Hei Hei Race DL: Maybe the Perfect Oklahoma Off-Road Machine

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Saturday, a group of us, a cast of shop regulars, road tripped to Hobbs State Park in Arkansas to do some mountain biking.

You know what happens when you go mountain biking in Arkansas in the summer? Not poison ivy. Not ticks. Chiggers. All the chiggers in the whole wide world, gnawing away at your ankles with the feverish intensity of zombies after brains. Never mind that you bathed yourself in DEET.

There should be a new word for the itchiness associated with those little bast … ahem. Where was I? Ah, yes. Mountain biking.

I saw an opportunity for the day-trip; normally, I roll a 2017 Kona Hei Hei AL 29er. Mine’s the bottom-end one with the aluminum frame. It’s a bit on the heavy side, but it has just the right amount of squish to give me good control over pretty much everything. At my advanced age, I don’t use it for flying dozens of feet into the air off of sweet jumps, so I can’t comment on its advanced aerodynamic capabilities.

I love my bike. It’s the first full-suspension bike I’ve ever owned, and I couldn’t be happier. … Well, mostly. I’ve been giving pretty serious consideration to sticking some 27.5s on it and seeing if that changes my center of gravity. Also, N+1.

The first thing I thought when I got word of the daytrip to Hobbs was … I should take the demo bike on that trip. I mean, my bike, but carbon.

So that’s what I did. 

Prior to leaving, I had no idea of the nuances between the two bikes. A Hei Hei is a Hei Hei, right? I just thought it’d be cool to go ripping around Hobbs on a carbon mountain bike. The experiences between the two were substantial.

 Four little Konas all in a row ... 

Four little Konas all in a row ... 

The two bikes are spec’d for completely different activities. My bike is a beginner mountain bike, and there’s a lot of forgiveness in its ride, like a old horse for a new rider. The Hei Hei Race DL is a cross-country (XC) race bike. It’s a lot lighter, has less travel in the suspension, and less aggressive tread on the tires. The AL has a dropper-post for the saddle, the Race DL has a “performance remote” that locks the suspension out so you can climb better.

And boy, does that thing climb better. I could tear up hills much faster and with less effort than on my bike. Made me a little jealous, honestly. And then there was the fact that the Race DL was sporting the 12-speed SRAM Eagle set-up. So much torque.

The Race DL is versatile bike. It could handily double as a gravel bike right out of the box giving you essentially two bikes in one. The treads are perfect for gravel roads, the Eagle would have you flying up those ungraded backcountry hills, and the weight is more than comparable to a gravel bike (Ryan told me the Race DL drops in at just over 22 pounds).

But that’s not all it does. It is a mountain bike, and it performed admirably in Arkansas. As is the case with my own bike, the Hei Hei Race DL is way better at mountain biking than I am. In fact, it seems like it would be perfect for the Enduro race they’re cooking up for Beta Tough in October.

I have yet to surrender the bike back to the shop, but will probably do so tomorrow. Why is that important to you? Because this is the shop demo bike, and it’s currently on sale for 30 percent off. Size M.

You know you wanna.

Sure, the title is a bit of hyperbole. Call it clickbait. Whatever. Come ride the bike.

 When you forget your coozies, you make do with what you have.

When you forget your coozies, you make do with what you have.

Bag Fetish: Outer Shell Adventure

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I have a thing about bags. Pretty sure Jake does, too. Well, I know he does, which is why we carry a limited selection of Outer Shell Adventure bags, among others.

I believe the ones we have on the shelf are the Drawcord Handlebar Bag, and they are swoon-worthy. 

The Drawcord Handlebar Bag can fit up to six 12 oz. cans! Or carry food, extra layers and a camera for day rides. For longer trips, strap on a sleeping bag using a removable plastic harness (sold separately). The Unique Drawcord Lock closure means easy one-handed access. The top flap automatically flips closed when the cord is pulled and the whole bag is lined with waterproof X-Pac!

*Requires 5” clearance from center of handlebars to top of tire

Standard Features

  • 8" x 4" x 5" (3.5" expandable drawcord section)
  • Unique Drawcord Lock system (opens and closes with one hand while riding)
  • Semi-rigid plastic frame
  • Inside pocket (zippered closure)
  • Outside pockets (3-sided exterior sleeves fits phone, gloves or snacks) 
  • D-Ring attachments for shoulder strap
  • Storm flap lid (automatically flips closed)
  • Shock cord on lid hooks around stem or headset (adjustable) - *quill stems work too! 
  • Head Tube/Steerer Tube attachment
  • PU coated Cordura main fabric
  • White X-Pac liner in main compartment and lid (weatherproof)
  • Fits virtually any bike 
  • HANDMADE IN CALIFORNIA

The point of these bad boys is to not have to stuff your pockets full on a gravel ride or your commute to work. 

