Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Colossal: In The Flesh!
In the last post here I mentioned that we had received a Salsa Cycles Colossal and that I had assembled it for stock. Well, we actually have two in.

This is what it came out looking like, and I dare say it is a sight better than the pre-production images and bikes we saw.

The Enve fork is painted to match, (a nice touch), and the bar tape is white to match the brake hoods. (Not orange, as in previous images shown here and elsewhere.)

We have this 55cm and a 58cm on the floor now. I wanted to comment on the sizing, since I have previously mentioned that the Warbird, (Salsa's gravel road specific race bike), runs a bit big. Well, thankfully I can say that the Colossal is true to size. A 58cm fits like a 58cm, (which happens to be my size), and there is nothing "weird" going on in terms of that. Salsa has done a great job of keeping the top tube fairly level here as well, so a Tangle Bag, Gas Tank bag, or other frame bags will fit really well. (Note: The Colossal is a "rackless" frame bike.)

The clearances are generous with the Clement 28mm tires. I am curious, and I think I may try a 30mm tire in there just to see if it'll go. I think it may.

Oooo! That's a pretty red!
Then we received a trio of Vaya 3's. I have to reiterate- The Vaya 3 has the best looking red color on a bicycle I've seen in a long time. Just gorgeous!

And it isn't just me either. Customers that have seen it love it as much as I do. But beauty is only skin deep, as they say. Good thing that the Vaya delivers on performance and versatility then!

I know Salsa Cycles bills this as their touring/adventure bike, but this is really an "all-road" bike that can do some mild "off-road" too. You can do so many things with this one bike it is crazy. Ride and complete Trans Iowa, (a 300 + mile gravel road race)? Yes- Vaya riders have done this. Ride RAGBRAI and carry whatever you want on a rack? Yes- Vaya riders have done that too. Ride a fully loaded, self supported tour around the Great Lakes? Yes- A Vaya rider we sold a Vaya to has also done that.

Need one, really good, versatile, comfortable bike that happens to have killer good looks? Go no further than the Vaya. We've got four Vaya 3's on the floor in a range of sizes, and one cute little Vaya from 2012 just waiting for the perfect pint-sized rider to pick it up. (At a killer close-out price!)

Stop by and check it out. It's gonna snow anyway, and what else are ya gonna do?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More Bikes Arriving Plus News!

Note: Colossals ship with white bar tape.
New Bikes!

We just took delivery of some awesome new Salsa Cycles bikes today, one of which is the all new Colossal. This is a disc brake, long distance capable, endurance road bike.

If you are into really long road rides, and you ride in all kinds of weather, you will totally understand the Colossal's disc brakes, fine riding steel frame, and bigger tires. (28mm Clements) This bad boy has an Enve carbon fork which weighed a feathery 440 grams with the crown race installed and with an uncut steer tube. ( Update: Finished bikes are coming in at the 21-22lb range, which is respectable for an endurance rated road bike.)

This rig comes with the wide range Apex group from SRAM. This allows for a compact double to run a big range cassette for mountain climbing or fast flats cruising. Many of the bits are white which works off the sky-ish blue color and orange highlights to make for a real classy looking rig. (It passed the fashionista test as given by the women of Europa, at any rate!)

We also received more sizes of Salsa Cycles Vaya 3's as well. These are awesome touring rigs, gravel road bikes, or the Vaya will do your commute in a snap, with mounts for fenders and racks here front and back.

We also received 25 Trek bicyles including new Verves, FX models, and a light-as-a-feather Domane.

We'll be assembling these in the coming days so stop on down to take a look to see what you need for Christmas.

Now for some news! We are in the process of becoming a Velo Orange dealer. Do you like cool, retro looking stuff with modern functionality? Velo Orange is a company that serves this market. Stop by and ask us, or go to their website here.

And if you want a strong pot of coffee- let me know you are coming ahead of time. I'll be on it!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Carbon: Not Just For Roadies Anymore

2013 Raleigh Talus Elite
Carbon fiber road bikes are a dime a dozen, right? But what about mountain bike frames? Well, they have been getting more and more commonplace as well. However; it may still be a bit sketchy to think of the rough and tumble world of off road and carbon fiber in the same sentence.

But don't worry. Take a look at this new 2013 Raleigh Talus Elite as an example.

This is the same frame as the bike I reviewed here. As I say there, this is Raleigh's best effort at a 29"er to date. You get solid components on the Elite model, but the same geometry and the same Direct Connect frame in carbon that the Pro model I tested has. That means it is a bike you can ride in the Mid-West just as well as out West. This bike has tremendous rider comfort, yet is rock solid in the bottom bracket area. It would make a stellar endurance rig.

We have this example in a Medium which should fit a fair amount of riders. Whether you are racing, would like to race, or just would appreciate having a high end carbon frame that just happens to be a great mountain bike, you should come down and check this thing out. It is really a cool bike.

This one features through axles on each end, 100mm of Fox CTD travel up front, and solid Deore components in the drive train. Plus Raleigh spec'ed some funky cool turquoise anodized hubs as well.

Okay, all that's left is for you to come on down and see this rig. We'll have the coffee hot when you do......

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Salsa Vaya: The Perfect RAGBRAI Bike?

