Archives for category: Product Reviews

For 2015 we have some exciting things planned to keep you cycling comfortably as possible. I am excited to announce that a few of them are beginning to be implemented in the store but not yet fully “rolled out”.

I can’t think of many more important contact points on the bike, then the saddle. Hands and feet are important contact points but we certainly have more conversations around the saddle than any other area on the bike. Over the years there has been a lot of development and researched focused in this area with great advancements in the last several years.

For 2015 we will be carrying Assos cycling apparel. I own a few pieces of Assos and I can tell you that it fits like a second skin when you wear it. I have never worn a better pair of cycling shorts in my life. In fact I credit the Assos shorts for making me a clothing snob when it comes to cycling apparel. A lot of little details add up to really set their clothing apart. They focus on making sure the clothing stays where you want it to, in doing so their strap design on bibs don’t keep them stationary and bunch free which is really refreshing. Durability is a great characteristic of Assos products, they design their shorts to be five season shorts where many other shorts are only lasting a year or two. A little known fact about Assos is many cyclists in the pro ranks send their team kit shorts to Assos to have the chamois removed and an Assos chamois hand stitched in. All of Assos chamois are hand sewn into the shorts. With the latest redesign of their shorts Assos has increased the breathability, reduced the volume, offers less genital pressure and the modified the design allowing for less friction through fewer seams. Assos has long been a leader in cycling apparel and we are proud to carry their products. I’m looking forward to adding more Assos to my cycling wardrobe.

Lots of shorts vary pad size based on short size. In fact to be a player in the market and offer a quality product you need that. Endura has taken that a step farther, they now offer three different pad sizes per short size. Pad size is no longer tied to short size. Just as you select your saddle size based on your bodies anatomical needs you can now do the same with your cycling shorts. Additionally they offer two length shorts, a regular and a long. This makes perfect sense to me and I am super excited to try out the FS260-Pro SL Bibshort. To help you select the proper size pad for your riding needs they have come out with a cool little chart:

Endura FS260 Pad Fit


Sorry this image is so poor, we are working on a better one, only get worse when you enlarge it.

This is an advancement in clothing fit and design that I think could really be a game changer in comfort for the cyclist. Assos has another innovation that will be available spring time and I am excited to try it out. Once I have more of an opportunity for saddle time I will be back with a more thorough review versus an overview. As always thank you for reading.

Maybe you have heard the term “balance bikes” “running bikes” or “kick bikes” and wondered what they are. They are the easiest way to teach your child to ride a bicycle. Best of all they are fun for the kids. At the store we carry Strider Bikes.

Most children are ready in the 18 to 24 month age range but if your child can walk they are ready for a balance bike. In the beginning the child just straddles the Strider holds onto the handlebar and begins to walk around with the Strider. With a wheel in the front and a wheel in the rear they are safe and stable. I call this the Fred Flintstone stage. Many families have their children use them around their house to get started. As the child gains confidence on the Strider they will begin to experiment with sitting on the saddle a little more and running with the Strider. Now the fun factor is increasing and their confidence is building. At some point they naturally will pick their feet up and realize they can coast. If they are unsure at all, all they have to do is put their feet back down.

Read the rest of this entry »


By Ernest Freeland

I believe that a helmet is the most important accessory that a cyclist owns. Over the years I’ve heard every excuse why people don’t wear a helmet or won’t. The design, technology and comfort have come so far over the years there really isn’t a good enough excuse to not wear one. Helmets come in all shapes and sizes and I know it is possible for everyone to find a helmet that is comfortable, light and fits them properly.

Bontrager Specter Helmet


I’ve ridden for years and that means I have ridden with a lot of helmets.   Then factor in all of the helmets I have tried on over the years and that number greatly increases.

I’ve seen a lot of things come and go. At this point it takes a lot for me to really get excited about something new. I mean really excited or maybe even to the point where I am impressed. Yes I see things that I like, that I see how they will improve my customers riding experience. Fewer things reach the WOW factor for me. The last WOW for me was Di2 but the latest WOW is the Bontrager Specter Helmet. When I first put this on and went for a ride I was excited. I noticed a huge difference from my previous helmet which caught me off guard.  Usually when I wear a new helmet you noticed a few changes but this was different.

