BMC Roadmachine 02 Review

I have been thoroughly enjoying my titanium Foundry for the last six months. (If you missed out on the original post about titanium bikes, you can read about that right here).
Not too many things have changed since I first got the bike. The external cable routing has kept my shifting and braking smooth and reliable, and my bike has not given me a single issue yet. I did end up swapping out my Mavic aluminum wheels. I opted to go for a set of Enve SES 3.4 clinchers with Enve’s brand new carbon hubs which only further improved my ride quality. Crazy, I know. If you told me when I first got the bike that it would be possible to make my bike ride even better, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Needless to say, when BMC dropped off the new 2017 BMC Roadmachine at our shop, I knew I had to try it. I came off of a carbon bike onto my titanium bike, and I wanted to hop back on a carbon frame to compare the differences after riding titanium for so long. This would also be my first time riding disc brakes, so I was curious as to how they performed in comparison to rim brakes on carbon wheels. With all of the hype surrounding disc brake road bikes, I wanted some first-hand experience on them so I could come to my own conclusions about them.

The Roadmachine is touted to be a one-bike-does-all kind of bike. I like to think that my Foundry can accomplish the same thing, but the Roadmachine actually does much more. It does so by drawing technology off the BMC TeaIMG_3311mmachine, Timemachine, and Granfondo. “On paper, the Roadmachine is a disc brake road bike with good tire clearance, officially up to 30 or 32mm tires depending on the model; an adaptable head tube designed to accommodate wide range of handlebar heights; geometry that combines short chainstays (410mm) and a high-ish bottom bracket (71mm drop), with relaxed front-end geometry (head angle varies with size, but fork offset is adjusted to maintain a long-ish 63mm trail dimension across all sizes).”

I was excited to take the Roadmachine out on this week’s Wednesday Worlds ride. This was the ideal ride to test the Roadmachine out because I have lots of Strava data from previous rides that I could use for comparison. First things first, I swapped my pedals, lights, and saddle back over to the Roadmachine which was followed up with making the necessary saddle adjustments. Once that was done, I was ready to roll. I weighed my Foundry without all the gear and pedals, and IMG_3316it came in at 15 lbs and 13 oz. Not too shabby considering I didn’t even build the bike out to be super light weight. However, I wanted to take the Roadmachine out for its ride first before weighing it; I didn’t want to be biased on the ride thinking about the weight difference. My initial impression rolling out on the bike was that I expected it to be a lot harsher. Instead, it seemed pretty close to the comfort that my Foundry provided, but I wanted to wait until the end of the ride before drawing any final conclusions. The post-ride soreness, or lack thereof, would dictate whether or not the bike was truly comfortable.

Once the ride really started picking up, I began to realize just how smoothly the bike rode. It was incredibly stable at speed, and handled super well. It wasn’t twitchy, and even when the bike rolled over larger cracks and bumps in the road, I didn’t feel like the bike wanted to jerk around or throw me off. Granted, I did notice that the bike was slower to get up to speed than my bike, but I also had to keep in mind that this particular build was still running aluminum wheels, and a disc brake setup in inevitably going to be heavier than its caliper brake counterpart. Funnily enough, my ride with the Roadmachine ended up being my fastest Wednesday Worlds ride. While that may or may not have to do with stopping due to someone’s flat and then furiously playing catch-up for the remainder of the ride, it shows that this bike really doesn’t hold you back in any way. As for stopping power, the brakes were great. There was plenty of brake power and modulation, and while we didn’t have any descents on the Wednesday route, I feel that they would inspire confidence. Although for someone that weighs as little as I do and doesn’t ride in super mountainous areas, traditional caliper brakes are honestly more than enough for me.

I finished the ride with no soreness in my shoulders (which is the first place I would usually start to feel uncomfortable), and I felt pretty great on it. After moving the pedals and the rest of the accessories off the bike, the Road Machine weighed in at 19 lbs and 7 oz. It made sense that it was a little slower to accelerate in, but a decent carbon wheelset could probably come close to bridging the gap. I can truly see the Roadmachine being the one bike that you could have, especially if you consider a Roadmachine 01 (which is closer in specs to my Foundry). And while I think I would still prefer the quick snappy feel of my Foundry and the classic look of titanium, the Roadmachine makes a great option.