While we've yet to receive all of our Salsa Vaya bikes for 2013, there are a few out there being ridden already. Recently I came across an excellent review of a Salsa Vaya in terms of touring and recreational riding that might be of interest to the road recreational riders of the cedar Valley and especially for those of you who do the annual RAGBRAI ride and like to carry a little something on a rack with you.

Check the review out here.  I think you'll agree that for our area and our roads, the Vaya is a great fit for bike paths, commuting, going from town to town, or even for riding on gravel. As the reviewer says, the vaya can do it all from completely unloaded, fast, fun rides to full on loaded up style touring.

We've got one Vaya 3 in stock now with others to show up soon. Check 'em out. We'll have the coffee on for you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Winter Update

We've got a Med in this color...
Winter is nigh upon us at Europa Cycle and Ski, and we have some updates concerning winter stuff for ya'all.

...plus this Large Beargrease....
XC skis are in along with boots, bindings,  and poles. Come in and check out the stuff and get ready for the XC skiing season. Plus, we just got in a shipment of Easton snow shoes for those who would like to enjoy walking through the woods in that way. Snow shoes and XC skies are also available for rent. just give the shop a call for details.

Trek and Raleigh 2013 bikes grace the floor. We've sold a few Trek Domanes already, and again I will say it- this is going to be the hot road rocket sled for 2013. I am betting these will sell through quickly, so come on in and check out these comfortable yet fast road machines.

Raleigh sent us a cool commuter rig that features a Nexus internal 8spd hub and a Patterson 2 speed crank set. So.......what does that mean? It means sixteen speeds of goodness without a single derailleur, that's what it means. You have an internally geared hub mated to an internally geared crank set. one big, meaty single speed type chain, and two cogs. That's it! Plus it is easy to shift. Come on in and check it out soon.

...and we have tires!
We've been seeing a lot of interest in the fat bikes too. We have already sold some, a few sets of tires, and we would love to get some more bikes and tires out there as well. Check out our Muk 3, Beargrease, or our special Muk 2 frame/fork for your own customized build. We also have a set of 120TPI Nate tires, a couple sets of Big Fat Larry tires, and more cold weather cycling gear as well.

Finally, there is some planning to have a Film Night at Europa. We are planning to show two short films. One will be a film by Salsa Cycles called "So far To Go" which is a film about a couple of guys that did the Tour Divide and how they managed that. We'll also show the film "300 Miles Of Gravel", which is a documentary on Trans Iowa V7. This film recently won an Emmy in the Chicago Region for Best Sports Programming: One Time Event. Come and see a rare public showing of this flick and find out more about Trans Iowa, and about Tour Divide.

More details on the Film Night soon.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Greased Lightning! Salsa Cycles Beargrease

Large sized Beargrease
Europa Cycle and Ski now has in stock a Beargrease in size Large. This is Salsa Cycles premier fat bike offering for 2013.

The Beargrease differs significantly from Salsa's other fat bikes- the Mukluks. For instance, the Beargrease features a hydroformed aluminum frame with main tubes borrowed from Salsa's XC hard tail weapon, the Mamasita. A tapered head tube holds a Beargrease fork, which is a tapered, 1 1/8th- 1 1/2" steer tube aluminum constructed fork. This fork does not feature the braze ons seen on Salsa's Enabler fork used on the Mukluk. The Beargrease fork is also anodized to save even more weight. In fact, the uncut fork with a crown race mounted weighed 760 grams for this bike. Pretty awesome.

The frame is also anodized, again saving weight over a painted frame. The frame does not feature rack braze ons, but it does have two water bottle mounting positions, one on the down tube, one on the seat tube.

The components are worthy of such a light, high tech frame. SRAM provides the derailleurs, shifters, and Avid Elixir hydraulic brakes with a 160mm frt and 140mm rear rotor. The crank set is a special, exclusive to Salsa Cycles model from e-13 which has a fat bike optimized chain line and improved seals on the outboard bearing cups. Husker Du 26 X 4.0 tires are mounted on specially colored Rolling Darryl rims with cut outs for lightening the ride even further. Salsa stem, seat post, and a WTB saddle with some Salsa lock on grips steering a Salsa bar round out the components here.

The Beargrease isn't a cheap bike, but it is the lightest production series fat bike out now, and our size Large example tips the scales at well under 30lbs. This is far lighter than most any other fat bike currently offered as a complete bike. Salsa Cycles sold out their entire production of this bike to dealers and many of those bikes will be out on trails by the time you read this. Get this while you can, because their won't be many available, and none from Salsa until they introduce 2014 product next summer.

Tires: We also have fat bike tires and tubes in stock including Big Fat Larrys and  the Husker Du. Don't forget our size large Muk 2 and Medium Muk 3 as well. See ya soon.

We've got the coffee on waiting for ya!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mukluk 2 Frame Fork!

Mukluk 2 in Medium
The shop just took delivery of this awesome Mukluk 2 frame and fork today. The complete Mukluk 2 is White/Green, but Salsa Cycles decided the frame only option would be this awesome black with Purple decals and seat collar.

Dubbed "Grape Ape", this frame and fork are a Medium/17" in size and would make a great upgrade from an older Salsa Mukluk, or something to base your special build on.

