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Throwback Thursdays: 1992 WTB Trailgrips

31 July, 2014

We now call them Original Trail Grips, a head nod to the history of the Trailgrip.  That also means we still sell 'em.  Yes we do.  These are my absolute favorite grips - there is something about the octagonal shape and rounded, closed end, and slight flare to the inner that just sings to me - well, my hands anyway.  I first rode them on a beautiful steel Ibis I had, and, well, the rest is history, they're on my bike today.  I had the clear ones then, the black ones, which are the only option now.

WTB spent time during the early days modifying existing parts out there - stuff that wasn't designed necessarily, or at all, for mountain bikes, and making it better, making it work for mountain bikes.  Early Magura motorcycle grips had flanges that interfered with shifters - so, WTB cut them.  They were also hard, very hard.  So, WTB made new grips entirely and above is a photo of them, below a press release.  They're now $12 instead of $10 due to the price of rubber, and the price of prices since 1992, but other than that, they still rule.  Chances are, you might even find them hanging on a shop wall, marked for $10.  They're classic.  Can't mess with a classic, they're still comfy and perfect.

1992 Press Release:

What You Also Buy with a Handmade Bike

30 July, 2014

Photo Credit: Kris Henry / 44 Bikes

It is really easy to get caught up in the calculated purchase of a carbon frame or bike.  Blah blah performance, blah blah price, blah blah stiffness, blah blah grams - painted or unpainted, blah blah guaranteed Strava result, blah blah selfie, all equating to blah blah enhancement.  True, carbon is light, seems to have come down somewhat in price, and can make a difference.  However, what a lot of people don't realize is how much thought, care, and deep contemplation goes into the making and design of a handmade bicycle.

Photo Credit: Kris Henry / 44 Bikes

Pictured above is one of Kris Henry's own personal bikes, the Huntsman XXX.  Kris owns, welds, and operates 44 Bikes, an awesome company, surrounded by singletrack in New Hampshire, with Made to Shred™ trademarked.  Yes, I trademarked discussion of trademarking - layered trademarking if you will.

Kris discusses his thoughts behind the build and every part on his bike on an excellent and refreshing blog post of his bike.  Read it HERE.

If you've ever been lucky enough to go to NAHBS or a smaller, more intimate builder show, or even talked to a frame builder, then you know exactly what I'm saying when I state that they (frame builders) care.  They care deeply - about trails, about riding, about creating the perfect tool for what you're hoping to achieve, about all the little things that are otherwise overlooked on bikes today, about handling, about parts complimenting each other, about the design element of things, and, of course, about the artistry of it all.

So have a read HERE and think about what it means to buy a handmade bike.

Also, were that not enough, check out the awesome photos of Kris' wife's new bike, also a Huntsman, also rad, below.

 

Yes, they do look that stunning, it is incredible.  One more:

That black on black is sinister it's so beautiful, meant to be.

Check out the full recap on Lynn's amazing Di2 Huntsman on the Radavist HERE

Read Kris' insightful and purposeful ruminations of his Huntsman XXX build HERE

 

P.S. Nano 40s are back in stock.  Distributors and your favorite local shop's will have them in stock again momentarily, they rule.

The Tires Question

29 July, 2014

Downieville is almost here.  The Downieville Classic, one of the last real races.  People squirm in anguish just thinking of it.  They also call us.  Like, a lot.

What tires should I run for Downieville?

The question of the year, every year.

So, here goes, here are a few excellent options you too, along the pros, can rock.  These are only suggestions, everybody, and I mean everybody, has an opinion on this.  So don't blame any foolish bike handling or sloppy race day performance on the tires, you'll see, there are options for everybody:

29"

Vigilante 2.3 29" TCS Front, Trail Boss 2.25 29" TCS Light: Fast Rolling Compound Rear.  This is the combo for you if you want to get after it, you want to descend aggressively, but you don't necessarily target square-edged rocks like some sort of crazed, hell bent ape.

Vigilante 2.3 29" AM TCS Front, Trail Boss 2.25 29" TCS Tough: Fast Rolling Compound Rear.  You do ride like an ape.  Actually, you pride yourself in it - "No tire is tough enough for my riding style," you triumphantly tout.  If you spread carbon shards on your breakfast toast and ride 29, this is the combo for you.

