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Support the Trails with West Michigan Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance

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We love riding. Central District Cyclery is all about mountain bikes, and the more trails we have, the better.

If variety is the spice of life, then we’ve got it made in our neck of the woods, and a lot of that is down to the hard-work of the West Michigan Mountain Bike Alliance. WMMBA and its volunteers maintain a dozen trails in area, from Hammond Hill to Yankee Springs to Luton and Merrell, they put in countless hours of work to maintain, protect, and expand trail systems in West Michigan.

All those trails and all that work adds up, and while there are plenty of trail days and work bees that offer you the chance to lend a hand, oftentimes the biggest thing you can do is join as an Ally. Adding your name to the roster lends strength to the organization, offers vital funds for things as simple as gas to as big and ambitious as the GR Bike Park!

Here at CDC, we donate $25 for every mountain bike sold at the shop. It’s just our way of helping to ensure that we all have a place to ride today, tomorrow, and for decades to come, but it’s just one part of the process. We encourage everyone who rides to join as an Ally, and stay involved with WMMBA as we build for the future!

For more information, make sure you head over to wmmba.org, where you’ll not only find out where to join, but also see the latest updates on trail conditions on the home page, check out events, and a lot more.

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September Sale Bikes at CDC

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September is the best time to ride. Cool nights, warm afternoons, and just enough daylight to get out there, get a good ride in, and get home just as the sun goes down. The only thing that can really make this month any sweeter is a new bike!

We’ve already built-up plenty of 2019s, and that means our remaining 2017s and 2018s are taking up a bit of our floor space. We gotta move ‘em, and you gotta check ‘em out.

We have plenty more in stock, but we’ve picked a few you’re really gonna like. Looking to get out on something new but don’t want to put a semester at a state school’s worth into a new rig? Kona has two solid options for under $1,500, and both models have some new touches added for 2018 from years past. The Kona Mahuna and Kona Blast are both rock solid options that we’ve steered plenty of parents toward for kids that might be growing out of their bikes in the next few years, but still need something that’s going to hold up to some serious shredding.

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Already got a hardtail? Get some travel. The NKOTB (that’s ‘new kid on the block’) at CDC, Norco, has a couple of options ready to roll. We’re excited to get Norco’s 2019s in, but that doesn’t mean last year’s bikes are something to scoff at. The Fluid 3 and Fluid FS2+ have limited sizes available, but if these glass slippers fit, you’re going to be pretty happy. The Fluid 3 offers NX 1x11 drivetain with 29” wheels, and is designed for techy trails and big days in the saddle. The plus means more; the FS2+ offers wider tires on a 27.5” wheel for a lower center of gravity and a sturdy footprint on the loose stuff.

There’s also one of our favorite bikes of the year. The Rocky Mountain Element is an ideal trail bike for West Michigan. It’s a cross-country bike for a new era; 120mm travel up front, well-adjust RIDE 9 suspension in the back, and a feathery-light frame to make it up the steepest climbs we’ve got around GR.

You can check out our fall pricing here on the site, see what’s in stock, and ask us anything with a phone call. What bike are YOU getting this September?

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Celebrate 30 Years Of Kona (Or Get A Head Start on 2019)

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Kona is ahead of the game in so many ways, but their knack for getting new bikes into boxes and then into our hands probably what we appreciate the most! Ignore the calendar, 2019 is here. 

We're expecting a nice big truck load of fun this week, including some of the most anticipated bikes of the season. While we'll still have 2017s and 2018s on sale through the end of the month, you may want to rub your dimes together for some of the newest and coolest bikes on offer here, there, or anywhere. 

Over the next few days, you're going to see the 2019 Kona Libre (which we waxed heavily on here), the Rove ST, the freshened-up Big Honzo, and the Hei Hei AL. But there's one bike you're really going to want to scramble to see, and that is one that's been 30 years in the making. 

