The perfect fall/winter cycling boots for your riding – 45NRTH Japanther, Wölvhammer and Wølfgar

Whether you’re looking for a winter biking shoe to commute, race or play in, the best winter biking shoe is the one that keeps you riding even when the temperatures plunge and the snow flies.  Regardless of your needs, 45NRTH has a shoe for you: The Wølfgar, Wölvhammer or the Japanther.

45NRTH is serious about winter riding and their entire product line is oriented towards keeping you outside. They accomplished this goal by using the newest technology and materials to keep you warm and dry. Each of 45NRTH shoe is geared toward a particular rider.

NOTE: 45NRTH footwear is extremely good – and as a result, extremely popular. Anticipated delivery on the new Wølfgar is currently January 2016, but you can pre-order and reserve a pair today. The Wölvhammer and Japanther are expected October 2015 and can also be pre-ordered.


Starting with their newest shoe, the Japanther brings sleek looks and killer technology to create the perfect shoe for the cyclocross racer or the all-weather commuter.

The sleek new Japanther from 45NRTH

The Japanther is a waterproof shoe designed for riders looking to ride during the cool, wet months but generally not when the snow is piled up. The Japanther uses a membrane that contains tiny pores that are smaller than water molecules but larger than vapor molecules; this technology allows your feet to breath while also keeping them dry. Reflective accents provide visibility while a velcro ankle wrap helps provide stability with the added benefit of keeping your laces out of slush and mud. Inside the Japanther you’ll find a wool insole with aluminum to keep radiant heat in the shoe where it belongs

SPD-compatible and enhanced traction give the Japanther its claws.

For those frosty mornings when slips and slides are common, the sole of the Japanther features their Anti-Slip Microglass Rubber. This contains microscopic glass fibers to create friction between the ground and your soles, creating a better grip..


For those riders committed to riding through the snows of winter, the Wölvhammer is an essential addition to your footwear collection.

The choice of intrepid commuters and dedicated fat bikers: The Wölvhammer.

45NRTH’s original winter biking shoe, the Wölvhammer, has been updated for 2016 with some impressive new technology while keeping the core qualities of the boot unchanged.  Simplifying the lacing system and adding a gusseted tongue to help keep water out, the Wölvhammer draws on mountaineering and snowboarding boot designs. With 200g of Primaloft insulation and aerogel insoles the Wölvhammer is sure to keep your little piggies toasty in even the most extreme conditions. For those looking to compare models; the Wölvhammer is best in temperatures between 0°F-25°F while the Japanther is best for 25°F-40°F temperatures.

The Aerogel insulated insoles use NASA technology. Areogel has the lowest thermal conductivity of any solid and is used to insulate equipment on space suits and keep the astronauts comfortable. Aerogel is not dependent on loft like down insulation and is not compressible, so a thin layer is all you need to keep warm. By using Vibram natural rubber on the outer sole, 45NRTH ensures that their soles will stay flexible even in subzero conditions.


But for those looking to ride regardless of the conditions or even for those looking to go on a hunting expedition for the Abominable Snowman; the new Wølfgar is the winter biking boot for you.

The extreme winter biking boot: The Wolfgar

The Wølfgar features a removable 4mm wool liner, allowing you to swap out liners during longer rides or multi-day excursions. With 400g of insulation the Wølfgar has twice the insulation of the Wölvhammer, allowing you to stay warm in subzero temperatures. Finally, instead of just an aerogel liner, the Wølfgar’s entire toe box is lined with aerogel, offering insulation around almost the entire foot.

Carbon fiber and carbide studs make the Wolfgar a lightweight that punches like a heavyweight.

The sole of the Wølfgar is packed with technology; from the ultralight, ultra-strong, non-heat conducting carbon fiber shank and heel cup, to the Vibram real rubber sole that can accept carbide studs for improved traction. These are the same studs used in 45NRTH’s impressive winter tires. The studs simply screw into the bottom of the shoe sole to provide excellent grip in the slickest conditions.

However long you’re looking to ride this winter, 45NRTH has a shoe for you.

Fit Friday – A la Carte Fitting

Adjusting cleats as part of a bike fitting.

AKA – Pedal and Cleat fitting for cycling.

