Review of Wolverine v.3.0, Soma Fabrications

by michelle bontrager in


 Soma Fabrications,  Wolverine v.3.0

Soma Fabrications, Wolverine v.3.0

“Let’s build a bike,” he said.

We know what he meant, a bicycle that he can lean upon like those summers before and the summers after.  A bike that he will ride city streets upon then those lonely paths that were once roads.

There will be Western adventures along mountain trails, canyons, and plateaus. Always at night a fire at camp will illuminate those tired, satisfied faces.  There will be those odd free afternoons in which a local single track will be tackled. He will be much torn to drive to the trail head only to ride out instead. Shan't miss out on that fun.

This lanky chap will appreciate the “just right” stem and the crank arms that are just that bit longer to suit his build. Every detail, to numerous to list, has be thought through, anticipating those adventures that lay ahead.

A bicycle is more than just its frame it’s the sum of parts, each tuned with the other in order to create a reliable machine.  Observe the balance of comfort and performance. But this is much more, it’s a vehicle built to suit the mood of this time.

A bike for all seasons a bike for all conditions a bike to journey with.

Yes I think you are right a Soma Wolverine will do quite well.

  Rohloff Speed hub  each one is stamped with a unique serial number

Rohloff Speed hub each one is stamped with a unique serial number

 Rohloff shifter mounted on stem for easy access, Cinelli gel cork tape offers comfort on all trails

Rohloff shifter mounted on stem for easy access, Cinelli gel cork tape offers comfort on all trails

 Responsive ChroMoly frame by Soma Fabrications and fork, Chris King head set

Responsive ChroMoly frame by Soma Fabrications and fork, Chris King head set

  White Industries cranks  and chainring, Soma Cazander tires

White Industries cranks and chainring, Soma Cazander tires

 Brook's English leather saddle 

Brook's English leather saddle 


The Lowdown

Highlights

Paul's Components Klamper brake

Your brakes system, so integral to your safety, should be simply reliable. Not too much to ask no? Preferring to avoid the whole mess of air pockets the line or other detrimental kinks that can occur in a hydraulic disc set-up we recommend Paul’s Klamper mechanical disc brakes. The precise engineering that stands behind the Klampers is just the solution we desire.

Rohloff Hub

This be-spoke wheel set features durable American made rims and a German manufactured rear hub. Rohloffs are hand built internally geared hubs that are incredibly durable.  Outlasting any drive train they are suitable for cyclists that prefer convenience or for cyclists that ride their bicycles incredibly hard. Impervious to snow, sleet, ice, or sand we look forward to any weather and all road conditions with our Rohloff hubs.  

White Industry Crank set

Doesn't everyone find the White Industry cranks sexy? Machined in California by a crew that cycles, these cranks are an industry standard that look great, offer versatility and perform year after year season after season. 

Phil Wood Bottom Bracket

When you are planning on riding up and down mountains a solid bottom bracket will hold it all together.  Phil Wood is the brand we turn to for solid, durable components. 


soma wolverine v3

First destination, Utah!

It was an honor working with our neighbor in order to build his new bicycle. We are anticipating performance reports back this summer. 

 

It was a total blast with Mr. W. I think we succeeded in building a bike that suits his riding style and that will live up to his biking plans.  His performance reports back will be a treat to hear.



Bicycle Tires, a brief review

by michelle bontrager in


 Tires make the ride

Tires make the ride

Bike Repair Season is upon us.

Our time at Queen City Cycles has been filled with neighbors popping in for air or just for a chat, catching up on news and exchanging stories. New bicycles and accessories are arriving to the store weekly and suddenly there is structure to our days after the dreary, dark winter season.

Safety First

When you hit the pavement it’s your bike tires that take the brunt of the road.  Look for embedded debris, gashes, dry sidewalls, and other defects every time you inflate your bike tires or we can examine your tires with you at the shop. If your tires fail while out on a ride you will be greatly inconvenienced or worse.

 plus sized tire trend makes sense for city riding

plus sized tire trend makes sense for city riding

Tires

When it’s time to replace your bike tires there many choices to consider like width, tread, compound. We concentrate our tire inventory on city friendly options. This is a loose definition for most of our city tires are just as just as appropriate for dirt trails.

