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

Advertisements

The Future is Here – Electric Bicycles!

e-bike

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.

FeatureAsset_315393_mid_motor_placement (1) FeatureAsset_315394_intuitive_controls

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

Thule Round Trip Transition

photo 4photo 1

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.

photo 3photo 2

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

photo 5

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.  

IMG_20140103_123954798_HDR

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.

IMG_20140103_123928751

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!

Jamis Dakar AMT Pro 650b Review

Yes your eyes don’t deceive you, that’s Sram X0-1.

Yesterday I was able to demo the Jamis Dakar AMT Pro with 650b wheels. Before I tell you what I thought of the bike, it is imperative that you know my background and thoughts about 650b wheels (or 27.5” for you nerds.)  I am tall-ish (6′ 1.5”) and once I rode a bike with 29” wheels, I thought that there was no need for me to ever ride smaller wheels again.  That was great for a couple of years until 650b wheels gained popularity and people started arguing with me about how great they were.  I thought, “Nah, they’re just a fad that will go away soon.”  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

IMG_20131029_115819083

The actual demo bike with a dropper post. (It was radical.)

When I first mounted this beast, I was impressed with the geometry.  As an All Mountain Bike, I expected it to be very slacked out and climb like this.  (Poorly if you don’t feel like clicking the link.)  The front wheel did feel slacked out, which added a lot of control and handling, but the bike climbed great and didn’t feel like it was robbing me of much energy up the hills.  This was not by any means a cross country race bike, but the up hills were all certainly manageable.

But the downhills make me want to write this like a teenage girl… OMG!!! This was one of the most fun bikes I’ve ever ridden.  On a descending or flat trail this bike takes off like it has a jet engine.  Rocks, roots, switchbacks; the Jamis AMT 650b rolls over everything  with speed.  The geometry and suspension are set up perfectly so that you can get through everything quickly, comfortably, and with a smile on your face.  At least that’s what I did for our entire ride at Ringwood. The Sram X0-1 shifted incredibly smooth, and the chain never came off of the front chainring.  The three-point adjustability worked flawlessly on both shocks which made climbing or riding on fire-roads a lot easier.

Now for the 650b… The hype is real, as this is the do-all wheel size.  I rode right over big pointy rocks with the same confidence I would on a 29er, but was able to really lean the bike over in the corners which enabled me to go faster than if I were riding a 29er.  The conclusion that I came to about these 650b wheels is that they are the ultimate all-purpose wheels if you want to have fun on a mountain bike.  The only time I though that 29” performed better is at slow speed in large rocks.  Does this minor drawback really outweigh the benefits? No not really.  In those circumstances a 650b wheel is much more maneuverable than a 29er which enables you to choose your lines and put the front wheel where you want it to go.  In my opinion, 650b is the only choice for an all-mountain style bike.

A big thanks to Mark for an awesome demo day, trail guidance, and burgers!

A big thanks to Mark for an awesome demo day, trail guidance, and burgers!

Dressing Up for Cold Weather

As the temperature begins to drop, the Jersey humidity dissipates and leaves us crystal blue skies with crisp fresh air.  The temperature hovers at about 65 degrees giving us time to enjoy fall riding and all of the summer fitness we have worked for.  The catch is, this perfect temperature lasts for about twenty minutes before it just starts to get cold.

Image

Then we have choices to make…  We can stay inside and read Velo News and imagine how fast we’d be if we had access to a professional coach and a supply of HGH, or we can continue to ride and stay in shape despite the biting wind.

There are a few main articles of clothing you’ll need to enjoy cool-cold riding in comfort.  With this list, you’ll be able to create a fall-winter-early spring wardrobe, and mix and match depending on your riding style or budget.

Arm Warmers:pearl arm warm

These removable sleeves will keep the chill off of your arms in 59-65 degree weather.  The best part about them is that they are removable so that if your chilly morning ride warms up, you can easily take them off and hide them in a jersey pocket.  You can also use them in conjunction with many of the other clothing articles on the list.

Knee/Leg Warmers:

knee warm

These are great for keeping the joints nice and flexible on colder days.  The best part about knee warmers is that they offer a little bit more mobility than full on winter tights while still keeping you significantly warmer.  These can be used in 49-59 degree weather.

Baselayer:baabaabaseAs the weather cools even more, layering becomes important.  Enter the baselayer.  These go underneath your jersey or jacket and offer extra insulation.  They should be made from a material that is breathable and moisture-wicking, in fact this one in particular is made from wool.  A baselayer will keep your core at a steadier temperature by keeping it dry and warm.  They come in sleeveless  long sleeve  and short sleeve depending on your preference.  A baselayer is a necessity for weather under 49 degrees.

Windproof Layer/Vest:

endura-convert-softshell-159238-11

A windproof, lightweight jacket is key for riding in colder weather.  This specific jacket has sleeves that zip away, turning it into a vest.  There are many variations of windproof jackets, which include some with more insulation for the coldest days.

Tights:

tights

When the knee warmers just won’t cut it, some tights will get you through the frost.  They may feel a bit like a wetsuit at first, but will keep you extra warm.  Tights come in a variety of thicknesses and with options such as the bibs (as pictured above), normal (just like pants), and with or without zippered legs.  These will keep you warm on rides in 29 degree weather and up.

Gloves:

pi_losterwht_11_mf

Winter gloves are a necessity for the colder days of the year.  These are called “Lobster Gloves” which offer a bit more warmth than a traditional style glove.  You do sacrifice a bit of mobility with the lobster fingers.  Something to look for in a good winter glove is breathability and wind resistance.  If your hands get sweaty on a climb and the icy wind blows through the gloves on a descent, you’ll end up with some numb fingers.  (Don’t be like Ricky Bobby.)

Shoe Covers:

pearl shoe cover

Instead of wearing a winter-specific shoe, you can invest in a pair of shoe covers to keep the icy wind off of those little piggies.  Breathability is also key when looking for a pair of these.  Along with shoe covers, you’ll want some nice wool socks for extra insulation.

Headwear:

pearl hatLastly, you’ll need a beanie or a headband to keep your head warm.  With your well-ventilated helmet, the wind can really make your ride uncomfortable. This fits comfortably under your helmet allowing your scalp to breathe while offering wind protection.

All of these items can be used in conjunction with one another based on your personal preference.  Remember that sweat is the enemy, so search for items with breathability, but that also offer wind resistance.  Stop by your local Marty’s and talk with any of us if you have any questions or want to hear about our personal experiences with these products.  Happy pedaling!