Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New stuff this year

This may be the nicest March weather in memory. The terrifying icy streets have given way to long streaks of mild temperatures and sunshine, and an apparently early start to the non-winter cycling season. Business seems to be looking up, too. We've already sold quite a few bikes for this time of year, and we hope/expect that trend to continue. 2010 is looking to be a great year for bicycling, and we are now stocking lots of new and interesting products.

First, the bikes:
The new 26" Surly Long Haul Trucker has been a big hit for us. We are currently sold out, but will get more soon. These are now available in Blue and Black.

Also from Surly, we have the Pacer complete bike. At $1175, this may be the most sensible road bike on the market at anywhere near that price. Why do I say that? Because it takes bigger tires (and fenders, if desired) than most other road bikes, and because it's made of steel. Perfect for brevets and other long-distance riding, or even lightweight, minimalist touring. It may not be as sexy or ridiculously lightweight as some of the wonder-fiber roadies on the market, but if you read this blog, you're probably beyond being dazzled by that stuff. Rest assured, however, that YOU can be as sexy and lightweight as you ever are, even on a sensible, comfortable steel bike!

We are low on Rivendells now, but we do have this lightly used 54 cm Rambouillet:

My wife rode it a bit (maybe a few hundred miles) before we had our 2nd and 3rd kid. It's not in perfect condition, but it's very nice. Now it seems like she might be better served by a stouter bike for pulling trailers and carrying kid seats. So this bike is for sale for $2275-ish depending on what accessories/parts you want on it.

We are expecting a load of beautiful Sam Hillborne frames soon. I ordered 52, 56, and 60 cm framesets. The sizing scheme for these frames is a little unorthodox, so if you wonder what size works for you, I will help you figure it out (for scale, I usually ride 57-59 cm bikes, but I could ride a 52 or a 56 on the Hillborne). The framesets include frame, fork, headset, bottom bracket, and seatpost for $1000. The 52 cm size will (just this once, I think) be made in Wisconsin by Waterford, and will cost $1200. Complete bikes start at $2000 or so. I will get a limited number in each size. If you think you want one, please let me know (I'll ask for a deposit to hold one for you).

Second, the tires:
Our tire selection is the inverse of most shops. We have one, maybe two options in 700x23-25, and lots of options for 26", 650B, and 700C tires in medium and wide sizes. Among these, I feel compelled to mention Schwalbe first. We stock Marathon Supreme ($70 each) and Kojak ($55) in the popular 26" sizes. The Supreme (700x35, 700x40, 26x2.00") has become my go-to tire for most applications, as it has an attractive combination of good flat resistance, light weight, and reasonably low rolling resistance. We also like the smooth, round tread that puts a lot of rubber in contact with the road even in hard cornering and sandy/gravelly situations. If you're willing to sacrifice some toughness for even lighter weight and lower rolling resistance in a wider tire, the Kojak is for you. I haven't done an exhaustive search, but the Kojak may well be the lightest (by far) smooth tire in 700x35 and 26x2.00".

We finally found a source of the 700x37 Pasela (black sidewall), which I thought had been discontinued. We have other sizes, too, in addition to the TourGuard and UrbanMax variants. The Pasela is both cheap ($22-38 depending on size and variety) and good, which is a rare combination.

Also made by Panaracer, we have the Rivendell Jack Brown 700x33.3333. We just have the lightweight "green label" version now, because that's the one that people rave about. I'm trying the tougher "blue label" version on my tandem, and it's tough alright, but I'm not sure if I like the ride quality.

We have lots of other tires, and can special order almost anything we don't have and get it for you quick.

Other stuff:
We are getting deeper into Ortlieb and Tubus this year, and we're awaiting a shipment from them as I type. We also have Arkel bags (mostly commuter oriented items), and of course, the fantastic and economical and local Banjo Brothers and Minnehaha Bags.

As usual, we are happy to set up a generator lighting system for you. I'm mostly ordering dynamo hubs and lights as needed, since the variety of what's available is huge and damned if I know what the next customer will want. But we'll keep a few of our favorites on-hand.

For battery powered lights, we're still stocking the cheap/bright Planet Bike Blaze headlights and Superflash taillights. My favorite battery light, however, is the Nite Rider MiNewt Mini. It's rechargeable (AC or USB), weighs nothing, and throws out a lot of light for $100.


Anonymous said...

Hello Jim-
For tyres in the 700 x 30 to 35 range, what rim width do you recommend? Will my Mavic Open Pro's work?


Jim Thill said...

Yes, Open Pros will be fine for 30-35 mm tires.