Browse Tag by Raleigh
Bicycle, Cyclocross, Events, Travel

Go to the UCI World CX Championships for FREE!

Raleigh USA and Cyclocross Magazine have teamed up to make a cyclocross fan’s dream come true- sending one winner and their guest on an spectacular trip to see the 2013 UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.  That includes airfare, lodging, and VIP access to the event.  If you are picking up what I’m putting down- you’ll notice the VIP access.  VIP access=a good place to see the event and I’m going to venture to say- the Dirtbag’s favorite thing- drink tickets!

Taken from the Cyclocross Magazine site:

How do you win a trip for two to Worlds?  Simple! Just send us your dream cyclocross obstacle (not the actual obstacle but a text representation, picture, or video will be fine).  Something new, something exciting, something that might just find its way onto a course at say, SSCX on Thursday night at Worlds, or SSCXWC next year in Philadelphia. A giant mud pit? The slime guns from SSCXWC? Maybe obstacles inspired by Wipeout? Once we gather all of the entries we will pick our favorite and award the creator with a trip to Louisville!

We will take your cyclocross obstacles any way you want to send them to us.  Here are some examples of how you can submit your design:

  • Just write about it
  • Send us a picture
  • Have arts and crafts time with your kids.  Nothing screams cyclocross like a marshmallow/toothpick barrier
  • Create a video while riding your “obstacle” in your local park
  • Heck, scribble it on a napkin and send that in.

Have another way you would like to submit your obstacle? Drop us an email with your idea, it’s probably fine. Email your design to contest@cxmagazine.com (include “Raleigh Contest” in the subject line).

Submissions are due Tuesday, January 15th and a winner will be announced later that week.

Lastly, your submissions cannot be previously published or published before we announce the winner.  This includes posting on blogs, social media, or YouTube.

Official Rules:
No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.  Contest will run from January 7, 2013 to January 15, 2013.  All participants must be 18 years or older.  Only US residents are eligible for the grand prize from Raleigh.  No purchase necessary.  To enter we require participants to submit their cyclocross obstacle via email to contest@cxmagazine.com.  One entry per person.  Grand prize winners will receive airfare, lodging, and VIP access for two to Louisville, KY for the UCI Cyclocross World Championships.   Winners will be selected and notified via email.  Cyclocross Magazine, 650 Castro St, Suite 120-291 Mountain View, CA 94041.

And of course I’d love you forever if you picked me as your companion…

Bicycle, Cyclocross, Events

Raleigh’s Midsummer Night’s Cyclocross

If you are looking to get on the bike and start your cross season early- then the good folks at Raleigh and MFG Cyclocross should be on your Christmas list this year.  This July you can race for an opportunity to be a part of the Raleigh Pro Team.  Yep, the top elite rider (without a contract) will be offered a contract to ride with Raleigh Bicycles.  Of course there will also be lots of great prizes for top riders off all categories including SS and Women’s.  And it’s only $10.  And I know there is a lot of camping in the area…  It’s likely to be hot and dusty out there- so be prepared.

July 21, 2011
Suncadia Resort – Nelson Dairy Farm
Roslyn, WA

Registration:

Pre-registration only online at www.bikereg.com. Pre-registration closes on 7/15/11. 80 rider field limit per Category. USA Cycling racing licenses are not required.* Race not sanctioned by USA cycling.

Entry Fee:

$10 per rider. Second race $10 per rider. Elite Men and Women are free. Invited Raleigh Retailers and P&A Vendors are free.

Race Day Check-In:

Riders must check-in and pick up race number no later then 30 minutes before the start of their race at Race Registration.

Amenities:

Food vendors with food for purchase will be available on-site.    There will also be a beer garden open throughout the day.   Please bring potable water as the temperatures could be in the 90’s in July.

Industry Expo Area will be open throughout the day as well.

Demo Bikes:

Demo bikes from Raleigh will be available throughout the day at NO CHARGE for test rides and races.

Lodging:

Vacation Rentals at Suncadia

Camping in Roslyn Area

Race Day Schedule:

Race Day schedule can be found here.

Course Map

Categories:
Categories are self-seeding. Sandbagging will not be tolerated. Riders are encouraged to choose the category that provides them the maximum challenge while allowing for them to be competitive.

