Roubaix SL4 Expert - Di2 & Hydro!

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Well, here's a surprise. Every year, there are a few bikes that don't quite make it into the hard copy of the Specialized catalog. Usually, it's nothing too crazy - a pro team color variant or a slightly different componentry option, something as immaterial as that. And, you know, I suppose you could herd this one into the latter camp there, but calling this bike a mere "component variant" seems diminutive of how huge this is. This one's a pretty big deal. So, you know about 11 speed drivetrains. New, sure, but not something I haven't thrown on the blog before. Same could be said for road hydraulic braking or electronic shifting. All of these things are on the pointy end of innovation for sure, but this is a FAAAAAST industry and there is maybe a two week window (and I'm being generous here) where a mechanic could legitimately expect to surprise another mechanic by showing off new tech. After that, we've all read up about it or seen it or maybe even worked on it, so it almost starts to feel like the new vanguard. I've worked on bikes with electronic shifting many times over. I had within a week of it becoming available back in 2009. I was pretty excited this past summer when one of our local pros brought in the first road hydro bike I had a chance to work on. And technically, we've seen 11spd drivetrains for years now with some weird word that us American mechanics don't see very frequently ("Campagnolo") written on them, but that didn't really seem fully a THING until there were 11 cogs that said "Shimano" and "SRAM". But we've been building those groups up for maybe the past year now. This, though - this is different. This one is EVERYTHING AT ONCE!!!! roubaixdiscbars   So, what I keep coming back to about this bike - mentally, I mean - is that I have now built a bike that doesn't have cables. No shift cables, no brake cables - The very idea of that seems completely preposterous at first thought. If you had told me even as recently as six, seven years ago that a road bike would be able to function without brake or shift cables, I'd have filed you in my mental rolodex with the myriad other would-be inventors pitching far-flung ideas and unorthodox theories about the future of cycling technology. Let's not forget, after all, that I used to helm a ship afloat in MIT's waters. You'd be in some pretty strange company. Believe me on that one. But, you know, time is a weird thing and so is our industry, and in those seven years a whole hell of a lot has changed. Here's where I'll mention that the general nature of the bicycle mechanic is to approach any radical innovation with a healthy amount of skepticism (or, maybe that's just the nature of the native New Englander?) -- I'd be remiss to not admit that upon announcement of a lot of these new technologies, I was against it. Hesitant to embrace change, maybe a little stubborn, it wasn't until I had my hands on it (seeing is, after all, believing) that I softened my stance. Put quite frankly, this bike is absolute concrete proof that these things are good ideas. All of them. Shimano has set the bar so ludicrously high with how great the braking and shifting feels. Di2, the moniker of their electronic shifting line, has proven itself over the past five years to be as reliable as can be, virtually eliminating the idea of a mis-shift (so long as you keep that battery charged!) I don't think I could do the braking any justice at all with words alone. You have to feel their smooth action to believe it. roubaixdiscder   That last photo shows two things that I want to highlight: Firstly, Shimano shaved off a lot of mass from the Ultegra Di2 rear derailleur, almost to the point of being indistinguishable from the cable-actuated version. This is a big step forward because of how bulbous and overbuilt the past few generations of Dura-Ace and then Ultegra Di2 had seemed. Never the lightest group, this trimer rear mech certainly shaves off a gram here and there. Secondly, this is a bike that comes stock with a 32-tooth cassette. Crazy, right? The sort of thing that we had to try to MAKE work now just works, no fuss. Talk about versatile: Paired with the 50/34 crankset, this thing has about the widest range off-the-rack of any road bike I've seen. And you get to sit on this: roubaixdisccobl   Remember what I said about mechanics and change (or New Englanders and change)? I bet you can imagine my reaction when I first saw this post. Again, though, instinct wasn't fully correct: It's by Specialized, called the "Cobl Gobl-r", and more than makes up for it's jarring look with a super compliant feel. The Romin on top of it is a perfect compliment for the sort of person who wants to spend all daylight hours exploring, say, the rolling dirt roads on the Jacksonville VT loop. It's not gonna beat you up. So that's the Specialized Roubaix SL4 Expert Ultegra Di2 Disc. Product name's a mouthful, and the product itself is an eyeful. I mean, come on: roubaixdisc2   Jeez. You know what to do if you are curious about this sort of thing. We'd love to tell you even more about it.

