June 21, 2018

Brandon Anderson's avatar

By Brandon Anderson

 

 

WRC FIT DEPT. FIRST IMPRESSIONS

 

Upon ascending the staircase to the fit department at Wheat Ridge Cyclery you can tell you are in for a truly unique experience. Relics from Ron Kiefel’s racing career are featured at the base of the stairs, with one-of-a-kind bicycles and the state of the art Retul fit system greeting you at the top. One thing is certain, you can instantly tell that Wheat Ridge Cyclery isn’t just another bike shop with a couple of tape measures and a few demo saddles crammed in the corner and billed as a “Fit Dept.” The attention to detail and professional atmosphere are reassuring and provide a sense of relief and confidence in the fact that you are truly getting the white glove treatment.

 

MY FIT SPECIALIST

 

My fit was performed by Wheat Ridge Cyclery’s fit lead Pat Minervini, whose own personal history in the cycling business only adds to the mystique and awe that is Wheat Ridge Cyclery. Firsthand accounts of meetings with De Rosa and Merckx and retellings of the classic battles of the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France highlighted a fit that was as inspirational as it was informative. Pat’s anatomical knowledge gained through years of work designing and building custom sports orthotics gives him a unique perspective and breadth of knowledge that isn’t commonplace in most bike shop environments, and his shared enthusiasm for real results during the fit process is reaffirming and motivating. Pat gets a continuous flow of return customers and referrals from people who pore over the effect that a professional fit has had on their riding and racing. That being said, speaking to the other fitters during the process it became highly evident that WRC pulls no punches when it comes to ensuring all of their staff has nothing but the best training made available to them and I would trust my fit to any of their highly trained staff of certified pros.

 

RETUL

 

Retul is a high-tech and elaborate system pioneered through collaborated efforts from the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine and Specialized, which provides a comprehensive real-time analysis of your entire body, not just the pedal stroke. This all is made possible through motion capture technology similar to the process used in the creation of video games and animated movies. Real-time data is captured using a device called the Zin, which is a handheld device that allows the fitter the ability to measure fixed points on the rider, highlighting contours and curves in the pedal stroke and providing a comprehensive digital map of the entire rider/bike interface. This motion capture technology provides an in-depth look at the rider’s position on the bike and helps the fitter determine the best setup for the rider through several touch points: stem length, cleat position, saddle position and handlebar position as well as tracking of your pedal stroke from the hip down. Even more difficult and often overlooked components such as saddles and grips are measured to find exact angles relative to rider position. All of this data along with a physical exam provides the data needed to determine the best components and positioning with regards to the rider’s fitness, flexibility, cycling ability level and riding style.

 

THE FIT PROCESS

 

Once component size and positioning are determined the fitter uses tried and true methods and tools (yes, they still use a plumb bob!) to really fine tune things and get your body and your bike operating as one cohesive unit. Small adjustments to things like saddle fore and aft as well as cleat position are very important points that are commonly overlooked but can provide huge power gains when dialed in properly by a trained fit professional. I experienced this firsthand during my fit as the fitter adjusted the rests on the aero bars, widening the elbows by 1 cm and bringing the bars closer towards me .5 cm. These changes had me feel immediate improvements to my hip angle and breathing resulting in a more even pedal stroke and more relaxed and even breaths -- it blew my mind! I had previously just assumed that TT bikes were uncomfortable, purpose-built machines that were to be left in the corner of the garage like an old set of golf clubs. This fit had me thinking differently afterward.

 

TAKEAWAY

 

I left my fit feeling confident and more comfortable on my bike and my results in races speak for themselves. I set numerous PRs on subsequent rides and my overall time in the AFA Front Range Classic TT (Pro/Am open Cat) improved by a matter of 2 minutes from the previous year, locking in a top ten finish and finding a new appreciation for my TT bike. What I once had deemed as stiff and uncomfortable now rivals the comfort of my road bike and has me taking longer more efficient training rides than I had ever imagined possible. Retul is a great idea for racers trying to maximize power but also is ideal for people with lower back and shoulder blade issues, knee pain, hand numbness, saddle discomfort or any other mystery pain that is keeping you from doing what you enjoy most; getting out and riding!

 

Book your fit today - Call 303-424-3221 to speak to a certified fit professional

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!