Earlier this month, Kona unveiled (or, more accurately, UNLEASHED!) the 30th Birthday Bike! In order of three decades of sweet rides, they crafted a special edition of the Honzo ST with a snazzy mirror finish, 30th birthday saddle, and a special decal denoting which of the 201 frames made you ended up with. 

The bike is spec'd with SRAM NX1 bits, but you can go crazy thanks to the modular dropouts. There's something about the look of that thing that makes us want to go singlespeed. 

You can check out the Birthday Bike online, but man, you're going to want to see it in person. 

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HOLD THE PHONE, KONA: The Libre Is The Greatest Thing These Eyes Have Every Seen

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There's been a steady trickle of hot new rigs coming from the Kona faucet the past few weeks, but this one made us stop in our tracks. 

Kona has had two killer all road/gravel/touring set-ups for a couple of years now. The gravel grinders among us had two flavors to choose from, the relaxed Sutra and the slightly twitchier Rove. The Sutra leaned touring, the Rove leaned toward speed and perhaps a little closer to the cyclocross-centric Jake line-up. But the Rove and the Sutra shared one trait; they were metal. 

Sure, you can choose from aluminum or steel, but even the best of those can only be made so light. With other brands offering lighter options it was only a matter of time before Kona brought out an all-road carbon option. And now they have. 

The Libre, on first inspection, looks like somebody slipped a Rove into a vat of Kona Race Light carbon (we know that's not how it works) and kept all the little bits touring riders like; mounts everywhere for bottle cages, fenders, and racks, clearance for 45c tires, and a head tube that doesn't hurt your back to look at. 

With two models, the Libre and Libre DL, you've got choices, and since Kona is smart, there isn't the redundant spec overlap you see from some brands. The Libra is Shimano 105 with a 2x drivetrain and 650b WTB wheels with 47c Byways, while the DL goes SRAM Force 1 with 700c 45c WTB Riddlers. 

The bike offers perhaps Kona's most well-rounded drop bar bike yet; a platform for all your touring adventures that can also handle a race number at events like Barry-Roubaix or the Lowell 50. 

All the details on the brand new 2019 Kona Libre are available here. If you want to chat about it, get a hold of us

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I Want That: Kona's 2019 Rove Line-Up

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We've waxed dangerously close to poetic about these rigs before, but look, when the bikes are this sweet, we're not going to shut up about it. 

Kona went big by offering littler wheels in 2018; the Rove line-up's all-road reputation was bolstered with a number of models getting the 'NRB' moniker and fitted with 650 wheels that allow for more tire clearance. For the sandy, rough stuff in Michigan, that's huge; wider tires mean more two-tracks, more trails, and way more versatility, and if you're looking at a Rove, that's really what you're going for. 

Think of 2019 as tweak of 2018s, with a full 6 bikes on offer ranging from the top-of-the-line Rove LTD to the base Rove. The line-up really hits it all, with plenty of options between 1x and 2x drivetrains, aluminum and steel frames, carbon and steel forks, and 700 or 650b wheels. Odds are there's a build that suits your style, and if there isn't, you can always get the Rove Ti frameset and pick your bits part-by-part. 

Our favorite change for 2019? That's gotta be the Rove ST. The dressed-down option of the LTD, the ST gets 650b wheels for this season, but retains the springy steel fork that we just love having for big days in the saddle. It's dressed in SRAM Rival 1 and flat mount brakes, and for gravel, cyclocross, and commuting, it's one of the best values out there, especially if you're really tough on your stuff. 

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Bob's 'bolt: Our Bike Guru's Take on the Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt C30

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Here at CDC, we've got two valuable things going for us; first, we have access to some killer brands and bikes, including Rocky Mountain. Second, we've got experienced riders who really know how to put a bike through its paces. From Bryan's 188 mile SledgeHamr to Bob's shreds right here in West Michigan, we're able to ride what we like, and let you know what you need to get on. This week, Bob's much-anticipated review of the Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt. It's a longer-travel-than-you're-used-to full suspension bike that Bob made even more rowdy. See his impressions, and make sure you come check one out for yourself. 