If you happen to fit a 54cm BMC, be sure to stop by the shop and arrange a demo ride!

Back in the Saddle Again – Bike Fit Revisit

IMG_3176Well, it’s been about 3 weeks of consistent riding since I jumped back in the saddle again after a long layoff.  Actually, in one of those “life gets in the way” moments, I was trying to figure out how I was going to maintain my consistency when I had a vacation week:  which included dropping my daughter off at summer camp in the San Jacinto Mountains plus attend a remote cub scout camp with my son in East San Diego County.  Although I do mostly ride road, the only way I was going to get some miles in was to bring a knobby tire bike!  So I brought along the BMC CX01 demo cyclocross bike that you may have seen at the shop.  A ‘cross bike is a popular choice for those who have done our “Strade Marroni” shop rides which includes a mix of pavement and dirt.  It was a nice change of pace to ride off-road.   Although I was only able to get in about 37 miles, there was hardly anything flat and it was mostly dirt, which means expending more energy controlling your bike on the rutted and oftentimes sandy trails.  So all in all, I was satisfied with my accomplishment for the week!

Once I got back home, I knew it was time to revisit my bike fit.  It’s been a couple years since Barrett Brauer, ARB’s fit specialist in our SoCal Endurance Lab gave me a Retul fit.  I have mostly been riding the same model bike, Pinarello’s Dogma, during that time so I’ve kept the same setup since then.  However, after the long layoff, my body was giving me signals that I was perhaps in too aggressive a position.  Also, as my bike gets rented out from time to time, the saddle height gets adjusted and when I put it back, I had experimented going up a little because I thought I needed a little more knee extension.  My body type is such that I’m more leggy – in other words, I have a slightly shorter torso compared to longer legs.  Going up on my saddle was giving me even more of a drop from saddle to handlebar, and this wasn’t good for my finicky lower back.

A new bike fit was also a good opportunity for me to get into a new pair of shoes since I had worn out my previous pair.  It was time for me to try the new Shimano R321.  What I really like about these (as well as the Shimano RP9 – one model below) is that they are meant to be custom-molded to your own foot.  The shoes are heated in the Shimano oven for a couple minutes and then placed on your feet.  With shoes on, you place your feet in a plastic covering and a pump essentially “vacuum-wraps” your shoes so the upper conforms to your foot.  Once this is complete, the shoes cool and you can actually see how the shoe is now patterned after your own foot!  Barrett then took the time to accurately place the cleats on the shoe based on the location of my metatarsal bones.

Now it was time to see if I should make some changes since my last bike fit.  Even though I plan to stay on my Pinarello Dogma F8, we opted to go with what we call our “Bike Finder Fit.”  This means that instead of doing the fit process on my own Pinarello bike, I was put on our recently upgraded automated size cycle by Purely Custom (formerly Guru DFU).  This is kind of like starting with a blank slate.  If you are in the market for a new bike, once the fit is completed, we’ll find the 3 to 5 bike brand/model/sizes that fit you best.  For example, one manufacturer’s size 56 in a given model may be an ideal fit for you.  But another manufacturer’s size 54 in a certain model may also fit you really well.  That’s why you can never just say, “I ride a size 56.”  It really depends on each manufacturer’s bike geometry.  Once we find the 3 to 5 bikes that are a really good match for you in terms of fit, then it comes down to what you like in terms of the bike’s riding characteristics.  Are you looking for something stiff and fast or maybe something a little more forgiving and compliant?

