Support Your LBS (Local Bike Shop) This Holiday Season

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The LBS never goes out of style!

Times, they are a changin’!  Over the past several “Black Fridays,” headlines indicate the rapid growth of online sales over the flat or declining sales at brick and mortar stores.  It looks like the traditional rush to the mall for holiday shopping is gradually fading away in favor of shopping in your PJs.  And certainly, there are many advantages to that!  While the nature of shopping habits are changing, we’d like to put in a plug for the good ‘ole LBS.

Shop from your PJs on your LBS’ website

If you are shopping for a cyclist on your list, strongly consider buying from your local store, either in-person or on their website.  Yes, most local bike shops do have an extensive selection online, offering you the convenience of shopping in those PJs while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate.  You can always choose in-store pick-up to save on shipping.  Besides the convenience factor, probably the number one reason to shop online is price.  While your LBS may not have the lowest prices around compared to some websites, there is a reason for that.  Part of what you are paying for when purchasing at your LBS is the personal, one-on-one service you are getting from knowledgeable sales associates who are passionate cyclists in your local community.  Now, if you don’t think that service is very good, for whatever reason, then by all means shop elsewhere.  A store has to earn their stripes.

When I say “Service,” what do I mean?  A lot!  If a shop is doing it right, that means you having the ability to walk into a store and ask questions about bikes and accessories from a real live person who is knowledgeable and friendly.  Their years of experience can help you avoid potential buying mistakes.  They live and ride in your local community as opposed to somewhere else in the country or even overseas.  Even if you call or email the store, that sales associate knows you can come by the shop for a personal one-on-one visit anytime, and they hope you do!  If someone is hundreds of miles away, they know that’s not happening.

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Nothing replaces one-on one human interaction

One of the complaints I hear from time to time is that the local bike shop just doesn’t have the product selection.   And it is true that the in-store selection is not going to compare to a web store.  However, that local store’s website most likely does have that “endless aisle” selection you may be looking for.  Because a local bike shop cannot realistically carry so much inventory, one of the services they do provide is a curated product selection.  Let’s face it, one of the problems consumers face today is TOO MANY choices.  The LBS is spending the time to bring in what they think are the best options for its local customers among the seemingly limitless number of options available.  This is usually based on personal experience using the products themselves!  So a good LBS has curated a selection they believe to be the best products out there, saving the consumer time and money!

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A curated selection

If you decide to make a purchase at the LBS instead of an out-of-state or out-of-country online seller, or an auction site, some additional service you get from the price you paid includes the following:  First, it means knowing you bought from an authorized dealer.  This means the store and the manufacturer will stand behind the product according to the warranty.  Should there be any issues, you just come back to the store and talk with a sales associate in person to handle the issue.  No endless phone tag with a remote company, who may not even be authorized dealers of the product.  If they’re not, you are out of luck.  There are a lot of websites out there participating in the “gray market” who are not authorized to sell a brand’s products or may even be selling knock-offs, so buyer beware.

The price you pay at an LBS also includes the showroom experience.  In addition to your interaction with a real live human being, you get to touch and feel the product in a pretty cool environment.  Many shops have a place for you to hang out, read the latest magazines, watch some races or videos, and enjoy a coffee or espresso.  When it comes to bikes, there is nothing like the test ride and a proper bike fit.  You are taking a real risk on your purchase if you skip those two services.

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A good bike fit is essential to cycling enjoyment

If you do purchase a bike at the LBS, the price you pay typically includes some nice perks worth real money – such as a free tune-up, free bike fit, complimentary adjustments for the life of the bike and sometimes a nice discount on all future tune-ups.  Every bike shop is a little different in this respect so see what they offer.  Also, be aware of the difference between cost and price.  If you add it all up, you may be surprised to realize that the overall cost from purchasing at the LBS is actually lower than that great deal you got for a bike online.

