Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Kona Hei Hei Supreme 29er

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

I’ve known about Kona for a long time….without not really knowing a lot about Kona.  Sure, I wrenched on their bike 20 years ago….ironically with no complaints or issues….but I was a bit removed from the brand.  The few shops I worked in before opening up Dharma Wheels 7 years ago carried brands like Trek, Specilized, etc.

So when the time came to bring on a brand that offered bicycles at a price range under that of Turner, Ibis, Moots and IF, Kona came to mind.  And they were available in the area.  For those of you who don’t know, brands have territories to protect dealers.

So the dance began.  And let me tell you, its like getting together with old friends.  Willy Warren is our rep…shit, I used to watch Willy race DH back in the day.  Dr. Dew works for Kona….Barry Wicks races for Kona…and the list goes on and on.  They are a smallish international company based in Ferndale WA (and also Canada) and really do things right.  They keep their overhead low, build bikes that don’t break, come out with competitive price and package options for their customers, give their reps freedom and treat their dealers well.  Done and Done – Kona is here to stay.

Their top of the line 29er is the Hei Hei.  Some of you may remember the Hei Hei as always being their top of the line bike.  Their “stock” top tier racing setup is the Hei Hei Supreme 29er.  Its spec’d well, and is designed for the racecourse or high performance individual.  But don’t take it from me….here is Team Captain Josh giving you his 2 cents…

“An early review on the new ride. I’ve been out on the Hei Hei for three rides (1 Round Valley and 2 cruisers on the rail trail and I’m very happy. It was great on Round Valley yesterday. Just crushed it … climbed surprisingly well … just rolled over everything where as I’d usually get a bit tossed around. Still need to get comfortable descending, but I am sold on the 29er.

The ride was really nice. A bit bigger than I’m used to. Love the frame stiffness. Very responsive as well.”

And here is the bike. and the website HERE.

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“Winter” Helmets

Monday, February 13th, 2012

This “months” product review will be on helmets….and particularly winter version of helmets.  At the shop, we carry two brands of helmets.  Bern and Lazer.

Bern helmets can be described as active helmets that are 4 season.  We carry in stock the Brentwood and the Watts.  The Brentwood (shown in the picture below on the right) is the most classic of the helmets and has the higher of the two in terms of safety rating.  It also comes in the widest array of sizes….and since I have a 62cm head, I have one because I wear a XXL.  A Bern helmet comes with either a summer kit (with a soft visor) or a winter kit (full on ear flaps and insulated padding).  You can also buy an audio kit that is a winter kit that plugs into your music device.  Let me start with the winter kit since its winter.  It is warm.  Warm enough for downhill skiing or Pug riding when its VERY cold.  The fit is great and the comfort level is high.  The kits take about 5 seconds to snap in and out – I change mine over to the summer kit for winter riding in St. George or summer riding in Park City.  The helmet is durable – you can throw it in a car without worrying about it crushing, and its a suitable “brain bucket” for dirt jumps and freeriding.  Also, wearing a headband with the summer kit is a great way to extend the temperature range into colder weather.

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Lets talk about Lazer helmets.  Its the one on the left.  We just took stock of road and mountain helmets from $30 to $160.  All of the Lazer helmets we have are traditional warm weather helmets.  Two of the models do offer a Winter Kit as an option that we can order for you.  You take out velcro stick pads and stick in the liner.  Then you run your straps through the ear flaps and stick on the chin pad and boom, your ready for most winter riding.  The temperature range on the Lazer is basically cold enough that your ears would be uncomfortable to quite cold.  The helmet is not as warm as the Bern, but I”d say the most appropriate since when you are cycling, you will be burning calories.  This would not be warm enough for you to take downhill skiing.  Once again, this helmet, or any helmet can have its temperature range extended by wearing a earband under the helmet. Here is a generic picture of an ear band.

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Let me also say that I recommend having more than one earband.  They are great when you need them, but love to hide in pockets and packs so they are easy to lose.

Now, both Lazer and Bern helmets are on sale on line, but let me recommend having our shop size you up, get you your helmet (and ear band) and then fit you.  It takes 5 minutes and you KNOW that you’ll have the proper size.  Its worth the $10 extra dollars.

The 2011 Holiday buying guide.

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Howdy friends, we get asked during the holiday season what good gifts for cyclists are.  Here they are.