IMG_3190Before jumping on the size cycle, Barrett conducted a body analysis to test my flexibility as well as look for any imbalances and rotational/alignment issues.  This gives him an idea of what type of position will best suit you on the bike.  Barrett utilized the Retul 3D motion capture tool to measure the angles of my body as I was pedaling the size cycle.  This is what we call a dynamic fit, as opposed to a static fit.  In a static or “basic” fit, you are not actually pedaling your bike while being measured.  And the measurement tools are not as precise in a static fit.  An impressive amount of body angle data is generated after a few short pedaling sessions.  And the platform was rotated so that angles on both sides of my body were measured.  As Barrett looked at the numbers, he wanted to see if anything in particular jumped outside the typical normative ranges.  However, even if you are outside a normative range, it does not automatically mean an adjustment is warranted.  This is where Barrett works with each person as an individual, taking into account their unique body type, previous injuries or problem areas, and riding goals.  The main problem area for me is lower back discomfort.  Part of this stems from a fractured vertebra I sustained about 12 years ago.  The other part is that I am just getting older and stiffer and need to improve my flexibility!  This is where an off-the-bike core conditioning and flexibility routine could really help – a topic for another blog post!

Barrett started my fit position to match exactly how I was currently riding my Pinarello Dogma F8.  Right away, he could see that I was on the very edge of the normative range for knee extension. IMG_3201  This as a result of me increasing the saddle height ever so slightly.  So, as I was pedaling the size cycle, he lowered the saddle.  I noticed the difference immediately.  This brought me back within normative ranges AND felt great.  Noticing that I still had a significant amount of saddle to handlebar drop and that I was putting a bit too much weight on my hands, Barrett raised the handlebars slightly.  This also made a positive difference.  Fortunately, I have a little room left on my bike’s steerer tube to raise my bar slightly and this will no doubt help my lower back on those longer rides.  My saddle fore-aft position was already solid and in the end I only needed a few small adjustments but they made a noticeable difference.  Some fit sessions will require more back & forth than others.    Barrett will take his time and make sure that each adjustment made works for that particular client.  There is never one prescribed fit, take it or leave it.  It’s always a collaboration.

I am really looking forward to taking my new fit out onto the road.  After all, that will be the ultimate test.  And if for some reason something doesn’t feel right, Barrett always offers a complimentary follow up fit session to make any necessary tweaks.  As I ride more and improve my flexibility, then at some point I could likely get into a more aggressive race-oriented position.  This would make me more aerodynamic and faster.  Something to visit down the road.  But next up for me is to evaluate my current fitness level and this means a visit to Saul Blau, our SoCal Endurance Lab’s Exercise Physiologist.  Stay tuned!


Titanium Bikes. They’re Something Special.

There is a certain feeling of excitement that you get when you are searching for your next bike. But sometimes, you might not even know you’re on the search for a new bike. Imagine yourself, innocently scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feed trying to find out what your friends have been up to. Then, out of nowhere, BOOM. You get hit in the face with the nicest looking bike you’ve ever laid your eyes on. You try and scroll past it and pretend that your heart rate hasn’t raised. Deep down, you already know it’s too late. One Google search, and before you realize it, you’ve spent the entire night watching YouTube reviews on the bike, hoping for some form of negative criticism that will steer you away from committing to the purchase. But secretly, you’re hoping to hear just how amazing it is.

Foundry Chilkoot Ultegra

However, once you’ve actually decided that you’re ready to make that next purchase, that is when the excitement really starts to crank up. I went through this entire experience when it came to buying my Foundry. I remember seeing a picture of a super nice, custom, titanium road bike on social media and it blew me away. Coming from a carbon bike that I had purchased without enough knowledge about fit, sizing, and geometry, I vowed to do it correctly this time. My carbon bike was super light and looked pretty darn cool, but the harshness of the ride made riding any distance over 25 miles a real chore. For me, having ridden aluminum, carbon, and steel, I knew my next bike had to be titanium. I wasn’t quite in the market for a full blown custom bike, so I kept my eye open for a company that carried stock geometry frames. I’m pretty particular on how the bike looks, and I’ve always favored slightly larger diameter tubing. When I stumbled upon the Foundry Chilkoot, it was everything I was looking for. The frame came partially painted in a simple white which I love. As an added bonus, the Foundry logo is relatively small and low-key. For me, I just wanted something that would stand out from the usual crowd of bikes, but I wanted it to do that in a more subtle manner.

Closeups of the Foundry

The company offered the bike as both a complete build with Ultegra 6800, or as a frameset. Because I wanted to compare how the titanium bike rode vs my carbon bike, I decided to go with the frameset so I could swap all the parts over. This way,  I had a more realistic comparison between the two frames’ riding characteristics. Being the aesthetic nut that I am, ordering the frameset only also allowed me to have white cable housing instead of stock black thanks to the Pro Build done here at ARB Cyclery.

