April 9, 2014 1 Comment
Behind the scenes at Performance Bicycle
March 18, 2014 Leave a comment
When we think of upgrades, we often think of parts for our bicycles. But this doesn’t always have to be the case. You can get a significant performance advantage by updating some of your older, worn out gear without dropping a bunch of coin.
Here’s our suggestion for 5 easy upgrades that can help you go faster, be more comfortable, and be safer. And the best news is that there’s plenty of options to fit any budget.
Did you know that most cycling helmets should be replaced after 5 years, regardless of whether or not you’ve been in a crash? If you’ve been in a crash that involved a head impact, replace your helmet immediately, even if it looks fine. Fortunately for you, helmet technology has come a long way. Helmets now are lighter, breezier, and more aerodynamic than ever.
After about 50-100 washings, most cycling shorts are about ready to call it quits. The chamois pads become compressed with repeated use and cease to provide enough support and cushioning, and the lycra will wear out and become more transparent (which might be why nobody wants to ride behind you). If it’s been a while, you might be surprised by how comfortable a fresh pair of shorts feels.
We used to think that sunglasses were simply sunglasses…until we got to try out some of the new ones available. Today’s glasses have features like photochromic lenses that change tint in the sunlight, hydrophilic construction so the glasses won’t slide down your face when you sweat, and lighter, tougher frames.
Hopefully you took our advice and gave your old ones a thorough cleaning, but sometimes it’s just nice to have a new set–especially if your old ones are leaky. New water bottles can be a fun way to add some color to a ride, or replace those old leaking bottles you’ve had forever.
Ok…this one isn’t so much of an upgrade, we just love cycling socks. New socks are a good way to express yourself in a sea of lycra. Whether you go super serious with some all black tall socks, or let out the wild side with a bright pattern, new socks can make even pasty winter legs look good again in the spring.
March 3, 2014 18 Comments
If you haven’t heard yet, one of America’s top pro teams has recently made the switch to Diamondback bikes for this upcoming season. The Optum Pro Cycling Presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies men’s and women’s team will be riding Diamondback’s amazing, and much lauded, Podium series bikes during the 2014 season. You’ll be able to spot these bikes everywhere from the Tour of California to the U.S. Pro Challenge.
To get a more in-depth look at what’s going on with the team, Diamondback took a trip to their training camp in Oxnard California.
While there, they caught up with U.S. Women’s National Champion Jade Wilcoxson and got to ask her a few questions.
They also took an opportunity to visit with the team mechanics and get the scoop on the new Diamondback bikes.
And, of course, they got up close and personal with the delightful Mike “Meatball” Friedman. Apparently, he doesn’t like the nickname “Meatball” though.
So it’s time for a contest: Suggest a new nickname for Mike, and we’ll select the best one to receive a $50 gift card – just post your suggestion in a comment below by the end of the day on Friday 3/7/14.
February 27, 2014 Leave a comment
We first had an opportunity to throw a leg over the Fuji SLM 29er 1.1 at the Outdoor Dirt Demo. It was hot off the presses at the time and was something like the 48th bike claiming to be “The Ultimate Bike Ever Made” that we’d seen that day. By this point in the afternoon though, we needed to see some proof in the pudding. You can’t imagine our surprise when after a couple of laps the Fuji SLM 29er 1.1 turned out to be our favorite bike of the day.
The Fuji SLM 29er 1.1 is a 29″ carbon fiber hardtail bike that’s tailor made for the XC and racing markets. Reading over the Fuji SLM 29er 1.1 parts spec, there’s a lot to be impressed by. This is a carbon fiber hardtail that’s dripping with XTR. XTR shifters and derailleurs, sure. But brakes? Cassette? Chain? This bike is decked out in Shimano’s highest level of racing components with only the carbon Oval M600 Crankset breaking the pattern. Why would Fuji decide to pass on Shimano’s crankset? As anyone who has recently spec’d a mountain bike will tell you, Shimano doesn’t make their XTR crankset with a true PF30 spindle. You can get an adapter for the Hollowtech II spindle, but if you truly want to take advantage of the increased stiffness afforded to you by the SLM’s PF30 bottom bracket, a crankset like the Oval M600 is going to deliver.