We have a pretty good selection on the shelf (including a limited edition one made from some crazy cosmic print), and can get other sizes, colors and models if you want. Come in, check 'em out. 

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Magic Endura FS260 Pro SL Bibshorts

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Fred's been on me to post about these bad boys for at least a month. He says they're "amazing" and "the best bib shorts he's ever had." Allow us to introduce you to the Endura FS260 Pro SL Bibshorts.

They incorporate some fancy new chamois pad that you buy to match your saddle, which makes your ride more comfortable and you less look like you're wearing a diaper whilst riding your bike. 

I tend to believe my shop owner when he tells me something is amazing. He's been riding a lot longer than I have and in much better shape than me.

When you come to the shop to try these guys out (and you will, because let's be honest, comfortable bib shorts are one of the best cycling investments you can make), head toward the back by the helmets and shoes. There's a black tower full of these bad boys. If you don't know what your seat is, find out, write it and its size down, and bring that info with you. 

And because I believe in working smarter, not harder, here's the fancy marketing copy from Endura about the bibs: 

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DESIGN PHILOSOPHY

The Pro SL II Bib Short incorporates our award-winning and patent protected multi-width pad fit system. Endura were first to market with this concept and this product immediately became a best-seller. This garment has been tried and tested in the cut and thrust* of World Tour’s hottest races, in both a men’s and women’s variants, by our Pro Teams Movistar and Cervélo Bigla.

PAD INNOVATION 700 SERIES PAD

This bib short boasts our exclusive 700 series pad, engineered using computer cut “Continuously Variable Profile” (CVP) process which delivers a stretch pad with antibacterial finish and available in 3 pad width options. There is an option of three pad widths - you're unsure over which size to choose, you can use our Pad Fitting Tool to match your saddle to the right pad.

EUROPEAN FABRICS

We only use the highest quality Italian power Lycra® fabric for reassuring support. The fabric is finished with Coldblack® technology which dramatically reduces heat build-up and provides UPF50. Read about our fabrics.

FUNCTIONAL DETAILS

A discrete rear laser-cut pocket sits on the centre back of the garment for stowing gels and small devices. To eliminate any chafing and bulk the hems are finished with a raw edge power band which has a grippy inner silicone print. Low bulk Y-form binding is also used on the mesh upper.

FIT

This Bib Short is in a pre-curved race fit, offering support and comfort to most rider heights.

* "cut and thrust?" what the? 

2018 Focus Izalco Race

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Focus basically did away with that Cayo business and embraced the Izalco. Previously, I think the Cayo was more of their touring bike, the Izalco line more about go-fast. I'm not sure there was actually that much difference in the geometry between the two. 

In any case, I rode an Izalco Max and it melted my brains a bit. It was sort of like renting a really expensive sports car for the weekend, then having to go back to your beater on Monday. I shouldn't have done it, and my current bike isn't even a beater.

What's relevant to you is that the Izalco Race is a full-carbon bike you can get for less than $2k (before taxes). It straddles the line between a fondo bike and race bike, which means when you want to get out of your saddle and sprint the last 200 meters to your cooler of beer, it's going to be snappy and responsive, and you'll have energy left because it didn't beat you up the previous 45 miles.

The other thing you need to know is that we have a run of these on the shop floor, which means you can take some of this sweet German-engineered carbon home with you as early as ... today.

Bring your helmet. Bring your shoes. Come ride one. We're here all week.

IZALCO RACE 105 FEATURES

  •  FRAME-INTEGRATED CABLE ROUTING AND FULL-CARBON FORK
  •  COMPLETE SHIMANO 5800 105 GROUP
  •  RELIABLE SHIMANO WHEELS AND CONTINENTAL TYRES

FRAME: Carbon SL, caliper, Pressfit 86 BB, 130 mm quick release dropouts, Di2 ready, internal brake cable routing

FORK: Carbon, caliper, 100 mm quick release

HANDLEBAR: BBB Basic, Aluminium, drop: 125 mm, reach: 70mm

SADDLE: Prologo Kappa 3 STN Rail

SEATPOST: BBB Basic, Aluminium, 27,2mm, 350mm, set-back 20mm

STEM: BBB Basic, aluminium, 31.8mm, +/- 7 degree

TIRE: Continental Ultra Sport II, 700 x 25C, Folding

SHIFTERS: Shimano 105 5800

BRAKES: Shimano 105 5800, caliper

BRAKE TYPE: Caliper

CHAIN RING: 2x

CRANKSET: Shimano 105 5800, 50/34T

REAR DERAILLEUR: Shimano 105 5800, 11-speed, short cage

SHIFTING TYPE: Mechanical shifting

CASSETTE: Shimano 105 5800, 11-28T

WHEELSET: Shimano WH-RS010, quick release, aluminium, 100/130 mm, 20/24 spokes, 17 mm inner rim width

Get Spur'nd: Spurcycle Update

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Think you're too cool for a bell? Let me tell you, when you're time-trialing the trail, sometimes you need a little more than "on the left." You need the pure clarion call of a Spurcycle bell, and we have them. 

