Specialized Announces 650B Stumpjumper Models

For those who want something between a 26 inch and a 29er

The Stumpjumper FSR Comp Evo 650b (Along with the Expert Carbon Evo) is poised to be the next great trail bike in Specialized’s lineup.

Specialized is not a company to rest on its past successes, nor are they one to jump into the fray prematurely. Every product must be well engineered and capable by the time it reaches the rider’s hands and feet. As a longtime 26″ wheel rider, I will be the first to admit I am biased towards the newest Stumpjumper offerings with 650b (aka 27.5″) wheels. Does another wheel complicate the choices of bikes? It absolutely does, but for a better experience on the rider’s part. Whether you prefer 26″, 29″ or like the idea of something in between, the Stumpjumper family has options for all riders.

Erik’s is stocking both the Stumpjumper Comp Evo and Stumpjumper Expert Carbon Evo, but the first run will probably go fast in stores (and even faster on the trail). The Stumpjumper FSR is still available in 29 and 26″ models as a full-suspension bike.

 

So Why 650b?

Traditionally I have had a bias towards smaller wheels  – part of that is having ridden and raced mountain bikes from the early days when there were no “choices” in wheels. To this day, I feel very comfortable in nearly any situation with a 26-inch wheel. I will admit to times when the 29ers win for speed, which is why they are an excellent option for racing, and their stability makes them an excellent choice for newer riders. However, 650b occupies a sweet spot in between these, retaining the playfulness and tweakability of a 26 inch wheel while incorporating benefits of the 29″ platform such as speed, traction and obstacle clearance. All of this makes a 650b bike such as the Stumpjumper FSR a great option for riders who like the playfulness of smaller wheel sizes, but still want speed and roll-over capabilities.

For this rider, 26 inch wheels have been a favorite, even though I will admit to having a blast on 29ers such as the pictured Enduro and Rumor models.

For this rider, 26 inch wheels have been a favorite, even though I will admit to having a blast on 29ers such as the pictured Enduro and Rumor models.

The Models

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Highlights

All the 650b models in the Stumpjumper lineup are re-worked from the time-tested Stumpjumper FSR frame and suspension design. Equipped with AUTOSAG, getting the perfect ride setup has never been easier, and the Climb, Trail, and Descend settings (CTD) tailor the suspension to the trail when you’re on a ride.

All models are 150mm of travel, and the frame/fork are fitted with thru-axles for true handling and lateral stiffness.

Like any trail bike worth its salt, you will find the lineup complete with Command Post dropper seatposts and tubeless ready tire and rims.

Drivetrains are SRAM and brakes are Shimano – a cross-brand combination that dedicated trail riders love.

 

Which Wheel Size is right for me?

Because everyone’s riding style and desires are different, Erik’s recommends thinking about how you would like to ride your new bike, and to make sure and try them out before settling. 29 is understandably king for most riders, but 650b deserves a look for those in the market for a new mountain bike. Erik’s has multiple 650b options including the Lapierre Zesty in addition to all of our 26 and 29-inch models.

 

Footnote – What’s in a name? The industry hasn’t unanimously decided on whether to call this new wheel size 650b or 27.5″; there are arguments to be made on either side, but it all comes down to a name. At Erik’s we have decided to refer to the size how each manufacturer does. In the case of the Lapierre Zesty this means 27.5 is the common name, and in the case of Specialized 650b is used. Whatever you call it, both are the same size wheel.

We feel like this when we ride sometimes…

Check out the gool use of GoPros in this video, plus the easy-going soundtrack feels just like a casual summer ride.

Specialized wins Fat Birkie in Men’s and Women’s classes.

1011425_10202800046258623_1228163305_nWith the meltdown seemingly on across Minnesota and Wisconsin the ultimate fat bike event took place this weekend in Cable, WI – home of the American Birkebeiner ski race and the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. In it’s first year as the United States National Championship Race, the Fat Bike Birkie covered 47K of the Birike trail system.

For the men, Ned Overend cruised to a final time of 1:52:50 and the men’s title aboard his Fatboy, and Jenna Rinehart of Mankato, Minnesota took the women’s title, also on a Fatboy! Way to go Jenna and Ned! Rebecca Rusch took 4th in the women’s category.

Congratulations to all the riders and the new National Fat Bike Champions!

