Browse Tag by blackburn
Bicycle, Events, Gear, Mountain Biking, Travel

Comes with Baggage

Sea Otter is just around the corner and bike nuts are getting ready to head to Monterey to enjoy some sun, salty air and bicycles in California later this month. Oh- it’s also the 25th anniversary!

Blackburn will be there, along with a number of companies offering ways to get off the beaten path to explore the great outdoors. Blackburn is hosting a debut screening of a moving showcasing the history of bike travel. If you’re there, check it out. I’m sure they’ll also have some of their bikepacking gear around to play with as well.

COMES WITH BAGGAGE FLYER (1)Here’s a little trailer of what you’ll be watching

Bicycle

Showers Pass over the Rangers

I’ll just start this off with the most important thing on the internet today- Darkeys & The Keys.

I feel better already.

Showers Pass has been adding to their line with stuff to keep riders warm and dry whether on or off the bike for a while now- their newest offering is a packable rain jacket which weighs 10.6 oz (for a puny medium.) The Metro Jacket, as it’s called- comes in navy blue- looks to be a slim fit, is seam taped and is described as a hardshell (though breathable.) It retails for $199, and is available at your LBS or at the Showers Pass website. Stay dry, my friends.

Metro-Jacket-front

Metro-Jacket-inside-frontMetro-Jacket-rolled-up

 

alway's

 

In other news, Blackburn is looking for ambassadors, or “Rangers” again- for their second year. You can hear a guy talk about it while music that is too quite to discern what it is and pictures come across the screen here:

This year the 6 chosen Rangers will be on a set path. Either the Pacific Coast or the Great Divide. worthy rides to be sure.

Myself- I think they should go for the 4 riders of the Apocalypse, or they could make it a ride to the death- the last ranger standing would then become “The Lone Ranger.” But that’s why I don’t get allowed to make decisions.

If you’re up for it and want more details- Go HERE.

Now I’m going to see when Darkeys & The Keys will be playing next.

fat bike, Gear

New stuff from Blackburn

Blackburn has been bringing a lot of new gear out- especially for those that ride off the beaten path. As anybody that keeps an eye on the bike industry likely knows, fat bikes, 29+ and “adventure bikes” are in high demand. With this, alternatives to the traditional front and rear pannier touring setups are being experimented with for trips of different lengths. Overnights and shorter (as well as lengthy) off road tours can make bike mounted luggage more appealing. Blackburn also has a crew of “Rangers” out there exploring- even as you read this.

Their Outpost line is where you’ll find the goods for gearing up your bike for some off road adventures.

Continue Reading

Bicycle, Gear

Blackburn Tech Mag

Much of the US is still basking in the sunshine of summer and enjoying the cooler evenings that the beginning of fall brings. In Cordova we’ve had a bunch of rainfall that will continue until it turns to snow. CX season is around the corner and sometimes it’s hard for me to get motivated enough to hop on the bike and go for a spin in a monsoon. This little guy is one option for those that want to get some spinning in, but can’t pull themselves away from Orange is the New Black. I haven’t used a trainer before, but kinda want to give it a go.
IMG_7338.JPG

TECH MAG 1 TRAINER

• No assembly required
• Single optimized resistance setting for no-fuss operation
• Compact, lightweight and foldable design
• Rubber feet micro adjust for extra stability
• Bike installation is simple and works with wheel sizes between 26”x 1” and 29”x2.3”
• Tapered cones fit most dropouts
• Steel quick release skewer included

$119.99

Check it out HERE

Bicycle, Gear

The new Blackburn Rangers: OUT THERE

Well Blackburn has selected their 2014 batch of Rangers, and it sounds like they have some pretty cool adventures planned.  Blackburn has been making cycling accessories since 1975 and over the years has brought some really great products to the people.  The Rangers help with product development with on the bike testing.  In it’s 3rd year, the Ranger program has given important feedback to Blackburn about how to improve or innovate their products further.

