Monday, September 22, 2008

Off to Interbike!

Just a quick note to let you know that I'll be hopping on a plane and flying out to Vegas tomorrow to attend the annual industry trade show - Interbike.

This has become an annual thing for me and I love reconnecting with people whom I talk to frequently, but only see once a year. All the new gear is great to see too. I'm sure to have some things to share once I return home.

I'll be attending the National Criterium Championships for the second year as well. Last year saw Ivan Dominguez with a winning effort in the last 150 meters for an awesome finish. What will we see this year?

I hate Vegas, and can't wait to leave from the moment the plane touches down...but I love Interbike and seeing all my friends.

Until I return...thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Shimano R-300 Shoes - Update 2.0

Just thought I'd post another conversation I've had regarding the R300 shoes for those who might be interested... This string of comments appeared on my first update on the shoes

Anonymous Dan said...
Who fit your shoe for you?
September 20, 2008 8:44 AM
Blogger Matt Magee said...

I was originally fitted for R300 shoes by Than White, a Shimano Technical Representative at my old bike shop in Tennessee. After that fitting, I received my personal shoes and had one of the other trained fitters (besides myself) at the old store do the molding.

Since then, I now have a pair of M300 (the mountain version) shoes which I have molded myself; and have also done a second molding on my R300's myself - as I am testing out some Specialized forefoot wedges in both pair of shoes.

Look for a review on the M300 shoes soon!
September 20, 2008 9:42 AM
Shimano claims that the shoes can be molded 3 times and have stated that a second molding is sometimes a way to improve on the fit of the shoe after some use. I can say that my R300's do fit a little more closely and offer even more stability after the second molding.

I've gotten one good hard ride on my cyclocross bike in on the M300's and will publish a review once I can get a few more hours in on them. So far though, I'm quite impressed.

Thanks for reading...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bontrager InForm RL Saddle: First Impression

Something I didn't mention in my Trek World report on Bontrager, which you'll see more of in 2009 is Bontrager's new saddle line. The first two models, R (Race) and RL (Race Lite) came out in the middle of the 2008 model year with the range-topping RXL (Race X Lite) coming out soon.

"So, what's really new in saddles that Bontrager could have discovered...isn't this really just the same song, second verse?"

At first look, you might think this. Bontrager's been doing saddles for a while and not really settled on any one distinct, definitive technology or characteristic to make them truly unique. And now, just like a lot of other top saddle companies; they're doing saddles in multiple widths - nothing new, right? Wrong.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Inside Zipp Speed Weaponry

And the distractions from completing my Trek World updates just keep coming...

Another story that I wanted to pass your way came along the other day - a factory tour at Zipp from

On a personal note - Josh Poertner (on the right in the white sweater) is an R&D guy for Zipp who lives basically around the corner from the old store (as I've come to call Allanti...). I've ridden with him a couple of times and shared a couple of thrillingly technical conversations (one in the Las Vegas airport after Interbike where he divulged the secrets of Zipp's CSC Team Issue wheelset). Josh is a wheel & component genius whom you'll see responding to questions everywhere online from Zipp and Flashpoint blogs to Leonard Zinn's column on VeloNews.
So, check out the article - regardless of whether you feel dimples ought to stay on golf balls or not; you'll find it very interesting.
Thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dura Ace Di2 (electronic) on test at

I had meant to post on my hands-on with Sram Red and Dura Ace 7900 from Trek World next - but then I ran across this story and couldn't pass up the opportunity to draw your attention to it. Lots of great photos with this one.

Check out the review at
photo courtesy

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Trek World 2009 #3: Mountain Bikes

You read that right - and I have been known to get my bikes dirty from time to time by taking them off pavement. In fact, I grew up mountain biking in the foothills of Boise, Idaho and still tend to ride my road bikes more like a MTB. I guess that's why I love my 'cross bike so much!

So enough about me - on to the bikes!

There were a bunch of new and improved mountain bikes this year from both Trek and Fisher. There was way too much going on to fully absorb and report on here. Both lines got changes and upgrades almost from the bottom-up. Trek's aluminum hardtails are probably the part that received the least changes - but still got a styling upgrade. Considering that the 6000- and 8000-series bikes got new hydro-formed frames last year, I can accept the lack of technical upgrades. And, the new styling shows that Trek is making an effort to take their now "Best in Class" bikes and make them look like it; rather than just relying on their technical reputation.

Trek World 2009 #2: Bontrager


The most important gear you own for cycling is where your body meets the bike: hands, seat, and feet. And no where else on the bike is there more going on than at your feet - so shoes are a very important piece of gear.