The frame is the same as all the other Mukluks for 2013- Slightly higher bottom bracket, shorter chain stay length, and a different head tube from previous years. The frame takes a 44mm compatible head set and can accept tapered steer tube forks as well as straight 1 1/8th inch.

Close up of the deacal
The fork provided with the frame is color matched and is the Enabler model from Salsa that has braze ons for a front rack and water bottles on each fork leg. Or you can also get two "Anything Cages" and use the triple braze on mount. These cages are larger and are meant to hold things like Nalgene bottles, sleeping bag rolls, or whatever object you can think of that fits the cage.

The fork also has fender mounts, and the forward facing drop outs help prevent wheel ejection under hard disc brake use. The fork is disc brake only.

Alternator Drop Outs
The big difference with the 2013 frames is the Alternator rear drop outs. These are "swinger" type rear modular drop outs that allow for a rider to adjust the wheel base, or to set up the bike as a single speed.

These drop outs are burly and a proven design, having been ridden to finishes by several riders on the grueling Tour Divide, a 2500-plus mile off road event in the Rocky Mountains.

Other features include improved full run cable housing runs for brakes and derailleurs. An included Direct Mount front derailleur perch that attaches to the seat tube, if a front derailleur is used is also included.

The Mukluk 2 frame set has a 170mm rear drop out spacing and uses a 135mm spaced front fork for the best strength and for maximum clearances around tires while retaining the possibility to run a full 3 X 9 or 3 X 10 mtb drive train.

So, come on in and check this out, or the Muk 2 complete we have along with the Mukluk 3 we just got built up. Good times are waiting for you on a fat bike!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Some More New Rigs!

New Salsa Vaya 3
The shop keeps getting more new rad rigs in, and this may be the prettiest Salsa Cycles bike we've seen yet.

It's the new Vaya 3 for 2013 in a luscious red hue with gold-ish anodized hubs and brown accents. The Vaya is Salsa Cycles versatile "touring" bike with plenty of braze ons, disc brakes, and a triple crank set with a wide range gear cluster.

I like to think of it as one of the best "all-road" bikes around. Gravel? Yes- most definitely. Rough roads? Sure- bring it on. Fast, spirited pavement riding? Not a problem. Take the Vaya down a dirt minimum maintenance road or buff single track too. It can go a lot of places an ordinary road bike couldn't do well in. 

The graphics and the deep, rich red color are very well and tastefully done. You would be hard pressed to find a sexier looking rig with the class this bike has.

The components are solid. Bar end shifters are dead reliable, simple to operate, and easily upgraded to a new system when the time comes. The wheels feature Sun Ringle' rims which are designed for 29"ers, so you know they are burly enough for loaded touring, or rough housing on a country road. The rims are laced to nice Salsa 3 hubs, and despite these being Salsa's entry level hubs, they are incredibly smooth. Salsa branded seat post, stem, and excellent Cowbell 3 handle bar round out the components here.

From the Salsa demo in August
We have already sold the awesome orange Mukluk 3 we had, and to replace it, we are now stocking a green Mukluk 3.

I think I like the green one better, actually! It has killer pewter anodized hubs and seat collar, and the matte green color is sweet.

It is a size Medium, so come on down and check this one out before it goes bye-bye like the orange one did.

Also- we are stocking some tires and will be getting some other fat bike related gear to support your corpulent steed in the future. Check it out soon!

Finally, the incredible Trek Domane has arrived. We have a few on hand including a Di2 equipped Project 1 version. These are going to be super popular items in 2013, and we even sold one of our nicer ones before I ever got it built up a week or so ago! You won't believe how the ride is so smooth on these. Check one out and see for yourself.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mukluks Are In!

2013 Mukluk 2
We received a couple of our Mukluks while I was away at Interbike last week. I assembled both of them today.

First up we have the Mukluk 2, white and green, in a size Large. I will say I wasn't to hip on this color combo when I first saw the renderings, but in person, this thing is awesome.

The Mukluk 2 has some real cool details that I want to cover here. But first, there are a few major changes from last year's models that I will go over again here.

The Mukluk line up consists of a titanium frame, and two aluminum models, the Mukluk 3 and Mukluk 2. These comments only refer to the aluminum models.

The Muk 2 comes as a complete in the white/green shown, and has the Altenator rear drop outs now. This allows you to adjust your chain stay length, or to run the Mukluk as a single speed. Not only that, but this new frame has shorter chain stays anyway, making the bike easier to trail ride. Salsa also added a 44mm head tube, which would allow you to get a tapered steer tube fork, or to use an angle set head set. Not only this, but the head tube was shortened slightly as well. This makes the frame gusset look more normal than it used to last year. Finally, the bottom bracket height was raised 3mm from last year's Mukluk 2 and 3.

Rolling Daryls, Nate 3.8"ers, and X-9
Not quite so obvious changes included are the E-13 crank set which is exclusive to Salsa Cycles this year. It makes the drive train work in all combinations of gear choices with no chain rub on the 127TPI Nate 3.8"ers mounted on the 82mm Rolling Daryl rims, (with cut outs, mind you). Another one is the MRP bash guard on the under side of the crank set.

