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Tag Archive: winter warriors

Interbike 2013: Fatbike frenzy!

Let it be known that 2013/2014 is the year of the “fatbike”…these things were EVERYWHERE at Interbike, both indoors at the show and at the Outdoor Demo. We saw a dozen different brands, and even got to ride one. Let’s take a look at some of the fatbike hightlights:

When we first walked up to the entrance gate at Outdoor Demo, we spotted a young lady wheeling in what turned out to be a prototype KHS fatbike. The finalized version will be a different color and will have some different features, and is scheduled to be released in the first part of 2014 (hopefully before the snow comes):

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RL and I stopped by the 9:Zero:7 booth at Outdoor Demo — with so many bike companies and attendees coming from the Southern California area, the guys at 9:Zero:7 were pretty stoked to meet someone who actually lived in a snowy winter climate! They sweet-talked us into checking out one of their bikes, the aluminum 190 with 190mm rear dropout spacing. This one will swallow the widest fatbike tires available (up to 4.8″).

We hustled this orange-and-white beauty over to the Bell Helmets pumptrack and let it RIP. What a blast this thing was…smooth over rough terrain and surprisingly nimble for such a massive machine. One loop around the pumptrack and I was sold!

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RL followed up with some flow of his own:

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Aluminum not your thing? 9:Zero:7 is also rolling out a new carbon frame. Colorado Springs-based Borealis Bikes had their new carbon Yampa frameset on display, too:

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We even spotted a couple of fat e-bikes. Here’s a Felt with a Bosch assist kit:

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Inside the indoor show at The Mandalay Bay convention center, there were more fatbikes than you could shake a stick at. There were quite a few frame and component makers with fatties on display; even Phil Wood had a custom full-suspension downhill model in their booth.

The highlight for me, though, were these glorious fatbikes in the Boo Bicycles booth. This one is made from the “holy Trinity” of frame materials…carbon, titanium, and bamboo, with a Gates belt drive and Rohloff IGH. The front end sports a titanium springer-style fork:

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Here’s a racier model with bamboo tubes surrounded by what I believe to be titanium assemblies:

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Winter warriors, take note: fatbikes are here and they open a door into a snowy wonderland of riding. These bikes also happen to be quite fun in summery conditions…sand, gravel, and obstacles are no match for the balloon tires and wide footprint. With some smooth tires (or a quick switch to 29″ wheels/tires — most are a direct swap), these might even make formidable all-season commuting rigs!


Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky
Black Tiger Jerky

A Winter of Cyclists documentary

Here’s an interesting item that popped up in today’s Google News feed: a Colorado-based documentary filmmaker and his project “A Winter of Cyclists”.

“A Winter of Cyclists,” from amateur filmmaker and Erie resident Mike Prendergast, tells the story of a group of commuters from Erie, Lafayette, Louisville, and Boulder who emerge on mountain bikes from warm homes in the predawn darkness, endure frigid temperatures and ice-slicked streets on the way to work, and then suit up again — after putting in eight hours at the office — for the post-dusk ride back home.

Their mission: commute to work and back home on a bicycle at least 52 times between the beginning of October and the end of March. It is known as the Icy Bike Winter Commuting Challenge and last winter was its inaugural run.

Read the full article by visiting the Daily Camera page here, and check out the trailer on Vimeo (full-length available for paid download):

Trailer: A Winter of Cyclists from ChainRing Films on Vimeo.

Winter’s coming…and while we’ve written extensively on various winter-commuting tactics, it’s fun and inspiring to see others get out there and roll through the ice and snow.

Review: Planet Bike’s “Borealis” Winter Gloves

It seems that spring has sprung for most of the country…and so this review may seem a bit late for those of you looking for winter gear for your cold commutes. Since this was MY first real winter in over 20 years, I was expecting a ton of snow and ice in which to test Planet Bike’s “Borealis” winter gloves — I wanted to run these gloves through the worst conditions I could find, even snowball fights and epic sled rides. Alas, it barely snowed here and the longer I waited for Mother Nature to do her thing, the closer to spring it got…

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Here’s a bit about the gloves straight from Planet Bike’s website:

-Windproof back panel and forchettes
-Removable liner for quick dry time
-Ultra-soft Fleece thumb
-Reflective piping for night visibility
-Water resistant, reinforced Serino palm
-3-in-1 design allows flexible temperature range by using liners, outer shells only, or outer shells with liners
-Neoprene cuff/pull tab with hook and loop closure

This 3-in-1 system is pretty handy…wear the liners on cool days, the outers when you need windproof protection or liners and shells together when things get really nasty out there. I was on the cusp between sizes L and XL (I chose the large size)…so the liners are a bit snug but the outers, strangely, have just enough room to wear other liner gloves in my collection. The stock liners are fairly lightweight fleece, so a heavier liner was pressed into service when the temperatures really bottomed out. Here are the fleece liners:

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The fleece liners don’t have any grip-enhancing goodies on them, so they can be a tad slippery all by themselves. I didn’t spend too much time riding with just the liners — when it was warm enough, I had other full-finger gloves that I prefer using, and when the temperatures dropped I grabbed the outer shells (which have plenty of grip). Take a look at all the grippy stuff and reinforcement patches on the palms:

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Feature-wise, these gloves have a lot going for them…good reinforcements on the palm, a generous (and soft!) nose-wiping area on the thumbs, a neoprene cuff and simple closures that did a really good job of sealing out chilly drafts. And, despite their seeming bulk, I had no trouble manipulating the brake and shift levers on any of the bikes I ride. Even the small thumb-lever on Campagnolo Ultrashift levers was no trouble. Seeing as how this was my first time with lobster-style gloves, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that these gloves really didn’t interfere with the operation of the shifters as I had feared prior to riding with them.

The grey piping on the gloves is highly reflective, so the Borealis gloves are a good choice for nighttime riding or when extra visibility is key.

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(Don’t let the bright sunshine fool you…it was 15 degrees F when I took this picture!)

Although these gloves are not fully waterproof, they fended off most of the rain and spray from my rides. If you’re heading out into a downpour, however, there may be better choices in gloves for you…something with a vapor-permeable waterproof liner and taped seams. As far as temperatures go, I was comfortable down to around 10 degrees F…with temps in the teens, I could get about an hour of riding before my fingers started to tingle with cold, but below that, I would have to invest in hand-warmer packets, pogies or something else to keep my digits warm.

At a retail price of around $42.00, these gloves are a pretty smart choice for cold-weather commuters. The Borealis gloves are substantially less expensive than other similar “lobster” gloves, yet have most of (if not all) the features in those pricier gloves. And, of course, Planet Bike has you covered for other protective gear and accessories, no matter what season you ride in. Swing on over to their website to take a look.

Coming up later in the week, we will be reviewing some cold-weather shoe covers from Planet Bike. Stayed tuned for that!

Our Annual “Winter Warriors” Article

Some of you may have noticed that the crew here at Bikecommuters.com doesn’t write too much about bicycle commuting in winter…with most of the staff in balmy southern California and myself in SW Florida, we don’t get too much experience riding in the cold.

Nevertheless, we have complete and undying respect for those brave souls out there who commute year-round…through snow, ice and freezing rain, bitter winds and chilly temperatures. Last year, we offered a couple of photographs of some of our favorite “winter warriors”. You can check them out by clicking here.

Reader James Haygood sent in a great photo for us to share with the rest of our readers. He took this photo from his hotel room overlooking Lake Michigan in Chicago:

snow bike

Click here for the full-size version

That’s an awesome sight…ice and snow is no deterrent for these hardcore cyclers!!!