Rebuild of a Classic Bianchi Road Bike

by michelle bontrager in

One of our latest projects, a vintage Bianchi, was once considered a quick racing bike. With the advent of lightweight composite frames sets this Italian number fell from favor, left to sit in the basement inactive and ignored.

Lugged Steel Frame Set

Lugged Steel Frame Set

Sure modern road bikes have experienced many reiterations and improvements since the 1980’s when this Bianchi was manufactured, yet there really wasn’t anything wrong with the Bike. It’s key components were in working order and the frame and fork were in excellent condition.

It’s highly unlikely that this steel road bike will be raced upon again but it could certainly be made rideable with a complete tune up.

Original Components Include;

  • Araya Wheel set

  • Bianchi Headset

  • Dia Compe Brakes

  • Shimano Dura Ace Downtube Shifters

Components and Parts Replaced

  • Panaracer Pasela tires, 700x28

  • Brake Pads

  • KMC Chain

  • Free Wheel

  • NITTO Swept Back Handlebar

  • Pedals and Saddle

Original Components include: Dia Compe Brakes and Bianchi Headset

Original Components include: Dia Compe Brakes and Bianchi Headset

Original Down Tube Shifters

Original Down Tube Shifters

We replaced the skinny road tires for 700x28c, the widest tire that this retired race frame would allow. The original drop bars sported a super deep bend so it made sense to install a citified NITTO swept back bar which is still classic looking yet allows the rider to negotiate city traffic easier. Now this lugged steel road bike not only pleases the eye but will be a reliable city bike for someone to utilize.  

Bianchi Road Bike_5470.jpg
  • size: 47 cm

  • wheel: 700c

  • Price: $395

Handlebar Conversion might remedy bike fit problems

by michelle bontrager in

Thumbies by Paul Component Engineering, mounts for bar end shifters

Thumbies by Paul Component Engineering, mounts for bar end shifters

  • I can’t find my center of gravity

  • My neck hurts

  • My hands go numb

  • My back aches

There is a euphoria that occurs with a new bicycle purchase. Who doesn’t succumb to the excitement of a shiny new machine that holds promises for new adventures ahead? Sometimes after the initial excitement of the purchase has worn off, maybe after a few rides you might find that the fit is a tad off. Hints like a sore back or numb hands could be indicators that your bike fit may need to be adjusted. Pain and discomfort should not be part of your cycling experience.

The first step to adjusting your bicycle for comfort is to double check your seat position. Make sure that your bike seat height and angle are adjusted correctly. Your legs should fully extend on the downstroke as you pedal and your sit bones should be located on the widest part of the saddle. Adjust the seat height and/or it’s placement on the rails to achieve the optimal seating position.

Then ride your new bicycle for 2 weeks. It takes about 14 rides to get your bike legs back if you haven’t been cycling for awhile. If you aren’t enjoying yourself by this time then we need to check your stance on the bike.

The three most common changes made to a bike to make it more comfortable are the:

  1. saddle

  2. stem

  3. handlebar style

Bicycle manufacturers choose components for their factory builds based on price, availability, and what might fit the majority of consumers. It is not surprising that these components sometimes need to be changed out in order to fit your unique anatomy.

Recently our neighbor, Carol, brought her brand new Surly Cross Check to us for a fit assessment. Carol purchased a Surly as a sporty upgrade to the clunky hybrid that she previously rode around town. Yet her new hip bike was causing such discomfort that she was avoiding cycling altogether.

We talked to Carol about her riding goals and looked at her stance on the Surly. The shop where she purchased the bike sold her the correct size frame but the style of the handlebars were causing her to feel unsteady. After considering several of our handlebar recommendations Carol chose a NITTO flat bar which sports an ergonomic bend at the grip area. This led to a new slightly longer stem as well. These two changes made all the difference for Carol. Her bike maintains a sportiness that she desired and with new handlebars sized to her body type she handles the bike with panache.

NITTO straight bars

NITTO straight bars

New stem, handlebars, brake levers, shifter mounts.

New stem, handlebars, brake levers, shifter mounts.

