo team!

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Since Saturday it has been raining in the region, today (Tuesday) will be the only sunny and dry day that we see.   The radar states that weather will be foul the rest of the week.  The day before the race will be light rain, my hopes is it is light rain in the morning with a ton of sunshine!  Race day it says to be sunny with a high of 54º but in the hills of the Appalachians this could change within 20º at any given day.

Pit Support

With a duo team the key will be cleaning off the bikes between laps and keeping our spirits high.  That is where our fabulous pit crew comes in!

Kimberlee WelsandShelley Childers

Kimberlee (the girl in green on the left photo) and Shelley (right photo) will be in charge of entertainment, freeing the bike from mud, feeding and other random needs or wants that come down the trail.

Other Needs

Come Friday I’ll be changing my front tire to a Maxxis Ignitor for mud clearance, adding a down tube fender, and finding 4-5 pairs of my long finger gloves for when they get muddy.  Nutrition will be next on the things to go over…

Review: Cutter Tech Knickerbocker

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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.

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Camelbak Octane 18x Review

0 Review of Camelbak Octane 18x

Review of Camelbak Octane 18x Camelbak Octane 18x

MSRP: $99.00
Water Capacity: 100oz
Size: Expanded 20L, Closed 16L
Weight: 1LB

80 mile road rides, epic mountain bike rides, a Swiss Army knife that folds into a camel’s back. The Camelbak Octane 18x is a great bag. You’ll make some sacrifices on the long day trips for a lighter bag, but overall this is a great water hauling bag.

 

How the Camelbak Octane 18x Fits

To save some weight they take the structure and extra padding from the pack. The bag can be rolled up and the shoulder straps are thin.   With tons of weight this would make the pack pretty uncomfortable but with clothes and water it was great. I never used it to haul down hill gear on my back!  As a woman I normally have issues with the chest strap being too high on my neck, or stuck across my boobs. This one had enough room to move up and down without hindering.

Uses of the Octane 18x

Expandable, from 16L of room to 20L when unzipped.  This holds a good amount, more than the bag could probably support on your back comfortably. I stuffed it with clothes, shoes and food one day. Due to not having tons of back support it is easily conformed and the bag’s light weight material ended up looked like a sack of potatoes.  I loved the waist pockets with key clip and the zipped up minimal sizing.  I used this bag on the road since it was so light, on hike a bikes, and simple rides around town.  As long as the bag isn’t loaded down it is pretty ventilated.  It doesn’t have any fancy mechanics to keep it off your back, so you do get sweaty, but the bag isn’t heavy so it isn’t horrible during my southern humid commutes.

Final Thoughts and Review of the Octane 18x

When I was approached my Camelbak to review some of their product I had things in mind.  I’ve used many “all day” packs.  Ones that carry your life on your back comfortably.  I wanted something for cross country riding and possibly using on longer road rides.  Weight and ability to still haul was what I needed.

The Camelbak Octane 18x answered all my wants.  While it isn’t going to be perfect for everyone, it fits what I was looking for and that is rare in my life.

 

 

Review: FITS Co Sock

2 FITS Co Sock Review

There are select socks that I refer to in my life. I’m not a complete sock snob, but I am pretty darn close to it. I love Smart Wool socks in the winter or for cold rainy training rides, I love Twin Six socks (especially their new brand) for the look and sexy factor. The rest of my sock drawer is mostly filled with Sock Guy and DeFeet cycling socks, keeping only one or two “girl stockings” on hand for when I have to wear a suit.

FITS Co Sock Review

FITS Co sent me a couple pairs of socks to try out, nothing behind it but a beautiful handwritten note and a funky business card from their brand manager Wood Talkington. I won’t lie, their story is unique and worth a visit by itself.

Knitting socks in Niota, TN since 1902, Crescent Sock Co. endured the ups and downs that shaped the character of America’s people and her textiles industry. Today the company produces socks under its own FITS™ name in the oldest operating hosiery mill in the U.S. -FITSSock.com

Review of FITS Performance Trail Sock

Pulling on the Performance Trail sock I felt like I was pulling on a Smart Wool sock but with more arch support. As if the sock was giving my sock a nice hug at the end of a long day. The cuff seems to be of a different knit than the body of the sock, I’m assuming this is for circulation and support, without cutting your circulation off in the leg. The socks are heavier in weight and warmth. I wouldn’t wear these around in 90 degree weather with out reason but on a hard hike and mountain biking these socks provide the shock absorbing to my feet for all day comfort.

