Thursday, December 29, 2011

Special Projects? You Bet!

Many times during the winter months we have some special projects going on at Europa Cycle and Ski. This winter is no different.Take for instance, a recent restoration of a Trek 520 touring bike from the early 80's which went home with one of the shops' customers recently.

Salsa Cycles Ti Mukluk
One of the latest projects at the shop is something that I am currently building up, a Salsa Cycles Mukluk Ti. This is Salsa Cycles premium fat-bike frame.

Salsa Cycles Mukluk is a flotation bike meant for off road pursuits on terrain that may be very difficult, or even impossible, to ride with a standard mountain bike, yet it can do everything else a standard mountain bike can do as well.

These bikes are fitted with large volume, 3.8"-4.7" wide tires on rims from 65mm wide to 100mm wide. This configuration lends float and suspension all from your tires. The titanium version of the Mukluk is even more special.

The frame can be set up as a single speed, or a geared bike. (Standard aluminum Mukluk frames do not allow for single speed set ups without a tensioner.) The titanium frame is U.S. manufactured to Salsa Cycles specifications. It comes with a steel, "Enabler" fork, seat collar, and a right side single speed specific drop out plate and a geared specific one.

My project will feature a premium build and will have a single front chain ring driving a 10 speed cassette. I'll post details later, but if you are interested, stop on down to the shop, and I will be glad to discuss this bike with you, and how you could hop on a Mukluk aluminum or titanium fat bike of your own.

Maybe you've got something else in mind that you've always wanted to have built up? Just let us know. We can do restorations, new buike builds, or we can overhaul or spiff up that favorite older bike you may have. Just let us know, we love special projects.

Hope to see ya soon! We'll have the coffee and tea on for you when you come.

Friday, December 23, 2011

What's New?

6.9 Madone Project One Di2
Every once in awhile we get asked, "So, what's new?" Well, pretty soon, we'll have something really new.

That will come in the form of a custom spec Trek 6.9 Madone Project One bike with the new Ultegra Ui2 group. What is "Ultegra Ui2"?

Only the most cutting edge group for a racing bike you can buy, that's what. It is a shift by electronics bike. In other words, you simply move a lever, and a servo motor takes it from there. No more cables and housing! No "tune ups". Once a Ui2 system is set up, you can be assured that you will have a dialed drive train for the lifespan of the components.

But that isn't all- You will not have to struggle to make a front shift. The servo motor makes the shift for you, and it does it in a blindingly fast manner. (And wait until you hear the "space age" whir the motor makes when it shifts!)

Our shop's new rig should be in sometime in January for you to check out. It won't look like the image here, you'll have to stop in and see what we spec'ed. Then take a demo tour of the system and see it in action. It's really a revolutionary thing, but you have to see it to believe it.

Again- it should be in mid to late January. Stop by to see the latest stuff from Trek and Shimano. We'll have the coffee and tea waiting for you......

Monday, December 12, 2011

Product Profile: Salsa Cycles Vaya

Salsa Cycles Vaya
Moving along now with our next Product Profile. As many of you know by now, Europa Cycle and Ski is now a Salsa Cycles dealer. We have brought in a nice range showing off the "Adventure by Bike" theme Salsa has designed their line up around.

We already showed you the fat tire Mukluk here, and today we're going to profile the Vaya.

The Vaya is Salsa Cycles answer to those of you out there that want to ride a bike that can eat up road miles, carry a rack, or a full bagged set up, has drop bars, has the more powerful, easier to use disc brakes, and can go on gravel and smooth dirt just as well as on pavement.

In short: A do-it-all road bike with options!

Salsa took a traditional touring bike and tweaked it for better handling and more versatility. They used steel, which rides really well, and put a taller head tube on it to keep your hands up more. No "racer boy" positions here! The tire clearance is enormous here. Want fenders? No problem! Salsa dialed in plenty of room and mounts to accommodate. Do you want skinnier tires? You bet! Wider tires? The Vaya can swallow rubber up to 1.8" wide. Front or rear racks? Yep. Got mounts for that too.

The Vaya we carry has the SRAM Apex group which gives you mountain scaling low gears out back and a fast shifting, high geared double crank up front. The wheels and tires are smartly spec'ed for a wide range of riding, including gravel roads and touring. The Vaya would make an outstanding RAGBRAI bike or a great commuter.