Incorrect Bicycle Fit Symptoms:

  • Neck Pain

  • Hand Numbness

  • Lower back pain

  • Groin pain

  • Knee pain

First Tier Solutions to Bicycle Fit Problems

  • Saddle

  • Posture

  • Cockpit adjustments; handlebars, stem

Brooks Professional Leather Saddle with copper rivets

Brooks Professional Leather Saddle with copper rivets


Your saddle should be level and your sit bones should be placed directly on its widest part. If your saddle is still causing discomfort it is time to shop for a new style. An improper saddle adjustment can cause groin, back, or knee pain. We recommend leather saddles because the natural material conforms to your anatomy.

Poor posture

Perhaps the hardest part of the bicycle fit is being conscious of how we hold our bodies. Core and tricep strength as well as your flexibility will greatly aid your riding style. Think about improving your posture throughout the day. Develop good habits with repetition and work. As you engage your core and your posture improves you will alleviate neck, hand, and lower back pain, especially on those longer bike rides.

Handlebar style

A new pair of bars will change your ride experience more than any other change made to your bicycle. Handlebar choice is based on your body size and your riding goals. A proper handlebar and stem combination will address neck, hand, wrist, and shoulder pain.

NITTO quill stem

NITTO quill stem

Jones H-Bars replaced straight bars

Jones H-Bars replaced straight bars

Sometimes a few millimeters of adjustments make the difference from an agonizing bicycle fit to a comfortable one, other times a few component changes need to be made. Bring your bicycle by if it’s causing you discomfort and we’ll gladly offer recommendations. Bicycling season is upon us, time for you to get ready.

Custom Soma Buena Vista City Bike

by michelle bontrager

Panaracer Co de la Vie, 650B

Riding the same bicycle for 21 years is no mean feat. The fact that it’s still in her possession is a testament to proper security and the smooth running drivetrain is more than ample proof of it receiving proper care and maintenance.  

There really isn’t anything wrong with that old red mountain bike, the steel frame is in good condition. But then the long stem and knobby tires were designed to slam down mountain trails not neighborhood streets. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a new sleek machine to zip around town, the place where she lives.

We agreed with him wholeheartedly. Carolyn, his wife, would certainly appreciate a new bicycle to celebrate Spring of 2019. She won’t be commuting to work but she will be hopping on the South Platte or Cherry Creek bike trail for an afternoon of cycling fun and she will most definitely be bike riding in the city.

After talking with Carolyn we kept the attributes she enjoyed from her mountain bike. She really liked it’s;

  • sporty ride with an athletic position

  • smaller diameter wheel size for quick handling

  • wide range of gears for accomplishing hills

Frame Set

Soma Fabrication’s Buena Vista, a modern mixte design that recalls the classic European mixtes of the 1980s. The newest incarnation of the Buena Vista is painted a pearlescent white and is disc brake compatible resulting in a visually pleasing frame with the potential for being very sporty.

Wheel Set

650B wheel size is a nice compromise between Carolyn’s old 26” mountain bike wheel size and the larger 700c road bike wheel size. She will appreciate the quick handling of a smaller wheel size. The 650B rims allow her to run a slightly wider tire, offering comfort and stability on our rough city streets. We recommended a traditional boxy rim and high flange hubs, these details match the classic lines of the Buena Vista and add to the durability of the wheel.

MKS touring pedals, New Albion crankset

The Drive Train

A 2X9 drive train will allow Carolyn a wide range of gears for accomplishing hills and even an occasional mountain path.

Paul Engineering Component Thumbies with Shimano bar end shifters

The Cockpit

The Ahearn handlebars have an ergonomic bend at the grip area, relieving the pressure Carolyn’s wrists felt on her old straight bars.

Carolyn's' new Buena Vista was built as a sporty city bike with the potential for long road rides and even jaunts up and down mountain paths.  Here are some of the build details:

      • Frame & Fork ChroMoly, Pearlescent White

      • Rims Soma Weymouth

      • Hubs Velo Orange wide flange

      • Crankset New Albion

      • Cassette SRAM 9-speed

      • Headset Tange

      • Shifter Shimano bar end

      • Shifter Mount Paul Component Engineering

      • Stem Soma Shotwell

      • Seat Post Soma Layback

      • Handlebars Ahearne MAP

      • Pedals MKS touring

      • Tires Panaracer Randonnee

Close Out of all in-stock 2018 Bicycles!

by michelle bontrager in

The month of March along the Front Range can produce lovely Spring conditions but more typically it is a month of unpredictable heavy wet snow storms. This intermitant weather creates a problem for bike shops trying to get the neighborhood psyched for the Season!

