Oakley’s newest retail store, located in the King of Prussia Mall is the first in the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia area. Besides carrying an assortment of products—apparel, luggage, watches and backpacks, it’s eyewear selection (as you’d expect) is amazing.
It features Oakley’s new in-store optical center, one of only 20 in the country, enabling customers to fill eyewear prescriptions directly at the store and choose their own standard or custom frame coloring and style. In King of Prussia, an Oakley licensed optician uses a motion capture device Oakley helped develop. It’s placed on the selected frame while the customer is wearing it and, in just a few seconds, the program reads and records the customer’s measurements to match to the prescription. This allows those with more advanced prescriptions to wear any of Oakley’s high-wrap sports shields. Turnaround time averages one week and the final product can be picked up at the store or sent to a home address.
Custom colored Oakley Flax glassess assembled right at the store.
Another cool feature (one I took advantage of) is the ability to walk into the store and choose any combination of frame style, color, ear sock color, lens tint and even brand logo color on some models from a computer program. The store has every combination in stock so you can create and walk away with your custom design that day. Oakley also has a full collection of its own custom designs on hand in the store as well.
Besides choosing my colors I went with, on the opticians recommendation, the Grass lens, which is actually designed for golf. It works amazingly well deep in the woods, vividly pulling out colors and shadows of the trail better than any other tint I’ve tried. Look for a more in depth prescription lens test in a future issue of Dirt Rag.Tweet
Recently the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA) finished construction for the year on the Lower Corral Trail Enhancement Project and held a big grand reopening party and volunteer workday. The project in South Lake Tahoe, California includes purpose built features for mountain bikes including high wall berms, rock jumps, tabletop jumps and log rides. TAMBA partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to create one of the first trails of this type in the country in a National Forest.Tweet
Giant Bicycles made a bold move this year by committing most of its line-up to 27.5 wheels. From hardtails to full-suspension, across the board you’ll see the middle wheel size. Though Giant didn’t totally eliminate 29ers this year (you can still find one or two versions each of Anthem, XTC and Trance, compared to a total of about 28 different 27.5 models) it has been spoken many times that the company is in the process of phasing them along with 26ers out completely.
While the Trance Advanced 27.5 with 5.5 inches of travel became available initially, we were able to secure the very first 4-inch travel Anthem Advanced sent to the U.S., Giant’s flagship cross-country race bike. Yes, it’s pricey, but as outfitted, it showcases Giant’s advanced carbon technology and ability to also make high-end accessories from the resin material, from the cockpit bits to a remarkable wheelset with carbon rims. The Anthem line starts at $2,250 for the aluminum-framed 3 model.Tweet
This Memorial Day Weekend (for us) was round three of the UCI World Cup cross-country series in Novo Mesto na Morave in the Czech Republic. By the looks of the course in this pre-ride video perhaps the U.S. series could learn a thing or two about making a real mountain bike track. It’s ironic to think that not too long ago the European circuit was known for being smooth, like a gravel road race for mountain bikes. Now, courses across the pound look more like Supercross tracks with jumps, giant rock gardens, rooty climbs, bridges and alternate lines.
Novo Mesto looks like a heck of a lot of fun to ride lap after lap. Racing flat out on it? Let’s leave that to the professionals.Tweet
The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic presented by Dirt Rag is drawing a top notch field to its seven-day mountain bike stage race from May 25-31, 2014. Some of the fastest endurance mountain bike racers will converge near State College, Pennsylvania for a race many affectionately call “Singletrack Summer Camp” where $60,000 in cash and prizes is up for grabs with a total of $10,000 going to the top finishers in the general classification, with $5,000 each going to the male and female podium finishers.Tweet
The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship in Northern California, along with partners Santa Cruz Bicycles has announced another “5 Bucks A Foot” campaign. Up for grabs this time is the eventual winner’s choice of any complete Santa Cruz bicycle with a value up to $10,000. Every purchased foot of singletrack for $5 is an opportunity to win, and the random winner will be chosen on June 3.Tweet
Take a peek inside what’s in the latest issue…Tweet
Thirty years after its debut, the famed race is scheduled to return this fall with racing of all types.Tweet
Cannondale has announced that its North American OverMountain team will, for the first time, be racing and adventuring on the all-new Lefty SuperMax suspension fork this season.
A 26-inch, 160mm travel fork has been seen under team riders and the 29er version is currently 130mm. This is a particularly interesting announcement on the eve of next week’s global OverMountain bike launch in Spain where Cannondale will be introducing two new bikes.
The SuperMax’s race debut will be in the Enduro World Series under OverMountain team riders Ben Cruz, Jason Moeschler team newcomer Marco Osborne and eventually Mark Weir who is currently healing from a broken hip.
