Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bikes ARE Beautiful

Our friends at Simply Beautiful Boutique are showcasing one of our Giant Via ladies bikes in their window display. Stop by and check it out! While your there pop in the Boutique, it's a great store.

Giant XtC Composite 29er


Following last year’s successful launch of the Anthem X 29er full-suspension XC bike, Giant is introducing an all-new 29er bike for competitive XC racing and riding: the XtC Composite 29er.

Developed with input from Giant Factory Team Off-Road Team rider Carl Decker, the XtC Composite 29er is a hardtail featuring a host of innovative technologies that sets it apart from the competition. One look at the radically engineered Composite frameset reveals some innovative new thinking in the quest to produce a lightweight, race-ready, 29-inch-wheel hardtail.

“Riders told us they wanted a lightweight 29er that addresses some of the weaknesses people usually associate with 29-inch-wheel bikes,” said Giant Global Off-Road Category Manager Kevin Dana. “With our experience and capabilities in composite engineering, Giant has been able to come up with some unique design solutions to best meet those demands.”

The massive MegaDrive downtube reveals one of the frame’s most distinctive features: asymmetrical design. The tube itself is offset to in order to maximize stiffness, especially in the bottom bracket area, which uses Giant’s PowerCore technology for maximum pedaling efficiency. Press-fit bottom bracket cups minimize weight, and extra-wide chainstays, which are also asymmetrically shaped, provide optimal power transfer and ample rear tire clearance.

The XtC Composite 29er frameset also incorporates Giant’s OverDrive tapered headtube (1 1/8-inch top, 1 ½-inch bottom) for front-end stiffness and sharp steering. Together, all of these features result in a frame that’s light and stiff enough to race but with improved vertical compliance and handling characteristics that make it ideal for technical XC trails and marathon distances.

“I went to Giant with some of the things I wanted improved that have historically been weaknesses of 29ers,” said Decker, who won the Downieville All-Mountain World Championship last year on Giant’s Anthem X 29er full-suspension bike. “I wanted precise steering. I wanted it to be stiff in the bottom bracket and to accelerate with tenacity. I asked for a better race bike, and Giant came through.”

Giant is releasing two models, the XtC Composite 29er 0 and the XtC Composite 29er 1, in the U.S. market first. Both are arriving at Giant retailers now. For more information, visit The Bicycle Escape or go to

Friday, March 18, 2011

Specialized Venge


The Tarmac is designed to be the stiffness to weight leader to deliver advantages climbing, cornering and accelerating during all out sprints. The tube profiles and lay-up are optimized to maximize torsional stiffness to resist the twisting forces experienced by the bike during hard cornering and out of the saddle efforts, allowing riders to take the tightest lines while descending and get the jump on the competition during sprints. In competitive situations, the rougher the road the faster the Roubaix gets, thanks to its longer wheelbase and industry leading vertical compliance. It is designed for stable handling over any road surface and to provide some isolation for the rider from fatigue inducing vibration.

The Venge is designed to offer complete performance, which requires a careful balance of low weight, high torsional stiffness and aerodynamic advantage. Adding aerodynamic features, such as an aero downtube, typically results in a noticeable decrease in stiffness and an increase in weight. Using clever tube shaping and an incredibly precise lay-up schedule our engineers were able to combine the handling characteristics you expect from a Specialized in a 2179 gram frame module, with an aerodynamic design. The result is an entirely new category for riders looking for advantages in every situation.

The Venge features our most advanced frame construction method: FACT IS 11R. This design combines the chainstays and bottom bracket together in one large monocoque section for direct power transfer from the pedals to the rear wheel. The front end combines the top tube, head tube and down tube together as one piece to resist twisting forces for sharp handling at high speed.

The seat stays use the triangulated design first developed while working with Tom Boonen on the Tarmac SL2 to maximize rear triangle stiffness. You can see stiffness charts comparing the Venge to the competition under the photos tab above.

Finally, an integrated front end with a tapered 1 1/8" to 1 3/8" head tube builds stiffness into the fork and tube junctions for nimble handling.

Like the Shiv, the Venge is designed to perform best in crosswind situations; specifically at yaw angles of around 15 degrees, since it is much more common to encounter these conditions than a straight on headwind. With a bike designed for road racing it's also important to consider that most riders will be mounting two water bottles in the front triangle. The down tube profile is widest near the center of the tube, instead of a traditional tear drop shape, because it actually minimizes the low pressure wake behind the tube better in crosswinds.