Questions to ask when you are considering new tires;

  • How many miles is your typical bike ride?
  • What is the terrain you ride?
  • Do you experience a lot of punctures?

We will happily give tire recommendations based on your riding style and expectations. For instance a pair of thick stiff tires may be a great choice against punctures but are probably harsh to ride on and are not very grippy around corners. Skinny slick tires may be fast on smooth pavement but will jar you as you traverse potholed city streets.

FAQs

  1. How long will tires last? It depends upon the number of miles ridden, whether your bicycle is parked outside, and on the rubber compound of your tires. Our dry western climate dries out tires just like our skin.  I typically change out my tires every year sometimes every two.
  2. Cost? Tire prices start at about $20 ea. Higher quality tires cost $40-60.
  3. Inner tubes?  The best practice is fresh tubes with new tires.

A few tire models that we recommend:

Schwalbe

The ever-popular touring tire, the Marathon, defines the Schwalbe brand for many. This family-owned German tire manufacturer actually produces an incredible range of bicycle tire styles. We stock their inner tubes because they don’t split at the seams and hold air longer than the el cheapo inner tubes. We keep the Marathon tires in the store because they do indeed roll over road debris for many, many miles without flatting out.

Panaracer

Ever since Ethan started riding Panaracer’s Smoke and Dart tires back in his mountain bike days of the 1990s he has been a loyalist. Manufactured in Japan Panaracer produces a fantastic range of tire styles for every type of riding conditions. Our shop emphasizes city appropriate tires but then most of those tires easily handle gravel roads too.

Pasela PT

Not too slick, not too heavy this tire suits many circumstances. The Pasela handles well and is available in a great number of sizes including 27” for those classic steel road bikes. I run Paselas on my road bike always ready to tackle a few dirt roads on the side.

 Pasela tires in gumwall

Pasela tires in gumwall

 Panaracer T-Serve tires, NITTO handle bars, and other upgrades

Panaracer T-Serve tires, NITTO handle bars, and other upgrades

T-Serve

The natural compound of the T-Serve is supple, even plush, an absolute pleasure to ride on. This tire offers incredible grip in dirt, slush and dry roads, even sandy street corners. This is the tire I run on my cycle cross bike.

 Shikoro tires

Shikoro tires

Shikoro

Perhaps the answer to the question of which tire is the best touring option, the Shikoro is certainly embraced by the CX community. This quick armored tire protects against punctures; has low rolling resistance, and is comprised of a high mileage compound. Need a tire for all types of street riding, even over corrugated roads? Try the Shikoro.

Being dependent on my own bicycle for transportation, fitness, and fun I expect it to perform safely. Bicycle tires are a most important component for a safe ride. Let us know if you have specific questions about bike tires, it is a favorite topic at the shop and I have only just touched the surface of the choices to consider.


A good habit for all bike owners to develop, for safety’s sake, is to set aside 30 minutes every week to;

  • lube your bicycle chain,
  • pump up your tires,
  • and examine your tires for cuts or scrapes.

Blogs and links that I have been enjoying

I really like to cook which is one reason why I really like to ride bike but during the busy season I just read recipes:

  • https://www.davidlebovitz.com/category/recipes/
  • http://www.carvingthyme.com/

I have never been a big fan of the NYC Bike Snob but his column in Outside Magazine is less profane and touches on issues that effect city cyclists... oh he is a big fan of Panaracer tires too!

  • https://www.outsideonline.com/2300386/many-pitfalls-cycling-fitness

650b wheel size the new normal

by michelle bontrager in


 Breezer's Doppler

Breezer's Doppler

  Plus sized tires, the new normal

Bicycle trends, every 6 months there is another one to question. New trends introduced as industry standards, typically originating from the racing community, leave me perplexed trying to justify their general usefulness. I suppose that bicycle manufacturers must meet the pressures of remaining relevant to the ever fickle consumer. One new trend that I do appreciate is the plus sized tires.

