Not too long ago, I stumbled upon Airborne Bicycles. They are a relatively new bicycle company based out of nearby Dayton Ohio, that is pumping out quality bicycles at very reasonable prices. How they do it, I am not sure, but for certain I am seriously considering adding one to my current stable. Here are a few that strike my fancy:
This bicycle makes me happy. Big wheels from WTB. Front suspension in the form of a Rockshox Reba. Components from SRAM in the 2×10 variety. Elixir hydraulic disc brakes. All together for just $1149.95! That is pretty amazing. I love 29ers, having owned a couple different versions, and their MSRP was definitely higher. Great price on a great bike, which many different magazines are giving great reviews!
This is another bike that really intrigues me. I have been intrigued by a dual suspension for quite some time, but their prices have always been too steep for me. Plus, after my last MTB being a rigid steel single speed, that really made me start thinking about a dually. Anyway, parts: Rockshox front and rear suspension, SRAM X7 and X9 drive train and Tektro hydraulic discs. Nice parts, all for $699.95! This is the best deal of the bunch in my opinion. Try to find an equally spec’d dual suspension mountain bike for a similar price. I don’t think it can be done. Bravo Airborne!
Another great bike of a different variety. A well equipped disc only cyclocross bike. Their site says limited quantity, and after seeing this one I can see why. Great looking bike, makes me want to start ‘cross racing. Great package at $999.95!
One thing that might be a deal breaker for some with this company is that they are mostly mail order. Myself, I do not find this to be an issue. I still support my local bike shop by buying the majority of my parts and having things fixed there as well. This type of bicycle sales is great for the consumer, giving us lots of options, which in this case are very affordable. These low prices with a little bit of maintenance knowledge will make for a very enjoyable ride.
These three are just half of the Airborne line up, just the ones that I really, really enjoy. Hopefully this brand sticks around for a while, and from the looks of the reviews, I would imagine so. It is nice to see a somewhat local company do well in the cycling business. Rock on Airborne…
All pictures from Airborne’s website.
While surfing the web for bicycle parts tonight, I stumbled onto this:
All in one, handlebar and front basket combo, all made out of one piece. It appears to be a comfortable riding position, and also two mounting points for the stem, to dial in the perfect handlebar height. That is pretty clever. I am sure it is pretty heavy as well. Could not find a weight or price on the bars, but I am sure they will be out in the near future. Props to Origin 8 for making something cargo related! Be sure to check out their site at the above link!
Photo from Origin 8’s site.
So again, changing my mind on my next bike purchase, back to the board with a nice fat bike comparison. I have wanted a full fatty since converting the Gary Fisher Rig to a fat front last year. The half fat really piqued my interest in a full fat setup, so as of now, the next bike will be a full fat bike. There is just something about those large tires! And now that Surly has released the Black Floyd slick 3.8″ there is now a suitable road tire option to mix it up a bit from the knobbies. So, that said, lets compare:
The fat bike that started it all. Okay, maybe not. I am sure there were some folks up in Alaska doing this way before Surly. But Surly brought the idea down to the rest of us folks that are not in the Great White North. Anyway, here are the pros, in my opinion:
-Steel frame and fork
-135mm front and rear hubs, giving you a bail out SS hub in the front in case you wreck your rear derailleur out in the wilderness. Being able to easily switch wheels, shorten the chain, and ride home is a BIG plus in my book.
-Good parts spec for the price point, around $1600 complete.
-Rack mounts front and back.
-Easy single speed option, with track style horizontal dropouts.
-The only cons for this bike are the rim width and the steel frame. Yes, I have the steel from on both the pros and the cons list. I do like steel. But steel can corrode a little easier than aluminum, so therefore it is also a con.
-The Large Marge rim is 65mm, which now is one of the smaller rim sizes for fat bikes. This does not turn me away from the Pugsley, but it should be noted. Upgrades are inevitable, this would probably be my first step if I go this route. Or, I could just spend the extra money on the Pugsley option, The Black Ops Pugsley:
The Black Ops version comes with a little different specs, including the wider Rolling Darryls, which are 82mm. It also comes with a bigger price tag…
The Salsa Mukluk 2
The Mukluk 2 is the mid level of the Mukluk family, between the Titanium version and the Mukluk 3. Here are the pros:
-Nice looking bike. I love the matte black finish with red decals.
-Rolling Darryl rims, on dishless wheels. The rear hub is 170mm, and the front is 135mm. Big, wide wheels.
-Good parts spec, very similar to the Pugsley.
-Salsa Enabler fork. I love this fork. I think it is the perfect rigid fork for a bike like this. And with Salsa’s Anything Cage that mounts directly to the fork, this bike is ready for adventure!
-No SS escape plan, no swapping of the wheels if you trash your derailleur with different size hubs. I guess you could always just shorten the chain, but no horizontal dropouts.
-Grip shifters. I hate grip shifters. Sure, easy to switch, but just not my preference.
-Price. The Mukluk 2 is priced higher than the Pugsley at just around $2000. Ouch. Also, just read on an online forum that the Mukluk 2 has already sold out. So that leaves the very pricey Ti Mukluk, or the lower spec’d Mukluk 3. Too bad. If I had the cash though, I would buy a Ti Mukluk in a heartbeat! Gorgeous bike.