Under $50…

1. Socks.  $10.  You go through them.  They make your feet happy.

2. Accessories/tools/maintenance products. $10-50.  Make sure the cyclist on your list or in the mirror has a fresh water bladder for the season.  Don’t want it to leak on your first trip of the season to Moab, do you?  Did your phone get wet last season in your jersey pocket? Get a dry bag for it, or for your larger items.  Is your saddle bag cheezy/falling apart.  If so, get a JandD saddlebag.  Do you NOT have one saddle bag per bike?  Get a JandD bag.  Check your air supply and spare tube.  Does your pump even work and can you flip out the foot rest and use it like a floor pump?  If not, get the Topeak Road Morph…..or a SKS Puro that truly fits in your jersey pocket.  How about some chamois cream for the start of the season, it only makes life better.  Is the dinger on your bell worn out – then replace the bell.   Been eyeing the gelbot bottle to take some energy gel with you on a ride, get it, it works great and is easier to clean then a gel flask.  Take a look at the pictures.

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The most wonderful time of the year is also a good time to check your lights (be them to see or be seen), pumps, tools, locks and maintenance products to make sure that you feel comfortable out there keeping your bike rolling smooth.

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Ideas $50-225…

Now that you’ve made sure that you have adequate socks, and a dedicated 4mm torque wrench for your carbon bar and/or steerer ($20), lets move on to bigger things.  A cycling courier bag from Chrome (who also makes snazzy shoes, knickers and other garments) is a rather durable gift that will last and blast.  Also, if you’ve been using a sub-standard repair stand for cleaning and polishing and maybe even working on your bike, it is time to jump up to the Feedback sports (formerly Ulitmate) stand.  I have one that is 20 years old and I still use it every season at home.  Truing stand and tool tray options available too.  Closer to the $50 point is a hydrapak “camelbak”.  Excellent durability for the price.  We stock 3 sizes to match you.

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New for this season are Bern helmets.  We are carrying two models, the Brentwood (cycling designed, 4 season helmet) and the Watts (ski designed, 4 season helmet).  These helmets will make you want to wear a helmet all the time.  For the brentwood, the mesh visor summer kit is comfy and breathable, and the wool winter kit comes in two versions – with an without ear speakers built in the mesh.  The Watts is slightly lighter, has a molded bill, and has the same winter kit options.  These are what you should wear downhill skiing’, freeriding on your bike, cruising around town, and going to the bar.  Bern helmets are easy to fit if you are skilled, as we are here, and their size is very specific – so putting 10lbs of padding in the helmet to make it work.  Come on it and have us size your new helmet.  We do a special if you get the “complete package” with a helmet – that being the summer kit, winter kit, and audio winter kit.

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Other options in this price range include Club Ride Jerseys and shorts ($100 and item), Shimano shoes (mtn or road), new saddles, tires/tubeless setups and upgrade parts like a carbon handlebar and/or stem from Enve.  Stop on by, email me ridensmile@gmail.com if you need ideas or prices.

Dog Fang Chain Deflector and Frame Protector

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Some reviews are simple…this is one of them.  Shifting the chain using the front derailleur is difficult.  You must have the perfect balance between cadence and pressure…as in a high cadence with gentle pressure.  Your derailleur must also be adjusted perfectly to allow for maximum swing and range for your gears.  Often, this adjustment falls out of perfection because of road vibration, etc.  So, dropping your chain either inboard or outboard is always a concern.  Well friends, you now have protection from the inboard drop with a chain deflector, or dog fang as the slang goes.  It keeps your chain from shifting past your granny and onto your bottom bracket shell.  Its $25 installed.

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Handlebar Bag

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Handlebar bags have been around since damn near the dawn of cycling.  Often seen on touring bikes, they have been slowly evolving and holding strong.  Jandd makes 2 versions of their bag.  I love their handlebar mount system for stability when riding and ease of removal.  I had the pleasure of learning to appreciate handlebar bags at the 2010 RAGBRAI event.  Perfect for holding your coursemap, your chamois cream, your tallboy of PBR….or anything else that you may need during the ride or at a “safety meeting”.

Observe Team Captain Chris’ setup with his Pugsley and H Bar.

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White Industries “double double”

Monday, January 17th, 2011

In the world of single speed riding, there are many possibilities.

And I don’t judge.  You don’t just need one speed.  You can have more.  For example…do you want to climb to the mid mountain trail in the same gear that you traverse in?  Do you want ride into old town in the same gear that you use to get to the coffee shop?

