Thursday, 8 December 2011

Winter prep

Not being a dramatist but it's getting slippy out there now.  If it goes like last year then this will be bad for general 'getting about' with any dignity. Penguin walking through town is never that elegant.

We have fitted our winter ice tyres for commuting now such is our optimism about the weather!  Hitting an icy patch and ending up on the floor is not the best fun to be had on a bike so these magical studded treads should help alleviate any broken collar bone potential we hope.

On this note, if you are going to be out riding in the cold, do yourself a favour and get some MW81 boots from Mr Shimano.  Surely one of the best products they have ever made - warm and cosy feet in even the most evil of weathers.

Back to tyres - they are basically a sure fire way of still being able to ride your bike when the snow and ice conspire against you. Where cars can't go, you can - both on the road and off. We have some really nice Spike Claw's from Continental for the Mountain Bike people like us out there so you can keep on the trails. Obviously if the snow is up to your knees then it will be hard going regardless of the tyre you have but when its crunchy and low and icy you can keep on the trails.

I have fitted Marathon Winter models to my Salsa commuter road bike - the noise they make is quite good fun.  Like riding on grit or even bubble wrap as someone described it.  I will be reporting on their efficacy and how many adventures I have with them over the winter months.  Kind of looking forward to it now oddly - think it helps when you think you are prepared for things to be sub-optimal. It gives a clarity of thought and confidence.

Anyway.  Winter tyre time - set about it!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Nut cracking

New helmets arrived today - The POC Trabec.

This is good news cause I have broken 2 in the past few years and was looking for a new MTB helmet so this will be the one for me until next time I hit the deck.

Road helmets are a little chilly sometimes on cold hillsides and even colder when standing at red lights on the commute so this will solve those problems too.

Colour choice is always a hard one but these only come in black right now so that will do! Don't have to think about it.

Must try not to hit the deck again...

Going to give it it's 1st test ride tonight so will report back on fit and sweatiness ratios.

EDIT: 8/12/11

Fantastic fit on these - actually hard to remember you have a helmet on.  Really liking the fact my glasses don't get interfered with either so that's a massive bonus being a speccy 4 eyes.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

New Bikes and how cool they are (or not).

Last week I got myself into a bike I said I wouldn't get into. It is an Ibis Mojo HD140.

I was reluctant to get one as they are a lot of money but also, I was hoping to ride a hardtail to keep maintenance costs down. Sadly, the hardtail thing didn't work out for me and my lazy riding style.

It was kind of inevitable, whenever I talk myself out of doing something it ends up actually happening anyway regardless. Sort of a 'matter of time' thing I suppose.

What can I say about it? Well actually I don't want to say much about the bike at all. I will tell you what it has on it though seeing as some like to geek out over that sort of thing,
It is kitted with a Cane Creek Angleset to knock the head angle out 1degree, it has a new fancy golden painted Fox RP23 on the back bouncy bits, 2x10 drivetrain that is a mix of SRAM X7 up front and Shimano XT out the back (it's what I had), a set of Rock Shox Revelation 140mm forks, Joplin, Crank Brothers bars and saddle too and also a nice set of Ibis hubbed wheels using Stan's Flow rims and UST Nobby Nic tyres.

That's that dealt with.

So why did I go for a new bike and this one in particular?
I want to do a broad mix of riding in the future, from your usual Sunday trip to GT along to more out there adventures in the highlands with a large saddle pack and supplies for a weekend.
It is light enough and pedals well enough to make sure I shouldn't have to carry it, and it's beyond capable on the way down the hill afterwards. Solid enough to take a general bit of messing about and careless slinging in the garage, it can handle being bundled into and out of vans and being treated reasonably roughly.

Also, it has the added benefit of looking AMAZING in bright urine coloured yellow after taking a Berocca or similar vitamin tablet.

New bikes are better for inspiration to ride, especially after injury. They kind of prompt you into making some changes about what you want to do in your limited fun time.

This weekend sees the Annual Pilgrimage to Laggan for a Autumn colour ride in the highlands.  Should be a lot of fun and gladly it's not going to be about the bike, it's going to be about going out with friends in the hills and having a good time. The new bike makes this happen but it isn't about the bike. That's quite liberating.  Kind of like a new chapter of breaking away from kit for kits sake and enjoying the new adventures new bikes can allow you to partake in.  Make sense?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Gloves. The mystical art of....

