It didn’t start with a switch, but rather the turn of a pedal. While riding the 2013 Transcontinental Race in Europe, Specialized designers were trialing the switch shown above in its early version. For its second season, the AWOL has stayed pretty true to its bikepacking routes, but the Evo turns the dial up a bit on the ideal bikepacking bike.
The final version of the switch pictured is connected via a bar end plug to the Shimano Dynamo hub and Supernova lights that charge while riding. Controlling the lights is just a small movement to the bar end to make them shine, and man do they shine. While building up the AWOL Evo, we tested the lights and in broad daylight your presence is known. Lights this bright keep you safe on roads, and when the sun goes down, can help you squeeze in a few more miles before making camp. There’s one more secret hidden on the front end of the bike that plays real nice with the lights, hub and switch; a plug in!
The Plug (a Supernova Product), with its clever name is a USB receptacle. While riding, this can be used to charge anything that you might need later in the day, as long as it takes a USB. You cannot run the lights and USB charger at the same time, so while devices must be charged during the day, you only need to pedal at least 7 MPH to make it work. Charge time then depends on what you are charging, but riders will be happy to know that at faster speeds, the plug will effectively pause to keep you from damaging sensitive electronics.
The AWOL Evo is built on the well-known AWOL frame, and features a geometry designed for bike adventures. The AWOL is at home with long days in the saddle, the front Pizza Rack by Specialized, and the Tubus rear rack that makes carrying a load a lot easier. Throw in fenders to the package and all your missing for your next adventure is your personal camping gear and bags!
Curious about bikepacking or bicycle touring? Stop by one of ERIK’S Minnesota or Wisconsin locations – many of our staff would be happy to get you started. In the meantime, enjoy some more photos of the 2016 AWOL EVO.
Last week we talked about the best all-around mountain bike for men, the Specialized Camber. Today we will look into the Rumor which is a women’s-specific trail bike similar to the Camber, designed specifically with women’s size and body types in mind. Specialized did not take the Camber and tweak it slightly and slap a different paint job on it to make “women specific”, they started from the ground up and made the Rumor a truly female-specific bike.
Starting with the M5 alloy frame, Specialized designed women’s specific tube sets to improve the ride quality and create an ultra-low stand over height. Specialized offers the Rumor in a 29er which might seem to contradict the lowered stand over. A lot of misconceptions with 29er is that they are just too big for a woman to ride. The thought has been that bigger wheels mean a taller bike, and a taller bike means that shorter women aren’t going to be able to straddle the bike comfortably or at all. But with the lower stand over height, this eliminates this issue, making it a bike that can still be easily ridden by women under 5 feet tall. I am by no means short, but I do enjoy the lower stand over for ease of getting on and off the bike. Also, since the bike is equipped with 29er wheels that means that speed and responsiveness on the Rumor is equal to that of the Camber. I do most of my riding down by the Minnesota River, this area is mostly flat, but still has some technical areas. Having a bike that can be fast helps a lot in the flatter areas, but it is still very responsive, which gives me the confidence I need to get through the technical parts of the route.
Another issue women can face with riding men’s or unisex mountain bikes is that the suspension is not as easily tune-able to their size and weight. I may be tall, but I am still a light rider, especially compared to men the same height as me. With that in mind Specialized also design the suspension from the ground up, customizing the spring rates based off of women’s center of gravity and weight distribution. This gives the female rider the ability to utilize all the travel, creating a more comfortable and controllable ride. And the best part is that the Rumor also contains the auto-sag feature as mentioned yesterday in the Camber post. This feature makes it easier and quicker to set up the suspension so you can be out on your ride sooner.
In addition to women’s-specific frame and suspension, it’s the little details that really complete the Rumor. From the women’s Body Geometry Myth saddle that is designed to support riders on their sit bones for all-day comfort, to the Enduro grips with a smaller diameter that are tailor-made for women’s hands. Everything about the Rumor line is well thought out so riders can just grip it and rip it.