Our old friends at White Industries (www.whiteind.com) have come up with a solution.  Here is a review by team captain, Chris…

Hey Dr

Here’s the White Industries. Dos Eno drivetrain on the Ventana SS. Installed with no problems, “shifts” take less than 30 seconds and will get quicker when I figure out how to align the chainring teeth and links better.
2 gear combos:
31/19– about the same ratio as the 34/21 I was running previously
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and 34/16– a good gear for tootling to and from the trailhead
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The crank is a blinding piece of WI bling
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and the freewheel engages instantly and purrs like a kitten. Hard to appreciate until you’ve ridden a crappy one– this thing just works perfectly and you forget about it.
And thats true.  We actually only sell White Industries Freewheels at the shop because they are so very nice.
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I’m digging the setup– looking forward to trying it on the dirt this spring!
Best, Chris

Dharma Wheels Hats

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

At the custom shop we want to make you look good.  You’ve already seen our super neat and stylish cycling caps.

We now offer two embroidered wool versions.

Version 1 is a marino wool version of our standard cycling cap.  Black, made by Pace, and able to squish and fit into a pocket.  Warmer than the standard cap, can be worn under a cycling cap with ease, and truely…..one size fits all – even me. $30

Version 2 is the ear flap version of the custom embroidered marino wool cap (also by Pace).  At first you’ll think its warm enough to have ice fisherman in the U.P. cherish it.  It is, but it is also great for cycling outdoors in very cold weather, working outside, or nordic skiing.  Here is Mrs. Dr. Evil modeling our full ear model.  $40

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The Ibis Cycles Tranny Mountain Bike

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Did someone say that 26″ hardtails are dead?

I didn’t think so.  When you have a high quality bicycle that is fabricated perfectly, oozes style, and weighs 20 lbs, you have hit the jackpot.  Let me present the Ibis Tranny.  Here it is with the SRAM XX gruppo.

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Carbon Fiber monocoque frame,  Stiff, yet complient on the bumps.  FAST feeling.  And the fun part, you can transform it into a single speed by lengthing the seatstay and chainstay yolk to get tension, or just break it apart to fit in an S ans S travel case…so that you can take YOUR bike with you to a race, or to blow away your friends at sea level.  Check out the Ibis link HERE.

“Zero Gravity” Ciamillo Brakes

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Ciamillo, or Zero Gravity brakes, as they are known in the industry, are the best brakes that money can buy.  And they do take a lot of money to buy a set.  But let me tell you…as a squeamish descender on a road bike, nothing makes me feel as confident as my ZG’s.

We’ve had many customers ask about zero gravity brakes, so I called up Ciamillo.  Guess who I talked to, Ted Ciamillo, the founder.  I was impressed with him, he was impressed with me, and Dharma Wheels was elected into the Elite 50 program.  Meaning that only 50 local bicycle shops will retail the brakes.  No distributors, no middle people.  Just the manufacturer, the bike shop, and the customer.

The product.  Ciamillo makes the lightest and strongest carbon brake out there called the Gravitas.  At $850 a set, you’ll wonder how a 120g brakeset (yes brakeSET) can stop you going down a mountain pass.  It does.  The Zero Gravity model is color customizable.  For the speed weenies out there like me, the Negative G has an improved leverage arm to give you more confidence going down hill.  I used to have a disc brake on the front of my “road” bike.  Now I have a set of Neg. G’s and I”m 100% confident going down hill at 35mph (my top speed).

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The HammerSchmidt Crankset

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Or the Hammerschmidt front transmission as SRAM calls it.

Lets say that you have a fancy XTR crankset and front derailleur….that cool, and high tech.  What more could there be?

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Well, if you do any amount of all mountain riding or freeriding, you may desire the following features that HammerSchmidt offers.

1. No chain suck…..let me say that again, no chain suck.  You also won’t drop your chain into your frame or outboard.

2. More ground clearance…Clarance.

3. Being able to shift under load.  So when you mean to be in the granny going up that steep climb, you’ll actually get there if you shift under load.

4. Being agle to shift while coasting.

5. The gear combos give you a 22/36 or 24/38

6. No cross chaining since the chainring works with all your gears.

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There are a couple of considerations before you have me order you up one.

1. You need a hammerschmidt front shifter…your current sram one won’t work.

2. Your frame needs ISG mounts.  And if you have a cheaply made frame, I will have to chase, face, and possibly ‘mill to finish’ your frame.  I did this today, and it will cost the owner $115 in labor.  The crankset and BB is also pretty expensive itself.

3. And you don’t get a big ring….for all you Super D “racers”.

I give it a thumbs up.