Giant Demo Day This Sunday!

Giant Demo Day Sunday November 17th 10 - 2

Giant Demo Day Banner

Giant Demo Day has arrived. Here’s everything you need to know:

Who: You, your friends, the boys from GBS, Reps from Giant Bicycles, and a bunch of awesome local riders
What: Riding a bunch of really nice mountain bikes and hanging out
When: Sunday November 17th from 10 a.m until 2 p.m
Where: Tom Brown Park, in the pines by the BMX Track
Why: Because riding bikes is awesome, and riding awesome bikes is even more awesome, and riding awesome bikes with other awesome people is super awesome. Duh.

Here’s a list of bikes and sizes on the truck:

Trance 27.5 Advanced 1; size M, L, XL
Trance Advanced 27.5 0; size S, M, L, XL
Trance 27.5 1; size S, M, L, XL
Trance SX; size S, M, L
Anthem Advanced 27.5 0; size S, M, L
XTC Advanced 27.5 0; size M, L

As you can see, there’s a bunch of 27.5. He’s also got the following bikes but I don’t know what sizes (I suspect a lot of M and L) or which models:

Trance X 29er

In any case, there’s a great variety of bikes in a good range of sizes for everyone to try. You’ll notice an absence of women’s models; that’s because Giant has a whole ‘nother truck full of Liv/giant product. We’ll be working to get them here too. In the past we’ve hosted women’s fit clinics and a road riding clinic, but we’re thrilled that there’s enough momentum in the women’s offroad community to do a demo next time. Thanks to all the ladies who’ve worked to grow that community. We love our trail sisters!

Finally: yes, we hope to sell some bikes from this. But we’re much more interested in making this a fun community event. So even if you aren’t a GBS customer, or you work at another shop, come hang out. Ride a bike. This is about community, brah. Koombaya.

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The Climb to Katahdin

Climb to Katahdin

Join our friends at Trail & Ski for a showing of this cool-sounding film. This Tuesday evening. See the poster for more details.

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Gear Prep for Spaghetti 100

Spaghetti 100 Postcard

This post originally appeared here on the blog of the Capital City Cyclists, who kindly invited us to write a piece for their blog about getting ready for the 30th Annual Spaghetti 100. We strongly encourage that you join your local cycling club (where ever you may be). It’s a great way to meet people, they host lots of rides, and they do a ton of advocacy. Plus, they’re really nice people, and it’s only like $15. You can afford it. Thanks to CCC and Jack Tomasetti. The Spaghetti 100 is a great and long-standing event in the Florida Panhandle/Big Bend with multiple ride options (century and metric century road, 40 and 65 miles dirt). Both road routes travel the rolling hills east and north of Tallahassee, and the dirt options take you down some fantastic red clay fire roads (no technical stuff, though the sand can sometimes get treacherous). Here’s the post that I wrote:

Getting Ready for Spaghetti

Brady (of Science of Speed) already did a great job letting you know how to prepare your body for this year’s Spaghetti 100 (or whichever distance you’re doing), but there are a few other concerns as well.

Your bike: How’s it working? Most bike shops will freely take a minute to put your bike in a repair stand and check it over. At The Great Bicycle Shop we inspect your rubber, squeeze the brakes, change the gears, look at wheel trueness, etc. If everything looks good, we’ll put air in your tires and lube your chain and send you on your way free of charge. Often, however, we find that some tuning is required or would help the bike perform better and we can make recommendations to that end (think, for a moment, about all of the physical and mechanical forces at play when you ride your bike). We want to make your bike be the best machine it can be, because when your bike works well, you can enjoy your ride. Don’t wait until November 6th to bring it to your favorite shop (whichever it is). They’ll be slammed with trying to get everyone ready for the weekend. Best do this sooner rather than later.

Your gear: Don’t be that person who’s always bumming a tube or CO2; get a flat kit and know how to use it. Many riders like to use a bike computer of some sort. Maybe there’s a smartphone app you like. That’s great. Otherwise, there are inexpensive basic computers that will tell you how far you’ve gone and how fast. And then there are amazing tools like the Garmin Edge series GPS devices that track speed and distance, plus heart rate, cadence, elevation, and more. Talk to someone who’s using a Garmin to track their progress, and you’ll find someone who’s enthusiastic about it and the data they can track.

Your kit: I hope I’m preaching to the choir here, but own and use good quality (padded) cycling shorts and jerseys. There are numerous benefits to good cycling clothing, which I’ve already written about here. Read the post and consider. Plus, as I stated in the article, “when you are comfortable and look good, you’re going to feel good and ride better.” Given the later date of the ride this year, November 9th, there’s a chance that you might want arm warmers or knee warmers to knock the chill off in the morning. That’s something you’ll be able to assess when we get closer to the weekend of the ride and have a reliable forecast. Two words: chamois cream. Also check the date on the sticker on the inside of your helmet; if it’s older than 2008, it’s time for a new skull bucket per industry and manufacturer standards.

