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? 

Osmo ... sis

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I see what they did there. Osmo. Osmosis. 

I sort of wish I had one of those 1950s high school health videos to run with this, like "Your Body and You." Of course, given how what they thought about hydration back then, it'd probably have been called, "WATER ... THE HIDDEN KILLER."

Here in Oklahoma, we know about hydration. On Wednesdays between May and August, we know we have to start guzzling the fluids for the WNR soon as we're finished with our coffee. Being improperly hydrated can turn your WNR from a good workout to a short beer run and a deleted Strava file. 

And because you're on your bike, you know that what you put in has a direct effect on what you get out. Gatorade, for instance, is all sugar. However it helps, it's still a lot of calories you're having to burn off. Also, Gatorade's not exactly cutting edge hydration these days.

Osmo is. Check out some of Osmo's cheesy marketing copy:

Hydration is Power

To maximize and sustain power, stay hydrated. As body-water drops, so does aerobic power; by the time you’re thirsty you’re already about 2% below optimal body water, which can result in an 11% reduction in power output.

Individual body-water loss varies among athletes and according to exercise intensity and weather conditions. Most people, under most conditions, should drink 20-25 ounces of Osmo Active Hydration per hour of exercise (roughly one small or large water bottle). Lighter athletes or athletes exercising in cool weather conditions may only require 16-18 ounces an hour. Larger athletes or athletes exercising under hot and humid conditions may require up to 30 ounces an hour.

As endurance athletes, our bodies produce power through aerobic metabolism. Aerobic metabolism requires oxygen-rich blood to flow to the muscles. As body-water drops (due to perspiration and respiration), blood “thickens”, which reduces heart-stroke volume. This means that if you don’t start your effort hydrated, you won’t be performing at your best. If you don’t replace body water rapidly during your workout, your heart rate can hold steady (or even rise), but power will drop (known as “Cardiac Drift”).

In many cases, an athlete’s rate of fluid loss is greater than their body’s ability to replace it orally.  What this all means is 1) you should start your workout fully hydrated, 2) you can’t wait until you’re thirsty before you start drinking, and 3) you should be drinking Osmo Active Hydration, because it’s been developed to be the fastest way to replace body-water orally.

How is Osmo so fast at replacing body-water?  

To answer this question, we want to tell you about an American Chemist named Dr. Robert K. Crane. In 1960, Crane presented his discovery of the sodium-glucose cotransport system. Later, The Lancet called Crane’s discovery: “…the most important medical advance this century.”  

In plain language, when glucose and sodium are present in the small intestine, water is drawn into the bloodstream at a much faster rate.

Crane’s discovery of cotransport led directly to the development of oral rehydration therapy.  Oral rehydration therapy has saved the lives of millions of people suffering from dehydration in underdeveloped countries.

Crane’s discovery paved the way for Osmo Active Hydration. We have studied, tested and perfected the science of oral rehydration, honing the ratio of sodium (and other electrolytes), glucose and the other natural and organic ingredients to maximize the rate of fluid absorption and palatability.

Also, Peter Sagan reps this stuff. Maybe if you drink enough of it, you'll be able to ride wheelies on your road bike like he does. I mean, I'm not saying you will, but I'm not saying you won't, either.

Come in, check it out. This is one of the ones we swear by. Also, it just so happens that if you need anything related to carrying your on-bike hydration, say ... bottles, cages, Camelbaks, flasks ... we can hook you up with that, too. 

Thanks for reading. We'll see you at the shop. 

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Keep Laufing

We have a lot of gravel enthusiasts who visit the shop ... by design. We love riding gravel. The lack of cars, the feeling of freedom, the scenic views. About the only thing we don't love about gravel is the vibration.

Steel and carbon are good for dampening the bone rattling, but there's also ... The Grit from Lauf. Looking at it makes me think of Han Solo showing Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi the Millenium Falcon in Star Wars ... "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts."

Lauf forks look weird. But they are wily. They have an instant, undeniable effect on your ride. The same week we became a Lauf dealer, one of our shop regulars bought the first fork we had in stock, and stuck it on her Ti gravel bike. She had this to say:

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#monstertruck got just a tad bit of an upgrade for its adventure up to Kansas to chew up some gravel. #laufforks #citycyclesok #pandemoniumcycling

EDIT: And by ‘tad bit of an upgrade,’ I mean amazing! This fork is super rad. 68+ miles of pavement, gravel, wind and sand today and I don’t feel nearly as beat up as I would have using my regular carbon fork. Go check these out at City Cycles, gravel people. You’ll be glad you did.

That was completely unsolicited, mind you. We did not pay her. Or bribe. Riding one of these things will convince you better than my words ever will. But ... I'll give you one last thing. Here's a vid from Lauf on their fork technology. Watch and learn, then ... come test ride.

We'll see you soon.

SWIFTWICKS!

OMG! Socks. Below follows the magical marketing copy from Swiftwick on why their socks are so magical. And you can get to that in a minute. But first ... yeah, socks. They're important. In many ways, socks are the keys to foot comfort on  your bike. They can help you avoid hot spots and cramping. They can keep your feet dry and comfortable, and fight off the stanky foot. 

Oh, and they can look cool. We have an assortment of Swiftwick socks in the shop because ... they are awesome. Swiftwick socks provide compression, cushion and even come in Merino wool. Come pick your favorite flavor. Match your bike or kit, or go nuts and totally clash with your bike or kit. We don't judge. 


BORN TO WICK MOISTURE. BUILT FOR A PERFECT FIT.

Swiftwick socks provide a critical performance link between you and your technical footwear. Every style is designed and crafted to bring more enjoyment to your chosen activity by focusing on the following fundamentals

FIBER FIRST™ MOISTURE WICKING

We carefully select high performance synthetic and merino wool fibers that inherently move moisture. These fibers are sculpted into breathable designs to keep you dry. An example is synthetic Olefin, our signature fiber used in many Swiftwick products. Olefin is a lightweight fiber that wicks moisture and dries quickly.   

 CONTOURED COMPRESSION® FIT

Our goal is a perfect fit every time, so you can perform at your best, regardless of your chosen activity. All of our socks are designed to support the contours of your foot, which means no voids, bunching, or blisters. We know fit is a personal preference, so we provide compression options such as firm, moderate and relaxed.   

CHOICES TO FIT YOUR ACTIVE LIFESTYLE.

Finding the right sock is just as important as finding the right shoe. We build many standard technical features in our socks and are proud to offer a wide range of options so you can achieve the perfect fit and feel every time.

 Most of ours are the taller variety ...

Most of ours are the taller variety ...