Monday, November 26, 2007

Enduro SL Cartridge Swap

That's right. Hot swapping action.

There were about 200 known leaky E150sl forks for the 2007 Enduro SL. One of our demo bikes was one of them. Blaze stopped by and dropped off a new cartridge for the fork. Once I let all of the air out of the cartridge, it took me an entire four minutes to get the old cartridge out and the new one in. A threaded nut around the valve under the fork leg and an adjustable wrench at the top of the fork leg gets you there. Remove two small screws that keep the travel adjust switch attached, move it to the other cartridge and reinstall.

Easy. Not to mention Specialized overnighted a cartridge to replace it. That and the shock. The rear shock swapped the nitrogen charge from one side of the seal to the other side, rendering the rebound inactive. It was rideable but it topped out fast. No big deal. Not like a stuck-down Fox rear shock (which I've lived through too many times, as have our customers). Again, Spec'd overnighted a new shock to the shop (like they would do for any customer) to fix this issue. They redesigned the internal shaft and the internal seal so that it doesn't happen anymore.

Only the first run of the 2007 bikes had either of the fork or shock issue. Standard operating procedure was to overnight replacements to shops for install on customer bikes. That's great. Stuff breaks or has problems and what matters is how it is dealt with, whether it is City Bikes or the vendor.

Also in the news is the 2008 City Bikes Demo Fleet. We are creating a fleet of rad bikes for 'demo' purposes (which includes rental duty) for customers and those looking to REALLY ride before they buy. The demo fee comes off the price of the bike (up to $300 in credit) if you buy a new bike, even if it's not the one you buy!

Here's the list of bikes we'll be stocking through June (when we'll sell 'em CHEAP):
Jamis Parker 3.0 in Med and Large
Jamis Dragon 29r in 17", 19", 21"
Jamis XCR Pro in 17", 19", 21"
Specialized Enduro SL in Lrg
07 Specialized Sworks Enduro SL carbon in Med
Specialized Saffire fsr in Sm and Med
Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert in Med, Lrg, XL and XXL!
Cannondale Scalpel in Med and Lrg

We'll be traveling to races and events as well as hosting our own weekday and weekend events every month. Patapsco, Schaeffer, Watershed, Wakefield... We'll also lead small group rides as needed. That's right, City Bikes staff will meet you at the trails, get you set up on the bike and ride WITH you, allowing you to have a personal mechanic on the trail and even try out two bikes at a time on a given trail! Pretty sweet.

Look for more here and on

Monday, November 19, 2007

'...and I think we got it right.'

I know we've all seen this. I just can't stop thinking about this. It keeps me up at night.

I remember that war too. I hoped it would be the last. I still have that hope.

Back to riding...

Ride Report

Matty, JoFo and I got out for a ride on Sunday. The conditions at Patapsco were perfect. It's been so dry out there this whole year that the recent rains have only be beneficial. There was no standing water, the creeks weren't super-low and the ground was barely tacky. There was no mud on the trail that I could find, and we looked damn near everywhere.

I finished building up the Enduro SL demo bike for next year and decided to ride that sucker. It's big-bike time of year anyway so what the hell. I asked Matty if he wanted to ride the carbon stump as he is pretty sure that he wants to ride an 08 Sworks version next season as his primary race/fun bike.

I got the Enduro SL pre-ride checked over on Saturday night. Matty and JoFo were late as usual. Matty swapped his pedals over and off we went. He didn't change the suspension setup or the seat height (until we got to the bottom of the first drop from the Park N Ride).

Pretty much right away Matty started glowing about the bike. He was stoked. That would be the order of the day. He really felt like the carbon stump fsr was doing a lot more work than his aluminum epic marathon.

I have been raving about the bike for almost two years. It was no surprise to me as I felt the same way about the bike since I got it and now I feel that way about the Enduro SL. These bikes just make it easier to progress your riding skills. Matty gets it and we talked about it constantly on the ride. He's stoked. Joe's going to borrow the stumpy for the Turkeyday ride... It's catching...

I just love that Enduro SL. There's no other way to put it. It's around 27.5lbs for a six-inch travel machine with a dual crown fork. It climbs great. It descends great. The frame and fork resist loading-up in corners and on bumps which feels great. The bike does more work and makes everything smoother.