For the past 11 years, when customers come into our bike shop for new tires I have been recommending the fattest tire that their bike frame will accommodate. Riding on 700X23 tires? I’ll try to fit 700X28s, have 26X1.75 tires? why not try 26X2.0. A wider tire provides the ride qualities that city commuters appreciate such as;

  • stability
  • durability and
  • better grip for cornering.

Many bicycle manufacturers are finally outfitting new bike models with plus sized tires.

 Plus sized tires on Breezer's Doppler Cafe

Plus sized tires on Breezer's Doppler Cafe

I certainly do not want to drag on any cyclist who enjoys commuting on their 700Xskinny tire but city streets are not getting any smoother. Most of us non-competitive types just want to get to our destination.  By riding a slightly wider tire you can avoid;

  • a jarring ride over pot-holed city streets
  • pinched flats, or
  • catching your wheel in a street groove.

A few years back I took this idea even further by following the trend, originating from Northern California, of converting a 700c wheel set to 650bs. This wheel conversion allows me to ride chubbier tires, adding a bit of versatility to my steel road bike. 650b wheels were the French touring standard decades ago. Later they could be occasionally observed stateside on a classic re-build or perhaps on a quirky hand built bike until now curious cyclists are converting their road bikes for the sake of a plus sized tire option.

 650b wheels on my Soma

650b wheels on my Soma

Certainly mountain bike designers, based in Northern California, caught wind of this 650b trend. Since the early 2000s mountain bike manufacturers had mostly insisted that the 29er wheel size be embraced as the best choice for all-terrain bikes (ATB). The large 29” wheel diameter allows off-road riders to roll over obstacles with ease. Yet a certain nostalgia for the traditional 26” wheels that maneuver and accelerate quickly persisted.

 First introduced in 2017 here is the 2018 Radar by Breezer

First introduced in 2017 here is the 2018 Radar by Breezer

 Radar features big 29ers

Radar features big 29ers

In response ATB manufacturers re-introduced the 650b wheel size as the new “just right” wheel for all. They are not far off! 650b being slightly larger than the old 26” yet smaller than the 29er feels like a natural fit for many off-road riders. Suddenly the 650b wheel has moved from being the quirky European uncle to a possible industry standard, a standard that makes sense. The mountain bike industry wants this all-around wheel size to be promoted as a fresh idea so they label it the 27.5" wheel size.

 Doppler's 1 X 11, sleek drive train

Doppler's 1 X 11, sleek drive train

In 2017 Joe Breeze, of Breezer bikes, introduced a line of fully rigid adventure bikes designed for on and off road riding. We brought in their Radar which, like most 29ers, simply glides over rough terrain. This year we added the newest addition to Breezer's adventure series, the Doppler.  The Doppler features a wide tire profile like the Radar but in a 650b wheel size. It’s stylish, comfortable, sporty, responsive….. could this be the perfect bike?!!

Joe Breeze must have had a Western mind-set when he designed the Doppler. You can ride this bike downtown to The Market for an early morning pastry then take it up to the mountains for a weekend of trail riding all with a smile on your face.

There is a quick and responsive feel to the Doppler. It’s Chromoly frame set provides the foundation for the Doppler’s ride quality but those 650b wheels… they are the core to the bike’s stable handling. Because of the Doppler’s wheel size Breezer was able shorten the chain stay with a lower bottom bracket drop for the most enjoyable new bike I have ridden this year.  It has a classic road bike touring geometry meaning that this is a bike you can ride for a day or for a week without experiencing road fatigue.

The Doppler’s achievements include:

  • heel clearance and braze-ons for fenders, racks, and panniers
  • steel frame is agile yet comfortable
  • plus sized tires absorb road shock, adding to its comfort.

I have had so much fun on my own 650bs these last 6 years I’m pleased that bike manufacturers have embraced this wheel size. If you are shopping for a fun and versatile bike I urge you to consider a 650b.

