June 14, 2018

By Bernie Kowalski

I have been using two Hotshots, one on each seatstay, for a couple of years. As a dedicated commuter, I always keep my eyes open to the possibility of upgrading, and I have yet to find anything that beats this tail light.

How effective is it? Here’s the ultimate endorsement: my wife is a gold-medal worry-wart.  Even she gives them the thumbs-up. She occasionally drives past me while we are each on our way to work and she will attest to the ability of these lights to grab a driver’s attention from a distance. On one occasion someone told me they thought they were driving up behind a police bike. Seems silly, but it makes the point.

First, the basics. The Pro 150 has a peak brightness of 150 lumens. (Like everybody else, you’ll look directly into it. Once.) You can grab someone’s attention at night from about a half mile. During the day, it’s effective at a quarter mile. This is due to a couple factors: a straight-up torturously bright LED, and a lens that does a good job of focusing the beam.

This light offers six different light patterns. You also have the ability to adjust the brightness of the light, or the rapidity of the flashes. I had to tinker with my light for a while to correlate each flash option with the instruction sheet, as follows:

Steady – this setting doesn’t flash, but stays constantly lit.  You can adjust the brightness of the light in this setting.  According to the info that comes with the light, the battery life can be anywhere from 2 to 120 hours.  I think both of those ranges are found on this setting.  When the light is maxed out, it would make sense that a constant draw at that intensity will run the battery down in 2 hours, and the reverse would apply to the lowest intensity.  Why would you want an adjustable steady light?  Nighttime group rides.  At its brightest setting nobody is going to ride behind you.  Somewhere around a lower setting would be best for your buddies, but not the approaching cars.  This is where the adjustment works so well, as long as you can safely reach the light while riding (clipped onto a jersey pocket, seatpost, seatbag, etc).  By holding the adjustment button down, changing the brightness from the lowest to the brightest setting takes only 6 seconds.  Once the car passes, bring it back down and save your friends’ retinas.

Zoom – This setting reminds me of the flash pattern on a lighthouse. You are able to adjust the speed of the flashes.

Steady Pulse – my personal preference.  This setting will show 3 flashes, then a steady light between each 3-flash series.  The flashes get their attention; the steady allows them to see where the flashes came from.  You can adjust the amount of time that separates the flashes.

Triple – This flash pattern is Steady Pulse without the steady between the flashes.  It looks like something you’d see at a construction zone.   Again, you can adjust the length of time that separates the triple flashes.

Day Lightning – that’s not a typo.  “Lightning” is a good word for the light pulse this thing sends out, and it will grab attention during the day.  You can adjust the rapidity of the lightning flashes.  In the fastest setting it looks like a strobe light at a dance club.

Random Flash – This setting gives you a Day Lightning flash with less intense flashes in between the lightning flashes.  The in-between flashes decrease as you shorten the time between lightning flashes.  At its fastest setting, I swear it could induce seizures.

The Hot Shot 150 comes with mounting brackets and spacers that will allow for mounting just about anywhere.  It also comes with a charge cord.  I can attest to the claim that it is waterproof.   When the tail light is nearing the end of its charge, it will give you a distinctive dim, rapid flash when the light is turned off or on. Once you see the low charge indication, charge it.  It won’t have much time left in the battery.  Recharging takes about 3½ hours.

At $49.99 it’s on the upper half of the taillight price range, but is actually a bit less than comparable lights.  Knowing what I do about this light, I’d pay more if I needed to…….let’s just hope Cygolite doesn’t catch on to that.

Before ending this review, I’d like to make a point about tail lights in general and riding safely in the dark.  Today’s lithium ion batteries are great.  We’ve got lights that have never been smaller or brighter.  The downside to Li ion is that when the battery nears the end of its charge, it shuts itself off, leaving you in a potentially dangerous situation.  If you regularly ride in the dark, especially for more than 15 or 20 minutes, you need to have two tail lights.  Not only can your tail light go out without warning, you don’t necessarily see that it’s gone out because it’s behind you, making the situation even worse.  If you run two lights, and coordinate the charge schedules, you’ll always have at least one light in play.  Yes, it doubles your cost, but it also doubles your safety.  You’re worth the extra spend.

HOTSHOT PRO 150 TAILLIGHT

$49.99
HOTSHOT PRO 150 TAILLIGHT

April 24, 2018

By Evan Lee

Shopping for a new tire can be just as overwhelming as exploring new bike options, if not more. With so many choices how does one choose which tire to spec their bike with and where to put it?

Changing a tire on your bike can drastically change the way it rides. Whether you’re fighting for grip or going for speed there’s a tire suited for you. We’ve created a buyer’s guide to help break down the jargon and make it a little easier for the customer to tune their ride. For this guide, we want to cater to the recreational / every day rider, someone who is looking for that balance between grip and speed. To break this down let’s establish the different disciplines.

Cross-Country/Trail

For this discipline, riders are usually after a few things – reducing weight, increasing rolling speed and improving climbing traction. Examples for this type of tire include the Maxxis Ardent and Ardent Race, Specialized Fast Trak, and the Bontrager XR1.

BONTRAGER XR1

SPECIALIZED FAST TRAK

MAXXIS ARDENT

All Mountain/Enduro

In this category, riders are typically looking for more grip/cornering traction and stability. Grip and stability can work hand-in-hand and can come from a number of different factors when designing a tire – the softness of the rubber (durometer), the height of the knobs (center/side) and the tire’s width, etc. Examples include the Maxxis DHF and DHRII, Specialized Butcher, and the Bontrager SE4.