27.5"

Vigilante 2.3 27.5" TCS Front, Wolverine 2.2 27.5" AM TCS Rear.  You want tough, but not too heavy, you also want to be able to ride quickly and know that climb sucks.

Vigilante 2.3 27.5" Team Issue TCS Front, Wolverine 2.2 27.5" AM TCS Rear.  I don't care the climb is tough, if anybody, or anything for that matter, gets in my way of setting the record on the descent - that's it, they're done for!  Team Issue tires have a ridiculously soft compound, if you can't corner this... then you can't corner, 'nough said.

26"

Vigilante 2.3 26" TCS Front, Wolverine 2.2 26" AM TCS Rear.  Again, tough without a ridiculous weight penalty and fast rolling.  You could even do just the XC event with this and not even look that foolish or over-tanked (a syndrome similar to "hardtail holdout syndrome" where people used to, I hope only used to, put Marzocchi Monster T forks on hardtails, usually with 24" rear wheels, then promptly send it over stair gaps or anything to flat.  Because, "Why would I do it on a sissy full suspension, I can do it on a hardtail." It was a bad time for mountain biking.)

Vigilante 2.3 26" Team Issue TCS Front, Wolverine 2.2 26" AM TCS Rear.  Get out of the way, I am descending.  Did I mention I'm descending?  Get out of the way.  Perfect combo for that.

Vigilante 2.3 26" Team Issue TCS Front, Vigilante 2.3 26" Team Issue TCS Rear.  Did you mention hardtail holdout syndrome?  Wanna fight?  If you still abide by the send it mentality and will not accept anything getting in the way of IT and SENDING, then this is your combo.  Bag of hammers tough, bundle of erasers grippy.

Honorable Mentions:

Jason Moeschler took third overall with Wolverine 2.2 29" TCS tires, front and rear last year aboard his Cannondale Scalpel.

Weirwolf 2.3 29" TCS tires, front and rear.  Fast, 750g, truly big footprint.  This is one of those be a little risky options - not as deep of tread as the Vigilante for sifting through the sea of loose rock rubble, not quite as tough as Vigilantes, noticeably lighter and faster rolling though - the rolling the dice option.

Finally, why not go with Weirwolf 2.3 26" AM TCS front and rear?  They roll fast, they're incredibly tough.  If you get a flat with them, it's your fault.  No, really, it's your fault.  The Bronsons work too, not quite as foolproof tough but lighter... The list goes on...

All these lovely tires are available from your stellar, helpful, understanding, kind, insightful, local bike shop.  Go grab them.

Here's to another amazing Downieville Classic, the last real mountain bike race.  

Psssst. Remember to donate to the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship.

 

 

 

Throwback Thursdays: Moab First Descents, Mountain Bike, and More TV

24 July, 2014

The Trail Boss himself, shredding previously unridden lines aboard his American Breezer possibly in 1988 during the Canyonlands Fat Tire Festival on Moab's Slickrock.

WTB's extended family of early mountain bikers spreads far - planning a road trip, better yet a ride trip, is always easier when you've got a free floor to crash on.  Somehow, money spent at the gas pump doesn't seem as steep knowing that once there, cash can be saved for beer rather than bed.

Hank Barlow, an original Marin local, mountain biker and friend of WTB, had moved to Moab from Crested Butte after founding Mountain Bike Magazine with his wife Kimberly Schappert.  Hank, along with the Canyonlands Fat Tire Festival, made for a perfect excuse for the WTB crew to venture out from Marin.

Marin and Moab crew headed out to shred, late 80's Moab in the Team Vehicle.

Hank had helped put Moab on the map through peppering original issues of Mountain Bike Magazine with stunning, near martian looking landscape shots.  The siren song had sounded, it was time to make the pilgrimage.  The crew came out and it didn't take too many trips before Matt Hebberd, WTB's original employee after its founders, bought Rim Tours with Kirstin Peterson, the duo still own and operate the amazing guide service today.  Rim Cyclery, founded by Robin and Bill Groff, had first started renting mountain bikes in Moab in 1984 and had given birth to Rim Tours.  Moab wouldn't be the same were it not for the Groff's early efforts, the defunct mining town blossomed.

