Thursday, January 27, 2011

Some recent projects

We've been working on a few fun projects lately.

Recently, Surly changed the Cross-Check by adding lowrider rack mounts to the fork. For some, the Long Haul Trucker is just too much, too heavy-duty. But now the middleweight Cross-Check, properly configured, is a viable option for all but the most heavily loaded touring. With that in mind, we put together the Cross-Check FLT (Fast Light Tourer).
Surly Cross-Check FLT
Notable features include lightweight wheels built on Velocity Aerohead rims, Alfine dynamo front (no light hooked up yet), Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 700x40 tires, Cascadia fenders, and Tubus racks. And we couldn't resist adding some jewelry in the form of a Chris King headset. If you're looking for a do-everything bike, this might be it. Touring, brevets, commuting, gravel grinders, fast-ish group rides. ANYTHING!

Next, we present the Surly Troll. If the now out-of-production Instigator and the 1x1 spent a careless night together, the Troll would be the illegitimate offspring. It has braze-ons and eyelets for everything - racks, fenders, the forthcoming Surly trailers.
Surly Troll
If the Cross-Check above is a do-anything road bike, the Troll is a do-anything semi-indestructible All-Terrain-Bike. It's like a touring bike that can handle 2.7" tires. Or it's a mountain bike that can carry a full touring load plus a trailer. We're not advocating this, but you can even put 700c wheels on it, hypothetically. To me, this is one of the most intriguing bikes ever.

Now is a good time to get a great deal

Surly LHT deals:
We are still offering 2010 pricing of $1095 on Surly Long Haul Trucker complete bikes ordered and paid for this month. You'll also get a good deal on accessories, and some freebies. With our shop hours what they are, this means that Saturday is the last day to save over $100 on your new LHT (unless you give me your money at the Winter Pub Crawl on Sunday). Starting next week, we will charge the 2011 MSRP of $1199. We will figure out some kind of incentive to go with that, but it won't be nearly as nice as our January deal. Regardless of what price you pay, the complete LHT is, in my opinion, the absolute best deal in the world of bicycles, just that this week, the deal will be better than usual.

Rivendell deal:
We have one Rivendell Sam Hillborne bike carried over from last year. It's a 52 cm in Rivendell's "expanded geometry" scheme, which means it fits more like a 56 or 57 cm, but with improved standover clearance. We built it up with nice parts, and it will be a great all-rounder, tourer, commuter, or whatever else you do on a bike (within reason). And pretty! This is one of the frames that was built in the USA by Waterford in Wisconsin. The old frameset price of $1200 applies for now, but after this Hillbornes will be the 2011 price of $1400. If you choose our complete bike (smart idea), the total will be $2200 plus tax, shipping, etc. This is a GREAT deal on a fantastic bike, and if you buy this you're supporting US bicycle manufacturing, for whatever that's worth to you.

Redline deals:
We have some Redline stock carried over from last year, and we want you to buy them at a great price. Commuter bikes:
in stock Redline Metro 9 and Redline 925 are now $450, down from $550.
Off-road bikes:
Monocog Flight 29er, fancy lightweight steel, nice parts: $600, down from $979
Redline D600 29er, cool steel 29er with 2x8 drivetrain and disc brakes: $579, down from $939.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pub Crawl this Sunday!

Don't miss this!
The Winter Pub Crawl is arguably the most important cycling event, and you'll regret it forever if you have to hear about the hilarious and profound goings-on second-hand! So postpone whatever lame thing you were planning to do on Sunday, and come and ride your bike to various swanky establishments with a motley crew of even swankier characters! Officially, it starts at noon at Bulldog NE*, but we will be leaving from HC** at 11 if you'd like an early start on building up your thirst***. There are to be food and beer specials, not to mention fabulous beer-related and bike-related prizes. Please note that you need not be a drinker to participate. Sober types like me are more than welcome, and highly likely to have a good time.

See caveats, explanations, and clarifications below.

*     The second-stop at Tilia has been cancelled.
**   There are no plans for an official return ride to HC after the pub crawl.
*** Non-bike participants, whether they arrive by car, on foot, or public transportation are welcome, but they won't have as much fun.
**** We don't have an exact schedule, and couldn't keep to it if we did, so if you'd like to try to meet us at one of the intermediate stops, just guess a time and hope for the best.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Now open later! Also, special deal on Surly LHT orders!