The next area that the Fuji SLM 29er 1.1 excels in is the frame. Rather than trying to pass off some lesser carbon fiber as the next big thing, Fuji actually uses the next big thing. C15 super-light high-modulus carbon outfitted with internal shift cable routing, the aforementioned PF30 bottom bracket, a tapered headtube and wide 142x12mm dropouts. This makes for one of the lightest hardtail frames available while also providing stiffness to spare. The bike darts uphill so fast you will leave your friends in the dust.
Enough about the components, let’s get to the riding! The very first experience we had on board the Fuji SLM 29er 1.1 was one that would be repeated with nearly every ride: the tester riding the SLM 1.1 had to wait at the top of the climb for everyone else to catch up. The 29” wheels and knobby tires gave confidence to spare on the descents and it even held its own through moderate rock sections. Where this bike truly excels, however, is the climbing. You’ll float uphill as though the tires are filled with helium.
Another thing that became clear in the ride quality is that this bike was spec’d by someone who really rides and understands mountain bikes. A perfect example is the handlebar. Sure, it was probably picked out of Oval’s lineup for being the lightest bar they make at an amazing 185g. But that’s not all a bar is about. This bar is 710mm wide and has a 9 degree sweep giving the rider confident handling and a comfortable hand position.
Thoughtful component choices and a finely tuned ride quality make this one of the finest hardtails we’ve ever ridden. This bike is for the rider who wants to squeeze every ounce of performance from his machine, who wants to win races, and who will settle for nothing but the best. The XC racing bike snob will be as happy as the everyday trail warrior. They are all sweet perfection in mountain biking, balancing weight, comfort, and performance. If you’re thinking about buying a hardtail that you’ll never want to part with, look no further than the Fuji SLM 29er 1.1. The bike was so fast, that we all started arguing about who would get to use our demo model for the upcoming race season. Sitting atop the Fuji, our coworker Eddie rocketed straight to the top of the podium.
February 14, 2014 Leave a comment
It’s Valentine’s Day, which means we want to give a special shout-out to our sweethearts, waiting at home for us to take them out for a nice evening. We’re speaking, of course, about our bicycles.
Whether you’re young or old, a seasoned vet or shopping around for your first bike, you’ll agree that there’s a million reason to love cycling, but we probably can’t think of them all ourselves. So help us out, what do you love about riding?
And, of course, to find that perfect Valentine’s Day gift for the cyclist in your life (or your bike), you’ll find everything you need at Performancebike.com, or your nearest Performance Bicycle store.
August 12, 2013 4 Comments
Today we continue with our Real Advice series – hard-earned practical knowledge from real riders here at our home office. This week Brian, a member of our content team, is going to share with you some thoughts on wheels.
Several years ago, when I got my first carbon fiber road race bike, I was so amped. It had SRAM 10-speed Rival on it, a full carbon frame and fork, and a carbon seatpost. I’d even splurged on some carbon fiber bottle cages. In those days, this was some pretty heavy artillery to be bringing for the level of racing I was at. Admittedly, I didn’t know an awful lot about bikes at the time, and I hadn’t ridden the bike much before the race. All I knew was I had the latest and greatest carbon 10-speed stuff, while most of those other chumps were rockin’ alloy 9-speed gear. According to all my mental math, I was already standing at the top of the podium.
When the race started, everything seemed to be going fine. I rode well and felt strong. Until I got out of the saddle at speed or tried to sprint in the drops. Every time I did, I could hear the rim hitting the brake pads with every pedal stroke, shedding speed and momentum. When I leaned into a corner, the rims squealed against the brakes the entire time, slowing me down drastically, and I watched furiously as other riders flowed past me, despite me having the extra 10th gear.