You will be pleased and no doubt re-assured that as socially amazing as we are and awesomely hunky as we are, we still like to take time to try out things that come in to the store that are new.

I am trying out a new set of gloves we sell as an experiment to see what they are like over the whole season of winter.  Gloves, second to my helmet, are the most important bit of riding kit and i tend not to scrimp on them, my leather Giro gloves are testament to this and the fact they make me look like I just stepped out of Neverland is an extra bonus.

Being a profuse sweater I suffer from very wet hands when riding. I can't tell you how annoying this is. Wet insides to your gloves are so irritating it is unreal. Waterproof gloves seem to exacerbate the issue as they are designed to keep water out but they also have the amazing by product of keeping water (sweat) IN!

So last night I decided to pick the humble sub£40 waterproof glove from PRO and start riding it.

I will use them every day and every weekend that I go riding and might even use them for running when not on the bike and still needing some protection.

Initial impressions:
1. They are not too chunky (ace!)
2. They are warm
3. They are quite movable so I felt all the controls were usable on the bars
4. They are a lot of glove for the money
5. They don't offer a huge amount of hand grip but in reality they actually work well...
6. Sizing is odd. I am a textbook medium and these are an XL that fit me.

Keep checking here for updates - if there is no update, assume all is good in gloveworld.

UPDATE - 17/11/11
Gloves are performing well. Not too sweaty and they are warm.
One small thing I need to fix on the bike though that I have noticed... because the gloves are of a reasonable size it means that when riding with drop levers you may need to keep on top of lever throw if using cantilever brakes.  The habit of tucking fingers behind the brake levers is something  I need to stop!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

How much is too much?

Now the nights and indeed mornings that look like nights are getting darker and darker it is time to arm up in the annual LED light wars that is taking place on a highway near you.

It's a constant battle to know how much light you need on the bike and it depends on loads of factors like, where you are riding, how dangerous the driving skills or lack of are in your area, do you need to see or just be seen... and of course there is the eternal worry of how other cyclists will perceive you.

Occassionally to mix up the route to work a bit, I take the canal or the woods or Edinburghs cyclepaths to get to the shop.  The only time trouble comes my way because of lights seems to be on one of these non road routes.  Shouts of 'you'll blind someone' or 'dip your lights' seem to resound in my ears when I take one of these off road routes.

So. I decide just to go on the road.  People cannot be heard shouting at you cause they are in a lump of glass and metal! Bingo.

This week I thought it would be a great idea to really tool up and popped on 2 NiteRider Stingers.  I also decided it would be an amazing idea to attach my spare (in case of emergency) Petzl Zipka to the seatpost just below the Mighty B17 Arse Cushion on my bike.   Stupid idea ahoy.  The Petzl jumped around daft and decided that 1 of the Stingers would be better off on the Lauriston Place tarmac than on my bike. Clatter, bash, bang CRUNCH as the taxi behind me finished off the Stinger. 

That left one course of action, Cherry Bomb.  This beast was engaged and pressed into action along with a Mako 5 front light.

Now I know how amazing a Cherry Bomb is but the Mako 5 is a new entity so I had my usual 'it's just another front light' hat on.  BOOM! what a monster. 2 AA batteries give off a light that is quite something and makes you wonder how efficient LED's must be getting to squeeze so much light out of something that is so cheap as a power source. (presuming you buy your AA cells at the local Pound Shop).  The Cree LED's really pump it out there. 

I mounted the Mako on the right hand side drop of my road bars and angled it down such that it was facing head on to traffic but slightly down so I could monitor Edinburgh's amazing complex and bedazzling collection of potholes and 'Bus Wounds' as I call them that live on the surface of the roads.

A great beam pattern greeted me and I went on my way a happy boy.

Next time I am taking it off road more as the unlit section I tried wasn't that long so more trialling needs to be done. But so far I am impressed.

Get armed with some bright lights people - they don't cost a lot and you really shouldn't leave it to chance like many of the people you see meandering around without illumination. It could just make you a pile safer than before.

More news soon!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Best in Test

Mystery Shopping by consumer magazines... worth it, helpful and a good thing?