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VBSW Ortholite Footbeds Coming Soon

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ortholite We're all excited to be demoing these new Ortholite footbeds! These are meant to be used in rigid-sole footwear (you know, like ski boots & cycling shoes!), but so far they seem pretty awesome in sneakers & boots, too. They're moisture-wicking & antimicrobial, to keep our hooves from getting all gross. The way the proprietary foam works, they're evidently not going to pack out with time. Oh, and they're washable! We'll let you know how it goes, but expect to see these on the shelves before too long!  

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Specialized BG Defroster Trail MTB Shoe

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defrostah Winter's here. That's either an awesome cause for elation or a terrible tragedy, depending on which side of the bike/ski fence you've built your fort. While most of us at the Werks don't believe in those kinds of borders & are proud citizens of the world as far as the boundaries between seasonal enjoyment goes, there is one universal truth about winter that none of us can escape: It's COLD. Numb & painfully-thawing extremities are all too often what keeps us from hitting the trails or braving the bluster of the open road these winter months, but that decision has to be balanced against the monotony of hours spent staring at a wall on a trainer. Of course, here's where we will encourage you to pick up some nordic or AT skis to get your winter sweat on. BUT! We recognize two things as far as that encouragement goes: 1, that - like anything in life - not everyone wants to do what we want to do, and 2, that variety is the cumin of life. Or is it the garam masala of life? You get what I'm saying. Variety is the some-kind-of-food-garnish of life. May as well sprinkle some wintry mountain biking in with your backcountry skiing! So here are the Defrosters. Sure, they aren't as light and flashy as the S-Works MTB shoes, but therein lies their glory. These things are insulated like Matt White's house: thinly, but VERY effectively, and at minimal cost. The Defroster features Thinsulate 400g insulation, which warms & is waterproof. The collar is made of neoprene, which snugs up above your ankles to prevent snow or water from entering from above. They are kind of built like Nordic skiing boots: A waterproof layer wraps itself over the BOA system which snugs you up in the shoe. Also like Nordic boots, it's a wider fit than most Specialized BG shoes, to accommodate thicker socks. These things will definitely get you through until the outdoors ceases to look like the cover of a Scandinavian black metal record. They're worth their weight in gold, BUT! unlike gold, we will not make you spend $35,000+ on these shoes.

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Dynafit

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dynafitWe're happy to announce that we are now official Dynafit retailers! The lightest & most revolutionary of tech boot/binding setups are now available at Valley Bike & Ski Werks. Come on in to try on some boots, you will be amazed at how nimble they feel even around the shop.  

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Small Business Saturday: 20% off all Winter Apparel

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So, a few years ago, American Express* sponsored a campaign to raise awareness about the near-universal economic benefits of shopping at locally-owned & operated business, as opposed to at the omnipresent big-box stores and internet retailers. Modestly, the program was called "Small Business Saturday" and the idea was to inspire folks to consider - even if just for one day a year - the impact and importance of shopping locally. We believe in contributing to our local economy, and want to make it even easier for you to do so, also! With that in mind, to celebrate Small Business Saturday, we are offering 20% off all winter apparel (yeah, even the stuff that we just unboxed this week!) from Friday, November 29 thru Sunday, December 1! Not convinced? Well, here are some quick statistics about keeping it local!: buylocal   *Yup! I know what you're thinking! We also appreciate the considerable irony that a global corporation is responsible for Small Business Saturday. The momentum that the initiative has built up since 2010, though, is incredible, and - honestly - any reason to get behind keeping our money in our local communities is worth supporting & being excited about.

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