I’ve had the pleasure to ride the 2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt for the past few months. I’m riding the Carbon 30 model with the NX drivetrain, RockShox Recon fork and Deluxe rear shock.

I put a 2018 Manitou Mattoc Pro 140mm travel fork on the front to slacken it out just a touch and also gave me the ability to get some time on this new product. Manitou has really stepped up their game and are giving other suspension manufacturers a run for their money. And at a pricepoint that is substantially less than most other comparable forks.

My first impression of the Thunderbolt is, on paper, everything that I’ve been looking for in a full squish bike the past 5 years. The geometry is a little slacked out in the front end for stability when hauling ass. The rear features a pretty short rear chainstay length at 426mm to make the bike quick and nimble when ducking through the trees.  Riding places like Maple Hill and the Richmond flow trail was super fun on this bike. They target this bike as an XC/trail bike, but it would be more than adequate to ride almost everywhere.

First ride
My first ride on the Thunderbolt was at the Wahlfield Trail, just north of Grand Rapids. There are quite a few spots with off cambers, technical spots swerving through trees, a small flow trail, and a lot of pedaling. The bike rode all of those things extremely well. My recommendation is to air the shock to your body weight and add 20psi for initial sag setting. It puts you at about 20-25% sag and works well for the terrain around here. I did also notice that once I started riding the bike, I never touched the lockout functions on the fork or shock. This is something that I was pretty used to doing on the other bikes I’ve ridden. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is awesome not having to worry about hitting the lockout lever on climbs and descents.

Most full suspension Rocky Mountain bikes come with the Ride-9 linkage adjustment to fine tune the geometry. This is an awesome feature to fine tune the bike to the terrain you’re wanting to ride. It’s a feature that goes along with fine-tuning the suspension. Once we get the sag and suspension tuned, we can adjust the Ride-9 chip to tweak the geometry to better suit your riding style and the terrain you ride. That’s pretty awesome.

It’s a quick little bike through the woods, and when it's pointed downhill, it's very stable at speed. Especially for it's gemetry and travel, it still feels like a very efficient bike to pedal, no matter what speed. Pedal bob was far less than many other mid travel full suspension bikes I’ve ridden in the past. Those include the Cannondale Trigger, Scott Genius, GT Sanction, Norco Optic, and YT Jeffsy. That is probably very important to people in our area, where you're going to pedal plenty. 

Since getting the bike, I’ve taken it to most of the trails around the area including Merrell, CSA, CSGA, Yankee Springs, Maple Hill/Markin Glen 4 times, and the Richmond flow trail every Wednesday. This bike rides extremely well at all these trails. You can pedal like crazy to keep up with your Strava times or hike a bike and rip the downhill sections repeatedly, all with a smile on your face. I can’t pinpoint the one thing that I like on the bike. I think it’s the fact that you can ride any of those trails, and have a really good time. I never thought about things I’d want to change on it, other than the bars.

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What Was Your First Bike?

As we were scrolling through old photos to get ready for the Suspension Clinic, we came across plenty of really cool mountain bikes from the 90s. For riders who got their start back in that glorious era, it's hilarious and yet somehow incredible to look back at the technology of that era. 

Manufacturers were just beginning to work with new materials in designs on the road side of things, and some of that quickly made the jump to what was a sport just finding its legs. Mountain biking exploded in the early 90s, and brands were eager to promise the Holy Trinity of cycling, which they still promise today; lighter, stiffer, faster bikes. And just how they did that varied wildly, and looked even more wild. 

Hard tails offered cantilever brakes and suspension forks from Rock Shox and Manitou, but those were still in their infancy. Most offered zero adjustment rubber elastamer travel, some with as little as 20mm. Many riders opted just to stick with their classic steel forks; at least those were reliable! Steel was still king, but aluminum was offered at more and more price points as the decade progressed, ultimately becoming the default material. 

Kona was just a toddler, popping up in 1988 and offering one of the wildest full suspension designs of the era. By 1998, the designers had concocted the Stinky 5, which weighed about 500 pounds, bobbed like crazy, but looked just incredible. The bike was nothing if not bold. 