Other changes include the sano cable routing, fully housed front to rear, and the clamp on Salsa grips which match the color scheme.

This is a 2 X 10 drive train set up with Avid BB-7 brakes which I set up and have excellent modulation. Levers are Avid here as well. Salsa components are featured in the stem, handle bar, and seat post, and are all nicely finished. As seen here, this size large with test pedals installed weighs just a shade over 34lbs.

This is a no BS fat bike that you can ride anywhere. Versatile, reasonably light for the category, and good looking to boot.

2013 Muluk 3 in orange.
The 2013 Mukluk 3 in a Medium is next here. Same frame and fork as a Mukluk 2, but the component choices are different.

The major differences are in the wheels here. This Mukluk gets the "Un-Holy" Rolling Darryls, and 27TPI Nate 3.8"ers which are both adding some weight here. Hubs are anodized orange though, which looks fantastic on this rig.

The drive train features SRAM 9 speed, trigger shifting, and a crank set that is a dead ringer for my Origin 8 2X set up, (which is a good thing, mind you), and it also clears all gear combinations with these Nate 3.8"ers on the 82mm rims. Brakes remain Avid's excellent BB-7's but the Avid levers are one step below the Muk 2's and the grips are not lock ons, but are still Salsa branded tacky rubber ones. Good, solid fare that shouldn't let you down, its just heavier, (and less expensive), than the components on the Muk 2.

These bikes represent the cutting edge of fat bike design in their price categories. The frame refinements are big improvements over what was already a very capable fat bike. Just having the Altenator drops is a big deal, but the 44mm head tube, and the new cable routing is really icing on the cake.

We'll be getting in a Beargrease at some point soon, and that one will be the cream of the crop, light, high tech, and racy. But these two represent solid go anywher, do anything rigs that are FUN bikes to own and ride.

The Beargrease will be fantastic though. I can not wait till that one shows up. The Beargrease will definitely blow some minds when it comes to fat bikes and weight.

We'll also be getting in a Mukluk 2 frame set only in black with purple decals. So, if you already have a fat bike, but like the new Muk's feature set, you could buy that and swap over parts and have a killer, up to date fat bike.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Interbike Report

I spent the last week in the outrageous city of Las Vegas, Nevada. I wasn't gambling, going to peep shows, or club hopping either. I was pounding a beat for Twenty Nine Inches, Gravel Grinder News, and representing the shop all at the same time.

Yes- I was busy!

So, I have run down most everything from Trek, Raleigh, and Salsa Cycles for next year already. With all the new stuff revealed, it wasn't that big of a deal from the shop's standpoint.

What will be a big deal is the push with regard to fat bikes. You will see a lot more about these rigs in our area in the coming months and years.

Meet Bud, Lou, Big Fat Larry, Knard, and Nate (L-R)
Surly Bikes, who started the turnkey fat bike craze with the Pugsley and Endomorph tires, has produced a slew of new treads for the category ranging from 3.7" to 4.8" in width. In the image here, you see a bunch of fat bike tires all mounted on 100mm rims for comparison.

Both the shops in the area are going to start pushing these bikes, so be prepared to see these monster-bike tires on appropriate frames soon. We'll have a couple Mukluks built up in the next day or so with the Nate 3.8"ers on them, so please check those out.

Salsa Mukluk 3- We'll have this on the floor soon!

I've been riding fat bikes since January 2011, so I have plenty of experience with the breed now. Check out our stock bikes, or you can ask to see my Mukluk with Big Fat Larrys on it, or my titanium Mukluk with Larry 3.8"ers and see what has been working here for flotation and traction. We welcome any and all questions about these big, fat bikes. But if you want the bottom line here, they are all about one thing: FUN!

Friday, September 14, 2012

2013 Bike Update

2013 Raleigh's are in and getting built up. We have a selection of hybrid, hybrid-dirt, and cyclo cross rigs already built with more hitting the floor all the time. Come in and check out the new rigs from Raleigh. Hurry as they are already selling well! We expect most bikes will be built and reacy to go by the end of next week.

2013 Treks have been on the floor for some time now, with the new Verve models showing up as an early favorite amongst our customers. But we also have several 29"ers, road bikes, and more that you should check out. Look for the high-zoot Project 1 Domane and Madone bikes to show up soon, along with the other Madone and Domane bikes we have on order.

Salsa 2013 bikes are coming. We know some of you are anxious to see these. We've heard some other dealers have just received their shipments, so we expect to see these bikes come in any day now. Mukluks, and Vayas will be hot items. make sure to check these bikes out when they hit our doors, probably sometime in the next few days....

I'll have an update with actual photos soon. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 31, 2012

2013 Update

2013 Colossal
Just a heads up. We have several Trek 2013 bikes in stock already, but the "big dogs"- the Madones and Domanes are now ordered and we'll have some sweet road candy coming in soon.

Raleigh bikes just hit the door today. Look for some cool rigs on the floor as they get built up over the next few days and weeks.

And finally- Salsa bikes are due in sometime late September/early October. We'll have a Beargrease in Large, a Large orange Muk 3, a Medium Muk 2 in white/green, and a Large Muk 2 frame set in black w/purple decals. We'll have six Vayas, split between 2's and 3's, two Warbirds, a Colossal, and a Vaya Travel stainless steel bike. There are a couple I'm missing, but that's the order so far. Let us know if you want to claim one of these by putting some money down, or stop by to check them out. The Salsa bikes will be rad!