Another service included in the price of a bike at the LBS is the bike build.  While not all LBS mechanics are the same, in general, you will find a much higher quality bike build from your LBS than the online retailer or certainly big box store.  You will usually have to complete a portion of the bike build yourself on shipped bikes (or bring it to the LBS who will charge a build fee).

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Have your bike built and cared for by a professional

Contribution to the local community is also a service which is part of the price charged by the LBS.  Is that worth something to you?   While this may seem more nebulous, it’s real.  Amazon and other remote online sellers contribute nothing to your local cycling community.   First and foremost, your LBS employs people in your community.  And therefore when you spend dollars locally, more of those dollars stay in your local economy, compared to spending them with an out-of-state or out-of-country remote seller.  But beyond that, most local bike shops organize regular shop rides, support organized charity rides and put time and dollars towards improving cycling infrastructure in your community.  Often they work with schools to get more kids riding bikes (safely) and contribute their time to get people in lower income areas on bikes.   The list could go on and on as each bike shop is a little different.

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The LBS advocates for bicycling infrastructure in your community

One of the initial appeals of buying online was the sales tax savings.  This has dwindled in recent years as many of the larger online internet retailers also have some sort of “physical” presence in multiple states, such as a warehouse.  In addition, more and more states are compelling online sellers to charge sales tax even without a so-called physical presence.  As these cases continue to go through the courts, it is more likely Congress will pass a federal internet sales tax law (different bills are pending) that will eliminate the sales tax advantage currently enjoyed by many online sellers.   No matter your view on taxes, the sales tax theoretically supports the people of the state you live in.  And even factoring in the sales tax, the overall value proposition you get at the LBS when you consider all the SERVICE (as outlined in this blog) built into the price you pay, is usually better at the LBS!

Hopefully, I’ve made a compelling case for shopping at your LBS for all the cyclists on your list this holiday season.   Sometimes, when comparing only price tags, consumers don’t take into account the overall value they are getting for that price.  It is not an apples to apples comparison.  The benefits I’ve described for shopping at your LBS are not spelled out on a price tag.  In the end, the LBS must earn your business.  If the bicycling consumer does not see the value of the LBS that I’ve outlined above, then ultimately some will go away.  Consumers vote with their dollars.  There is no doubt that “Cyber Monday” will continue to grow and at some point, we will reach some equilibrium between online sales and bricks & mortar sales.   This means the LBS has to adapt and continue to find ways to enhance their value proposition.

A Road Bike Upgrade That Will Make a Difference!

A bottom bracket’s job can be quite thankless when everything is working but it can also be a huge source of trouble when using inferior products. The biggest issues we have run into include inferior bearings and poor fit. The stock bottom bracket used on your bike is typically the cheapest option available. As a result, the bottom bracket will feel gritty and require more force to spin. Another issue we commonly see is poor fit within a stock bottom bracket. Most OEM bottom brackets/adapters are plastic which will cause creaking issues over time.

In the past, ceramic bottom brackets started at $300+!  We recently teamed up with Kogel Bearings who offers a ceramic bottom bracket from $159 to $199. Their bearings are infinitely smoother and offer a housing made from aluminum. Stop by the store and turn the cranks to feel the difference for yourself!!  There is no doubt you’ll get some extra wattage with the same amount of effort.

Read more…

Cervelo R3 Ultegra – Another 2014 Bicycling Magazine Editor’s Choice Winner

Winner of the 2014 Enthusiast Category: The Cervélo R3 Ultegra

www.aroadbike4U.com
The R3’s satisfying combination of efficient pedaling, reliable components, and lively handling lifted it to the top of this category for the second straight year. The bike felt just as pleasant noodling down quiet lanes as it did when we were pushing the pace on a steep ascent.The frame did a commendable job of blunting the sting of cracks in the pavement and several testers noted the comfortable ride. ‘You may not buy this bike to race on,’ one said, ‘but it’s nice to know it could handle one.'” – Bicycling Magazine

2014 Cervelo R3 UltegraThe lessons of the Project California RCA have now been applied to the R3. Using the Squoval™ 3 family of tube shapes, the latest R3 saves you more than 7 watts while increasing more torsional stiffness for precise handling.  Sleek, internal Future-Proof cable routing enables easy setup and maintenance whether you’re running mechanical, electronic, or hydraulic lines. Bottom line: the renowned ride quality of the R3 has been defined even further to give you more.  More aero. More road. More machine. 