Meet the Rangers:

Bicycle, Gear

First look: Blackburn Outpost Racks

Got a box of goodness from the folks at Blackburn the other day- and I’ve been scrambling to get a bike together to test it out.  Inside the box was a front and rear set of the Outpost World Touring racks, a Central rear pannier, and the Central front light (pannier and light post coming up next week.)

My Raleigh Port Townsend has long been a favorite testing platform for this sort of thing, but I’ve also been waiting on parts after a broken brake lever opened a can of worms for me in what I’d need to get back on the road.

4

I’ve got it back together enough to install the Outpost Racks, with which I’m impressed with so far.  The installation went fairly well, with the racks giving options for just about anybody out there looking to put together a stout touring rig.  The Outpost racks use Easton Scandium and aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum tubing in their construction- with adjustability options to accomodate 26″- 29″ (or 700c) wheels.  On opening the box, I was a little unsure what bike I’d be able to put the racks on.  They looked really big and at first I thought they would be for the fatbike.  Holding them up to the frame, I quickly realized that they were built for a 135mm “standard” rear spacing and a 100mm front- not my 190/135 combo.

The Outpost racks (front and rear) are very customizable, utilizing a nifty sliding lower attachment point that fastens to your frame or uses an extended quick release axle (not included) if no braze-on is available.  I found the racks to be easy to install, with a lot of adjustability, even if your frame doesn’t have all the attachment points of a full-fledged touring frame. In attaching to the seat stays, you’ve got three options.

  1. Attach to rack braze-ons – the method I used for the rear rack.
  2. Attach to cantilever brake posts – the method I used for the front rack.
  3. Attach to frame via included P-clamps.

The bars used to attach to the frame/posts/clamps have little rounded eyes that accommodate the angles that may be needed to get a good solid connection without bending the rack or mounting hardware.  The rear rack is rated for 55lbs and seems plenty stout.  Here you can see it with the Central rear pannier that they sent along as well (I’ll break down the features of the pannier in another post.)

photo 5

The rear rack sports a mount to attach a reflector or rear light.
1The front  rack has a removable top rack platform, features high and low pannier mounts and sports the same design and customization options of the rear rack.
9photo 3I really liked the adjustability and I can see that you’ll get a clean install as a finished product- with whatever bike you may choose.  Now that I have everything installed and cut to fit, I’ll take it off and get a weight on the rack.

The Outpost Rear rack retails for $125, with the Outpost Front retailing for $100.

See more from Blackburn HERE

I’ve got a couple more things to put together on the bike, and then I’ll get it out for a ride and let you know how the rest of the stuff works out.

 

Bicycle

The Blackburn Ranger Program

Interested in being a brand ambassador for Blackburn?  Here’s your chance.

They are looking for “Rangers” for 2014, and you have until February 15th to apply.  This from Blackburn:

Are you a cyclist with an adventurous soul? Someone who likes to capture your stories along the road? Maybe you’re a seasoned bikepacker, well-versed in traversing back roads and trails. Maybe you’re just getting into adventure cycling – testing out overnight trips and yearning for more.  Definitely you’re somebody who passionately believes in the idea that viewing the world can be better by bike.

At Blackburn we design product for those who embody this spirit of adventure, and in support of this community we’re recruiting 4 new brand ambassadors for 2014.  Nicknamed “Rangers”, our ambassadors provide the ultimate test of our products and bring them into real world situations as they tackle journeys along the Pacific Coast and Great Divide routes. Blackburn Rangers work directly with our designers and engineers to deliver invaluable product feedback as well as advocate for bicycling touring, share their journeys and adventures along the routes and encourage everyone to get “Out There.”
 If you’re interested in traveling the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route or the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and sharing your stories along the way–as well as testing out our latest and greatest gear–you just might be the perfect candidate to be a Blackburn Ranger.
You can check out a number of their videos like the one below, on their WEBSITE.
Bicycle, Bike Porn, Events, Travel

Interbike 2013

Interbike 2013.  2 days in the desert at Bootleg Canyon, 3 days at the Mandalay Bay.  In that time I consumed 10 supplement bars chopped into bite sized pieces, 14 energy gels, 9 Dixie cups with some sort of recovery drink, 147 beers, 18 shots of whiskey, 1 shot of Ass Juice, 8 gin and tonics, 19 whiskeys on the rocks, 6 32oz margaritas, and 4 Bloody Susans.  Even with all the liver training I do, my body hurt by the end of it.

