mind

PeopleForBikes rates 480 US cities to determine the best places for bikes

INDIANAPOLIS (BRAIN) — PeopleForBikes recognized and awarded several cities at the second annual PlacesForBikes conference, which wraps up today in this Midwestern city. Through its new program, City Rankings, PeopleForBikes takes a data-driven approach to determine which cities are best for biking, and those that are improving the fastest

How to air drop offs

You’re pelting along your favourite trail at full speed, only you know that around that corner is the steep drop-off that’ll brain you unless you slow down. Wouldn’t it be great if you could keep going?

  • How to ride drop offs with confidence
  • Best mountain bike: the ultimate buyer’s guide
  • 10 cycling new year’s resolutions (and how to stick to them)

While you may not choose to launch from drop-offs all the time, learning how to do so is a very good idea because there will be occasions when you’re faced with one and won’t have time to slow down. You’ll also be able to leave your mates for dead…

More often than not, there will be something you can use to land on that’s sloping away from you; this will help reduce the impact to both you and your bike. Wherever possible, scope out a suitable landing spot that resembles a landing ramp. Even the smallest of transitions, like a rock or bank, can be used.

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Beginners should look for something to roll off at first, but as you get better you should try bigger drop-offs that can only be dropped.

Step-by-step guide to airing drop offs

1. Approach

This is the edge of the drop. If it makes it easier for you, make a mark on the ground where you’d ideally want to take off, then try to aim for this on your approach to the edge. Have your preferred foot forward and be ready to shift your body weight back as you pull up.

2. Take-off

3. Levelling out

4. Spot the landing

5. Landing gear down

Drop-off basics and top tips for mastering them

1. Tech and prep 

2. Where to learn

3. Back to basics

4. ‘Place’ the rear wheel

5. It’s all in the mind

6. Progressing your skills

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Gear of the year: Jon Woodhouse’s 2016 MTB picks

While 2016 has been a bit of an odd year when it comes down to various political upheavals, it’s actually been a pretty calm one for mountain bike tech, with an almost complete lack of strange new standards to keep the fires of internet comment hatred burning bright. That’s not to say there’s been nothing new and exciting, far from it. Here are the things I really enjoyed over the past year…

  • Scott Spark 700 Plus Tuned review
  • Trek Remedy 9.9 Race Shop Limited review
  • e-MTB vs XC – which is faster?

 Scott Spark

It might seem like a bit of a cop-out to choose a range of bikes rather than just a single one, but the new Scott Spark platform happens to be a mightily impressive piece of design that happens to come in a huge range of wheel size and spec options. All-out cross-country racers can go for the rollover of 29” wheels or the more agile handling of 27.5” items, while anyone that enjoys their riding a little more relaxed can opt for a Plus tyre option.

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Whichever way you want to cut it, the attention to detail is extraordinary. The top line models have carbon fibre frames that are some of the lightest in the business, while the revised, more progressive suspension design means they perform much better out on the trail too. It’s not surprising that the top-end 29er race bike took a gold medal under Nino Schurter at the Rio Olympics, while the 27.5” machine did exactly the same in the women’s race with Jenny Rissveds.

Even if racing means little to you, the Spark is still an impressive piece of work. I’ve been riding the hugely capable and entertaining Spark Plus 700 Tuned for a fair while now and it’s an amazingly flattering bike, both uphill and down. The fat plus tyres mean there’s enough grip to let you steamroller rocks and roots, while the incredibly low 11.4kg weight and on-the-fly shock adjusting system means it skips merrily up the hills too.

  • Scott Spark 700 Plus Tuned review

Trek Remedy 9.9 RSL

I’ve always had a bit of a strange relationship with Trek’s trail bike range. While they’re invariably well made and always feature innovative new technology, I’ve always felt that they’ve struggled to live up to the hype on the trail. The new Remedy has totally changed my mind however. It’s got much improved geometry for a 150mm trail bike, with much more reach and a slacker head angle, the latter being adjustable via flippable chips in the seatstay. 

Fox Transfer post

  • Fox Transfer Factory dropper seatpost review
  • Fox Transfer Performance dropper seatpost review

e-MTBs

  • Focus Jam2 e-MTB first ride review

SRAM XX1 Eagle

  • SRAM 12-speed: XX1 and X01 Eagle

Hurly Burly 2016 downhill year book

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Cannondale’s Scalpel-Si Carbon 2 at the Titan Tropic Cuba

I first caught wind of the Titan Tropic this August, with an email asking if I’d like more information on a five-day mountain bike stage race during the first week of December in Cuba. Yes, Cuba, the up-to-just-recently off-limits (for Americans) island to be found a mere 90 miles south of Florida. My interest was piqued.  