The first time I got on the Rumor, I felt as though I was mounting a horse. But as I whipped around corners with ease and comfortably rolled over large objects like rocks and branches, I ended the ride with excitement and the urge to go and do it again. For all-around trail riding, we encourage you to try out this well designed, detail-oriented Rumor. Specialized continues to innovate with women’s cycling, not content to use small men’s frames but giving women a completely designed riding experience. So, whether you are a seasoned rider or new to mountain biking, the Rumor will give you the power, control and confidence you need to shred on the mountain.
Mountain bikers seem to be on the quest for the perfect bike all the time; at ERIK’S we’re excited to offer best all-around mountain bikes for the Midwest rider in the Specialized men’s Camber and women’s Rumor models. Over the next two posts, we’ll detail what makes these bikes ideal for mountain biking not only in the Midwest, but many of your favorite local trails.
The Specialized Camber can handle whatever you throw at it and it looks good while doing it. A far cry from the straight framed cro-moly mountain bikes of our youth, this curvy bike is sure to draw some envious stares. With both alloy and carbon fiber frame options there are many ways to get on a Camber and have a blast. Whichever frame material you choose the Camber is a bike that you can ride as hard as you want – find your edge and the Camber will roll right up to it.
With the Camber, Specialized has engineered a full suspension bike that is easy to setup and a blast to ride. 110 mm of travel in the fork ensures control on contact and lets riders blast down trails with confidence. A lot of full suspension bikes seem to require advanced degrees to set the shock pressures and adjust the sag on rear shocks, which factors your weight into the amount of recoil; not the Camber. Specialized teamed up with Fox Shocks to create a proprietary system to set auto-sag and dial in the correct pressure. Just pump up the rear shock, sit on the bike, open the bleed valve, close the bleed valve when the air stops coming out and go ride.
Everything old is new again, and for 2016 Specialized is reintroducing a smaller wheel to the Camber family; this time as the wider, gnarlier 650b option. Whether you choose the 29er or the 650b it is clear that the Camber is beautifully engineered and refined. Specialized’s continued integration of tools and storage into their bikes has quickly moved past gimmicky to ingenious. If the devil is in the details, than the Camber is truly devilish; from the SWAT integrated multitool and bottle cage to the top cap made of a chain breaker and replacement master links. These spare parts and storage options means you can venture further out with less weight, freeing up space for sustenance or fluids.
New for 2016 is the SWAT downtube storage, getting more gear off you and putting it to use lowering the center of gravity. The Command Post IR (a mouthful of a name for a dropper seat post)is spec’ed on key models including the Comp Carbon and Expert is a great addition, solving the age old mountain biking dilemma of choosing a seat height that is comfortable climbing or descending but never both. The Command Post gives you the best of both worlds, letting you drop the post to bomb a hill and then pop it up to rest on a climb.
My experience. After a quick and easy transition to tubeless, as simple as pulling out the tube, replacing the presta valve with the included adapter and adding some Stan’s No Tubes, the range of rideable pressures has made this bike even more versatile. The Camber is a shred-machine.
Later this week, two ERIK’S employees are embarking on a long journey beginning in Anacortes, Washington and ending at Eglin Air Force base in Florida. The ride itself is planned to be 4600 miles – prompting some to ask “Why?” For Zach Garner and Adam Smith (both of ERIK’S Eden Prairie), the answer of why is an easy one. As Green Berets, they chose to do the trip both as a challenge and to support their fellow soldiers. The mission is to raise money to support Task Force Dagger, but the Ride to Valhalla is also about raising awareness for the issues facing special operations soldiers including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Leaving from Fort Lewis in Washington, Zach and Adam plan to ride an average of 70 miles each day. With stops planned in Montana, Colorado, Dallas, Kentucky, North Carolina along the way there will be plenty of options to follow their progress. The plan is to regularly update their Facebook page for The Green Beret Adventure Team, where live tracking links via Spot and Garmin Livetrack will be posted.
