Hayes Stroker Ace

More Sea Otter stuff: Our buddy Q from KHS showed us a little something new that is starting to make the rounds on the net. It’s the new Hayes Stroker Ace, a 4-pot version of the very nice Stroker brake.


Incognito


No markings… production model will have a star and “Stroker Ace”

Some info:

* Lightweight Downhill & Freeride brakes
* Stoker master cylinder
* Longer lever with aggressive hook and increased mechanical advantage
* Indexed reach adjustment dial
* Four-piston, forged mono-block caliper
* Sintered and semi met pads available
* Fits 6, 7, 8, and 9? rotors
* System weight: <440grams (6? post mount with steel mount hardware)


Brake system


Red with white lettering


Nice details on the reservoir and caliper

Click here for Hayes site.

Southern California: Best Mountain Biking Locale in the World?

A recent press release by the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News website mentioned that Bicycling Mag has decided to move its offices from Burbank to Valencia, California. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Southern California, Burbank is a city just north of downtown Los Angeles while Valencia is a little farther northwest of Burbank, another 25 miles.


Riding next to the beach… +1 for So. Cal riding

Bicycling Mag’s Steve Madden (I thought he made women’s shoes) stated that their reasons for keeping an office in Southern California is because its “important to have a place with access to sunshine.”


Jumping the gap on a So. California trail

That got me thinking: yeah, Southern California is a great mountain biking locale but could it be one of the Best Mountain Biking locales in the world? Could it be THE best Mountain Biking Locale?


Off chamber singletrack with some nice exposure to boot! yum

Here are my thoughts:

1. Diverse trails: You can’t start off any list of best mountain biking spots in the world without a list of what that location has to offer. I live in north Orange County and within one hour of me I have access to literally hundreds of trails. The Santa Monica mountains northwest of me are world renown for their challenging yet beautiful trails. The San Bernardino mountains to the northeast is home to what is widely considered the best singletrack in So. Cal.: San Ana River Trail (SART). To the east are two major race courses in Fontana’s Southridge which runs Cross Country, Downhill and Super D races as well as Temecula known for its Endurance racing. To the south, within an hour and a half drive, there are a ton of trails. I would not be exaggerating if I said that I could ride every Saturday for a year without riding the same trail twice.


Riding SART in the middle of December

The sheer variety of all that is available can make choosing a weekend ride particularly difficult. Want to ride in the mountains? Want to ride in the hills along the beach? Want to do a 100 mile epic? You can find them all in Southern California.


Lance ready to race in early November… notice the beautiful skies

2. Spectacular weather year round:
You can not qualify your locale as the best mountain biking spot in the world if you can not ride on dirt at least 3 seasons of the year. Year round riding gives you another point. Sure there are a ton of great spots in Colorado and Utah to ride but if they’re closed down 6 months of the year for the white stuff then you can’t really stake a claim to being the best. Maybe we’ll give you the title of best mountain biking locale 6 months of the year. 🙂

Think of it this way: I’ve been mountain biking through the last few winters and the coldest its ever been is the high 30s. What did I wear? For my legs: leg warmers & shorts. For my upper body: wicking base layer, long sleeve t-shirt & windbreaker pull over. No parkas, no snow boots, no ear muffs. On the other side of the coin I’ve ridden into the dead of summer with just shorts and tank-top type wicking shirt, no problem. Some guys even ride shirtless… although I’m not sure if that’s a plus or not.

Just an aside but why would you send products to test in places that are packed down by snow 6 months of the year? Unless you’ve got a mountain biking product made for extremely cold weather most products sent in the fall/winter can’t or shouldn’t be tested until spring/summer in those areas. Do you want your mountain bike getting ridden in conditions most mountain bikers wouldn’t venture out in? OK, now I’m just being selfish. 😉


Early MARCH race at Bonelli with temps in the low 70s

3. Tons of Local Bike Shops: If having choices are good then having a ton of choices is even better right? A few weeks ago, I visited 4 different bikes shops to check out there 29er collections. These four shops were within 5 miles of each other, not “as the crow flies” but actual driving miles. In Southern California you are not limited to the one LBS in town. Don’t like one place’s service or bikes? Stroll down the street and see if the next LBS doesn’t do better.

Not only are there a ton of LBS’s but some great big name e-tailers such as pricepoint.com & jensonusa.com are located in Southern California. Why is that good? Because if you buy something from them and select ground shipping, many times you can get your purchase the next day! No need to pay for expensive overnight shipping if you live here.


Pricepoint is almost down the street in Gardena, CA.

Jensonusa not only has quick shipping to So. California residents it also has two brick & mortar stores. Can’t wait until tomorrow to pick up your order? Roll on over to their store and pick up orders that you make from their online store.

4. Huge mountain biking community. I’m not a fan of riding solo, but that’s usually not a problem with such a large mountain biking community. The strengths of this is not just meeting friends and riding together, it also has fringe benefits. Having a large mountain biking community means demos are always swinging by. Just last week Specialized, Pivot and Rocky Mtn had demos going. This weekend Giant will be doing demos in So. Cal.


Demoing the KHS Flagstaff

Another fringe benefit to having a huge mountain biking community is that there are a lot of bike companies who have offices in Southern California. How is this a plus? Well, you can’t spend 24/7 mountain biking, right? You’re going to have to work sometime to pay the bills and what better place to work, for the mountain biker, than for a bike company? Niner, Intense, KHS, Felt, Shimano, Giant, Turner, etc. all have offices or are headquartered in So. Cal.

OK, enough bragging. Now I want to hear your arguments. Why do you think your location should be considered the best mountain biking locale in the world?

Quick Survey… 29ers at your LBS?

I recently went out to four nearby Local Bike Shops (LBS) to check out the 29er scene. I was particularly interested in what manufacturers the LBS carried and if the LBS carried 29ers from those manufacturers.


Specialized FSR 29

My realization? 29ers have definitely come a long way in a short period of time. Every shop I went to had at least one 29er on their sales floor. This probably would not have been the case just a year ago. The popularity of 29ers has caught the attention of many big name manufacturers and because of this many of them have added their own 29er for their lineup.

The first shop I visited is a high end bike shop. They carry smaller bike brands like Salsa & Felt. At this shop 29ers were very commonplace and the sales people were very familiar with 29ers. They consistently recommended them for mountain biking to many of their customers. I came away pretty stoked because the 29ers were holding their own at the shop.

The next shop I visited was significantly larger. It had a ton of bikes from different manufacturers and 29ers were still well represented there. The 29ers they had were by Redline and Specialized. Only a short year ago this shop wasn’t even carrying any 29ers. Why? Because they didn’t carry Redline bikes and Specialized was still dragging its feet in coming out with their 29ers. Now Specialized got on board and added a hard tail plus a full suspension 29er to their lineup. The shop, likewise, did the same to their sales floor. Redline had a strong showing here multiple Mono 9’s, Monocogs & Monocog Flights.

The 3rd shop on my list was a Trek/Gary Fisher dealer. I knew this bike shop would be filled with 29ers but I was surprised when I walked in and only a few 29ers were on their sales floor. I inquired about this and was told that their supply couldn’t keep up with the demand for 29ers and the 29ers were flying off the floor as soon as they were built!


Moe & his KHS Solo-One

The last bike shop I visited is a little shop that I’ve been frequenting off and on for the last few months. For mountain bikes they carry Santa Cruz, KHS, Cannondale and Trek. Although half of those manufacturers carry 29ers the LBS had only one 29er on the floor, a lonesome KHS Solo-One (not kidding… a “solo” “one”). I was a little bummed that this shop didn’t have more 29ers especially from KHS who has wholeheartedly supported the 29er movement with rigid, hardtail and recently full suspension 29ers. When I inquired as to why they stocked only one 29er the owner mentioned that he had not ridden a 29er yet. Ahhh… I get it now. In my opinion you really can’t realize the benefits of the 29er unless you’ve had some seat time. His reasoning for carrying the Solo-One is that if any of his customers were interested in trying a 29er the cost would not be prohibitive to get onto one. Valid point.

So, are 29ers coming around? In my neck of the woods I would have to answer with a resounding “yes?. All of the LBS’s I visited carried at least one 29er and many of them had 29ers from different manufacturers. For some of these LBS’s the 29ers were a strong part of their bottom line. Music to my ears!

What about for you? Have you started to see more 29ers out on the trails and in your LBS?

KHS Test Bike

KHS is sending us a new test bike to umm… test.

Here’s a hint of it:

I can tell you that the bike’s name is based off the name of a city in the AZ but it’s not Glendale where Super Bowl XLII is being held at University of Phoenix Stadium. Hmm… am I allowed to say Super Bowl?

Back to the bike. As you can see from the picture its got a Horst bearing rear linkage, a Rock Shox Monarch shock for 3.5 inches of travel and a flat black finish. If you peruse KHS’s site, I’m sure you’ll find our next 29er test bike real quick.


29er Parts at PricePoint.com

Thursday Tech Tip: Cookin’ Grips

That’s right, it’s supper time folks. Tonight on the menu are a pair of fresh Velo grips. This is a simple little recipe I learned for installing regular grips(not lock-on).

Lock-ons are nice but I like the simple and sleek regular grips for the dirt jumping bike(KHS DJ300) so I went with the flanged ones mostly to help keep the old hands on the bar, partly to keep more beer money in my pocket. Enough with the chit chat, let’s get cookin’!


All ready

The first step is to get a saucepan and fill it up enough to submerge them. Next bring the water to a rolling boil. Once the water is ready, slide your grips in. Keep the water at a rolling boil and stew your grips for 5 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally! I use a spatula to keep the grips off the bottom so they don’t melt.


Grip Stew

After 5 minutes, have something ready to carry the grips to your bike with. Paper towels do the trick nicely. You’ll notice your grips are hot and pliable. Once your at your bike, simply slip on the grip while twisting. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy your grips slide on. Repeat for the other side and you’re done! But won’t the grips be wet and slide around? Nope. After you remove them from the boiling water you’ll notice any liquid on the grips evaporate quickly. The heat helps dry any and all water inside the grip too. And once the cool air hits ’em they’ll harden up and be water-free.


Shiny new grips

I never was a fan of hair-spray or adhesives as a way to get grips on. Installing them doesn’t have to be a hassle or be messy. And if you ever need to remove the grips, remove your handlebar from the bike and, again, soak the grip in boiling water for 5 minutes(obviously deep enough to cook the whole grip) and twist off. No need to cut them and waste $5. Now you can re-use regular grips. In your face Lock-ons!

Product Review: KHS ROBIX FITNESS

PRODUCT TESTED: KHS ROBIX FITNESS SPIN BIKE

ABOUT ME: 5’5, 130lbs, 30 year old female. I love all kinds of riding but Mountain Biking is by far my favorite!

TESTING GROUNDS: My living room, My side patio


SPECS
• Heavy duty frame with large ovalized 40X80mm down tube is ultra sturdy
• Powder coated finish with rust inhibitor
• 440mm, 47 lbs. balanced flywheel w/sealed bearings
• Heavy-duty 3-Piece crank
• Oversize cartridge bottom bracket, 8-spline spindle
• Ultrasmooth and quiet belt drive
• Handlebar and seat heights adjust easily with Quick-pull knobs
• Handlebar rubber coated for durability, comfort and grip
• Handlebar mounted expandable water bottle cage
• Comfortable, new ergonomic saddle
• Chainguard is powder coated with rust inhibitor and covered
with 3M anti-slip tape for added safety
• Quiet and smooth top load Nova brake pad system provides progressive resistance/pressure
• Ratcheting adjustment resistance lever
• Resistance can increased or decreased to suit rider’s ability or training routine
• Fits riders from 4′ 10″ to 6′ 5″
• Club quality cycle with 10 year warranty on frame weld, 2 year mechanical,
and 6 month wearable
• Two rollers on front stabilizer for mobility
• Easily assembles in minutes
• Black


Doesn’t this spin bike look nice under my tree?!?!? 😀

A few months ago Moises dropped off the KHS ROBIX FITNESS bike for me. I was immediately impressed with the high quality of this bike. The spec list is a nice long list.

I had been taking spin classes at my local gym for a couple of months and the bikes at the gym are no comparison to this bike. If only I could drag this bike to my gym ever week!

There are two main items I wanted to consider for this review; Durability and the convenience/ ease of adjustments.

DURABILITY

It seemed sturdy but only time was going to tell if I had any issues with this bike. I’ve been riding this bike for the last few months. And to date no issues! This is a big deal because I am known at my local gym for spinning another bike so hard that I have broken it! Took the crank arm right off the gym bike. No kidding!

Well I am proud to say I do believe I gave this bike a good pounding. I rode this spin bike on average two times a week, sometimes more, for a minimum of 45minutes. And if you have attended spin class then you know you don’t ride as if you are on a leisurely ride. My goal was to work hard enough to burn on average about 700 calories per hour. The bike proved to be more durable then other bikes I have ridden at the local gym. I was able to spin at a wide range of speeds that duplicated climbing gruesome hills to speeding down the street at a very high cadence. I sometimes worried that the high cadence spinning would cause some damage because of experiences I have had with other bikes but again the bike proved to be extremely reliable. The performance of the bike under the extreme tensions was excellent.

This bike is solid. It’s a good 47lbs and proved to hold up my weight very well. I use the bike to stretch out on also, shifting most of my weight behind the saddle (as if biking downhill) and sometimes would lean most of my body weight on the handle bars to do push ups while spinning. The bike did not shift at all. Solid as a rock.

And this bike is quiet! There is just a quiet hum. This past week in spin class my workout was interrupted by an awful clanking noise whenever I would stand and spin. It was so annoying but I didn’t want to stop my workout to change bikes so I just dealt with it. I was thinking about this spin bike the whole time.