 

Frostbike 2014 Highlights

As usual, Quality Bicycle Product’s Frostbike event comes at a time of year where we’re getting a bit excited for warmer weather and the return of spring. In keeping with that tradition, it seems that Mother Nature likes to remind us that it IS still winter. Just days before Frostbike, which is hosted at QBP’s Bloomington, Minnesota headquarters, the Twin Cities received the biggest snow storm of the year with somewhere around 10 inches on the ground, followed by a frosty dip in the temperatures! Take a look at some of the things we saw at this year’s Frostbike.

Fat Bike products are increasing every year, and we recommend trying it out if you haven’t – they’re more than just winter riding. If you see anything you like here, stop in one of our shops, or check it out online at http://www.eriksbikeshop.com. Not everything shown above is stocked in stores, but we’d be happy to get it for you!

What was your favorite item above? See anything we missed? Tell us in the comments.

Specialized Fatboy Base model now in stock! – Limited Supply

There’s been a lot of excitement surrounding the new Fatboy from Specialized, and the biggest demand Erik’s has seen for a new bike launch. We were lucky to get a some Fatboy Bases in this week that are not yet spoken for, so if you’re looking to enjoy the rest of winter on a fat bike, stop by one of our stores today and claim on of these bad boys!

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Built on an M4 aluminum frame and a carbon fiber front fork, the new Fatboy handles like a dream, allowing you to keep the front end in control on terrain ranging from hard pack to the fluffy stuff. The Fatboy comes stock with 4.6 inch wide Ground Control tires, but has room to ft 5″ tires if you like running the widest treads around. Stock is limited on these, so act fast. These cannot be purchased online; only in store, but you can find where one is at by selecting your size and clicking the button for “Find In Store” or by calling your nearest Erik’s.

SIA Snow Show Highlights 2014

Erik’s Product Managers are currently out testing the new gear for the 2014/2015 snow season, and while they don’t want to show us everything, they did send us some spy photos to get everyone excited. Take a look – you might find something you like.

Fit Friday – When to update your fit, Part 2

During last week’s Fit Friday, I explored the idea of when to get my bike refit. In this post, I wanted to cover the re-fit process and the changes made. These changes are specific to me and my style of riding, and should not be considered universal fixes for a given problem.

Following an interview to determine my riding goals, history and other pertinent information such as injuries and current discomfort on the bike, a Fit Specialist test various aspects of my flexibility and range of motion among other things. It is during this process that Chris (my Fit Specialist) discovered a leg length discrepancy that had not been noticed in the past.

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What is a leg length discrepancy? What does a leg length discrepancy do on a bike?

No one is entirely symmetrical; one foot may be slightly larger than another, one arm slightly longer than another, and having a small difference between legs is not uncommon.  [In my case, the difference is around 3-4 mm, and in my left femur] However bikes are perfectly symmetrical so if one leg is essentially shorter than the other it may cause you to shift and change how you sit the bike, affect your knees, create saddle sores, affect your pedaling, or it’s possible that a rider can compensate for a minor leg length discrepancy and not be affected at all.

We also talk about my feet. Lately I’ve had some numbness in my toes, especially on longer rides.

Everything from your toes to your hips is important in the fit of your bike. Make sure its right for the best ride experience possible.

Everything from your toes to your hips is important in the fit of your bike. Make sure its right for the best ride experience possible.

Why do you use special insoles for cycling shoes?

The motion of pedaling a bike is not the same as when walking or running, so the needs for support are different. When you walk, the arch of your foot provides suspension, and lessens the impact on your body, but when you ride, this arch collapse is inefficient.  Since the foot and hip are essentially “locked” in place, any arch collapse typically causes the riders knee to dive inward creating lateral strain on the knee. By using a foot such as the BG Footbeds, we can support the rider’s foot in a way that allows the knees to track in line, and significantly reduce the chance for repetitive use injuries.

When I get on the bike, the first thing Chris notices is my position on the saddle. I learn that I sit crooked on the seat; one hip more forward than the other. Through measuring my sit bones (ischial tuberosities), Chris determined that I need a bigger saddle. When I was first fit, two sizes of saddle were available, and I fit the bigger one (143mm). Now, sizes range from 130 to 168 or more and the variety of saddles made to fit the rider have increased greatly. Now with the 168 Romin Evo on the bike, I’m feeling more comfortable than ever before. I’m amazed how much better I sit on the bike. In only a few minutes they have decreased bouncing when I pedal at higher cadences and my sit bones feel great on this saddle. Chris adjusts my cleats, further evening my legs and hips.