See y'all on the trail.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nail In the Coffin?

Dorel Looks at Buying Cannondale

MADISON, WI (BRAIN)—With the Canadian “loonie” at near record levels against the dollar, rumors are rife that Canada’s Dorel Industries, which owns Pacific Cycles, is kicking tires and weighing frames as it ponders a purchase of Cannondale.

Those rumors have spiked of late but Jeff Frehner, Pacific’s president and chief executive officer, said at this point they are just rumors. A call to Cannondale’s Matt Manley remains unreturned.

Frehner said Pacific wants to bolster its IBD investment and that could include a purchase of Cannondale or others. “They (Dorel) are committed to spending money on that segment,” he said. Frehner, recognizing that some specialty retailers worry about Pacific’s position in the mass market, said Dorel could look at setting up a separate company focused solely on IBD sales of GT and other brands. Pacific, which has had modest success selling Schwinns to IBDs, could add Schwinn to its IBD mix.

Nonetheless, Cannondale has been for sale for months. And Pegasus, a private equity firm, has been hard-pressed to find a buyer. The original asking price was pegged at around $200 million, but few think Pegasus will get it. Given the Canadian dollar’s position against the U.S. dollar, a Dorel purchase could yield an effective discount off the final negotiated purchase price.

Pegasus bought a bankrupt Cannondale in January 2003 for approximately $58 million. The fact that Cannondale also owns Sugoi, a Canadian clothing company it bought in July 2005 plus a licensing agreement with shoemaker Diadora, makes for a more complicated sale.

Dorel, a publicly traded company in Canada, is sniffing around for acquisitions and Cannondale is one of them, according to Canadian analysts who track Dorel and rate it as a market performer. Dorel enjoys annual sales of $1.8 billion and employs about 4,700 people worldwide. It’s also considered a savvy manager of logistics with extensive experience in Europe and Asia.

The company currently is generating ample free cash flow for a purchase even as it aggressively reduces debt. It generated some $70 million during the first nine months of this year. And Pacific Cycle, part of Dorel’s recreation and leisure group, is also performing well. Revenue was up 9.6 percent to $288.9 million while earnings from operations rose 35.2 percent to $27.1 for the first nine months of the year.

Currently, GT is positioned in the United States as an IBD-brand only while Schwinn is sold through mass merchant, sporting goods and specialty retail channels. Mongoose, while also sold in all three channels, is the leading BMX brand in the UK.

—Marc Sani

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Geeky Industry News: SRAM Buys Zipp

This is a bit boring to most but REALLY interesting to some of us.
SRAM Completes Zipp Acquisition

CHICAGO, IL (BRAIN)—SRAM has closed the deal on the recent purchase of Zipp. The closing period only took 45 days.

Customers should continue using existing SRAM and Zipp channels for orders, customer service and information.

There are no changes in how either company is operating its business. Now that the transaction is complete, the management teams will be meeting to discuss how to optimize operations for the benefit of its customers.

As previously announced those plans include:

Zipp’s management team will remain intact and continue to report to Zipp president Andy Ording. Ording will report to SRAM chief executive officer Stan Day; there will be no layoffs as a result of the transaction; the current Indianapolis location will remain the manufacturing center for Zipp wheels and components; Zipp product warranties will be honored and continue to be serviced in the Indianapolis facility; Zipp’s distribution network will be maintained; and all Zipp contracts and business relationships will be honored.

“Zipp is a great company and respected brand, with a strong management team, advanced technology and superb manufacturing capability,” Day said. “We look forward to bringing both successful companies together and synergistically delivering a growing strategic range of products to our customers.”

Thursday, November 01, 2007

New Jamis Bike

The new 08 Parker III (and II) just came in to Chevy Chase today (along with 44 friends). I'm gonna try to get some time on that sucker this weekend but it's not likely. Maybe next week. Looks fun though. 4" of burly travel. Fat tires, big hardware (so to speak). Nice fork, short cockpit. All fun. Party bike. Whaddya think? I think we'll have a couple of these in the 08 Demo Fleet.

That's a shot ripped from the .pdf catalogue from the Jamis site. Not sure about the 08 site but at least the .pdf is there.

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