While I kept the same SRAM groupset and wheels, I ended up making the switch to a full Enve cockpit to match the Enve fork that comes with the frame. Granted, this doesn’t make it a perfect comparison to my old bike, so keep that in mind. Watching the bike being built in the stand gave me the same feeling of excitement that I had when when I was a kid on Christmas Eve. The sense of giddiness you get on new bike day is unforgettable.

The first ride I had was amazing. I know there is a lot of marketing speak behind the handling characteristics of different frame materials. You hear things like “aluminum is harsh” and “titanium is whippy”. Whippy? That doesn’t mean anything to me. Based on my personal experiences of my bike, I can say that one characteristic of titanium frames is it’s dampening capabilities. I’ve ridden both bikes on the same stretch of road, and there is a noticeable difference in road feel between the two. On my carbon bike, I can feel the texture of the road much more than I can on my Foundry. Everything feels softer, and the little vibrations I could feel on my carbon bike were gone. My titanium bike is comfortable. I don’t put out enough power to comment much on power transfer or frame flex, but I certainly didn’t feel like there is a loss of power. As a long term bike, for me, this bike is perfect. Its comfort really stands out on rides longer than 25 miles, and I don’t have to worry about things like corrosion or about cracking my frame in the event of a crash. Riding a titanium really is something special. It is special in the way it rides, and it is special because it is different from most of the bikes out on the roads.

Our store manager’s custom Mosaic being built!

Now, for those of you who are truly looking to get a one-of-a-kind bike, you can go with the custom route and get a bike made just for you. No more trying to match a frame to your needs. Instead, your needs dictate the frame that you will get. ARB Cyclery is proud to announce that we are now a Mosaic Cycles dealer! Mosaic offers fully custom bikes tailored to the bike that suits your need! Paired with bike fitting that we provide here at the shop, you’ll end up with a titanium beast that was designed just for you. Receiving your Mosaic will certainly have you feeling like you once did on Christmas Eve. If one thing is for sure, it’s that a titanium bike is worth buying.

Bianchi Via Nirone 7 2016 Review & Comparison

“Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three”.

Walking into a bike shop brings about the same feelings as walking into a candy shop as a child. I would venture to say that the feelings of wonderment, awe, and excitement  are comparable to the very nostalgic scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I remember when I went shopping for my first road bike, I walked by rows of gleaming carbon fiber bikes, each looking meaner than the next, some of them with funny looking bars and wheels that didn’t even have traditional metal spokes. There were all sorts of oddly-shaped helmets, shoes with odd attachments on the bottom, and pedals that weren’t even flat! To a beginner like me, the world of cycling was truly fascinating.

As fascinated as I was, I still lacked fundamental knowledge as to what made a bicycle “good”. At the time, all I was familiar with was a little silver bike I had ridden 10 years ago as a kid. I wanted to try it all, every kind of chocolate, every flavor of gum, every color of gummy bear, but I had no idea where to start. Thankfully, the great thing about walking into a bike shop is the knowledge the bike staff has. If you go to them with your specific needs, chances are a good bike shop will tailor your bike selection to do exactly what you need it to do. However, I personally like to learn, and to be prepared. It is always useful to do a little research yourself, not because I don’t believe what the sales people are telling me, but because I want to understand and be able to carry on the conversation and ask meaningful questions as I’m shopping.

Fortunately for you, I understand how difficult it can be to pick that very first road bike of yours. There is an art to balancing value, aesthetics, short and long term goals when it comes to deciding on a bike. I did my best to pick something that I believe will hit all of those areas. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll understand that I view aesthetics as a pretty important factor when I buy things. I am also impressed when a company pays attention to details.

Bianchi’s attention to detail and their awesome headbadge.