FITS Co Performance Trail Review
The cost is high for FITS socks, $17.99 for the Performance Trail. One could argue it is American made and high end wool, I would argue to buy a pair to keep for those long rides or cold night rides in the winter. I don’t plan on wearing them too often for everyday around the house as I want them to last!

Review of the FITS Light Runner Sock

These socks were reviewed by my girlfriend so I’ll turn over the keyboard to her.

I don’t know what to say about reviewing the socks, but this is what I think of them so far. For wool, these socks are very soft, the compression is exactly where I want it and when I was riding in 100 degree weather I didn’t notice these socks at all on my feet other than comfortable!

FITS Co Light Runner Review
The MSRP is $15.99 for the Light Runner socks. With the cuff showing above the shoes, and a heavy cuff at that it seems that it is going to wear well without Kim wearing a hole in her socks quickly. If Kim can’t kill these socks, no normal user will be able to!

Overall Review of the FITS Co Socks

The socks feel amazing, both pairs feel amazing. If I had a larger income, I would wear some variety of this and Smart Wool of some variety. The costs on the flip side is what brings me hesitant from giving this a 100% positive review. $15-20 for socks is steep, and I hope these socks feel as amazing as they did the first day for the next 8 months.

These socks were provided at no cost. I was not paid or bribed, and hopefully if you read this far you know I’m honest and won’t put my name next to something.

 

Review: Zevlin Big40 Custom Tape

0 Zeplin Big40 Custom Bar Tape

From adjusting parts to fit you better, to switching parts around to make your bike look different and completely yours, both are equally important in the journey of bicycle ownership. Customizing your bike is an important part of making the bike “yours.” Bar tape is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to do this.

Zevlin Big40 Custom Handlebar Tape

MSRP: $33.95 (discount for buying in bulk)
Unique Details: Super wide at 40mm, add your own logo to your handlebars!

The boys at Zevlin sent me a care package to test out and review, one of the coolest unique products in this was custom bar tape. While the tape isn’t as padded or grippy as my loved Lizard Skins DSP it has done well on the road under my winter testing.

Feel and Wear of the Zevlin Big40

The tape currently has a handful of long rides and roughly 200 miles of winter glove riding. The 40mm allows a good overlap of tape to get a cushion while showing off the custom logos covering half the width of tape. The logos are in great shape, I’m sure with a tacky summer glove the logos would wear after awhile but it would be a good indication that your bar tape needs replaced. It seems that not enough people replace their tape until their wrist or hands hurt!! I would compare the feel and tackiness of the tape to a Fizik bar without the pain of installing that leather like wrap.

Customize It

Zeplin Big40 Custom Bar Tape

While you can buy the Big40 alone, I believe the biggest market advantage Zevlin has is to price bulk custom tape to be attractive to shops, teams and even large charity events to promote brand identity. The Zevlin tape looks amazing on my bike with the white logos and then a few blue logos at the end of the wrap, now imagine that with your company under your bars. Rolling up to a group ride, sitting at a stop light or your bike parked at a coffee shop will put your brand identity right at hand level.

Overall Thoughts

Zeplin Big40 Custom Bar Tape

The bar tape is wearing well, I’ll use it for most of the road season but it will not replace the DSP on my cyclocross bike as grip and cushion are super important then. I plan on doing a run of Bike Shop Girl in black  to promote myself and the brand as they are a great grassroots company trying to do different things in the bike industry.

If you are in the market to take your branding a bit further on the bike, I would start with Zevlin. If you are looking for a new black bar tape I would stick to Lizard Skins DSP.

 

 

Motivational Monday with Nicole

0 Motivational Monday with Nicole

WHAT’S YOUR NAME AND LOCATION?

Nicole in Memphis, TN

WHAT TYPE OF CYCLING DO YOU ENJOY?

City cycling (commuting by bike), group rides with friends or my husband, light mountain biking

WHAT IS YOUR FIRST CYCLING MEMORY?

How about my most powerful cycling memory? I met my husband on my 1st metric century ride and he proposed on that same ride 2 years later. He put signs up near the end of the ride with a poem he had written. I didn’t get it at first (silly me) but when I saw the last sign, I knew. We stopped our bikes and he asked me to marry him. I said yes and like any good bikers, we finished the ride, ate a hearty breakfast and then came back for pictures!

WHO INSPIRES YOU TO RIDE, AND BETTER YET WHY?