Beginner = Little or no racing experience in any cycling discipline
Cat 4 = CX beginner with experience in other cycling disciplines
Cat 3 = Intermediate
Cat 2 = Advanced
*Elite = Must possess USCF Cat 1 or 2 Cyclocross License

Prizes:

Merchandise prizes three deep for all categories (see below for Elite and Singlespeed).

Top Elite Rider without contract will receive a “Contract with Raleigh” for the 2011/2012 US UCI Cyclocross Calendar. Offered to both Elite Men and Women. Approximate value of $10,800 to $14,800 (equipment & travel support).

Eligibility for Top Elite Rider without contract prize:

  • Must be eligible to ride UCI sanctioned Elite cyclocross races in 2011/2012.
  • Must purchase a UCI International License to receive prize.
  • Must be racing age 19 or over during the 2011/2012 cyclocross season.
  • Cannot have a current contract with a UCI trade team for the 2011/2012 cyclocross season.
  • Cannot have a current contract with title sponsor for the 2011/2012 cyclocross season.
  • Must be able to attend all US Grand Prix of Cyclocross and Cross After Dark races in 2011.

Elite Men & Women Cash Prize List – $2,850 / 3 Deep

Singlespeed Men & Women Prize List – Winner-Take-All prize package valued at $4,550.

Elite and Singlespeed Prize List Breakdown – Here!

Bicycle, bikes, Gear, Reviews, Travel

Review: The Raleigh Port Townsend

As I’ve said before… Port Townsend IS a place.

About a month ago I got a call from Sally- Seattle’s ever loveable patron saint of drunken cycling.  He said he had a present for me.  Having worked with him in the planning of SSCXWC I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  When receiving a “present” from Sally, you have to be on guard.  Especially when receiving a large box from him, there are important steps to take before opening:

  1. Make sure that the box is not ticking.
  2. Ensure that it isn’t leaking or that there are no odors omitting from said box.
  3. Shake the box.  Listen for whimpering, groaning, or other strange noises coming from within.
  4. When opening the aforementioned package, make sure you stand back- ready for anything.  Anything from drunken midget to a flock of seagulls may burst out.

I opened the package slowly.  Carefully.  You can imagine my surprise when I found nestled in amongst the cardboard and bubble wrap packing material- a thing of beauty: A Bicycle.

Not just any bicycle- the Raleigh Port Townsend.  When I first saw the bike online- I was immediately impressed.  It looked like a perfect bike for the Pacific Northwest.  Clean styling, a classic look and built for the road- all for a reasonable retail price.  I was hooked.  The Port Townsend sits happily within a family of steel bikes that pay homage to their history.  They are well thought out for the road or trail.  They also happen to come in at a price that makes them a bargain for those of us that have more sense than we do dollars.  Notch one up for the big bike companies that are building with quality AND quantity.

Without trying to be some sort of hybrid- the Port Townsend is a very versatile bike.  Out of the box it would make a great commuter or town bike.  It comes with a cute little front rack- and full fenders giving it a bit of a randonneur feel.  Come fall- you can even take advantage of the fact that the PT has a very similar geometry to the Raleigh RX1.0 and get out on the cyclocross course.  I also love the Port Townsend paint details- a gloss black frame with white lettering and frame bands- even a little pink- which would go very well with your Rapha kit- or your Soft Like Kitten kit…  My interest in the Port Townsend was for weekend trips and to maybe get out on a few rando rides with some of my Soft Like Kitten teammates.

After receiving the bike- I started getting ready for my ride to Port Townsend.  What better way to break in a new bike than to ride it to the little town by the sea whose name it bears?  Seattle’s spring weather has not been so conducive to the romantic idea I had in a ride to Port Townsend.  It’s been cold and wet.  Or just cold.  Well spring be damned- I had the bike and wanted to put it to the test.  The perfect opportunity came about when I got a call from a friend who’s boat was being worked on in Port Angeles.  One of the first captains I worked under when I started commercial fishing- he has since become a good friend.  He wanted help from someone familiar with the type of work the boat would be doing and I needed to make a little money- so a deal was struck.  He was coming in from the Whidbey Island ferry into Port Townsend, and would then be driving the rest of the way to Port Angeles- which would be my home away from home during the week as the boat was in the yard.