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Of course the iconic design of the 90s was the Klein. The hardtail option, the Attitude, is still lust-worthy, and we know plenty of riders who still ride theirs around the neighborhood and even on the trails when the tug of nostalgia becomes a bit too much to ignore. It was the Mantra, though, that really set the tone for the outlandish era of full suspension. There's a sense that the designers of the day were really reaching for something, knew they were reaching for something, and just didn't care if it came out just off the mark. By 1999, the Mantra had reached its zenith; Specialized, Trek, and Cannondale would all have Y-bike options well entrenched, and full suspension bikes weren't a novelty anymore. 

What did change, however, were the expectations of riders. After a decade of 'dual suspension', they were less forgiving with pedal bob, blown out pivots, and bikes that weighed well over 30 pounds just to have a few measly millimeters of travel. Like anything else in the industry, the drive was on to improve the design and materials of full suspension to get us to where we are today. The craziest thing to think about is where we are now and where bikes will be in another twenty years; maybe the Mantra won't look so strange by 2040! 

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Ride It. Love It. Buy It.

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We are finally escaping the 00s. It took a while, but it's happening. 

For too long, mountain bikers were convinced that a hardtail 29er was the only bike for Michigan trails. Sure, we don't have 2,000 foot climbs and the accompanying descent to look forward to. But what we do have is a dozen or so trails that offer a diverse range of terrain, elevation and needs, and more and more riders are realizing that there is more out there than a hardtail with 2.25" tires. 

Don't get us wrong, hardtrails rock. But we live in a time when brands like Kona and Rocky Mountain are making bikes that suit how more and more people ride, and that isn't always in a cross-country race. Full suspension, longer travel, smaller-wheeled and wider-tired bikes open up a different riding experience that puts the focus on fun, on big days, or just going a little but further than you're used to. 

Our demo fleet is hand-picked to help you find a bike that's just a little different than the one you've always ridden. From the XC or all-day ready Kona Hei Hei, the plus-tired Big Honzo, or the longer travel Thunderbolt and Pipeline, trying something new is as simple as picking a trail and see what suspension and volume can do for. 

Maybe the best way to hop in for a demo is by joining us at Dirt Church this Sunday, June 17. We'll have coffee at the shop at 9, then bust out to Richmond to ride no later than 10:15. You put your name on any of the bikes for Sunday right by filling out the demo reservation form here

Get signed up, try something new, and take advantage of our trade-in program this summer. There's tons of time to ride, and some great places to do it, too. 

 

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WE WANT YOU! (Well, We Want Your Trade-Ins)

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It's a HOT time of year, and not just for Popsicle enthusiasts. We're all looking to get out and ride, and there are very few things quite as motivating as a fresh, shiny new bicycle, even if that bicycle has been previously loved. 

We really dig our trade-in program here at CDC, because unlike nearly everything else in the world it makes everybody happy. You've got a bike that's in good shape, with lots of life in, but a burning desire for something more; hey, that's good. We have plenty of that something more, and it even comes in different sizes. 

It's really simple. You can use BicycleBlueBook.com (which is available right here on our site) to get a good idea of what your bike is worth. Bring your bike into the store for a final, official valuation, and you'll have that value as a credit toward a brand new 2018 bike from Central District. 

And this June, we're making it even easier. We always offer a 3% cash discount on all bike purchases, but starting right now (which isn't even technically June!) you can take an additional 2% off when you go full Randy Moss and pay #straightcashhomie. That's right 5% off when you get a new bike with real money! 

There are some rules here. Your bike has to be cleaned up and tuned up; if we have to do loads of work on it, that value will be taken off your trade-in credit. We also ask that the bike is 2005 or newer, and sorry, we don't accept department store bikes or tandems. Tandems are great, but they take up twice as much room in a small shop as a normal bicycle. More DEETS here

As always, check out our list of in-stock bicycles and start drooling. Something you're interesting that's not on the list? Stop by, or give us a call and we'll track it down for you! 

