29 September, 2015

Imperfection Sale

by Scott

We're selling some VO frames that are either prototypes/demo bikes or have a small imperfection. They are "bargain priced". And you do still get the 10% discount on anything you order to build them up (in the same order). Here's what we have; they won't last long:

Pass Hunter Demo 57 cm frame

Camargue 53 cm frame

Pass Hunter 59 cm frame

Piolet Prototype 53cm frame

Pass Hunter 53 cm frame

Campeur 57 cm frame

Don't think of them as imperfect, they're wabi sabi.

23 September, 2015

Brief Debriefing of Interbike

by Clint

Now that the industry is back from partying at Interbike, I've seen a number of summary blog posts go up about the show.  This was my second year there.  I can navigate the "L" shape of the expo floor now.  I figured I'd share my experiences and a few biased opinions.  Hopefully they're a little different from what you've already read.

I went up early again for the outdoor demo.  I miss riding out west: hadn't shredded rocky trails like that since last year.  Got to try out a few of Litespeed's offerings, the new Santa Cruz Bronson, the Jamis Dragonslayer, and a couple Ritchey mountain bikes.  I was taking the Ritchey P29 out to the trails and was passed by Tom himself.  Definitely geeked out a little.  I rode both days until my legs were too pooped to party.

The demeanor of the first day was a little grim.  I think I was just around the wrong people all day.  On the shuttle over I was sitting near guys talking about injuries, and at lunch I sat next to guys talking about their friends who had died in riding accidents.  One of my buddies did lose a few teeth at the demo last year, so I promised myself I'd take it easy anyways.  Trail conditions were fantastic the second day of the demo. Spirits were up too.  New trails and new bikes, I really can't complain.  I had a great time at the demo.

The expo itself went smoothly.  As it was with the outdoor demo, it seemed that many of the usual vendors weren't there, but we socialized and saw all the shiny new bike stuff.  Always good.

Now if you're reading this for the biased opinions, here they are!  I'm personally not nuts about Las Vegas and I don't understand why they hold Interbike there.  I think there are better options.

Physically, the city has the accommodations for the venue and lodging, not to mention nearby trails for the demo, and cheap flights.  I'm aware of all of that, but the city is absolutely terrible for riding.  I built up a Traveler's Check recently for future endeavors and figured I'd give it a trial run during this trip.  Google maps depicts bike lanes all around the city.  I'd been to Vegas a few times before, but never had the chance to explore.  Not sure why I thought riding would be easy.

Besides the location and infrastructure, Vegas is still a pretty terrible place.  It has the nightlife and all that, but it's super sleazy.  Take that rather offensive sock in the goodie bags this year.  I'm sure there's a certain crowd who thought the sock was cool and funny.  I've overheard some conversations supporting this.  I understand the whole shock value as a marketing tactic.  I don't know if that's what they were aiming for, but it was appealing to some while alienating to others.  As a whole, the bike industry is trying expand their market and target new audiences.  I'm not suggesting the city is tainting the reputation of the bike industry with one event per year, but I would like to see Interbike held somewhere more appealing to a greater portion of the industry.  Like the sock, Las Vegas is entertaining to some, but distasteful to others.

Las Vegas is great for the nightlife and venue accommodations, but why not have Interbike in a more bike-centric town?  I'm sad to see so many vendors pulling out of Interbike, but hopefully this will lead to some improvement.  Overall Pros: Outdoor demo, Cons: Las Vegas.

-Young Curmudgeon

P.S. On a side note, we've got Rhodia notebooks back in stock and some cool new stuff as well.

22 September, 2015

Safety Issue with Dia Compe 610 Brakes on Mixte Frames

By Chris

I hope this doesn't effect any of our customers, but I understand that a few folks have been using incorrect extra long straddle cables with the Dia Compe 610 brakes. This is usually done to make the rear brake work with a mixte frame. Don't do it! The extra long straddle wire can pop out rendering the brake useless!