And don't forget, we have two Fargo 3's and a lonely Vaya from 2012 we'd love to find homes for along with the no longer available Casseroll, of which we have two of. We're prepared to make some sweet deals on these!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What's In The Repair Stand

Late 90's/Early 00's Mountain Cycle San Andreas
The shop is located in the Mid-West. Not known as a hot bed of vintage, high end mtb esoterica by any means. So when I get not one, but two oddball SoCal mtb bikes in for repair, I definitely take notice.

The first rig I worked on is this fine example of a Mountain Cycle San Andreas full suspension bike. The San Andreas model was the bike that Mountain Cycle made their name on in the early 90's. In fact, the bike originally came with disc brakes and Mountain Cycles own "Suspenders" upside down style suspension fork. Back then the San Andreas featured a bellows for a rear damper not unlike what you might see underneath a semi-tractor trailer rig.

This was a later iteration, (possibly the last generation?) of the San Andreas. It had modern disc tabs on the rear swingarm, and it was stamped as being the "5th Version" under the bottom bracket next to the serial number and the Kinesis USA stamp.

Full XTR drivetrain and shifters.
The bike was kitted out in the best of its day: Full 9spd XTR drivetrain and shifters. Paul Motolite brakes and Love levers, with Chris King hubs and head set.

The frame is a tour de force of welding. I was amazed by the yards of weld beads on this thing. The monocoque aluminum construction looked huge and heavy, but the bike was actually quite reasonable for weight. I figured it in the upper 20's, but I did not actually weigh it.

It also had a Thomson stem and seat post with a Selle Italia SLR saddle. Top notch stuff everywhere I looked. And I had to look at everything, since it was in for cleaning, and the bike was covered head to toe with grime.

Mountain Cycle Moho hard tail
The same customer also brought in this nice Mountain Cycle Moho hard tail. This is similar in construction to the San Andreas, but was a model brought out in Mountain Cycle's later years.

This one was no less stunning. Again- a full XTR drive train was on board with a SID fork and ultra-rare ProShift brand CNC brake levers and linear pull brakes.

Ultra-rare, Made In The USA brakes
This rig also featured Thomson parts. The stem and seat post again, which sported another Selle Italia SLR perch. The head set was a black Chris King unit, but the wheels were rare Hadley hubbed ones. Made in the USA, of course.

This rig was maybe even dirtier than the San Andreas, so it probably got a lot of ride time. Even so, the parts were in remarkable condition.

I love seeing old, exotic mtb stuff come through the shop. It is fun to work on, and I get to touch and experience things I only got to see in magazines of the day.

These bikes needed little, but we do work on all types of bicycles at the shop, so if you have something you need looked at- be it a hybrid rig or something vintage like these two bikes, we can do it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

2013 Salsa Cycles Update

2013 Salsa Cycles Warbird
Recently a couple of us from the shop got to demo some new Salsa Cycles bikes in Carter Lake Park in the Twin Cities area.

We are pretty stoked to be bringing in some of the new models like the Warbird shown here, and new Mukluks, along with the popular Vaya all-road bikes.

For a more detailed look at what I saw, take a peek here.

Stay tuned. We expect some of the 2013 bike will be showing up at the shop in about a month to a month and a half from now.

Friday, August 10, 2012

2013 Preview: Salsa Cycles Mukluk

Muluk 2 Frame/fork option
At the shop we've got a 2012 Mukluk 3 just waiting for someone to get a raging deal on, by the way. But we also will have some 2013 Mukluks showing up at some point. There have been a few changes made that I want to touch on here.

The biggest, most noticeable change will be colors. Mukluk 3's will now be available in a green and in an orange variant. (We've got an orange one on order) The Mukluk 2's will be white with green and black decals. (I think we've got one of these coming as well.) Also, the Muk 2 is available as a frame/fork only option in the colors shown here. This frame option will not be offered as a complete. (We have one coming)

The most exciting changes on 2013 Mukluks are the addition of the Altenator Dropout. This system allows for a geared or a single speed option for your fat bike. Also, the head tube is a 44mm diameter now which will work with straight and tapered steer tubes.

Finally, the geometry has been tweaked to allow for a slightly shorter chain stay length and a slightly higher bottom bracket height to dial in the Mukluk as an all around choice for snow, mud, sand, or dry conditions off roading.

Stay tuned for more 2013 updates!

Monday, August 6, 2012

2013 Preview: Salsa Cycles Colossal

2013 Salsa Cycles Colossal steel disc roadie
Road bikes are changing, and if you want to get in on the ground floor, this new Salsa Cycles rig is a great choice.

Dubbed the "Colossal", after a favorite meeting place for rides amongst the Salsa crew, this bike mixes some "old school" steel with new school disc brakes and a geometry meant to give a comfortable ride after long hours in the saddle.

