30 Days on the new Trek Madone

30 Days on the New Madone

   I’m going to come right out and say this is the best bike I have ever owned!   Before you say yeah yeah let me tell you why.

I’ve ridden many bikes including road, cross and mountain but the new 2017 Madone has been a true game changer.  My impressions after my initial ride was how easily it glides along the road.  When I say glide I mean fast, quiet and comfortable  This is due to advanced aerodynamics and the IsoSpeed decoupler.   This is the kind of bike you don’t mind pushing on being every pedal stroke moves you forward and rewards you with speed.  Even while climbing you can feel the aero advantage which some claim is more important then weight.  Braking is very powerful due to the new dedicated center pull brakes.  Big descents and cornering on rough roads are impressive due to a degree of compliance felt in the front end.  Another nice feature is the integration of a Garmin mount built in to the bars as well as dedicated light mounts front and rear.   I ended up doing my first century on this bike which proved that this bike can do it all from crit racing, group rides, centuries and yes even a recovery ride.    Bottom line if you are in the market for a new bike or want that one bike that does it all the new Madone should be on your short list.

By Victor Schepisi March 2016

The Future is Here – Electric Bicycles!

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Electric bicycles (E-Bikes) offer the same awesome benefits as traditional pedal only bicycles. This includes cost savings if used for transportation, improved health and an ability to connect with your local community easily.

The extra benefit is improved efficiency in climbing hills or fighting the wind and a combined ability to increase the range of riding.

The cost of running an electric bicycle is significantly less in fuel costs than a car. E-bikes also do not increase localized pollution like cars and motorcycles. E-bikes can help solve environmental issues. They will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and traffic congestion.

E-Bikes will also enable more people to exercise which reduce the obesity issues in America. E-Bikes enable people who are unsure of their abilities to make the hills and the distance to have the confidence that they can finish their rides.

Bosh System

The electric bikes currently being offered by Trek Bicycles are a new, advanced generation of bikes. The motors, battery technology and design are industry leading. Trek e-bikes are equipped with either Shimano Steps or Bosch mid motor driven power sources. The bikes are all pedal assist. As you pedal, the assist comes into play depending upon the level that have chosen.  There are no throttles. Shifting and e-bike controls  are easily used and you never have to let go of the handlebars. There is a very easily read control gauge on the handlebars which tells you all the information needed to know about your speed and other riding functions as well as the e-bike specific functions.  Pedal assist enables the rider to have more fun on their bikes and gives the rider an assist when needed.

The wheels are light weight yet strong with durable tires. The braking is hydraulic disc brakes which are very powerful and reliable.

Battery technology has increased dramatically in the past few years. They batteries are lithion ion batteries with 400 watts of power. The range is dependent upon how much effort  is used but the range of one charge can be over 50 miles. The charging takes on 4 hours. Battery charging can be done by plugging into an ordinary household outlet. The speed of a Trek e-bike, because it is pedal assisted, various but it can reach speeds upward of 20 MPH. The total weight of the bikes has also greatly decreased and the bike looks, rides and feels like an regular bicycle.

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The use of bicycles and e-bikes is somewhat dependent upon existence of safer, more easily accessible and destination driven and friendly bicycles lanes and dedicated paths.

The US Congress just authorized the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) which will dedicate $4 Billion to be spent in the US on bicycle and pedestrian projects. The best part of this act is that is authorized for 5 years will funds being available each year. This will enable cities and municipalities to plan and execute projects. The net result will be that there will be many more safer and appealing opportunities for people to ride and commute on their e-bikes and bicycles.

In an urban and suburban  setting, the more dedicated bicycle lanes that exist, the more people will feel safer and compelled to use alternative means of transportation for short term commuting. This is the future for many of the upcoming generations of people in the US. Couple this new infrastructure with the desire for a higher level of fitness, the future of the E-bike is bright.

Marty Epstein – Owner of Marty’s Reliable Cycle

Jesse Fat Bikes the Shenandoah 100 MTB Race!

 

A few weeks ago an anonymous friend and I headed down to the Stokesville Campground in Stokesville VA for the Shenandoah Mountain 100. For those who are unfamiliar, the SM100 is a 100 mile MTN bike race with about 12,000 feet of climbing through the Shenandoah mountain range in VA.