Use only the straddle cables that come with the brakes or the correct replacements that we, and other companies, sell. I know that Dia Compe makes some longer cables, but those are intended for other models of brakes, not for the 610. I just spoke with the president of Dia Compe and he says that they plan change the cable attachment so that future versions will work with longer straddle cables. There are a few workarounds if you really can't afford a new rear brake for you mixte, but I'm not satisfied that they work well enough.

By the way, these are super brakes that I use myself (with the proper cable).

Also, a big thanks to Aaron of Aaron's Bicycle Repair in Seattle for bringing this issue to everyone's attention.

18 September, 2015

Packing Tips for Your Next Adventure

By Igor

Adrian and I will be touring Denmark and Northern Germany for the next two weeks for a very special event, but before we left I wanted to share a few tips for packing bikes, equipment, and clothes you can use for your next trip.

See if you can pick out why this is a special trip
Our experience in hiking and backpacking always comes in handy when we're building a gear list for trips on and off the bike. The key is simply to take less stuff, and what you do take is light, simple, and compact. Having a light load allows for longer riding and less fatigue at the end of the day. Who wouldn't want to travel further, or longer, and be less tired?
Igor's Campeur
Adrian's Campeur
You have to be real with what you are taking, especially for airline travel. For example, we are not bringing a camp stove. Not even for coffee! We're going to be in civilized areas with fantastic food and drink. Eat hot foods when you can, grab a smørrebrød for later, and don't be afraid to try new things.

Bring clothes that have more than one use. I'll be wearing a hiking shirt for riding. It dries quickly, packs tiny, and looks like a regular button-down off the bike when I go into restaurants and shops. Jerseys are so passé.

For packing clothes, rolling your clothes uses the least amount of space and means that you can use a smaller pannier (even less weight).
If you're going out for more than a weekend trip, wash clothes instead of bringing more. No washing machine? Bring a small cutting of Savon-de-Marseille and hand wash your clothes in a sink. Multiple uses!
Packing and unpacking bikes is the least fun part of a trip. To expedite your assembly, keep bolts and washers in the places where they will be sitting when you assemble your bike: fender R-clips and rack screws stay in the dropouts, fender screws stay in their bridges and fork crown, and upper hardware for the Campeur Front Rack stays in place on the rack and cantilever bosses.

When you're packing your site in the morning, don't hang around and linger. This is our routine: wake up, break down tent, drink some water, load up the bikes, and go. Eat a granola bar on the bike. This process takes less than 10 minutes and we're gone before others have even ground their artisanal coffee beans. You'll probably come across a coffee spot within the first hour of getting back on the road where you can also grab a breakfast. Now you've woken up, put in some kms, had breakfast, and are ready for a day's worth of exploring.

What are some tips you have for packing? Do you take any luxury items?

04 September, 2015

A Piolet Build for the Grand Cruz

By Igor

Here is our latest Piolet build. It'll be heading over to the Grand Cruz team for demo rides and general ogling. Since the Cruz is cruising into the great Southwest in a couple of weeks, the Piolet will be in its natural habitat.

They'll be making their way through Arizona, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and into Texas by way of Austin, Dallas, and Houston.

Rolling on Maxxis 29x2.4" tires
Raceface Crankset with 32T Narrow-wide chainring
SRAM Apex 10sp shifters + SRAM S500 Left Brake Lever
11-36T Shimano SLX Cassette + SRAM GX 10sp clutch'ed derailleur 
Rando Handlebar creates a nice cockpit
Clint did a cool, subtle harlequin wrap job on the handlebars...
....and chainstay!
Still lots of room for a front derailleur if you want to run a double or triple.

01 September, 2015

Midday Getaway

by Igor

Everyone needs a secret spot for a quick getaway close to home. Here's mine. It's just far enough to get a brisk ride in, but not so far that I have to worry making good time. How do you like take to midday vacations?

Perfect spot close to home
Can't ask for a better view
Pack simple
Ride light