Monday, March 1, 2010

It's Been a While...

Keeping busy in the winter at a bike shop is usually a challenge...even so it was hard to come up with ideas for the blog as we slogged through the snowiest winter in local memory. Mike has been working hard on fine tuning things in the service area and Matt traveled all the way to Specialized in Morgan Hill, California to expand his knowledge of advanced fitting techniques.

We've also been working on bikes like this...the 2010 Specialized Epic Marathon 29er! Now available at the shop in size Large, this is fast becoming one of the most sought-after full suspension cross country bikes available (if you can find one). Stop by the shop when you can to check out the new technology, complete with Sram XX drivetrain!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our Favorite Things: The Brandywine Cyclery Holiday Gift Guide

At the shop we consider ourselves problem solvers and gift buying for the well-equipped cyclist can be a challenge...please find a few of our favorite suggestions for any budget below!

Keep them safe this holiday season with the Planet Bike "Super Flash" LED taillight ($24.99). It's the perfect way to draw the attention of motorists and prevent accidents when dusk comes early. Clip it to clothing/bags or use the included brackets to mount the Super Flash on the bike itself. A staff favorite, the Super Flash is super bright and gives you the peace of mind that reflectors and other lights can't.

For the runner or multisporter on your list there is the Helium hydration pack from Fuelbelt ($39.99). The Helium comes in multiple sizes for runners of all shapes and sizes and provides two 8 ounce hydration flasks along with a small storage compartment for energy gels, personal items, etc.. Don't let them embark on their next long run without proper hydration and nutrition.

Next up, for the Do-It-Yourselfer we suggest the Vise-Whip by Pedro's ($69.99). The Vise-Whip is a relatively new essential addition to the home mechanic's tool kit and replaces the traditional chain whip for the removal of cassette lockrings from rear wheels. Compact and incredibly easy to use, the Vise-Whip prevents busted knuckles in our service center and has sped drivetrain cleanings as well.

For the roadie or triathlete on your list we stock a tire that became an instant classic when it was introduced just a few short years ago: the durable and race-worthy Continental Grand Prix 4000 S ($60/tire). The 4000 S is that rare tire that combines very low weight, long life, and excellent resistance to cuts and damage. Ride it in the "off season," ride it in the Spring and Summer, just ride it and you will not be disappointed.

Finally, Thermal Compression Tights from 2XU ($110) are a timely gift that they will be thanking you for all winter. This tight provides all the benefits of 2XU's other high performance compression tights (increased circulation, improved venous return and decreased muscle fatigue and muscle damage) while also helping to keep you warm with a new fleece-backed material. Perfect for post-workout recovery, 2XU's compression tights also keep you fresh during travel and when you're on your feet.

If you just can't figure out what they want then Gift Certificates make the perfect choice!
Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Present and Future Riders...

A close friend of the shop sent me this picture and I'm thrilled. Blair, a current elite lifelong cyclist, flanked by sisters Drew and Sadi...both young multi-sport athletes growing up with the sport. You guys inspire me.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Product Review: Off Road Tires

As we enter into the off season falling leaves and softer ground leave us mountain bikers with less traction. Here are a few fat tire reviews from our service manager Mike, for your off season riding pleasure.
Up first, the Maxxis Ignitor has been a long time favorite of mine. It comes in both UST tubeless and standard casings. The Ignitor rolls smoothly for a knobby tire and corners well in loamy, wet, and hardpacked conditions. The knobs and side walls hold up very well season after season...I've had my Ignitors for 2 seasons and they are still going strong. I change my tires seasonally and for trail conditions, this helps them go a long way. Maxxis' Ignitor is my go-to cross country tire for Fall - Spring and is available in 26x1.95, 2.1, 2.35 and 29x2.1 sizes.

Next up is the Specialized Sauserwind. I recently gave these tires a shot beginning in the middle of the summer. Developed by Christoph Sauser, 2008 XC World Champion, the Sauserwind is a great all around tire that rolls better than the Ignitor and also grips corners in the wet with tenacity. These are true cross country tires as they are available in only 26x1.8 or 26x2.0. I can't wait until these tires are available in a 29" version. Another
great feature about this tire and many other Specialized tires is that they are 2Bliss. 2Bliss is a Specialized technology that uses a UST tire bead, allowing the tire to work with UST & non-UST rims and has a standard tubetype side wall while also offering noticeably lighter weight than a standard UST side wall casing.

Finally (almost), Cyclocross season is now here and so far this season has been one of the muddiest that I can remember. The Specialized CX Captain Pro (700x34) is new for 2010 and provides me traction on the sloppiest and most technical courses. I rode these at the Granogue cross race last weekend in epic cyclocross conditions: soaking rains in the two days leading up to the event and moist conditions on race day turned the course into a mud showcase. I don't know if I was crazy or stupid to race that day but I was sure that the Captain's would keep me upright on the muddy off camber downhills that Granogue is know for.

The Captain has been a staple MTB tire for Specialized for a few years now. It's a tire that provides superhero traction much like it's creator, MTB and multi-sport legend, Ned "The Captain" Overend.

The following is my (ahem, 2 time Delaware Downhill MTB Champion) favorite tire.
If you're not into downhill riding, thanks for reading! If you are, read on!

