Archive for May, 2009

Origin 8 2X9 Crank Set: On Test

May 31, 2009

Editor’s Note: This post first was posted on The Cyclist, but since this configuration is so strongly related to 29″ers, I republished it here for all the 29″er freaks to see.

The Cyclist has just received a brand new addition to the Origin 8 component line in the form of a new crank set offering. The crank set is a 2 X 9 specific design. 2 X 9 is becoming a way that many mountain bikers can get nearly the same gear range without using a small inner, or “granny” ring. (Apologies to our own Grannygear- We would like to keep you around!) At any rate, the drive train set up with a 2 X 9 will have better chain line, easier front shifting, and more usable combinations. Some like 2 X 9 for the possibility of a narrower pedal stance; however, the benefits of narrow pedal stance, or “Q factor”, are in debate.

The Origin 8 2X9 crank set with 44T and 29T rings

The Origin 8 2X9 crank set with 44T and 29T rings

What the new crank does have are CNC machined aluminum rings on the 104/64 BCD pattern. There are profiles and pick up pins on the outer ring that aid in shifting. This set is also ISIS bottom bracket compatible. The arm length is 175mm. The set is anodized in black with laser etched graphics and CNC’ed highlights on the chain rings.

Laser etched graphics

Laser etched graphics

Bontrager 29-3 Tires: Update

May 31, 2009

With some trail time on these tires, I am ready for an update on them for you. Let’s take a look at what I’ve been doing on them, and the rig I’ve been riding them on first though.

The Salsa El Mariachi with a Bontrager rigid fork

The Salsa El Mariachi with a Bontrager rigid fork

The Salsa El Mariachi I have is outfitted with a Bontrager Race X Lite Switchblade fork. The wheels are also from Bontrager and are the Race X Lite TLR wheels which are being run tubeless with the 29-3 tires. The main testing grounds have been at “The Camp” which has a wide range of terrain consisting of steep, rooty climbs, sweeping turns, switchbacks, off camber traverses, and soil ranging from some embedded rocks, to dirt, to some sandy traps.  In other words, a pretty varied pallette to judge a tire by.

The 29-3 front specific tire

The 29-3 front specific tire

The Front Tire: The 29-3 tires are front/rear specific, so I am going to break down each tire and give my thoughts on how they do their jobs at each end. The front tire reminds me a whole lot of a Specialized Resolution tire that has tie bars on the base of the lugs. (The Resolution, a discontinued tire, did not have this feature.)  The performance is very similar as well. I ran the front tire at about 27 psi  and felt it was very good at absorbing some trail chatter, but not supple. I should say that this is a pre-production pair of tires and that the casings are somewhat stiffer than the casings the production tires will supposedly have. The lateral grip is really good, as you might expect from a tread pattern featuring this sort of layout in regards to the knobs. Braking traction was great. The cornering performance in the conditions I have run it on so far s been top notch. I have yet to get some real “loose over hard pack” yet though, so the jury is still out in that regard. However; if your trails consist of any dirt that is tacky, loamy, hard packed, or buff single track, these tires will rail. Sand isn’t their friend, although they do okay because of the volume of the casing here. Mud performance is decent, but not spectacular. This tire seems as though it would be a great all-round tire, in my opinion.

The rear 29-3

The rear 29-3 tire

The Rear Tire: The 29-3 tires are an odd couple. They just don’t have anything in common except the branding on the sidewalls. I will admit to still having some trouble with the looks of this combination, and most of my doubts are directed at the rear tire. It is diminutive. It doesn’t have a lot of anything, really- volume, width, or tread depth. What it does have, it makes to work above and beyond all my expectations. Let’s get to the point: I didn’t expect to like this tire at all. After riding it some, I have found it to be a very capable tire. The climbing traction this tire gives you is amazing, and all without a rolling resistance penalty. In fact, it rolls really well. I ran it at about the same 27 psi as the front, fearing pinching or bottoming out on roots, but I never did. Cornering traction was very good. Braking traction…..well, it gives away faster due to its size. If the tire was wider with a similar tread pattern, I think it would work far better. People that rely heavily on the rear brake will find issue with this tire though. Mud wasn’t a friend, and sand wasn’t either. The tread packs up fairly quickly and the narrow width of the tire just cuts right down into loose sand. (In fact, it does the same in mud, which may be good or bad depending on the type of mud you have.) Overall, an impressive tire, but perhaps better for drier, racing type adventures.

