Gloves and mittens are one of those pieces skiers and snowboarders often overlook – you probably picked the perfect jacket and made sure it looked good/worked well with your pants. Being comfortable (warm and dry) means the difference between enjoying a great day on the hill or mountain versus tucking your tail and heading back home a wet mess. We always recommend a good pair of gloves or mittens and we’ll go so far to say that two pairs is a must for any serious skier or boarder. Between working zippers, holding poles or strapping into snowboard bindings and all the things you do with your hands, they have to work all the time. Even better if a you can work a camera, your phone or open a package of food so you can refuel without taking off your gloves.
Mittens or Gloves?
Everyone has a say in this debate. Gloves give you the best dexterity and are great for people who like to express themselves with more than a thumbs up sign after a great run, but on the coldest days they can leave some people cold. Mittens are the warmest option and give the best high-fives, but to work with a phone or camera, they can be a little tricky. We like having both kinds in our arsenal because conditions can change and a spare set of gloves is always a good thing.
Burton/Gore Tex – names to count on.
Burton makes some of the best mittens and gloves for snowboarding; so good that many skiers use them, and that’s totally cool by us. Gore Tex is renowned for its waterproof properties while still being breathable so you can sweat in Burton Gore Tex gear all day long and still be comfortable. All of the gloves and mitts in the Gore Tex collection are two piece with a four-way stretch liner (removable) and a waterproof/breathable outer shell meaning you can use each on their own or as a system for whatever the conditions call for. With features like Screen Grab palms, you can operate a phone or smart device without taking off your mitts, and with Sticky Icky Grip Palms, its not easy to drop your phone from the chairlift.
When the day is over, just pull the liners out of the Gore Tex shell and let your gloves or mittens dry out for another epic day of riding. Build to be warm with Thermacore insulation and tough with a synthetic leather palm, you can ride all day long with Burton Gloves or Mittens. Click on an image above to go to a specific style, or see them all at the collection link to the left.
Are you looking for the perfect freestyle snowboard boot? Look no further than the Burton Ruler. Whether you like surfing turns on powder days or running park laps, the Ruler is a boot that has proven its worth over the years and deserves its rightful place between you and your board.
With features like a Shrinkage™ Footprint Reduction Technology, Speedzone™ lacing, Power Spine backstay and more, the Ruler is fine-tuned to deliver a responsive boot that still lets you tweak and grab with style. All riders, but especially those with large feet will appreciate the Shrinkage technology that reduces the exterior boot size by a full size. This means that everyone can benefit from low or even NO toe-drag! Speedzone lacing makes getting the right support a breeze.
When the mercury drops, riders will appreciate the Thinsulate™ insulation to keep them warm and the B3 Gel in the sole that works to cushion impacts even in the coldest weather. The Imprint 2 Liner is heat-moldable for a custom fit and sports Hot Pockets to boost the warmth on the coldest days because after all, the cold just keeps the fair-weather riders away!
At the heart of the boot, the Power Spine backstay allows riders excellent toe to heel response but doesn’t limit flex from side to side letting you flex and feel the terrain as well as pull a fully-extended stalefish with ease. Strategic flex notches in the boot outer also allow for even flex when pressing or tweaking.
This season look no further than the Ruler for freestyle performance on the big mountain or the backhills, and with Erik’s Boot Love guarantee, you can be confident in your selection. Find the perfect fit at one of our Minnesota or Wisconsin locations or online today and enjoy the season!
If you hadn’t already heard, The Specialized Fatboy has been a popular bike ever since it’s launch last year, and the interest in fat bikes is growing more and more every year. The big question for riders who already know the allure of fat bikes is – when are they going to make a kid’s version? The following Fatboys are reported to be coming soon, but as of now, delivery and pricing is not published for the US market.We got the following info from the internet and put it together in one place to give you the answer to questions you might have. Take a look at these great looking models for the little rippers – we’ll keep you posted as soon as they’re available for order and in Erik’s locations.
