27.5 vs 29 … Reviewed … Wheel Size or Geometry?

This review was set to be part 2 of the Giant Anthem Advanced 27.5.  It has turned into a comparison between 27.5″ and 29″ wheels, and a review about bike design and geometry.

Need part 1?  Find it right here.

During the past 8 months, we have put on about 6000 miles on a Giant Anthem Advanced 27.5 and a Giant XTC Advanced 27.5  In that time, we have ridden nearly every terrain type available in in Colorado / Utah / Arizona.  Types of riding vary from casual group rides, to race pace oxygen deprived racing.  Each ride’s telemetry is logged and contains power, cadence, speed, location, heart rate, altitude, and temperature.

Personally, I was an early adopter of the 29″ wheel size.  I have been on 29ers for approximately 5 years.  It was a review similar to this one that we did contrasting 26 to 29 that won me over.

The winds of change are blowing again!  27.5 is a great wheel size that has allowed Giant engineers to focus on building a bike that is very ride able, and easy to transfer the power to the pedals.  All this with a great roll over capability

Any time that we push on the pedals and go, my personal records start to be replaced by new PR’s  Interestingly, power readings go up as well.  Now, in a perfect world, a lap would be faster, with less power.  In the tables below, my power has gone up for 2014.  The bike is approximately the same weight, I am the same weight (promise), fitness is approximately the same, oh, I am one year older, that is definitely working against me.  My only explanation of the power increase has nothing to do with wheel size.  Better bike bike geometry.  Better geometry equals a more powerful position on the bike.

 

2013GoProGamesTelemetry

GoPro Games – 1 Lap, 29″ Wheel size – 2013

2014GoProGamesTelemetry

GoPro Games – 1 Lap, 27.5″ Wheel size – 2014

Let’s just take the above on face value for a moment.  My lap times on 27.5 were faster than 29.  There are 100′s of variables that we can discuss and talk about, but the bottom line is faster is faster.

Any time that we have run head to head tests of 29 vs 27.5, the 27.5 keeps coming out on top.  This has been the norm for the past 8 months.  We waited til now so we could show you a race result that was as close as we could come to a “test”.

OK, so you don’t want to race, and really don’t care about speed.  Riding a 27.5 makes any of your rides easier.  Less effort, same speed, more fun!

K-Edge Garmin Mount

Build a better mousetrap?  Yes they did!

K-Edge on MTB Bars

The mount that comes with any Garmin is good.  K-Edge took this to a new level and made it great!

We will keep this short, and just point out the pro’s and con’s

Pro’s

  • Get’s the mount off the stem.  (If you run a short stem, you will know what we mean).
  • No Sweat! – Your Garmin is mounted further forward, therefore eliminating the sweat dripping off your head.  You can now read your Garmin before, during, and after a hard effort.
  • Safer readability.  Putting your Garmin out in front of you makes it MUCH easier to read.  You can see the readouts in your peripheral vision!
  • Easier readability for the over 40 crowd.  Putting your Garmin out in front puts it just a little further away.  In other words, no readers required!
  • It looks cooler!  Your Garmin is now placed in an “electronic cockpit” position.  Aero, Ergro, Safer, YES!

Con’s

  • You have to purchase another mount vs. the one that comes with your Garmin.
  • If you race, you will need to make some creative modifications to your number plate.

 

Review – 2014 Giant Anthem Advanced 27.5

2014 Giant Anthem Advanced 27.5

Before we dig in to the review, we felt compelled to let you know about the reviewer.  My name is Mike.  I am a self-confessed OCD Endurance athlete.  My riding style is generally anything XC orientated.  It is just as much fun for me to climb up Mt. Guyot singletrack (ok I hiked), or the Edge Loop road.  5’10″, 175 lbs.

The 27.5 wheelsize is new to me.  I have been on a 29er for about 5 years.  This Giant Anthem Advanced 27.5 arrived to me about 4 weeks ago.

We were ready for this review to be all about 27.5 vs 29 vs 26.  It’s not.  There is a lot more to this wheel size other than just the size.

The bike is easy to ride.  There was absolutely no transition from my 29er.  Climbing, descending, technical, etc… it was all noticeably easier, or the same.  Rollover?  Million dollar question here.  No difference for me on the 27.5 vs. the 29er.  OK, before you get your chamois in a bunch, yes I did notice a big difference between 26 and 29.  The difference between 29 and 27.5 … not so much.

Climbing … Incredibly fast and responsive!  Climbing on a mountain bike is all about hundreds of small accelerations.  Every time you push on the pedals, this bike accelerates up the hill.  Click up to a taller gear, and before you know it you have spun out that gear.  Pretty amazing feeling to have this much acceleration.

Descending … Riding this bike downhill is more about thinking where you would like it to go versus steering.  It is incredibly responsive without being twitchy.