Thoughts So Far: The front specific 29-3 is intriguing and I would like to see how the tire would fare as a front and rear set. The volume for the width is fantastic. The cornering and braking traction has been spot on so far. I like this as a choice for a rigid front end especially. The rear is perhaps the best “monster cross” tire available. If I had a suitable rig, this rear tire would find its way onto both ends of it. Fisher/Subaru team racers and 29erCrew racers are reportedly all over the 29-3 rear tire as a front/rear combo for racing. I can totally see this as well. If you are an XC racer on a 29″er, check these out.

I will be doing some further testing of these treads and will give a “Mid Term” report in a few weeks. In the mean time, I hear that 29-3 tires will be coming into stock at Bontrager’s warehouse within days of this post. Stay tuned for more………..

Origin 8 2 X 9 Crank: On Test

May 28, 2009

The Cyclist has just received a brand new addition to the Origin 8 component line in the form of a new crank set offering. The crank set is a 2 X 9 specific design. 2 X 9 is becoming a way that many mountain bikers can get nearly the same gear range without using a small inner, or “granny” ring. (Apologies to our own Grannygear- We would like to keep you around!) At any rate, the drive train set up with a 2 X 9 will have better chain line, easier front shifting, and more usable combinations.  Some like 2 X 9 for the possibility of a narrower pedal stance; however, the benefits of narrow pedal stance, or “Q factor”, are in debate.

The new Origin 8 2X9 crank with 29T and 44T rings

The new Origin 8 2X9 crank with 29T and 44T rings

What the new crank does have are CNC machined aluminum rings on the 104/64 BCD pattern. There are profiles and pick up pins on the outer ring that aid in shifting. This set is also ISIS bottom bracket compatible. The arm length is 175mm. The set is anodized in black with laser etched graphics and CNC’ed highlights on the chain rings.

Laser etched graphics

Laser etched graphics

The crank set is available through independant bike shops that work with J&B Importers and will retail for a suggested price of $100.00. The set is a little weighty, but for this money, the crankset looks great and should be a good value. We will be bolting it up to a Salsa Dos Niner soon and will return with an update as to how these cranks perform out on the trail. Stay Tuned!

Lock Up That Bike!

May 28, 2009

Editor’s Note: Anthony Coley files this excellent report on how to keep your bike “your bike”.

Every year thousands of bikes are stolen and The Cyclist is here to help you keep you trusty rig right where you left it.

Some facts about bike theft:  The National Bike Registry ( NBR ) estimates over 1.5 million bicycles are stolen every year.

My guess is these numbers are much higher because I’m sure many people do not report their bikes stolen.
Source: http://www.nationalbikeregistry.com/theft.html

NBR also states “Many bikes are stolen from home (yard, porch, garage, dorm room, etc.) Store your bike in a secure place when not in use…”  My home is the only place I have had bikes stolen.  What’s up with that?
Source: http://www.nationalbikeregistry.com/proplock.html

The 2007 the FBI larceny-theft data shows bicycles accounted for 3.4% of the total larceny-theft offenses, which equates to about 210K bikes.