Ready to shred the martian landscape.

Marin in late 80's Moab, WTB Team vehicle.  Today WTB's got racers and riders spread across the globe, giving feedback and testing products - this isn't a new tradition, it's heritage.  Check out more about Moab's history and the Groffs HERE.

 

Throwback Thursdays: Mountain Shredders Gone Road (not Rogue)

10 July, 2014

It's Tour de France time, people are excited, some even mountain bikers - focus is perhaps even shifting from the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  So what's up with our favorite leg shavers?  Where are they, who's in, any favorites, are they even in France yet?  Important questions.

Equally important, where's Cadel?  Drawing a blank?  The dude who won the 2011 Tour de France, people call him The Lung.  Still drawing a blank, ok.  He took second in 2007 and 2008 as well.  Fine, here's why he's rad: Cadel is a not so closet mountain biker.  He grew up in a small Aboriginal community in Australia called Barunga.  His teenage years were spent skateboarding - yes, the 2011 Tour de France champion may or may not have been yelled at for grinding mall parking lot curbs or truck tapping quarter pipe coping.  And best of all, Cadel shredded singletrack, like a lot.

Cadel Evans, pictured above during the 1997 Grundig UCI World Cup season, rode for Team Diamondback and steered his WTB SST Saddle to quite a lot of accomplishments.  He won the 1997 World Cup in Wellington, New Zealand, took second behind Frischknecht at St. Wendel in Germany, grabbed another second in Budapest, first in Vail, CO in the U-S of A, and finished 3rd overall for points standings.  All due to irrefutable comfort?  Can't say either way.

Can say that Cadel doesn't appear to be part of the 2014 Tour de France - something about preparing and training for something very serious in Spain.  Yeah right.  I suspect he's schralping trail, having dusted off his very lovely SST.  Maybe he's even got his yellow Diamondback in shipshape, race day order.  Cadel alone is bringing 26" back.  I kid, I kid.  Watch out for Cadel The Lung Evans at the Vuelta a Espana August 23rd to September 14th and then the road world championship in Ponferrada, Spain on September 28th.  Remember, he spent real SST time and teenage skate time - real saddle, real dude, real rider.  Read more about Cadel's plans HERE.  Peep more WTB 1998 Product Guide fun, where the top photo came from, below.

 

Throwback Thursdays: 1990 Moab Trip, 3 Tandems, 2 Cars, One Good Trip

03 July, 2014

Moab is amazing.  It's so amazing, in fact, that WTB's first employee (aside from its founders,) Matt Hebberd, fell deeply in love with the place, bought the touring business from Rim Cyclery along with Kirstin Peterson, and they still own and run the rad touring company today, Rim Tours.  Pictured above, roughly 1990, you've got Hebberd's VW on the right and Slate's 1969 Pontiac LeMans on the left, with 3 tandems nonetheless.  This is back when Moab only had one bike shop in town, this one, and shortly before Matt and Kirstin made their business venture happen.  Below you've got Joe Shirado riding a tandem with Fred Falk, WTB's second employee and current Operations Manager at Muscle Man Arch in Moab.  You can still find Fred and Joe riding together to this day, though you'd be hard-pressed to find them both tied to the same tandem.  Moab's rad always been rad - WTB's been there for quite some time.  Long live bike road trips, it's nothing new for WTB.

Rain or Shine... Victory

30 June, 2014

In Durango, it was beautiful - too hot even at times and no rain atop the ever ominous and lightning-infested Kennebec Pass, pictured above, that racers, like Marco, shredded with no relent.

