VBSW 2013/14 Shop Kit

Posted by Stephen on

Just in time for cyclocross (or fall MTB!), our kit has arrived! kit Still warm from production, these were printed & stitched in-house just down the street at VOMax in Northampton, designed in the service area of our shop by me (Stephen). The idea was to keep it simple & give a tip of the cap to the golden years of cycling. Think Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, Hugo Koblet: koblet We wanted the kit to be as much a tip of the cap to cycling's beautiful, storied history and the legends that comprise our sport's past as it is an acknowledgement of the current state of cycling. It is a jersey that is as at home on a Columbus SL De Rosa or loaded-up Rivendell touring machine as it is your carbon fiber Tarmac with Di2, and is available in a variety of fits, from tiger-tight to MTB baggy. Also, for those interested in keeping everything cohesive from head to toe, we also produced a very limited run of matching bib shorts. I can tell you this anecdotally from years of experience in various brand bibs: the VOMax bibs are second to none - they make a long day in the saddle incrementally more pleasurable. So come on in & try them on for size. They're going fast, but not nearly as fast as you'll be (or at least look!) when you're riding in it around the valley! stephenvbswkit2stephenvbswkit(That last line was super cheesy, I know. <3SP)    

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New Model Roundup: Electra Townie, Specialized Rumor & Roubaix Disc

Posted by Stephen on

electraline

With the influx of bikes to fix, we've been too busy with our hands on wrenches, elbow deep in suspension oil, and sending folks off on test rides to share with you all the exciting new bikes that we've accumulated over the past month or so! It's a good kind of busy, but it leaves us with a whole lot to share with you all out here cruising the superhighway. That splash of color up there is our line of Electra cruisers. We have a few models: the Townie, Amsterdam, and Cruiser. They're all pretty sweet and super comfortable to ride. They employ a cool tweak in geometry that they call Flat Foot Technology, which puts the pedals a few inches forward from where they are on a traditional bike. This translates to a super laid-back & upright feel, lending to increased visibility, a relaxed arm position, and the ability to reach the ground from the saddle while also maintaining an appropriate leg extension. This one's a big deal for a beginner, allowing the rider the confidence of knowing that they can easily stabilize themselves without sacrificing a good fit. I really like the Amsterdam, which is an internally-geared 3-speed bike that comes tricked out with a fully-enclosed drivetrain & fenders. Oh look, here's one now: electra Come on in and take one for a spin - these are perfect path & around-town bikes. And now for a different take on comfort: roubaixdisc That's the Specialized Roubaix SL4 Expert Disc. Same deal as their incredibly (and very rightfully) popular Roubaix lineup: They take a first-rate race bike, extend the wheelbase and give it a taller headtube. The end result is a bike whose smoothness is unrivaled, but without giving up any of the stiffness & responsiveness that Specialized's carbon fiber bikes are known for. However! This one's an early thunderclap in what is sure to be a monstrous storm: Disc brake road bikes are here. The Roubaix SL4 Expert Disc comes equipped with Shimano CX75 mechanical calipers paired to Ultegra levers, adding a little confidence to any bad-weather riding you may find yourself in. We have a couple of these - a 56 & 54 - come on in to take them for a spin. As always, we're happy to order you the size you need if neither one of these will fit! rumor Here's the 2014 Rumor, which is a fact. Puns, aren't they great. Anyhow, the Rumor is Specialized's first women's-specific full suspension 29er. With 110mm travel, it's a pretty versatile bike, as comfortable in an XC race as it is spending a day exploring the trails. It's technically a 2014 bike, so coming in and taking this for a spin would be like taking a ride with Doc Brown in the Delorean - you'll be in THE FUTURES! So there's the rundown. We have so much more information than this, just come on in and we'll be happy to tell you alllllllllll about these bikes.

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Bicycling Editors Choice Awards 2013

Posted by Dave on

AwardsTarmac

Best Men's Race Bike

For the second year in a row, the S-Works Tarmac SL4 is “simply the best in a field of transcendent bikes.” According to the experts who tested a field of 30 finalists, the Tarmac once again blew away the competition. Beyond the handling, stiffness, and ride quality that a top-tier bike should offer, some riders get even more from their bikes because, as one tester remarked, “The Tarmac made me feel like a better rider.”