650b Doppler by Breezer Bikes

650b Doppler by Breezer Bikes

We’ve decided to create a little incentive for Spring Fever by marking all 2018 bicycle 20% off until they are sold out. We have some great options in stock just check out our New Bikes Page.

650B Adventure Bike

650B Adventure Bike

Soma Pescadero Endurance Road Bike Build

by michelle bontrager in ,

Soma Pescadero Endurance Road Bike

Soma Pescadero Endurance Road Bike

Soma Fabrications’ Pescadero road bike

  • Chromoly frame set

  • Stiff Breezer-style dropouts

  • Accepts front and rear racks

  • 700 x 38mm clearance size optimal

  • Road sport geometry suitable for all-day riding

  • Available in Colonial Blue, finished fenders optional.

Our friend Sean excitedly texted us one morning with a link to The Gravel Grinder Tour of the Canyons. A 160-mile, mostly self-supported, ride on old roads that stretch from Grand Junction to Moab. This non-technical route is comprised of worn asphalt roads and dirt paths with plenty of elevation gain and steep scenic descents.

Our conversation quickly turned to what kind of bicycle would be appropriate for this unique tour. Sean, a loyal Soma Fab customer, had been eyeing the Pescadero frame set for a few months. We all decided it’s specifications were perfectly suited to this trip. The Pescadero’s road-like geometry will allow Sean to quickly accomplish the mountain passes and it’s relaxed head tube height will hold steady on sharp descents.

Sean quickly decided to have us pull together the component package for his new Pescadero. Before we began recommending specific components we carefully considered Sean’s bicycling goals, abilities, his height and measurements, and we even talked about the styling details he had in mind. A new bicycle build isn’t the the only way to achieve the perfect bike but it is the most efficient way and we were on our way to the perfect machine for a Rocky Mountain bicycle tour.

A new bike build is organized into 4 major categories.

Frame set

We look at your size, weight, and riding style before we decide upon a frame set recommendation. We consider the type of terrain you typically ride, and what plans you might have for your riding future


The type of wheels are sometimes chosen in conjunction with the frame set. You may know exactly which frame set and/or type of wheel you want for your new bicycle. But if you are open to suggestions we will eagerly outline several options for you to choose from based on your body type and your cycling goals.

Wheel Size

There are predominately 3 popular wheel diameters to choose from. Sean is most comfortable on  700c wheels so we knew the Pescadero frame set would be a great fit for him. Since he already has several bikes with huskier type of rims paired with plus sized tires we recommended a different wheel style for his Pescadero, something lighter and a bit more aerodynamic.

After the wheel diameter is selected it’s time to decide between standard factory built wheels or a special pair of bespoke wheels. Hand built wheels are stronger, hold their true longer, and allow you to choose exactly which rim model, hubs, and type of spokes you prefer. Sean wanted a nice looking pair of wheels that would withstand off road conditions. He decided that the hand built wheel option was the best route for him.

The Drive Train

The drive train choice varies from an internally geared hub to a traditional drive train with derailleurs. We will help you determine how many gears are necessary for your cycling goals. Sean specifically requested Shimano’s DuraAce 2x10 drivetrain, a very popular choice for road cyclists. We performed a few modifications to allow it to work smoothly with the Pescadero.

The Cockpit

The components that determine your comfort while on the bicycle directly correspond to the cockpit; the handlebars, stem, head tube, and everything you actually touch while riding. We’ll analyze your body measurements to help determine specific recommendations to your frame. These are also the components that can be easily replaced later as your riding style or even your flexibility changes.

Sean’s Pescadero

We were weight conscious with this bike build since Sean will be riding up multiple mountain passes on the Gravel Grinder tour. The weight considerations of each component was carefully balanced with it’s durability and ease of adjustment for Sean while he’s out on tour. In the end Sean’s bike is one of the fastest Pescadero’s I have ever had the pleasure to test ride. It’s light, responsive, and agile.

  • Rims  Velocity Quill, polished. These are durable, lightweight, American made rims with an Aerodynamic quality to them.

  • Hubs   Chris King polished

  • Spokes  Bladed

  • Bottom Bracket Chris King

  • Crankset  Sugino

  • Rim Brakes Paul Component Engineering Racer Brakes, center pull calipers. Rim brakes are light and more easily maintained out on the trail. They provide substantial stopping power if they are properly adjusted and especially if they are manufactured by Paul Component Engineering.