This is another bike that looks to me to be a "perfect" RAGBRAI, long country ride, or weekend event ride bike. Slightly relaxed angles, clearances for 28mm tires for comfort, and a reliable, really wide gear range SRAM Apex group for the hills. The steel frame should be smooth, lively, and will be durable enough to survive RAGBRAI abuse and still be reasonably lightweight. Want to be able to stop in a shorter distance when you get caught out in the rain? The 140mm disc brakes will work rain or shine. No rim brake fouling here! And as a bonus, if you knock a wheel outta whack, or break a spoke, you keep on rolling with the same great braking power and no tire/brake interferences.

2013 Warbird titanium
Another great idea for a disc brake "all-road" bike from Salsa Cycles is this bike, (shown in titanium), the Warbird. This bike features similar stable geometry as the Colossal, the Warbird has a slightly taller head tube per frame size and even more tire clearance for tires suited to smooth dirt and gravel roads.

You don't have to run the bigger rubber, but you could, and with a Warbird in aluminum, or the premium material- titanium- you could have a bike that would tackle just about any road you can throw at it. One bike for pavement, gravel, pot holes, or smooth dirt roads. The Warbird is a very unique bike.

Okay, that does it for some of the cool road bikes, next I am going to show you some of the newest, funnest bicycles that have come out in years. Fat bikes!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

2013 Preview: Trek Domane

Domane 6 Series (image courtesy of Trek Bicycles
I'm going to kick off my look at 2013 with probably the most interesting bike Trek has made in many a year- the Domane. (say "doe-man-ay") This bike has a new concept for rider comfort that early magazine testers and online pundits have been raving about. To boil it down to a simple phrase, they are saying "It works."

So, what is it? Trek has made a name for itself in the new century by making some of the meanest, nastiest race bicycles you can buy. Trek continues to find ways to improve upon the breed, and the latest Madone series bikes are razor sharp race bikes that make no apologies to anyone for being race focused and can hold their own against anyone's products out there.

The Domane is a racing bike too, but it does make concessions to rider comfort and it does back away from the cutting edge handling of racing bicycles for the road. Not much, but enough that casual road riders, longer distance road riders, and RAGBRAI riders looking for a nice, fast machine should really take a good hard look at Domanes before looking at Madones.

The big deal here is the "ISOspeed" de-coupled seat tube. Trek engineers essentially made it possible to have the seat tube flex along its entire length from the bottom bracket to saddle without being directly connected to the top tube. (See image above) This smooths out road irregularities up to 50% from what you might normally feel on a bicycle like a Madone. Smoother ride quality means a fresher, more comfortable rider at the end of a long ride.

Trek also developed a new ISOspeed fork, with a greater curvature than a Madone fork, this fork has an increased compliance which means less vibrations going into a rider's body. Bontrager also contributed here with a new handle bar with integrated gel inserts, negating the need for double wrapping or gel pads being added for hand comfort.

Finally, a new, "endurance" geometry was implemented for the Domane which gives this new model greater stability which translates to a bicycle that is easier to pilot over a longer period of time.

Of course, Trek offers the Domane in the highest level of carbon fiber technology, keeping weight down to Madone levels, but also keeping the highest levels of power transfer there as well. But for riders that aren't so well heeled as to buy a high zoot Domane 6 Series, the good news is that Trek will also be offering lower levels in carbon fiber frames and even aluminum Domanes so that all price points will have access to better riding, more comfortable, and easier handling road bikes.

That's it on the Domane. Next up I will introduce two new road/"fat road" bikes that are aimed at a similar crowd as the Domane. Stay tuned..........

Friday, August 3, 2012

Looking Ahead

2013 Salsa Vaya Travel
Well, July, and therefore all the RAGBRAI madness- is over. Now it is time to kick the blog here back to life.

It's been a long, hot month and a half, but we have not been hiding in the A/C. Oh no! And besides our long gravel rides, commuting, and RAGBRAI experiences, we've also been gathering tons of intel on new 2013 bikes that we may be seeing on the shop floor soon.

With that in mind, the next series of posts will focus on what we have seen and heard will be big deals for 2013 bicycles and what you might expect to see on Europa Cycle and ski's sales floor in the coming months.

Stay tuned. There will be lots to see!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Salsa Cycles Demo Tour: June 29th: Update

Update: It has come to my attention that the "exact" location within Geo Wyth State Park is not clear for the demo, which happens Friday at 4pm and goes on until 8:00pm in the evening.

Please follow the access road until you reach the "turnaround" at the shelter. (Notice- don't take any lefts or rights off the main road. Just follow the road in until you cannot go any further.) This is about a three mile service road that winds through the heart of the park and starts at the gate off of Highways 218/27.

Please remember to bring the following:
  • Helmet
  • Credit card and I.D.
  • Shoes/pedals*
  • Good attitude!
*Note- these are not necessary unless your cycling shoes are specific to a certain clipless pedal.

Remember- Guitar Ted will also be leading a short version of a Fargo/Vaya Adventure Ride starting at 6:00pm.

Questions? Call the shop at 319-277-0734 Thanks! See ya there Friday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Salsa Cycles Demo Tour: June 29th

Europa Cycle and Ski presents a demo day with Salsa Cycles! The event will happen at Geo Wyth State Park at the shelter/turn-around area.