And finally, your nutrition: the nice folks at Science of Speed might be better equipped to answer questions here, and I do not claim to be a nutritional expert, but some of the principles are simple. 100 miles is a long way to ride your bike and you’re going to burn a lot of calories doing it; it’s important to replace those calories, lest ye bonk (I’ve been there; it sucks). Most endurance athletes have a mix of tricks and products that get them through hard efforts. Drink a lot of water in the days before the ride. Throw a couple Gu’s or whatever you like in your jersey pocket so you’re not totally dependent on the (quite excellent) water and food stations provided by CCC. I like electrolyte replacements like those by Gu and Scratch Labs. I do not like the more popular sports drinks like those available at most grocery stores and convenience markets because of their super-high sugar content. But that’s just me. I know a guy who ate a McDonald’s cheeseburger and drank a can of Coke during the transition from bike to run in an Ironman, and he swore that he felt like a new man afterwards. To me, that sounds horrible, but everybody is different. Best to try different things and figure out what works for you. Never eat or drink anything on event day that you haven’t been consuming during your training because you don’t know how your stomach and body will respond. Most importantly, eagerly anticipate that big delicious pasta dinner waiting for you at the community center, and all those friendly smiling faces of the folks serving it.

I hope this helps. Visit your favorite local bike shop, whichever it is, and chat with the staff about your needs and concerns and let them show you some things that could help you enjoy your training and ride. Maybe you don’t need anything at all, but it’s good to learn from people who spend time studying this stuff. Plus, we actually enjoy answering your questions, believe it or not. See you on the ride, if not before.

The Great Bicycle Shop has two locations, at 1909 Thomasville Rd. and 3624 Woodville Hwy. GBS is also available on Facebook, Twitter (@greatbicycle), and WordPress. For more information visit

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2013 Giant Rental Fleet Sale

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It’s that time of year again. 2014 models are out and our rental fleet is about a year old, which means it’s time to sell off the rental fleet to make room for new models.

Here is a list of bikes available (all 2013 models) and prices. We will try to update the list to reflect sales as they happen:

Men’s Comfort:

Giant Sedona small, $299 SOLD!
Giant Sedona medium, $299 SOLD!
Giant Sedona large, $299 SOLD!
Giant Sedona DX extra large, $375 SOLD!

Women’s Comfort:

Giant Sedona W small, $299 SOLD!
Giant Sedona W medium, $299 SOLD!

Men’s Mountain:

Giant Revel 3 small, $299 SOLD!
Giant Revel 3 medium, $299 SOLD!
Giant Revel 3 large, $299 SOLD!
Giant Revel 3 extra large, $299 SOLD!
Giant Talon 29er 1 medium, $699
Giant Talon 29er 1 large, $699
Giant Talon 29er 1 extra large, $699
Giant Anthem 29er X4 small, $1500SOLD!
Giant Anthem 29er X4 medium, $1500SOLD!
Giant Anthem 29er X4 large, $1500 SOLD!

Women’s Mountain:

Giant Revel 3 W extra small, $299 SOLD!
Giant Revel 3 W small, $299 SOLD!
Giant Revel 3 W medium, $299 SOLD!

Men’s Road:

Giant Defy 5 medium, $550 SOLD!
Giant Defy 5 large, $550 SOLD!
Giant Defy 5 extra large, $550

Women’s Road

Giant Avail 5 extra small, $550 SOLD!
Giant Avail 5 small, $550 SOLD!
Giant Avail 5 medium, $550

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2013 Salsa Fargo

2013 Salsa Fargo 3

The 2013 Salsa Fargo 3 is an offroad touring machine!


From Salsa’s website:

The Fargo is our drop-bar, off-road adventure bike.

First introduced in 2008, the Fargo has developed a cult status as a bicycling anomaly: a disc brake only, drop bar mountain bike designed for off-road touring and bikepacking.

Drop bars provide multiple hand positions for long rides on singletrack, gravel, and pavement…or possibly, a mix of all three.

The Kung Fu CroMoly frameset provides an excellent ride quality without dismissing durability.

Use our Wanderlust Rack and Fargo Fork for fully loaded touring. Or carry a light load with the use of a bikepacking setup. Add Anything Cages to the Fargo fork for additional storage space for water, ultralight shelters, or gear. If you’re taking on rougher terrain, the suspension-corrected frame design also accommodates a suspension fork. The Fargo is an extremely versatile beast of burden.