  • Shifter/brake lever  Shimano Dura Ace

  • Derailleurs Shimano

  • Rear Cassette Shimano DuraAce

  • Headset Chris King

  • Handlebars NITTO Randoneer Drop

  • Seat Post Paul’s Components, Tall and Handsome polished

  • Saddle Brooks B17 Ti

  • Tires Soma Fab Supple Vitesse. 700 x 38mm tires are the optimal size for the Pescadero frame if you want the option to install fenders. This will be a great all around tire size for any type of dirt riding.

  • Pedals MKS Next Touring

  • Bottle Cage King Cage Ti

Training for your next bicycle tour

by michelle bontrager in

Ethan in Switzerland

Ethan in Switzerland

It’s been a long while since I have been on a bicycle tour but I expect that drought to end this year. Maybe I can find a new place to explore. Somewhere that offers challenging climbs, seascapes on the horizon, gravel trails that meander through quaint towns, and clean campsites available every night.  If 2019 doesn’t allow me an international bike trip there are plenty of options in our home state too.

Road in Tuscany

Road in Tuscany

My last dedicated bicycle trip was in 2011. My husband and I rode our bicycles up and down the rolling hills of Tuscany for 2 weeks. (Let me know if you would like to hear about that trip).

the people, the sights!

the people, the sights!

lunch is always a highlight on a bicycle tour

lunch is always a highlight on a bicycle tour

Experiencing the natural environment from the bicycle saddle is unlike any other travel experience. Not only does time slow down, but you taste your surroundings with all of your senses. There are many ways to approach this type of trip. Before I begin researching the logistics for my 2019 bike tour I have already begun physical training.

You never know who you will meet on top of the pass, food truck in the French Alps.

You never know who you will meet on top of the pass, food truck in the French Alps.

Once I arrived to in France for a 2 week bike tour through Alsace Lorraine and Germany without completing any pre-training whatsoever. I had hoped that my daily commuting habit would provide enough of a base for the trip, unfortunately not. On those first few days on tour I was only able to ride comfortably for a few hours at a time. My lack of physical preparation was frustrating until my stamina finally kicked in.

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them.... Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motorcar only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.
— Ernest Hemingway , Selected Articles and Dispatches of Four Decades by Ernest Hemingway. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
Wald Rear basket

Wald Rear basket

I urge you not to make that mistake. whether you are planning a solo two day bike adventure or a 2-week bicycle tour with friends you should begin training as soon as you can, 4 months is the minimum that I recommend. With a little physical training you will hold yourself in a better position on the saddle and ultimately be more comfortable.

Four Month Bike Training Schedule

My 4-month training schedule is a loose guideline for non-competitive cyclists. Competitive cyclists have much more rigorous training schedules involving resting heart rate and revolutions per minute. I don’t have the patience for this type of training. I simply want to capably ride for 4-6 hours a day with enough energy left to enjoy my evening meal.

Base Training

16 weeks before your bicycle tour

  • Begin riding 4-6 days per week, try for a total of 4-5 hours per week

  • 300-500 miles the first month is a strong goal

  • Concentrate on high rate of revolutions per minute, use all your gears. Do not crush it with a high gear ratio

  • Ride in all weather, because you will have to do the same on your bicycle trip.

Strength Training

12 weeks before your trip

  • Once or twice a week do intervals. Ride as hard as you can for 2-3 minutes, ride easy for 3 minutes, continue intervals for 20 minutes

  • Incorporate core workouts on your non-spin days

  • Complete longer rides on your non-interval days, these are your spin days.

Endurance Training

8 weeks before your trip

  • Take longer rides 1 or 2 times a week for 40-50 miles

  • Practice finishing as strong as you start

4 Weeks before your trip

Reduce strength training

  • Start spending as much time in the saddle as feasible

  • Intervals are not as important now

  • Ride with weight in the panniers you’ll be utilizing

  • Make an appointment with your bike mechanic

Week Before

  • Taper off your riding

  • Let your muscles rebuild

  • Take your bike in for it’s scheduled check-up

  • Pack

Basic Calisthenics

A stable core helps with balance, your posture, and makes you a more efficient rider. After a month of travel, cold winter weather, and socializing I’ll be returning to my basic routine of calisthenics and modest weight lifting soon, very soon.