Shredded with no relent?  Yes, with no relent.  An entire section of the Colorado Trail was closed by the Forest Service for the event - through hikers and bikers had to stay put as racers blazed past.  It started at close to 12,000 feet - high alpine, exposed, barren, big scree making metallic clinking noises as tires deflect and rumple through it, incredibly narrow, off camber ribbons of trail hopelessly clutching big menacing hillsides... followed by throwing riders into a tightly packed canyon and walled-in drainage overgrown with foliage, haphazardly strewn with tragic land mines of wet, rounded river rocks.  It has an enveloped, forgotten, and foreboding feeling lurking at the bottom.  The course elevation profile, courtesy of Big Mountain Enduro, gives it some perspective:

 Then, there's a lung-searing, brain pulsating, eyeball boiling grunt up of around 1,000 feet - worry not, you're at a mere 9,600 Oxygen deprived feet, then it starts over again, bombarding riders with switchback impacted misunderstandings.  Somehow, mixed in, there are fleeting moments of the sublime, pictured below, that seem to mock based on the severity of the rest, a weird sensation:

 

 J&B local Rep Roy Hughes, sporting a Breakout / Vigilante combo on KOM rims, pictured in one of those scenic, fleeting moments, where it looks like this event must be cake.

The next day two punchy profiles were endured, pun intended, and then high fives, smiles, more hot weather, more good times.  Shops were visited, employees stoked, a properly good trip.  Marco seared his Breakouts, Frequency i25 27.5" Team TCS rims, Moto-X Clamp-on grips, and prototype carbon-railed saddle to third place.

Photo Credit: Mauro Cottone / Superenduro.  Check out a full recap at: http://www.superenduromtb.com/en/home-news/superenduro-pro-3-madesimo-so-ben-cruz-trionfa-sotto-la-pioggia/

In Italy, Ben Cruz battled a different tale.  Torrential rain (peep the hydration bag cover above) left racers and organizers scrambling.  It started, it poured, it seemed to not end.  Heads were scratched, stages considered, yet the race went on, through it all.

Heinous mud, spattered goggles, howling brakes, foolishly sharp rocks, slippery roots, grime, Ben slammed through it all.  Feeling incredibly confident in our new tires, Ben consistently stayed ahead of those snapping at his heels.  When the rain-filled fog lifted, it was Ben standing atop the podium, Ben's first European win!  From all of us at WTB, a huge congrats to you Ben, you're letting people know it's no joke and we all couldn't be happier seeing you win, you've worked hard and it shows.  Ben ran Frequency i23 27.5" Team TCS rims, Vigilante and Breakout tires, Moto-X Clamp-on grips, and a prototype, carbon-railed saddle.  Also, a congrats to fellow WTB athlete Lars Sternberg on KOMs, Breakouts, Tech Trail Clamp-on grips, and a Volt Team, taking 9th.  Another great weekend of racing, from blazing heat to belting rain they did it again. 

Photo Credit: Mauro Cottone / Superenduro. Check out a full recap at: http://www.superenduromtb.com/en/home-news/superenduro-pro-3-madesimo-so-ben-cruz-trionfa-sotto-la-pioggia/

Throwback Thursdays: 1997 Bicycle Breakfast

26 June, 2014

Annette Rose, Marin County District 3 Supervisor, mixed it up with the WTB boys for a fine, folding chair breakfast. L to R: Mark Weir, Chris Lawrence, Annette Rose, Tom DeLacy, Gary Gleason, Paul Moses, and Fred Falk.

WTB has believed in the world by bike for a long time - a lot longer than the currently trendy (though great, mind you) green is cool fad.  In 1997, $300 million was at stake for Marin County with Measures A and B, which if approved would have allocated $15 million to car-free, not to be confused with carefree, transportation (bike paths) stretching the entirety of the county.  So what did WTB do?  Invited a bunch of important people over, fed them breakfast, and attempted to win everyone over.

Bicycle parking, of course.

Resident cool guys Erik Koski and Chris Lawrence standing at the front greeting folks.

Talks led by important people like Marin County District 1 Supervisor John Kress letting it be known that bicycles are a viable form of transport.

Appearances by folks like Gary Fisher, right, and Dave House, left mixing it up with Joe Kott, Marin County's Transportation Coordinator

Cyclists getting their learn on.  WTB's President, Patrick Seidler reminding and elucidating that a world by bike makes for a happier and healthier place.

Fox News came a put a stern microphone in Otis Guy's face - didn't shake the man, he stayed cool and calm in his Shimano SPD sandals.

Steve Gravy Gravenites, bottom right, enjoyed a laugh alongside Joe Breeze and Marilyn Price. Amber Van Heel and Valerie Mizuhara of Channel 2 News at the time enjoyed it too.  All people who care deeply about bikes.