In preparation for my little 45 mile commute- I stayed up late the night before, consuming beers and shots- while dancing and jaw flapping at the Pedal Party.  Waking up to a steady drizzle after four hours of sleep was not encouraging.  I finished packing my backpack- which ended up being a twenty five pound bundle containing a laptop and enough work clothes to take me through a week of work (including rubber boots.)  My handlebar bag stuffed with Lara Bars from the Seattle Bike Expo and my lights were fully charged- I was ready for a grey ride onto the Olympic Pennisula.

At the Edmonds Ferry, there is a small shelter by the front of the loading area.  Though covered- it is not very large and I could not find a place to stay out of the wind and rain.

Hunkering down with my rainshell tight- I waited patiently until they opened it up to cyclists boarding.  Total cyclists on board the Edmonds-Kingston crossing: One.  Apparently a weekend trip in the rain didn’t sound fun to anybody else.

I enjoy taking the Washington State Ferries- though as I looked at the 3-d map onboard the M/V Spokane showing the Puget Sound- I became worried as I saw where my route would take me- across the dreaded “HOOD ANAL BRIDGE.”

Things started off well enough with the ride out of Kingston.  I had printed out something of a cue sheet from Google Maps- had my fancy cyclocomputer on the handlebars- and was ready for some riding.  Unsure if the cue sheeet would take me 100% along the route for motor vehicles- I didn’t question it as I should have when it told me to turn right at the old Barbur Cutoff Road….  After a mile and a half gentle climb to an area that was becoming increasingly more rural as I rode along- I saw an older man walking down the road.  When I asked if the way to Port Townsend via Hwy 104 was ahead he said “Hmmmm, oh, you mean the MAIN road?”  Great…  In only a couple miles into my little jaunt I had removed myself far enough from civilization that people gave up on road signs- instead using references that only make sense if you’ve lived in the area for 30 years.  “The Old McCoy residence- where the big tree used to be before the storm of ’82 took it out”- doesn’t help me.  We figured it out- and he suggested that if I wished to reach Port Townsend- I should turn around and head back to the “main road” a mile or two back- unless of course I wanted to head through the woods?  If I wasn’t on a time schedule to rendezvous with the ferry in Port Townsend- a little exploration may be nice.  But I left it for another day.

Back on State Route 104, I made a decision to stay on the well traveled route that motor vehicles take.  I chugged along- through the quaint (and a bit creepy) town of Port Gamble– skirted alongside Port Ludlow, and passed a great many amazing viewpoints of Hood Canal and the Puget Sound.  The weather was warm and wet.  My long sleeve wool jersey was too thick for the temperature and my rain jacket wasn’t breathable enough so I did what I wouldn’t suggest others to do:  I took off my shell and just let the rain wash over me- hoping my core would stay warm enough.  It turned out being ok- if I stopped for any length of time I could always put my shell back on.  Now a 45 mile ride isn’t something that would usually hurt me too bad- but my poor life choices the night before left me wishing I didn’t close the bar.  Losing an hour to daylight savings didn’t help either.  I had some time to think about the error of my ways on those rolling hills that took me to the sleepy little town of Port Townsend.

As I pulled into town- wet, hungry and ahead of schedule- I was very happy.  I stopped for a reunion photograph of big Port Townsend and little Port Townsend and headed to find a place that I could dry off and enjoy a beer.  The bar that I had made a regular stop on all 4 of my trips to Port Townsend was closed for renovations- the streets were rolled up and I started becoming concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find a good place to meet my friend.  I decided on The Siren- who thankfully had good beer- and all was well.  I changed out of my wet dog smelling wool and bellied up to the bar.  A cold beer warms a cold body.

I have been riding the Port Townsend as I built it out of the box (with the exception of switching out the pedals.)  The idea was to give it a go as it sells on the floor and I think that even as it rolls out the door it’s a great bike- not to mention a good platform to customize it to suit your needs.

For those still reading- or those interested in the Port Townsend as a bike- I’ll get into the nuts and bolts of the bike.  For the price ($849 Retail) I think you’d be hard pressed to find another bike out there that could give you all the Port Townsend offers.  The PT is built around Reynold’s 520 steel frame and a chromoly fork.  I’m not a metallurgist, but with a little bit of info from the web- including the Reynold’s website– I’ll try and give you an overview.  First of all- you likely know that chromoly is a popular choice for quality steel bikes.  I’m not even going to touch on hi-tensile steel bikes- because there aren’t many (if any) respectable bikes made with them.  Chromoly (CroMo) is a high carbon steel that is specified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).  Companies such as Reynold’s have their own proprietary formulas that have similar standards.  Basically- chromoly 4130 is the raw steel and Reynold’s 520 are the tubes made from it.  Once again- not being a metallurgist- I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between Reynold’s 520 and Reynolds 531.  Generally, the higher the number on the Reynold’s steel- the lighter the weight and stronger the tubes- this of course also brings the price up.  There are label whores out there- and some wouldn’t even dream of riding anything below Reynold’s 853- well they can go get themselves one of the Raleigh Internationals.

