Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Hours and Schedules

Bespoke will be open only for scheduled appointments from Tuesday June 4th and reopening on Tuesday June 11th. The showroom will be closed during that week.

If you need to pick up or drop off a bike, that's fine, just call ahead so we can let you in.

Bespoke opening hours are changing as well. Red below:

Tuesday - 12-7
Wednesday - 12-7
Thursday - 12-7
Friday 12-7
Saturday - 10-5

Repair drop offs can be arranged after 10am weekdays. Please call ahead.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Product Lines at Bespoke

We are happy to have received our first shipment of Kask helmets. These helmets are super comfortable and extremely well made. Detail at this level is all too rare and they are made in Italy as well. We're always looking for new products that measure up here at Bespoke and we are picky about what we spend our money on. As soon as I threw one of these on I knew I must have one! They are also among the safest helmets money can buy. They incorporate and inner structural "cage" that reinforces the entire structure so that it stays in one piece in the event of an impact. The padding, ventilation, material, adjustment and straps are all top notch. Come by and check these out.

Osmo Nutrition is now in house as well. Osmo is a Fairfax, California company that is on the cutting edge of sports nutrition science. We carry the entire line which includes Pre-Hydration, Active Hydration and Recovery which effectively covers you every step of the way. They are all very easy on the stomach and taste great too.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Bikes!!!! From Everyone!!!!

We've got some very nice bikes to talk about folks. All four of our primary builders have released new models. We thought we would shed some light on what each builder has been up to. We'll be starting with Guru.

One thing worth mentioning before we begin is that, although I'm about to use a lot of these wordsa, I detest industry jargon and hype. Every company uses the line "stiffer and lighter". That term means nothing unless you know and understand exactly what that's relative to. So, with that in mind, I'll try to be objective and you should understand that I am using these terms with reference to previous models as well as other bikes I might personally know about. As much as I would like to get into the subjects of hype vs reality and how to properly evaluate a bike, I'll save it for another time. And without further ado...

Guru - Our Friends to the North 

Guru's Photon Series - Guru launched three new models at NAHBS. The Photon Series consists of the Photon SL, Photon R and Photon HL. 

The Photon SL

The Photon SL is very similar to the original Photon, the focus here is combining light weight and comfort. Although comfort is part of the idea, by no means is this bike a slug. The previous Photon was a very efficient frame and had awesome drivetrain response. This new model is simply a further refinement, a little stiffer and little lighter (there it is) with similar vertical compliance and vibration damping. I spent a bit of time on the previous version so I'm excited to see these hitting the road. The SL starts at $4500 for a stock size and $5500 for custom. Details include pressfit 30 bottom bracket, carbon dropouts and Enve's 2.0 fork. Of course, plenty of custom paint options as well.

The Photon R

The Photon R is the "race" model. This bike is meant to be stiff and fast period. This frame has significantly increased both torsional (front to back) and bottom bracket stiffness. It uses a tapered Enve fork, BB86 standard, and oversized tubing throughout. In short...go fast! The Photon R starts at $5000 for stock and $6000 for custom. Of the three, I'm most curious about this bike. I've got a few years of fast left in me so I've been looking at bikes with this in mind.

The Photon HL

The Photon HL is the new flagship from Guru. HL = Hyperlight and they aren't kidding around. A size 54 reportedly weighs in at less than 670 grams stock! The new HL utilizes a completely new carbon layup and tubing configuration and they've even developed a new extremely light weight clear coat. This bike will certain delight the weight conscious but it won't sacrifice on ride quality. Because of the new method of construction, Guru was able retain all the signature ride character while shedding the weight. This frame is available in full custom only at $8500.

I think it's worth mentioning what Guru bikes generally ride like. Please keep in mind that this, along with any bike review or assessment is always subjective and subject to a variety of other factors such as wheel choice, tire pressure, what kind of day you're having and fit and on and on. My feeling with Guru's approach is that they have a fairly neutral to agile front end feel in most stock sizes. By that I mean they are sporty but fairly predictable. I like this. I have personal bikes that are less racy and some that are more racy...feeling. They are never lacking in drivetrain response. One of the less expensive models, the Evolo seems a bit more comfort focused that the Photons or Evolo R but that's not a bad thing at all. I think with the new Photon SL and the Evolo, they are offering a great balanced ride at two different price points. They've done their homework in putting out a line with distinct differences and and value. We've known all along what potential this company has and we're super excited about the new bikes not to mention what they're probably developing for the future.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

American Manufacturing

American manufacturing is something we care about here at Bespoke. In our industry, or any other for that matter, it's hard to find products that are still made here. More and more companies are choosing to outsource manufacturing because of the low cost of labor. There are many hidden costs however, we'll refer to this as "True Cost" and we'll talk more about that later. We live in a global economy and as time goes on, tariffs will change, labor in developing countries will change as will demand and trade agreements and so on. All that being what it is, we will always focus on supporting American manufacturing as part of our business model.

