Interesting rear mounted bike rack

On my current trip via Europe to Asia I came across an interesting bike rack — Thule EuroWay G2 921 Bike Carrier

Check it out (from the Thule web site):

  • New improved, detachable bike arms for convenient mounting of bikes.
  • Folds flat easily for simple storage and fits in most trunks.
  • Smart foot pedal tilt for easy trunk access even with bikes mounted.
  • Adjustable one hand coupling with low closing force for easy mounting of carrier.
  • Pump buckles with long wheel straps for easy fastening of wheels.
  • Carrier lockable on tow bar and all bike positions lockable to carrier (locks included).

Link to a good video on it:

 

Trek X-Caliber – Continuing the Review

I am getting closer to the 2-month mark of owning and using my new 29-er mountain bike – a 2014 Trek X-Caliber from the Gary Fisher Collection.  As I ride the bike – which I have been doing every Saturday and Sunday for the last 4-weeks or so, I learned to appreciate the design advantages this particular bike model offers.  

First, the G2 Geometry frame – which features a custom offset fork coupled with frame geometry which allows for much more nimble bike.  When I first started riding the bike I did notice that it felt much faster than my previous bike which was also a 29er….now I understand why that feeling – it is coming from the X-Caliber frame and offset fork – which make the bike a "race" category bike.  Very nice.  The G2 geometry gives the bike a lght feel – overall it made the X-Calber feel a whole lot more responsive on the trails.  In addition, the X-Caliber uses Trek's Gold-Aluminum material for the frame – which is providing for lighter weight while not compromising on a very strong frame overall.   

My new bike Trek july2014 3 e1407208801169 150x150 Trek X Caliber   Continuing the Review    My new bike Trek wheel 150x150 Trek X Caliber   Continuing the Review The Bontrager Mustang rims and Bontrager tires provide for very fast rides; 

The bike's fork is RockShox Reba RL with air shocks and very useful remote lockout.  The remote lockout makes it easy to turn on and off the shock and maximize on peddling efficiency when you hit the paved roads.

 MyTrekX CaliberBrakesShock 150x150 Trek X Caliber   Continuing the Review The bike uses hydraulic disk brakes which offer the strongest and shortest stoppiing distance – of course if you are not used to them – do make sure you pull on the brake levers gradually or else you WILL fly over the handlebars!!!

The X-Caliber uses a 3×10 drivetrain – 10-speed casette and a 3-ring crankset – thus offering a very wide range of gears 

MyTrek XCaliber SRAM 150x150 Trek X Caliber   Continuing the Review    MyTrek X CaliberGears 150x150 Trek X Caliber   Continuing the Review 

Overall the bike is great for usage on the road, on a cross-country trail, on a single track….feels like everywhere…!

Beginners’ Guide – Adjustments for a Mountain Bike

Almost couple of years ago I published several postings in a series about a beginners guide to mountain bikes.  The reality is that mountain biking is relatively popular but information on how to get going with a good fit for your bike is really scarce.  I aggregated a bunch of pointers on how to start with mountain biking — here is a list of the articles:

Now I need to highlight to you a couple of additional points:

  1. adjustmets to your fork and air shock
  2. adjustments for your seat and stem to prevent back and shoulder pain

So let's start with the air shock on your bike.  You need to check it approximately every 2 weeks.  Why?  Because in your riding – if you do so at least each weekend, you will continuously lose some air from the shock.  With that in mind. you need to check the air pressure and maintain it with the air shock pump on a regular basis.  My bike - Trek X-Caliber G2 29er with RockShox Reba Air shock fork – I will need to maintain around 130psi; For that I have two options on a pump – here are they are:

     I picked up the Fox one, why?  It was available…Simple as that; 

The second item – as listed above in the list of adjustments needed – was the stem on the bike.  The original stem for my Trek X-Caliber 29er was  

TrekXCaliberStem 2314090 Beginners Guide   Adjustments for a Mountain Bike  Bontrager Race Lite, 31.8mm, 7 degree;  a good quality stem – but I needed to replace it with one that brought the handlebars higher and therefore to a more comfortable posture for me.  I exchanged the stem in the bike shop where they installed a Salsa stem which was but about an inch shorter and brought the whole experience to a better result.

