Monday, November 17, 2008

Don't Kill Yourself, Thrill Yourself! Winter Solutions, Pt 1

Yes, it's true, winter is nigh upon us. As such, many people have hung up their beloved bikes in shame and settled in to spend a long winter alternately taking mass transit and taking shots of whiskey to help forget the misery of the previous experience. Yet among these huddled, drunken masses there are those who are ready to shake off the reins of public abuse transportation. To these brave souls, we here at IBC say "hello" and "fear not, we're here to help." This year we are very lucky to have a few new bits of gear here at the store that will improve your winter experience. This first installment of our winter guide will introduce three bikes uniquely suited to the rigors of the salt-encrusted wastelands that are Boston streets. I give you yearning throngs IBC's 2008/09 Winter Special Forces Squad:

Bike #1. Trek Allant and Allant WSD.

The Allant is the most junior member of this elite winter survival team, having only arrived in our store in early November, but it has already shown itself to be perfectly suited to everyday use in all conditions. Referencing back to Trek's previous experiments with the European-produced Navigator bikes in 2002/2003, the Allant comes stock with full fenders, chainguard and a touring rack (men's) or front rack (WSD). You need only find some comfy winter riding clothes (more on those in future posts) and you are ready to ride all over town, regardless of what the weather throws at you. As if you needed any further enticement, it's under $600 and is a hoot to ride. I'm not saying we've been riding them around the store whooping for joy, I'm just saying...

Bike #2. Gary Fisher Simple City 8, or Simple City 3

Perhaps the Allant is not enough for you. Perhaps you are one of those people who know that true Dutch city bikes were, and are, the only viable means of urban transport. You know that external gears are for sloped-forehead neanderthals who think "nother" and "irregardless" are acceptable, not to mention real, words. Well, despair no more you stalwart Europhiles, your new bicycle has arrived.

As luck would have it, you don't need to be euro-centric to appreciate the fine points of this series. Gary Fisher has updated classic Dutch cycle design with a few improvements, the most notable of which is the switch to aluminum instead of steel frames. This reduces the overall weight of the bicycle by a few pounds and also makes the bike more suited to high moisture and salt environments, such as the entire northeast. Combine this comfortable, but lightweight frame with a quality Shimano internally-geared hub, full fenders and chainguide and you've got a low-maintenance, high performing bicycle that should last as long as it's European cousins (IE. decades). The eight speed version has the added bonus of a giant front basket that is perfect for carrying all the snowballs, chestnuts, rum or tinsel that you need to make your winter as happy as you can bear it to be.

Bike #3: Trek Soho S

One Speed. Uno, Ein, Un. For years messengers, track racers and lazy people have all known the joy of riding a bike with but one speed. You are free to worry about anything except what gear you are in and you'll always know about how fast you're going. Toss some fenders onto this dark (literally) horse of Trek's line and you've got yourself this simplest, easiest to maintain, urban bike that Trek offers. Like the previous bikes this offering includes a full aluminum frame so you don't have to worry if you ride around day-in, day-out in horrible weather. As a bonus, this bike is convertible between freewheel and fixed gear so you can quickly alter your drive system to suit your mood; freewheel for those lazy, cruising days and fixed for your more manic, late-to-work rides. Furthermore, this is the lightest of these three bikes, weighing only about 22 pounds, so even those of you in 4th floor walkups can stand to shoulder it when you get home. The only downside to this bike is its popularity. As winter gets nearer our stock of this model is quickly dwindling, so do come in and check one out before that smug neighbor of yours beats you to it.

Sorry folks, that's all for now. Please join us again at an undisclosed point in the future for more installments of our winter survival guide. Until then, stay warm and have fun out there.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Ice Weasels Cometh

That's right, it's officially official. International Bicycle and are putting on a 'Cross race THIS SEASON, I say THIS CALENDAR YEAR.

Saturday December 13th in Wrentham, MA, click on the above link or image for all the info.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cool Bike Build

A Certain customer of IBC just had a brand new Ti Spectrum built up. He had us cannibalize the Shimano Dura Ace parts from his Calfee Luna Pro, leaving it bare and unrideable. Lucky for him he was in possession of a White Industries Eric's Eccentric Eno Hub.

This is just the thing to convert ANY bike into a Single Speed or Fixed Gear. The Eno boasts an elliptical axle, allowing it to be rotated in the drop outs, thereby tensioning the chain. It is a very cool and useful piece of equipment. The version pictured here is a 130mm spaced flip/flop. Meaning it can be used with a freewheel or set up as a fixed gear. The hub is also available in a 135mm Disk Version.

The brake levers are gutted Campagnolo Record shift levers. They now function as brake levers only. They are very ergonomic and very light. Not too bad looking either.

Of the recent builds we have done here at IBC, this is my favorite. The end result was unique, clean, and cool.

It tips the scales at just over fifteen pounds without even trying, this is going to be a fun bike to ride.