Now that we have that out of the way- the bike comes with canti brakes and a Sora 9speed group (with Dura-Ace 9speed bar-cons.)  The gearing would suit you well for rando rides or light touring with an 11-25T cassette and a 34/52 double crankset.  It also makes great gearing for Seattle- or similar hilly cities.  The ever popular Vittoria Randonneurs in a 35c width come stock on the bike.  I originally thought they were too wide- but I’ve since gotten accustom to the extra cushion for the pushin’.  With the leg size of a track sprinter and the upper body of a commercial fisherman (including the beer belly) I am often told that I don’t have a “cyclist’s body.”  Weighing in at 215lbs, 35c tires make for a better ride for me to be sure.  Now with a couple hundred miles on the bike- I’ve got it in the shop for a tune up.

There are of course two sides to every tale- and there are a few (minor) issues that I’ve had with the Port Townsend.  One of the first things I noticed was that the rack that comes on the bike doesn’t fit the strap on the back of rando bags.  I’m not quite sure it’s necessary if you use a decaleur- but it’s too wide for the bags I’ve tried to mount on it (Swift Industries Ozette, and VO Campagne.)  The stem used is a one piece stem & spacer combo- it doesn’t allow for any adjustability- outside of flipping it upside down- giving you a very pursuit style riding position.  That’s about it.  Sure- a better group would be nice and to lighten it up- but keeping that $849 price tag in mind- you have to make some sacrifices.  This isn’t a bike for weight weenies, and people that want a fully equipped touring bike won’t find it here either (fully loaded touring bikes often have a triple chainring and front braze-ons for a rack, as well as other perks- check out the Sojourn)

I’d definitely give this bike two thumbs up.  If you are looking for a bike that will bring you joy year round- consider the Port Townsend.  I really d0n’t think there is a better looking bike out there for the price.  The Port Townsend is a wonderful marriage of form and function a bike for the people.

Upgrades I’m looking into making:

  • Weighing the steel fenders and possibly switching to aluminum if there is much of a weight savings
  • Switching out the handlebars (mustache bars are up next to try out) and bar tape
  • Switching out the saddle (not sure what) Likely Brooks…
  • Adding a Swift Industries luggage set (Ozette rando bag and trunk)
  • Generator hub and light system

Wish list about the bike specs:

  • I have hacked together a setup for a handlebar bag that- though crude, is effective.  Though the rack looks good- it will likely come off if you want to get one that actually fits a rando bag- alternatively- you could likely contact Swift Industries and just have them make you one with a bigger pocket for the tab to slide into… (I’ll make a post on my hack-a-rack for a DIY Wednesday)
  • The stack height of the stem is locked in because of the stem/spacer combo.  It looks good, but makes customization difficult.
  • I’ll be adding some inline brake cable adjusters- barrel adjusters out of the box would be nice.
  • Might be nit-picking, but I love the Brooks Swift saddle that comes on the Raleigh Clubman.  Maybe the Dura-Ace bar cons were the trade off there?  Would it be too much to ask for both?
  • A Shimano generator hub to come stock would be be amazing.  Leave off the Shimano light- but just the hub would rock!

All that said- I once again want to thank Sally at Raleigh for looking out for me- and hooking me up with the bike.  You can be sure that you’ll be reading about more adventures on the Port Townsend this summer.

Bicycle, bikes, Gear

Raleigh Macaframa Commercial

The Macaframa movie came out in 2009 after many delays and the release of a number of well done teasers.  The delay was so long that many (including me) wondered if a movie was ever going to be released.  Well it was, and though it was definitely more trick based and hill bombing oriented than MASH– Macaframa has become one of the better known films (and crews) shooting fixed riding in the city.  The soundtrack is awesome and it’s a fun movie to watch to be sure.