 Breezer's Doppler Cafe

Breezer's Doppler Cafe


Custom Bike Buld, Soma San Marcos

by michelle bontrager in


A while back we built a San Marcos frame set for a neighbor who had just moved to California. This is the type of build that will stand the test of time. The San Marcos is a somewhat relaxed road bike or a sporty touring frame just depends on your outlook. Either way this is the bike that will be a joy to ride day after day on any type of path

 fenders and frame pump detail

fenders and frame pump detail

 NITTO stem and handlebars

NITTO stem and handlebars

 built for all conditions

built for all conditions

San Marcos Build Details:

  • Front Hub Schmidt SON dynamo hub
  • Rear Hub Phil Wood
  • Front head light Schmidt Edelux
  • Brakes Paul's Components
  • Shifters Dia Compe
  • Seat Post NITTO
  • Stem NITTO
  • Handle bar NITTO Grand Randoneer

Custom Bike Build and other joys

by michelle bontrager in


Pooh asked “What day is it?” “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day,” said Pooh.
— AA Milne

We are back home and open for business. After many months of reading, planning, and researching we managed to pull off an unprecedented 2-week camping trip abroad.  It was time to explore a different corner of the world and what a phenomenal trip it was. We experienced a few bumps in the road but doesn’t this speak to life in general?!

This lesson learned certainly applies to bicycle shopping. You can easily spend many months reading, planning, and researching about different bicycles. Picturing yourself breezing along on a crisp spring afternoon, with a friend, enjoying the bright sun on your shoulders, a true Zen moment. Bicycling brings joy to your daily grind but it may require a bit of work, maybe even a little sacrifice. I gently ask you to consider a few of the following recommendations in your quest for the perfect bicycling experience;

  • Practice bicycle handling skills
  • Purchase a bicycle that fits the terrain you plan to ride.
  Gallus Cycles  custom frame set

Gallus Cycles custom frame set

Bicycling is the keystone to an active lifestyle. I can't think of a more efficient way to explore our neighborhood, complete errands, and stay energized. Whether you are physically fit or not bicycle handling skills take thought and practice. If you commit to riding your bicycle at least 3 times a week in a matter of 3 weeks you will become a much more confident rider. I am always looking for an excuse to ride my bicycle and try to add a few core workouts in-between. Flexibility and strength will allow you the confidence to ride and the more you ride the easier it becomes.

 lug detail

lug detail

Selecting a bicycle that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle is an important step to achieving your bicycling Zen moment too. We'll happily offer you ideas for your next perfect bicycle be it a city specific bike, a gravel bike, a fixie, or a custom steel-frame road bike. It isn’t necessary to own 4 different bicycles but it does pay dividends to own a bicycle that reflects your personality. 

Since cycling brings fitness and joy I would not regard the purchase of a custom built bicycle as an unwarranted extravagance, how could you? Which leads to the next story.

Nine years ago, at our previous location on Lowell Blvd, we met our neighbor Treasure. After many visits to another bike shop she was totally frustrated with her bike because the derailleur would not hold its adjustment. I convinced her that Ethan would be able to diagnose the problem and in turn help her avoid purchasing a new replacement bike. She agreed and for all these years she has pedaled her bike reliably around town, on week long bike tours, and throughout Colorado trails without a peep from the derailleur.  This year Treasure decided to purchase a new bicycle for the sheer joy of it. 

 Phil Wood rear hub and bottom bracket

Phil Wood rear hub and bottom bracket

 After much contemplation she chose to have Gallus Cycles build her steel frame set and have Ethan complete the component selection. Ethan carefully chose her components balancing the weight, reliability, and cost of each piece. With this particular build Ethan heavily considered reliable and durable components that will withstand cycle tours through the remote regions of the Southwest, areas in which Treasure enjoys riding with family and friends. Treasure’s bicycle is a beautiful machine, may it lead her to that Zen state all cyclists strive for.