UPDATE – The first shipment of these bikes is expected in mid-december, and both sizes will retail for $999.99. We will have information on our website by the end of the weekend here, but you can pre-order one today at any of our 22 Erik’s locations.
2015 Specialized Fatboy 24
Inspired by the adult version of the Fatboy, the 2015 Specialized Fatboy 24 is built on a fully-butted A1 Premium Aluminum frame and fork and features a 1×9 drivetrain anchored by a Sram X4 rear deraileur and a trigger shifter. Designed for kids on the go, the aluminum rims are a fat-specific (90 mm ride) 24 inch disc rim with 32h lacing and Specialized Ground Control 24×4.0 tires. Hub spacing is 170mm in the rear. Stopping power comes by way of a Tektro Aries mechanical disc brake.
2015 Specialized Fatboy 20
The only thing the 2015 Specialized Fatboy 20 skimps on is size. Built on a fully-butted A1 Premium Aluminum frame and featuring the same 170mm rear hub spacing and the same SRAM X4 1×9 drivetrain. Featuring 20×4.0 Ground Control tires, young riders should have no problem going where mom and dad go on their full sized fatties. See the colors below – these are preliminary colors and could change slightly depending on availability. Like the 24 inch model, the Fatboy 20 is equipped with Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes. Geometry for both bikes is available at the end of the post.
2015 Specialized Fatboy 20/24 Geometry
Specs on these models should not be considered final, but geometry numbers are reliable if you’re looking to figure out which one is a better fit for your little fat-biker. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask one of Erik’s experts at one of our Minnesota or Wisconsin locations.
As cyclists, we like the idea of actually riding all year long, and the rise in fat bikes is great for that, but sometimes your schedule doesn’t allow to get outside and the short winter days can be a challenge for cyclists. For this reason, trainers, rollers and indoor cycles are often a must for riders in the Upper Midwest.
What’s your goal?
We often talk about what your goal is with a trainer – whether you just want to log some virtual miles, stay loose and active, or work on a specific skill such as strength or power in cycling. All of the available options Erik’s carries can meet these needs, and in unique ways. There’s a newer technology, however, that you may not be aware of: direct drive trainers. In an effort to squeeze every bit of performance out of a trainer and make it incredibly easy to use, this is the result.
At the heart of any direct drive trainer is the frame and resistance unit, but how it connects to your bike is the first thing you will likely notice. Direct Drive Trainers effectively replace your rear wheel. By removing the stock wheel on your bike, and placing your bike on the unit, all that’s needed is to make sure the chain is in place on the gears and tighten the quick release skewer. There is no rubber tire and as a result, switching back and forth between training and riding outdoors is easier than with any other option. This makes direct drive trainers a great way for mountain bikers to utilize a trainer without investing in a trainer tire or second wheel.
What Makes Them Unique?
Aside from the attachment method, what makes a direct drive trainer unique will depend a lot on the model, but we’ve found in general that the FEEL is unlike anything else we have ridden. When pedaling, especially at start-up, the feeling in the legs is almost indistinguishable from riding on real pavement. The units Erik’s stocks start with a similar frame and a heavy fly wheel inside of a housing – this is where much of the realism comes from, but each unit takes a different approach to resistance units. All of these units are fairly heavy, making them super stable, especially under hard efforts. If you are a rider who like to go to the point of blackout on your intervals, then there really is no better option than direct drive.
Direct Drive vs. Indoor Cycles
Indoor cycles such as the Pro Form and models from CycleOps have traditionally been the most feature rich options for riding indoors, but some people don’t have the space to dedicate to them, making it an impractical option. With heavy flywheels and a ton of adjustment options, they do provide great flexibility for multiple riders and a great workout. With all of the options including power measurement, the ability to virtually ride courses and vary intensity is great for your workout, but they come at a cost. Direct Drive trainers offer a lot of options and realism over standard rear wheel trainers, but at a fraction of the cost of an Indoor Cycle. The most full featured option of direct drive trainers (Wahoo Kickr) costs half of what a similarly featured indoor cycle does.