The ride will be completely self-supported, and they are still looking for support in the form of gas cards (mail to Task Force Dagger). Adam and Zach welcome anyone to join them for a day on the ride. Each scheduled stop along the way is significant to their cause, either as a Special Forces base or a location of historical significance to Special Services soldiers. All money raised as a result of this trip will go to benefit Task Force Dagger.
July 29 – Fort Lewis, WA
August 11 – Helena, MT (The 1st Special Service Force was organized and trained in Helena)
August 31 – Fort Carson, CO
September 16 – Dallas, TX (Home to Task Force Dagger)
October 2 – Fort Campbell, KY
October 14 – Fort Bragg, NC
October 30 – Eglin AFB, FL
Like all ERIK’S employees, Zach and Adam love bikes. As part of their preparations, they have selected a few different styles to meet the terrain and their own personal preferences based on the day. Both Adam and Zach have the same bikes, excepting for size and personal component choices. The secondary benefit is the ability to ride every day. Think of it like this – the average chain lasts 1500 miles, meaning if they only road one bike there would be some down time repairing bikes. This way their support team can work on a bike or perform maintenance while they ride another. Take a look at what they are bringing:
This is where the quiver started – the Diverge‘s geometry plus room for wide tires along with disc brakes make it an ideal bike for long rides on unpredictable terrain and even weather conditions. They’ve outfitted their Diverge Comps with custom frame bags so they can carry the gear they need, plus sandwiches – because who DOESN’T like a sandwich? The Diverge is a nimble handling bike that is designed to transition easily from pavement to gravel.
The second bike they are bringing with is the Bianchi Intenso. The Intenso is for days they want to put the hammer down. Keep in mind that no day is a short day by anyone’s standards, so the comfortable yet responsive ride of the Intenso gives them a bit of variety on their journey. The Intenso is also the only carbon bike they have, so the weight savings alone might be all that’s needed to brighten spirits on some days! In all seriousness, the C2C or Coast to Coast geometry is designed for long days in the saddle which will keep them comfortable as the miles tick away.
Finally, the Willard was the latest addition to the fleet for the Ride to Valhalla – but a worthy one at that. While similar in experience to the Diverge, the Willard’s longer wheel base and wider tire capacity make it ideal for the roughest of conditions. The guys will be riding the Willard 2, which has an identical drivetrain to the Diverge Comp‘s they are riding, but the tires are wider and knobbier right out of the box.
We’ll be posting updates on their progress as well – if you have a question for Zach or Adam, send it our way and we’ll pass it along! Later this fall, stop in and ask how to gear up for your own adventure.
If you’re looking for a casual shoe that still offers the ability to ride clipless than look no further than DZR shoes. For riders looking to be able to step off their bike and into a social setting DZR’s line of casual clipless shoes . Combining classic sneaker silhouettes with modern clipless SPD technology DZR shoes give cyclist another option when it comes to riding. With easy to use laces and comfortable enough to work in, DZRs are the perfect biking shoe for the commuter or anyone who wants to more seamlessly integrate cycling into their daily routine.
Bike commuting continues to become more popular; Wisconsin has seen a 34% increase and Minnesota 53% in the last decade as more people leave their cars. But traditional cycling shoes are not comfortable to wear off the bike and generally don’t look DZR’s shoes allow you to arrive ready to work. DZR shoes echo many classic sneaker styles; Vans-style slip-ons, low tops and high tops. The first ever “slip-on” cycling shoe, the Jetlag uses a velcro strap to secure the shoe for riding while still echoing the Vans you wore as a kid. There’s also a vegan option of the Jetlag; the Pigeon!
The Cove, Midnight and Minna offer a range of lowtop styles; with multiple materials used throughout the shoes all three of these kicks offer up stylish options for commuters; the Cove even comes with two different styles of laces for your customizable pleasure. The best-selling Minna model uses a black on black scheme that keeps the shoes understated yet surprising with ‘for your eyes only’ artwork on the footbed. In addition to the Minna, the Cove is also vegan and is perfect as a go anywhere cycling shoe for someone looking for that ‘quiver of one’.