  • Sub 1000g frame
  • 24% Stiffness Increase at Headtube
  • Reduced Air Drag by >7 Watts
  • 8% Stiffness Increase at Bottom Bracket
  • Lightweight, Interchangeable ICS (Internal Cable Stops) Click into the Frame to Fit Mechanical, Electronic, or Hydraulic Lines

More Praise for the Cervelo R3 Ultegra:

Whether it was cornering, climbing, or sprinting, the R3 surpassed my old standards of ‘excellence’. It raised the bar.” – Roadcycling.com

Descending was staggeringly good and the front end felt 100% locked and secure” – 220 Triathlon

Come in to A Road Bike 4U TODAY to see this bike and many other great bikes from Cervelo, BMC, Giant, Pinarello and MORE!

2014 Pinarello Paris Think2 Review | A Road Bike 4U

The Dogma May Be #1, But The Silver Medal Goes To The All-Asymmetrical 2014 Pinarello Paris Think2.

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Much like it’s bigger brother, the PARIS® Comes with the Think2 system, allowing youto choose between an electric and a mechanical drivetrain with no issue and at no great effort. The PARIS is just below the Dogma as far as materials used and constructive technologies applied.

What technologies? Pinarello follows a methodology when it comes to frame construction. The acronym they use is SOE or, SIMULATION, OPTIMIZATION, EVOLUTION.

The initial tests in the design phase are done via technical software which simulates resistance, fatigue, fatigue, stress and aerodynamic impact. This, Pinarello says, ensures the realization of a prototype in an advanced stage and eventually leading to a final high performance frame.

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And what a beautiful frame it is! Completely asymmetrical from its rear asymmetric monostay, ONDA 2V front fork, new aerodynamic down tube design that, like the rest of the frame, is thicker on one side than the other.

Pinarello wants you to look good out on the road as well, so they equipped the bike with internal cable passages for both your brakes and gear systems, encasing them within the 50HM1,5K carbon frame.

In the 2014 edition, the weight has also been reduced, the frame (in size 54) is approximately 1038 grams, and is available in 14 sizes including special EASYFIT geometries, designed specifically for women. This bike comes in 5 Colors: 782 Sky (Blue), 780 Black/Re d, 784 White/Red, 781 Yellow, 783 Pink EasyFit.

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Come by A Road Bike 4U to see some amazing 2014 Pinarello bikes, as well as Giant, BMC, and more!

Main St. and Red Hill Ave. Irvine, CA — (949) 752-2080 — www.aroadbike4u.com 

California by Bike Summit Launches Women on Bikes California Initiative

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 1.00.03 PMWomen Bike – League of American Bicyclists Initiative

For the past 20 years or so, the bicycle riding population has moved from mostly kids and young adults to mostly middle age men.  The League of American Bicyclists rightly points out that this is not good for the industry or even for those already enjoying cycling.  They report:

“In 2009, women accounted for just 24 percent of bicycle trips in the U.S. It’s time for that to change. That’s why the League launched Women Bike — the first national advocacy initiative to encourage, engage and elevate more women bicyclists in the United States. 

The popularity of bicycling is skyrocketing nationwide and interest among women is rising, too. More than 80 percent of American women have a positive view of bicyclists and two-thirds think their community would be a better place to live if riding a bike were safer and more comfortable (Princeton Survey Research Associates national poll, September 2012). Still, women are underrepresented as riders and leaders in many aspects of the bicycle movement.”