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March Gravel Goodness: Dirty Thirty and Melting Mann

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Spring means gravel in Grand Rapids, and we've got the best calendar of gravel events in the Midwest! Grinding season starts with Melting Mann and keeps rolling the following weekend with the first annual Dirty Thirty! 

We're as anxious as anyone to get out on the dirt this spring, but with the wicked freeze/thaw cycle in place, gravel roads are the easiest way to explore, get fit, and certainly race this time of the year. Our area has one of the best gravel race scenes around, with events all over West Michigan offering their own unique take on how to make a race tough and fun. Kicking off the local gravel season is Melting Mann. 

Located down in Vandalia, Melting Mann is entering its fifth year. With it's late March time slot, the weather has ranged from idyllic and warm, cold and rain, and downright frigid and snowy! Course conditions this time of year are very dynamic, making tire and gearing selection for the race always a part of the challenge, or part of the fun, depending on how you look at it. 

At over 90% gravel, Melting Mann is as pure a gravel challenge as you'll find in the state. Aside from some asphalt at the start/finish, the roads offer largely fast and smooth roads but a few important rough and technical two-tracks that often serve as the selection points in the 35 mile Long course. 

Melting Mann registration is wide open online, so get yourself signed up right here

If you can't make it on March 25, or if the first race only whetted your appetite, great news. The Dirty Thirty is another chance to get out and put down some power, this time even closer to home in Saranac, only a short drive from Grand Rapids. The race starts and finishes right downtown, heading north in the wide-open, wind-swept farm fields that surround the town. Expect crosswinds to split the field early, and watch for those gaps to open further as the race turns south and hits the hills near the river. 

Both events offer a short course for those who haven't been able to get many miles in this winter, or for folks that just want to see what gravel racing is all about. There really isn't a more accessible type or racing than gravel, and there's no better place to get into it than West Michigan. We are absolutely spoiled for great roads, great rides, and great races throughout the year, and it all gets started in March! 

If you've got questions about these races, gravel riding, or what the best bike for gravel roads might be for you, swing by and we'll show you all the bikes, tires, and more. 

Make sure you follow The Dirty Thirty and Melting Mann on Facebook for the most current weather and course updates, too. 

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My Kona: Wes' Kona Big Unit

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We're looking forward to spring, and some of us slightly more than others. Folks with new bikes, or bikes that have been built up as something new, are especially antsy. Wes' Kona Big Unit has him jonesing to shred, with a utilitarian build that's tough enough for a big season. 

The 2016 Kona Big Unit began as a frame and built up as a singlespeed. Heading into 2018, the bike is going to be the everyday shredder, race winner, and trail crusher for Wes. Because he travels a lot for work, the bike needs to be very easy to maintain, tough as nails, and be suited for any number of trail systems. 

The frame itself is a rarity these days, and hasn't been in production since 2016. It's made of 6069 scandium, which offers a springy steel ride but at a much lighter weight than even aluminum. The frame also spearheaded the now nearly universal sliding rear drop out that has swept the industry, making it easier to adjust your wheelbase to how you ride, as well as switch between singlespeed and gears. That choice is an easy one to make now, because it takes about 30 minutes to switch back and forth once you get the hang of doing it. 

Another big choice was to stick with the fully rigid Whisky fork. It takes off a bit of weight, sure, but with little maintenance or adjustment, it's also a bit of a time saver for a rider who admittedly puts his bikes away wet, mud, and quickly. 

That utilitarian theme extends to the drivetrain, where he's opted for 1x10 components with a tight 11-36 cassette. Putting in big miles means he'll through anywhere from four to six chains this summer, and 10 speed components add up to a lot of savings. He's gone with a SRAM GX groupset, paired with a 34t Wolf Tooth Oval chainring up front. There appears to be just a bit more room for a bigger ring, which may prove useful later in the season and in any potential gravel races. 

After a few years on ESI grips, he's back on ODI grips, a Prologo Novo saddle, Shimano SPD pedals, and RaceFace seatpost and bar. He's switching to an Easton 90mm -17 degree stem to lower the front end. 