So that is where I am on the next bike decision. Now I know that there are other companies that make fat bikes, but I am limiting myself to these two companies just on buying complete. I really do not feel like building a fat bike from the ground up. Call me lazy. That’s fine. But speaking of other companies, here is a quick list:
And the fat bike specific Fatbikes.com
All pictures of the Puglsey, BO Pugs, and Mukluk are from Surly and Salsa’s sites respectfully.
Finally review time for this piece of equipment. I have been using the iBert Safe-T-Seat for around a year and a half, and sadly, I feel our time has come to an end. Here is what I think about it:
The iBert Safe-T-Seat takes a different approach to hauling kids on bikes. Instead of mounting the seat over the rear wheel, it mounts directly to the stem, in between the arms of the rider. This might make some uncomfortable, but here is why I like it:
The iBert gives your child an unobstructed view of the bicycle ride. Now, you no longer have to make your child stare at your back, or backside, while taking them for a ride. While on our rides, we actively talk about what we are seeing, squirrels, birds, other people, etc. It brings me great joy to roll alongside a team kit roadie type, and have my daughter wave and say hello. It breaks even the most die hard, serious cyclist out of their “zone.”
Another perk of the iBert is if your child falls asleep, you can see where they are leaning, and normally, they will be leaning onto one of your arms. That is a huge peace of mind to me. Think about your child on a rear mounted seat, leaning to the side, and who knows where those little sleepy fingers might end up. No, not your backside, I am talking about spokes here. That would be a tragic incident, even for my full grown adult digits. That in its self is worth the price of admission.
The only downsides to the iBert in my opinion would be minor. One, the little plastic clips that hold the padding to the plastic seat pop out easily, and become lost pretty quickly. I think we only have one of the three left. Not a huge deal, but I feel it should be mentioned. Another downside, which is one of the perks as well, is the front mounted position. This puts your child in a very bad situation if you would happen to wreck your bicycle. But with most things cycling related, just use some common sense and everything will turn out just fine. 3 foot gaps are landed easily, 6 footers are more of a challenge with the iBert. Kidding! I would not even dream of jumping with this seat.
This seat works best on paved surfaces, but on occasion I have ventured onto light, smooth single track, which is a blast. Slow and steady wins the race, stay away from super technical riding/racing, and the iBert will do what it is supposed to do, hold your child safely.
My daughter in Bicycle Times, actually her second appearance!
Again, my daughter and I have used the iBert for around a year and a half, and sadly our time has come to an end. She will soon be switching to a seat on the back of the Xtracycle, hopefully a PeaPod. She is almost too large for the seat, weight wise she is still okay, but unfortunately she is too tall for it. Luckily my On One Mary bars have a nice bend to allow her long legs to be comfortable for the time being.
Our experience with the iBert has been amazing, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to give their child a first person introductory view to cycling. Just don’t try to jump anything…
Yeah, that sums it up. Check the Surly blog. It has good stuff. Now this has me pondering some bicycle options. I am planning on getting a new bike. At first I thought a fat bike would do. Then maybe a Cross Check. Now, I have no idea what to do. The logical answer in a perfect world would be to buy one of each. Back to reality. Do I go the fat bike route, and have two wheelsets since Surly has a slick fat tire? Or do I go with the Cross Check since a more road oriented bike would probably be the best option for me? Or what about the new Ogre, 29er do all bike? Or the complete Troll, 26er do it all bike? Holy crap, this is going to take some time to soak all in… Thanks Surly!
Oh my… after I write a posting about switching to road biking, blah blah, Kona drops the Honzo on everyone! Holy crap! That bike looks amazing! Steel 1×9, with sliding dropouts for single speed conversions, can used tapered forks, can jump off of things, can ride all day, etc. Just check out the pics:
So Kona does not have a price listed, but I found on a dirt forum that the complete will be around $1750, and the frame around $550. Damn, looks like I need to start saving…
Looks like Kona hit this one out of the park. Thanks Kona, for making me want to mountain bike again…
Check this new frame out: Surly Troll. I always seem to change my mind about what I would like to build, but this frame seems like a good idea. I am starting to think that this would be the ultimate commuter/tourer/mountain bike. It would also fit into my plan to keep my bike stable down to just a few bikes.
I am thinking about buying this frame, running either Maxxis Hookworm 26×2.5s or Schwalbe Big Apple 26×2.35s, and also having it be a pseudo fat bike in the winter since the tire clearance is up to a 26×2.7! It might be interesting to even have a legit fat front, and a 26×2.7 in the rear. As you can tell, this frame has a lot of options.
I am also still thinking about the xtracycle conversion. The Troll would replace that. My only problem is what/how to keep my daughter involved in cycling. The xtracycle conversion would make that pretty easy. I guess trailers are always an option, but I am not sold on them just yet. I would also still like a Big Dummy, but I do not see that happening in the near future. Maybe Surly will read this, and hook me up with a few bikes? Maybe even an old Conundrum mountain unicycle…