Coming to California in November is the California by Bike Summit.  In support of the drive to get more women on bicycles, they issued the following press release discussing their own specific initiative:

51fff2c8e4b09bc7c9f79fcfThe California by Bike Summit Launches the Women on Bikes California Initiative and Showcases Why Women are Crucial to Mainstreaming the Bike
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Sacramento CA –  The California Bicycle Coalition’s California by Bike Summit this November 7-10 in Oakland will highlight the important role of women in mainstreaming the bike, not only in California but across the nation, by announcing the creation of the Women on Bikes California initiative. Women key to the nation’s and California’s growth in bike friendliness will participate in the summit including:
Carolyn Szczepanski, Director of Communications and founder of Women Bike program at the League of American Bicyclists
Alexis Lantz, Chair of the Board of the California Bicycle Coalition
Renee Rivera, Executive Director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition
Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
Carolyn Szczepanski will announce the new Women on Bikes California initiative on Friday morning with the project director Melissa Balmer.

Carolyn Szczepanski will announce the new Women on Bikes California initiative on Friday morning with the project director Melissa Balmer who is expanding her successful Women on Bikes SoCal project launched in September of 2011 from Long Beach.

“We simply cannot mainstream bicycling in the U.S. if we fail to engage 50 percent of the population,” says Carolyn Szczepanski “Fortunately, there’s tremendous interest and energy among women to tap into the benefits of bicycling and lead the movement in new, innovative and impactful ways. Our groundbreaking national WomenBike program and the ‘Women on a Roll’ report we recently published grew out of a clear recognition that female riders and consumers are a game changer for the bike movement and bike market and was further. The California Bicycle Coalition is at the leading edge of this exciting revolution with the launch of Women on BIkes California.”

The new Women on Bikes California initiative will focus on two goals of CalBike’s plan to triple bicycling by 2020: 1) mainstreaming bicycling in California culture; and 2) supporting the development of complete bikeway networks that conveniently connect people to their destinations with safe routes protected from high-speed car traffic.

The initiative will bring a creative twist to mainstreaming bicycling with a storytelling approach highlighted in their new website www.pedallove.org. Personally engaging stories, captivating original photography, photo essays, and an upcoming series of “Pedal Love” videos will showcase the bike as a tool for optimism and illustrate how ordinary Californians are making extraordinary changes to their lives by bike. The growing array of voices on the site already features eight talented women from diverse backgrounds ranging from age 25 to 60.

“Something is very wrong if men are able to avail themselves of bicycling for transportation at a rate three times that of women.” Says Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition. “The Women on Bikes California initiative will help to close that gender gap and create widespread recognition that bicycling is good for us as individuals, for our families, and communities for reasons of health, economy, convenience and happiness. This will help all Californians embrace bicycling as part of our culture and our goal of tripling bicycling in California by 2020.”

To raise the skill sets, visibility and connectivity of women passionate about being on the forefront of the active living conversation, Women on Bikes California will host a series of new media + leadership trainings called “Active Living Plugged In.” These new trainings are focused at cultivating the talent pool and opportunity for women looking to excel as champion communicators and leaders of active living in California in the new media age. The trainings will also hope to spark cross collaboration opportunities for innovative projects, programs and strategies with California’s bike industry, other active living industries, health, technology, tourism, entertainment and design fields. The the first two trainings are slated for Long Beach and Silicon Valley within the first half of 2014.

The History of Women on Bikes California

Women on Bikes California grew out Women on Bikes SoCal project launched in September of 2011 under the Long Beach based bicycle advocacy group Bikeable Communities. Women on Bikes SoCal hosted the very first “female only” bicycle instructor training scholarship for women utilizing the League of American Bicyclists program. Women on Bikes SoCal’s advocacy efforts, its creative team and original photography were featured in a variety of media including Bicycle Retailer, Bicycling Magazine, CNN Blogs, KABC Channel 7 news, KCAL 9 News, LA Observed, Los Angeles Magazine, Momentum Magazine, The Press Telegram, Refinery 29 and more. To learn more go to www.pedallove.org.