The wheels are Stan's Crest with Schwalbe Racing Ralphs in a 2.25 front and rear. 

This bike weighs in at 23.1 pounds, not the lightest the world, but there's some weight to be shed from the crank when the need arises. 

What's your Kona story? Let us know about your bike, it's history, and why you love it and we can feature it on the site! Contact ilikefatbikes@gmail.com with your Kona photos and tall tales. 

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Santa Forgot The Good Stuff? We've Got A Sale To Make It Okay

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Look, Santa is a busy guy. He can't be perfect all the time, and he may have lost your new fat bike, new helmet, or other gear on his mad dash around the globe. Don't begrudge the lucky kid who ended up with your dream present; go get it yourself. 

We're making that a little easier. This week, we're picking up where Santa left with 20% off all fat bike accessories. From hats to pogies, boots to gloves, get what you didn't get on Christmas so you're ready for a full winter of outdoor fun. 

But, there's more. We have just a few 2017 Rocky Mountain Suzi Qs that need to get out the door. The A30 is a SRAM NX set-up with Maxxis tires with a climb-anything 11-42 cassette. It's the perfect drivetrain for creeping and crawling up steep and snowy trails, exploring new places like Big M or the Winter Sports Singletrack, and riding all year long! 

Need something a bit more spicy? There's a Shimano flavor Suzi Q as well, the A50! All sorts of XT bits, plus an 11-46t cassette with a 28t crankset that's ideal for backwoods exploring. It also boasts a SMOOTHWALL carbon fork that takes off just a bit of weight to keep your rig nimble and snappy. 

The Suzi Q offers big floatation without the wide stance of other fat bikes. The narrower Q factor makes it feel more like your normal mountain bike; it's more traditional, comfortable, and efficient. It's an especially good option if you plan to ride it year-round, or for big rides where comfort becomes more and more of a factor as the miles add up. 

That's 30% off two killer fat bikes that will get you outside and off Watopia a bit this winter. We've got the full spec sheet of both Suzis below to drool over. 

Give Santa a break. Grab what you need this winter and kick off 2018 with a memorable ride. Questions? Give us a call, or stop by and swing a leg over any of our fat bikes, including great options from Fatback and Kona. 

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Mitch's True Grit Test Ride: Taco-Level Goodness from Lauf

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First and foremost, allow me to introduce myself, I am Mitchell. I’m
essentially The Stig of CDC, powered by tacos, fueled by Hamm's, and
always searching for that velcro gravel. I've been around the shop for
a couple of years, racing, riding, and participating in general tomfoolery
. You'll see me around hosting shop rides, in a taco coma, or
searching out hobo trails around town.  I’ll be making some blog posts
here and there concerning stuff going in, out, and around CDC.

A little over a month ago we had the pleasure of announcing that CDC
is now one of three shops in the US to be a premium Lauf Dealer.
Currently, we have one of their first full bike build kits, the True
Grit. This thing comes dressed to the nines: Laug Grit SL fork (30mm
travel),  SRAM Rival 1 drivetrain and brakes, fancy carbon (frame,
bars, seatpost),  and American Classic rims paired with some tubeless
Maxxis Rambler 40c's.

This bike is legit, but not too legit to quit, because this bike does
not want to quit.

I was fortunate enough to hold this bike in my possession for an
extended and damp weekend. I tried to vary the terrain I rode as to
get a solid and diverse reading on how this thing handled.

First things first, before I put on any of my own accessories, aka
snack bags, lights, and bottle cage, this thing came in at an amazing
18.2lbs. This thing flicks up and down berms, bends around trees, and
blasts pass that guy on gravel you’ve been trying to beat on Strava.

While riding around town the Grit SL fork and tubeless Ramblers soaked
up anything and everything from potholes, curbs, loose gravel, and
downed squirrels. That 30mm of travel really cushioned out the ride
way more than I expected, and with that, it was time to turn to the
gravel.