  • The bike: Cannondale Scalpel-Si Carbon 2
  • The course: Titan Tropic five-day mountain bike stage race in Cuba
  • The equipment goal: Fast, light, maintenance-free bike with suspension for my back and repeated huge efforts day after day

The bike

Knowing it was on the edge of the rainy season in Cuba, and it being Cuba in general (without many bike shops and limited resources), I wanted a simple, reliable full-suspension bike. One with decent mud clearance also weighed on my mind. I also considered the terrain and the back-to-back days of riding so I knew light was the way to go, which meant short travel was in order.

Cannondale’s revamped Scalpel fit the bill. It was light, somewhat slack at the front, had tight rear stays and a sporty 100mm of travel. While 100mm isn’t much, it feels even less on the race-hungry Scalpel with a drastic ramp up on both ends. But it was adequate for my endeavour and it made the bike feel like a rocket.  

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It took a bit of futzing to get the Scalpel set up. I flipped the stem so it had rise instead of drop, moved the saddle around a bunch, and experimented with suspension air pressures and settings until I got the performance I was needing. A big ‘thank you’ also goes out to guys at University Bikes in Boulder for knocking out some quick warranty work on a bunk XT disc caliper. 

I toyed with the idea of swapping the Schwalbe tires, the thin, hard grips, and even the flat bar, but decided against it. Outside of tweaking the fit and suspension I ran it stock to see if the out-of-the-box build was suitable for racing. 

Additional gear

The racing

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

The right choice

Calm and welcoming

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Race Pace Bicycles to open two new stores in 2017

??BALTIMORE, Md. (BRAIN) — Longtime retailer Alex Obriecht has announced that Race Pace Bicycles will expand with two new stores set to open in early 2017

Race Pace Bicycles to open two new stores in 2017

??BALTIMORE, Md. (BRAIN) — Longtime retailer Alex Obriecht has announced that Race Pace Bicycles will expand with two new stores set to open in early 2017. Obriecht, who currently operates five stores in the Baltimore, Maryland area, said he had originally planned to open one new location north of the city in Towson, Maryland, but that things snowballed following an opportunity he couldn’t pass up

Former Little 500 winner launches cycling board game on Kickstarter

GOLDEN, Colo. (BRAIN) — Alex Bishop — a bike shop manager and a member of the team that won the 2007 Little 500 race at Indiana University — is launching a cycling board game called Glory Gears on Kickstarter. “My goal behind this endeavor was to capture the thrill and excitement of this great event in an accurate, fast-paced, strategic game that can be enjoyed by all, cycling fan or not

Guest Opinion: Apparel can be a profit center

By Mercedes Ross Mercedes Ross has been a leading merchandising force in the bicycle industry, becoming a known expert in the field over the 25 years she has been in the business. Mercedes is presently the Director of Project Bike Tech, a non-profit that places bike tech classes in high schools around the country. She’s worked in the ski, outdoor, motorcycle, scuba and craft brewing industries, as well as owned her own motorcycle retail store for 15 years

The Pro’s Closet sells minority stake for $2.5 million

The eBay seller plans a national trade-in program for bike shops. BOULDER, Colo

Seven essential skills for enduro mountain biking

If you want to race an enduro rather than simply survive it, you’ll need to practise your skills to ensure you perform at your best. A full day in the saddle, with up to 30 minutes of flat-out racing, is no easy ride. Maintaining your strength, focus and skill throughout is pivotal to finishing safely and successfully.

You’re racing against the clock throughout the craziest of descents at lung bursting intensity, and then pacing back up the climbs to ensure you’re ready for the next stage. To succeed you’ll need more than just a flash bike – fitness, skill, focus, equipment and planning are all essential elements to consider. In this article we’re discussing seven essential enduro skills to help you perform better.

The Santa Cruz ‘Ard Rock enduro combines rugged off piste riding with beautiful scenery and a festival atmosphere. Every year the BikeRadar and Mountain Biking UK team make their way up to Swaledale in North Yorkshire to tackle some of the UK’s most unique riding and racing. It’s supported by some of the mountain bike industry’s leading brands, which include Sweet Protection and Mavic. Full factory support is available from SRAM, and other leading companies such as Julbo Eyewear and Transporterland.com are supporters of the event. The ‘Ard Rock is the highest participation enduro event in the world, with nearly 2000 competitors racing over the weekend. If enduro isn’t your bag then check out the ‘Ard Rock MTB Marathon, which is a 40-mile adventure ride in the same area. Visit the ‘Ard Rock enduro website for more information 

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Getting a clean and powerful start on each stage and floating through that sketchy rock garden could be the difference between coming first and third

Muscle memory – 10 minutes before the first stage, practise three sprint starts at full power for 20 seconds on an easy track, loosening your body, calming nerves and limiting the adrenaline/lactic surge that makes you feel pumped.

Get loose – relax your body and keep your mind calmly focused. Being tense and stressed will not help your performance or your ability to flow.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com