Our personal favorites, the high tops, use an old-school close-fitting design that offers additional ankle support and protection. The H20 is a fully seam sealed shoe, making it the first waterproof, SPD compatible sneaker. Made from treated sheepskin is more supple and comfortable than some of your regular pairs of sneakers. The Tosca is a great mix of herringbone and leather, offering a sneaker that is classy and functional.
With a full rubber sole and flexible fiberglass shank, DZR shoes work well both on and off your bike. Minimizing barriers to riding is one of DZR’s goals and they do so by packing a lot into their shoes.As is true so often, it’s the small details that help set DZR apart. Large reflective detailing on the heel of shoe provides safety while natural gum rubber soles with recessed mounting brackets guarantee sure-footedness off the bike as well. Less noticeable details such as longer laces seem counter-intuitive until you realize that longer laces mean you can safely tuck them under the elastic lace catch on the tongue to ensure they stay well away from your hungry chainring. DZR shoes come with a six month warranty and they also offer repair services if Fido get a hold of your kicks as well. If you’re looking for a casual shoe that still lets you seamlessly transition from bike to bar, or boardroom, than DZR is worth checking out.
If you like riding the road, but want to explore new routes, the Specialized Diverge is perfect road bike, for however loosely the word “road” is used. Specialized has continually pushed road bike design in exciting directions that make getting out for a ride more fun than ever before. The Roubaix has been proven to be a fast and comfortable bike for the spring classics, or Midwest roads that are a little rough around the edges. Recent interest in cyclocross and gravel riding have made bikes like the Crux and formerly the Tricross the focus of a lot of riders, but they’re for distinct styles of riding. The motivation behind the Diverge, as Specialized puts it, is that it’s for “When the road less traveled is still too crowded.” On-road performance is critical to the design of this bike so whatever the surface you find yourself on, the fun doesn’t stop.
Available in aluminum and carbon fiber models, there’s a Diverge for any intrepid explorer. Some features that make the diverge unique are disc brakes for consistent stopping power whatever the terrain or conditions, fender mounts, expanded tire clearance for 35C wide tires (32c with fenders) and endurance geometry to keep you comfortable in the saddle all day long. So if you’re considering gravel events like the Almanzo, Filthy 50, Barry Roubaix, or any of the other myriad of gravel events in the upper Midwest, or you want to explore new roads, look to the Diverge. See the models below.
The best clothing for casual cycling is different than what you might put on for a full day of riding. If you’re riding out to dinner with friends, or enjoying beautiful weather with no mileage goal, why not feel good and look great doing it? Today’s post comes from Katie, ERIK’S Apparel Product Manager; read on for some great new pieces for your casual rides this year.
This past week was the first time this March that actually felt like spring had really sprung. As I was riding my bike into work I passed by 15 “new” bike commuters, or people whom I just had not seen commuting on my standard route yet. The beautiful morning mixed with the growing bike commute traffic made me want to point out some great apparel options that we have for our riders that are new this year.
New for 2015, ERIK’S has brought in a selection of Specialized Utility Clothing, a few Endura Urban Pieces, and some Terry Metro Collection items.. This clothing is made from performance fabrics, has a relaxed sporty fit and is designed to be stand up to the rigors of biking without looking like bike-specific gear. These items are great for every ride any day, whether the ride is an hour out with the family on the local bike path, commuting to work, getting a cycling workout in, or just enjoying being outside and exploring on the bike anywhere. Not only will these items be comfortable on the bike but they are also work appropriate clothing, fashionable to hang out in at your favorite brewery, going out to Brunch in the North Loop of MPLS, Jaunting through downtown Madison, or going out to eat in the 3rd Ward in Milwaukee.
Whether you’re riding a fun fitness bike like the Sirrus or Vita, cruising back alleys on a Raleigh Back Alley, or rolling around town on a fixie, these pieces are designed to be as flexible as your weekend schedule. The utility and casual clothing that we brought in is designed for everyday use and designed to go on any ride and to make our you happy and comfortable while you explore new riding territory. Take a look; if you need specific advice on a piece, stop by one of our Minnesota or Wisconsin locations and ask us!