The first bit of gravel I hit was fairly level and compact, nothing
too wild or out of the ordinary to slow you down but maybe a stray
rock here or there. You could still tell you were on gravel, but
this seriously smooth things out. Even zipping around corners of loose
gravel felt way safer with that front wheel forced down more on the
ground due to the progressive travel of the fork.

Shockingly, I only noticed any bob in the fork while I was out of the
saddle pedaling hard. It was not substantial by any means nor do I
think I took away much energy I was putting out. This is the only
downside of the fork to me, no lockout like a traditional suspension
fork.

While I found this bike and fork to perform amazing on pavement and
well graded gravel, the real test as going to be found on washboard
gravel and seasonal roads/two tracks.

I had some hesitation going into the washboard based on some other
reviews I had previously read and watched, but I found the Grit SL to
really smooth the road out. Granted, it was not as smooth as silk, but
it was a much smoother ride than the carbon fork on my single speed
gravel bike.  On seasonal and two track roads, this thing really
excelled and proved it by allowing me to carry such control and speed.
The bike begs you to push it fast and take some risks you might not
normally. Go off a drop at speed, roll down that steep hill, own the
off camber, blast through the rock garden like you built it.

Pair this bike with some more cushed-out 650b road plus tires and holy
guacamole, this will be one heck of a go anywhere, do anything bike.

Have a gravel bike you already love? Then just buy the fork! It may
pack a little more weight than your everyday carbon fork but you will
lust after the forgiveness this fork offers you from hitting roots and
ruts at speed.

Nate, if you are reading, I’m sorry, but I will not be returning this
demo. I really like how it looks hanging by my front door.

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Winter Rush Heads To Big M In 2018!

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People! We admit it, we're getting a little antsy for winter riding. This fall has been an absolute treat, but as the leaves fall and the temperatures take a nosedive, we're looking ahead to January with really good reason. 

This year, we're helping bring the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series to Big M. January 13th, 2018 will bring us to the Manistee National Forest for a great adventure in the woods! Choose from a 17 or 35 mile race with different categories open as well. 

Sure it's a race, but if you've done any amount of fat biking, you know that when you race in the winter, it's always more of an adventure! There will be two aid stations on the course, but in between, it'll be just you, your guts, and your trusty fat bike against the elements! The right set-up, the right tires, and the right attitude are all just as important as strong legs. 

For more information about the race, head here. Check out the full Great Lakes Fat Bike Series schedule and get some races under your belt this winter! 

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What Is Road Plus?

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You might have heard the term before, but what does it really mean?

Well, it's a different way of looking at and building a road bike. It's really almost crazy to think that it was only four or five years ago that that only option for a road bike was either a heavy and slow touring bike and super-light, aggressive road bike with 23c tires. That's changed, and with good reason. Most cyclists don't race criteriums, or road races, and would rather trade extreme lightweight and aerodynamics for more comfort and bigger tires. Road plus is the next step in the slow move to offerings bike that do more things well (pavement, gravel, trails, touring, etc.) rather than one thing perfectly (win bunch sprints). 

First, more and more bikes have fork and frame clearance to fit 28, 30, or even 32c tires in what we'd consider a traditional 'road' frame. The emergence of gravel bikes, which are a hybrid of road and cyclocross bikes, have wide tire clearance and a longer, road geometry. Bikes of that ilk can fit up to 40c or even 42c tires, plenty of floatation for even Michigan's sandy gravel roads and two tracks. 

But for riders looking to really open up all trails, roads, and adventures, road plus goes even further. The idea is to replace the 700 wheel with a mountain bike style 650b wheelsize, which has a small diameter. Pair that with a 47c or wider tire, and you've turned a road or gravel bike into a rigid mountain bike. Companies are starting to offer new bikes with these wheelsets stock, like the Kona Rova NRB. Many riders have opted to run the WTB Horizon or Byway 47c, which offers nearly twice the width of a traditional road wheel, but a slick center tread that reduces rolling resistance. 

