Rolf Prima Ares4 Carbon Clincher

January 10, 2014
Rolf Ares4 Wheelset Jamis Xenith Elite

Rolf Ares4 Wheelset Jamis Xenith Elite

A month or so ago, the representative from Rolf Prima asked me what I knew about their wheelsets,  Other than I vaguely remember that they had a patent on some sort of  spoke pattern and that they were on a lot of Treks, I didn’t know much.  We than had a 30 minute conversation about Rolf Prima’s history, technology and products.

The spoke pattern is indeed unique to Rolf Prima and is patent protected here in the USA and I’m sure in many other countries.  In a conventional wheel the spokes are evenly spaced at the rim resulting in a series of right and left forces.  This results in significant lateral forces on low spoke count wheels thereby making them difficult to keep in true.  In contrast, Rolf wheels are designed so that the spokes meet at the rim in pairs evening out the lateral forces.  By pairing the spokes, Rolf can build an exceptionally strong and light weight wheel with fewer spokes.

I mounted up a pair of 25c tires and installed the wheels on the Jamis.  The first thing I noticed is that these thing are really wide, 27 mm according to the website.  I had to run the SRAM Red brakes wide open just to get them to fit.

The first ride was on our normal Saturday 32 mile loop.  The day was windy, cold and wet; not a perfect day for a test ride.  The first thing I noticed was how fast the wheels spun up.  It didn’t take long to get up to speed and when I did, they held the speed exceptionally well.  The only downside to the ride was the strong cross winds on Bee Cave Road which made for some difficult handling.  These, along with every other 40mm+ wheel I’ve ever ridden, were going to take some getting used to.  Over the next two weeks I was able to ride the wheels on some calm flat days where they really impressed.

Near the end of my time with the wheels, I was finally able to test the aspect of the wheel that really concerned me.  Would a sixteen spoke count wheel be strong enough for a 185lbs rider during maximum effort hill repeats?  I was really starting to like the wheels and was hoping for the best but expecting the worse.  I was expecting enough flex for the wide rim to cause significant brake rub under effort.  After an hour of hill repeats in Apache Shores near Mansfield Dam, I had my answer.  They were rock solid – no perceptible flex at all.

Overall, I was impressed with the wheels.  They spun up nicely, held speed well, were rock solid in the climbs and, once I got used to them, were fairly stable in the cross winds.  The view from the cockpit at that wide front wheel did take some getting used to though. At an MSRP of $2300, including Swiss Stop brake pads, titanium skewers, and a double wheel bag, they are a good value.  Easily 20% less expensive than the better known competition.

These wheels are not for everyone, but if you are looking for an aero, light weight and strong carbon clincher you should certainly consider a set.

More details about the wheels can be found at http://www.rolfwheels.com/products-ares4.php


Jamis Bike Demo December 8, 2013

November 22, 2013

Join us on Sunday December 8th at Walnut Creek park for Jamis Demo Days.  Ride their award-winning 29er and 650B mountain bikes from 10am- to 4pm

Jamis Demo Flyer

Jamis Demo Flyer


Craft Base Layers

November 16, 2013

This year we have decided to bring in some select winter clothing from Craft.  Craft was formed in Sweden in the early 1970’s with the aim of developing and selling the highest performance base layers and outerwear.  We have been testing Craft’s base layers throughout the heat of the summer and were impressed enough to bring in their winter base layers along with selected gloves and arm, leg and knee warmers.

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So that our customers can try out the base layer in a real world environment, Craft has generously provided us with a full size run of both Men’s and Women’s Be Active Extreme base layers for us to try. Call or stop by the store and we will give you one to try on your next ride.

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The following is the Boss’s review:

As many of you already know, I highly dislike being cold and am always the person riding with full tights, a jacket, a headband and full fingered gloves whenever the temperatures drops into the 50’s.  I guess that’s why I was the first one to try the Be Active Extreme base layer from Craft and was asked to write a review

I’ve used the  base layer on my last two rides and must say I’m impressed.  When I removed the base layer from its packaging, I was immediately drawn to the garment’s hand feel – soft and light.  The fit was good, though the sizing seems to run a little small, and I particularly liked the crew collar and the longer cut.  I rode to the store that morning and upon putting on the base layer I immediately felt like I was wrapped in a thin heater. We then went on a chilly (about 40 degrees) 35 mile ride.  As many of  you in Austin already know, the strong sun here tends to heat pretty well on the uphills and it the garment doesn’t do a good job of wicking the downhills can be quite miserable.  Not in this case – I was warm and comfortable the entire ride.

The bottom line is that I love my Be Active  base layer.  It performed exactly as advertised, but if you can’t trust the Swedes to get cold weather gear right it time to give up.  Looks like there is at least one more short sleeve in my future as well as a long sleeve for my runs and early morning dog walks.