After dialing in the fit from the waist down, I’m surprised to be switched into a longer stem as I thought I needed a 100 mm, but as Chris changes my position around and checks my comfort level at each adjustment he asks “Could you ride for a while in that position?” I noted that I could “work up to it” and Chris indicates this is not ideal; To be comfortable in the long run, I need to start comfortable, and the whole process is designed to get me to a natural position. The fitter is an advocate and a second set of eyes to see what the rider cannot.

Why does going to a longer stem make me more comfortable? Wouldn’t that stretch me out more?

A lot of times, when a rider feels pressure on their hands, or tension in their shoulders, it may not be from too much reach. Hands arms and shoulders can experience excessive pressure from not allowing enough room between the rider and the handlebar, and slight changes to the handlebar that put your shoulder, hand and elbow in the most natural position can make a huge difference.

Following all the adjustments for the waist down, as well as the reach and arm comfort, Chris concerns himself with my knees. Riding a bike is like thousands of small leg presses, and the hips, knees and feet need to work together like the engine of a car. To even things up here, I end up with supportive insoles and some wedges to line up my knees and feet.

My fit resulted in a new saddle, cleat adjustment, and a new stem as well as some minor changes to the insoles and wedges in my shoes.  A day later, I ride my indoor trainer and experience no pain or numbness; a first in a while. Having completed my second fitting, I am once again surprised at how I can feel more comfortable and know more about my riding than I did before. I’m excited for the coming season, and as a result, I even look forward to getting on the trainer most of the time!

Fit Friday – When Should I Get My Bike Refit?

A few years ago, I was competing in triathlons and getting a good deal of miles in every riding season.  Searching for every possible performance gain led me to get my bicycle fit.  One of my main considerations was being able to run at my potential after the bike leg.

The results from that fitting session were fantastic; I felt at my best ever on a bike, and the only discomfort came as a result of pushing hard to best a personal record.

Last season, I got a new bike and backed off the competition schedule. My work schedule and my riding goals have also changed, and while I loved my new bike

(The Specialized Allez Race), I felt like I wasn’t as comfortable before. The frame geometry of my new bike was very similar to my old Specialized Tarmac and I copied the measurements over  (to the best of my ability). As far as riding schedule now, during most weeks I am fitting in 15-30 miles per ride during the weekdays when my schedule allows, but enjoy riding longer distances a handful of times a year such as 65-100 mile rides for a weekly mileage of around 100-150.

Through the end of the season, and in spending more time on the trainer, I realized that things were not as good as they could be, but I didn’t know when, or if I should update my fit.  To figure out more, I sat down with Chris Rogers, Certified Master BG Fit Technician -with Erik’s, hoping to better understand when is a re-fit necessary.  What follows is our question and answer session.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIs there an appropriate timeline for getting your bike refitted?

Not necessarily,  the general rule of thumb is that a fit should be good for about 5 years,  Changes in a rider’s fitness, health and any injuries are all typical reasons why someone may want to take a second look at their position on the bike. 

In your case, changing the focus of your rides from training and racing triathlons to a more recreational pace and longer rides will affect your ideal position on the bike.  The fact that you have picked up a new bike is also a good reason for an update.

Can’t I just copy my fit measurements to my new bike? Why didn’t that work?

Absolutely,  with every fit we make sure you have detailed notes and measurements on how your bike is set up,  so you can check your bike set up from time to time to make sure everything is set up perfectly for you.  Or in the case where you change bikes you can copy over the measurements to replicate your position exactly.

One word of caution,  there are many variables from one bike to another that can greatly affect the fit,  the only way to ensure that your position transfers over from your fit to another bike is to ensure that the following are replicated 100%.