AwardsAmira

Best Women's Race Bike

No stranger to winning, the Amira SL4 Pro is this year's Editors' Choice for Best Women's Race Bike. The Amira has the same racing pedigree as the Tarmac, but with geometry, weight, and touch-points all designed specifically for a female rider. Though still light and stiff enough to “climb like a mountain goat,” according to the Bicycling Testers, the Amira “felt the most female friendly,” of all the bikes tested.

AwardsEpic

Best Full Suspension XC Race Bike

Back-to-back wins for the S-Works Epic 29. What makes the Epic unique is the proprietary BRAIN-equipped suspension which reads the terrain for the perfect ride–whether sprinting uphill or descending at speed on rocky trails. The world’s only full suspension 29er world champion and Gold Medal winner is the bike of choice for “screaming across rutted single track, while still climbing and accelerating as fast as a hardtail.”

VeloRoubaix

Best Endurance Bike

The S-Works Roubaix SL4 is the leader in endurance racing technology and won the 2013 VeloNews Endurance Bike Test Award. The Roubaix has mastered the unforgiving roads of Europe and is stiff enough to fly into sprints and out of turns as well as any bike on the course. “For the rider looking to maximize performance while taking the edge off of everything from chip-sealed pavement to dirt roads, the Roubaix is the clear choice."

AllezRBA

Best Aluminum Bike

The Specialized Allez Race Rival just threw down against the top aluminum race bikes. According to Road Bike Action, the Allez was the break-away favorite. The ride of the Allez offers, "The best blend of comfort and stiffness." And about the Specialized Smartweld technology, "It's really something new in the bike industry, yielding a stiff front end that handles impeccably and offers clean aesthetics to boot."

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Charlie's New Bike Day: S-Works Crux

Posted by Stephen on

S-Works Crux Or, more preciesly, new FRAME day. Joining Charlie's stable is this fresh new S-Works Crux, just arrived from Specialized yesterday. We built it up using parts from his old Crux, with a few brand new flourishes. The bike's guts are Shimano 6700 (shifters) and 6600 (front & rear derailleurs). These bits have weathered abuse for the past several years on Charlie's two previous cross builds, which speaks well for Ultegra's status as the real workhorse of the Shimano componentry line: These parts don't show any sign of giving up anytime soon. Which brings me to the wheelset. Being a giant in an industry that caters mostly to the smaller of stature, a significant amount of attention is paid to finding that sweet spot where performance and durability intersect. I've had nothing but incredible experience with the Mavic wheelsets that I've owned, particularly the various wheels in the Ksyrium line. Now, I'm only 145-150lbs, so that's not saying as much as it is that Charlie also has gone the Ksyrium route. The Ksyrium SL - now, as of the 2013 line, known as the Ksyrium SLS - is one of those do-everything wheelsets: While perfectly comfortable in a crit, they're also feathery enough to use on long, steep climbs & robust enough to use as your everyday training wheels. Bar none, they are the best pre-built aluminum-rimmed wheel systems available. crux2 A new addition to Charlie's bike this year are the TRP CX9 cyclocross-specific V-brakes. We went with these over your more traditional canti brakes because of the increased stopping power that a linear pull brake can provide. There was also an aesthetic benefit: We were able to remove both cable hangers, giving the bike a more streamlined, clean look. Beyond all that, from a mechanical standpoint, the setup on the CX9s was ridiculously easy. cruxvbrake All told, the bike comes in at 17lbs - remarkable for a 61cm big boy bike, extra remarkable because of the bomber tires that Charlie is riding through the melty, sandy part of the spring. I suspect that a lighter pair of tires - be they more performance-oriented cross tires or 23-28mm road - will shave off an extra pound. Truly, this bike can do it all: Long road rides through the hilltowns, singletrack over at Earl's Trails, or the CSI cross race at Look Park. Stop on in if you want to see for yourself! crux3

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