The date and times are as follows:

Date: June 29th, (Friday)
Time: 4:00pm - 8:00pm

What: Ride Salsa Cycles bicycles and see what you think of them on Geo Wyth dirt and paved trails. Both mountain and pavement oriented bicycles will be featured.

How: You'll need to show up between 4:00pm and 8:00pm with your helmet, a current credit card/ID, and your specific clipless pedals, if necessary. Sign waivers, ride, decide.

Bonus: Guitar Ted will be leading a mini-Fargo/Vaya Adventure Ride starting at 6:00pm to show off the capabilities of Salsa's Fargo and Vaya models, specifically, but any bike should work. Plan on about 1-1.5hrs of ride time and be prepared for single track, pavement, and dirt roads.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

3GR Report

Ali digging for a bottle
Hey, guess what? I actually thought to bring a camera on the ride this past Friday! I know....amazing!

Well, the 3GR is having a slow start with folks. This time I played host to my co-worker, Ali, who was on her first gravel grinder. She brought along her recently purchased 70's era Kabuki.

(See- you don't need to worry about which bike you "need", you just "need" to ride your bicycle!)

I used a slightly modified loop to what the first two had been, since there was a wicked South-Southeasterly wind afoot. So we went only a few miles North, and then mostly East, a bit back South, then back Westwards to finish up.

It was good to pass on a bit of knowledge to a new rider, and I think Ali got a good time out of it all. We did arrive at the conclusion that she is likely a natural born single speeder. I look for the Kabuki to shed some shifty bits soon!

Okay, I am still planning on continuing this series of rides every Friday at 5:30pm out of Gateway Park. Hope to see ya all there!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

3GR Report

I didn't get a pic on the ride, but I rode this bike!
I forgot my camera for the first 3GR on Friday, May 4th. We had five riders and did about a 20 mile loop north out of Cedar Falls at a very casual pace.

We're teeing up to do it all again this coming Friday at 5:30pm at Gateway Park to go north out of town again.

Maybe this time we'll get the whole loop in! We cut the ride a little short due to weather concerns last Friday. Come join us in the fun!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Update On The 3GR For This Friday

Hey all! 3GR is happening this Friday at 5:30pm. I have a route picked out that should be fairly easy for most gravel aficionados and will make a great beginners  route. Here are the details:

  • Ride start at 5:30pm Friday, May 4th
  • Meet at Gateway Park at the shelter.
  • Route will be 20-25 miles north and east of Cedar Falls
  • Must wear an ANSI approved helmet to ride.
Riders of all abilities are encouraged to check out the gravel with me. If this takes root there will be a varied route selection in the future with longer Saturday options which will be in different, scenic locations in Iowa.

Stay tuned for more announcements, and come join me for some gravel good times.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Update On 3GR

Okay folks, the first "3GR" ride is going to happen on Friday May 4th at 5:30pm starting from Europa Cycle And Ski's back door.

The route should be a fairly easy paced, 25-30mile maximum ride north out of Cedar Falls and back to Europa. An exact route detail will be posted next week.

Hope to see you then!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"3GR": A New Group Ride Idea

There are a few of us at Europa Cycle and Ski that are into riding on gravel roads. It is a lot of fun. I know......I know! You may be thinking that riding on gravel roads is nuts. We're crazy about it, that's for sure, but it may not be as nuts of an idea as you are thinking.

On gravel road rides you....

  • Have the road to yourself
  • It's peaceful, quiet, and beautiful
  • Any traffic that does come along is seen long before it gets to you.
  • Folks seem friendlier.
I could go on and on, but really, you have to try it out for yourself. So, to get that chance and do it with some experienced riders, Europa Cycle and Ski is going to start doing gravel road rides on a regular basis. The exact nature and timing of this has yet to be figured out, but I do have a name already. I'm calling it the "3GR". It stands for "Gravel Grinder Group Rides".

Stay tuned for details as I get them. The Gravel Grinder Group Rides are going to start out as easier routes to start with to get those that are curious out and not have them be overwhelmed. The routes will likely be 30 miles or less. I'm thinking once a week, and maybe once every two weeks to start out.

Then there will be bigger rides off and on throughout the summer. Also- there will be a fun demo of gravel friendly bikes in late June to go along with this. Stay tuned for more as it gets figured out.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring Into Action

Time to get out and ride!
If you haven't been working too hard, you've likely noticed a marked decrease in snow coverage, warmer temps, and longer days.

That's right folks, its Springtime in Iowa!

You'll likely want to take a look at that bicycle. here's a few tips on what you need to do to get out and enjoy the riding season more quickly.

