Iron Cycles has blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 4 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Giro Gauge Mountain Shoes Unboxed and On Test

Giro is a new brand for us by the way of shoes, but we've been very happy with their helmets from Day 1. Giro's Atmos was my favorite helmet for a couple of years before a short hiatus away from Giro. Now I'm back on Giro's sidelines with an Aeon on my head and the Gauge on my feet.

The fit is different from my previous Sidi Spiders, I had to size up from my previous 44.5 to 45. The volume seems to feel very similar on both shoes, with the Sidi fitting slightly more narrow.

Set up was very straightforward with the Gauge using two velcro straps and one very-easy-to-use buckle. I did have a little bit of an issue setting up cleats as the plate the cleats bolt to had gotten stuck while in the box and didn't want to move. About 3 minutes of fiddling got it loose and I was set to roll.

Quality seems to be inline with comparable shoes from other brands, although I'd put these $200 Gauges against the $260 Sidi Dominator any day. I'd even give the nod to the Gauge in the style department over the Dominator, but that's personal opinion.

Once set up, the stiffness of the Gauge sole was immediately noticeable. Upon the first ride I feel confident in saying the Gauge is significantly stiffer than the Spider. The upper seems plenty soft and pliable, but the sole is night and day different.

The stiffness of the sole both excites and worries me. Pedaling efficiency seems out of this world, but with such a stiff sole I am left wondering how the Gauge will work as a CX shoe. Our courses in the ChiCrossCup have very little running, but I am a bit concerned whether these shoes will feel too stiff to run barriers. Time will tell.

Easton is to thank for the stiffness of the sole, comprised of EC70-level carbon. It's a bit disappointing that the lugs aren't replaceable in this shoe, then again they aren't replaceable on the Sidi Dominator either. To get the replaceable sole from Sidi you have to move up to the Spider at $360, which is obviously a huge jump.

After only one ride I think the biggest compliment to be paid to the Gauge is that I am drawing comparisons between it and the Spider rather than the Dominator. At nearly half the price of the Spider, the Giro is looking to be an incredible value.

Time to get some real time on the pedals with these kicks, but the first impression is really solid!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Zipp 303 Carbon Clincher Firecrest on Test!

Yes, we have them. No, no one else does. The Zipp 303 Carbon Clincher is the newest thing from our friends in Indianapolis and represents a wheel that can be appreciated for it's many positive traits.

The 404 Carbon Clincher has been out for a little while now, but the 303 offers a lighter aero solution to those counting grams or to lighter riders that get blown around by deeper wheels.

Firecrest is here to stay, and the shape has a lot to offer. Improved aerodynamics are always welcome, but after riding the 404 Firecrest for over a year I can say the handling has stepped up to a new level. Where the previous 404 was affected by crosswinds even with someone my size on them, the new Firecrest shape was unaffected by wind.

Another welcome change in my eyes is the addition of black spokes and hubs. While the silver has always been a classic look, black hubs and spoke scream stealth which is a look that's very popular these days.

The new black decals in my opinion were a nice change to something a bit more subtle. The previous white and silver logos were a little louder than I prefer.

The front hub goes unchanged other than color, but the rear hub has a couple of changes to increase stiffness and prevent contamination.

Get used to the Firecrest shape, it's here to stay! Wide rims provide added stiffness, a wider tire contact patch for reduced rolling resistance and improved handling, better aerodynamics, and better crosswind performance.

Follow the blog for some follow-up information after we get some miles on this new wheelset! And if you're interested, you're looking at $2700 for the set. Iron Cycles will set you up with some sweet tires (we're using the new Vittoria EVO SC on these) and a cassette to complete the package!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2011 Niner Jet 9 RDO IN STOCK!

What happens when you want to race your Niner, but need full suspension? The Jet9 has been a solid choice, but was a little heavier than it's competition. That used to leave you with a choice to be made: do I suffer the extra weight or do I switch brands?

Well, if you've ever ridden any Niner products you'll know they have their geometry dialed. Why would you want to sacrifice the amazing CVA suspension design and geometry just for a little weight?

So let's say you've decided that the geometry and suspension is enough to keep you with Niner, but you're still struggling with the added heft of the Jet9 when compared to some of it's carbon-competition. Have no fear, because as of summer 2011 Niner has answered with the Jet9 RDO.

RDO stands for Race Day Optimized, a moniker that's being added to a number of items in the Niner line. It means you're getting equipment truly ready to be raced to your best times and right onto the podium!

The Jet9 RDO is sporting a tapered head tube with inset headset. We've had a love affair with Chris King headsets for quite some time, and this machine screams for one! Tapered from 1-1/8" to 1.5" adds stiffness and steering precision.

Internal routing done very similar to the Air9 Carbon is a welcome addition, as long as you have a little patience. We've gotten pretty good at routing them, but if you're planning to build your own for the first time I recommend visiting and following their tutorial.

Fox RP23 with Kashima Coat. Does a rear shock get any better? Make it part of the patented CVA rear suspension design and know you've got the best rear suspension available.

A PressFit30 bottom bracket means tons of added stiffness for your pedaling pleasure! BB30 cranksets can be employed for lighter weight and a more narrow q-factor. Or, use a PF30 to BSA adapter and run a standard crankset.