Source: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/offenses/expanded_information/data/larthtable.html

Tips for keeping your bike:

Check out this “How to Lock Your Bike” video by Carlton Reid from Quickrelease.tv and author of “Bike To Work”:http://quickrelease.tv/?p=878


Carlton makes a good point stating “2 kinds of locks require 2 tools – & thieves usually carry just one tool”.  I wonder how many people carry 2 locks?  I struggle with one lock, but I’m also pretty lucky that I can just roll my bike inside my office building and keep it next to my cube.
_____________________________________________________________________
Kryptonite lock offers up the following Do’s and Don’ts:
DO keep your bike locked at all times.
DO lock your bike in a well lit area.
DO lock your bike to an object that is securely bolted or cemented to the ground, and that has something affixed to the top to prevent thieves from lifting the bike or lock over the top of the object.
DO position your lock with key mechanism facing down.
DO create a snug fit with wheels and frame so that there is little room in the U-portion of the lock for thieves’ tools.
DON’T lock your bike to itself, or to objects that can be easily cut.
DON’T lock your bike in the same area all the time.
DON’T position lock near the ground to prevent thieves from attempting to leverage or crush the lock.
Source: http://www.kryptonitelock.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDFs/ProperLockUp_2009_onscreen.pdf

Sneak Peek: Gary Fisher's New Carbon Fiber Full Suspension Rig?

May 28, 2009

So rumors have been spreading like wildfire that Gary Fisher Bikes was developing a new 29″er full suspension device. Even Gary Fisher himself was found to be hinting around about it on Twitter a few days back. Now it seems that a couple of images captured at a Wisconsin cross country event have surfaced that show the bike in question. Not much is known at this time for sure, but speculation is that this is the lightest frame Gary Fisher Bikes has yet produced and that it is full carbon fiber produced in the U.S.A. Stay tuned for more as we learn it………….

The bike on the right is the one in question.

The bike on the right is the one in question.

Again, look to the rider on the right side of the photo.

Again, look to the rider on the right side of the photo.

Editor’s Note: The original photos are sourced from here, and are credited to “mountaingoat 99”.

Salsa Cycles Fargo Update II

May 26, 2009

The “race Fargo” set up is complete now with my final tweaks having been made on a training ride over the holiday wekend. Here’s a look at the Fargo as it will appear at the Dirty Kanza 200 event on May 30th.

The final Dirty Kanza 200 set up.

The final Dirty Kanza 200 set up.

The basic foundation, of course, is the Salsa Cycles Fargo, which I feel is a perfect rig for the person that wants to complete an event like Dirty Kanza. It isn’t the fastest rig you could take into an event like this, but it definitely would be the most efficient and comfortable rig for the rider, when you take all the factors into consideration. Just one thing that quickly comes to mind is the fork. Salsa Cycles has obviously put a lot of effort into this fork, and it shows. I haven’t ever really said much about it, because, well…..the rest of the bike sort of overshadows it. However; last Monday, I could literally see the fork working like crazy and I wasn’t feeling anything at the bars. Nothing. Nada. Zip! That’s awesome, because normally this isn’t what you would expect from a tough, braze on laden steel fork. It’s just one of the reasons that the Fargo is a supremely comfortable rig for the long hauls.

The Banjo Brothers top tube bag thingie

The Banjo Brothers top tube bag thingie

I chose this Banjo Brothers bag for the top tube because it isn’t too big, and it rides on the rough gravel without moving. It has a clear flap that Velcros over as a cover, so you can see what is or isn’t left inside. I will be putting my head light’s external battery pack, a cell phone, a camera, some wet wipes, and a bit of nutrition in there.

The piping is reflective too. A bonus if I end up riding into the night. (I probably will!)

From the "Land of Misfit Bags". From the Land of Misfit Bags….