Enter Bianchi. If you want to talk about history, heritage, and aesthetics, say no more. Bianchi is the oldest bicycle manufacturing company that is still in existence. The company was founded in Italy back in 1885, and if you aren’t necessarily familiar with the name, you may be familiar with a specific color that they are known for. That beautiful green-blue color, know as Celeste, is one of the things that Bianchi is known for. If you take a look at the Via Nirone 7, which is actually named after the first shop that Edoardo Bianchi started manufacturing bicycles in, the attention to detail is evident. The cable housing even has a Celeste-colored stripe running along it to compliment the other Celeste-colored areas. And if we’re talking about aesthetics, I think that Bianchi has one of the nicest looking headbadges out there.

Via Nirone 7 Sora – Click to zoom.

If you look at the Via Nirone 7, you’ll notice that it definitely stands out among similar level bikes from other companies such as the Giant Defy 3. The Italian-designed Bianchi will certainly turn more heads on the roads compared to the mass-produced, vanilla style of the Defy. These two bikes are equipped with the same Sora groupset, so let’s look at some additional differences. For one, the Bianchi is equipped with Vittora tires instead of Giant’s in-house tires. Secondly, the paired spoke design on the Via Nirone 7 certainly looks much cooler as well. In terms of value of the bike, the Via Nirone 7 is great because it comes standard with a carbon fiber fork! With both bikes in the same price range of just under $1000, who wouldn’t choose the heritage and styling of the Bianchi?

If you’re still uncertain that you will get into the sport of cycling (which I truly believe you will once you commit), you may be a bit hesitant to spend that amount. If you’re still looking to test the waters of cycling, you can opt for a Via Nirone 7 with a lower spec groupset. The Via Nirone 7 can also be purchased equipped with Shimano Claris, which is one tier under Sora. You’ll sacrifice a 9-speed drivechain for an 8-speed drivechain with Claris, but you’ll save almost $200 in the process. The best part of the Claris model is that it still comes with that carbon fork! While a carbon fork may just sound fancy, there is actually a great benefit of having one. When you compare the ride quality of the Via Nirone 7 Claris to the Giant Defy 5 (Claris equipped), you’ll notice a difference on the front end of the bike. The Giant has an aluminum fork. A carbon fork will actually absorb much more of the road vibration, and what this translates into for you is greater comfort and less fatigue. For only $800, that’s a pretty sweet deal.

Via Nirone 7 Claris – Click to zoom.

Regardless of which model you choose, you certainly won’t be disappointed. I suggest you come in-store and give both these bikes a spin around the parking lot. If you have any questions, or just want to come in and chat about all things cycling, we encourage you to do so. If you’re looking to take your new Bianchi out for a ride but are still trying to learn the ropes, we have the ride just for you! Take a look at the Cycle to Fitness ride we do every other Saturday and we’ll have you addicted to cycling in no time!


2015 Bicycling Magazine Editors’ Choice Awards – What Do They Mean?

editors choice-logo-bigBicycling Magazine (by far the largest bicycle magazine in circulation) recently named 18 bikes as 2015 Editors’ Choice winners.  They have kind of become the Consumer Reports of bicycles.  This is not to say that other magazines such as Velo News and Road Bike Action, to name a few, don’t offer great bike reviews, but Bicycling will definitely capture the most eyeballs.  At ARB, we are obviously proud to say we carry four of these bikes, which are all in the category we focus on – performance road.  Click on the photographs to get the full review of each of these winners which you can test ride at A Road Bike 4U!

editors choice-2015-pinarello-dogma-f8-809-409
Pinarello Dogma F8 – Top of the Line Race / Aero (Click Image to Read Full Review)

What makes one bike better than another?  Is Brand X better than Brand Y?  We get these questions a lot.  I think it is safe to say that brands which are exclusively sold through specialty bicycle shops are going to be of significantly greater quality than those sold at big box stores (i.e. Walmart, Target, Costco) or generic websites such as Bikes Direct.

Read more…

2015 Giant Escape – The Do It All Bike

Giant Releases 2015 Line of Fitness/Commuter Bikes All Under $700!

Giant’s Escape & Liv Alight (for the women) models are one of our most popular selling bikes.  Why?  Because it really does hit all the check boxes.  True to it’s category, this hybrid bike is great on the road and dirt trails.  I just recently took my son out on the Bommer Canyon loop in Irvine and the Escape 3 performed wonderfully.  Your Wal-Mart or Costco bike would most likely have come back with some loose parts.