My typical routine includes 10-20 minutes of sit-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges at least 3 times a week.

If you have a bad heart or other health problems please coordinate your bicycle training plans with a trained professional like a Physical Therapist or a Doctor.

These training techniques are flexible allowing you to adopt the mileage goal that fits with your abilities. It is much easier to maintain a consistent schedule if you note your progress on a calendar or maybe create a WhatsApp group to keep you motivated. Remember that the primary objective is for you to enjoy bike riding, even throughout the training process. The end result will be spectacular.

Slow ascent in Tuscan hills

Slow ascent in Tuscan hills

Merry Christmas - Happy Holidays

by michelle bontrager in

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

The Front Range is going to enjoy a few more sunny days before Christmas arrives so I hope you take the chance to grab your bike for a quick ride around the neighborhood. If you happen to find yourself on West 35th Avenue stop in to say hi! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Jolly Times everyone!

Gift Ideas

  • Gift Certificate

Available in any denomination and can be used for service, bike parts or accessories.

  • Classy Canvas Saddle Bag

We have English panniers, saddlebags, and handlebar bags in stock, available in a variety of sizes. .

  • Brooks English Leather saddles

  • Multi-tools and doodads

We’re open through Christmas Eve and will be closed for Dec. 25-26. Happy Holidays!

A Classic Bike Refurbished

by michelle bontrager in

Triumph bike manufactured in England

Triumph bike manufactured in England

Witnessing loving relationships is such a joy. As a retailer, I have met many happy couples and never tire of hearing the stories of how they met, when they first realized that they shared a deep connection, or how they maintain their love through the tribulations of life. Their stories inspire me.

The small things we do for our loved one at home is a clear testament of our adoration and commitment to one another. Rituals such as preparing breakfast for your lover, offering a warm squeeze before heading out the door, or brewing a pot of tea on a cold winter’s afternoon, these actions become the foundation of our relationships.

Triumph English bicycle

Triumph English bicycle

But then once in a while a big surprise adds just the right amount of excitement to the mix. It’s not the parties, warm drinks, or cozy evenings tucked in that makes the holiday season the most romantic time of the year it’s the presents! Giving gifts communicates our affection and in a way demonstrates that we have been listening. It’s the best feeling in the world when we find just the right gift.

More often than not a new bicycle is the perfect surprise gift or in the case of Scott and Shannon a restored classic bicycle was the perfect surprise gift. Knowing that Shannon appreciates the aesthetics of classic bicycles Scott found a wonderful English 3-speed for her. He kindly chose our shop to complete it’s restoration.

When we receive a project of this nature we interview the owner of the bike in order to understand their expectations. We have worked on Shannon and Scott’s bicycles for many years and understood that Shannon enjoys riding her bike to her job located in central Denver, and she enjoys riding around the Highlands neighborhood with her family. Our intent was to maintain the integrity of the original bicycle but also make it enjoyable to ride.

Brand new Sturmey Archer 5-speed Internally Geared Hub

Brand new Sturmey Archer 5-speed Internally Geared Hub

One of Scott’s first concerns was the condition of the original wheel set. We agreed with him that an upgraded wheel set with modern hubs would clearly make the Triumph easier to ride in our hilly neighborhood. The boxy, shiny rims we used match the Triumph’s vintage style. The rear wheel features a new Sturmey Archer 5-speed internally geared hub giving Shannon a better range of gears than the original 3-speed. The front wheel has a new dynamo hub to generate her brand new Bush+Muller LED light system. We installed a vintage vegan seat since Shannon is a strict vegetarian.

Upon completion of this project Shannon received a bicycle that will reliably take her through our city neighborhoods day and night. The vintage, beveled shiny fenders will keep her clean, and the rear rack can carry her essentials for the day. The perfect bike for Shannon.

We currently have a few vintage frame sets in the shop that can be restored upon request. But even easier, all of our 2018 bicycles are marked down 15% off for the holidays!

Shannon’s Bicycle

  • Bespoke wheel set

  • Shimano dynamo front hub

  • Sturmey Archer 5-speed rear hub

  • B+M light system

  • Vintage saddle (non-leather)

  • Vintage fender set

  • Linus rear rack

  • Schwalbe cream tires

  • new cables and gold housing

  • Full overhaul

All Inventory has been discounted

by michelle bontrager

Crane Bells are 25% off

Crane Bells are 25% off

Winter will be here in one short month and we are still enjoying bicycling along the front range. Clear skies, brisk air, let’s keep it going.