Salsa also offers the Vaya in a titanium version which is lighter, rides nicer, and still retains all the versatility the Vaya 2 we carry in the store does. If you want the finest in all around road/gravel/touring bikes, look no further.

Stop in and check out our Vayas on the floor, or talk to us about any of our great road and pavement bike options.

As always- the coffee and tea is on! Stop by for a cup.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Big Sale This Saturday!

Sale Flyer
The minions at Europa have been busily hacking prices, and getting everything lined up for this big to-do coming up early Saturday morning.

This is a one timer, two hour only dealio that you should check out. If you have a bicycle in mind, it'll be well worth your while.

I have the opportunity to "over hear" some of the goings on behind the curtains, and I happen to know that these prices are slashed down to the point that the shop isn't going to be able to do any better. If you want the absolute best price ever on a close out, this is your time.

In fact, if you miss getting in on the two hour sale event, don't even bother asking for these prices on the 2011 bikes. That's how good it is.

Other stuff is marked down as well. If you have a cyclist on your list for a gift, this is the day and these two hours are the time to get in and buy that gift. You won't get better pricing than this!

Okay, you've been told! I'll say this much, Europa doesn't have sales like this very often, so if you miss this opportunity, it'll be a long time before anything like this happens again.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Riding In Winter? You Bet!

While it isn't for everyone, some of you might want to consider not hanging up the bike for winter. Many of us at Europa Cycle and Ski continue to ride all throughout the winter months. While we do ride bicycles, most everything else we do is unique in several ways. So, I am going to offer my tips on Winter riding, and the other guys will chime in with their tips later.

So, let's dive in and see what it will take, (from my viewpoint), to get out and enjoy the winter months on two wheels.

Planet Bike Borealis Mittens
Layers, Layers, and More Layers: 

The biggest obstacle to riding outdoors in winter is staying warm. I suggest that you consider your clothing options using the "onion approach". Onions have layers, and so should your clothing for outdoor activities in cold months. You can break down the onion theory into three basic parts, or layers.

Base: This layer should be form fitting. It also should be made from a wicking material. That means that it needs to be something that transports sweat from physical exertion away from your skin, and to the next layer. Typically base layers are poly-propylene, silk, wool, or some blend of these materials. They tend to be garments that are thin, like underwear, if you will. You can get base layers at the shop, just ask and we'll set you up.

Insulating: This is the layer that keeps you warm, and serves as the transport destination for sweat, coming from the base layer. Sweat needs to get off your skin, since it can cool you off to the point that you will be chilled to the bone and uncomfortable. A good insulating layer can absorb this perspiration and transport it to the outer layers from the base layer. These garments are typically Lycra based, or fleece, and can also be made from wool. We like wool a lot, since wool still keeps you warm when it gets wet. Synthetic materials have a difficult time with this.

Me. Happy. Layered.
Outer: The outer layers can be dual purposed, or matched to conditions. These typically are technical garments for the feet, legs, torso, head, and hands. They are your first line of defense against the elements, and the last stop for perspiration before it gets evaporated into the atmosphere. (Hopefully!)

These garments are often windproof, water resistant, and in some cases water proof. Keep in mind that the more wind resistant and water proof a garment is, typically the less it breathes. This can be bad, or it can be good in winter. Normally I am not a big fan of total wind and water proofness for winter riding. However; there are times you will want that, for example- when it is snowing.

So- there are the basic layers. The "Onion Theory"! But there is something you should strive for when layering up, and that is temperature management. To start off with, you should be slightly chilled at the beginning of your ride. Don't worry! Your exertion will warm you up. Start out on a ride feeling all nice and snug, and you will be asking for a disaster, possibly a dangerous one. Why? Because starting out warm will lead to getting hot after a bit, then your sweat kicks in big time. Once you sweat a lot, it gets a chance to get cooled down by the ambient air temperature all around you. That cools down the garments, gets next to your skin, and then you are freezing. Hopefully not literally!

Being slightly cool to start with means that your exertion is necessary to stay warm. Sweat doesn't happen as readily, and you never get "too hot", but you attain a state of "just right". 

Also, your garments should have venting capabilities that allow you to manage your temperature according to exertion levels and weather conditions. Keeping on top of your temperature keeps you out there longer safer.

Okay, that's it for this edition of "Riding In Winter? You Bet!" We'll be back with more winter riding tips on clothing and hardware for your bicycles soon.