We were mystery shopped a few months back by What Mountain Bike magazine looking for some suspension forks.

We did OK. Rated best in the town over the other 2 in the test, namely Alpine Bikes and Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative.  By no means did we clear up as we were up against the big boys in town, but we did alright considering.

The criticism was that they would have to almost make us take the cash and that we did not have the stock (no-one did!) but the brief set out by the shopper meant that a buying decision was a wee while off yet anyway and there was no way we were going to pressure an unsure man into buying something he didn't know he needed.

Anyway - it was good to win. It gives us something to keep building on to see what we can achieve. Luckily we have great brands and companies right behind us helping.  Some others don't want to be a part of it and that's fine. They can carry on with the 2nd and 3rd place shops if they like, we don't mind ;-)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Headwinds... in more than one sense.

You know what a headwind is.  You all know what it's like to ride into one.

It's an invisible force.  A force that makes you dance up through the gears and adjust your position whilst trying to remember what your school physics teacher taught you about aerodynamics all those years ago (bet you wished you had paid more attention sometimes).

It's great though cause on the other side of a headwind you get a tail wind. That's the opposite of rubbish - you get to dance down the gears and tear along with other traffic on equal terms.

Being an invisible force, you can only feel it's effects and it's easy to adjust to it. You just pedal harder and the desired outcome is achieved. You beat through it and come out the other side a bit blustered but feeling better for it.

It's an analogy that can extend to normal everyday life too.  There is always something conspiring to hold you back. Sometimes invisible, sometimes visible - sometimes you can adjust 1 thing and you change direction. You get the tailwind.  The visible headwind is a harder beast to master though; you can see it, you know what it is, but it's precisely these reasons that makes it a harder wall to climb.  Your actions to combat it are predictable and easily seen by the force - they expect a certain response.  Sometimes knowing stuff doesn't help - it's good  not to know.

When you can't see what's there I reckon it makes you fight a little differently, a little smarter, a little bit more elemental. A simple, response to a simple stimulus.

Headwinds are good. You get fitter, faster and stronger to make the most of the tailwind.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

...there is always something new

Welcome to the first blog by us at TBC. It will mainly be me, Mark, who does this but you will see the odd new name here and there from time to time.

It will be a place we can have a rant or a moan about something we think isn't right. It will also be a place we can point out things to do or new products we have had come into the shop.

To start off we thought we better point out a new product that will be an absolute belter of a bike for 2012.  It's a road bike. It has a carbon frame. It looks the same as other road bikes.   Except... it has batteries. No, it is not electric (they are some way off being good but we will leave that one for another time...) but it has an amazing new technology.

Di2 gear shifting.

Yep. That's right, electronic gear changing.  Buttons instead of levers. No great long cables to get clogged or worn out, just precise Japanese engineering and totally easy to use seamlessness of operation you will think there are pixies involved somewhere.

Why is this a good thing?  Well it's not a bad thing. Yes it's new, yes there will no doubt be problems cause there always is isn't there, it's electronics after all. BUT it is a glimpse of the future, a bit like how an iPod is and was an object of your teenage dreams. Real actual science fiction at your finger tips...

Anyways, back to bikes.  We think that this will be a bike that will propel Cube into the next level of bike design and sales.  There will of course be the expected shortage of stock.  There won't be enough to go around and people will be disappointed, this happens with New Things, it just happens.

However, if you get one you will be amazed.  You will wonder how you ever lived without it.  I have tried Di2 in the past at a trade shows on test bikes and every time you are left wondering, 'how do they do that...?'  You will get that too. It's a good feeling, don't be scared.  New things are good sometimes although old things can be better for certain things.

It will be the way the industry shifts we think <that was not an intentional pun by the way, as hub and internal gearbox systems just don't seem to be the way forward as no one is taking it seriously enough like they do with this.  

Mine comes in November!  Don't worry, you can have a wee shot.

How much?  £2499.  A heap of money - enough to buy a Kitchen and a Bathroom. BUT, how much is your fun worth? How much does the future cost?  It will get cheaper in the long term - even in 2 years time no doubt we will look at this and think we were daft.  You can say that about everything though.  Go get some fun.  Now.

Go read some more on: