Who is Adam Spik?

As you may have read before, we’ve asked Adam Spik to join the ranks of Global Internet Stardom of the MtnBikeRiders.com crew. But I know what you’re wondering, “Who is this fella named ADAM SPIK and why is he so good looking?” You’ll get a chance to read all about him below. I do have to mention that one of our requirements to be on the Staff of MtnBikeRiders.com is that you have to be very handsome and you’re not allowed to have an ugly wife and or kids.

Hello from out east in southwest Riverside county; specifically Sun City, north of Temecula. Now that I have covered the entire compass let me tell you about myself.
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I started on the back of my dad’s bike buzzing through the neighborhood. From there it was a 20″ BMX bike while doing my best Cru Jones impression. I then moved on to jockdom in H.S. It was my freshman year in college that I had my awakening. I don’t mean a drug-induced-sexual-experimentation phase. No, that is when I bought my first mountain bike. I railed the singletrack with all 1.5″ of elastomer suspended fury. Soon I was faster than all my friends. I fancied myself a Ned Overend/Shaun Palmer hybrid.

I started racing and my career of mediocrity began. I first did a few XC races and had my butt handed to me. I bought a road bike, trained a little and won a few beginner races. Now’s the perfect time to break into DH. Again, my race resume ran the gamut of firsts, lasts, and everything in between. Racing takes money so. . . as any young punk living off parents’ “sponsorship” thinks, “What better way to support my habit than by working at a shop?”
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An old family friend who happened to be a former state champion road racer and shop owner hired me. I became a sponge of bike culture, racing lore, and wrenching know-how. I soon became a pro-level mechanic. If only Park made a tool to adjust my waistband as now I was getting too big for my britches (or was was it my head too big for my hat?). I left to become manager of another bike shop. I expanded the shop’s business, made a bunch of money, maintained my mediocre racing status, got married, and on the eve of owning my own shop, decided to change direction and help people in a more emergent fashion.
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I race off-and-on, everything from XC, to SS, to endurance, to triathlons, to the toilet after too much tequila. I keep saying next year will be the year I get serious about training and racing. In the meantime I ride as much as possible, do all my own work as I don’t trust anyone to meet my standards, spoil my wife and my kids more, shoot sickies full of normal saline and drugs, and occasionally slay the fiery beast. R.L. has threatened with letting me contribute my opinions on a regular basis. They will always be right, maybe not entertaining, but right. Or is it the other way around?

Ibex Asta Expert 16” Review

When we received the Ibex Asta Expert to review, I assigned one of our Team Racers, Nick DiBlasi to test it for MtnBikeRiders.com. Read his review below.

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Summary:
The Ibex Asta Expert is an all 6069 Aluminum cross country bike that everyone will love. It comes with virtually ever feature you would want or need. Ibex spared no expense on getting the right components for this $1319.99 price point.

I have taken it on several rides now switching it up to see how it reacts to each different environment. I must say that this thing brings a smile to my face every time I hop on it. The feel of this bike is so agile and light that I keep forgetting its a Mountina bike. I would attribute the smooth shifting and pedal feel to the Sram components matched perfectly with the Avid Elixir braking system.

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The good:

The Ibex Asta Expert 16” has amazing handling and is extremely agile. It feels as if you have total control at all times and a very positive feel for the terrain. The moderately lightweight feel and control makes this perfect for light trail use and in tight cornering conditions. It brings me back to the BMX riding days where I can pretty much put the bike anywhere I want it. Once clipped in you feel like you are one with the bike. When it comes to braking, they sized everything perfectly. The Avid Exlir R’s could not have been a better choice for Ibex. The brakes are effortless and complimentary to the quick handling of the bike. Overall I would categorize this as an extremely FUN bike.

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The not so good:

The design of the rear link causes the bike to do more of a sharp rebound than actual absorbing energy into the suspension. After several many setting adjustments I got it fairly comfortable. Not 100% ideal, but to the point where I can feel confident on any trail. This can be a little harsh on your body on long rides where the trail has constant bumps instead of long smooth dirt paths. The second gripe I have is the cable routing on the top tube. For shorter people like me (5’-8”) my stand over height is always within 1” of the top tube. The routing of the cable often comes in contact with my legs or shorts when coming off and on the bike. The welded tabs have scratched my legs up a few times causing some discomfort. This would not be a problem for taller rides, however if you are near my height or under you WILL definitely notice.

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Would I buy it?:

If you are looking for a fun and full featured cross country bike for around $1319.99 this is a pretty decent deal. If fits right in the middle of the price point for non major brand bikes and comes fully loaded. Almost anyone can pick this bike up and have a good time virtually anywhere. It might not be the best bike for serious terrain, but it will definitely get you around and out the trails.

FTC Disclaimer

Feeling fat? 4 Tips to turn things around

Haven’t been riding lately? Eating too much burritos and fried chicken? Now you’re feeling fat and unmotivated to ride. Well I have 4 tips for you to turn things around.

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1. If you’re feeling fat, well most likely your clothes are too tight! Go shopping for bigger clothes that fit better.If you normally wear a Large, then go for an XL. Same applies for 2X, upgrade to 3X.

2. If you’re feeling depressed about your weight, eat the foods that will make you feel better. For me, nothing soothes the pain than a nice, warm Cinnabon.

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3. Alcohol works! People don’t call it liquid courage for nothing. Drinking will not only numb your feelings of being fat, but it will also make you believe you’re better looking that what you really are.

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4. A little bit of ambition goes a long way. Ok here’s the part where we get you back on the bike and riding more. Let’s say you’re feeling fat, sad and you ran out of Cinnabon and Beer. Dude, the best way to get those goods is to ride your bike to the store!
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Now that you have some awesome practicals, you can now overcome the lardness you’re feeling and be back on the bike in no time!

Hot Tuxedo Action

For the last few months I’ve been talking quite a bit about our famous tuxedo jerseys. In all honesty not everyone can or will wear this jersey. Some folks are a bit more conservative and don’t really want to attract any type of attention to themselves. Some actually think these things are hideous. But then there’s folks who are super confident, go getters and have really big balls that its hard for them to sit down.

Below are some photos and a video of various folks who have purchased the tuxedo jerseys and unfortunately, we’re all SOLD OUT. So if you’re one of the lucky folks who purchased one, consider that jersey your bragging rights/trophy, cuz we’re not making anymore.

First up is Nick DeBeer of Dirty Dog MTB. He’s about to jump off this truck while its moving at 60 mph just like how they do it on Knight Rider, but only face first and with no ramp.
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Here we have Dial Tone. We don’t know his real name because he says he works for a very large entity that is regulated by the government. Perhaps his moniker indicates that he somehow taps into people’s phone lines to monitor their conversations…perhaps…perhaps. By the way, yes, Dial Tone is rocking the 80’s style “one ear ring” because he said, “no one is man enough to do so and do it properly.” Nuff said DT.
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This is Dustin Roe and I during a fancy dinner. When you’re wearing a tuxedo, everything becomes fancy, even fish tacos.
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Next up is a photo of me and my adopted son Bryan. This proves to you that the tuxedo jersey isn’t just for overweight men in their 30’s-40’s, Bryan is 16 and proudly rockin’ the tux. Yes, Pink was our latest color in the tuxedo.
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The tuxedo jersey is pretty versatile. You can wear it on Casual Fridays, and if you’re brave enough, you can wear it on Tuesday. Plus its formal enough where you can show up to a wedding with it on and not be over dressed. Since it is made out of performance-wicking fabric, you can do some downhill runs and meet the family for dinner without having to change.

Artie in my pants ride report

This evening Priscilla and I ventured out on this super top secret trail that no one really knows about. I’d tell you but then you’ll ruin it because its such a fun place you’ll want to ride there and invite all your friends, then it wouldn’t be secret anymore…

Tonight’s ride was a bit different. We weren’t training hard or riding super fast, I think I was just too distracted by things that I saw on the trail…I’ve been dieting for quite some time and food is always on my mind.
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I call this photo, the “cock pit” shot. Can you find Artie? That guy seems to show up in the weirdest places. One time I was going #2 and I sent him a text message, then next thing you know I hear a message notification from the stall next to me. Ok…weird, so I sent Art another message talking about how it was a weird coincidence that the guy next to me got a text soon after I sent one…then he responds…”that’s weird, as soon as I sent you a message, the guy in the stall next to me got a text too!”
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After our ride we headed over to a fish taco place to replenish the nutrients we expended on riding 36.2 miles that evening. Check out my “salad” and behind it is my favorite veggie, onion rings.
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This is my carbon fiber wallet. People always seem to geek out when they see it. But you know what’s in it? Debt! Not so cool anymore eh?
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To Bear and Back by Bike

I had cycled 80 miles and had 10 hours to think about it and I still couldn’t decide how I wanted to theme this article. A bicycle adventure? Cross training? Accomplishing a goal? How far a bike can take you? Proving that you don’t need the most expensive, high-tec equipment to have fun? A Soma Double Cross review? Here’s a follow up to my adventure from last month and you can catagorize it however you’d like.

Some big hills in the background

One of my goals for the summer was to ride a bicycle from the base of Big Bear to my grandparents house on Big Bear Lake. RL was generous to lend me a Soma Double Cross for the trip since I didn’t have a road bike. Why roadie talk on an MTB site? Road biking is a great way to target your cycling muscles while performing in an aerobic heart rate zone for an extended period of time. The result is strong legs and stronger cardio. Mountain biking still offers good cardio but tends to be a more anaerobic workout meaning you will build more muscle and not push your cardio level as much. I feel I could perform much better in DH racing if my cardio was higher both in terms of stamina and keeping a cool head. Exhaustion leads to dumb mistakes and those small slip-ups are the biggest things people beat themselves up over on a bad race run.

I was having trouble getting a pickup car at the top or bottom of the mountain so I decided that parking at the bottom and riding up and down all in the same day was the way to do it. In my head it made a lot of sense because I only saw it as riding 40 miles up the mountain and coming back I was going to let gravity do all the work. Highway 38 was a bit longer than the 18 but it made the most sense since it was much less traveled and was a wider road in general. I did some research on where to park my truck and found a little picnic area called Thurman Flats at the base of the 38 in Yucaipa. They require an Adventure Pass for your car and they have clean restrooms and trash service. From there it was a straight shot up the 38 right up to Big Bear Lake clocking in at 40 miles one way. I felt prepared enough for the trip so off I went.

I got to Thurman Flats ready to ride at about 7 at a starting elevation of just over 3,000ft. The highest point was 8,500 so I knew there would be a lot of pain involved. Cars were a major concern for me on a twisty mountain road but I was surprised to find a decent size bike lane for almost the entire ride which made things a lot less nerve racking. The other things that put me at ease was that it was a Monday morning and that the 18 had just reopened weeks earlier, alieviating traffic down to a trickle.

Plenty of room for cars and bikes

I’m not going to lie; I seriously considered turning around a couple times because this ride was intense. The road was lonely, my hands and butt were killing me, my legs were sore and, without a bike computer, I never knew how much further I had to go.

I finally reached Onyx summit, the highest point of the ride, by about 11am. From there it was a 12 mile, 2,000ft, decent into Big Bear to my grandparents house where lunch was waiting. Now to figure out how to not feel akward when hugging Grandma and Grandpa while wearing skin-tight lycra.

The destination

A couple hours later I was back on the road now feeling more sore than ever with 2,000ft to climb back up before I really got to enjoy the easy part of my day. I must have taken about 5 breaks going back to the summit because of how much pain I was in. Turning around wasn’t an option at this point because my truck was at the base of the mountain and I wanted to go home. When I got to Onyx summit I ran into the only road bikers I saw all day and we stopped and chatted for a while before descending the mountain together.

It definitely wasn’t all a party from the top as the road bobbed up and down a handfull of times in the middle really testing my stamina. Regardless, I suffered through the uphills and sped through downhills making quick work of the remaining descent. The fast winding road down was incredibly fun and I could take up the middle of the road for most the way down as there were very few cars. I was back at my truck by about 5pm and more than ready to let an engine do the rest of the work from there.

Relief!

The ride was fulfulling. The road was amazing. The drivers were courteous. The mountain view was unbeatable. As for the bike? No $5k, carbon fiber clad steed with helium-filled tires here. The Soma is a 25 pound CrMo street missle. A little heavy for a pure road bike from what I’m told, but hey, obviously it worked just fine here. It’s crazy to think that every time I consider buying a road bike I feel the need to spend at least $2k just to get something I’d deem competent. I don’t know how the line between wants and needs always gets so blurred but some savvy shopping and $500 should be able to get the average joe enough bike to tackle any road.

My mountainous steed

Wellgo Pedal Review by Cat McKinnon

Loyal reader, Cat McKinnon submitted a product review of a set of Wellgo pedals. Scroll down to read a great review.

I’ve been needing a new set of pedals for a while now, so I fired up my web browser, checked out a couple online dealers’ websites and looked at dozens of platform-style pedals (I mainly ride XC/Trail stuff, and no, I don’t like clipless pedals). I needed something grippy and durable, yet affordable.

Although I looked at a lot of different pedals, I kept going back to Wellgo’s. Many of their models bore more than a passing resemblance to a lot of the “brand name” pedals, but were far less expensive. Being the smart consumer (ie, I hate wasting money), I checked out every user-review of Wellgo’s that I could possibly find online…What I discovered is that Wellgo is actually an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for a lot of well-known pedal manufacturers. So I decided to give it a shot and ordered a set of Wellgo B67’s from PricePoint, because they fit my criteria: sealed bearings, CNC-machined (not cast) aluminum platform, CNC’d CroMo spindle, and set-screw type pins. And at $39.98 for the pair, the price was definitely right!

Four days after ordering, I received my pedals, along with a Sette pedal wrench* that I ordered at the same time. The pedals came in a nice black box, with their specs clearly marked on the back edge of the package.
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The first thing I noticed when I removed the pedals from the box was how nice the machining and powder-coating was. The axles spun super-smooth, but not too freely, and there was no side-to-side play that would indicate a loose axle (or craptastic manufacturing). The pins were all installed snugly (and had thread locking adhesive applied, as I discovered after unscrewing a couple of them to check). Honestly, I couldn’t find anything wrong with the pedals and they just screamed “quality”.
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While they seem big in the photos, they’re actually a pretty “normal” size, a least for a pedal like this. Comparing them to a set of ultra-cheap nylon pedals that I keep around for emergency or loaner purposes, they’re not a whole lot bigger and actually seem to weigh a hair less than the plastic cheapies! I measured them at 20mm thick along the axle (and 88mm front-to-back, and 100mm wide, for those that want the size specs). Total listed weight for the pair (according to Wellgo’s website) is 540g, which about 1.2 pounds for the pair…not super-light, but certainly not bricks either. I don’t have a scale to weigh them, but the weight feels about right.
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After scrutinizing the B67’s for a few minutes (for flaws I never found), I installed them on my bike using the Sette pedal wrench. The Wellgo’s have standard 15mm wrench flats, but they also accommodate an 8mm hex wrench on the crank-end of the axle as well, which is often only found in more expensive pedals. It definitely makes installing them much easier!
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Once I took the pedals out on a local trail (mostly non-technical singletrack, with the occasional obstacle), I really got a good impression of how they worked and felt. With a pair of DC shoes, as well as more traditional “lugged” mountain bike shoes, they gripped like super glue…in fact, they were so grippy that it took me a little while getting used to the fact that I had to almost lift my foot off the pedal to shift it around. You definitely can’t slide your foot around on these like you can on the smooth chrome type pins. I liked the feeling of control and connection I got with the pedals, without that nervousness I get when clipped in. The pins are spaced just right, providing grip everywhere without causing any weird pressure points on the bottom of my feet, and the platform is slightly concaved for a more comfortable foot position.

While I didn’t have any major crashes, I did lay down my bike once or twice…the pedals held up fine, with no scratching and no bent or lost pins. I know some people don’t like the set-screw type pins, but I prefer them because I can get replacements at the local home improvement store for just a couple dollars.

Final Verdict:

After riding them on several trail rides (in some unusually dry and dusty conditions, I might add), they still feel brand new even after being beat up a little bit. Granted, I didn’t have any big crashes, but they have hit the ground a few times, as well as scraped on rocks and logs, and don’t look any worse for wear. The bearings are smooth and noise-free, the aluminum platform and black powder-coating should hold up for a long time, and there are plenty of pins to provide more traction than you’ll probably ever need. I can’t imagine these needing service very often, and I think they’d be just about ideal for downhill or freeriders. And let’s face it, it’s hard to find any other pedal with this level of quality for under $40!
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So what’s not to like? Well, not a whole lot. If you are concerned about size and weight, there are certainly thinner and lighter options, but they’re probably going to cost a lot more. The B67’s really aren’t aimed at riders that need the “raciest” pedals out there, but they have all of the quality that pedals two or three times more expensive have. They also have a type of pin that some people don’t like, although Wellgo does make other pedals with different pin types, so that’s something else to think about. But overall, I have a feeling these pedals will outlast the bike I have them on now, and while they don’t have a big name-brand stamped on them, it’s easy to forget about that when you realize they only cost $40!
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*Sette Torx pedal wrench quick review: When I ordered my Wellgo B67 pedals, I also took a chance and ordered the Sette Torx Pedal Wrench. It’s a double-ended wrench that can handle the standard 15mm pedal wrench flats, as well as older 16mm and 17mm pedals. For about $8, I was highly impressed. The wrench is hefty chrome-vanadium hardened steel, with an 11” padded handle area. At about half the price of the cheapest Park Tool pedal wrench, it’s a GREAT investment and should serve almost everyone. The only downside is that, since it’s double-ended, you can’t use a cheater bar for those insanely old, rusted-on pedals. But for the vast majority of riders, it should serve very well for years.

FTC Disclaimer

Best in Show

If you folks recall, my favorite Iowan is Justin Betz. I received an email from him not too long ago talking about how the blue tuxedo jersey gave him super powers during a race and even won the fashion show.-RL Policar

Hey, I was just gonna let you know.  A while back I asked for you opinion on Airborne bikes, well, I went ahead and got a Zeppelin.  It ROCKS!  I found a local park where the local mtb riders association set up some trails.  Nothing too tricky, a lot of small ups and downs and a lot of roots and log-overs.  They also setup some skinnies, bridges, and jumps that make for a pretty darn fun little park! 
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I found out last Thursday, that they were putting on their first ever time trials at the park this weekend!  I thought “what the heck” and decided to go for it.  So I convinced a friend of mine to join me and yesterday morning we both did our first ever race!  It was a BLAST!  I won’t mention how I did (less than awesome), but I did it! 
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I spilled once (was too tired to jump all the way over a log), but one of the other guys who was near me on the trail said he could hear me laughing as I tumbled into the weeds! 
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So it was a great time!  Now I have a better idea of what to expect, and I can actually do some training so I’m not so wiped out 1/2 way through the course!  Oh, the best part of the day, was during the awards ceremony, when I got the honorary  “Best Jersey” award for rockin’ the tux!  I made sure to let them know if they wanted one of their own they should check Mtnbikeriders.com a lot!

Big thanks to JB for representin’ out in Iowa!

One thing I hate about mountain biking…

It would have to be my Farmer’s Tan….Who knew that a brown man, can be so white…Check it out kids, that right there is due to the fact that I’m always wearing a shirt when I ride. I’m beginning to wonder if I didn’t wear clothing when mountain biking, would my skin tone even out? I guess there’s only one way to find out!
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