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…between ridiculous and awesome!

Are you tired of waiting for your toddler at the top of a climb? Do you find yourself taking out unnecessary “extra” bolts and other heavy componentry so that your three-year-old can hold more momentum on the flats? Has your child learned how to ride a pedal bike but their downright unwillingness to form a dynamic pedal stroke with no flat spots, as apparent by the lack of motion in their ankles, made your skin crawl as your bikes similarly crawl along the bike path outside the preschool, parental words of encouragement falling on tone-deaf ears? Is your kid a literal prince or princess?

Strider sees you. Strider hears you.

Strider has just unveiled their newest balance bike, the carbon 12 ST-R. Yes, that’s correct. A carbon balance bike. But don’t add this to your internalized jealousies you have for your adorable youngster; their carbon bike will still be much cheaper than yours at just $899. Even the Strider Founder and Chief Enthusiast Ryan McFarland sees the inherent humor in such an outlandish and extravagant child gift that is designed to be crashed, thrown, and outgrown. “While the vast majority of our bikes focus on durability, function, and value for families with young children learning to ride,” McFarland says, “the ST-R is an over-the-top, no-expense-spared, limited edition race bike for the obsessed, super-enthusiast. And, man, is it cool!” One can assume he is speaking of the obsessed, super-enthusiast parent, not toddler, but I do know some tots who will probably go pro before they learn to read so maybe it is a broader comment than I’m interpreting it to be.

While this balance bike does seem a bit (admittedly) extreme, Strider really does make excellent products that help young new riders get comfortable with the feeling of balancing on two wheels. They have steel and aluminum options on the market as well, and a tiny baby balance bike for those exceptionally fast learners. Just check out their Strider Cup World Championship or the more regional Strider Cup Asian Championship to get a sense of what these bikes help kids do, no matter what price point is chosen.

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Author: Carolyne Whelan

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Bike Industry News

Interbike Day 1: Neon Fog

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The overwhelming challenge of sifting your way through the first day of Interbike can be an exhausting task. What’s new, what’s hot, where are the sample snacks? There are a lot of important questions to be answered. After hours of swimming upstream through the current of attendees and vendors, A few things stood out today amongst the neon fog.

Is it olive drab, is it army green? Dunno but we like it.

Oakley has entered the realm of mountain bike helmets and apparel. After dropping their road line earlier this year Oakley is hitting the trails with the DRT5. Based around Mips construction and subtle colorways it has a little bonus optics lock on the top of the helmet. Tested by Greg Minnaar I’m sure the DRT5 got healthy workout testing all of the features. Along with the DRT% helmet, Oakley will also have a line of apparel featuring some nice looking baggies and jerseys, look for the DRT5 in early 2019.

Secure those fancy optics without them poking your head or flying away.

Ritchey Ultra caught my eye with its minimal booth display and being exceptionally dirty. The Ultra splits the difference between the Timberwolf and the P series bikes from Ritchey. There will always be a soft spot in our hearts for steel hardtails.

Dirty, just how we like them

We recently tested the Burley Coho XC trailer (you can read more about that here) but we did so without the cool little add-on rack for bonus panniers. Burley got you with both trailers and waterproof storage.

Storage on storage, let’s get lost for a while.

Leatt is getting ready to drop a pile of new product in their new colors. Helmets outerwear and riding apparel will have an interchangeable matte color pallet. I’m a fan of matte finishes and of this line of good looking gear.

whenever your ready to test your gnarbilities

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Author: Brett Rothmeyer

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Bike Industry News

Electric Slide into Interbike

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Dirt Rag is officially in the throes of Interbike, the annual expo of the bike industry where companies show off their latest developments and newcomers have a chance to put their product in front of the eyes of purchasers and reviewers. Monday was Dirt Demo, the day to check out some of the latest mountain bikes. The herd was admittedly thin this year, with many consumers waiting in line for a long time waiting for a bike to come back for them to try. So as to not take bikes out of the hands of people who don’t have as much access to them as we do, we took the chairlift up as far as we could, then hiked to the top of the mountain. The trails were dusty, almost pillowy, as we hiked up through the pines, searching for a good spot to catch some riders shredding past us. Not many cyclists were venturing that high up the mountain, but we did catch a good view of the surrounding mountains and Lake Tahoe before heading back down. Of the bikes that did pass us, all but one was an e-bike. One guy in his 60s stopped and chatted for a moment at a fork in the trail.

“How’s that feel?” I asked.

“I feel like I’m 28 again,” he said. “It’s incredible.” I’m still sorting out my own feelings about ebikes and their place on our trails. It’s complicated, to say the least. As a 36-year-old, the youth of my former body isn’t far behind me, but I’m reminded of my younger years in the moments I bend down to tie my shoes and pinch a nerve in my back, or when it rains and I can’t lift up my arm to put on a sweatshirt. It must be exhilarating to be decades away from that feeling, only to have it brought back in a pedal-stroke’s time. But how much of the muscle memory is there, how much of the skill and fast-twitch reaction? I certainly can’t say, but it’s something I think about when people who haven’t climbed a mountain in years are suddenly at almost 9K elevation and about to shoot down a fast, loose, dusty downhill track on their new brapmobile.

A woman passed us, the lone analog bike to venture above the chair lift, cheerful in tennis sneakers as she huffed past us on the way up, then zoomed through the loose rocks as she charged back down. In a world where every sector of our lives is centered around going faster and being most efficient, even in thing like meditation (find clarity in five minutes a day!) and mindfulness™, it was nice to see someone choose to take the slow road, and take it slowly.

Back down the mountain a ways, the riders showed up. Some still on ebikes, others on analog bikes. The trails snaked under my chairlift as I headed back, and I was jealous. As soon as my wrist is healed, I’ll be back at Northstar with a full-face helmet, trying to convince my fingers to let go of the brakes as I point the front wheel downward.

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Author: Carolyne Whelan

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CHROME X CARDIEL DARKWOODS COLLECTION

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If you’ve had a chance to grab a copy of our latest issue, then you know it’s no secret that we are also fans of skateboarding. It just so happens that John Cardiel, one of the best to ever roll on four wheels, is also a total shredder on two. Chrome has teamed up with Cardiel to create the new Darkwoods collection.

John Cardiel made his name riding skateboards and fixed gears on city concrete but he’s most at peace in the woods. The latest Cardiel collection, Darkwood, celebrates John’s escape from the city and welcomes back one of his favorite bags, the Shank. In the short film “Escape From Babylon”, John relies on friendly woodland creatures, (animated by @hombre_mcsteez), who show him the way from hustle and bustle of bike share in the city streets to the flow of dirt on his Santa Cruz Nomad and a chill campfire session in the Darkwood.

All Hail Cardiel!

Cardiel Fortnight Backpack $200 / 33L

Water-resistant travel backpack with zip-around opening and compression flap. Good for a life on the road. Guaranteed for Life.

Cardiel ORP Backpack $90 / 25L

The Operational Readiness Pack (O.R.P.) is an ultralight, water-resistant, seam-taped, roll-top backpack. The O.R.P works as a daypack and can fit a 13″ laptop in the internal back pocket. When traveling, it can be rolled up and stowed in another bag.

Cardiel Shank $45 / 4L

A fanny pack? A sling? We just call it the Shank. Can easily hold three beers.

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Author: Brett Rothmeyer

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