 

Europe Triumphs in Top 20 Best Cities for Bikes

Amsterdam has a long tradition of cycling for basic transportation

Why Is the US So Far Behind in Using Bicycles for Transportation?

Did you know that pollsters can generally get about any answer they set out to get by how they design the poll.  What are the questions?  How are they asked.  In what order?  Who are the ones polled?  I’m not saying that a recent poll produced by Copenhagenize Design Co. is biased, and it certainly adds useful information to the question of cycling friendly places throughout the world.  However, there is at least a chance that their criteria may have been at least somewhat responsible for 3 of the top 20 being in Holland.  Moreover, almost all of the 20 were in Europe (3 Japan, one in South America), with the lone North American entry being Montreal.

The study took a look at 150 cities in all.  Thus far the pollsters don’t seem to have released information on 21-150.  It may be that well known cycling Meccas in the US such as Portland and Davis may have come in 21 and 22.  Possibly the folks at Copenhagenize Design Co. will provide more data later.

Their criteria for selection included:

  • advocacy
  • bicycle culture
  • cycling facilities
  • infrastructure
  • bike share program
  • gender split
  • modal share
  • modal
    share increase since 2006
  • perception of safety
  • politics
  • social
    acceptance
  • urban planning
  • traffic calming

Business insider did a nice analysis of the list with some great pictures of some of the cities.  And then did another piece on why Americans don’t get it – why we don’t have a single city that made the list.

The article quotes Mikael Colville-Andersen, CEO of Copenhagenize, the consulting and communications company that published the Index.

Even if more Americans wanted to cycle to work, the infrastructure
isn’t there for them. In the U.S., planners and engineers are
“incredibly stuck in the last century paradigm of ‘cars are the only
transport form that we plan for,'” Colville-Andersen said. “We’ve forgotten that the bicycle used to be a form of transportation.”

Many U.S. cities are working to improve cycling infrastructure, but
don’t always do so intelligently. Bike lanes are often placed to the
left of parked cars, putting cyclists between moving traffic and doors
that can open at any time.

“This doesn’t keep cyclists safe,” Colville-Andersen said, calling the setup a “brain fart.”

Colville-Anderson also believes that we in the US see cycling as being all about sport or leisure.  He suggests that our current effort to sell improving the cycling infrastructure based on environmental-friendliness and fitness rather than on the practical advantages of cycling for convenience and cost is wrongheaded.  Cost for both the individual and the various governments, city, county, state, and federal is many times higher for each car/mile than bicycle/mile.

Southern California is certainly the most ideal place in the world for cycling when it comes to year round weather.  Unfortunately, the region has been set up around cars and a willingness to drive 30 minutes to work and play.  Irvine, as a planned community, seems ideally suited for leapfrogging other cities into prominence.  Fixing that might take a generation.  Fortunately, there are forces at work that are pushing in the direction of bicycle friendliness.

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SRAM Hydraulic Brakes Hit the Road – Interview by Road.cc

images courtesy of www.road.cc

A Road Bike With Hydraulic Brakes?

A few months ago, SRAM confirmed rumors that they have new designs for road hydraulic brakes, one operating on the wheel rim and one disc version.

 

Why has SRAM decided to introduce a hydraulic system for the road?  They made sure to emphasize these three points in a press conference last week: power, control, and modulation.

Mat Brett with www.road.cc was able to sit down with SRAM’s project manager Paul Kantor who further explains the decision making behind the new designs.

Kantor begins by describing the ideas that went into the new design. He says that SRAM liked the concept of putting disc brakes on road bikes but weren’t sure of it’s benefits or draw-backs.