 Schmidt's Edelux front light, Soma New Xpress tires, Paul's Components rim brakes, NITTO stem

Schmidt's Edelux front light, Soma New Xpress tires, Paul's Components rim brakes, NITTO stem

 NITTO handlebar, Cinelli cork tape

NITTO handlebar, Cinelli cork tape

 Paul's rim brakes are solid

Paul's rim brakes are solid

Component Highlights

  • Front Hub Schmidt SON Delux SL
  • Rear Hub Phil Wood
  • Rims Soma Weymouth
  • Crankset Sugino Touring 3-ring
  • Bottom Bracket Phil Wood
  • Headset IRD polished
  • Stem NITTO Crystem
  • Handlebars NITTO Randonneur
  • Dynamo Lights Schmidt Edelux front

Cycling in the city of Frankfurt, Germany

by michelle bontrager in


_DSC3285.jpg

A few weeks ago my brother, our friend Chris, and I had an unavoidable eight-hour layover at the Frankfurt airport while traveling to our vacation destination. Typically I don’t get excited about such layovers I simply utilize the time to nap before the next leg of the journey but Chris was adamant that we all trug into Frankfurt’s town center for a look and with furthor encouragement from our Lufthansa agent we agreed to accompany her.  After tucking our bags into the airport’s luggage-hold center and figuring out which of a dozen trains to catch from the terminal we were off to town for the day.

 most cyclists have bonnets on their saddles to protect them from the rain

most cyclists have bonnets on their saddles to protect them from the rain

It’s been over six years since I’ve traveled through Germany and was immediately reminded of the cycling culture that I had enjoyed on those visits. Even on a grey drizzly February morning the Frankfurters were out and about on their bicycles!

Pleasures enjoyed by City Cyclists in Frankfurt, Germany

  • German city dwellers ride slowly in regular street clothes, not a stitch of lycra was seen
  • All of the bicycles featured a cargo carrying area, either a rack or a basket or both
  • Most of the bicycles have fenders
  • Bicyclists have the right-away in traffic, above cars and pedestrians, in fact cyclists are free to ride on streets, bicycle paths, and even on the sidewalk with pedestrians
  • Everyone is totally calm and paying attention to traffic, neither pedestrians nor car drivers exhibit anger or impatience with cyclists.
 Abus locks, Schwalbe tires, as German as Curry Wurst

Abus locks, Schwalbe tires, as German as Curry Wurst

I haven’t ridden a lot in German metropolitan centers like Frankfurt but have completed two bicycle tours through the German countryside with my husband. On those trips we primarily rode on bicycle paths. The government designed an all-national, intricate bicycle path system that leads cyclists along scenic countryside routes and seamlessly through the small cities and towns in-between.  The few times we chose to ride on tarmac the motorized vehicles gave us plenty of berth.  

It was so refreshing to be in a bicycle centric culture if only for a day. I ask, why can’t our communities adopt some of the German bicycle infrastructure design?  

My bicycle rights wish list

  • Bicycle boulevards that crisscross Denver's city center enabling cyclists to reach their destinations without the hassle of yielding to motorized vehicles at every intersection
  • enforcement of the existing traffic laws that support cyclists
  • Alert and attentive car drivers.

l will continue to ride my bicycle throughout my home city even if cyclists aren’t allowed the same rights as our Northern Europe brethren. The more of us that are on the streets the more likely are rights will be recognized.

Recommendations for riding with city traffic;

  • remain cognizant of your surroundings
  • obey the traffic laws as much as possible
  • hold your line
  • remain calm.  
breezertransportationcat.jpg

Riding a bicycle designed specifically for city riding makes the entire experience all that more enjoyable. At Queen City Cycle we sell the Breezer brand of transportation bicycles which are specifically designed in the European tradition. For as little as $450 you have a solid bicycle sporting an upright riding position that handles well in traffic and allows the rider to observe her surroundings easily. A city bicycle, like a Breezer, is the first step towards incorporating cycling to your daily, active routine.

We're open Weekdays and Saturdays: 10-6, Sundays 11-4, closed on Tuesdays.