The idea for Bontrager to expand into "on-body" gear ultimately grew out of the end of the relationship between Trek and Nike which dated back nearly a decade. As a part of the "Best in Class" initiative Trek did not want to just replace Nike, but wanted to improve upon what they learned and deliver truly different products. They hired away a footwear designer from Adidas, Chris Funk - and the current model shoes are a great start. You may have seen some photos on a variety of websites of prototypes that Travis Brown has been testing. The photos seemed to be pretty late-in-development test samples, because they looked a lot like the nearly-finished shoes I saw at the show.

Trek World 2009 #1: Road Bikes

The old is new again in the world of road bikes at Trek World 2009!


No, they didn't bring back the 5200 (although, wouldn't a commemorative edition of the best selling carbon frame in the world be kind of cool...). No, they aren't using recycled carbon fiber for the 2009 Madone (also not a bad idea though...).

Instead, the Madone platform - new for 2008 (See here, here, and here for my coverage), received a new replaceable aluminum derailleur hanger, ceramic bearings on bikes equipped with Sram Red and Shimano 7900, but is otherwise unchanged. However - the long awaited return of Trek's ProjectOne custom program was unveiled.

All I can say is WOW!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trek World 2009 - An Overview

After a one-year absence; I returned to Madison, WI again this August for Trek's annual dealer show: Trek World. This year, Trek added a new showing (they regularly have two shows for U.S. dealers: Top 100 dealers and then everyone else) exclusively for sales staff. Since I'm not managing a store at this time - I qualify. And this show; titled Trek World Backstage, was before all the others and granted us the first look at the new products and services from Big T - before the "grand fromage" descend on Madison. So, enough back story - let's get to the meat.

Gary Fisher Road Bikes!

Yes, you read that right.

The big news at Trek World 2009 was the addition of a line of road bikes to the Fisher family. Admittedly, with a 4 month development cycle - enough time for development of graphics and to place orders with vendors - there's no revolutionary product here currently. But don't read this as meaning that there is no dedication to the concept. At the opening day keynote event - Product Manager Joe Vadeboncoeur tipped their hand a little; showing some hints of what they're working on for the 2010 product launch. It was a very well done multi-media montage which didn't really show enough for even an industry veteran like myself to put an entire puzzle together. But enough to see that the Trek/Fisher road team has some serious stuff in the works which will blow your mind and re-set industry standards and trends much like the LeMond "Min-Max" design and the 2008 Trek Madone did.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Off to Trek World, 2008...

It's been a busy summer, and I apologize for being a little absent from posting. As the season winds down, I'll have more time.

And, just in time for the trade show season! First up is a trip to Madison, Wisconsin for Trek's annual dealer show: Trek World. If you've been reading here for a while (or been bored enough to read back through the archives far enough...) you'll know that this is a highlight of my year. I originally wrote about the 2006 edition (archived here) on my blog at Madison is beautiful this time of year and there's plenty of good food, good riding, and good people (oh, and a few cool bikes too...) which serves nicely as a wrap-up to the season.

I don't know what kind of photos I'll be able to get; but I'll certainly post a review of the show here once I get back. Keep an eye out for the updates.

I'm also hoping to get to Interbike again this year. The plans haven't come together yet, but you'll know if I go.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sending a clear message...

Whatever illusions certain fools in the pro peleton may have had should well be erased by now. The constant bickering between the UCI, ASO, and the Pro-Tour teams aside - a clear message has been sent: you cannot use performance enhancing drugs and participate in the Tour de France.

Today's ejection of climbing "phenom" Riccardo Ricco - after two stage wins in the tour and some amazing climbing performances in this year's Giro d'Italia: all now under question - marks the third rider within the first half of the current tour to be caught and expelled for EPO use. Ricco's team, Saunier-Duval/Scott followed suit and removed themselves from the race voluntarilly (for reasons yet to be known as I write this).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Can't we all just get along?

I don't know how far-reaching this story has been; but a Portland road rage incident took an interesting twist last weekend. I'll leave the story-telling to Jonathan Maus at if you'll promise to return for my commentary:

Cyclist meets driver with a twist

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm on TV!

A Portland area news crew for Fox TV/Better TV wanted to do a story on choosing the right bicycle - now that it's summer and gas prices are what they are. So they came to Bike Gallery and I was chosen as the lucky individual to work with them. So, in the name of shameless self-promotion; enjoy:

I'll be sending a bill for my time if you use any of my advice to purchase a new bike. Watch your mail...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

If it's not one thing it's another...

Tom Boonen tests positive for Cocaine...seriously...

Story on

O.k., so while I was a successful competitive athlete in several sports, I've never attained the level of an elite athlete and personally known the pressures they're under. But frankly, some of these stories really read like an intelligence test:

Examiner: "Are you smart?"

Pro Athlete: "Uh..."

Examiner: "Here's a hint: It's a yes or no question."

Pro Athlete: "Oh, I get it! Um...yes?"

Examiner: "Try to pose your answer in the form of a statement, please."