  1. Saddle:  to guarantee the same fit on another bike you must start with exactly the same make model and size of saddle. Setting another saddle up to the same height, set-back and angle as the one that was fit will never achieve the same result.
  2. Shoes and Pedals:  Shoe sole thickness can vary greatly, shoes from the same manufacturer can vary as much as 6mm in thickness, thus affecting saddle height. Pedals can affect both stance width as well as saddle hight, typically if you stay within a brand and a family of pedals, the dimensions should be consistent, but when in doubt check with the manufacturer.
  3. Handlebar:  bars can vary greatly in shape, bend, reach, drop, and how shift/brake levers interact with them,  Having a different bar is okay, but additional adjustments will be necessary to optimize the position.
  4. Cranks:  Both bikes need to have the same crank length, this affects the saddle height, as well as the fore/aft adjustment of the saddle.  Also check the crank’s Q factor, or stance width, because this can affect the rider’s cleat position.  Triple cranks run wider than doubles, and from manufacturer to manufacturer there can be some differences. Any changes to stance width may need further cleat and pedal adjustments to compensate for a riders specific needs.

Given the list of variables it can be pretty tricky to match up a new bike perfectly.  And given the changes you made with your riding over the last couple of years it’s probable that your original position that emphasized triathlon racing was no longer comfortable for the way you are now riding

It's not pretty at this point, but it's not done either - handlebar and shifter/brake position is important to rider comfort and control.

It’s not pretty at this point, but it’s not done either – handlebar and shifter/brake position is important to rider comfort and control.

When else should I look at getting refitted?

Aside from a new bike or a change in riding goals, other circumstances where updating your fit can include an injury, surgery, or other circumstance that change how you feel or sit on your bike. Other items to include are changes in components – if you get new shoes, pedals, or other parts where you are connected to the bike (touch points), then your fit is likely going to change.

So in the years since my first fit, I’ve:

  • Gotten a new bike
  • Changed the focus of my riding
  • Changed my mileage
  • Gotten new shoes

As a result, I’ve had some numbness in my toes on longer rides, and some lower back discomfort. It was pretty clear based on the conversation above that a new fit was in order. In the next installment, I will detail the fit experience and some of the changes made.

Fat Bike Wheels from HED – Arriving at Erik’s this weekend!

We just got in the new HED Fat Bike Wheels at Erik’s, and if you haven’t heard, they’re kind of a big deal.

Each rim ways 445 grams, and is 85 mm wide for an awesome footprint with wide tires, and the rims are laced to Industry Nine Hubs. To check them out, visit Erik’s Saint Louis Park or Eden Prairie locations this weekend. There’s only one pair per store though, so if you’ve been waiting for a set, act fast.

 

How can I Make Indoor Cycling Fun and Less Boring?

With a couple of solid cold snaps in the Midwest this winter, everyone’s well aware of the dreaded “Polar Vortex.” Sure – you consider yourself hardy, but maybe you don’t want to brave the elements to ride, so you reluctantly pull out the trainer and ride for all of 10 minutes. So how do you get the most out of your trainer? Is it possible to make it fun to ride indoors? There are some ways to get the most out of your trainer time. Whether you use rollers, and indoor cycle, or a stationary trainer, it is possible to enjoy the time or even look forward to it. The pay off is being ready when the roads are snow and ice free, and summer sun-filled rides are yours to enjoy again!

Dedicated Space

Most people don’t have a spare room for cycling, but dedicating a corner and not going through the trouble of setting up and tearing down each ride makes it that much easier to ride. If it’s not possible to leave your bike and trainer set up all the time, you can help yourself by setting up a day before you ride, so your bike serves as a reminder. Let’s face it, if you’re going to walk by it a few times, you’ll remember to ride!

Remove the hurdles to riding, by getting things ready to go.

By dedicating your space and making it comfortable to ride in, getting ready to ride becomes easier.

Don’t Ride Alone!

For many, riding is social, so when winter comes and you’re shut indoors alone, it just doesn’t seem as fun. If your significant other rides, it’s a great excuse for together time, and you can both ride at your own pace side-by-side. During the season, my wife and I don’t always have the same interest in time or distance, but if we ride at home on the trainer, we each meet our own goals without changing the other’s experience.

It’s also possible to get a group of people together for a weekly “ride” at a meeting location. It could be someone’s basement, a workout facility or a local park building, but the act of scheduling something and meeting up makes it social. Peer pressure can be a great thing here because you can push each other (maybe just to show up, or to ride harder/longer).

Whether you ride with one other person or a group of cyclists, you will get more out of riding with others.