After the race, I was fuming. I had just spent all this money on a carbon fiber frame that I believed to be about as stiff as a wet noodle. I ranted to another rider about how flexible the frame and fork were, and how poorly the bike had performed. The other (more experienced) rider took one look at my bike and said simply “dude, it’s not your frame—it’s your wheels.” I did the next race on a borrowed wheelset that proved him right.
For most riders, whether you race or not, wheels are the most overlooked and important upgrade. It’s incredibly tempting to upgrade your bike with the newest drivetrain, or all the carbon fiber you can find. While the performance gains you get from those parts are significant, they still pale in comparison to investing in a great set of wheels. Among the many improvements you’ll get will be stiffer rims, lighter weight, improved handling, and greater aerodynamic performance. But before you buy, here’s a quick guide to help you find the wheels that are right for you.
July 29, 2013 Leave a comment
A couple of months ago, when the Performance Bicycle Group Ride of Excellence was assembling after work, we all noticed Jeff and Chuck wearing a previously unseen kit. It looked lightweight, comfortable and definitely had a pro fit. They were all decked out in the new Louis Garneau Course kit, ready to take it for its first test spin. We all agreed that it looked great and that the test would probably be more effective if we each had our own set of Course jerseys and bibs to test out.
Sadly, this was not to be, so over the next 40 or so miles, the rest of us sweated it out, jerseys were unzipped, and baselayers were cursed while Chuck and Jeff still looked cool as cucumbers. After the ride, they both agreed that it was by far one of the most comfortable kits they’d ever worn. The chamois was incredibly comfortable, the shorts offered amazing compression and stayed in place, and the jersey offered, as Chuck would later say, “absolutely incredible breathability”. Indeed, the new Course jerseys are almost transparent, they’re so thin. Chuck later tried riding on a 90 degree day in the Louis Garneau Course jersey with a baselayer on, and still found it to be comfortable and cool.
A few days later we got a glimpse of the new Course Aero Helmet, which graced the heads of Tommy V and the Europcar crew at the Tour de France, and the new Course shoes, which feature an all-new fit, razor thin carbon soles and new BOA-style lacing system.
If you’d like to know more about the Course helmet, here’s a video from our Learning Center.
These were just the first glances we had of Louis Garneau’s new 2014 line up, and everything we’ve seen since has lived up to the incredibly high standard set by the Course line. Every jersey, every pair of shorts, every helmet and every pair of shoes has been redesigned for a new, sleeker fit, updated graphics, and all-new ergonomics that improve the fit, breathability, and weight of their gear.
If you’re looking for a kit that delivers a next-to-skin fit and pro-level performance without the bleeding edge advancements, then check out the Louis Garneau Elite series. The Elite jersey and shorts have the competitive and fast enthusiast rider in mind. For most of us here at Performance, there is at least one of these kits in the quiver. They’re excellent for longer rides, fast group rides, racing and everything in between. The next-to-skin fit is super comfy, and the incredible chamois pad keeps you comfortable all day long.
The Louis Garneau Performance line was designed for the enthusiast rider. A more relaxed fit keeps things comfy for those long, wandering rides or for the rider who prefers not to feel like they’ll need turpentine to remove their jersey after a ride. But don’t let that fool you. This writer has more than a few miles laid down with the Performance jersey and bibs, and has found that they are excellent for high mileage days. The jersey is highly breathable, while the bibs offer plenty of support with a great pad that’ll keep you from squirming in the saddle. The updated graphics help take this kit to a new level of finish that always looks great.
The folks up in Quebec have been busy, and it’s paid off big time. To browse our full collection of Louis Garneau clothing, helmets, and accessories, click here.
If you’d like to learn more about the Louis Garneau brand, Mr. Garneau himself reflects on thirty years in the cycling business below.