The race took place on the Sunday over Labor Day. My companion and I arrived on Saturday evening in the college town of Harrisonburg VA dropped our stuff off at the hotel and hit the local Outback Steakhouse.  We want to bed early for our 4:30am wake up call and dreamed of climbing mountains all night.

In the darkness of the morning we were greeted with a surprisingly warm temperature which was encouraging for the day to come. On the 30 min drive to the campground we witnessed what legend has told. Jeremiah Bishop, an endurance MTN bike pro who is training for an event called “The Munga” in South Africa (look it up) was riding to the SM100 from Harrisonburg.  I yelled some encouraging words out the window to him, he was running front and rear lights as it was complete darkness out on the countryside. Jeremiah is a bad mofo.
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Back to the race: My buddy and I were riding our matching Borealis Yampa fat bikes decked out with HED carbon wheels and weighing in at an incredible 23 lbs!  We didn’t see any other fat bikes out there, but I heard that there were at least 2 others. The others could not have been as cool as ours 🙂

We lined up according to where we believed we would finish which was at the 11 hour mark. This was a bit of a mistake as after about 25 minutes into the race we hit the first section of single track and BAMM, there was a huge traffic jam. With 600 racers out on the course and most of them in front of us we had a long walk ahead of us which caused a big delay in our overall time.  I wasn’t too concerned because for me this was just a long day of training, but it was very boring walking through stuff I knew I could ride. On the bright side I met some nice people.

After I was able to get back on the bike, I pedaled at a very steady pace and didn’t stop this practice all day long. I passed people all day long, kept my rest stops simple and quick (with the awesome volunteers this was made much easier), and had a really really awesome race!

The course is absolutely beautiful, the volunteers amazing, and the scene is just plain old fun. I wound up finishing in 11 hours and 3 seconds or something like that. I feel as though without the traffic jams I would have had about a 10:15 finish time. I was extremely excited to finish in my predicted time, and after I finished I got to take an old school bath in the creek by the campground.

My companion and I both have small children at home so we decided to drive straight home after the race despite being very tired. We got some food, at a disgusting all you can eat Buffett which really hit the spot as at this point the owners of the buffet lost some money on us for sure.

It was a bit crazy for us to attempt this drive, but we’re tough dudes so we went for it. We basically drove for an hour and slept for an hour all night long and arrived in NJ at 5 am the next morning. It was a long haul after another long haul on the bike but as afore mentioned, we are a couple of bad ass dudes so it was not a big deal.

Preparing for your First Race (Or Big Event)

So your friends have egged you on and you begrudgingly registered for your first bike race, triathlon, or  charity ride.  Well it’s months away so you don’t have to worry about anything other than getting in shape right?  Yes, but…

Aside from getting into shape, riding miles, possibly running and swimming, you’ll want to make sure that you and your gear are ready to go for race day.  This means more than just putting your bike on the car rack and going.

The first priority is making sure your bike is in good shape, is clean, and fits properly.  We can help you with this.  If you aren’t sure, bring it in!  We offer an exceptional fitting service and can tune your bike up so it rides like new.  If your equipment isn’t working properly it can completely ruin your race or event.

The next priority is you.  You are important!  Spend the appropriate time planning for the event, and ask questions like:  What will the weather be like?  How long (not distance but hours) do you expect to be riding?  Do your existing accessories offer everything you might need for that day?  How much do you need to eat/drink during the event?

If you find you don’t know the answers to these questions, you can always ask the race promoter, or even come in to your local bike shop for advice.  The most important thing to do when it comes to preparation is experimentation!  Try a few different nutritional products during your training and figure out which products work the best for you.    The same goes for clothing. Remember you go the fastest when you’re comfortable.

So you’ve prepared, and you know your stuff.  Your Salted Caramel Gu’s are ready to go into the back pocket of your favorite jersey and your bottles filled with Lemon Lime Hammer Heed are chilling in the refrigerator for tomorrow morning.

Make a list of everything you need to bring and check it while you’re packing up the car.  The feeling is pretty awful when you get there and realize you’ve forgotten your bike! (Believe me, it’s happened.)