IN FACT .. we have as many as six ultra limited edition Chris King Red versions of the bell available while they last. We won't get any more, so ... If you want that dead sexy red anodized look, you need to get pedalin'. 

Also, there's silver and black. They start at $49.99. 

We first posted about these bad boys a year-and-a-half ago and have sold a ton of them. They are spectacular. 

Repost of the tech specs:

Material: premium brass and stainless steel
Finish: Raw or Black DLC (OR ULTRA LIMITED CHRIS KING RED)
Dome size: ⌀30mm x 20.5mm
Weight: 45g
Origin*: Made in USA, Guaranteed for Life
Install: 2.5mm hex tool required

Their marketing copy: Spurcycle bells create powerful, enduring sound. Give notice well in advance with a loud, convincing tone. Precision built in the USA for a lifetime of way clearing.

My commentary on their marketing copy: Convincing tone? Really? Convincing? That's your word in that spot?

 

Rub It In? On? ...

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I am not a subject matter expert in chamois cream. Had lots of saddle issues, but I just never thought about using chamois cream. #dummy

The first time I ever did was a little over two years ago at the Gravel Slayer in Elk City. The wife and I were about 42 miles into our 50-mile gravel sojourn and seat-induced agony had set in. I'm not sure I had a blister, but I definitely was not feeling good about sitting the saddle. 

She handed me a little travel-size packet of chamois cream and the conversation went like this...

Me, standing there looking at it: "What do I do with this?"

Her: "Put it on?"

Me: "Where? Do I rub it on me, the shorts? I really don't think sticking my hand down there is in my best interests right now."

Her: EPIC EYEROLL.

Me: "But seriously ..."

Her: "Yes."

So there I am, standing next to a highway on a red dirt road sticking my hand down my lycra in a desperate attempt to stave off saddle-induced madness. Ooooh, tingly and cool.

Flash forward to about two, three weeks ago. We had almost the same conversation where she looked at me like I was a crazy person when I confessed I had not used it since Elk City.

Perhaps I should maybe reconsider my stance on chamois cream. Or I should actually have a stance on chamois cream. The longer the ride, the more ... moist everything gets, which increases the chances for irritation. There's a way to avoid saddle sores, possibly even hot spots, while you ride?

Don't be like me and not use the stuff.

So what I'm saying is ... I'm not the guy who should be writing about BlueRub. Fred, Jake and the rest of the crew believe in this stuff. If you don't know, consult the experts.

I have a couple long rides planned, so I'll load up on the BlueRub and then pop back with a field report. In the meantime, here's the official BlueRub marketing copy (because I know you guys looooove marketing copy):

CHAMOIS CREAM

Skin lubricant for cyclists, triathletes, and endurance athletes that suffer from chafing.  bluerub chamois cream is naturally derived and specially formulated for prolonged use. Our non-greasy formula prevents, soothes, and relieves chafing and saddle sores.

BODY & SKIN

bluerub is a naturally derived product and can be applied directly to chafing or to saddle sores.

WHEN TO APPLY

Apply prior to or after rides, hikes, or sporting events where skin is susceptible to irritation from rubbing.

WHERE TO APPLY (AH HA!)

Apply liberal amount directly to skin that is susceptible to irritation from rubbing. Can be applied to natural or synthetic chamois.

HOW TO CLEAN

Wash off with mild soap and water. Keep away from eyes.

How can you resist that? Amirite? Drop by, get your BlueRub on. 

... Wait. That didn't sound right.

ooooh ... Shiny

I'm sure there's a trick to it, refilling your tires with those little valves and CO2 cartridges, but I never found it. It was always a crapshoot how much air I could get from that little thing into the tire. Probably it was a matter of technique. I've been trying to start with myself as the error, then seek alternate explanations.

So I started carrying a Lezyne Road Drive hand pump, which is awesome (and we still sell), btw. I added one of the in-line pressure gauges to it, and it'll re-inflate your tire on the roadside to 100 pounds of pressure ... with effort. But you look sorta silly. I mean, it works, so it's got that going for it, which is nice, but wouldn't it be better if we could salvage some dignity?

Last week, Fred showed me these ... the Shiny Object. 

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No, that's really its name. Here's its cheesy marketing copy:

The Shiny Object™ CO2 inflator is made of indestructible oh-so-shiny alloy and fits on both Presta and Schrader valves. Its control knob easily regulates how fast the CO2 is released, making flats a breeze to fix.

Available as inflator only or inflator with vegetable tanned leather sleeve and 16 g CO2 cartridge.