Every so often the question comes up, why does Erik’s offer only one bike fit service. Often the conversation goes something like this, “I just purchased new shoes and pedals, the rest of my fit is great, but I just would like to have you check and make sure that the set up on the new pedals is correct.”  Instead of shoes and pedals, a rider could insert saddle, handlebar or any other contact point on your bike. So today we wanted to address why we don’t support the idea of stand alone cleat fitting.

The challenge with changing shoes and pedals is that it will affect your entire fit. There can be up to 7mm variance in the stack height of modern road pedal systems, and shoe sole thickness can vary by at least that. Take for example the already thin Specialized S-Works road shoe, it got 4 mm thinner in 2010 vs the 2009 model.
S-works shoe with Look cleats
So lets say that a rider switched from Look Keo to Speedplay pedals, and changed out their old (non-carbon) shoes for a new carbon soled road shoe. In order to maintain their current saddle to pedal position on the bike lets assume we need to lower the saddle 1 cm. To keep the saddle fore aft relationship to the bottom bracket the same it would also be necessary to slide the saddle back approximately 3.3mm. To keep the relationship to the handlebar the same the handlebars would also need to come down 1 cm.  And at this point we still haven’t adjusted the cleats for placement and rotation.

So here’s where the real problem comes in. We often see riders that sit slightly twisted on their bike, have hip, knee, foot alignment issues, or find leg length discrepancies that affect how a rider needs their pedals and shoes set up. Ultimately when someone comes in for a fit with us we want them to know that they are truly 100% dialed, and their equipment is set up in a way that conforms to what their whole body needs.

If we have fit someone in the past we are happy to help make changes to that bike, but without that knowledge of what a rider needs, performing a la carte fit services is like not using all the ingredients your cake recipe calls for, in the end you probably won’t end up with cake.

Meet the Specialized Hellga, the best Women’s Specific Fatbike!


2016 Hellga Comp

The best women’s specific fatbike is here, the 2016 Specialized Hellga. This beauty of a bike is made with women’s body size and shape in mind. This is not just a girly looking Fatboy, the Hellga is her own woman. The M4 Aluminum frame is designed with an ultra low stand over height, making it easier to straddle the bike while in deeper snow. The Hellga comes with the Women’s Geometry Myth Saddle, narrower handlebars, size specific cranks and smaller diameter grips.


There are three different levels of the Hellga: Expert, Comp and Base. Below are the spec lists for the different models.

Hellga Expert

helga-Expert-specHellga Comp

helga-comp-specsHellga Base

helga-specsThe Hellga comes in many attractive colorways and she is sure to turn heads. So check out the new Specialized Hellga at any of our Minnesota or Wisconsin locations.

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The Fastest Bike in the World: Specialized Venge ViAS


2016 Venge ViAS Pro

The fastest bike in the world is here: the Specialized Venge ViAS. With over 1000 hours of time spent designing, refining and testing in their very own “Win-Tunnel”, Specialized reached their goal of making the fastest bike in the world.

Roval CL 64

Roval CL 64

Helping to add some of the speed, the Venge ViAS is paired nicely with the Roval CL 64 wheelset, some of the fastest wheels ever made.


Front Brake

As a result of many hours testing and designing in the wind tunnel, Specialized came up with a few changes to help with aerodynamic drag. One of the major changes was to the front and rear braking systems. Specialized tested the flex of the wheel and frame to determine where the most movement occurred. With these results along with the results from the wind tunnel, Specialized was able to design their proprietary braking system and determine the best placement that would reduce both aerodynamic drag and brake rub.


Another area of aerodynamic change was made to the handle bars and stem.  After many months of prototyping, designing and testing this is the combination that came of their results; the “Aerofly” cockpit. This sleek design also internally houses all the cables through the handlebars, stem and headset to their respective places; leaving nothing exposed.


The Venge ViAS comes in two levels, the S-Works Venge ViAS Di2 and the Venge ViAS Pro. Below is the spec list for each model.

S-Works Venge ViAS Di2 Specs

SW Venge ViAS Specs

Venge ViAS Pro

Venge ViAS Pro Specs

Come test one out today at any of our Minnesota or Wisconsin locations.