According to Cannondale its team riders were instrumental in the development of the SuperMax’s new internal components, most of all a Wide Mouth Piston, which is said to increase small bump sensitivity and high-speed suppleness. The SuperMax’s dual crown structure makes it radically stiff, yet the minimalist single-leg design makes it as light as some of its competitors cross-country race forks.
“Going into the SuperMax testing I was a bit apprehensive,” said Weir. “After I got on it and started riding, it is a difference you would have to ride to believe. I’ve been riding the same corners for 15 years, and I try to carry my speed through every time. On the SuperMax, I’ve never been faster.”
This year marks drastic changes for Intense Cycles. With a new CEO, CFO and COO in place, company founder and owner Jeff Steber along with his original business partner Marv Strand both agreed, “This is a very exciting time, a reinvention of our brand.”
Steber added, “I designed a guitar before I could play one and I went into the mountain bike business with the same energy.” For the complete tale of how Steber almost went into the guitar business instead of bikes as well as the story behind Intense’s rise to fame check out our special 25th Anniversary Issue (#176), coming soon.
Intense was an early pioneer in downhill racing, not only in the amount of riders that rode its bikes but also in that the brand ushered in a new look. “Intense downhill racers began wearing motocross inspired gear instead of Lycra, specifically Shawn Palmer,” recalled Steber. “He changed the sport forever and this brought us a lot of attention. In 1996 when he won a silver medal at the World Championships, that’s when Intense arrived.”
Another pioneering move by Steber and the Intense brand was the embracement of 27.5-inch wheels. “We were one of the first to move to this wheelsize when the Tracer 275 came out in 2012”, Steber says. “I called it 275 because 650b sounded too roadie.”Tweet
This year is a major milestone for Dirt Rag. We’re celebrating 25 years of printing the magazine. The ‘Rag has gone from being hand-stapled in Maurice and Elaine Tierney’s basement for East Coast consumption in 1989 to where we are today in 2014: enjoying rapid circulation growth and distribution across the globe.
As part of the celebration our next issue will feature special content that’s sure to become a collector’s item. One feature story, written by Gary Boulanger, is an inside look at the history of Dirt Rag with an inside view of how it all began and how we got to where we are. As part of that, I’d like to share a few extra stories over the next few weeks that came out of Gary’s research. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I do and will look forward to reading this special feature when it arrives on newsstands April 1 or in your mailbox even sooner if you’re a subscriber (hint, hint).Tweet
Last weekend while doing trail work Cannondale-WTB OverMountain rider Mark Weir was crushed by a 300-pound tree limb, breaking his pelvis in three places. We talked to him by phone from his home in Novato, California, where he’s recuperating for the next six to eight weeks. Mark was especially disappointed about the accident because he just signed a new, three-year contract with the Cannondale OverMountain team. All things considered Weir seemed in good spirits and was happy to talk about his ordeal.Tweet
The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic presented by Dirt Rag is now offering a three-day stage race alternative called TS3 during the Epic targeted towards racers who can’t be away for an entire week. TS3 racers get the same benefits as the 7-day Epic competitors (since they will be riding the same courses) including fully stocked aid stations, mechanical supplies at each checkpoint, a daily quick bike check by Freeze Thaw Cycles from State College, back up mechanical assistance from SRAM and BMC’s neutral support bikes available at each checkpoint.
TS3 also includes special prizes from event partners tossed in at random through the weekend. Overall TS3 GC and enduro awards include $10,000 in prizes. TS3 will start on Sunday, May 25 and finish Tuesday, May 27 (the first three days of the 7-day race.)
TS3 racers will mass start separately on Sunday and instead of racing the classic ITT they will do two cross-country style laps on the time trial course. The next two days will be the Coopers Gap epic stage followed by the Galbraith Enduro on Tuesday to decide final TS3 GC.
We sat down with Trans-Sylvania Epic promoter Mike Kuhn as asked him a few questions about the new event. Read our interview here.Tweet
A good pair of winter shoes is key for year round riding if you live where it gets cold and snowy. Depending on your region, super duty boots like Lake’s MXZ might be overkill, that’s where Lake’s new $260 MX145 mid-weight winter shoe comes in.
The water resistant upper is constructed with a combination of waxed canvas, leather and a waterproof membrane to keep foul weather elements at bay. The fiberglass injected sole is stiff enough for good power transfer and the durable rubber lugs provide good traction in snow and over wet, slippery logs and rocks.Tweet
Photos by Maurice Tierney and Shimano
In response to its rapid growth, Shimano American Corporation has expanded its Irvine, Calif., office building by some 48,000 square feet turning it into a massive 51,000 square foot distribution center. An entirely new, modern business center also opened directly across the street for Shimano’s marketing, R&D and inside sales staff.