I inspire me. Cycling in Memphis can be…challenging. It is getting better but you have to be committed to biking to take on a 15 mile, each-way commute to work on a 100 degree, 98% humidity day. But, the challenge is part of why I make it a point to do it. It is part of staying healthy, supporting a greener planet and being less car dependent.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST MOMENT ON THE BIKE SO FAR THIS YEAR?

Our city has been converting old train tracks into multi-use paths and recently I was out on my own, tooling down the path. It was a perfect 75 degree day, the sun was out, and no one was vying for space in front or behind me. As I reached the end of the path and prepared to head out onto a traffic-filled street, I realized to my amazement that the next section of path had been finished since my last trek. It made my week, to continue along for another five miles in quiet solitude enjoying the beautiful weather and zipping along on two wheels.

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!

Review: Abus Bordo Lite

0 Abus Boro Lite Review

As a rep with QBP we are sometimes sent fun samples to try out, if we like them we can show them to shops and increase sales a bit in that category. Earlier this year I was sent some Abus lock samples, the coolest of course was this folding, cuff like, Bordo Lite.

MSRP: $90
Details:

  • 5 mm steel bars, with plastic coating to prevent damage to the bicycle’s paintwork
  • Silicone cover for the lock body with “soft touch” properties
  • Link construction allows compact folding
  • The bars and the lock body are made of particularly light materials and ferrous alloy
  • Bars are linked with special rivets
  • Premium cylinder for high protection against manipulations, e.g. picking

Colors: Black (reviewed), red, white

As a bike commuter, and someone that likes to empower folks to use their bike everyday this lock excites me. I know, I am a nerd.

The lock is simple once you understand which way to turn the key to lock it back up. It is compact, and yet long enough to lock the front wheel. You can carry it on spare bottle cage mounts like I do, or you can use velcro and attach it to another tube of your bike and it isn’t heavy to put it in your jersey pocket if needed.

$90 is steep for a lock that isn’t a u-lock but the beefier brother to this, the Bordo 6000/90 is supposedly just as strong, especially in cold weather (retail of $129).

I don’t believe you’ll be buying this if your bike cost less than $700 or you are locking it up to run into the coffee shop. If you are design oriented, overly protective of your bike, and don’t want to carry a second lock or cable to lock your front wheel… this lock is for you. I’m completely sold on it and plan to buy one for my other commuter bike, and for both of my girlfriend’s bikes.

Learn more about the Abus Bordo Lite on their website.

Disclaimer: I wasn’t paid or bribed for this review. The product was provided no charge as a work sample.

Preview: Soul Glow LED Neon Wheel Lights

1 Soul Glow LED Neon Wheel Lights

I’m always looking for creative and fun ways to stay safe on the bike. A new LED light string looks to be creative and fun, without a crazy price tag.

Soul Glow LED Neon Wheel Lights

$30 a set, coming in Green - Blue -  Red - White - Pink - Purple - Turquoise - Yellow

Soul Glow LED Neon Wheel Lights

These lights claim to be weather resistant and easy to install, hopefully I’ll get a set to try in the near future for fun night rides!

Learn more on SoulCruzers.com

Niner Goes Big with new Low Top 9 Handlebar

0 Niner Low Top 9 Handlebar

As someone that rides a 29er exclusively I run into the issue of getting front end lower, and I’m 5’10 with this issue! This new goofy looking handlebar from Niner will allow my front end to be lower for better stability and bike fit.

 

Niner Low Top 9 Handlebar

 

Low Top RDO Handlebar

MSRP: $199
Sizing: 720mm width, 25mm drop with 17º sweep
Weight: 258g
Details: Available in Niner red, orange, green, ralley blue and moondust grey

Handlebar height is critical to efficiency and comfort. Until now, small riders have had to choose between the advantages of longer travel forks and big wheels vs. achieving an optimal XC position.

Niner has inside information when it comes to fitting smaller riders on 29ers – our President and Marketing Manager both fit in this category. Chris and Carla are the first ones to speak up and make sure we address the needs of of riders at every height. We’ve added size extra small frames to Niner’s line up and now we take it one step further to help you get the best fit. Our new Low Top RDO handlebar has all the features of Niner’s RDO line up – it’s light, strong and is covered by our C5 Carbon warranty, but an inch lower.

Who is the Low Top RDO Designed For?

Any rider who wants to get low. Great for every size XC and Endurance racer.
Any rider who is fit-challenged by longer fork travel or bigger wheels.
Riders with short stems that want a lower bar.
Riders who prefer the wrist position offered by a 17º sweep.

Learn more on NinerBikes.com