I think what really made the difference is what Bontrager calls the Headmaster II a “One-handed fit system with premier look and feel.” This is the retention system that holds it on your head. It is comfortable, secure and you almost don’t notice it is there when you are wearing it. Yet during my first ride, (which was a mountain bike ride) I didn’t find myself needing to or feeling the need to keep adjusting the helmet. Note: Bontrager also makes the Specter XR that comes with a visor that is more mountain bike oriented it. The other thing I really like about the helmet is the comfort of the straps right out of the box. With other helmets the straps aren’t comfortable the first few times or any time you wear the helmet. Not the case with the Specter. The straps are super easy to adjust/set up with the LockDown strap dividers. The marketing folks at Bontrager say that they “make strap management simple” and I agree.

The helmet is light and the air flow is really good. Maybe it is my imagination but this helmet seems to ride a little quieter then my other helmets. I think it is a combination of well thought out design and the ability to be able to get the straps to lay flat where you want them. They are plenty of light helmets with good air flow available for purchase these days. What I think sets apart the Specter from other helmets is the management of the airflow and the reduced noise.

Specter XR Helmet

Specter XR

The helmet comes with AgION fit pads “wicking antimicrobial pads completely eliminate odors” How these hold up and smell will be the next true test of the helmet. I always seem to wear out the pads before I have met the life expectancy of the helmet. I am wondering if the better fit of the helmet will decrease the wear and tear on the padding. Time will tell and I will let you know. Lots of stuff is not marketed as “antimicrobial” so I am looking forward to seeing how well that holds up.

A few other things are worth mentioning and good reasons to try out the Specter. Like all Bontrager products the Specter comes with the Unconditional Bontrager Guarantee. Ride it and if you don’t love it in the first thirty days you can exchange it. The Specter also comes with a Crash Replacement Guarantee – Free replacement if your helmet is involved in a crash during the first year of ownership


The Specter has certainly earned the right to be my helmet of choice for awhile.

Did you know? You should replace your helmet every three to five years even if you haven’t crashed it.

Retail: $139.99

Tech Information

Colors: White/Red/Black – White (my color of choice) – Black/Grey – Black/Red – Black/White – Blue/White

Bontrager S 52-56cm 270g
Bontrager M 54-60cm 300g
Bontrager L 58-64cm 340g

DumondeTech1Dumonde Tech lubricant is quickly becoming a favorite among the shop staff. Rick has been advocating that we carry Dumonde Tech as it is his personal favorite. A few months ago we received our first shipment. We are rapidly seeing why it’s his favorite. Steven likes the fact that “it’s very clean, other lubes turn everything black and oily”

Rick said with his old lube he used to “clean his chain weekly or every other week, with Dumonde that need is almost eliminated” Now to keep the chain clean Rick recommends to just wipe off the dirty lube between applications no need to reapply.

One issue we have seen in the past with other dry lubes is that with overuse they can destroy the chain. That is not an issue with Dumonde Tech

Here is what Dumonde says makes their lube superior:

  • Liquid plastic forms long-lasting coat on all chain surfaces
  • “Riding in” forms an extremely low-friction plating
  • Plating bonds to chain; can’t be washed off
  • Components stay cleaner, last longer, run quieter
  • Extremely durable, outlasts all other chain lubes
  • Use less, last longer, saves you money

Dumonde Tech is offered in Lite and Original BCL. The Lite is as its name says, less concentrated. The original is more concentrated and there for more durable. The company recommends the Lite for road riding and the Original for mountain biking which our experience with using it agrees with their recommendation.

If you are looking for a lubricant that runs quiet, leaves your chain clean and is lower maintenance without sacrificing performance we recommend that you check out Dumonde Tech.

by Ernest Freeland

endura vestThe vest, an often overlooked piece of cycling clothing but in my opinion one of the most versatile pieces you can own. You can use the vest in the spring and the fall for those in between days. It’s like an extra layer that isn’t bulky like a full layer. It is the perfect piece to take the edge off on those chiller days. Then when you are done it stores away easily. Surprisingly a vest can be utilized when the weather is pretty cool, so don’t think the vest has a limited weather range.

The vest can be used in many different combinations. One of my favorites is to pair it with a short sleeve jersey and arm warmers usually in temps in the low sixties and certainly when the temps are in the upper 50’s. I used to be a fan of a light jacket for cool weather but grew tired of all the extra wind age it creates and flapping noise it makes. This combination offers you lots of flexibility depending on the conditions. You can pull off your arm warmers if you like or shed the vest and leave the arm warmers on. A benefit of both arm warmers and vests is that they don’t take up much room when you need to carry them with you.