My family/childcare situation has changed recently, and I'm now able to keep the shop open later in the evening. Starting today, our hours are:
Tuesday-Thursday 1-7:30 PM
Friday 1-6:00 PM
Saturday 12-4 PM

If you know us, you know how much we like the Surly Long Haul Trucker. It's a wonderful bike for just about anybody who rides a bike for transportation, long rides, commuting, grocery-getting, touring, or any other type of versatile riding. And for the month of January, when you order and pay for your new LHT, we will honor the pre-increase price of $1095, which is a savings of over $100 off the 2011 MSRP. Plus you'll get a good deal on accessories and upgrades, not to mention some freebies. Considering the variety of wheel size, color, and frame size permutations for this model, we don't have many of these in stock in mid-winter. But we have sold (and ridden) a lot of these and we know how to get you the right size, and the right accessories, upgrades, etc, for your needs. It generally takes us less than a week to receive and assemble your personalized LHT bike.
Surly LHT 56
So come in and talk to us this month, and get ready for many years of high adventure and reliable transportation on your new LHT.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wheelbuilding class, January 29

The wheelbuilding class has been popular this winter, so I'm doing it again. Building and riding your own wheels can be a satisfying experience on its own, provides a valuable home-mechanic skill (truing), and usually results in excellent quality wheels.
I will hold the class Saturday, January 29, 8am-Noon. The registration fee is $60, which is required to reserve your spot. We will provide a workspace equipped with a truing stand and spoke wrench for you to use during the class. Most people are able to build one wheel during the class, but others try to build a pair of wheels. You can supply your own rim(s), hub(s), and/or spokes, or you can get those items from HC for a discounted price with class registration. If you don't know which wheel components suit your needs, tastes, and budget, we will help with that, too. Space is limited, so call 612-727-2565 or stop in to register and discuss options for your new wheels.

Friday, January 7, 2011

what it's all about

Check out this photo (from the tour divide website) of some intrepid cyclers on the great divide somewhere in Canada, circa 1910 by my guess.
The handlebar mounted roll-bags are reminiscent of the bags that these days hang from the carbon fiber handlebars of the bicycles of today's elite great divide racers. Also notice that these are all fixed-gears - see the foot pegs on the forks? Some of the bikes appear to have rod-actuated spoon brakes, which didn't work any better in 1910 than they work today (which, I assure you, is shitty). But what the heck did these guys know? It's not like Avid hydraulic disc brakes were an option. But I imagine these guys took a certain amount of pride in their steeds, and by standards of the day, they were probably on the bleeding edge of bicycle technology. I wonder if their friends and relatives thought they were crazy.

All this brings to mind my favorite all-time old photo:
This is William Fay and Bob Drake on a 600-mile bicycle adventure through northern Minnesota in 1935. I wonder if these guys are still alive. If they are, I bet they still have fond memories of this time. Anyway, unlike the great divide guys, these young men actually had bikes that would coast down hills, and tires that were inflated with air (instead of solid rubber) and fat enough to give good traction on unpaved roads. Can you imagine what these two would make of the Google Group discussions of best tires for "touring"? Can you imagine what they would make of any of our neurotic bicycle-related concerns? It was the middle of the Great Depression. Times were tough, but these two had bikes and a sense of adventure. I assume that it rained. I assume there were mosquitoes. I assume they had to patch their tires and tubes. I assume that there was difficulty and exhilaration (two sides of the same coin).

Despite the snow and cold today, summer isn't far off. None of us are getting younger. What are your bicycle adventure plans for 2011?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And so begins the 2011 season

Now that the holidays are behind us, and the calendar is again a blank grid on which we start filling in the boxes with our lofty two-wheeled ambitions, we are reminded that it's time to send in our postcards for our favorite gravel road adventure. I get a lot of questions about this, so here's how it's done:
If this is your cup of tea, do it. It's a first-class event organized by first-class folks, the roads and surrounding scenery are gorgeous, and it's absolutely, 100% FREE. If you're inclined toward extending the adventure, you can start with me in the wee hours the day before Almanzo, riding from HC to Spring Valley, then riding back on the third day. 

Of course, you'll likely need a new bike for this, even if you already have nine bikes ready to roll. It just so happens that almost every bike we sell at Hiawatha Cyclery is gravel-road capable, if not excellent. For example, a Rivendell Sam Hillborne is either a road bike, a touring bike, or a rough-stuff monster-cross bike, depending on which tires you put on it:
hillborne all-rounder
These are $1000-1250 for a frameset, or $1900-2500ish for a whole bike.
Or how about a Surly Long Haul Trucker? If you are a one-bike or a two-bike person, this should be the one (or two). Get one that takes 26" wheels for the added tire clearance. Here's one rigged for hauling panniers, but it could easily be set up to be (relatively) light and fast, or with knobby MTB rubber, or...
Surly LHT 56
The new 2011 price on these is $1200, but if you order and pre-pay for one in the month of January, we'll honor the old price of $1095 and include some freebies.

We also have some previous year Redline 29ers that are marked down to insane-o low-ball prices: $600 for either a 17" Mono-Cog Flight or a 19" D600 (steel is real). I love how these ride, and recently configured one for my own back-road adventures.