  • Air up: Those tires haven't been touched in a while, right? Better air them up to proper riding pressure. Look on the tire sidewall for a psi rating for the tire. Then determine whether or not you have a Schrader Valve or Presta Valve type tube, and grab your pump. (What? You do not own a floor pump? We've got em at the shop.) Get that tire aired up. 
  • Check that chain: Rub a finger on the chain. Feel dry? It needs lubrication. Lube your chain and wipe off the excess. Let the bike stand over night to allow the lube to work its way into the chain, then ride. 
  • If your bike was working properly when you stored it last, it likely will be fine for spring, (as long as it hasn't been sitting longer than a year), so the top two steps should be all you need to take care of. 
  • If your bike has been sitting awhile, it would be best to drop it off at the shop and have us do a Standard Tune Up, which will take care of anything necessary to make sure your bicycle is safe and ready to ride. (Any additional parts necessary would be extra with labor added as well)
  • Nicer bikes that need attention may require an Advanced Tune Up which does all of the above but gets you a wipe down so your rig looks a bit nicer as well. (Extra dirt, stains, and oxidation will not be removed, or may require an additional fee to take care of)
  • The finest bikes need extra care. At this level, you may want to look at a Performance Tune Up. We measure the wear on the drivetrain, and really clean the drivetrain to make sure your 10 speed system works at its best possible level. (If parts are worn, we will advise you and extra parts may be necessary to insure top performance. There is an upcharge in these cases.)
A Special Note On Overhauls: If your bicycle is older than 1995, you might benefit from an overhaul. After this time period, parts became increasingly less serviceable/adjustable. This integration and modular design has increasingly made the traditional overhaul obsolete. Since this is the case, we no longer offer a straight overhaul package. See Europa Cycle and Ski's mechanics for a free estimate as to what your bicycle may require. Modern, late model bikes usually benefit thoroughly from the above described packages and do not benefit at all from "overhauls" since we can not often do anything but remove and replace components.

Okay, that's a run down of our services and what you can do to get ready for a season of fun on your bicycle.

Let's Ride!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Last Monday's With Mark

Well, the last get together with me is tomorrow night at the shop @ 6:30pm. This time I'm covering some good places to ride and some commuting tips as well will be discussed.

Really- when it comes right down to it, it is all about throwing your leg over whatever you have for a bicycle and riding. I don't think it matters if you race, or if you do RAGBRAI. It doesn't matter if you ride to work, or for your work, it just matters that you ride a bicycle.

Why? Because the bicycle, in its simplicity and efficiency, is a marvel of a machine, useful for human fitness, human well being, human environment, and for human entertainment. The bicycle is more than a mode of transportation.

So, my goal for the last Monday's With Mark is to inspire someone to ride one more ride more than they would have otherwise. If I can do that, the whole series is a success. It doesn't matter that I may have, or not- as the case may be- taught you anything. It doesn't matter that the shop gets you in the door. It doesn't matter if we sell you something, or that if someone else gets your money.

To me, it just matters that you ride a bicycle.

Maybe I'll see you Monday night, but if not, please consider riding your bicycle more. Thanks!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What's New At The Shop? Go Electric!

Di2 Equipped Project One Madone
A New Way To Shift: A year or more ago, Shimano introduced a version of Dura Ace road components that was activated not by your typical Bowden Cable, but by electronic impulses and servo motors.

Why? Because shifting by the new Di2 system is always flawless, always the same, and easy to do. You'll never need a tune up, and theoretically, you'll never miss a shift.

It has been playing out that way for the Pros and enthusiasts that first bought into the system, but the Dura Ace version was, (and still is), hideously expensive. Shimano decided to introduce an Ultegra version of Di2 with a far easier to swallow price tag, and guess what? We've got it down at Europa.

The system is mounted to one of Trek's finest road rockets, a Project One Madone that we custom spec'ed for display on the floor at Europa.

Shift by button!
Come on down and check this out. Ask Russ or one of the sales personnel to help you demo this bike on our indoor trainer set up, or simply watch as we show you how it works. I can not describe in words accurately just what you will experience, but I will say it is amazing and unlike anything you've ever experienced.

The system runs off an incredibly lightweight lithium ion type battery pack which is located underneath the bottom bracket. That feeds the system power enough to last up to 1000 shifts. This power is transmitted through a network of wires that run through the frame internally for an ultra-clean look.

Shifting duties are handled by buttons that mimic the levers of a traditional Shimano system with the major difference being that the brake lever now does not swivel inwards. Instead, there is a section just behind the lever that is a button which you depress to initiate the downshift. Up shifts are controlled by a button shaped very much like the inner lever of a traditional STI mechanism.

Now here is something really mind blowing about the lever buttons: We can program them to do whatever we want! That's right- you literally could set your shifting up to be reversed from normal, or have either lever button initiate an opposite function from normal. Weird, but useful in special needs situations.

A Close Look At The Front Mech
After your selection at the lever, an electric servo motor receives an impulse which commands it to move the derailleur a specified amount, which in turn moves the derailleur and chain to the cog you desire. Perfectly. Every time.

Most amazing is the front derailleur, which Shimano programed to auto-trim and auto compensate for shifts to the big and little rings in a way that has to be seen to be understood. Trust me- it is absolutely game changing.

Come on down anytime and we'll show you the new Di2 Ultegra. It is at the least something you'll want to see up close and personal. We're sure you'll be wowed and it is definitely worth the time to see. If you should want your own Di2 bike, but don't like red and white, we can custom spec a Project One Madone in a myriad of choices. We've got a computer set up to help you preview all the choices and we can help you with those choices as well.

Or- You may want to sit in the comfort of your home and make your own spec sheet. Just hit up www.trekbikes.com and see what you can get. Then you can just pop in to Europa where we can put in your order for your own custom Madone with Di2, or without, if you'd rather.

Either way, stop on down and have a look see. We'll have the coffee and tea hot and waiting...........