 

 

Trek X-Caliber – 30-day Review

Well folks, earlier in July (right after the 4th) I came across a great deal on a Trek X-Caliber mountain / cross-country bike.  As I mentioned in an earlier article – when I test rode the bike, I was not looking yet for a new bike, but when I saw the price tag (US$1100) of this model – yes, it is the 2014 model and not the 2015 one — but, hey, who really pays attention to that wink smile Trek X Caliber   30 day Review I decided to jump.

In other words – my Specialized Rockhopper Comp SL 29er was traded in for the shiny new Trek X-Caliber 29er hardtail bike.  

My new bike Trek july2014 2 e1407208594614 300x225 Trek X Caliber   30 day Review  My new bike Trek july2014 3 e1407208801169 300x225 Trek X Caliber   30 day Review 

My new bike Trek wheel 150x150 Trek X Caliber   30 day Review Bontrager 29-inch wheels; My new bike Trek comp 150x150 Trek X Caliber   30 day Review Avid Elixir 1 hydraulic disc brakes

My new bike Trek remote shocklock 150x150 Trek X Caliber   30 day Review Remote shocklock mechanism 

Overall this bike appears to offer a lot of value.  I like the light and aggressive G2 Geometry frame — per Trek it provides for great maneuverability even at low speeds and is to be very agile.  Well… I agree.  The bike appears much faste than my previous Specialized bike.

The remote shock lockout mechanism combined with the actual RockShox REBA fork – which has a very good 100mm travel offers very good efficiency of pedaling.  You could be on a rough surface – then you hit the smooth patch – click the remote lockout and you immediately increase your pedalling strength….

The 10-gear cassette combined with the 3-ring crank-set provide for good pedaling efficiency as well good selection of speeds and strain on you – the rider.

Overall, this bike also offers a very light assembly – I must stress – my experience from the first 4-5 rides on both road and cross-country trails, has been nothing by excellent.  

I will continue to report on the bike over the next few weeks.

Views from Bulgaria

Views from Bulgaria – you can leverage biking as a way to get closer to the natural beauty of the country

Visiting Bulgaria in the summer can provide you with some great, picturesque views of the country and its natural beauty.  In my previous blog post I listed yet another location where you can experience some good mountain / XC / single track biking.  

Now I wanted to just post some pictures and let you think about the location and if you so desire ask questions via the blog – as to which areas you may consider for nature tourism (and may be a few hours of peddling each day – along country roads or in the fields along dirt roads surrounded by wild flowers and the occasional storks and/or farm animals….

So here we go with the photos:

P1120006 300x128 Views from Bulgaria P1120018 300x165 Views from Bulgaria P1100878 300x225 Views from Bulgaria P1110489 300x144 Views from Bulgaria ViewFrom Buzludzha july2014 300x97 Views from Bulgaria Views from Bulgaria – as seen from Buzludzha peak in Central Balkan mountain

 

Biking in Bulgaria – part 1 – Central Balkan Region

Over the previous 2 years I added summary write ups on biking trails and pleasant areas to bike in several corners of Bulgaria.  Today, having just returned from yet another trip to Bulgaria (and a brief London visit), it is time to add more to the list of potential areas for biking in this country.

As stated, previously I provided write ups and photos on:

This time around I want to add commentary and photos on a few more locations, starting with the area known as the Valley of the Thracian Kings (around Kazanlak), high up in the Central Balkan mountains between the peaks where Shipka and Buzludzha are — then in a follow up installment I will cover areas in North-east Bulgaria around Kavarna, Balchik and the Zlatni Piasaci (Golden Sands) resort.

So about the area around small towns (more like villages) outside of Kazanlak there are plenty of dirt roads for you to explore between Kran, Enina, Shipka — you can see on this map:

And these photos:

DescriptionValleyofThracianKings 300x199 Biking in Bulgaria   part 1   Central Balkan Region    MountainBikeroad nearShipkaBG 300x199 Biking in Bulgaria   part 1   Central Balkan Region  BikingDirtRoadOutsideKran 1 300x225 Biking in Bulgaria   part 1   Central Balkan Region   

And next a few photos from the road from Shipka to Buzludha (a near by peak of the Balkan mountain range) — the road itself is not heavily traveled and allows for a good bike ride of about 6-8km and if you continue back down to the valley you will come out on the main road that links Shipka, Kran and Kazanlak.

P1110734 300x146 Biking in Bulgaria   part 1   Central Balkan Region P1110736 300x191 Biking in Bulgaria   part 1   Central Balkan Region

If you get a chance you should definitely consider biking in this region.  Then of course sample some of the great food and see the historic Thracian Tombs.