The Fargo is designed to take you wherever it is you wish to go. Throw a dart at a map, make some plans, load up your gear, and hit the dirt.

Fargo. Go far.

We still have a 2013 Fargo 3 medium, in stock until further notice.  Stop by for a test ride or call for more info.

The Great Bicycle Shop
1909 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee FL 32303

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Giant Bicycles “Why 27.5?”

Giant Anthem Advanced 27.5 2

Giant Anthem Advanced 27.5 2

We live in exciting times. Not so long ago there was pretty much just one option in off-road wheel sizes: 26″. That was a good standard for a long time; strong, quick handling, and light. But then along came the 29er, which is really 700c (road size) redesigned for mountain biking (the IBD, or internal bead diameter, of a 700c and 29er are identical). Those bigger wheels are great at rolling over things like rocks and logs (decreased angle of attack), have a bigger contact patch (tire to ground) and they maintain momentum well. But with these advantages come some disadvantages, namely slower acceleration and decreased control in tight technical situations; it’s harder to throw the bike around. There’s also the issue of flex, both in the wheel and frames made to accommodate a bigger wheel, though both of these issues are diminished by improvements in materials and manufacturing processes.

Enter 27.5, halfway between 26″ and 29er. 27.5, AKA 650b, is an attempt to balance the pros and cons of 26 and 29, allegedly retaining some of the agility and acceleration of 26″, and the roll-over and contact patch of 29er. Giant invested big in 27.5 for their 2014 line, and luckily produced a little literature to support it. Here’s a highlight blurb from Giant’s “Why Giant 27.5” flyer (all italics throughout the post are direct quotes from this document, which can be viewed in full at the bottom of the post):

  • Here’s why: Because whatever type of riding you do – XC, trail or enduro – you want the same things from your bike. Lighter weight, more efficiency, better control. Giant’s all-new 27.5 techinology nails all three, helping you ride faster and have more fun. Already proven with pro XC and enduro race wins-on bikes ranging from hardtails to Maestro full-suspension-Giant 27.5 technology delivers uncompromising off-road performance.”

Lest ye think this mere marketing, Giant conducted a series of tests and present 3 arguments for 27.5. They are

  1. Lighter weight
  2. More efficient
  3. Better control

I’ll go into each argument in detail.

1. Lighter weight:

“Significantly lower bike and rotational wheel weight helps you climb faster with less effort.


Compare the weights of identically equipped bikes with different wheel sizes and you’ll see substantial weight differences. As expected, the 26-inch-wheel bike is somewhat lighter than the 27.5, and substantially lighter than the 29 (up to two pounds of overall bike weight savings from 29 to 27.5). Every gram saved helps you ride faster.


The overall weight of a 27.5 wheelset (wheel, tire and inner tube) is only 5% greater than that of an identically built 26-inch wheelset. Compare this to the 12% increase of a 29-inch wheelset and you can see how a seemingly small increase in diameter results in substantial weight gain – and poorer performance when climbing or accelerating.


Lighter wheels/tires result in quicker acceleration and lighter overall bike weight – a win-win combination.”

So lighter wheels/tires are better than heavier ones; no arguments there. Additionally, while 27.5 is halfway between 26 and 29, the weight favors 26 rather than cutting the difference in half.

2. More Efficient

“Snappier acceleration and a reduced angle of attack for a smoother, more agile ride.


Increased wheel diameter decreases the angle of attack (the angle in which a round object intersects a square object). This is a good thing. A 29-inch wheel rolls over a 6-centimeter square-edge obstacle 14% more efficiently than a 26-inch wheel does. In comparison, a 27.5-inch wheel rolls over the same obstacle 9.8% more efficiently than a 26-inch wheel does.

Another way to analyze angle of attack is the degree of impact – where 26-inch equals X degree, 27.5 equals x-4 degrees and 29 equals X-6 degrees. Again, a shallower angle is better – so 29-inch takes the win, with 27.5 exhibiting nearly the same performance but without the weight penalty.


Arguably the most important benefit of 27.5 over 29 is quicker acceleration. This is the “snap” that a rider feels when they push hard on the pedals. It is affected not just by overall static weight but also where the weight is distributed throughout the wheel. The farther the weight is from the center of the hub, the slower the acceleration.

So a similarly constructed 1000-gram 29-inch wheel is slower to accelerate than a 1000-gram 26-inch wheel – because the larger diameter rim and longer spokes place weight farther from the hub. The key to snappy acceleration is minimizing the weight of the outermost components (rim, nipples, spokes, tire, tube). As you can see [referring to a graph in the flyer, see attached scan of flyer], a 27.5-inch wheel is only 1.5% slower to accelerate than a similarly constructed 26-inch wheel, but a 29-inch wheel is 3.6% slower than a similarly constructed 26-inch wheel.