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ERIK’S newest shop on Milwaukee’s Lower East Side

Just this week, ERIK’S opened our newest Milwaukee bike, snowboard and skateboard shop at 1819 E Kenilworth Place on Milwaukee’s Lower East Side. This exciting new location is conveniently located near the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee campus and our expert staff want to get you out on a bike, snowboard, skateboard, or keep the bike you have working great!
We offer Same Day Service on most bike repairs to keep you rolling and whether you’re just getting into cycling or are already passionate. Let ERIK’S Milwaukee staff get you set for commuting, mountain biking, road riding and more! We’ll help you find the ideal skateboard, longboard or scooter for cruising campus too! ERIK’S on Kenilworth Place also stocks all the latest apparel and accessories from Burton Snowboards to keep you looking good and staying warm this fall.

Wheel on in today and check it out and let ERIK’S get you set however you ride! Before you go, click on any of the images below to see some of the products and services available at ERIK’S newest Milwaukee location.



Meet the new 2016 Specialized S-Works Fatboy

A fat bike is fun, but a carbon fiber fat bike takes the experience to a whole new level; the Specialized S-Works Fatboy gives the rider looking to get into winter riding or racing a whole new way to have fun on two wheels.



This bike is designed to be the best possible riding experience; from the SRAM XX1 drivetrain which eliminates the crud-catcher that is a front derailleur on an off-road bike while still giving you a monster range of gears from 10-42 tooth in the back. Internal cable routing is also designed to keep moisture and contaminants from wrecking havoc with your shifting and also giving the bike clean lines.



16SworksFatboy2HED Big Deal carbon rims mated to DT Swiss hubs give you serious performance while shaving even more weight. For those of you looking to drop even more pounds, the HED Big Deal Wheels are tubeless compatible giving you even more control over your psi while dropping the weight to close to 20 pounds!


There’s no doubt, for the rider looking for the ultimate omni-terrain bike; the Specialized S-Works Fatboy is the whole package; from the carbon fiber brake handles to the carbon fiber rear derailleur cage to the SWAT top tube cap with a chain-breaker and extra master links this bike is big on features and light on weight!

Stop by anyone of ERIK’S Wisconsin or Minnesota and see this or any of our other great fat bike options today and take a test ride! Join the fat bike revolution and laugh at winter!


Cogburn Outdoors – Fill Your Tag savings

From September 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015, buy any Cogburn CB4 (excluding closeouts) and save $300 instantly from Cogburn and ERIK’S. All you have to do is print out the image below and bring it into your nearest ERIK’S to redeem. After that, you’ll be hitting the woods on the best hunting, fishing and foraging bike around.


Borealis Echo GX


The 2016 Borealis Echo just arrived at ERIK’S, and it is one the best values in a carbon fat bike around – This well-equipped carbon fat bike comes in under $3000! The Echo is also an excellent year round mountain bike and is ready to take a Rock Shox Bluto. Read on to learn more about this great bike.


“Our goal is to offer a high end carbon fiber product while ensuring affordability for all riders,” said Borealis Founder and CEO, Steve Kaczmarek. Built on the popular Echo frame, this bike comes equipped with the new SRAM GX 1×11 group set, along with a RaceFace AEffect 30t narrow-wide ring. This new drive train is high on performance, but easy on the pocket book.

echothruaxleThe Echo GX also comes equipped with a SRAM DB5 Brakeset, 45NRTH Hüsker Dü 4.0 Tires, and Turnagain FR 80 Rims. Along with that it comes stock with the Echo Rigid Fork and 150mm spacing to make it Bluto compatible.

The Borealis Echo GX is now in stores, so stop by any of our Minnesota and Wisconsin locations and take one for a test ride today.

Borealis Echo SHREDDING in Moab from David Spiegel on Vimeo

Go AWOL – Specialized Awol EVO highlights

Supernova AWOL SwitchIt 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 Switch

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 PlugThe 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 Bike

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!

Built for Adventure, the Specialized AWOL EVO is only missing one thing - a destination.

Built for Adventure, the Specialized AWOL EVO is only missing one thing – a destination, but that can be easily supplied by you.

2016 Specialized AWOL Evo Specs

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.

Specialized Rumor Review

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.

2016 Specialized Rumor 29er

2016 Specialized Rumor 29er

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.


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