I had a nice old Kangaroo seat bag on my Fargo for a bit, and it would have worked, but I wanted a rain jacket that would work as a cool weather covering. I found that in the Endura Stealth jacket, but it isn’t the most packable jacket in the world. So I was pondering what to do, when I came across this red beauty in the “long forgotten” department at work. It was a take off from a trade in, I imagine. It doesn’t have any identification as to the maker, but it looked to be really solidly made with double gnarly Velcro seat post straps and nylon strapping for the back end that slipped through the snap down brackets on the top of the bag. What is even better is that I can get the Stealth jacket in with the entire contents of the old bag, plus another tube, patch kit, and multi tool with room to spare. Would it stay stable on rough gravel? Well, after 40 miles, it showed no signs of slipping, movement, or anything negative to put me off from taking it, so I am taking it. We’ll see how that works out.

Hoops of High-techy-ness

Hoops of High-techy-ness

The wheels will be the carbon fiber rimmed, American Classic hubbed, Edge Composites set up. I will admit that these wheels are crazy expensive, but they ride really nicely on gravel by reducing vibrations a ton. Stuff that would normally rattle me enough to cause fatigue will take a lot longer to get to me with these wheels on board. They are pretty light and strong to boot, so I thought a 200 mile ride in the Flint Hills would be just the ticket for these.

Plenty of H2O!

Plenty of H2O!

Probably one of my favorite things about the Fargo: The water bottle mounts! Five bottle mounts, (I could have set it up with six!) should get me from check point to check point with plenty of water- none of which will be on my back- which will also reduce fatigue on my body that would cause me to not be as comfortable on the bike. The bottles all stay put, are easy to reach, (yes, even the fork mounted ones) , and do not mess with the handling of the bike to any great degree. The Fargo also has a pump peg, so my favorite Blackburn frame pump comes along. (Note the zip tie rear peg!) The tires are the WTB Vulpine 29″er tires which roll really well on gravel, have a pretty thick tread area, and the WTB tough side walls that will hopefully repel the flint rock down there. I have injected the tubes with a bit of Caffelatex for good measure.

Well, that’s the main set up. I will give a report afterward on the performance of these things and a rundown on my performance on the flinty roads of Kansas next week.

Geax Gato 2.3″ 29″er Tire: Two Souls Of A Tire

May 25, 2009

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles on the Geax Gato 29″er tire by chris_geotec. Part I can be found here, and Part II is here.

A word about the two souls of a tire:


Here are a few words on what the GEAX TNT tires have taught me.You all know that a tire consists mostly of casing and tread (I know this is a bit simplistic). The tread meets the eye and in most cases a tire is liked or rejected because of this. In my ~20 years of mountain biking, and before going tubeless, it usually was enough for me knowing I liked the tread and size (As long as I could afford it, I would always go with folding – mostly due to weight reasons). Than I went tubeless and soon realized the other soul of a tire that I had been neglecting – the casing.

5_amwheel

When mounting any tire tubed and riding standard to high pressures (> 2 bar)you can get away with much. Wide tires on narrow rims – not much of a problem. But when you go tubeless and want all of its benefits (better traction & comfort, plus lower rolling resistance) you will soon be riding lower pressures. That´s where the casing (and the rim)becomes key factors that decide between fun and disaster. Riding stability, folding over tires, burping, and blow offs are just a few keywords…I guess you all know the story in one way or the other . Like most, I settled with a compromise somewhere within the interdependent variables: (a), rim (width & type), ( b),  tire (size, tubed/tubeless); (c) , riding pressure -and all these influence rotational weight, comfort, and traction (be it objective or subjective, but that can be another discussion). After many years of much trial and error with tubeless it has not been a question of whether I wanted to go tubeless, but what combination I would have to compromise the least. To me this is (or better said: was) lightweight tubeless rims (Notubes, FRM and such) and tight fitting folding tires. (To my defense: Tubeless ready tires are mostly unknown here in Europe and UST were simply too heavy and stiff to my liking)…. end of story (…so I thought).