So 27.5 favors the angle of attack of 29er and the wheel weight properties of 26″.

3. Better Control

“A larger tire contact patch, increased stiffness, and optimized frame geometry improve traction, braking and handling.


The larger the diameter of a wheel, the greater the contact patch of the tire. A larger contact patch results in better traction, which leads to improved acceleration, deceleration and cornering. As you can see [again, see the diagram on the scan; it shows that a 26″ tire contact patch is 6cm, 27.5 is 8cm, and 29er 9cm, demonstrating that the 27.5 is nearly as good as the 29er and much better than 26″ in this respect], a 27.5-inch wheel has a similar contact patch to the 29.


Lateral (side-to-side) frame stiffness can be affected by wheel size. To accommodate larger wheels, frame dimensions must be elongated. Therefore, a size medium 29-inch wheel frame has more lateral flex (bottom bracket and headtube) than a size medium 27.5 or 26-inch wheel frameset. Additional flex compromises handling under heavy pedaling or sharp cornering.


The larger the wheel, the more difficult it is to optimize geometry, especially on smaller frames. As the frame size decreases, headtube heights become higher (in relation to saddle height). On 26 or 27.5-inch frames it’s less of a problem, but geometry limitations can affect smaller 29-inch-wheel frames.

XtC Advanced 27.5 2

Giant XtC Advanced 27.5 2; Pure XC Race Hardtail

Meat and potatoes: the contact patch of the 27.5 is almost as large as that of a 29er tire and 2 cm larger than a 26″; more contact means more control. Additionally there’s less flex in the bottom bracket and headtube on a 27.5 frame when compared to the 29ers, and geometry is easier to optimize in smaller frame sizes relative to 29ers (this is irrelevant to tall riders who ride larger bikes).

To view the scanned original of Giant’s Why 27.5? document:

Page 1: Giant Why 27.5? p1

Page 2: Giant Why 27.5? p2

Look for posts in the near future that cover the models.

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2014 Salsa Bicycles Preview

J.C. spent part of last week in Ogden, UT checking out the new Salsa lineup at QBP’s SaddleDrive event. Here are some photos and thoughts.

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Salsa is leading the way in fat bikes, with multiple platforms and models ranging from high-end lightweight carbon (Beargrease; a 25 lb fat bike!) to titanium and steel (Mukluk). Prices range from $5499 at the top to $1850 at the entry level. You can’t not smile when you’re riding a fat bike (yeah I used a double negative, what of it?).

In full suspension category the Horsethief and Spearfish performed beautifully on the rocky Utah singletrack. We’re partial to 4″ (Spearfish) travel, but people who travel to NC and north GA a lot will appreciate the longer travel (Horsethief). There’s nuthin’ but Fox on these bikes, forks and shocks.

We’ve been singing El Mariachi’s song for a while now. It’s a super versatile, comfortable, smooth, all-day trail-eater, dirt-road mangler, bikepacker machine that can run geared or single speed with Salsa’s innovative Alternator dropouts. Swap the suspension for rigid fork and you’ve got a great offroad touring bike. $1599 to $5999 (ti XTR).

The Fargo and Vaya are dedicated touring platforms, something Salsa does that most major companies ignore. Fargo for dirt, Vaya for pavement. Go anywhere for as long as you like. At $1499 the Vaya 3 is surprisingly affordable for a steel touring road bike.

The Warbird series will appeal to cyclocross riders and dirt-road enthusiasts. The Florida panhandle abounds with suitable terrain, and we’re looking forward to getting people off their usual road rides and out into the red dirt countryside. I’m also thinking of the hundreds of miles of gravel mountain roads a day’s drive away in western NC.

Finally, we wrap it up with the Salsa Colossal, a road riding and bikepacking option in either ti or cromoly ($4499 and $2250 respectively). J.C. was impressed by these bikes.

Salsa’s motto is “Adventure by Bike” and you can see how that informs their designs. These bikes are made to last and to be used in places that have either been off-limits or not ideally suited for the bikes most of us own. That fact opens up terrain other than pavement and the designated bike trails we mostly ride. National forest, barrier island, soft clay roads; all these things abound in our little section of the planet. Preseason orders are available now, and we still have some 2013’s left at discount prices while supplies last. Call or stop by for more info. We’re working on Salsa to get a demo truck here sometime this fall, so hopefully there will be some chances to put some bikes through their paces. Cheers.

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