In fixed gear culture- collaborations are king- and Macaframa got hooked up with the good people at Raleigh to get their very own frameset which was released at Interbike last September.  Macaframa shot a commercial- which, like most of what they do- is well done.  It looks gritty and feels like it was made for the street.  The rider’s tire on the other hand, looks like it’s seen better days- and may not have many skids left in it…

Macaframa 2011 Raleigh Track Frame from MACAFRAMA on Vimeo.

As for the frame itself- the geometry is the same as the ever popular Raleigh Rush Hour Pro.  There are a few differences in tubing shape- mainly in the aero seat post and in the downtube.  There are no threaded screws in the dropouts to adjust wheel tension, and instead of the red on white- they got all San Francisco treat on it- having Mike Giant design the graphics.  Frame, fork and headset should retail for $800 and is available from your LBS.  Check out the Raleigh frameset page for more goodies.  If you ever spent even a little time in San Francisco- you probably have a soft spot for this bike.  I know I do.  Congrats to Raleigh and Macaframa- glad to see this come together.

Bicycle, bikes

Raleigh framesets…

Raleigh added a list of framesets to their website which means some of them will be available through your local bike shop.

Limited edition SSCXWC Carbon frameset (frames available through SSCXWC)
2009 Rainier SSCX frameset (no longer in production)
2010 High Life SSCX frameset (no longer in production)
2010 SSCXWC- Alloy frameset (unsure of production)
2011 Hodala Carbon SSCX (Team Frame)
2011 Macaframa frameset (limited edition)
2011 International frameset
  • The Carbon SSCXWC bike is a very limited run of framesets that Raleigh puts out to help support the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships that I helped put together in Seattle for 2010.  I’ll be riding one of these frames this year with a belt-drive and I’m pretty excited about it.  Only 40 of them were made, and they are selling for $1200.  Before you get sticker shock- notice the ENVE fork on there that retails for over $600.  Also know that if wait until this bike becomes a production bike, the price is likely to go up to $1500+ for the frameset.  If you are on the fence about getting one of these frames, then it’s time to make up your mind…  Get yours HERE.  Not only do you get an amazingly light, belt drive-compatible, limited edition frame- you are helping make SSCXWC happen, and that’s pretty cool.
  • The Rainier and High Life bikes were also limited editions, no longer available.  You see quite a few on cross courses in the Pacific Northwest, especially under the Hodala Team riders.
  • I’m not too sure about the White frame that has the SSCXWC colors.  It’s an aluminum frame, presumably taking the place of the Rainier and High Life framesets.
  • The Team Hodala SSCX Carbon bikes use the same frameset as the SSCXWC bikes, but with a different paint scheme specifically for the Hodala Team.  If there ever were a squad of beer-guzzling hillbillies that were as good at riding bikes as they are at heckling, the Hodala squad is likely it.
  • The Macaframa frame is one that has had some buzz since a few photos got out at Interbike in 2010.  The Raleigh x Macaframa “collab” is now available through your LBS.
  • The Raleigh International is a beautiful bike.  If the full Dura-Ace equipped complete bike selling at $7000 is too rich for your blood, you can purchase this beautiful chrome lugged steel frame and put a more classic looking build on it.

The folks at Raleigh are doing well in reestablishing themselves as serious players in the bike industry and have been gaining respect in the street by offering bikes that look good and are built for urban riding.  Raleigh’s support of single speed cyclocross is unsurpassed by any other company, and they are making a name for themselves in the 29-er single speed mountain bike realm as well.  Raleigh has a strong history, and after a little lull, it looks like they’ve come out swinging- and watch out, because they’ve got a killer right hook.*

*I apologize for the boxing reference.  I was trying to think of a good analogy in a limited amount of time.  So there you go.

Gear

1971 Raleigh International

Wow.  This is beautiful- and for sale on ebay right now. Reynolds 531, chrome lugs clean paint- it looks like a restore, but the owner says it’s original.  I’m curious to see what it will sell for.

Raleigh Internationals were originally built up with Campagnolo Nuovo Record, but as times change, so do vendors. Raleigh debuted their updated version of the International at Interbike last year and it was met with lots of “oooohs and awwws.”  Built with Reynolds 853 steel, this bike is a real looker.  The Full Dura-Ace group is going to put it way out of many people’s price range- but what the hell, steel is real- right?

Gear

Port Townsend is a place.