Addict is Back

November 15, 2013

When it was first introduced in 2007 the Addict was the lightest production frame on the market at just over  790 grams. It was used by, among others,  the HighRoad professional cycling team and where it was raced to a number of Grand Tour and Classics’ victories.

After a 3 year hiatus, it’s finally back. I rode and raced my first Addict in 1998 and to this day is one of my favorite bikes. Its lightweight, stiff, highly responsive and durable.  In fact, the Racer is currently using it at Aggieland.

We were excited to learn of the bikes return to the lineup and just received our first shipment. The first one we built was the Addict 20 with Ultegra 10 Speed

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As usual, the bike was very well protected and required a fair amount of time to unpack.

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The build went very well and we encountered no issues. The Ultegra 10 speed group set up very quickly and operates flawlessly. The final weight was just over 17lbs, which was more than we expected. We attribute it to the heavier than average Shimano RS wheels. No doubt we can lighten it up substantially with a pair of Easton EA 90 SLX, which we will review in another post.

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Scott Helmet & Shoes

November 12, 2013

Today I received my new helmet and shoes from Scott USA. I have used their shoes in the past but this is the first helmet that I will test.

SCOTT Road Team Boa – MSRP $165

According to Scott USA, “The Road Team BOA is the shoe for serious response and long distance comfort. It features a microfiber upper and a close-fitting adaptive fit pattern with the BOA closing system at the midfoot. The Ergologic insole features an adjustable arch support and metatarsal button. The injection nylon and glass fiber sole has a stiffness index of 8 and features a replaceable TPU heel tread.”

My initial impressions are positive.  The shoes are comfortable and light and the BOA closing system secures the foot quite nicely.  Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the white with the red accents matches the kit quite well ( yes, i am that vain).  Ill get the cleats mounted up in the next week and give an over all review in a month or so.

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SCOTT Vanish EVO Helmet – MSRP $160

According to Scott USA, “The Vanish Evo offers a class leading combination of ventilation, fit, light weight and safety.  ConeHead™ technology offers the edge in safety and the all new MRAS II fit system ensures a comfortable and familiar fit ride after ride.”

Well, the helmet is light and the vents are huge.  The fit is pretty good and the highly adjustable retention system is a nice plus.  It seems to fit me quite well, albeit quite differently from the Laser Genesis that  have been using for the last season.  As with the shoes, I’ll post a detailed review in a month or so.

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Campus Bike

August 9, 2013

Things are about to get very interesting in our house in the next week. I’m sure it’s the same all around central Texas. Summer vacation is coming to an end and the kids are getting ready to head back to school. In our home that means Westlake High School and Texas A&M University.

The Racer will be a freshman at TAMU this fall and will be leaving home in 10 days or so. I’m not sure who is looking forward to it more – he or us. Either way its the start of a great adventure. Most of the supplies have been purchased, the paperwork has been completed, and the tuition is almost due. The final decision was what bike to take to campus.

Lots of things are part of the equation when deciding what bike to take. What is the terrain? How far do you have to ride to class? Is there indoor storage? Am I looking to make a statement or just transportation?

After answering all these questions, the Racer decided on the Jamis Beatnik. No need for gears in College Station – a single speed works perfectly. Swap out the stock flat bars and brakes with a more traditional road set up, add a Kuat Bottle Lock and, presto, the perfect campus bike.

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Just a brief note, the Cousin will be sporting the same bike at UT this fall.


Beet Juice – A Natural Performance Enhancer?

July 29, 2013

Earlier this year I was introduced to a new company here in Austin, Texas – Neo Genis Sport

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Last February, Tom G., a long time friend and masters cyclist, excitedly came into the store with a box of product from Neo Genis Sport.  He said that he had been using the Beet Elite Neo Shot for a few weeks and was convinced that his riding and recovery had improved substantially. He didn’t suggest that I try a Beet Elite, but rather insisted.

Now what is Beet Elite Neo Shot you ask? Beet Elite is a natural source of dietary nitrate and nitrite that helps the body increase physical endurance. Yea, yea, yea – but what does that really mean? Here’s the drill. Vegetables such as beets and spinach are naturally high in anti oxidants which are converted to nitrate and nitrite in the body. These are then converted to nitric oxide which increases muscle blood flow and improves glucose uptake by the muscle cell. In a few words, better blood flow and more efficient use of glucose improves performance and recovery.

All this science is well and good, but does it really work?  In a word – Yes.  I set up my own simple test – One week on and one week off with the same workouts.  To allow for built up fatigue, I completed the first weeks’ workouts as a baseline and then tried to repeat the same workouts in the same order and location using Beet Elite.  During the second week I found that I was able to warm up faster, breathe easier and recover better.

Just this last week we asked three of our regular riders to try Beet Elite.  All three reported feeling stronger and two of them were able to stay with the group longer than before.  There are a lot of variables at play here and the real question is will work for you.  I have some samples in the store, let’s find out.

Thanks for reading.  By the way – day 7.