The Silencer from CycleOps features a magnetic resistance unit starts at $659 and is built with the same rugged reliability and life time warranty that CycleOps products are known for.
Resistance is adjustable with an included remote and offers 5 different resistance levels in addition to the normal gear shifting on your bike.
Compatibility is limited to SRAM and Shimano drive-trains and will accept 9/10/11 speed cassettes. The $729 version includes a 10-speed Shimano cassette.
Weight of the Silencer is 39 lbs, and is optimized for 700c wheels without the need to add a riser block. Mountain bikers will want to add one to level the bike.
The Turbo Muin by Elite has a fluid resistance unit, and is a great option for riders who like to get the absolute most from their trainer workouts. It’s max wattage is the highest of these three at a leg-crushing 2500 watts at 90 RPM, making it ideal for strong riders looking for high-intensity workouts.
Resistance on a fluid unit such as the Turbo Muin is what we refer to as progressive, meaning it gradually increases with speed. The result is that by working through your gears and increasing wheel speed, the resistance gets harder. This resistance curve is designed to copy the feel of riding on the road.
Compatibility like the CycleOps comes out of the box as SRAM/Shimano 9/10/11-speed but an option is available for Campagnolo freehub bodies as an aftermarket piece.
Weight is similar to the Silencer at 39 lbs as well, though one thing that differentiates the Turbo Muin is the ability to fold the frame for storage.
Wahoo Kickr lists for $1098.99, making it the most expensive option Erik’s offers in this category, but with good reason. The Kickr measures power and can be connected with a Bluetooth 4.0 or ANT+ connection meaning you can control the unit with an iPad, iPhone or other device as well as track power data with compatible computers like the Garmin Edge line.
Resistance is variable through the app, Bluetooth compatible computers or even a connected PC computer by using an ANT+ dongle. It is also compatible with a whole host of third party options such as Strava, Trainer Road and more, as well as Wahoo’s own app.
Compatibility like the previous models is optimized for Shimano and SRAM 9-11 speed cassetes and comes with a 10 speed cassette. Like the Turbo Muin, it can be adapted to fit Campagnolo 11 speed. Like all direct drive trainers, it does well with mountain or road bikes in a variety of wheel sizes.
The weight is an impressive 45 lbs for the Kickr, but since the legs also fold away and it includes a carrying handle, moving it is not difficult.
One of these three options are a great way to up your trainer game this winter and be ready to ride outside at a moment’s notice. The major benefits aside from realism are ease in setting up the trainer and the ability to easily keep your bike ready to ride outdoors, making it not only a good option for the off-season, but also great for conditions early and late in the year that making getting out on the road or trail tough.
Got travel plans this winter? If you’re headed out west or just trying to maximize space for a trip that includes skiing or snowboarding, we always recommend a snowboard bag for its cavernous space. Burton’s Wheelie Gig Bag this year fits the bill perfectly and comes in a color that’s hard to miss as it spins around the baggage claim carousel.
The Burton Wheelie Gig Bag is 166 cm in length and we’re stocking it in the Fish Blanket pattern for your next adventure. The Gig bag is padded to protect your board and can fit multiple boards (with bindings off) as well as a great deal of your gear. If you pack right, you can keep it down to one bag and save money on baggage fees.
Check out our video below on how to best pack for your big skiing or snowboarding trip and see just how much you can fit this winter.
It happens every fall in the Upper Midwest. Days grow shorter, the weather turns cold, and then we go switch the clocks back forcing everyone who loves to ride a bike to adapt. You could get a fat bike and fight off the winter blues, but let’s face it, you might not be ready for that yet (When you are, we’re more than ready to help). Whether or not you’ve trained inside in the winter, you might not be aware of the options of HOW to ride – the most common of these are a stationary trainer or rollers.