Iron Cycles is one of the few spots in the country to find one of these frames. We have ONE brand new Jet9 RDO in large in stock for sale. With the Chris King Inset headset and SID 29 RL fork in tang total cost is $3300.

Current wait time is roughly 4-5 months, unless you're ready for the one we have in stock. But don't wait, once this one is gone, you have a long wait for another....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Niner Air9 Carbon Black Licorice with SRAM XX and SID

Where do we start when building a light, but totally durable and ready-to-race hardtail mountain bike? We've been really happy with Lynskey, but if weight is a huge concern carbon can be .5 lbs lighter or more.

There are a number of carbon mountain bikes at our disposal, but our tendencies lead us toward framesets we can build to our specs. The Niner Air9 Carbon made a huge splash back when it was introduced, and it has features virtually no other frame can match.

Niner has their geometry nailed as they only do 29" wheeled mountain bikes. It's nice to know they are focused on one thing and one thing only. The tapered head tube adds a nice bit of stiffness to the front end, helping the bike track really well in rocks and roots. The Niner CYA bottom bracket system allows the use of BB30 or standard cranks as well as an EBB insert for single speed use.This particular build is sporting full SRAM XX for it's light weight and high performance. Of course, it's not cheap. But where do you get the pinnacle of anything cheap?!

The new RockShox SID XX World Cup 29er fork is also the top of the heap. Coming in at 200g lighter than the REBA XX, it provides a fantastic weight savings for this XC build.

When able to run BB30 cranks, you should. A more narrow q-factor is great, the added stiffness is nice, and the reduced weight makes for a great blend.

While this bike is super-stealth from a distance, when you get up close you'll see that there is bare carbon AND black paint on the frame. Using some masking, Niner has given the bike a great look while still letting you show your friends where your allegiance lies.
A carbon crown and steerer tube on the fork is a nice touch to shave more grams. Again, not the cheap way to do it, but certainly a great way to cut some weight.

This build is rolling on Industry Nine Ultralight XC wheels. Industry Nine hubs laced with Industry Nine spokes to Stan's NoTubes Crest rims.

As built:

Niner Air9 Carbon Black Licorice
RockShox SID XX World Cup 29"
SRAM XX shifters
SRAM XX derailleurs
SRAM XX brakes
Industry Nine Ultralight XC Wheels
Schwalbe Furious Fred tires
Thomson Masterpiece seatpost
Thomson X4 stem
EDGE/ENVE Carbon low rise bar
ESI Chunky grips
Fizik Aliante saddle

19.9 lbs with pedals

Total price as built: $7,500

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lynskey R430 with House Blend Paint Scheme

I've ridden a lot of bikes from Lysnkey. Helix, Cooper, R230, Pro Cross, Cooper CX, Ridgeline, and the Pro29. But, even with all of that saddle time, this bike is different. Titanium is an amazing bicycle material, but just about every bike out there is made out of 3/2.5 titanium (3% Aluminum, 2.5 Vanadium, and 94.5% Titanium), it's the standard material used. What do you get when you move this far up the Lynskey food chain? 6/4 Titanium. 6% Aluminum, 4% Vanadium, 90% Titanium.

What does that mean to the rider? When the bike is sitting still, nothing really. My Helix and R430 are darn close to the same weight, the R430 coming in slightly heavier because of the paint.

What the rider really gets from 6/4 Ti is stiffness, and lot's of it. After a full summer on the Helix I was in love with the ride, and the stiffness was plenty, but the R430 screamed to me to create an all-out race bike out of Titanium.

Lucky for me, Lynskey stock sizing is a dream. The sport geometry leads to a slammed 120mm stem on a Large. The competition geometry leads to 1cm of spacers and a 110mm stem. Can't go wrong either way really, and this bike uses the latter.

The paint is a "Houseblend" scheme, meaning the templates are set and you just pick your colors. The white has a deep pearl, the black is almost a "bass boat" finish.

Equipped with a SRAM Red gruppo, Force cranks, and Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clinchers the bike is hovering at 15.7 lbs. Swap out the clinchers for tubulars and you can easily get sub-15.

The added stiffness of the 6/4 Ti vs 3/2.5 Ti is immediately noticeable on the ride. This can be good or bad, depending on who you ask and what the intent of the bike is. The rider still gets that beautiful titanium ride, but when standing and sprinting or under hard cornering the bike reacts more like a carbon race bike.

The shape of the Zipp SLC2 Short & Shallow works so well for me. Short reach and shallow drop works really well with smaller hands, and makes your drops more usable, or so I have found.

The Chris King headset is a no-brainer on our custom builds.

The ENVE fork used on this bike is a staple and a near-requirement for me at this point. I see no reason to use any other fork on any road bike build, and am using the Cross version on my current race bike.
Here's a great shot of the paint, the stars fit nicely with our uniforms and the black/white scheme is right up my alley. I had debated on a black/orange or white/orange, but the template was already loud enough for me.

The R430 has been overtaken by the new R440 since this bike was built. The new R440 received a 44mm head tube and BB30 bottom bracket to add even more stiffness to the ride. Frame price has also jumped up a hair to $4195. Houseblend Paint is a standard $800 up-charge, not too bad when you consider a brushed finish will cost a few hundred anyway.