Specialized Men’s Utility Polo – Merino blend polo with hidden key pockets on the back. Performance, comfort and Midwestern style all in one shirt. The merino blend is comfortable next to your skin and is comfortable in a wide range of temperatures.
Perfect for casual date
nights and daily adventures.
Women’s Specialized Utility Crew – Merino blend cycling specific shirt that looks great and is made for daily adventures with the family, will look great for meeting friends at the local coffee shop, or be a great piece for commuting to work. This crew shirt has hidden key
pockets and creates a
flattering and sporty silhouette.
Terry Transit Top – Style meets function with this stunning top. For women on the go, or those who want to explore the world via bike and look great doing so. With a longer back, you can ride in style without sacrificing coverage. This top is made from performance fabrics, is cut and designed for extended bike rides, and looks fabulous for dates and movie nights in the park.
Endura Engineered Boxers – NEW boxers that offer a fully engineered chamois and a great fit. These fit more like a performance brief with a quality low-profiled chamois and are great for bike rides that are 1-2hrs long, or jaunting around the city for all day urban explorations. If you’ve never tried a padded short before, consider these for a new level of comfort in your rides.
Specialized Men’s Utility Shorts – These shorts feature a forgiving fit that is comfortable for all day riding and looks great both on and off the bike, plus a little bit of stretch to keep you comfortable.
Terry Metro Crop Pants – The metro crop is similar to the metro short we are familiar with. This cute crop creates a flattering silhouette, is made from stretchy fabric and is very comfortable to spend a day on the bike in. These pants are perfect for bike trail adventures, nights out on the town, and are super cute for work.
Erik’s has many more Utility/Casual cycling pieces than I mentioned above, stop in to see our selection today and make the most of your summer rides! Tell us in the comments where your favorite casual ride is to, we’re always looking for cool new spots.
Bianchi’s Infinito CV is the perfect bike for long rides as well as going head-to-head on your favorite group ride. This was the take away from our first rides on the Infinito CV last year, and the hits don’t stop there. Bianchi may be the oldest bike manufacturer in the world, but technologies such as their Countervail vibration damping technology and others keep them at the forefront of the cycling world, whether it’s the pro peloton or the local club ride. Available either with Shimano Ultegra, or with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and disc brakes. Here we take a look at this great endurance ride as well as some of the other C2C (Coast to Coast) bikes from Bianchi. These bikes are available at select ERIK’S locations across Minnesota and Wisconsin – check the product pages linked here to find one near you.
The Infinito CV is tailor-made for long rides, but don’t let the extra comfort fool you, this bike still rails on corners and has power to spare when accelerating. With a higher head tube and longer chainstay, the Infinito will keep you comfortable however long the day’s ride is. The secret of the Infinito CV’s comfort is the Countervail technology. By introducing a viscoelastic material to the construction of the frame, Bianchi tweaks the typical nature of carbon fiber for the better, but don’t take our word for it:
Impulso / Impulso Dama
Shown above, the Bianchi Impulso, is available in men’s and women’s (Dama models). These models are similar to the Infinito in rider style and are well suited to riding longer distances in comfort. Made with an aluminum frame, the cost for the Impulso comes in lower than the Infinito, making it a good option for beginner riders or those looking for a great value.
The final bike in this category is the Intenso. Where the Infinito represents the pinnacle of technology, the Intenso shares the same frame geometry and utilizes Kevlar in the fork and seat stays to give it enhanced vibration damping over a standard carbon frame. ERIK’S carries the Intenso in women’s and men’s versions spec’ed with Shimano 105 or Ultegra 11-speed drivetrains. We’re partial to the trademark Celeste Green, but if you prefer something less iconic, the 105 level bike comes in red.
Intenso / Intenso Dama
Wheel on in and try one today, and get ready for a season of epic rides!
