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06 Oct

Shimano 6800 11 Speed Review

In Bike Love,Bike Parts,Product Review by wrench / October 6, 2013 / 0 Comments

The long awaited Shimano 6800 11 speed groupo is now available and it is exactly what Shimano described. This trickle down version of the Shimano Dura Ace  9000 groupo has more similarities than less.  The ergonomics of the levers feel much more natural, especially compared to previous versions like the Shimano 6600 10 speed group. Shifting feels almost effortless with the reduced shifter ratios and shift cable that appear to defy friction.

6800 Ultegra

Shimano Ultegra Levers

On the first test ride, I immediately noticed the increased braking power as I squeezed the front brake; it was very reassuring having that much stopping power. Unfortunately, the kit I built up did not require the installation of the Shimano bottom bracket because I went with a Chris King bottom bracket instead. I believe that it is very difficult to top the quality and reliability of King products and plus, who doesn’t like a little extra bling?

11 Speed Ultegra Groupo

Shimano 6800 Ultegra Group

One feature I am sure that cyclists will like is the 11/28 cassette, with 11,12,13,14,15,17,19,21,23,25,28 individual cogs keeping ratios close. It is also available in other ratios ranging in several variations from 11/23 to 11/32. One of the most impressive aspects of this group is the 39/53 standard crank set with the four arm spider.  A multitude of chain ring options are available in 53-39,50-34,52-36,46-36 and best of all – they are all interchangeable. The large chain ring is massive and does not appear as if it would flex even under large amount of watts.

11/28 11Speed Cassette

11/28 Shimano Ultegra Cassette

The chain ring bolts screw directly in the chain ring, this means no more butter knife or silly chain ring tools. According to Shimano North America, the 6800 crank is supposed to be as stiff as the Dura Ace 9000 11 speed crank set. The Hollow Tech 2 designs allow cranks to be hollow internally yet incredibly stiff, without sacrificing structural rigidity. This technology seriously drops the weight and makes these cranks the benchmark for stiffness in the industry.

06 Feb

Bicycle Crash DIY First Aid Kit

In Accessories,Product Review,Tips by wrench / February 6, 2012 / 0 Comments
Mountain bike riding without a first aid kit?

Mountain bike riding without a first aid kit?

If you find yourself road cycling, touring, or mountain bike riding without a first aid kit, you may want to reevaluate the importance of certain items needed for your rides. No one likes having to stumble into the drug store after suffering a nasty spill, covered in road rash! Carrying a first aid kit is just as important as riding your bicycle with a cell phone, pump, spare tube, tire levers and patch kit.

This Life Line first aid kit is a good start for cycling.

This Life Line first aid kit is a good start for cycling.

It is a certainty that you will encounter an accident or a flat when biking. Be prepared. Basic kits like the 85 piece Life Line first aid kit will be your go-to when the going gets tough. Another excellent choice is the Brave Soldier crash pack, custom designed for road rash injuries. I always like to add a few extra items to my kits including hydrogen peroxide, extra gauze and saline solution. Make sure you consult your physician for follow up care after your bicycle accident. My personal recommendation is leave the scalpel at home, though!

31 Dec

Flying With Your Bicycle

In Bike Love,Bike Parts by wrench / December 31, 2011 / 0 Comments
S&S Coupler

S&S Coupler

Do you find yourself often traveling with your bike? You may want to consider choosing a tried and true solution to aid you in those traveling pains associated with bike shipping. If you fly with your bike, you are going to be penalized with oversize charges for the giant box you would be checking onto the plane. Financially speaking, in most cases you are better off renting a bike for a day or two. But, if you are like me, I would much rather ride my own dream machine then some boring rental bike!

This DeSalvo traveled through Istanbul.

This DeSalvo traveled through Istanbul.

S&S Couplers are a common name in the world of high-end bicycles. They provide a practical, space saving solution for transit without compromising the frame’s structural integrity. Couplers can be installed on most frames, but are most common on steel or titanium frames at the time of building, or as a retrofit by a qualified welder.  Essentially, the bike is broken down into two 26” triangles so that it can be packed into a case that is half of what it would be normally. The standard S&S cases are 26″ x 26″ x 10″ which totals to exactly the 62 inch limit.  The cases meet airline regulations for standard checked luggage, as of this post.

 

Bon Voyage!

28 Dec

Sugar: The Original Power Bar

In Bike Love,Tips by wrench / December 28, 2011 / 0 Comments

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Happy New Year!

I hope your holiday was swell. If you are like me, the baked goods and sweets are plentiful during family celebrations. But after a while, you start itching to move, get out of the living room and onto the bike.

Winter is an ideal time for riding your base miles. Keeping a steady and slow pace prepares your body for spring’s intense rides.

Try riding indoors on rollers, which can help your technique and form. Plus, it is a challenge to stay focused on the act of riding itself.

I like to stow a couple of sugar cookies in addition to my regular snack for extra fuel. How else do you think Santa makes it around the world in one night?

20 Jul

Pro Cycle Works’ Standard Issue-The Continental Gator Skin

In Product Review by wrench / July 20, 2011 / 0 Comments

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The Continental Gator skin is my standard issue on the majority of the road bicycles that I build at the Pro Cycle Works studio. It is phenomenal at contending with glass and road debris, yet maintains a supple, lively ride. Over the years this tire has evolved, starting with improved tread design to the most recent changes, a revised name. Originally, this hand made durable training tire was called the Ultra Gator skin. This tire is ideal for long distances when Caravan support is nowhere to be found.