Bike saddles and airplane seats

Who said bike saddles are not important – turns out they could become even more so to a larger population – namely all air travelers.

turns out Airbus is toying with the idea of bike style posture and seats for plane configurations….

 

original Bike saddles and airplane seats

US20140159444A1 20140612 D00002 Bike saddles and airplane seats As you can tell from the other photos from the patent application filed by Airbus, the future of economy seat is even more aggressive than what we have today.  Yep – only one way to generate profits in the airline business I guess – offset high fuel costs with even more passengers per flight.  

For all of you who are bike enthusiasts – you know how comfortable a bile style saddle could be on a 2+ and above ride….NOT AT ALL!  So then you need to think what would a flight like this feel like – I can give you a hint – VERY UNPLEASANT!

 

Trek X-Caliber Test Ride

Earlier today I wrote about the fact that our daughter is test riding a bunch of new bikes as we are getting her ready to hit the trails.  It is about time to get her truly into mountain biking.  She has been testing a bunch of new bikes:

  • Giant Talon
  • Giant Temp
  • REI Novara Ponderosa 27.5" and 29er both
  • Specialized Jett Comp

The Giant and Specialized were nice bikes according to her and her mother.  But more about that in a future post.  As we went to the last of the bike shops – I came across a great find.  TREK X-CALIBER 29er;   The bike was heavily discounted as it is the 2013 model.  I rode it as I am planning now to trade in my current bike.  The ride was very smooth – due to the good shifters and the higher-end RockShox Reba with Solo Air.  The remote lockout for the fork was an interesting and somewhat useful feature – it takes adjustment to — but I think it is cool and convenient. 

                                                         Trek X Caliber Test Ride

The wheels for the bike support a great new feature for mountain bikes — tubeless tires – which can offer a very nice / comfortable ride.



Bike Specifications

Trek Stache 8
Trek X-Caliber

 

 

Buying a New Women’s Mountain Bike

A couple of years ago, we posted a series of articles on the process of shopping for a new women's mountain bike. Well, here we are today with our daughter eager and ready to jump on a new real mountain bike and looking forward to trail riding. Her bike today is a Giant 650XT 26-inch aluminum frame, mechanical/coil front shock — a combination which somehow never fit her well as she was growing fast.

Over the last few weeks she has been test riding mostly her mother's Specialized Jett 29er and has been feeling progressively ready to get rid of her current bike regular smile Buying a New Womens Mountain Bike

So, let's start the hunt (I say) – but first what should one look for in a women's bike?  What are the key criteria?

  • Fit and size:  probably the most important aspect no matter you are looking for men's or wormen's bike; You do not want to have a bike which is too large – it will reduce your ability to manuever safely and with confidence; A bike which is too small will reduce your ability to pedal effectively, will add to quick fatigue and will impede your breathing.  Overall you are looking for a bike with a frame size that gives you the clearance to stand astride of the bike and when riding your stretch to the handlebars is comfortable – i.e. no pain or discomfort in your shoulder blades for example or anywhere else in your body;
  • Suspension:  if you are buying a bike with suspension – make sure it is adjustable (no matter whether it is coil or air based); The coil based suspension is lower cost but even so it needs to be adjustable as different body size and weight – especially given women are much lighter – require that adjustment for effective operation of the fork/suspension.  Talking with women riders – the shock absorber can add or save significant fatigue and stress in your hands / wrists especiailly when riding on a trail;
  • Saddle and Handlebars:  Those are important as well — make sure you test ride the bikes you are considering.  In general even the handlebars for women's bikes are different / can be different – usually narrower and with slimmer grips — again from my experience / feedback from women's riders – the grips make a difference in the overall riding experience and enjoyment.
  • Overall – at the end of the day, MAKE SURE you test ride the bikes you are considering and once decided on the best one you like, make sure the bike shops does the final fitting to your body and riding posture

Here are the bikes we will be considering — next we are off to do a few test rides with our daughter.  Stay tuned for the next report – from the rides…

marin bear valley womens trail buyers guide Buying a New Womens Mountain Bike    raleigh eva trail buyers guide Buying a New Womens Mountain Bike  gt karokoram womens trail buyers guide Buying a New Womens Mountain Bike   2014 Giant Tempt 2 2501504 Buying a New Womens Mountain Bike