Saturday, March 19, 2011

First Ride: 2011 Specialized Tarmac Expert SL3

Specialized has concentrated an awful lot on their road bikes over the last few years. They have poured resources galore into sponsoring not one, but two Pro Tour teams: Saxo Bank and Astana, and new for this season: HTC-Columbia. Their Tarmac carried the reigning champion of the Tour de France to victory last year, and their Roubaix has been ridden by the winner of the race it was named for (Paris-Roubaix) for the last three years running.

Specialized seems to always be evolving their road bikes, and none so much as the Tarmac. For 2011, the SL3 frame has trickled down from the S-Works model to the Pro and Expert, making the Expert a fantastically stiff, light bike weighing in around 16 lbs at less than half the price of the 2010 S-Works version!

The geometry of the Tarmac is very neutral. It is quick and nimble, yet stable and predictable. It holds a solid line in the middle of a pack, yet feels playful and positively springy dancing up a climb. The carbon layup, creating the downtube, bb and chainstays as one unit, dampens the rough New England roads, but doesn’t adversely effect the responsive road feel. The bike is a race fit, with long top tube. The headtube is long enough when paired with the Pro Set 4-position stem to put you in a fairly upright riding position if desired, but not so long that you can’t slam that stem if you want to ride like the boys in the TdF.

Full Shimano Ultegra 6700 drivetrain, Fulcrum Racing 4 wheelset, and FACT carbon seatpost w/ Zertz insert all add to the ride. One last spec note: Specialized has been producing their own line of saddle for over a decade, generally offering all their saddles in 3 widths and testing bloodflow with their saddle to help keep you safe and comfortable. The Specialized Romin may be the best spec’d saddle on any road bike offered by any bike manufacturer in the world! It is lightweight, attractive, and jam-packed with technology and comfort.

We have Tarmac SL3 bikes in our Test Bike fleet. Come in, get fitted, and take one for a long ride on a twisty road!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Papa Wheelies Hill Climb Training Rides

Papa Wheelies Hill Climb Training Ride Series

We will begin our 6 week Hill Climb training ride Series on Mount Agamenticus on Monday, March 21, weather permitting week to week. The ride will leave from the York Park and Ride parking lot, at the York exit of I95 before the toll. Take a left off the exit ramp, the P&R is located on the west side of the highway. We will rollout at 5:30 PM then move to a 6:00 PM rollout as daylight allows. Both head and tail lights will be required the first few weeks. As usual helmets, proper dress, water, food, flat & chain repair equipment is required for all riders. This is for moderate to advanced riders looking to dedicate a night per week improving and building their climbing skills and strength.

The general idea and overall ride goals will be as listed:

Week 1, March 21: Warm up ride to the base of Mt. A, 1-3 hill repeats, return to the cars.
Mileage 16-18, Ride Time 1.5/2 hrs.

Week 2, March 28: Warm up ride to the base of Mt. A, 2-5 hill repeats, return to the cars.
Mileage 18-22, Ride TIme 1.5/2 hrs.

Week 3, April 4: Warm up ride to the base of Mt. A, 4-6 hill repeats, return to the cars.
Mileage 20-24, Ride Time 2 hrs.

Week 4, April 11: Warm up ride to the base of Mt. A, 5-7 hill repeats, return to the cars.
Mileage 21-24, Ride time 2 hrs.

Week 5, April 18: Warm up ride to the base of Mt. A, 6-8 hill repeats, return to the cars.
Mileage 23-26, Ride time 2 hrs.

Week 6, April 25: Warm up ride to the base of Mt. A, 8-10 hill repeats, return to the cars.
Mileage 25-27, Ride time 2/2.5 hrs.

For more info on all shop rides, check out our Rides & Events section on our website.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

First Ride: 2011 Cannondale CAAD10 3

A quick ten miles on this early spring morning before the rain and snow swept back through New England was all I needed to get a good feel for the new CAAD10 from Cannondale.

Cannondale could have taken the easy route with the tenth generation of their flagship aluminum race frame, shipped the CAAD9 blueprints off to Asia, trimmed a little weight and called it a day, devoting their engineers to working on another carbon bike.

Instead, they devoted resources in time and money to creating a revolutionary aluminum bike, borrowing technology from their Flash mountain bike and Synapse road bike frame designs, coming up with a new 1 1/8 - 1 1/4" headtube standard, and dropping nearly half a pound off the CAAD9 frameset!

Snappy, peppy, ready to sprint! The CAAD10 retains Cannondale's 25+ year race pedigree. It is as light as most competitor's standard carbon bikes, has similar vertical compliance (this means that the spring potholes don't rattle your fillings like they usually do on an aluminum bike). Gone are the wishbone seatstays of the last few generations of CAAD frames, replaced with SAVE stays that are super rigid laterally, but give you micro-suspension vertically.

The CAAD10 3 has some pretty big shoes to fill. For the past decade its predecessors: the R2000, then R1000, then CAAD8 Optimo, then CAAD9 3 have been the best-selling workhorse race bike in our store - perfect for hill climbs, crit races, anywhere that speed, lightweight and precision handling are called for.

Look around at the next criterium you go to in New England - you'll see more CAADs than any other bike! It is fast, light, stiff, and won't cost you a mortgage payment when some wingnut takes you out in a tight corner.

Shimano Ultegra 6700 drivetrain, FSA SL-K Light carbon BB30 crankset and Mavic Aksium wheelset rounds out a solid package and keeps the weight of the bike to just over 17 lbs!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Our First Shop Road Ride of the Season

Spring is here! Well nearly, at least we're over the Day Light Savings hurdle!  We had three riders on our first ride tonight.  We rode from the shop out through Pease, into Newington, looped around Fox Point Rd, Little Bay Rd and Old Post Rd, back into Pease then returned to the shop.  It was a total casual pace for the most part, but we worked on a quick pace line session which helped with the moderate head wind on the long stretch through Pease on New Hampshire Ave.  We'll be going out again on next Monday, March 21.  Join us soon.  Here is our loop from last night.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

3rd annual Portsmouth Bike Swap is coming up on April 17th

3rd Annual
Seacoast Bike Swap

at Papa Wheelies
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The Swap is On!
Free Admission!

Sell your old bike! Clean out your garage/basement/attic. You choose the selling price. When your bike sells, you get 100% in Papa Wheelies store credit or 80% as a check.
Bring in your good condition used bikes and accessories between Saturday, March, 26 & Saturday, April, 16 and we will help you determine a fair selling price and store the gear on-site until the Bike Swap. Papa Wheelies reserves the right to refuse any or all items.

Buy the perfect used bike. Use it to ride around town, feel the wind on your face, run errands, feel like a kid again!
Join us under the big tent in the Papa Wheelies parking lot at 653 Islington Street in Portsmouth on
Sunday for some excellent deals. No sales prior to 11am Sunday, April 17, 2011.
Hundreds of used bikes for sale! Knowledgeable staff to help you find the perfect match for you!
Please call Nat or Josh at Papa Wheelies at 603.427.2060 with any questions.

A portion of the proceeds from the Portsmouth Bike Swap will benefit Seacoast Area Bicycle Routes (SABR), a local non-profit advocating for cyclists on the roads of New Hampshire and Southern Maine.