During multiple trips to the windtunnel our engineers realized that the seatstays represent a significant amount of drag when presented with wind from the side, so the Venge features Cambered Airfoil X-Section seatstays that camber the leading edge of the seatstays out to present the smallest profile to the wind, minimizing turbulance. The cross section resembles an airplane wing, with one side flat and the other curved, to smooth airflow around the spinning rear wheel.

Finally, the front profile has been minimized with the tapered headtube and a special FACT Carbon 3:1 Airfoil fork with noticeably narrow stance fork blades. An integrated aero spacer optimizes airflow from the steerer to the top tube while maintaining great strength and stiffness for great steering. The Venge also features internal cable routing.

During tests performed by Specialized's Director of Advanced R&D, Chris D'Alusio, we found that the Venge saved 20 watts at 40kph during indoor velodrome testing when compared to the Tarmac SL3. This means that the rider can either use less energy or go 1kph faster with the same effort. In a full sprint situation, the aero savings of the Venge can result in more than a bike length over 200 meters. Because the design is optimized for crosswinds, actual performance on the road can be even more significant.

Of course, most of the time riders benefit from drafting during road races, so the Venge was actually tested in drafting situations staged in the windtunnel to see if the benefits were significant. Our results show that though the total drag while in the draft is considerably less, the percentage of power saved on a Venge is the same as when the bike is measured alone. That means that even sprinters hiding in the draft are saving valuable energy. See charts comparing the Venge to it's competition under the photos tab above.

The Reversible/Adjustable Carbon Seatpost has 10mm of setback built in that when combined with 10mm of offset provided by the frame can create either 20mm or 0mm of setback. This provides a great aerodynamic shape plus a wide range of adjustability - without the need for cutting the seatpost or dealing with a seatmast during travel.

The Venge is only available at the S-Works level. You can get it in either SRAM or Shimano trim, or build up a frameset with parts of your choice.

After the S-Works Venge design was in the final stages of development, McLaren Racing approached Specialized about the possibility of collaborating on a bike project. Our engineers decided to challenge them with further optimizing the Venge to try to hit weight targets on par with typical competitive road platforms. Through this project (which is still ongoing) our engineers have benefited from McLaren's incredible processes and attention to detail during lay-up that is required when building cars that pull 5G's in a corner.

McLaren's input has resulted in a unique lay-up that uses more pieces of smaller, specific carbon plys, placed in an ultra precise manner. It takes 22 hours of hand labor to lay-up the latest prototype version. A super limited number of McLaren special edition bikes will be available later in the year. Expect them to cost about twice as much as the current S-Works version.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Bicycle Friendly Business Workshop

FBC and the League of American Bicyclists will host a Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) Workshop onTuesday,March 29th, at the Community Room in the C. Burr Artz Public Library. This is a free event open to anyone interested in learning more about the League’s Bicycle Friendly Business Program.

When: Tuesday, March 29th, 1pm – 4pm

Location: C. Burr Artz Public Library*, Community Room,110 East Patrick Street, Frederick, MD 21701


The League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) program recognizes employers who make bicycle commuting a more viable option for their employees by providing resources such as secured bike parking and showers. In doing so, businesses are demonstrating their dedication to social responsibility by helping their employees maintain an active lifestyle, while also reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality.

Bill Nesper and Carly Sieff from the League of American Bicyclists will host a workshop on how to become a BFB, providing step-by-step technical guidance on making your workplace a more bicylce friendly environment to work in. The workshop will also include the following panel of speakers:

- Richard Griffin from the City of Frederick Department of Economic Development

- Toole Design Group , a League designated BFB from Hyattsville, MD

- Paul Doran from Edenred speaking on the Bike Commuter Tax

Add your business to the growing list of BFBs across the country!

Chris Bishop Wins at NAHBS

Baltimore, Maryland frame builder Chris Bishop won the honor of Best Steel Frame at the 2011 North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Austin, TX. I have deeply admired Chris' work for the past several years and feel he is more than deserving of the honor. His frames are consistently striking and he is an all around nice guy.

Congratulation Chris and thanks for representing the Free State!