Which is better?
Most people starting out often go for the trainer – it’s a small piece of equipment that folds up and stores under a bed or behind a couch pretty easy, and it’s easy to turn an existing bike into a very good workout. Rollers are a bit bigger, but still compact and stowable – they feel a lot more like RIDING a bike, but they do require skill to learn at first (this skill does make a more capable rider out of roller users though). At Erik’s we can recommend one for you based on your unique needs and goals, but there’s a place for both of these in your home to get the most out of your workouts and to keep indoor cycling and training as fun as possible.
Trainers work by holding the bike stationary in an upright position. There’s no need to balance with wide and stable legs. This set up, along with built-in resistance units makes this an excellent choice for developing strength as a rider.
- High Stability allows riders just to focus on moving their legs and not on balance.
- Good for loosening up or short workouts.
- Great tool for riders doing high-intensity workouts like intervals or other anaerobic work.
- Ideal for anyone doing rehab after surgery or strengthening after an injury.
- Great for one-legged drills used in addressing imbalances or leg weakness.
- Does not address handling or balance issues.
- Fixed position can be uncomfortable for endurance work.
- Extra pressure on the tire requires the use of a trainer tire for best performance and protection of your regular tires.
- Lacks the most realistic road feel.
Rollers are a long frame with a single drum up front and two drums in the back to support the bike. With 16″ of width under your bike, you’ve got some room to move, but not near as much as riding down the road. Rollers are often considered the ideal method for becoming a more complete cyclist. They force attention much like riding outdoors would. For riders new to rollers or those looking to ad versatility, it is possible to add a resistance unit and a fork stand and make it behave more like a trainer.
- Promote even, rhythmic cadence from the rider.
- Great for developing tracking skills and maintaining control of the bike.
- Good tool for developing balance.
- More stimulating to ride and less chance of boredom.
- Quieter than the quietest fluid trainers.
- No need to change out tires from your regular riding tires.
- Not ideal for high-intensity interval training unless you are a very skilled rider.
- Requires some skill to learn to use (learning curve).
- Does not allow rider to “zone-out” in the same way as a trainer.
The Bottom Line
So which is best? Depending on where your desires match with the above pros and cons of each, there’s one that will fit your unique needs best and give you something to do this winter, but if you’re not the only rider in your household or you want your next season of riding to be the best ever, we feel there’s a place for both in your house. We even mentioned in a previous post about keeping trainer time entertaining by making it a group ride.
If you’re prone to getting lost in a workout or training at high levels of exertion, a trainer is an ideal option. Doctors and physical therapists often recommend cycling as a low impact activity following an injury or surgery related to hip replacement, ACL repair and other knee or leg surgeries. Trainers allow you to easily isolate a leg and work on strength building specific sides of the body.
Rollers obviously require some time to adapt as you are balancing the bike on a smaller space than you may be used to, but many riders report less boredom and actually look forward to riding the rollers. They can be a great way to work on your pedal stroke (aka souplesse) and since your upper body is far more active, they can help develop core strength related to cycling and improve your ability to maintain a line.
Whatever you choose, know that you are setting yourself up for better fitness and a more enjoyable cycling season whether or not you agree with the idea of an “off-season.”
Interest in fat bikes has grown incredibly in the past few years, and often people seeing one for the first time wonder “What do you use THAT for?” The past couple winters in Minnesota and Wisconsin have answered those questions pretty well, and more riders every year are making them their number one bike. As a tool, though, they sometimes get overlooked, and we think incorporating bikes into other parts of your life is a great thing, whether it’s commuting to work, running errands or taking a trip. Erik’s employee, Dave, and myself (Lainger) both are avid hunters when it’s not prime biking season, but that’s not to say we wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride more. This past weekend we had the opportunity to take out a couple CB4 fat bikes from Cogburn Outdoors (a hunting and fishing specific bike from the Quality Bike Products family).