When you’re lined up at the starting line, feeling good about yourself and your bike, just remember to relax.  Even experienced racers often forget this.  It’s just cycling, and all about the fun.

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Register here!

Thule Round Trip Transition

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The Round Trip Transition travel box is great new product from Thule. The hard shell case will keep your bike protected from any unruly baggage handlers and is super easy to open for any random inspections.

The case comes with a tripod work stand for getting the bike back together. The stand also locks into the case keeping the frame secure inside the case.

We got Marty’s Trek Domane in case without taking the seatpost off, but larger frames will most likely need it removed. Thule also recommends wrapping the frame in bubble wrap and removing the rear derailleur.

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Thule does not recommend putting your local bike shop mechanic inside.

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Take your bike wherever  you want to go and have it get there in one piece with the Thule Round Trip Transition travel case.

Marty’s Aeolus Upgrade!

Roll fast, climb hard, even on snow banks...

Roll fast, climb hard, even on snow banks…

The Bontrager D3 Aeouls wheels are some of the most aerodynamic wheels on the market.  Their shallowest rims (Aeolus 3) actually beat the competition’s deeper rims at any yaw  or crosswind angle.  

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Marty will be rolling fast on these babies this season.  The Bontrager Aeolus wheels use the highest quality OCLV carbon, and are hand-built in the United States.

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With Bontrager Aeolus wheels, not only do they offer the stiffest and most efficient, yet comfortable ride out there, but they also look super cool on any bike.  Rumor has it that we will get some demos in soon.  We will keep you posted!

Specialized Epic Review

Full Bike

Epic Expert Carbon… It’s O.K. if it makes you blush.

     When demoing a bike, it’s important to not only look for the hot new features that the manufacturers hype up, but also to just ride the bike the way you ride and on your hometown trails.  Sometimes it’s difficult to ride when you’re thinking about the cool features that your current bike doesn’t have. That is not the case with the Specialized Epic.  Whether you decide to ride either the aluminum or carbon frames, there is no “just get used to it” period.  With the autosag set easily to your weight, you can just get on the bike, ride away, and ride past your buddies or opponents like you’ve got an engine.

Brain rr

This bike is smarter than your middle school honor student.

Climbing: The engineers at Specialized have really dialed in the geometry to make the bike feel comfortable, no matter the pitch of the trail.  With most full  suspension bikes, climbing is done most efficiently by sitting on the nose of the saddle and spinning smoothly up the hill.  With the Brain Shock, there is no need to remain in that position if it doesn’t suit that trail or your riding style.  You can sit and have the bike absorb the bumps while you grab the KOM on your local hill, or you can stand up and mash the cranks without loosing momentum while you cruise past the guy that was faster than you last season.  The best part about the brain is that it is fully adjustable for whatever the trail throws at you. (TL;DR: It climbs like this.)

Descending: I was amazed at how well this bike flew down the hills and ripped corners.  In technical rocky spots, the the brain disengaged and allowed the FSR suspension to suck up all the variations in the terrain.  The biggest aspect of the Brain that I noticed was how predictable it was.  There were no moments where I felt “thrown” because of the suspension, though there were moments I could have sworn I was riding a nimble trail bike through the rocks.  The cornering was perfect since the bike has such a short wheel base even compared to some of it’s 26” rivals.

Front Brain

Models such as the Epic Expert Carbon include a Brain in the fork too!

XTR Clutch

The gold “clutch” on the derailleur keeps the chain from bouncing up and down, which helps keep the ride quiet and chain on the bike.

Overall the bike is not only gorgeous, but fun and fast to ride.  Whether you are a racer trying to grab a spot on the podium or a recreational rider looking for a fast, comfortable, and fun bike that performs at the highest level, this is the only XC bike you need.  The Specialized Epic comes with a variety of features that will make your ride faster and more fun. By eliminating the third chainring in the front.  The “two by ten” setup (2 gears in the front, 10 in the back) offers an even wider range of options  than with the traditional 3 chainring setup.  S.W.A.T. is another cool feature added to many of the 2014 Specialized fleet.  It offers a nice low-profile tool kit to keep on the bike at all times, and even a chain tool in the stem cap!  Come test ride an Epic today or rent one for the weekend!

Swat chain tool

Fully integrated chain tool!