Bikes are not built to be hung from walls, but ridden.  Though beautiful in their own ways, I would for the most part consider my bikes to be work horses.  Purpose built- nothing too fancy and with a practical component group- put together to be ridden.  Though I have a love of all bikes, my bike collection has shifted some over the years, mainly reflecting my income and the place I call home.  With that, many of my previous fascinations have come full circle.  2010 marks my first year of cross racing (single speed category,) and though I grew up mountain biking, I have never raced it.  I’m hoping to start racing singlespeed mtb bike in 2011 (yet another bike I’ll need to get…sheesh.)

Another faction of cycling that has been of much interest to me without ever owning a bike built for it is Randoneering.  I can’t really explain why really, except that I lived in the Bay Area during the time that Rivendell was getting it’s start, met some of the early employees, saw their bikes and was immediately enamored.  The integration of naturally occuring materials, fenders, equipment that is made to last, how could I not be intrigued?  Then I got into bike touring and mountaineering.  Randoneers- who often look like a cross between Grizzly Adams and Eddy Merckx- really get to see some beautiful country and their sport seems to blend road racing and touring quite well.  Randoneering can easily become a dark tunnel lined with hieroglyphics pertaining to the traditions, theories and prophecies surrounding geometry, frame materials, tire dimensions, and how many backup lights one should carry.  The “discussions” (grown up talk for fights) concern carbon vs steel, wool vs lycra, compact vs traditional geometry, the list goes on and on.

For those of us just getting into Randoneering- Don’t dig too deeply or you may fall in over your head.  Just get a bike that is built well, will adapt to the accessories that coincide with the sport and then give it hell.  You can always get a Boxer later.  I appreciate seeing what I would call good deals available to the everyday cyclist.  By “every day cyclist” I mean the folks that pay retail and keep the lights on at shops and the rest of the industry afloat.  It’s true that there are few people getting rich off of bikes.  Even so, there are on occasion, bikes released that seem to be designed to stay with a person for years, if not for a lifetime.

As anybody that has both purchased a bike and built a bike up part by part  can tell you- buying a complete bike is far cheaper (not to mention easier.)  Once you have a parts box you can pull from, it becomes easier to upgrade- switch frames or individual parts that fit or work better for you.  It can of course be a lengthy process to build that parts box, as the parts usually wear down before the frame does.

The 2011 Raleigh Port Townsend caught my eye as a cost effective way for me to enter the wild kingdom of randoneering as well as being a solid urban road bike/commuter.  Ringing in at under $900 complete, it’s a lot of bike for the money.  One of Raleigh’s numerous steel road bikes for 2011, the Port Townsend is built around a butted Reynolds 520 steel tubeset and outfitted with Shimano Sora derailleurs, Shimano cantilever brakes, Dura-Ace Bar-con shifters, and it even comes with fenders and a cute little front rack. The stock gearing is a 34/50 compact double chainring with an 11/25 9sp cassette.  Knowing the bike comes stock with 700x35c tires- means that you have lots of options for widths and tread, providing comfort over the occasional fire road, double track trail, cobbles, or the general suckiness of urban roadways.

The front rack will support a larger handlebar bag, and you can attach a rear rack or even just a saddle bag, making day trips easily manageable.  The paint is understated- not too flashy, and along the same lines as their other performance steel bikes.  The stem is a threadless design that looks to pays homage to the classic quill stems used on so many bikes throughout the years.

The Raleigh Port Townsend.  A taste of rando, without breaking the bank.

So there you have it.  The Raleigh Port Townsend.  Ready for your commute through the streets, your first 200k brevet, or even light credit card touring.  A trip to Port Townsend anyone?

For 2011, Raleigh is also offering a number of other performance minded steel bikes including the Rush Hour, Sojourn, Record Ace, and even their race ready, lugged, Dura-Ace equipped International.  See them all at Raleigh Bicycles.

Gear, News

Over the top: 2010 SSCXWC Raleigh Carbon cross bike

A little thing called the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships is happening in Seattle this year.  Heard of it?

In years past, Raleigh has released a limited edition of their single speed cyclocross bikes to celebrate the growing number of oddballs, degenerates, rejects and weirdos that like nothing more than spend a cold and wet day playing in the mud, grasping for beer handups and loving the pain and suffering that Pacific Northwest cyclocross is.

These images are the public’s first look at what Raleigh’s been cooking up down in Kent…  A carbon single speed cross frame; compatible with the Gates Carbon Belt Drive that we love here so much at GMG.  If this bicycle was  movie poster it would look something like this:

over_the_top

I’m loving how clean these dropouts are, even with the breakaway section to install a belt drive.