We are a high end shop. That makes it easier for us to offer more domestically made products. It just happens that the American made products in the cycling industry are mostly high end products. So in that sense, we have it easy. For us, it's easy to see and understand why a Serotta, for example, is a higher quality product that "brand T or Brand S". Tighter manufacturing tolerances, tighter quality control, better materials and a quality focused methodology all lead to higher quality products. It's simple. Personally speaking, I like knowing that I can shake the hand of the person who built my bike. I like knowing that he or she cares about my experience on my bike and my safety. At 50mph, I know I am on a machine built by a master, I breath easier. It's harder to tell with some products but in most cases, we're making the best right here at home. If we're looking at two products that appear identical in quality and price, we choose the domestically made one, it's a better practice.

One reason it's a better practice is that by purchasing locally and domestically, we're supporting ourselves and our community. The money stays here in your community and is used to pay for our infrastructure, firefighters, police, parks, libraries, education and the list goes on, not to mention it pays our wages and our neighbors wages. You are supporting safe working conditions, fair wages, ecological and social responsibility and you're very likely supporting a group of like minded, passionate us. Buy local and better yet, buy local, American made products. I'm fairly certain that foreign manufacturing companies like Jing-Cycling Co LTD (google it) isn't helping after school programs in your community.

We are not simple minded though. We know very well that in our industry, we can't have it all done here. Our country simply doesn't make bicycle drivetrains. Sram may be an American company but they don't make a single product here that I'm aware of. Shimano produces products in Japan, Taiwan, China, Malaysia and probably several other countries. Campagnolo now owns a factory in eastern Europe along with their Italian factory in Italy but at least they own both factories. That's just the way it is. Things aren't likely to change too much in the immediate future either, although there are some companies moving some production back here. Velocity, a rim manufacturing company, just opened a new factory in Michigan to make rims. As trade agreements change and those "developing countries" change, labor costs will go up and the cost of getting something made in China or elsewhere will inevitably go up. But right now, It's almost all made somewhere else. 

Here is a list of the brands we carry that make all or at least most of their products in the US and Canada.

US Companies:

Serotta Bicycles
Seven Cycles
Parlee Cycles
Inglis Cycles
Thomson Components
Enve Composites
Chris King
White Industries
King Cage
Paul's Components
Phil Wood
Jeff Hantman Custom Wood Fenders
Mad Alchemy

Guru Bikes
Louis Garneau

There are more as well. There will also be some additions to this list in the near future. There are also a number of European companies we work with who are equally passionate about keeping their manufacturing at home and making sure they put out nothing but the highest quality products, Campagnolo, Hope, Lupine, and Assos are but a few.

Look for a follow up to this post where I'll talk more about "True Cost" as well as the different labeling requirements from country to country when it comes to the "made in _____" label. You would be very surprised how different the laws are between Italy and the US for example. More to come.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Meditation for Cyclists with Busy Lives

January 17th from 7pm to 8pm 

Please join us as we welcome James Brown of Vedic Path Meditation. James will be here to talk about his technique and his classes and retreats. There will be refreshments of course, we hope to see you.

Meditation For Cyclists with Really Busy Lives

Stress steals from us. It saps our energy, ruins our sleep, and robs us every day of
enthusiasm and vitality. Stress makes it harder than normal to get out of bed early and
hop on the bike. And it compromises our health, slowing down recovery and allowing
nagging injuries to keep right on nagging. In our daily lives, stress can also make us
anxious, irritable and act in ways we later regret. But instead of stressing-out out there’s
something better you can do. Join as Bespoke welcomes Vedic Meditation expert (and
aging road cyclist) James Brown for a fascinating, free lecture on the science of stress
release, and discover a simple, easy meditation technique you can use everyday to
cleanse yourself of the toxic effects of stress, look and feel years younger, enjoy better
sleep, make better decisions (especially under pressure) and live a healthier, happier,
more-energized life. Really.

Vedic Meditation is a simple, non-religious practice that anyone can learn in four short
sessions. So, why would anyone want to learn? First, because Vedic Meditation is easy to
learn, and easy to practice. It doesn’t ask us to strain and struggle, to concentrate in an
effort to quiet the mind.

Second, the practice helps you achieve a profoundly deep state of restfulness,
demonstrated to be 3 to 5 times deeper than sleep. This deep rest gained on a daily
basis rejuvenates and restores your entire system and allows you to release years of
accumulated stress.