A recent move by Shimano to go dealer direct with its products, which also includes Pearl Izumi and a host of fishing brands, not only means lower prices for the customer but a need to expand warehouse capability for shipping, receiving and storage. Even after a year the project is still being completed with a new fire sprinkler system being installed, new hi-tech conveyers being finalized and large storage spaces being prepared. Other changes to the former offices include a fishing rod and reel repair and warranty center for quick turnaround.
Shimano’s Marketing Manager Joe Lawwill, who raced professionally for over 10 years and won a Masters Downhill World Championship in 2002, showed us around the entrance to the new, highly modern Business Center. Visitors are treated to an action video loop on the main screen while a smaller interactive monitor showcases Shimano’s history in cycling.Tweet
The first issue of 2014 has shipped to subscribers and should be showing up on newsstands any day now. Want to make sure you never miss an issue? Pick up a subscription.
You may have noticed from the recent batch of bike First Impressions that have been popping up on this site, the staff recently embarked on a little trip to focus solely on a $2,500, six-bike test for the upcoming February issue (Dirt Rag #175). Our chosen location was the Stokesville Lodge in Virginia, just outside of the bustling college town of Harrisonburg.
The area is famous to a large part of the right hand side of the country for more than just exceptional riding: it boasts upwards of 500 miles of amazing singletrack, is home and training grounds to Sho-Air/Cannondale pro Jeremiah Bishop and NoTubes’ Sue Haywood and on top of that the Stokesville campground behind the lodge is home to the legendary Shenandoah Mountain 100 race.
As good as the camping is with its vast network of trails right out of you tent flap, it’s never been open to the public for anything other than the race on the last weekend in August and the Virginia Mountain Bike Festival in late May. Much to the delight of many, we found out that this is about to change, likely as soon as this summer.Tweet
Just as the 29er movement was exploding, Giant stood firm in its belief that bigger wheels were not a replacement for the good ol’ 26-inch standard. As large wheels became de rigueur for most other brands, Giant began to dangle off the back of the pack, both in progression and image. Sure, its full suspension bikes benefitted from the highly effective Maestro design, but in a market where buyers were scooping up 29ers like pelicans over a lazy school of fish Giant’s tide seemed to be retreating fast. Eventually the company dabbled in 29ers which performed well but weren’t the most popular choices among fashionable buyers.Tweet
I remember when I first moved to the East Coast and Team CF (Cystic Fibrosis) formed in Philadelphia. They were a small group of mostly local riders who had a lot of heart, some notable results and now a big vision: Take it all up a notch and create a larger regional, and maybe national, presence to raise awareness for the cause. It impressed me how quickly they became a dominant force. Go to any regional endurance or National Ultra Endurance Series race, and you were guaranteed to see a lot of blue and white argyle, often leading the charge.
Team founder and major funder Dr. Jim Wilson, who has been the leading researcher on cystic fibrosis in the world for over 20 years, is not only an avid mountain biker himself, but also saw firsthand how vigorous exercise like mountain biking was as effective as therapy for kids and adults with the inherited, chronic lung disease (and let’s face it, it’s way more fun). He wanted to use cycling as a platform to promote fitness for those with CF, to increase awareness of CF, and to raise money for CF research.
In short order the elite mountain bike team (the team also includes cyclocross racers), led by Christian Tanguy, Cheryl Sornson, Gerry Pflug, and Selene Yeager cleaned up at nearly every endurance race in the Mid-Atlantic region, not even Trek legend Jeff Schalk could stop Tanguy in the NUE series that first and second year. Along the way, besides the elite squad, he nurtured a growing band of amateur cyclists on the club team, many who had Cystic Fibrosis themselves and used the sport to retain a better quality of life.
As the team broadened, its riders began successfully hitting select stage and marathon races on the west coast as well as foreign lands such as Africa, Brazil and Costa Rica with success not only in results, but also in spreading the message of Dr. Wilson.
Heading into this year there’s an important name change and a new look—Team Rare Disease Cycling. This represents Dr. Wilson’s ongoing research well beyond just CF but to all rare diseases. The elite team has also added notable racers, including up and coming pro Cole Oberman, to leave an even bigger footprint, both in its race results and message. The team, along with The Penn Center for Orphan Disease Research and Therapy, will also be hosting a “Million Dollar Bike Ride” this May in Philadelphia to raise money for rare disease research.
If what I’ve seen so far is any indication, Rare Disease Cycling will be a force to be reckoned with—and definitely fun to watch—this season.Tweet