Another great way to utilize the vest is with a long sleeve jersey. You can choose the weight of the jersey based on the weather, or even add a base layer under the jersey. In this set up the vest does a great job of keeping the chill off of your chest. If you become to warm just shed the vest to cool yourself down. Many of my cycling friends will still be wearing arm warmers when I have donned the long sleeve jersey. I find the long sleeve jersey to be more comfortable than arm warmers in many cases. If the weather is right for it I will always choose a long sleeve jersey over a short sleeve jersey and arm warmers. For me the weather certainly needs to be in the 50’s for this combination to be considered. Everyone has their own personal preferences. With a little trial and error you’ll figure out what works best for you. You won’t be disappointed if you choose to try out a vest. Just remember if you are warm when you first get on the bike you are over dressed.

 Note: We will cover wind front base layers in an upcoming post which work well under a long sleeve jersey but doesn’t  offer you the flexibility to shed  if you get to warm like the vest does.

For the 2014 year Trek redefined/renamed the warranty coverage offered with a purchase of a new Trek bike.  All Trek’s come with Trek Care which covers:

  • Lifetime Limited Warranty  –  frame for the lifetime of the original owner
  • 2 Years Limited Warranty  –  original Bontrager forks, parts and components
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty – paint and decals
  • Trek Care Loyalty Program

There are a few exceptions to the warranty coverage as it applies to mountain bikes and their components. You can see all of the Trek Care Information here.

Important Note: There are no real big changes in the warranty coverage that comes with the purchase of every Trek bike. Trek Care defines it and brands it clearly and simply. You do need to register your bike, which we can do in store for you. Or have a proof of purchase should you need any of the coverage Trek Care provides.

Of course all of the bicycles purchased from us come with Lifetime Basic Adjustments in addition to the manufactures warranty.

What we are excited about is Trek just launched a new coverage program for their bicycles. Trek Care Plus. There are TrekCareseveral things we love about this new program:

  • Accidental Damage Coverage
  • It covers Wear and Tear
  • It offers you coverage from day one

Trek Care Plus is not included with bicycle purchase but may be purchased with your new Trek bicycle or within 60 days of your purchase giving you three years of coverage. Trek Care Plus offers you wheel-to-wheel coverage that includes:

  • Wheels – spokes, rims, hubs and quick releases
  • Crank – pedals, crank arms, chain rings and bottom bracket
  • Suspension – front and rear components
  • Drive Train – front and rear derailleurs, freewheel/cassette, chain and shifters
  • Brakes – levers, cables and calipers (pads not included)
  • Other – Saddle, seat post, handlebars, stems and headset

All of the Trek Care Plus information is here.

Basically most of your bike is covered accept for tires, tubes and brake pads and regular maintenance. The investment you have made in your bike is substantial and what a great way to protect it. If you have an accident and your bike or one (or more) of the components are damaged, you are covered.  The most exciting area of the coverage is the Wear and Tear Coverage. Components that are the most likely to wear out in that three year period are the chain, cassette and chain rings. Trek Care Plus covers the replacement of these components and the labor to do so. So you have no out of pocket expenses. All you have to do is bring you bicycle to us, we are a participating Trek Care Plus retailer and your proof of purchase and we’ll take care of the rest.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

by: Alice Spriesterbach

The Garmin 910xt is well worth the wait.  The new 910xt was a belated Christmas present for me and I couldn’t be happier with it.

I previously was using the 305 Garmin and a Timex which were good but neither had the battery life of the new 910.  I am training for my 2nd Ironman and this makes a big difference.  The heart rate pick up seems to be more accurate which is highly beneficial for my training and being able to maintain my heart rate zones.  The display of the 910xt is very similar to the 305 that I have been using, making the transition easy.

Read the rest of this entry »

The right accessories are essential to your riding enjoyment. Having the right accessories can make all the difference in your riding enjoyment.  If you read Ernest’s bike buying rule blog you’ll see the importance he places on the right accessories.

I break Accessories into three categories:

1.)    “The Essentials”

2.)    “You Are Going to Want Them”

3.)     “Nice to Have”

“The Essentials”

These are the accessories that I think everyone who rides needs to have.

1.)    Helmet – Need I say more? It’s a law for children under 16 years old in Maryland.

2.)    Bell or Horn – In Maryland it is a law that you have a bell or horn on your bike. Many will say that your voice counts, but it doesn’t meet the requirement of the law. A bell is such an easy way to let people know you are approaching them.

3.)    Hydration – You need to stay hydrated while you ride. A water bottle and cage is a small investment. Need to carry more water? A hydration pack can allow you to carry up to a hundred ounces of water and provide you with additional carrying capacity for stuff.