For a brief overnight, we brought along the CB4s with slightly different set ups and loaded them on the rack. We headed to Northern Minnesota in search of the elusive Ruffed Grouse and the bikes soon proved their worth.We settled on a spot a few miles down the road from where we were staying – Using paper “PRIM” maps and online resources and thought it looked like a good start. It was 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon when we pulled into a small parking space next to an ATV trail. Dave’s bike was outfitted with a rack and the Cogburn Gear Carrier; mine was not. The gear carrier is a well thought out piece of metal that straps to the rear rack or cargo carrier of the bike, and you can then attach fishing rods, archery equipment, shotgun or rifle to easily, and it does a plenty good job of keeping it out of the way but easily accessible. By comparison, I had to case and strap my shotgun to my back. While this was a stable mount that worked well for our purpose, it poses a problem when the trail gets tight, and it could certainly be more comfortable. To allow for hunting boots, we both opted for a flat pedal rather than clipping in as we normally would. We dressed to be moving, but were comfortable in tin chaps and jeans with breathable layers up top and a hunting vest.
Setting out felt like the beginning of a great adventure – starting so late in the day, we wouldn’t usually be able to cover a lot of ground before dark, but on bike we were able to cover 3 miles pretty quick and access some land that was new to us easily. The added benefit was that the bikes were a blast to ride, and while a walking hunter can move at 2.5 to three miles an hour, this eats up time to get some place. By taking fat bikes, we got to where we wanted to go and were able to stow the bikes so we could walk the most promising parcels of land.
On the way out, we rode past a promising spot but opted to keep going. It could have been because the riding was so much fun, or it could have been the excitement of the adventure and the ability to keep pushing further, but we passed it up. After riding to the end of the trail though, we had the opportunity to come back at it. We parked the bikes well off the ATV trail in a depression and good cover. As a precaution, we locked the bikes together and set about to work the brush. For its size and convenience, I like the Abus Catena to lock up the bikes – it’s a fairly sturdy chain, but it is lightweight and packs down to the size of a softball roughly. After heading a mile out, and not seeing any birds, we turned around and worked back to the bikes. We would have loved to get a couple birds for dinner, but knowing this doesn’t always happen we were glad we planned ahead and brought dinner. Normally I would recommend setting a waypoint using a GPS when you stow something in the woods, but we had some good landmarks that would ensure we would find the bikes again. Though I will freely admit to walking about 20 feet past the bikes and not noticing them with the Realtree camouflage and mottled vegetation surrounding them. It was approaching 5 PM when we arrived back at the bikes, and we knew with sunset at around 6, we should be making a move out of the woods. We unloaded and stowed the guns for the ride back and unlocked the bikes. We were surprised to find we covered the 2 miles back to the truck in just around 15 minutes! Back in the lot, we wiped the extra dirt and mud from the bikes but the smiles on our faces weren’t as easily removed.
Driving back to our place for the night, we talked about the possibilities these bikes opened up for us. It’s easy to think how with the addition of a trailer it could be a great rig for deer instead of an ATV, and we discussed the merits of the gear carrier (Dave pretty much won this one as he never tagged a tree branch with one end of the gun or another) – with a canoe or kayak rig towed behind it could be a great setup for waterfowl hunting too. I liked the internal frame bags you can see in the picture above as a place to stow the lock and camera while riding, and they would come in equally handy for extra gear on wet or cold days as well as first aid kits or items that require ready access.