6_tnt

Then came the one day I got my hands on GEAX´s TNT tires and for the first time I had the perfect casing in my hands – that is to my style of riding. Can you believe they were offering this tubeless ready version for years – fully unnoticed by all of Europe? Not only did the tight and strong bead allow easy inflation and safe riding with no risk of burping under any pressure (like all tubeless and tubeless ready tires) but also the trick reinforced sidewalls were allowing for stable riding at pressures I had thought impossible before. Believe it or not but I rode the 29er 2.2 Saguaro (and the 29er 2.3 GATO) down to 1.2bar and that on 19 mm inside width rims! (… and yes I am not the lean racer type rider). In the end I found the tires´ sweet spot to be about 1.5 bar in the rear and 1.4 up front. Believe me when I say that comfort is top notch, traction is increased to new levels and the overall rotational weight isn´t bad at all with the ZTR 355 rims either. So with GEAX´s TNT tires we have the positive synergy of two souls – casing and tread working together, be it for 26 or 29er…. and now we have a new kid on the block: The 29er GATO 2.3.

Team "NASA Niner" Win Honors In Italy

May 25, 2009

News reaches us here at Twenty Nine Inches of a win by the “NASA Niner” Team in Italy at the 24 Hours of Finale in the Regione Leguria of Italy. The win is notable for several reasons. One: 29″ers are not seen as reasonable choices for competition amongst the general mountain biking populace in Europe. Two: the win was realized by six men in the eight person category, and all six riders were aboard single speed Niners. Three: Added to this was the Solo Women’s category which was won by NASA Niner rider Rebecca Tomaszewski, also riding a Niner, albeit a geared one.

img_3888

img_3908

Congratulations to NASA Team Niner, which included U.S. riders Dejay Birtch and John “Fuzzy” Milne, and Rebecca Tomaszewski on their achievements “across the pond”. It will be interesting to see if this will effect any changes in attitude amongst the mountain biking cognoscenti in Europe.

Gettin’ Groovy, Luv: Experiments in Alternate Handlebars

May 24, 2009

Often I wonder how we have come to certain standards on bicycles. I will read about why this or that happened over time such as wheel size standards or fork offset or what have you. Often the reasons for things being the way they are are kinda’ funny. A lot of the time it just worked out that way or was convenient or expedient or a roll of the dice, but here it is, 100 years later and voila, the veritable ‘way it is’.

Take handlebars for instance. When did someone decide that the modern standard for mountain bike handlebars was a certain rise or bend or width, something that has only recently begun to change? Sure there have been cruiser bars and other things like commuter bikes, hybrids, etc, but the majority of real mountain bikes have come with a 3 to 6 degree sweep, maybe more, and 0 rise for years. Basically the typical XC bar that we have all owned. Riser bars are kinda new on the scene, but even so, they don’t differ too much other than the 3/4″ to 1.5″ rise in the shape of the bar. Sure, 31.8mm oversize bars are cool and new, but they still mimic the shape and sweep of the predecessors.

So what? Well I will tell ya what. There is a lot of stress and strain placed on the arms, wrists, and hands of an off road cyclist. We can strengthen them and we can adapt to the current norm of a mild sweep handlebar, but have you ever heard of ergonomics?

From Websters online dictionary.

Main Entry:
er·go·nom·ics
Pronunciation:
\ˌər-gə-ˈnä-miks\
Function:
noun plural but singular or plural in construction
Etymology:
erg- + -nomics (as in economics)
Date:
1949

1 : an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.

maxim-usb-profile-720x440

Ergonomics produces things like the ergonomic keyboard, designed to alleviate strain on the wrists, etc. It also gave us the fabulous option of using saddles with the center relief/ groove, like the BG saddles for Specialized, the Koobi, etc, all designed to keep blood flowing to parts of our bodies that we want to remain happy. Are they for everyone? No, but options are a good thing.

Back to the handlebars for a minute, we see that, looking back in time, handlebars were often much different on the early bicycles of our grandfathers and great grandfathers. Don’t these pics make you want one of these babies? C’mon, admit it.