4.)    Gloves – I don’t know what you do for a living but I imagine you use your hands on a daily basis. Gloves are a lot easier to replace then to clean your hands of debris from a fall and nurse them back to health. They also make holding the grips a lot more comfortable.

5.)    Floor Pump – Proper tire inflation is one of the keys to avoid flat tires. A floor pump is the best way to inflate your tires. My favorite is the Bontrager Turbo Charger.

6.)    ID – I like RoadID so if the worst occurs people will know who to contact. Another great solution is to take a luggage tag and include your important emergency contact information and medical information on it. Place this in your jersey pocket or in your saddle bag.

“You Are Going to Want Them”

While not essential, if you ride on a regular basis the accessories in this category are going to greatly increase your riding enjoyment.

1.)    Fix a Flat Kit – Seat Bag, Inflation Device (pump or CO2), Patch Kit, Spare Tube, Tire Levers and a multi tool. In many ways I think this is an “Essential” accessory. Even if you don’t know how to fix a flat tire a fellow rider who passes by may be able to help you as long as you have the right stuff. It’s in the Cyclist Creed that you don’t ride past a fellow cyclist stop on the side of the road without asking if they are okay. Now a days with cell phones you are less likely to get stuck without a ride home, but your ride won’t have to end if you can fix your flat.

2.)    Cycling Shorts – Shorts provide you riding comfort. If you ride on a regular basis and our distances of 10 miles or more a pair of cycling shorts in going to make all the difference in the world. There are two styles Traditional and Baggy.

3.)    Shoes – Cycling shoes bring comfort to your feet by adding a constant platform for your feet. Riding longer distances, I think these move into “The Essentials” category. If your riding in cycling shoes I also think clipless pedals are a necessary accessory.

4.)    Sunglasses – To protect your eyes from the sun, bugs and road debris. Glasses for cycling will offer you greater protection for your eyes and have features that keep them from fogging up and slipping off your face.

5.)    Cycling Computer – It’s always fun to know how far you’ve gone. Did you ride your twenty mile loop faster today then last week? If you are riding in an organized ride your going to need a computer so you know where you should be turning.

7.)    Chain Lubricant – Keeping your chain properly lube will keep your bike shifting smoother and increase the life of your chain.

8.)    Car Rack – A car rack will make it easier for you to get you and your bike to all of the great places to ride. Make it easy to ride and you’ll ride more often. Check out my post about car racks.

9.)    Lock – If you are going to leave you bike somewhere while you are riding a lock is going to give you peace of mind.

When I think about important areas on the bike I always look at the contact points of your body. Consider these when you think about your cycling accessories and when you plan to purchase them.

1.)    Hands – Gloves and Grips

2.)    Rear End – Shorts and Saddles

3.)    Feet – Shoes, Socks and Gloves

“Nice to Have”

As you get more and more into your riding you’ll see many of things being added to your cycling items.

1.)    Cycling Jersey – Jerseys can keep you cooler while riding by helping your body manage it’s moisture.

2.)    Bicycle Cleaning Kit – Keeping your bike clean will increase the life span while protecting the finish. Items can be bought separately or in a kit. I recommend a bicycle cleaner like Pedro’s Green Fizz, a bicycle polish like Bike Lust, chain cleaner, some cleaning brushes and a gear cleaning brush are a good start.

3.)    Cycling Socks – A good pair of cycling socks will give your feet support and help them manage the moisture. I love Swiftwick socks and they are the only ones I’ll wear now. My wife was shocked at all the benefits a true pair of cycling socks offered. Now she is hooked!

4.)    GPS – If you’re a data junkie or just want to know where you are a GPS well serve you well.

5.)    Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) – If you’re trying to improve your fitness a HRM is a great tool to help you do that. HRM’s start around fifty dollars and also can come integrated into a cycling computer.

6.)    Lights – If you think you may be completing your ride around dusk lights are essential to keeping you safe.

7.)    Bags – If you are riding for several hours or day touring a handlebar bar or rack trunk will come in handy for storing your camera, bringing along food and much more.

8.)    Cleat Covers – If you ride with clipless pedals cleat covers will increase the life of your cleats while making them easier to walk in.

9.)    Repair Stand – If you like to clean your bike and do basic maintenance a repair stand will make your life a lot easier.

10.) Indoor Trainer – Sometimes it is just too ugly to ride outside or your schedule doesn’t permit it.