Giant is renowned for it’s manufacturing prowess.  You know you are getting a quality bike with the Giant name behind it.  Yet, it’s surprisingly affordable.  The Escape 3 comes in at just $350.

2015 Giant Escape 1 – $650

Built with an ALUXX aluminum frame and a wide range of easy-to-operate gearing, the Escape is a fun, efficient way to leave your daily stresses behind. Its smooth-rolling 700c wheels and stable frame geometry make it fast and sporty enough for a fitness routine, and comfortable enough to commute or just cruise.

  • Light and nimble ALUXX-grade aluminum frame
  • Giant composite fork with alloy steerer to damp vibrations
  • Durable double-wall alloy rims with puncture resistant tires
  • Shimano 3×9-speed drivetrain with Tektro brakes

2015 Giant Escape 2 – $450

  • Light and nimble ALUXX-grade aluminum frame
  • Giant ALUXX-grade aluminum fork
  • Shimano 3×8-speed drivetrain with Tektro brakes
  • Durable double-wall alloy rims

2015 Giant Escape City – $550

  • Light and nimble ALUXX-grade aluminum frame
  • Giant ALUXX-grade aluminum fork
  • Rear rack, fenders, kickstand and integrated bell
  • SRAM 3×8-speed drivetrain with Tektro brakes
  • Durable double-wall alloy rims

2015 Giant Escape 3 – $350

  • Light and nimble ALUXX-grade aluminum frame
  • High-tensile steel fork
  • Shimano 3×7-speed drivetrain with Tektro brakes
  • Durable double-wall alloy rims

Come in to A Road Bike 4U today to see all the great models from Giant, Pinarello, BMC, Cervelo and More!

If you are looking for an amazing bike shop in Irvine or Orange County that provides you with high quality bicycles and services, look no further than A Road Bike 4U.  We specialize in “pavement-oriented” bikes.  That includes road bikes and triathlon bikes, as well as hybrid – commuter bikes, women’s bikes and even custom bikes. We offer personalized cycling services to enhance your riding experience, with expertise in bike fit, bike maintenance, VO2 testing, and coaching.

We carry world-class bike brands that offer great value, performance, and reliability:

Pinarello Bicycles BMC Bicycles

Giant Bicycles

Cervelo Bikes at A Road Bike 4U Bianchi Guru

Our shop offers many comprehensive services to help you achieve a proper bike fit, optimize your riding position, maximize power, and maintain your bike in peak performance.

BMC Demo Day at Packet Pickup for OC Gran Fondo

BMC RideExperience Demo Ride DayA Road Bike 4U will be hosting BMC Demo Day during packet pickup for the OC Gran Fondo on Friday, October 3, 2014 from 11am -to- 5pm.

BMC is bringing you the ultimate demo ride opportunity.  Their support team will have multiple bike models (in various sizes) on hand. Listed below are the BMC premium bikes that will be available for demo at this event.

Bikes available at event – Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 – 11am-5pm
Road Mountain Stromer
granfondo GF01 fourstroke FS01 29 Stromer ST1
teammachine SLR01 fourstroke FS02 29
teammachine SLR02 teamelite TE01 29
timemachine TM01 trailfox TF01 29
timemachine TMR01

BMC RideExperience

The BMC experts will set you up to put their bikes through their paces on an extended test ride.  Experience first-hand what “engineered for excitement” is all about.

You can register here to get priority on this BMC Demo Day. It’s first come, first serve and those who register ahead of time will get priority.

[VIDEO] 2014 Cervelo P3 Triathlon Bike

Jason at A Road Bike 4U brings you an overview of the 2014 Cervelo P3

For 2014 The P3 is has a full carbon frame and fork and a quality, well thought out component spec right out of the box.

Features include: 3T Deep Profile Aluminum Wheels, BBRight Bottom Bracket, Ultegra 6800 11-speed gear train, aero carbon seat post with adjustable off-set, ISM Adamo Prolog saddle, 3T carbon base bars and 3T aero bars.

Come to A Road Bike 4U today to see this great bike and many many more!

(949) 752-2080