1910piercechainlesscl11

27685411bluestreak

I remember having some old knock off Ritchey Bull Moose bars on my first bike and they had a very aggressive sweep back to the hands. I liked those bars, but they were not very adjustable, being basically welded to the stem in one position. What did they know that we have forgotten? Or, did we finally take it to the final refining of the breed, the pure essence of form and function with the typical XC mountain bike handlebar of today? Is this the way it should always have been? Perhaps we got mistaken for motorcycles instead of bicycles? Maybe it came from this influence in the next pic?

800px-john_tomac_1995

The Tomes, muddy and pinnin’ it!

Now Tomac can go fast on pretty much anything. Heck he was winning races on Farmer John tires, maybe the worst handling tire of all time.

But who says my hands/wrists are happy at 6 degrees of bend? Why is that the gold standard that all riders need to comform to?

No good reason, at least, not anymore. Enter the alternate bend handlebar.

Mary Bars. FU and FU 2 bars. Salsa Pro Motos. Jones bars. H bars, J bars, Z bars, Q bars, what have you bars. What they all have in common is a different take on what a handlebar for a mountain bike can look like. Even drop bars are making a comeback for off road use although they never really left altogether. Much of this is being driven by folks on singlespeeds, 29ers, etc. If you are open minded about gears, big wheels, and other departures from the norm, you are more likely to be ready for other things as well.

mary Look familiar? Compare them to the handlebars on the classic bikes from the turn of the century. The Mary bars in this pic on the left are pretty ‘old school’ looking, are they not?

Lately I found myself riding along wanting to do an odd thing: I wanted to turn my wrists inward, rotating my hands on the grips in a position that I could not accomplish on the Easton Monkeylite XC bars I had on both bikes. I never had felt this way before. I never had issues with numbness in the fingers, wrist pain, etc that drives many riders to look at handlebar options. But there I was, wanting to bend those bars to a shape they were not interested in being bent to.

So, I began looking at options. I rode some FU Bars, and although they were very comfy, they felt too narrow for me. The Mary Bars sweep back towards you more than they sweep away, so the end result is the need for a longer stem, something I did not want to do. Then, I found these: The Groovy Luv Handles.

groovy-1 From the website at Groovy Cycles,words by Rody : “I’ve been searching for just the right bar to decrease the pain in my wrist and elbows after an intense ride. The current crop of bars like the Mary and Jones just did not seem to do it for me…too much sweep, not enough rise, etc..

So, working with my mentor, Bill Grove (a wealth of metal fatigue engineering knowledge) and an exercise physiologist, I fabbed up some for myself and the test team to try out. Now we’ve got them dialed and they are available for you, too.

Built of 4130 aircraft steel, with a gentle 4 degree rise and a 21.5 degree back sweep, these bars meet the natural anatomic position of your hands to allow for all day comfort and control. The design allows you to use your current stem and the grip section is long enough to mate with any combination of shifters and brake levers…just slide them on, mark the excess and cut off the material you don’t need.”

Here are some specs for you:

Width – 26.0″ from the tip of the grip to the opposite point
Rise – 4 degrees or 1.0″
Sweep – 21.5 degree
Clamp diameter – 25.4 (custom shims for 31.8 available)
Weight – 315 grams uncut

So, I thought I would give them a try on the SS DiSSent project and see if they are really the answer to what I was looking for. I ordered a set of the steel (he also makes them in Ti), wide at 28 inches and powdercoated black. When I got them it was obvious they are going to be a bit of a weight hit over the carbon bars on there now. But, I am willing to accept that if it feels great.

I measured the reach and height of the existing bars for comparison and removed the carbon bars from the DiSSent. Wow, those are light! Weighing them, I had 412 grams for the Luv Handles and 191 grams for the carbon XC bars. Oh well. I also anticipated losing some shock absorbtion by running the steel Luv Handles. Rody at Groovy Cycles suggests that riders who are running with a rigid fork pop for the Ti bar. The cost is much higher, but they flex quite a bit more.