Pedalling … The Maestro platform is incredibly efficient and has no “bob” while you are hammering out that 3 mile buttery smooth single track cliimb.  Transfer of power to the ground is incredibly efficient.  Less watts, more speed!

Overall Ride … That is where this bike really excels.  The geometry of the Anthem 27.5 marries speed with great handling.  Is it about wheel size?  Kind of.  The 27.5 wheel size has allowed Giant to design a bike that puts the rider “in the bike”.  The rider is a part of the bike, as opposed to just sitting on the saddle.  What does this do?  The rider is in a position to transfer the most amount of power, with the least amount of effort.  The rider is also in an ideal position fore and aft that enhances the bikes overall handling characteristics.

How fast is it?  … Great question.  The technology available to us today is amazing.  Strava keeps us honest, and will show the results of your efforts.  Take that the next step, add power to your bike, and the subjective reviews are nearly gone.  Every ride that we have done on this bike has been faster or equal to any previous effort.  Some of those rides are higher speeds with less effort.  Want to know more, we posted a couple of Strava rides below.  We will save the “in-depth” analyses for a later review.

The Season is Here! Make sure you are prepared!

Seat Bag

Seat Bag

minipump

Mini Pump

masterlink10

Master Link

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t let a flat tire, or a simple mechanical rain on your great ride.  The following is a list of items I put into my seat bag for both MTB and Road bikes.  Both my MTB and Road bikes have a seat bag.  It is just plain easier to pack these bags, strap them on to your bike and forget about them til you need them.

multitool

Multi-Tool

TireLeverYellow_feature

Tire Levers

 

 

 

 

 

The guys at LTR Sports can not only set you up with these items, they can show you how to use them.  It is much easier to practice installing a tube inside a nice warm shop as opposed to a cold and rainy roadside!

Mountain Bike …

  • Seat Bag.  They come in various sizes.  I have a tendency to be a minimalist, so working pretty hard to fit everything in is fine with me.
  • Tube … 29er with a presta valve.  A 29er tube works just fine to lend to your friend who flats their 26.  A presta valve (small one) will fit through any rim hole.
  • Tire Levers … A couple is a good idea.  It is nice to have a spare when you break one.
  • CO2 Inflator.  My preference is a 40gram.  Very light, and you can inflate 2 mountain bike tires.
  • Multi-Tool.  Make sure you get a chain breaker.
  • Small Patch Kit … Just in case that spare tube develops a leak.
  • Master Link … Tape this to a cable housing.  It will get lost inside your bag.
  • Mini-Pump … This is optional.  I take one on long rides to remote areas, I have a mount for it on my water bottle cage.
  • Cash … It never hurts to put $10 into your bag.
inflatorsmall

CO2 Inflator 20-25g

inflatorslarge

CO2 Inflator 40g

 

 

 

 

 

Road Bike …

  • Seat Bag.  They come in various sizes.  I have a tendency to be a minimalist, so working pretty hard to fit everything in is fine with me.
  • Tube(2) … 700c with a presta valve.  Put 2 in your bag.  A presta valve (small one) will fit through any rim hole.
  • Tire Levers … A couple is a good idea.  It is nice to have a spare when you break one.
  • CO2 Inflator(2).  My preference is a 20g for road bikes.  I put a couple in the bag.
  • Multi-Tool.  Make sure you get a chain breaker.
  • Small Patch Kit … Just in case that spare tube develops a leak.
  • Master Link … Tape this to a cable housing.  It will get lost inside your bag.
  • Mini-Pump … This is optional.  I take one on long rides to remote areas, I have a mount for it on my water bottle cage.
  • Cash … It never hurts to put $10 into your bag.

Questions?  Let me know, or ask the guys at LTR Sports.

Custom Bike Builds

We’ve been busy the last few weeks here at LTR Sports. Pre-season tune-ups are rolling through, winter fork rebuilds are cranking out, and new bikes are on the floor. But we always have time for those custom bike builds. Here are a few recent ones

CIMG0402

We built 5 Element 999 RSL’s this year. This XX1 version is 21.5lbs

Working on an Orbea Orca Build
Working on an Orbea Orca Build

Element 970 with customer 120mm Fox Fork

Element 970 with customer 120mm Fox Fork

Sweet Orbea Alma Build with SRAM XX

Sweet Orbea Alma Build with SRAM XX

 

Why Get a Bike Fit?

LTR Sports has welcomed Adam Sczech as our newest team member. Adam’s main passion is bicycle fitting on road, mountain, and triathlon bikes. Here is why you should look into a proper bike fit.