So it seems that we may have made some great progress in the fight against performance enhancing drugs. But the world of recreational drug use is still alive and kicking in professional sports and has now taken another swing at our beloved sport of cycling.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dura Ace 7900 Officially Unveiled!

Something myself and the industry press at large have been talking about for some time now - and here it finally is: Just in time for the Tour de France.

The story has some great technical info which rings true with what my inside source with Shimano had told me about the group (but made me promise not to say...). I'll certainly be waiting anxiously to finally get my hands on it - and you'll read about it here when I finally do!

Until then; look here for the details:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Continental Gran Prix 4000 s

I've been meaning to write about these tires for a while - I received a set last summer from my Continental Sales Rep, Adam (back in Tennessee) and then neglected to mount them on any wheels before moving to Oregon. Well, Oregon winter weather came and went - spent on my favorite winter tires from Michelin - and I've now switched back to using my Bontrager Race X Lite Aero wheels; on which I had installed the 4000s'.

I've spent a lot of time on Michelin tires - which I love; but I don't really like the break-in time required to scuff them in and wear off the waxy residue on the rubber. I've never had that problem with and of the Continentals I've ridden. I can install them and immediately go take a nice, fast, aggressive descent and not hear the "chirping" sound that I've come to know as my new Michelin's skip through a corner. The Continental tires bite the pavement beautifully in a loaded corner from day one and the 4000s iteration is no different. In fact, in the 250+ miles I've ridden on them so far (with plenty of high-speed, twisty downhills) I have yet to find their cornering limit. I can't push these tires hard enough through a corner at 40+ (or a tight hairpin at 25-ish) mph for them to let go and make me wish I hadn't done that. I'll attribute this to Conti's claimed 30% improvement in grip. Hard to measure exactly - but noticeable in cornering confidence.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pro Road Racing in Portland!

Just a quick update - the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic is currently underway in Portland and NW Oregon. Jonathan Maus at has been attending some of the stages and posted some great pictures of the event. Check it out:

Photo Gallery of Naito Parkway TT and Mt. Tabor Crit

Friday, May 2, 2008

Do The Wave!

So, there's a number of blogs that I visit regularly. Some of them are by people whom I have some kind of strange connection to, others are just ones I've run across that I like., authored by Dave Moulton - famed frame builder, is one I visit with frequency. I learned a lot of what I know about custom bike fit passively from Dave - which is another story that I'll have to tell later. That's just to say that Dave is one of those with whom I feel a connection.

One of Dave's recent posts deals with a pet peeve of mine: the fading courtesy of the "wave".

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Little Housekeeping...

As noted near the top of the page, I've started a new blog entitled PDX Pro Road to highlight the cool things we have going on at the store. And so, I'm making the conscious decision to make the PDXPR page more product and service oriented while my own page will include things of a more personal nature. My personal opinions, experiences, and thoughts will still be found here. I'll also double-post some of the product highlights and reviews for items that I'm particularly excited about or personally using. PDXPR will be more product oriented and focus on what we are doing and have in stock at the store.

However, I'm a pretty flexible guy and I mostly want to keep things interesting for those who regularly read my mindless if you have an opinion one way or the other: love or hate; leave a comment on this post and let me know what you'd like to see.

So, that said; my promised Parlee updates can be found at PDXPR, while I'm continuing to format and draft my thoughts on my conversation with Bob Parlee at NAHMBS and will post that here, probably linked (or double-posted) at PDXPR. Stay tuned...

Thanks, as always, for reading!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Don't believe everything you read...why published weights don't matter.

This is one of my favorite topics. It annoys me to the core how much emphasis people will put so much "weight" (sorry, I had to) into companies' claims of their bikes' total weight. "Yeah, but this bike weighs x.xx lbs and this bike weighs x.xx lbs more..." blah, blah, blah... There's an excellent example in one of the latest stories at

The "New Arrivals" feature is one of my favorites that they run; as they receive some of the newest gear sooner than many other publications and it lets me know what to expect to see tests on in the near future. For example - I believe they've released the first comprehensive test of Sram Red. This time, they're highlighting three top-end road bikes that have just rolled into their stable: the Jamis Xenith SL, Serotta HSG Carbon, and Isaac Sonic. All somewhat obscure bikes that you're not likely to see in the bike shop on the corner or hear long discourses on at the next Saturday club ride. But the story provided some very interesting information; buried in the specifications list about each bike, that I think slipped by most people. The weights of the complete bikes, the weights of the frames, and the other details of the bikes' builds. "Not exactly rocket surgery there, Matt."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Art of Bike Fit Revisited

About a year ago I posted much of my personal philosophy on bike fitting here on my blog. A recent question posed to fitting expert Steve Hogg on reminded me of one more point that I didn't make, which Steve makes so well. Here's the text of the question with Steve's answer - then I'll elaborate.