Interbike has become something of a pilgrimage for me.  My fifth year attending, it’s a time to see friends that I don’t see often, if ever, outside of this annual trip to Las Vegas.  Interbike is 750+ exhibitors, representing 1200+ brands, selling their goods and services to wholesalers, retailers, and manufactures.  Working Media (the reason GMG is allowed in) is present to cover the new and sometimes exciting products that are available, to help build the buzz about the coming year.  This year was a little different, with the final day being an “invite-only” consumer day- where retailers could invite their top customers to check out the floor.

Along with having a different events company put on the show, Interbike changed location from The Sands Convention Center to Mandalay Bay.  The new location seemed smaller, but also ran smoother on the registration end and I for some reason found it easier to find the venue.  The small venue made the inside feel a bit cramped, like exhibitors were stacked on top of one another. Mandalay is also in a less convenient location on the strip- reducing the number of cheap hotels and bars within a close walk.

Outdoor Dirt Demo:

I had some much appreciated company at Dirt Demo this year, as Felix and Kerry flew in from Seattle to hang out.  We walked in the dust and drank beers in the desert while we looked at bikes.  My focus on a personal level this year, was looking for my next bike which- with my move back to Alaska, is a fat bike (spoiler alert: Gon’ get myself a Fatback.)  Fatbikes have seen a lot of growth recently, with carbon becoming a very popular frame material.  Fatback has the Corvus9:Zero:7 has the Whiteout and Borealis has the Yampa.  Along with new materials- there is a shift in rear spacing- with 190mm becoming pretty standard, allowing for the fattest tires currently available (4.8″ wide on a 100mm rim.) The carbon frames are using through-axles, so the actual spacing is 197mm (3.5mm extra is needed per side)  Felt even had an electric (albeit aluminum) concept bike there, called the FatE.

DSC_0023

 

Broke out the calipers to measure tire width and it made a couple manufacturers nervous.  When I checked the Surly 4.8 Bud and Lou tires on a 100mm Clownshoe rim, they came out to 4.55, for whatever it’s worth.
DSC_0004

The Fatback Corvus is available for pre-order HERE.  They didn’t have one available to ride, but this 3-D printed version was built for mock-up, and I’m feeling confident that it will be at least on par with the offerings from 9:Zero:7 and Borealis.  You may wonder why I’ve got such a boner for Fatback.  For one- they are in Alaska.  By in Alaska I mean- go to Speedway Cycles in Anchorage and talk to Greg, the owner.  They ride here, they tour here and they race here.  The changes these bikes see in them are due to the terrain and environment in Alaska.  Other fatbike builders have an “Alaska Connection.”  Maybe they started here, maybe they went to school here, they likely come back to visit.  Also- Fatback has their aluminum frames made in Oregon.  So there.

DSC_0017

Felix found a bike he liked- the Santa Cruz Heckler.

DSC_0027

Dirt Demo is much mellower than the inside show- fewer people and a much more relaxed feel- but it’s only two days.  So come Wednesday morning- it was off to the show.

I had bold plans to Strava my travels during the day to make some sort of “Blogger Battle” but the GPS signal didn’t work too hot in the basement of a massive hotel/casino.  Oh well.  On top of that- I wasn’t armed with a fancy camera like Felix had (he was the cameraman for the above shots)- I may have forgotten it in Seattle after an extremely late night of pizza and beer drinking with the rest of the GMG posse.  But I did have my phone- and since hey- I’m not a product photographer, I’m a blogger.  I’ll just tell you what I saw, show you some mediocre photos taken with an old iphone and you can look it up later.

