Mountain Bike Cost – What is Rational

Mountain bikes have been growing in wheel size — for example, 29-inch wheels came into broad use very quickly — and in cost.  It is increasingly common to see $2000-plus price tag on a large portion of most manufacturers’ portfolio.  The reality is that in most cases the price tag has very little to do with your enjoyment on the trail.   The $1200 bike at full retail is probably the top of the sub-prosumer bikes.  You can get the “last year” bike model for that price as the top of the line pro-summer bikes are about $1700 and often discounted to $1200 during a model year change.

At the same time, those pro-summer bikes will provide you with a lot of useful exercise, keep you in good form and all this for about $4-$6 per ride if you use the bike each weekend throughout the year.   So not a bad return on your investment…

I will elaborate on this tomorrow…after my Labor Day ride…


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.

TrekTrek X-Caliber Bontrager wheel 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 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

Trek X-Caliber    Trek X-Caliber

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  

Bontrager Race LiteBontrager 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 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.  

Trek X-Caliber  X-Caliber 29er 

Trek X-Caliber Bontrager wheel Bontrager 29-inch wheels; Avid Elixir Avid Elixir 1 hydraulic disc brakes

Trek shock remote 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:

Views from Bulgaria - Balkan mountain Views from Bulgaria - Balkan Range Views from Bulgaria Views from Bulgaria Views from Bulgaria Views from Bulgaria – as seen from Buzludzha peak in Central Balkan mountain