MAXXIS DHF

SPECIALZED BUTCHER

BONTRAGER SE4

Selection

Picking the right tire is all about creating a balanced combination between the front and rear that caters to your riding style or how you want to ride. For the most part, riders will spec the front of their bike with a tire that offers more grip and stability while equipping the rear with something that gives good climbing traction and faster rolling speed while maintaining good cornering traction. This is a good place to start if you’re not racing at either end of the spectrum (cross-country or gravity/downhill).

Tread Patterns/Tire Widths

Tread patterns are a huge factor in placing a tire into its respective discipline. You have your extremes, but you also have tires that meet in the middle. These patterns can be seen on the Maxxis Aggressor, Specialized Purgatory, and the Bontrager XR4. For the riders who want the best of both, fast rolling and great cornering/climbing traction, these will be what you’re shopping for. However, as this guide is for that every day, recreational rider, I would recommend these as a good option for a rear tire as you see these spec’d on stock bikes in our shop specifically

As for the front tire, you’ll see bigger knobs and wider tires for both increased traction and stability. These tires also feature softer rubber compounds that create a tackier ride feel. Softer rubber is, unfortunately, associated with faster wearing of the tire entirely, which is why you should install these on the front given the rear tire typically wears out quicker.

A wider tire can give you a more stable feeling, but consider your rim width when shopping for tires 2.5 inches and above. If you have a thinner internal width (~19-24mm) and you try to stick a 2.5 on it, it can change the tire profile and you may not actually benefit much from the increased width. Luckily, most of these tires come in different widths, so you can gain that traction and stability without jumping to a wider tire all together (e.g. Maxxis DHF 2.3, Specialized Butcher 2.3, Bontrager XR4/SE4 2.3).

Tire Casing

A tire’s casing is fabric that acts like a skeletal system beneath the outer rubber and is measured in Threads Per Inch (TPI). The most common TPI measurements you will see are 60tpi or 120tpi. A lower TPI will have a larger thread and function as a stiffer casing while a higher TPI has a smaller thread with less rubber packed between threads, making for a lighter and more supple ride feel. Note that the lower thread count isn’t going to have the ride quality of the higher TPI, but offers durability against cuts and flats. Thus, if you want a high-mileage, durable tire, look for the 60tpi marking; if you want a smoother ride feel and lighter weight, go with the 120tpi.

The number of layers for the casing can change as well. Most of the cross-country tires will be made with a single-ply casing, which helps the tire conform well to the terrain and be lightweight. All-mountain / enduro casings will have a dual-ply casing, providing added protection and stiffness to the sidewalls.

Tire Compounds

The compound of a tire is refers to the softness of the rubber, expressed as the durometer, and measured in Shore A Hardness. This measurement is seen as a number (1-100) followed by the letter “a”(48a, 50a, 61a, etc.). The lower the number, the softer the rubber compound. When shopping for a tire, though, you’ll see it as an advertised name (e.g. 3C MaxxTerra, GRIPTON, etc.). 3C MaxxTerra, MaxxGrip, and MaxxSpeed are good examples of how the compounds can be changed to get the most out of a tires desirable characteristic. MaxxTerra will have a pretty neutral durometer. The base of the rubber is hard but as you get closer to the outer surface it becomes softer. Maxxis also makes the side knobs a softer compound and the center a medium compound. The MaxxGrip and MaxxSpeed are going to have different proportions of this measurement with “Grip” having a thinner layer of hard rubber at the base, leading to a higher proportion of soft/medium compounds and “Speed” having a thicker layer leaving the softer rubber on the outer surface of the knobs.

As you can see, tire selection is a deep subject. If it seems overwhelming, don't let it be -- stop in today to discuss all your options with one of our montain bike tire experts!

April 3, 2018

By Evan Lee

WRC’s longstanding relationship with Yeti Cycles is a storied partnership based in one common pursuit: let’s ride!

When we first picked up Yeti in 1990, the upstart company was busy dominating the World Cup race circuit and relocating to Durango, Colorado.  Since then, not much has changed other than a move to Golden, Colorado –  just 10 miles from our doors – and the singular pursuit of unrelenting technological advancement.

With such a legendary contributor to mountain bike advancements, each year brings something better than the last, yet in 2018 this facet of Yeti’s personality didn’t manifest in a new frame design or a new suspension platform. Instead, it came in the form of the Lunch Ride build option.

See, every weekday at 11:30 Yeti closes up the shop and goes on a 90-minute ride.  Everybody. It’s mandatory. Tough job requirement, eh? The Lunch Ride build option was born from this weekdaily endeavor. Many on staff were outfitting the already amazing line of SBs (Super Bikes) with their own little flourishes. Most of these feature suspension and footwear, which is exactly what the LR offers you.  Yeti builds the bikes they like to ride, and this gets you that much closer to what the folks at Yeti are doing to optimize their personal rides.  The LR is not better than the standard SB, it’s different.  You get:

160-mm travel Fox 36 fork
Fox Factory DPX2 piggyback shock
800mm Yeti carbon handlebar
Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 tire up front
Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 tire out back
Wider rims too – DT Swiss XM481s

You want a bike that climbs well and descends like a dream? Look no further.  Versatility is the name of the game with the SB5 LR.  The maneuverability and response of this bike pays off in massive smile dividends.

 

 

SB5 Turq Series X01 Lunch Ride

$7,199.99
Ride first, eat later!