We realize the inevitable will be upon us soon enough and this year we have too much inventory left in the store. Easy remedy, Store Wide Clearance Sale! All bicycle accessories are at least 25% off through the month of November.

  • 15% off all 2018 bikes

  • 25% off everything else.

Look for:

  • Japanese tires

  • NITTO handlebars and Jones Bars

  • Brook’s English Leather saddles, saddles bags, and grips

  • Bike lights

  • Baskets and racks.

There is too much to list so plan to stop in and see for yourself!

Our reduced hours for Thanksgiving Weekend are:

Thursday: closed

Friday & Saturday: 10-5

Sunday: 11-4

Monday: 10-5

Resume normal hours on Tuesday, Novemeber 27.

Dynamo Bike Lights

by michelle bontrager in

Schmidt’s SON dynamo hub

Schmidt’s SON dynamo hub

Bicycling and the Brain

It has been proven, without a doubt, that children and adults who incorporate cycling into their lifestyle are both physically and mentally healthier than non-cyclists.  I am most excited about the science showing that cyclists who ride bike more than 30 minutes a day and three times a week increase the size of the hippocampus region of their brain! The hippocampus is responsible for memory, emotion, and learning. The brain enhancing benefits of cycling become apparent after just 6 months of consistent cycling. Well let’s keep on riding then!

Since the Front Range is enjoying fantastic weather this week all the better to continue on with your cycling habit. Just remember to keep your bike lights handy because the days are definitely getting shorter.

light set for $46.00

light set for $46.00

We have been stocking up on affordable USB-rechargeable lights from Cateye and Busch+Muller.

Schmidt Edelux head light

Schmidt Edelux head light

The absolute best bike light solution to consider is a dynamo system. A front dynamo hub generates power to your front and rear lights from your cadence. As soon as you begin pedaling your bike lights are charged and on.  No more lost lights, no more batteries, no more concern about recharging.

Schmidt’s SON dynamo hub and Busch+Muller head light

Schmidt’s SON dynamo hub and Busch+Muller head light

Many of our subscribers have purchased bicycles with dynamo-generated lights, instantly ready to face the short winter days. Just contact us if you are having any problems with your dynamo lights or want to upgrade to a set of brighter lights.

Everyone else should consider adding a dynamo light system if only in the name of good brain health. Once you have a good light system installed on your bicycle riding before or after work in the dark will no longer be an issue. Dynamo LED lights broadcast light beams just as good as a motorized vehicle.

Dynamo Lights are:  

  • Weather-proof

  • Theft-proof, they are bolted onto the bicycle

  • Reliable bright lights that traffic will see

I have reviewed the process for installing a dynamo light system in a previous blog but just drop by the shop and we can discuss ideas that will suit your bicycling needs.


About Me

I have biked the streets of Denver for 33 years and I still enjoy racing cars up 17th Street from Union Station. Not sure how large my hippocampus is by now but I feel great!

Review of Surly's Pack Rat

by michelle bontrager in

We sell and build fun to ride, all-around steel bikes at Queen City Cycle. Often these type of bicycles are labeled as; touring, adventure, gravel grinder, cyclocross, or randonneur bicycles. We like to keep it simple we describe our line-up as all-around bikes that will reliably take you there.


Pack Rat by Surly Bikes

Surly’s new 650b bicycle, the Pack Rat, falls into our favorite all-around bike description. The Pack Rat is a chromoly frame set with “not too skinny” tires, and a dependable component package. We brought in the Pack Rat in as soon as possible and have been duly impressed.


You may have noticed that a lot of cyclists have been attaching front racks to their bicycles with mixed results. Many road bikes and other 700c bikes are encumbered by a 30lb load attached to the front of the frame.  Surly set out to design a bike frame that will carry a front load without compromising the handling of the bike. They succeeded! Surly’s new Pack Rat is totally stable with a front load, it’s downright nimble.