Would you buy a $5000 suit without a tailor taking your measurements, just letting him “eyeball” you and maybe measuring you inseam. That is the same letting a bike shop take your inseam and letting you spin around the parking lot. A proper fit is the most import aspect of riding a bicycle. Much like a suit, a bicycle can be adjusted and tailored to your exact measurements. A proper fit allows one to work efficiently and naturally with one’s bike. Everyone is shaped differently, which means bikes should be set up differently. A person that is 5’10” with 28” inseam fits a bike differently that a person that is 5’10” with a 32” inseam. Though both people are the same height, their body proportions are so different that they may need different frame sizes. To be comfortable on a bike can be the difference between a great day and a terrible day. Someone in a 40k TT that is in the most aero position possible but has to sit up every 10 minutes will lose to the person that has 150 more grams of drag but can hold the position the whole race. CIMG0498

With the fits we do at LTR Sports, we start with a few basic body measurements in order to have an initial set up for the fit bike. This means we begin with a blank slate, we do not use your current or any real bike at the start of the fit. After the fit bike is setup to your measures we have you warm up for few minutes. This allows you to get a feel for the fit bike and get your blood flowing. If we started fitting before you are warmed it would make little sense since you would be warmed up during a ride. Then we start the fit, over the next hour or so we adjust your position on the bike to make you as comfortable and efficient as possible. We do this using some old school body position measures and a fancy little bit of software that allows us to objectively see how efficiently you make power through the pedal stroke. Once we get you as comfortable and efficient as possible we take the measurements off the fit bike and punch them into a little bit of proprietary software that lets us the geometry of your perfect bicycle. The program then lets us compare any bicycle in the world to your perfect bike. It determines what length/angle stem, seatpost height/setback, and other variables would be needed to make your bike (or bike you are interested in) as close to your perfect bike as possible.

Electronic Shifting … Reviewed

UltegraDi2ShiftersGiantTCR0My first question to myself was “why do I need it”.

I ordered my new Giant road bike with Ultegra Electronic Shifting Di2.  Being the geek that I am, it really appealed to me.  As you read more, I will use the terms lever and button interchangeably.  Electronic shifting is really push button shifting.  The levers that we are familiar with have been adapted to activate these buttons.

UltegraDi2FrontRearDerOnGiantTCR0The very first thing that was impressive to me was the “shimming” built in to the front derailleur.  Regular indexed shifting has a intermediary click in the front derailleur.  This let’s you ride cross chained (big ring, big cog) with very little or no chain rub on the front derailleur.  Electronic shifting takes care of this.  It senses what chainring (front) and cog (rear) gear you have selected, and aligns the front derailleur to take care of chain alignment.

Shifting feel… How does it feel to push the lever?  That is the most interesting thing.  What indexed shifting did to friction shifting, electronic shifting is doing to indexed shifting.  It has a completely different feel.  Your gear selection is simply pushing a lever / button, that activates a shift.  You don’t worry if the derailleur and cables are going to resist your selection.  If you would like to be in the next gear up, you simply push the lever, and you are there.  Absolutely no thinking about it.

Shifting crispness… How fast and accurate does the gear selection take place?  No competition here.  Shifting under load, in other words when you are working hard is a great test of your bikes shifting performance.  Pedaling up a hill while out of the saddle, you can select a different gear with  electronic shifting.  You will be in that gear.  There is no hesitation, no chain rub, no dropped chain, it simply works.

BatteryPlacementrOnGiantTCR0Battery life… 400 to 650 miles.  Your experience will vary, naturally.  If you are doing the Race Across America, you will probably need a spare battery.  If you are planning on doing the Tour de France, one battery and a charger will be OK.  Charging the battery is accomplished in 1.5 hours.

Weight … We have not weighed all the components, and figured out the gain / penalty.  We have weighed the Giant TCR Advanced 0 including:  pedals, water bottle cages, Quarq power meter, lights, and it tips the scales at 16 lbs.

Dirt / Water / Reliability … Personally, 8 weeks, 120 hours, 8 bike washes, no problems.  Bradley Wiggins, 2012 Tour de France Winner, enough said.

Is this a step forward?  Absolutely yes.

See you out there.

Carbon Goodies from Giant and Rocky Mountain Rolling Through

We’ve had some slick carbon full-suspension 29er mountain bikes from Rocky Mountain and Giant come in this week.  Most have been sold and are on the trail with a happy customer.  Here is a sneak peak:

Rocky Mountain Element 999 RSL, Large, built with some Enve wheels and cockpit, PopLoc remote lockouts front/rear. 22 lbs.

Rocky Mountain Element 970 RSL, XTR, XT build kit, DT Swiss Wheels, full carbon, Fox CTD front/rear shocks with remote lever. 25lbs. Killer value at $5,199

Giant Anthem Advanced X 1. Carbon front end, full Shimano XT, DT Swiss produced wheels, Rock Shox suspension. 25lbs, for just $4,799

Come on in to check these and more out, or contact us for more information.