The facial hair of NAHBS

OK, so we’re still sorting through all of the pictures we took of the amazing craftsmanship on display at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Richmond.  We’ll post a recap of our day at the show, with details about the innovative designs and meticulous work, early next week.  Until then, we humbly present our portraits of the best facial hair we saw during our visit.  We enjoyed meeting both passionate builders and equally passionate show attendees, so we dedicate this post to the friendly faces and follicular style off the bike.

Jeff from Industry Nine

Bilenky Cycles

The smiling fellow in the middle, sporting a Martin Van Buren style ‘do, is our very own Chris Danz, in case you’re wondering. Read more of this post

NAHBS Preview

We are on our way back from the North American Handmade Bike Show and we’ll be working on a large blog post with loads of eye candy in a couple of days.  In the meantime, here are some teasers.

Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Maintaining Ceramic Bearings

In the search for more speed, the cycling community works on defeating the 3 main forces that try to slow riders down: wind, gravity, and friction. There are wheels, helmets, frames, and forks to beat the wind, components & parts to make bikes lighter, and smoother, more fluid parts to reduce friction.

To reduce friction, the industry has now turned to ceramic bearings.  Modern external steel-bearing bottom brackets have tested drag of ~4% of power output.  Ceramic bearings generate only ½%,  helping to save 4 watts per 100 watts generated.

The friction and heat generated by ceramics is lower for a number of reasons:

  • Ceramic bearings are rounder and less compressible (50% harder) than the highest quality steel bearing.  This allows parts to be made to tighter tolerances giving a smoother motion with less vibration.
  • Ceramics do not conduct electrical current and are chemically inert so they do not oxidize and rust like steel bearings.
  • Ceramic balls are less porous than steel so they have less rolling friction.
  • Ceramics handle heat better than steel (lower coefficient of thermal expansion).  Ceramic bearings will expand and contract 35% less than steel bearings in like conditions. In tight tolerance conditions, added heat can cause bearings to expand and cause binding.
  • Ceramic bearings are also 40% lighter than steel bearings creating less rotating mass, allowing for faster acceleration and deceleration.

In our new 2010 Scattante road bike line, ceramic bottom bracket bearings are included with the 2010 Scattante CFR Pro Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Road Bike and the 2010 Scattante CFR Team Dura-Ace 7900 Road Bike.

2010 Scattante CFR Team Dura-Ace 7900 Road Bike Read more of this post

Employee Profile – Brent Lamm

  1. Tell us your name. Brent Lamm
  2. What is your position here at Performance and can you briefly sum up your job? Product Manager Apparel-Footwear Performance Bike. Developing relationships and a product assortment with vendors and manufacturers to best meet the needs of our customers, while achieving the goals set forth by our company…you like that one don’t you.
  3. How long have you been working here? Started with Performance in October of 97 Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Electronic Shift System

So you’ve won the lottery and your first big purchase is Shimano’s new electronic Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain.

Before you install it, BE ADVISED that your ego may be put in jeopardy. Yes, the new Di2 components are so slick that your bike, once Di2 adorned, will be smarter than you. Push a button and you have perfect shifts every time. The front derailleur will automatically trim itself to eliminate cross chain rubbing, and the rear derailleur disconnects its motor when you lay the bike down. The system will even tell you when the battery is low or if there’s a malfunction. Plus the battery lasts 1000 KM and will recharge in only 90 minutes.

Like we said, this stuff is SWEET!

Even better, Dura-Ace Di2 meets the “clock on the VCR” standard. If you can program the clock on your VCR, installation of Di2 will be a snap. The components come with good, clear installation and set-up instructions plus Shimano has an even better online tutorial, http://di2certified.shimano.com. That site features both a how-to video and an interactive installation and operation lesson.

But there are a few small subtleties that, if missed, can short circuit Di2’s marvelous performance.

Be aware of these issues:

• Do not touch the cable connector terminal/contacts. The system is great but can malfunction if the contacts are fouled.

RD-7970 rear derailleur

• The RD-7970 rear derailleur will  accommodate cassette cogs as large as 27 teeth, no bigger. Do not be tempted to install the new Dura-Ace 7900 11-28 cassette; it will hang up. Read more of this post

Employee Interview – Nhoupinh Vongphrachanh

1. Tell us your name. Nhoupinh, rhymes with Ron White’s pronunciation of “coupon”

2. What is your position here at Performance and can you briefly sum up your job? Product Technical Support which involves answering customers’ cycling-related questions (and sometimes cycling-unrelated questions such as “What’s a Nhoupinh?”) through chats, emails, phone calls, and also pretty much doing whatever G-Money says without too much protest

3. How long have you been working here? Little over two years

4. What (if any) other positions have you held here at Performance? Reluctant how-to actress and catalog model Read more of this post

2010 Bike Preview: TransIt Franklin

New year – new brand.

Our new for 2010 TransIt line of commuter bikes was designed to be both functional and fashionable – five models for trekking or running errands around traffic-laden city streets.  Named after streets right here in our hometown of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the TransIt line will feature practical components in a stylish package.

2010 TransIt Franklin

The flagship model of the TransIt line is named after the main street that runs right through the heart of Chapel Hill.  Here’s Chris Danz, one of our bike distributors, with a video introduction of the TransIt Franklin (from right in front of the venerable Varsity Theatre):

For a closeup look, here are a few shots of the TransIt Franklin in our warehouse:

Previews of the remaining TransIt lineup will be posted right here on the Performance Bicycle Blog, and the TransIt Franklin will be available at Performance Bicycle soon.

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Rotating your tires

Our Spin Doctor tech tip team has some advice for those looking to get a little more life out of your tires (and really, who doesn’t):

Rotating your tires front to rear is a great idea to increase the longevity of the pair but…..

If you like to ride on the edge (whether cornering with the pros or shredding technical singletrack), THINK TWICE.

Riding singletrack

Most steering control, both off-road and on, comes from the front tire while more tire wear happens with the drive forces on the rear.  So putting a road tire worn flat or a MTB tire with worn lugs on the front will lessen traction when cornering hard.

To prolong the life of your tires, save some money and keep high performance traction, ride your tires until the rear is worn out, move the front tire to the rear, and put a grippy new tire on the front.

Of course, that’s just our take.  What’s your experience with getting the most life out of your tires?  Please share your tips in the comments below.

Winter Cross

Some days, you just have to ride. This past weekend, Performance employees David, Chris and Devlin outfitted their Scattante XRL Cross and Scattante Titanium Cross bikes with metal-studded tires (why not) and hit the trails for their “Worst Day of the Year” ride.

Read more of this post

Employee Interview – David Wilkes

  1. Tell us your name. David Wilkes
  2. What is your position here at Performance and can you briefly sum up your job? Web Developer. Involved in all things WebSphere Commerce.
  3. How long have you been working here? 2 yrs Read more of this post
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