 

The guys at SRAM built a hydraulic coupler into a stem [to standard mechanical levers], put it on a steel cyclocross frame and experimented. While the hydraulic brakes lived up to SRAM’s expectations, the design was unattractive and bulky. Their solution: make it fully integrated.

 

Later in the interview, Mat poses another question: If hydraulic rim brakes feel so powerful for such little effort at the lever, why would people want to go for disc brakes on the road? Kantor responds with a compelling argument: “Our hydraulic disc brake has a higher braking force at every lever force than a mechanical brake on an aluminum or a carbon rim, and more than our hydraulic rim brake. You can provide quite a bit more force for less hand effort and that’s really what we like about most hydraulics.

We think that Red mechanical and Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical brakes are pretty comparable, but with a hydraulic rim brake you are able to exceed that braking performance. On a disc brake we can create eve more force for the same lever effort. It’s much more consistent wet and dry too because we are braking on a steel rotor that’s consistent time and time again. That’s where discs come into their own.

CEN (The European Committee for Standardization) requires that there’s not more than a 20% drop off between wet and dry on a rim brake and we improve that substantially on a disc brake. It’s more like a drop of 5-8% in bad conditions. Plus, it’s a sealed system that’s consistent over time.

 

You can run a rim brake engaged at about 550W for 6 minutes and you’ll burst the tire. You can run a disc brake at 900W for 11 minutes and the brake doesn’t boil and the tire doesn’t burst.

 

Once you start adding up all these testing elements you start to see more and more opportunity for a disc brake to exceed what’s already out there.”

You might be asking yourself: Why not just go for discs, then? 

Mat replies to that also, saying that SRAM really likes the way rim brakes ride, and that they’re all about choice. They want to put many good options out there to allow the customer to make the choice.

He says hydraulic rim brakes may eventually win out over disc ones, but he doesn’t think so.

When can you afford one? Mat predicts that hydraulic disc brakes will come down in price over the next 4 years to a 105/Rival price point. He says at that point they will have to decide to either: make a fancy mechanical disc brake or see if they can push the hydraulic technology down further.

SRAM will be selling the rotors separately. They recommend a 140mm rotor for off-road and 160mm for higher speeds on the road.

The weight is 449g per wheel (including lever, caliper, hose, and 160mm HSX rotor). The HHR caliper rim brake uses forged aluminum arms and a SwissStop pad compound, and weighs in at 387g per wheel – lever, caliper, and 600mm of housing.

The new SRAM components should be available May to June.

SRAM sponsored pro teams will be keen for the teams to use the hydraulic brakes, although it will be the rim version as UCI regulations don’t permit discs.

Function AND Fashion at a Great Price. CAPO Aparrel. Available at A Road Bike 4U in Irvine!

Are you looking for great value in your cycling attire? At A Road Bike 4U, we carry the CAPO clothing line, which is developed by cyclists for cyclists, and is rigorously tested (for a minimum of 12 months!) before it is sold. All of the fabrics come from Italy, and these same developers constantly make trips to Europe to stay on top of all the latest fabrics.

CAPO apparel designs every piece of clothing with the rider in mind. The base layers are one size fits all and are specifically engineered to fit close to the body to maintain your body temperature. The jerseys only flex horizontally, so that your back pockets won’t sag and so you can be comfortable. They also have a locking zipper, so you have the option of keeping your Jersey zipped halfway up; instead of only all the way up or down.

Next are the bib shorts. They are padded in such a way to maximize comfort on long rides, and also have areas that are designed to keep moisture away and keep you cool. There is never any design on the padding, because in order to print on it, a lower grade fabric is required. CAPO apparel doesn’t want to cut any corners when it comes to their quality.

They also have women’s jerseys which have generous pockets, as well as the same benefit from the mens jersey in the lockable zipper. The ladies have a few different styles to choose from, including quarter sleeve and sleeveless.

CAPO clothing is great for any rider, but it’s especially great 4U! So come down to A Road Bike 4U and get yourself some race quality apparel, at the best price.