The following morning we explored a Wildlife Management Area about a half hour away. We always like to scout for new hunting spots and this one showed some promise. We parked the truck again and hopped on the bikes to follow an old railroad grade 1.2 miles to its end – this time the path was closed to motorized vehicles making the Cogburns a perfect fit. The spot should be a great place for ducks when the migrators start coming down, but we still wanted to explore it a bit more since we had some left over time before we had to head home. We threaded the wide bars through a stand of thick popple to an island of oak trees about 4 acres in size. The outer edge of this “island” was bound by a mass of young trees so thick it was like walking through a maze. A great spot for grouse in some cases. We again locked the bikes to each other and thought about leaving the dog to watch over the bikes but thought she would have more fun in the thick stuff, so we trusted the lock (we probably didn’t need to rely on the lock, but when your only way out is on your own, you make sure to plan accordingly). In some of thickest cover around, we jumped one grouse, but given the lay of the land, it escaped pretty quickly as we played twister in the thick brush.
We rode back with empty game bags, but the trip was anything from a loss. Fat bikes like the Cogburn are a great way to get out in the woods and do something different from the normal routine. A bike is a tool when properly used that can carry you and your gear to places where the only limitation is your ability to think of all the possibilities. I know I’ll be using a fat bike again this year for more than just getting on and riding. What’s the most amazing thing you’ve done with a fat bike, or what’s on your fat bike bucket list if you haven’t done anything out of the ordinary yet? Let us know in the comments.
So you’re not into technical outerwear, that’s cool, but seriously, it’s time to ditch the denim on the slopes. You’ll be warmer, drier, and you’ll enjoy your days on the mountain so much more if you’re covered with a jacket that’s meant for snowboarding. So if you’re in the market for a new shell this year or know someone who’s still rocking the Carhartt coveralls, we think you should check out the Dunmore Jacket from Burton.
The 2015 Dunmore Jacket from Burton is a great piece to take from mountain to town with added length and a tailored fit paired with workwear styling. Erik’s carries this jacket in the colors shown above (Woody and true Black). With Thinsulate™ insulation and a brushed flannel lining, you’ll stay warm on cold days. The shell is a two-layer polyester made of recycled bottles and is waterproof and breathable (10k/10K). It also sports a removable fleece hood and a waist gaiter/spray skirt to keep out snow if you are in the deep stuff. find the Dunmore Jacket at select Erik’s locations or online by checking it out HERE and clicking “Find In Store”
Sometimes you need a break from the same old trail you usually ride. The following guide is meant to inspire you to take a trip and enjoy some of the best mountain biking that Minnesota and Wisconsin have to offer. We’d also love to hear you favorite day or weekend trips for mountain biking. Let us know in the comments and we’ll make sure to add them to the ride guide. Click on the pictures below for more information on the trails.
Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Area – Crosby/Ironton, MN
Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Trails (CAMBA) – Cable/Hayward, WI
Levis-Trow Mounds, Neillsville WI
In our last post, we discussed the Burton ICS system and EST bindings, both items that Burton has developed in order to create a board that flexed better, provided better contact, and a better mounting system. These ideas have been the holy grail since the mid-90s. There are a whole parade of binding names that offered the answer to this problem including Preston, Excel, Tech Nine and more. None of these were bad, in fact at the time they were the most technical thing around, but we still had to put up with bone-jarring landings and weird mounting to make it all happen.
For riders not on a Burton board using the channel system, there’s a great option to get more from your current board with the Re:Flex offering of bindings from Burton. The secret to this technology is in the disc and frame of the bindings. By using a hinged disc and removing material from the base of the binding, Burton creates a binding that is lighter, with better ride responsiveness and allows the board to flex more evenly across it’s length than a traditional 4×4 or even previous 3D hole system board.
In removing some of the material from the binding, Burton is also able to improve the cushioning under foot to create a more comfortable ride.
What Bindings are Re:Flex and which are EST? At Erik’s we have marked the bindings on our web site as EST if they are an EST binding, so anything without this designation is a Re:Flex binding. This includes the Genesis, Cartel, Mission, Custom and more – see the whole line of 2015 Burton Snowboard Bindings online or at select Erik’s Locations. Take a look below for some of the styles available.