It’s sexy.  And there is only going to be 40 of them with this paint scheme.  That is less than in previous years- which all sold out…

See the Sasquatch on the headbadge?  How bout the Hodala lion?  This bike is like Sly Stallone when he turns his hat backwards in Over the Top- ready to kick some ass and take some names.  Is it hot in here or is it just the bike?

Now the only question is:  Are you going to race for money, glory, or for the love of cyclocross?  Get more information on the frame and where to buy one at the SSCXWC webpage, and stay tuned for more info on how to win a –ONE OF A KIND– Complete Shimano/Gates build for your new bike.  This is going to be an amazing year for single speed cyclocross.

Got the scoop from Sally- the amigo over at Raleigh- one of the (dis)organizers of the SSCXWC.

Here’s the basics:
– full direct connect carbon frame that has been proven on our carbon road bikes.
– CNC’d drop outs that are keyed for a Gates Carbon Belt Drive (the belt drive will help keep your costume clean)
– Thinned brake stays to help smooth out some of the jarring (ideal while putting down your first of many hand ups)
– Flat Top Tube for a comfy shoulder should you need to run with the bike (but honestly.the thing is so light you shouldn’t have to)
– Head tube is traditional. 1-1/8″ top and bottom
– Uses the same geometry as our RX 1.0 (what can we say.we like how that one rides)
– Fork on the actual production run will be the new ENVE.(because everyone is going to be just that with this thing.envious)
Limited run of 40 to be sold this year to be sold purely though and for SSCXWC. All proceeds of the sale of these frames goes directly to the event (sorry kids… no prodeals on this machine)
– Shimano (AGAIN!) and Gates Carbon Drive is offering up perhaps the sweetest groupo on the mud for one lucky person. (we know how creative SSCX racers are- so start thinking YouTube in order to earn the groupo. more details to be announced at IB)  Gates Carbon Drive is also on board and will be providing the complete drivetrain.
– MSRP is currently targeted around $1200 for frame fork headset

Sally will be taking one for its inaugural spin at StarCrossed and CrossVegas.  The complete built up bike will be at the Raleigh booth at Interbike.

You’ll be able to buy them from the SSCXWC online store soon, and with only 40 available- they’ll go fast.  Don’t sleep.

Gear, Travel

Get upright, not uptight

Bikes were made to be ridden. The bike as it leaves it’s point of sale is something of a canvas. It will become something to the person that owns it that is hard to explain. It’s like a friend- with benefits. Like that friend that will give you a piggyback wherever you want to go. We can dress it up or dress it down depending on what we’re looking for. Maybe we’ll change the grips, the saddle, the stem, the bars, all to suit the bike to our body and our style. This customization is one of my favorite aspects of cycling. It is very prevalent in fixed gear culture, sometimes to such a degree that people have been known to change their front wheel out to match their messenger bag. To each their own.

Last weekend we traveled to Portland for the annual Filmed by Bike film festival, which has become something of a tradition for Go Means Go and many other Seattle bike folks. It’s a great way to break into spring. Except for a freak 20 minute downpour, the weather was what we have come to expect when we visit- sunny and 70 degrees. The Friday kickoff party was especially raucous this year, with the street party attended by over 1000 people. Professor Dave and Webster Crowell represented Seattle with their films and all had a good time. At a campfire by the river after the movies, it got “real Portland”- real fast, when a guy found his pants and underwear to be too stifling, and proceeded to walk around in his shirt and shoes (I believe this is called “shirt-cocking”, a decidedly Portland tradition)

After a long night of bikes and beers, my lady and I got to explore the city and check out a few bike shops. I enjoy riding around Portland’s bike routes as well as the Esplanade and appreciate their bike planning- planning as though it was put in place by people that actually ride bikes. In comparison, Seattle planning seems to work from two rooms- one filled with people that only ride bikes, one filled with drivers having never ridden a bike. They don’t talk to each other. Each camp submits their proposals to a big brain that is floating in a tank hooked up to computers. Then the brain does some calculations and equations pooping out an idea that it feels is the best theory for bike planning- this is what is put in place. Portland’s planning seems to revolve around the safety of vulnerable users, where Seattle’s seems to revolve around those with the most money. I feel that this will change, it does take time and input from the users of the roadways (that means drivers and bicyclists)