Although it is classified as a touring bike you won’t want to enlist the Pack Rat just for tours, it’s just too much fun to ride. The Pack Rat rides so well with a full front load this is the bike I choose for shopping and commuting in and around town.  The frame features a lowish trail geometry combine the frame geometry with the 650b wheel set, the Pack Rat is indeed an ideal choice for hill climbing and gravel rides. This is the type of frame set that any cyclist craves for their all day rides.

I agree with the Surly folks in choosing Cantilever rim brakes, they are lightweight, affordable, and easy to work on while out on the trail. Lastly the rear drop outs will accommodate multiple drive train configurations including an internally geared hub.

The factory build at $1345 is a great price for such a handsome bike. Other features to expect are:

  • 650b rims are tubeless compatible

  • Panaracer ‘s Panceti Tires

  • Eyelets everywhere for water bottles, stash bags, and rear rack

  • 2x10 drive train

  • Front porteur rack


We are thrilled to have Surly’s new model in the shop, their Pack Rat model hits the mark on what every Denver cyclist is looking for.

Soma Fabrications Double Cross Disc

by michelle bontrager in , ,

Hand built wheel set, NITTO rear rack, dynamo light system

Hand built wheel set, NITTO rear rack, dynamo light system

Story of a Custom Double Cross Disc (CX) bike

These hot summer days are an exciting time for us at the bike shop, people are out of doors riding and walking by our narrow storefront from the time we open to the time we close.  We have fun chatting with fellow cyclists about their planned bicycle adventures for the months ahead. And these discussions inevitably lead to opinions of what the perfect bicycle encompasses.

Sometimes these discussions even lead to someone wanting us build a custom bicycle to fulfill a long held dream. We build bicycles utilizing steel frame sets since Steel is long lasting, stylish, and offers a comfortable ride. We have completed a wide range of custom builds over the last 10 years but the common denominator has been building a bike that will suit different types of riding conditions. We have built touring bikes, cyclocross bikes, all rigid mountain bikes, road bikes for fitness rides, adventure bikes, gravel bikes and many city transportation machines.

I really don’t like the gym. I like experiences, so I take any chance I get to go on a bicycle or on a hike.
— Blake Lively

Last year we struck up a conversation with a neighbor about his commute to work. It became obvious that he had grown weary of riding his single speed up and down our Highland hills to work every day. With so many bike choices available ranging from light weight race machines to super slack frames geared for touring together we chose Soma Fabrications’s Double Cross Disc (CX). This frame set seemed to be right in the middle of these extremes, a lively frame that accelerates quickly.

Here is a photo montage of his Double Cross.  Ever ready for what the road ahead may offer, it’s been a reliable machine for a year now.

Summary of key components:

  • NITTO handlebars
  • NITTO rear rack
  • MKS platform touring pedals
  • Brooks leather saddle
  • Shimano drive train and brakes
  • Shimano Alfine dynamo hub
  • Edelux front light
  • Shikoro tires
  • Velocity Aileron rims

Doppler Pro Review

by michelle bontrager in , ,

The Perfect bike? Don’t be absurd there is no such bike

But…!  there is Breezer Bike’’s new adventure bicycle to consider, The Doppler.

2018 Breezer's Doppler Pro

2018 Breezer's Doppler Pro

The Doppler offers traditional road bike geometry, not race geometry, more forgiving than that. It’s ChroMoly steel frame set in conjunction with it’s 650b wheels, this bike is designed to ride all terrain. 650b wheels are particularly strong, they able to support additional weight such as loaded panniers. Their ability to accommodate a much wider tire than most road bikes has made the 650b a favorite amongst cycle tourists.  

This is not a timid, pavement only bike. The is a ready for mountain trails, gravel roads, or any off-road path you find type of bike.

Doppler Features

  • Responsive chromoly frameset providing the smooth ride steel is known for
  • 650B wheelset comes stock with plus sized tires in order to smooth out the road ahead
  • Full coverage fenders, protecting the rider and cargo from the elements
  • Plenty of eyelets for bike racks, stuff sacks or water bottle cages
  • 2x10 drivetrain offers wide range of gears, suddenly difficult terrain is surmountable
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
new bike day

new bike day


Breezer won us over 10 years ago with their city transportation bikes.  Now we fully embrace this new bike genre that Joe Breeze has designed. The new Doppler is a fun all-around bicycle that will suit any Colorado lifestyle from city streets to suburban trails to off road adventures.  

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


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


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.


  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:


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.


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


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


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:


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!


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