You can see from the pic that I should end up approx where the 8 degree sweep carbon bar placed the grips as far a reach and rise, but the angle/sweep is drastically different. Also, I used the shims that Groovy Cycles sells since the Luv Handle  is only made in 25.4 diameter and I had all 31.8mm stems.

dscn4516-csdscn4518-cs

Post-installation I put the measuring tape to work and found them to be juuust about 1/4″ further away from the saddle and at nearly the same height from the ground. Good enough. I set them to where the bar was relatively flat as far as rotation up or down.

Riding around the street it was a dramatic change. The increased sweep was immediately comfortable. They felt wide but when I turned sharply, I was able to make the turn with much less strain on my arms, like I was not reaching as far. I think the bend at the wrists allowed my hands to more easily follow the arc of the end of the handlebar as it turned. Nice.

I did change seatposts to get 1/2″ closer to the bars, but I was going to do that with the XC bars as well. Off to the trail.

I have about 3 good rides on the DiSSent now with the bars in place. So far, my thoughts are:

–    They are stiff little beggars. They feel absolutely stout and safe when you are honkin’ on ’em, but they do transfer a lot of shock up into your bod. They ain’t carbon. Solution for you rigid fork riders out there? Pony up for the Ti version.

–    The angle feels absolutely spot-on to me so far. I let another very experienced rider try them and he said the same thing. It just feels right, right away.

–    I love the width, although they feel somewhat narrower to me, a lot of that is the angle of the hand position more than actual end to end width. I like wide bars and I am happy, but Rody makes them narrower and to order as well.

–    They feel great when climbing out of the saddle on the SS. Like the days of bar-ends, it just works here, no doubt. They are excellent in a singlespeed application and they do allow you to move your weight off of the bars, kinda settle back and let the bike float over things a bit.

dscn4521csdscn4519-cs

So now, I thought I would move them to the Lenz and see how I felt about them on a geared bike where standing and leverage are not as much a part of the game, but the speeds go up and the demands for handling, jumping, increase.  However, I found that I had to re-run both shifter cables as the angle of the bars did not agree with the housing length.  With a big ride set for the next day, I swapped back, but not before carefully putting around in the street to get a feel for it, and as before, it felt immediately comfortable.  I will update my feelings later on as I fit them to the Lenz at some point, but for now, I will wrap this up with a very positive impression and some final thoughts:

–    The bars had a rather thick powder coating on them, quite nice after looking at all those bland carbon bars.  However, it made for a tough go, sliding on the brake levers and other controls.  I was able to open the brake levers very slightly with a screwdriver and that worked, but the Gripshifts were a real struggle.  Ouch.  The nice, shiny powder coat is not as nice looking now.

–    They spoil ya.  Swapping back to a bike without the bars felt very odd for quite a while, then I got back in the straighter bar groove.  That may mean a bit of spending to get all bikes equipped with the Luv Handles.

dscn4551csdscn4552cs

Groovy Cycleworks:  http://groovycycleworks.com/default.aspx

Siren Bicycles Announces A New Steel Hard Tail: “John Henry”

May 23, 2009

In a leak from Siren Bicycles, news comes of a new project called “John Henry”. The John Henry will be a production steel hardtail, a first for Siren Bicycles, says owner Brendan Collier. The new steel frame will be offered in five stock sizes, be equipped with Paragon sliding dropouts, and will be offered in one color. (As yet to be determined) There will be options for different decals available. The frame will have Siren’s signature bent top tube as well as being made from Reynolds tubing.

Brendan says he hopes to offer the frame through select local bike shops and says that the MSRP will be $950.00. The first production run is to start in a couple weeks.

Named after the iconic “John Henry“, who was a workingman’s hero that “took on the machine”, Siren Bikes hopes to become successful with the U.S. produced stock frame. (But hopefully won’t die in the end from trying, like John Henry did!) Stay tuned for further updates as the frames become available.