The Specialized Storm has been redesigned for 2010 with the help of Two-Time World Champion Sam Hill. This is strictly a mud/wet tire, only available in a 26x2.3 DH casing. What's unique about this tire is that it has a step in the center knobs that can be trimmed down at the bottom of the step to make the tire roll better on courses that require more pedaling. Not only do these tires clean extremely well, but they grip on wet rocks and roots as well. These tires allow me to ride turns as if I am on rails. Whenever a race course gets muddy these tires give me the cornering confidence and provide me the traction I need to reach (or come close to!) the podium.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Product Review: 2010 Body Geometry S-Works Road Shoes

The shoes arrived in a bright red box, full of confidence and swagger. I had been eagerly awaiting their release since the Summer, when they were seen on the likes of Fabian Cancellara at the Tour de France. When Dan, our local Specialized Sales Rep, casually mentioned that they were available a full month ahead of schedule I leaped at the chance to check out the new technology.

But first, a bit of history...after years of riding in only "the best" Italian road shoes I switched to Body Geometry shoes in the Fall of 2008 in the hopes of resolving some nagging foot and knee issues that had proven annoying for some time. A friend suggested Body Geometry shoes for their built in Varus Wedge, Metatarsal Button, and also the ability to choose from three levels of arch support. Having previously thought that a "Varus Wedge" was a military tactic employed by Roman legions I was intrigued and decided to take a chance on what have become my shoes of choice and a top seller at the shop.

It turns out that a Varus Wedge is actually a structural feature built into the sole of the shoe that provides additional forefoot support while pedaling. Additional support means better knee/foot alignment and more comfort both on and off the bike. Likewise, the Metatarsal Button and customizable arch support help to reduce hot spots and swelling, common complaints with most ultra-stiff carbon road shoes. These features, along with striking good looks, supreme ventilation, excellent long-term wear, and the near-custom fit provided by the ratcheting Boa Closure had me hooked.

So I wondered, "How could they have possibly made my favorite shoes even better?" First, the most obvious visual cue as to these being a whole new take on an S-Works level shoe is the addition of a second Boa Closure to replace the previous forefoot Velcro strap. What's more is that now the Boa closures are micro-adjustable in both directions, meaning that tightening and loosening the closures on the fly has been made incredibly easy. But is a second Boa enough to make the upgrade? Although that may be the most obvious design change, an impressive line-up of other features compelled me to give the new shoes a try.

These advancements included lighter overall construction resulting in the world's most featherweight production road shoe with a mechanical closure...approximately 550g a pair in size 42. Also, the independent micro-adjustable Boa dials included a new high strength monofilament lace and redesigned open-backed Boa lace guides to make the shoes easy to put on and take off. And a new FACT 12.0 carbon sole uses high modulus unidirectional carbon fiber and TorsionBox construction to optimize stiffness while constructing Specialized's thinnest outsole to date. A replaceable heel pad is a nod to practicality, meaning that these shoes are intended for multiple seasons of use. Finally, a new tough and water-resistant Micromatrix upper produces a high-gloss finish while a well ventilated tongue helps provide the ventilation necessary on hot Summer days.

Those are the facts, but how do the shoes ride? I chose to abstain from my usual habit of purchasing white shoes and only white shoes and decided on the new black version with the look of patent leather:

White shoe lovers don't be cross, as the shoes are available in high-gloss White as well:

I took yesterday's excellent and unseasonably warm weather as an opportunity to test out the shoes along one of my favorite routes. After installing grey Look Keo Grip cleats, an additional Varus shim in my right shoe (a need learned of during my Body Geometry Fit experience), and blue BG footbeds I was off. The first indication that the shoes were worthy of their S-Works designation occurred just a few moments into the ride...the ventilation was incredible. Honestly, were these shoes or air conditioners for my feet? On a 70 degree day with lightweight Defeet Aireator socks my feet weren't just cool, but cold.

As this was my first ride the shoes began to form themselves to my feet...I reached down and tightened the Boa closures a few clicks but then backed them off a click in the same motion. Perfect. As I accelerated away from stop signs and traffic lights the enhanced stiffness of the shoes made their impression next. The terrain and pace picked up and whether hill climbing or sprinting out of the saddle, the stiffness of the shoes was a sheer delight. It seemed as if every twitch and every motion resulted in power to the pedals and forward momentum. I was also reminded then of the shoes' customizable features: the Varus Wedge, the additional Varus shim, and the blue footbeds that were determined to be my ideal combination during my BG Fit experience. All the parts resulted in a whole package that had transformed my pedaling style from a slightly ungainly motion that would wear off the right side of a saddle within a single season and cause knee pain into looking "Very Official" as a frequent riding companion has told me. The ultra-cool look of high-gloss patent leather doesn't hurt, either.

The price for the shoes? Shoes that compete (and win) against "the best" Italian road shoes costing upwards of a stratospheric $550? For 2010 a pair of Specialized BG S-Works road shoes are yours for $350. So Specialized has created not only a worthy successor in a stellar line of S-Works Grade shoes but an outstanding performer with excellent value as well. And women, rejoice, Specialized now offers the S-Works road shoe in a Designs 4 Women edition as well:

Thanks for reading!

Let There Be Blog

Hello and welcome to our blog... we always love an off season project so we're taking to the Interwebs to bring you product reviews, ride postings and reviews, shameless plugs, and links to cool cycling related websites. We hope that you enjoy so please feel free to stop by the blog or the shop anytime!