I also have to mention that I have three active girls. And although this bike is NOT recommended for children, my girls cannot resist the bike if it sits in our living room. My youngest is six and was able to jump on the bike when the seat was at its lowest position and she would just spin while she watched cartoons. For fun she would sometimes stand on one pedal with both her feet and somehow manage to pedal her whole body weight around on one pedal. My other girls are 10yrs old and 12yrs old. If you have children then you know they are not careful with anything! Children are just prone to breaking things, and yet the spin bike stood the test of my three rugrats. Sometimes I think children have a personal quota to meet or something when it comes to breaking things. But my girls weren’t able to cause any damage to this bike.

CONVENIENCE

Well it’s important that the spin bike is convenient and easy to use otherwise there is a very likely chance you just won’t use it. This bike features quick pull knobs on both the handle bars and the seat to make the adjustments fast. Even my six year old was able to do this with very little effort. You also have the necessary wheels at the front of the bike which made the transport from my patio to my living room very easy.

I also loved the positioning of the water bottle holder on the handle bars. Most position it on the frame. I loved being able just to reach for it without bending down. The handle bars were also very comfortable.

I have also used a Kurt Kinetic trainer and found that I most often wouldn’t work out because of the thought of having to hassle with putting it together. And also I have fallen over more than once on that set up because of all the standing I do while I ride. But with the ease of just rolling this bike from one spot to another, it left me with very few excuses and more work outs!

On a side note, it was great having the convenience of spinning in my own home. With the gym I was limited to the classes they could offer, which usually I am unable to attend because of schedule conflicts. And bike rides are limited by weather issues and if I can find someone to join me; as a personal safety rule I don’t mountain bike by myself. So it was great to get an excellent work out whenever I felt like it, and sometimes when I DIDN’T feel like it. I also have to say that I do believe being able to spin in my home contributed to my win this past November. It gave me more opportunities to train for that race.

Negatives

Well to be honest I don’t have much to say in this area. This bike is a little on the pricey side, around $949. But this is a gym quality bike, actually in my case, a better than gym quality bike. And this price is comparable to other spin bikes on the market. If you are serious about exercise and biking I think this is a great investment. As a matter of fact I am trying to figure out how to purchase this bad boy for myself!

It was a pleasure to test the KHS ROBIX FITNESS! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!! I am going to be sad to see it go!

DJ300 Build Update

Due to my new-found wrenching skills I’ve taken point on the DJ300 build. This poor baby has been resting for a while so she’s ready for her makeover. Most recently I removed the temporary cranks RL had on there and I’ve installed a Raceface FR bottom bracket. On the BB will go a set of Gravity downhill cranks and, obviously the beautiful Blackspire chainguide.


DJ300, itchin’ for parts

Today I got the majority of the remaining parts in the mail. This includes front and rear brake cables, rear derailleur cable, chain and brake levers. Arriving next week are the Gravity cranks, FSA Pig headset and a set of DJ specific grips. I should have this monster built up sometime next week so stay tuned for the finished product!


Scratch for the itch

Ultimate AM Spotlight: Hayes El Camino brakes

At about 35lbs, the KHS AM2000 needed some good stopping power. Enter the Hayes El Camino Brakes.

Hayes El Camino

Specs:
Power Adjustment Dial
Tool-free lever reach adjustment
Mono-block caliper
Concealed fluid reservoir
Hayes phenolic pistons
Weight:420g for the entire system

Hayes El Camino

My observations: I have owned 3 different types of hydraulic brakes and nothing feels like the El Caminos. As I came down on ‘The Luge’, the brakes didn’t fade and I was able to slow down with minimal effort. My hands were not tired of braking as with other brakes that I’ve used, and as far as I can tell, the rotors didn’t severely overheat.

I hadn’t mess around with the Power adjustment dial until recently, this little knob allows you to modulate the braking power Plus or minus 10%. I ended up staying at my current setting since I was already used to how the brakes behaved. Another cool thing is the Tool-free lever reach adjustment, not need for a hex or a screw driver, simply twist on the little knob.

Recommendation: I really love these brakes, the stopping power is amazing, the adjustments are easy to do and they also look bitchin’. At 420g, these brakes may not be ‘feather light’ for an XC rig but they are certainly light for AM and Freeride bikes. Do you need REAL stopping power? Get the Hayes El Camino.

Project XC Racer: Done

The KHS Team Alite is done! Although I was not able to install all the parts that I wanted, the bike still weighs a respectable 25 lbs. That just means that I can still upgrade!!

Big thanks to Vince Calvillo and his crew for helping us finish the bike on time.