Specialized Body Geometry 3D Fit vs. Retul
What are your thoughts on the Specialized Body Geometry 3D Fit System versus the Retul Fit System? I am considering getting a fit with one or the other and would like to make an informed decision. What are the pros and cons of each?

Thank you for taking the time to answer.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tested: Shimano WH 7850-C24-CL Wheelset

We were fortunate enough to have a demo set of one of Shimano's newest wheel creations in our possession. So naturally, I had to take them out for a spin so I could write about them here for my 2.5 loyal readers! (Thanks mom, dad, and Fido...)

But, first - the model number is not enough to tell you what is going on with these very special wheels. This is truly a new and revolutionary product, using proven technology, but unlike anything I've seen applied to wheels in this industry. The 7850 C24 CL is both a carbon fiber clincher and an aluminum clincher. How's that work? Well, Shimano has engineered an extremely thin-walled aluminum double-wall clincher rim. Just how thin? Without caliper measurements; after seeing a cut-out rim section I would say that the walls of the box-section are no less than half the thickness of a similar, all-aluminum rim. On top of this super-thin rim, Shimano then bonds a carbon fiber "skin" which structually stiffens and strengthens the rim without adding great amounts of weight. The total product is a roughly 380 gram, 24mm deep rim. For comparison's sake; A Mavic Open Pro is 420 grams and a DT Swiss RR 1.1 is 410 grams.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

2008 NAHMBS - Portland, Oregon

Wow! How to begin?!

I've attended plenty of bike industry trade shows and events. Quite frankly, after the first couple of years, it's the same ol' stuff, only now they make it in carbon, and everyone's is better than everyone else's. Oh yeah, and it's horizontally stiff and vertically compliant...

I don't know whether it was the more "homegrown" nature of the builders and exhibitors or the "open" nature of the show - unlike the other industry-only shows; or it might have just been that Portland is a bike-crazy town. Whatever it may have been, this was the coolest bike show I've been to. What a great experience. The combination of cutting-edge innovation and traditional, proven methods creates an atmosphere where it seems almost anything is possible. Creatively-minded technical craftsmen used common materials in uncommon ways or uncommon materials in traditional ways (yes, there really were bikes made of wood and bamboo/hemp/bull's horns). Contrary to popular belief, not all of the innovation in this industry comes from the big brands. The free-thinkers present at NAHMBS are using this platform to bring some truely great, original, practical ideas to the big stage of the bike industry's consciousness.

O.K., enough of my blabbering; here's what I saw that really caught my eye:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Shimano R300 shoe update

I received an anonymous comment on my post about my now not-so-new Shimano R300 shoes; and so I figured I'd post my reply here as well as in the comments field as I'm sure "Anonymous" is not the only one wondering about how a pair of $350 shoes hold up. My reply is as follows:

Anonymous Anonymous said...
How are the shoes holding up?
Blogger Matt Magee said...

Good question. Thanks for asking.

The shoes are great. I took a good hard ride just last Saturday and did a great deal of climbing (West on Skyline Rd. past Cornelius Pass for those who know the area...) and still hold to every comment I made in my original review. Stiff, stable, comfortable.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

1/21/08 - Bike Insurance

Turning onto my street after driving home from the store today I noticed that our garage door had been left open and one of my worst fears surfaced again (yeah, not the first time the door hasn't been closed...). Would I walk in to see one or all of my bikes missing? I think that's a genuine fear of anyone with a well loved bicycle - or three in my case. This reminded me of a topic that I have meant to address here for some time now. How timely that I'd just talked the proud owner of a new Trek Madone through it in the store today and now I was wondering if I'd be calling my own insurance agent. So, I won't delay any longer - an neither should you...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

1/17/08 - New Trek Madone 6.9 Now Here!

(Pictures posted 1/28/08 4:50p.m pst)
What an amazing machine!

Wednesday at the Beaverton store we received our first Trek Madone 6.9; the top bike in Trek's road series and what would have been the team-issue bike had the Trek sponsored Astana Pro Cycling Team not signed a deal for components with SRAM. None-the-less, this impressive bicycle is still drool-worthy.

Of course, the first thing we had to do was take it over to the scale and see what it weighed in at. The model we received was a 56 cm , "performance" geometry bike featuring the Trek OCLV Red fuselage, Bontrager Race XXX Lite carbon clincher wheels wrapped in Race X Lite 700x23 tires, and Bontrager Race XXX Lite carbon stem and handlebar. The component spec was mostly Shimano Dura Ace with a Bontrager Race X Lite carbon compact crankset and SRAM OG 1070 cassette with a 12-26 tooth count. As built (including the geek-tastic, but required wheel reflectors) the bike weighed in at 15.03 pounds - just above the 14.96 lbs allowed by the UCI in a sanctioned road race.

The "new and improved" Trek Madone 6.9 Performance


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