Sometimes there are new products at the show that really impress me.  This year seemed to be the year of the fatbike- or the E-bike.  I don’t really know much about the E-bikes and though they are really getting better, I think they have a way to go to really gain a foothold in the younger US market.  Fatbikes, however- are the new fixed gear, it seems.  Bikes become less of a “niche” when companies like Kona, Salsa, Trek, Specialized, and even Motobecane have them.  They are popular for people that live near sand or snow, or just want a big ol’ whip to throw around and play on.  They are getting lighter, and for $1600 you can get some 85mm carbon rims that weigh 590grams (Currently in production/available for pre-order, and yes- that is $800 per RIM) from Borealis.  Also stay on the look out for some lightweight rims from Stan’s NoTubes in the spring.  It will be an aluminum 80mm rim weighing in at 487grams.  It should be available as a complete wheelset as well as the rim only.

For your fatbike rack- look no further than Old Man Mountain.  Handmade in Santa Barbara, CA.

image[7]

Revelate Designs, based in Anchorage, AK can hook you up with outfitting your bike (fatbike or otherwise) with frame bags, pogies (handwarmers) and other bike luggage.

And there was some other, non-fatbike related stuff that was cool too.  Some of the stuff that really stuck out:

  • Feedback Sports has their Rakk Stand, the Velo Hinge (my favorite of their new stuff), the Velo Column and their Pro Truing Stand (which also has a disc brake rotor gauge.
  • Fyxation is gearing up fixed gears, by selling their SixFix.  It adds a derailleur and six speeds to your track end bike.  Now people are converting fixed gears!  It will come as a $300 kit including rear wheel, 6sp cassette, shifter and derailleur.
  • Blackburn is doing some cool things with a redesign on their racks, making some new lights (like the variable power, self adjusting Central Front Light), and is working with pannier security with their Interlock rack and bag combo.
  • Velo Orange has a new frame in the 29×2.1″ Camargue (named for an ancient French horse, known for it’s ruggedness.)  They’ve also got what their calling “Crazy Bars”  a 22.2 handlebar with 23.8 horns.  They’re making a Grand Cru front bar bag– $200 and made in Baltimore.  Also digging the Pass Hunter– basically a rando with cantis.
  • Smith is doing good things in the helmet department with the Forefront.  Available in 11 colors (Wow.) it should be available in March and retail for $220.  It uses Aerocore® design, made with Koroyd™.  Lightweight, “30% more impact resistant than EPS, it’s lightweight- has an optional light/camera mount, is goggle compatible, washable, antimicrobial, their “performance glasses fit nicely in a groove above the visor (which is removeable.) The material is pretty cool, it looks like a bunch of straws glued together, allow for good ventilation.
  • Gripstuds makes screw in studs for the DIY’er.  Not a bad (or cheap) option for those that want to customize their tires, shoes, whatever.  They’re about $1 per stud, but really, you don’t need a whole lot, and they are carbide, and much lighter than making your own studded tires with screws.
  • Swrve makes awesome stuff.  They’ve been making lots of things in the US, but it seems like some production is moving elsewhere…  Check out the new Durable Cotton Trousers, and a beautiful Selvage Denim Work Apron.
  • Slip Not Chains seem a good idea if you don’t want to commit to studs and would be better in snow (but probably not as effective as studs on ice)
  • Brooks had some cool stuff like their Cambridge Rain Cape ($160,) Their VEGAN Cambium Saddles and the Brooks MT21 ($70)
  • Lezyne had a couple new things- notably, the new Digital Floor Drive pumps.  What I like about Lezyne is that their tools are designed to be rebuilt when broken, not thrown away.  Even the new digital display will be backwards compatible with their Floor Drives- if you’d rather look at a digital display- swap it out.  Also cool is their Porta Shop tool kit.
  • King Cage.  Titanium and Stainless bits for carrying liquids and things on your bike.  They had a really cool handlebar flask that has two shot glasses onboard.  It’s in production.  They’ve also got the bar bell- a bell that’s a shot glass.  Ron at King Cage might even drink more than I do…

image[4]I think that about wraps it up.  I made it through another Interbike.  Next year I really hope to get Greg and Bryan down to help cover it.  I also need to bring a stunt liver.

Whether you love it or hate it, Interbike does something for the bike world.  It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times.  I see people I like and people I don’t- because after all “Just because we both ride bikes, doesn’t mean we’re friends.”