And finally, because Vedic Meditation was developed, 5000 years ago in ancient India,
for what were called “householders.” Meaning people in the world, people with busy
lives, and relationships and stuff. In other words, it’s not for monks, not for people who
live detached from the hustle and bustle of the world, it’s for you. And as a result it’s a
flexible practice you can practice anywhere at anytime, a practice you can easily fit into
the chaos of a busy, modern life.

Vedic Path Meditation

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shoes, Feet and Fit

Your feet are the primary anchor point between you and your bike. The importance of proper shoe fit, foot alignment and cleat position can not be stressed enough. Inaccuracy here can lead to loss of power and efficiency as well as discomfort and even injuries. Proper shoe fit, arch support, foot alignment and cleat position are the foundations from which we build an accurate fitting. We've learned a lot in the past decade and we're always getting better.

One thing we've learned about shoe fit  is that "tighter" is not the answer to more power and efficiency. Tighter is all too often a recipe for circulation issues, hot spots, numbness and in extreme cases, nerve and soft tissue injuries in the foot.  It's very important to get sized up the right way. Some of us got used to our feet hurting, we thought it was normal, that was wrong, it is not, and with a bit of work we can pretty much solve any shoe/foot problem out there.

There are three main components to measuring a foot. We use an industry standard tool called a brannok device, likely you've seen one. It measures overall foot length, arch length and width. The combination of these three measurements help determine your ideal shoe size. There are other elements such as foot volume, riding style and personal preference to consider as well. For example, two feet that measure the same on a Brannok won't necessarily fit in the same shoe the same way. Some feet are literally thicker than others, taller insteps, different heels and so on. It's important to be diligent in getting the proper shoe for your foot, not all brands fit all feet. This is another instance where what a pro rides or what looks cool may not be the right choice for you. Don't let others (or marketing hype) make decisions for you.

 What we've learned in the world of foot alignment has come a long way. Proper foot alignment and arch support lead to better overall physical alignment, better knee tracking, increased efficiency and increased comfort. The right pair of shoes is part of this but proper arch support is the second half of the equation. We've been working with a company called Esoles that makes custom footbeds using a 3D image taken of your foot here at Bespoke and then machines them to fit in the specific make, model and size of your shoe. We've provided Esoles for runners, skiers and many other athletes as well as cyclists. We've yet to find a better means of providing foot alignment with this level of accuracy. There are a number of stock products out there offering the same thing. The truth is that the majority of them are made so conservatively that they aren't likely cause problems but they rarely provide accurate support.

Putting all this together, we're beginning to establish our foundation for accurate fit. We're eliminating causes of discomfort, injury and we're increasing power and efficiency. We're using established guidelines, accurate knowledge and experience to make sure that you are set up properly and that you understand why it all matters.

Curious? Give us a shout or come by. Sharing what we know, our experiences and helping cyclists reach their goals is what we're all about. 

Check out:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Winter Tune Special

We have a special for a winter tune up that should help keep you all rolling throughout the damper days. Here are the details.

Special valid from now until December 24th

Standard Drivetrain Cleaning = $100.00 (reg. $125.00)

Continental Grand Prix 4Season tires - buy one get the second for half price 

Brake pads - Buy one get the second pair for half price

Arundel bar tape half price

Continental's Grand Prix 4 Season is easily the best winter weather tire I've ridden. They come in 23c,25c, and 28c. They have great puncture protection, excellent grip on the wet stuff and they ride like a dream. They are only about 10 grams heavier than a Grand Prix 4000s. In short, these tires are incredible!

In wet weather, you'll burn through brake pads super fast. Best to keep an eye on them. Brakes help you stop, stopping is good.

Arundel Gekko bar tape is nicely padded and is also very grippy. In wet weather, slippery bar tape can be outright dangerous. Get some grip!

A standard drivetrain cleaning involves removing your entire drivetrain, cranks, bottom bracket, both derailleurs, cassette and chain and cleaning everything. Then we re-install everything. This service allows any water that's trapped in the frame (we've seen well over a cup of water pour out of some bikes). This keeps your bottom bracket from corroding, your frame from rusting or your parts from creaking endlessly. This service also allows us to see very accurately any other issues that might be hidden by dirt and grime. This is also a good opportunity to replace your chain if it needs it. We do some cleaning of the bike overall ( as we always do) and give the bike a test ride once we're all done. Everything is nice and clean!

Other components or labor required to fix your bike, should these things fall outside the realm of the standard drive train cleaning and the special, will be in addition. Also, if your bike hasn't been cleaned or tuned in six years (hypothetically), there could be additional labor charges.

Remember, the offer lasts only until December 24th.