However, don’t be fooled by the training tire category, its performance and pliable casing might surprise you. This tire has 3 layers of 180tpi of thread casing and Poly X technology, which is extremely dense fabric that helps prevent flats without affecting rolling resistance and minimal impact on rotating mass. The 700×23-folding version weighs in at a respectable at 230grams. This tire is offered in 700c-23-32mm, 27” and 26” options.

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My personal favorite size is the 700x25c. Talk about an unbelievable ride with just a bit of cushion! Although you have a 30-gram weight penalty over the 700×23 Gator skin, one can easily justify the added comfort and reduced chance of pinch flats with this option. I prefer the tires at 100psi, but you can pump them all the way up to the max 120psi. This is a regularly stocked item at Pro Cycle Works, see for yourself.

 

07 Feb

Bike Theft? Oh, no!

In Bike Love,Product Review by wrench / February 7, 2011 / 0 Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Just like life to get busy. But, hey, I’m back with something fun. What if someone stole your bike?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVELTxKRoHA

Make sure you lock your bike. Half the benefit of having a lock is the deterrent factor.

I am currently rocking the OnGuard Bulldog Mini U-Lock.

OnGuard

It’s small enough to carry around when you are riding one handed after picking up tacos. Plus, you can’t beat the price at 30 bucks.

Cheers,

Erik Vitela

01 Jan

The Gowalla Bike Project

In Bike Love by wrench / January 1, 2011 / 0 Comments

Happy New Year! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but as life tends to be, I’ve been busy. Check out what I’ve been dedicating every work moment to:

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Gowalla is a new, Austin based, social media company based on discovering new places and connecting with friends, of course. What better way to meet up with friends than on a bike?

Chris Wood from Sicola Martin put Gowalla in contact with me to help make this interesting idea a reality. Btw, he took my photo above, otherwise, I took the rest. Thanks, Chris.

The Details:
Gowalla wanted the bicycle to have minimal branding. No small task in the cycling world’s in your face advertising! That is why we decided on custom finishes.

Because a commuter needs a durable finish, I chose powdercoating instead of a wet paint option. Each bike was set up with a free wheel to ensure safe, downtown commuting. The rear hub will accommodate a track cog to allow the bike to ride in a “fixie” type manner and have the versatility to flip back to a free wheel.

For tires, I used a larger 700c x 30mm, to allow a plusher ride on downtown Austin’s unforgiving streets. I chose the legendary Selle Italia Turbo saddle to provide unbelievable comfort and style. Oury grips in white, head-up the front to give a smooth and reassuring grip.

The Velocity Deep-V white hoops with machined sidewalls are attached to the traditional high flange hubs, leaving a reliable wheelset that provides adequate braking on top of a bold statement.
The steel frame and fork are set up with rack and fender eyelets to allow this bike to be an ideal commuting rig or a versatile bicycle.

Co-founder Josh Williams commissioned these bikes for his staff as an unbelievable Christmas gift. This was the first time the Pro Cycle Works studio has ever felt like Santa’s Workshop!
I just signed up on Gowalla, so if you use them, throw a shout out.
Best,
-Erik Vitela

Update: Gowalla has since been bought out by Facebook. Read about it here.

01 Oct

Container Worthy Java

In Accessories,Product Review by wrench / October 1, 2010 / 0 Comments

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I recently had the opportunity to get my hands on the latest Klean Kanteen insulated 16 oz bottle with loop cap. First off, I am not one to drive and sip coffee and frankly, my commute is too short and I prefer enjoying my cup without any distractions.

The most attractive attribute to me is the fact that this bottle is BPA free, made of 18/8 stainless steel and there is no plastic in-sight to touch my beloved hot Ruta Maya coffee. I really like that the bottle is made with a wide mouth opening.  It’s nice knowing that I have the ability dip my biscotti with ease.

Klean Kanteen does offer a more traditional coffee-sipping lid, but it is made of plastic. The double-wall insulated stainless bottle does a great job keeping my coffee hot for more then enough time here in TX. According to the manufacturer, drinks will stay warm up to 6 hours. I would highly suggest this product to any one who needs a worthy container for their Java. Oh yeah, did I mention it fits in a standard bottle cage?!

16 Aug

Have you checked your chain lately?

In Bike Parts,Tips by wrench / August 16, 2010 / 1 Comment

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Have you checked your chain lately? Manufacturers such as Shimano recommend replacing your chain once the wear reaches between 0.075 mm to 0.1 mm. Using a chain measuring gauge like this Rohloff Caliper 2 chain gauge, allows for fast and easy inspection.

By pressing the tool into the chain, the amount of wear is measured and displayed. Once wear has reached 0.1mm, it is time to replace it. By knowing the wear, you can maximize shifting quality and chain life.

04 Aug

The Flat From Hell

In Bike Love by wrench / August 4, 2010 / 2 Comments

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I have seen more flats then I care to count working in the cycling industry, but this is a first! What are the odds you would roll over a nail on a ride? If you have been riding in Austin, I would say pretty good.  This nail clearly had the upper hand advantage  and  penetrated all the way through the DT RR 1.1. Needless to say,  the Continental Gator Skin tire was no match  for this framing nail.