Tom DeLacy was seen standing in front of a sweet latish 90's Pontiac Sunfire with George Gumalinski of WTB's trading company at the time... and also seen talking to Marin District 4 Supervisor Steve Kinsey (now also the Metropolitan Transportation Commission Representative for Marin,) who also believed and believes in making things happen for bikes:

Paul Moses, Jason Woodward, the unnamed man, Mark Weir, and Steve Gravenites must be talking about how bikes are rad.

And in the end, Measures A and B didn't pass despite the valiant efforts of many of Marin County's greats coming together to speak on behalf of a better world led by bikes.  That didn't discourage nor short the efforts of those who care - in 2008 Measure Q passed attaining all that and more of what those hoped for in 1997.  WTB's cared about bicycles for a long time.

Pick an event... Any event...

24 June, 2014

There are now enough enduro races happening that in one weekend, WTB athletes can take top 10 spots at three major events simultaneously.  Atop, Team WTB's Marco Osborne stormed his way to fourth place finish in Colorado at Snowmass during the first stop of the Big Mountain Enduro riding Breakout tires, prototype wheels, a prototype carbon-railed saddle, and Moto-X clamp on grips.  Below, Jeff Kendal-Weed of Team Ibis-Retro Cellars put his Vigilante tires to good use navigating granite boulders to a second place finish at the VP EnduroFest at China Peak during the second stop of the California Enduro Series.

Photo Credit: Michelle Lamelin of Epicenter Cycling / California Enduro Series

Overseas, in France, Jared Graves of Yeti-Fox grabbed first place atop a Devo SLT at the third stop of the Enduro World Series in Valloire.  Alexandre Cure of Team Rocky Mountain / Urge BP took 7th on a Silverado saddle and Team WTB / Cannondale Overmountain's own Ben Cruz took 9th aboard full WTB fixings including Breakout tires that held up beautifully to 30,000 feet of punishment.

 Photo Credit: Matt Wragg / Enduro World Series.  Devo SLT patiently awaiting instruction beneath Jared Graves, the top spot on the podium.  Check out a rad recap video from Dirt TV on Pinkbike HERE and an excellent write-up by Matt Wragg on Pinkbike HERE

 They seamlessly flowed jumps:

And sprinted past the point of air burning and lungs rasping:

 And it was paid in full:

Photo Credit: Michelle Lamelin of Epicenter Cycling / California Enduro Series. WTB's own Jeremiah Newman took first place racing for Felt-WTB aboard full WTB product after having taken first place the weekend before at Fears, Tears, and Beers Enduro in Ely, Nevada. Jeff Kendal-Weed took second racing for Ibis-Retro Cellars aboard WTB product as well.

Here's to a great weekend of racing - from California to Colorado and even to France - well done WTB athletes!

No Stopping This Guy

20 June, 2014

Ahhhh yes, Trail Boss front tire, excellent choice.

So, here's the e-mail all WTB staff received yesterday, pretty crazy:

From: Jason Moeschler <jmoeschler@wtb.com>
Date: Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 12:26 PM
To: "staff@wtb.com" <staff@wtb.com>
Subject: Jason in and out today
Team,
I had an accident during my race on Saturday, and came away with a compression fracture in my T7 Vertebra.  Besides a lot of back pain, I am ok.  I was actually  able to get up, chase down the leaders, and win the race.  Following the race, I took lots of Advil to mask the pain, woke up on Sunday, and raced the Nevada City Classic Crit.  Finished the Crit, burned off the Advil, and then realized that I had something major wrong in my back.  Got X-Rays Monday afternoon, and confirmation of the fracture Monday evening.
Anyways, I am still functional, can still work, and will maintain my work travel commitments as I heal.  The pain is the same, no matter what I do, so I choose to stay busy.
All that being said, I will be in and out today for doctor visits.
Thanks,
Jason
Jason Moeschler
Wilderness Trail Bikes
OEM Sales
(Mobil) 530-518-3868
TWN Mobil (0) 972722138
skype: jasonmoeschlerwtb
There really is no stopping this guy.  Here's to a speedy recovery, to a speedy guy, and ridiculously hard worker.  Feel better Jason.
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