We stopped in to Clever Cycles, which is a great shop for the “Dutch minded” cyclist. Brompton, Linus, Electra, Breezer, Retrovelo… A beautiful shop with not a drop bar in sight. Bikes and fashion dedicated to comfort and practicality. I got to take my lady for a ride in a Bakfiet. I would love to get a Bakfiet- though living on Phinney Ridge might make it difficult. The thought of riding a 100lb (empty) bike around Seattle is daunting, though I look forward to the opportunity. We tried a few other bikes, Melissa gave one of the new Electra Ticino mixte bikes a shot. I fell in love with a Brompton and would LOVE to get my hands on one. Folding bikes are the new fixed gear, or so I’ve heard. Clever didn’t carry them, but Lane at Cetma Cargo, who is involved with the Porteur to the People photo contest is now making cargo bikes. I want to give one of these low boys a test ride.  They at least appear to be more agile and lightweight than the typical box bike.

Electra, a name that I typically associate with beach cruisers, has brought out their Ticino line- designed to offer a more relaxed geometry than the typical, more race oriented layout of a modern hybrid bike. I think that one of the biggest flaws in the design of the modern bicycle is their opinion of the user, or they might not see that there are a lot of people out there that haven’t found a bike that they find useful. A bike that works well for racing is not necessarily going to be comfortable for the average Joe, especially if they are carrying around some extra weight (which most of us are.) The popularity of beach cruisers should be proof enough. Sure, a beach cruiser is comfortable, so people buy them. The problem is- at least in Seattle- to leave the beach- you must climb mountains. If you look at a standard Dutch bike, it is vastly different than most of what has been available in the US until recently. There are a couple companies that are finding their niche in this large and still growing market of “non-athlete” cyclists. More of an upright riding position, larger diameter wheels with narrower tires, fenders, a few gears maybe, the ability to carry a bag of groceries. In the early 90’s, it seems that hybrid bikes were starting to lean that way, but for whatever reason bikes seem to have jumped back onto the competitor train.

Gas prices rising, climate change, traffic congestion, poor health, economic downturn, all reasons that are getting more people on bikes than ever. People that want to use their bikes as a tool and a toy. It seems that US companies have started to embrace this market, offering a wide range of commuters for various rider types. Unfortunately, in an effort to keep the price low, the materials and components used on many of these bikes are generally of a lesser quality and a higher weight.

Back to the Electra. Melissa liked it, though the handlebars were a little too wide for her. I can’t remember the price, but it was something in the $450-550 range. Alloy frame, fenders and rack standard. Derailleur as opposed to internal gearing (not a deal breaker for me, though I do love some internal gears) A clean package at a good price.

electra-ticino-rear

Linus offers bikes that have simple lines and are made with less performance minded materials, but at their price point- would be great for people getting into practical cycling. Many people would agree that a comfortable riding position is far more important to search for in a bike than the weight savings of a few grams or even a couple pounds. That said, the 32+lb. weight of their mixte bike might be a little on the heavy side.

linus_mixte

Linus Mixte $559 Retail

I really like the Roadster Classic. Super clean- it looks similar to my rain bike (sans fenders.) At $389 Retail, if you are looking for a simple bike to get you around, this is a pretty sweet deal. I will still argue on behalf of the coaster brake hub, even though my Shimano coaster brake isn’t my favorite (The Roadster Classic comes with a Shimano as well.) I do wish that fenders were standard- you can pick up a set of full fenders starting at $30. In my humble opinion, any utility bike worth it’s salt will have full fenders.

linus_roadsterclassic

Linus Roadster Classic $389 Retail

If you are looking to spend some more money on a bike that seems to be going down the right path (or Alley, as it were), you can step over to your local Raleigh dealer and check out the Raleigh Alleyway. This bike calls out to me on a couple levels: Internal gearing, fenders, disc brakes, I like the touch of the one piece stem/bar combo- but the biggest thing: Belt drive. I’ve had a love for belt drive since I’ve seen it on bikes. It’s the perfect example at technology that will help make the bike gain a hold as something that is performance driven while being comfort oriented. Belt drives do have some drawbacks, but in my opinion the benefits are worth far more. Sitting, in the $1200-1500 range, it’s a bike with quality components and built to last.

raleigh_alleyway

Raleigh Alley Way