Resist the urge to go it alone – sometimes its nice to ride with others.

Entertain Yourself!

First off, there’s a reason that great videos like Spinervals – On The Road series exist, and that’s to give you the sense of (or at least illusion of) riding in some great location like Tempe, Kona, or Lake Placid. For me, I like to mix in some variety and just include a variety of programs and videos to watch to keep things interesting. If it’s got good music and interesting scenes, that’s great, but a lot of dialog can be tricky to follow, so you might want to skip the latest foreign releases or psychological thrillers. The Art of Flight is a personal favorite of mine as well as catching up on my favorite television shows on Netflix, Hulu or other online offerings. If I hit the trainer before or after the workday, watching the news can be good on multiple fronts – You can feel more informed, use bumpers or commercials as interval sessions, and depending on the news of the day, you can take out your frustrations in a healthy way!

Here are some tips for how to pick what you watch or listen to…

  • Pick something based on viewing length and ride for the whole thing. My first rides over an hour were due to interesting shows keeping my mind off the time.
  • Ignore the clock – by following the rhythm of the show or the music you listen to, time goes much faster.
  • Turn it up – The better your trainer, the quieter it runs (Fluid trainers or rollers are often the quietest), but turning up the volume a little bit or using headphones helps you be in the moment more.
  • Have no shame – assuming you are riding alone, no one can judge your viewing choices. Whether you watch Duck Dynasty, or American Idol, no one can judge!

Once you’ve got the ideal program, make a game out of it. You can get on a trainer and simply ride, but if you do the same pace, time or intensity every time, you’ll get less out of it. By using your programming to divide up the time, you can create intervals or breaks in the action. Here are some things I do:

  • Early in the season, ride to music: set a goal to ride for X amount of songs, and keep track of the amount. This will give you a general time length, but not specific.
  • When watching the news, sprint in and out of commercial breaks, or sprint for a commercial.
  • Increase your cadence (you can track this with a cadence equipped computer such as the Strada or on your smartphone using the Wahoo components) moderately for longer periods (like the length of one song)
  • Un-clip one foot from the pedals and pedal for thirty seconds (one commercial) using one leg. Make sure you pedal smooth to strengthen left and right legs. Alternate several times and resume regular riding.

These are just a few ways, but however you do it, creating variety and things to make it more interesting helps the time pass.

Get Comfortable

Dress like you would for a ride, and mean it. I always put on good cycling shorts, a jersey and a cycling cap or headband to manage sweat. Because you are indoors with little wind other than a fan, you need to stay comfortable for your whole ride. It’s a good idea to change position from time to time, using different parts of your handlebar including bar ends or aero bars to change it up. It also helps to have trainer accessories to make things more comfortable and enjoyable:

  1. A sweat net is a great way to protect your bike and keep remotes close at hand.

    A sweat net is a great way to protect your bike and keep remotes close at hand.

    A trainer pad/mat. Keep sweat, drivetrain lubricant and other dirt off the floor as well as quiet the trainer ride.

  2. Sweat Net – Protect your bike as well as the floor below it from salty sweat and energy drink by covering it. (Bonus – it’s a great way to keep remotes handy).
  3. Water bottles – it’s not good to break up a workout to get a drink, so keep your water or energy drink close at hand.
  4. Ride the Rollers – I love my rollers; this is as close as you can get to real riding when indoors, and for most riders they help improve handling on the real road come spring. This is another way to mix up my riding, plus setup and take down is as easy as it gets.
  5. Get a trainer tire -  Rolling against a metal drum wears out tires, and its noisy. By using a trainer tire, you save your good rubber for the riding season, and its easier to hear the TV.
  6. Train with Heart Rate – Listening to your body is great, but sometimes it tricks you. By working with heart rate, or even with Power, you can get the most out of your riding.

Trainer riding is never as beautiful as riding outdoors during the season, but it CAN be fun and the reward for time spent on the trainer now is comfort, fitness and less chance of pain or injury in the middle of summer. By tapping into what motivates you to ride and making it part of your trainer routine, you can create a habit of riding. It’s also important not to stress about it – whether you ride 30 minutes once a week, or can slog through a three-hour session, you’ll be a better rider for it come spring.

How do you make riding in the winter enjoyable? Do you have any tricks or tips to share? Please tell us!

 

 

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