New for the 2015 Model Year, Specialized and ERIK’S will be offering the S-Build Program. For those who wouldn’t think of buying “off the shelf,” the S-Build program allows you to create the ideal bike in look and performance. The first options available in this platform are the S-Works Tarmac and the S-Works Epic. Unique and limited edition colors and paint designs are part of what makes S-Build so great, but the other part is how you can dial in your ride and choose the parts you want. Add a Body Geometry Fit in the mix, and you’ve got a lightning fast bike that is tailored to your sense of style, your body and especially your riding style.
The S-Works Tarmac is available in a handful of colors and options – Frame sets start as frame, fork and seatpost that you select components for, while disc modules include disc compatible wheels from Roval. The first options available for colorways are the “Lean” shown below, “Clean” (a blacked out subdued design), or the “Mean” shown in the feature image above. Currently, other color options for the Tarmac include the Team Saxo design or a very special Michael Kwiato limited edition colorway. Stop by one of the MN or WI ERIK’S locations to see what other colors might pop up.
Once you’ve settled on a frameset or module from those available, the next step is picking the components. Choose the right crankset, chainrings, stem and bar, along with the bits that make your bike truly yours such as cable housing, bar tape and saddle. We recommend that you work with one of ERIK’S Body Geometry Fit Technicians to ensure that the handlebar, saddle and stem not only look good but make your time in the saddle more enjoyable.
Not to be left out, mountain bikers can get in the game too with the S-Build Epic – either as the S-Works Epic 29 or the S-Works Epic World Cup 29, and just the same as the Tarmac above, you can choose some standard colors as well as more adventurous options, so when you toe the line at your next race or trail ride, people will know your by your bike – possibly by your speed as well.
The S-Works Epic Lean above is flashy yet clean, but it’s more than a show piece. The S-Works Epic is the first full-suspension mountain bike to win a World Championship, but it didn’t stop there; ridden by the likes of Burry Stander, Jaroslav Kulhavy, and Rebecca Rusch among others, the Epic is race proven by pros and weekend warriors alike. Exact spec of this bike is determined by the model, but here are a few variations available in the S-Build program for the Epic…
As with the Tarmac, riders can choose from a handful of options to create their dream bike. ERIK’S staff can help you select the right shifting and braking components to complete your new ride. When selecting and ordering your new bike with ERIK’S and S-Build, you know immediately what is available, and there is no time difference between these unique options and any other special order. Your bike ships to the store where one of ERIK’S trained mechanics builds it up and gets it dialed for the best season of riding yet!
To ensure that all parts are properly selected and your new bike meets both your and our standards, S-Build is only available at one of our Minnesota or Wisconsin locations, so stop in today and get started on designing your new ride. Items included here are often limited runs, so ask an ERIK’S staff what’s currently available, and stay tuned for new limited edition colorways!
What’s the best board for freestyle riders? Look no further than the Burton Blunt. A good freestyle board is flexible for jibbing but with enough pop to get you up on boxes, rails or kickers, and the Blunt has got all of that plus more to spare.
The Blunt is a playful freestyle board that’s perfect for tearing up the park or running groomers. Available in standard widths as well as wides, Burton’s got you covered if you need a good park board for your big feet. The Blunt is built with a Flat Top shape that is flat underfoot with early-rise tip and tail for catch free jibbing and a forgiving landing if you under/over rotate. Plus the Pro-Tip technology in the tip and tail reduce the weight in these areas for lower swing weight and easier rotation. The jib-friendly construction has a torsionally soft feel that is fun and forgiving.
Whether you’re new to freestyle or well-seasoned, having your stance dialed is critical. The Blunt includes Burton’s exclusive EST Channel System for fine-adjustment that’s super easy. Twin shape and flex make the Blunt a capable board in standard and switch positions to help boost your confidence game. The channel on the blunt comes with a three year warranty so you can ride in confidence.
We recommend pairing the Blunt with any of Burton’s EST bindings for best performance, but we especially like the pairing with the Burton Cartel binding. If you’re the type of rider who likes to modify their stance on the hill, make sure you’ve got the EST Tool and you can spend less time adjusting and more time riding your perfectly dialed stance. This season, give the Blunt a try and elevate your park game.