You had me at "control knob."

These babies retail for $19. Come in and get some (and also probably a CO2 cartridge or two). Sure, we also have other pumps, as well as all manner of bike parts, bar tapes, hydration solutions, apparel and, oh yeah, bikes. Have you seen the new Focus Izalco Maxes yet? 

Kali Protectives

So as a GAM and parent, every time I see someone on a bicycle without a helmet I sorta want to hold up my first old-man style and shake it at them, yell "GET A HELMET ON!"

To be fair, I'm of the generation before bicycle helmets. I did all manner of dumb freestyle stunts on my bmx bike. I did sweet jumps off anything I could find. I never bashed my head.

Of course, that was dumb luck. And physics. Being a smaller person, the impact is less because you have less energy in the crash. But that's neither here nor there. The truth is, I was lucky. Concussions are no joke. Ask the NFL (that's a sportsball thing; look up the wiki if you want to know more). 

We've had a handful of different brands of helmets in the shop, from Bell to Kask to our latest, Kali Protectives. We like the product they're putting out, in no small part because of the research they put into their lids. And there's this:

Kali Protectives offers its customers who have purchased a Kali bicycle helmet a limited Lifetime Crash Replacement (LCR) Policy. If you have damaged your Kali bicycle helmet in a crash, you may file a claim to have your helmet replaced by Kali. You must send your helmet to Kali for inspection prior to receiving a replacement helmet. You cover the shipping, we'll cover your head!

Kali Protectives DOT helmets are covered by our limited Crash Replacement Assistance program.

Obligatory Marketing Video from Kali:

Obligatory Marketing Copy from Kali:

Helmets are designed to deform during a crash. How much is dependent upon the crash and the intended helmet design. It is impossible for a helmet designer to know the speed, the angle, the surface, and all other factors involved in any individual crash, so designers are left to try to cover as many situations as possible to ensure that you have the best protection over the widest range of impact scenarios. Essentially, helmet design is a ‘greater good’ effort for your brain based on the designer and the manufacturing technology available.

The major safety components of your helmet are the outer shell and the inner foam liner. The outer shell has several purposes. It protects the inner foam liner (the part of your helmet that dissipates the majority of energy upon impact) from penetrating and abrasive forces. It spreads the load of an impact over a greater area utilizing more of the energy absorbing foam, and it dissipates energy on its own depending on the rigidity. 

So how hard should your helmet shell be? Tough and strong like an armored vehicle? Not so much. A helmet shell needs to have some ‘give’. That means that upon impact it must deform in the most efficient way possible. If there is no deformation the energy transfers past the inner liner to your head and consequently to your brain. When the shell is too hard the only deformation of the inner liner is that of the rider’s head being forced into the liner – the opposite of what should happen. The impact needs to deform from where the energy is applied, at the point if impact, the outside of the shell – the furthest point away from your brain.

When the outer shell deforms correctly, the impact energy is transferred to the inner liner. This starts the process of dissipating energy more quickly and efficiently. What does that mean to the rider wearing the helmet? It means forces resulting from an impact are slowed before they are applied to your brain. 

Think about cars and crumple zones. The old school way of thinking was that we wanted a BIG car, one that is built like a brick shit house and able to withstand huge forces. These days, car manufacturers know that the vehicle needs to ‘give’ – to crumple, so the car takes the impact forces instead of everybody inside the car. Take a look at vehicle crash ratings. We know that energy does not just ‘go away’, it has to be acted upon by an alternate force. When a car’s crumple zone absorbs impact energy from a crash, the chance of survival is increased.

How do we know this works in helmets? We built the same model Kali helmet using traditional construction methods (foam and shell made separately then glued together) and then again with Composite Fusion, Kali's proprietary in-molding process. The helmets built with Composite Fusion reduced linear impacts by as much as 20-25% - same helmet model, same geometry, and same impact locations. Then we tried Composite Fusion with a thicker shell and found that the impact did not break the shell down quick enough to offer anywhere near as significant a reduction of linear deceleration. 

We cannot change the amount of energy resulting from a crash, but we can manage that energy more efficiently. Thinner helmet shells allow for far better impact energy management. Composite Fusion allows us to refine how outer shells are made, particularly when it comes to making them thinner. The shell and foam are fused together which adds rigidity and support from the inner liner without having to add thickness, weight, and rigidity to the exterior shell. That starts the energy dissipation faster and handles it more efficiently. 

Composite Fusion helmets provide better overall impact energy management, increased dynamic range and are smaller, lighter and stronger. Lighter and stronger means a helmet with less mass attached to your head. In a crash, less mass attached to your head reduces the linear and rotational impact forces acting on your brain. A better-engineered helmet shell means a more efficient and overall better performing helmet.

Come on in and check them out. We'll be here all ... the time?