The question you hear most often isn't about the actual numbers, though. People are less likely to ask what it is as they are who the wheel size is for. Well, we think it's for most people. Unless you're doing fast group rides and races all the time, the flexibility of the 47c tire means you get a lot more out of one bike. The perfect set-up might be to have a set of road tires on traditional road wheels for hopping into a big grand fondo or Grattan, and riding your 'mountain' wheels for training, trails, gravel, and every day. They're wheels for gravel grinders, bike packers, commuters...really anyone that doesn't care about winning the town line sprint on Tuesday nights. 

You can check out the Kona Rove line-up here, with all Road Plus bikes denoted by the NRB tag. Kona won't say officially what NRB, but they do say it isn't necessarily 'New Road Bike'...we'll leave you to guess. 

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Welcome Lauf To Central District Cyclery!

 OPEN dressed UP with a Lauf Grit

OPEN dressed UP with a Lauf Grit

This shouldn't come as a shock to you. CDC is bringing in Lauf forks and bikes, and we're pretty excited to get our hands on all the cool stuff. 

Lauf started out a few years back in a basement in Iceland. Yep, Iceland. A prosthetic designer and an industrial engineer thought up the rough design of a new suspension fork for mountain bikes and fat bikes that was inspired by their respective fields. No shocks, no fluids, no seals or stanchions. The design was light, low-maintenance, and a huge leap forward. 

Most Michiganders first spotted Lauf forks on fat bikes. The Carbonara found a niche providing some dampening in the cold months, where the trails were icy and rough, but the frigid temperatures slowed forks or were too tough on their seals. When the weather warmed, the forks had earned their spot on the bike and rider stuck with them all summer. 

That same technology and performance were already in action on the Trail Racer, Lauf's XC or MTB fork, with the same 60mm travel as the Carbonara. It wasn't too long before the guys at Lauf saw the need for a slightly retooled option for gravel racers. Gravel roads have a different sort of rough than trails due to the type of terrain (potholes and washboard vs. tree roots, rocks, and drops) and the frequency of the impacts. The Grit offers 30mm of high frequency dampening for gravel grinders and all-day road adventures, the exact type of stuff we love doing here in Grand Rapids. 

In the process of learning and designing the Grit, Lauf engineers looked at the data they had and decided to take it one step further. Instead of designing the fork and leaving it that, it was really only another step to take that information and create a full bike. The True Grit was born. 

The True Grit grew out of the Grit fork and is made more for going anywhere than winning a crit. In fact, there's no cable routing for a front derailleur, making it a 1x11 set-up with the ability to run SRAM eTap, which is totally wireless. It clears big wide 42mm tires and offers a geometry that balances a low, aerodynamic frontal profile with all-day comfort in vertical compliance. 

You'll be seeing more and more Lauf popping up at the shop, including a demo Lauf True Grit for you to take out and put through the paces. 

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Merrill Trail, Home of The Michigantuan MTB Race on 9.30 and 10.1

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Next week, state champions will be crowned at Art Van Sports Complex, but those titles will be won just next door at Merrill Trail. 

Short's Brewing Mountain Bike Series comes to Grand Rapids, and it's the perfect time, too. The weather has been incredible all month long, giving everyone plenty of time to rack up the miles in September. And that's a darn good thing, with the State Championships looking to be a big test of fitness and technical ability. 

Saturday is all about the cross country race, with Merrill contributing the bulk of the course and some sections of the short track also getting tossed into the mix. There isn't much elevation gain, but the relentless balance of technical sections, singletrack, and wide-open racing near the start finish mean there isn't a single place to relax on course. 

Sunday, it's one for the short trackers. With Grand Rapids home to dozens of great cyclocross racers, this seems sure to be a really interesting contest. Riders can take their fitness from Alma Grand Prix, Midland CX, and last week's Kisscross at Richmond Park and throw it at the day's races on a short, fast and wide open loop. 

Registration for both days of racing is right here. 

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Kisscross #1 at Richmond Park!

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Cyclocross is almost here! We're excited to bring you the first Kisscross race of the year on September 17 at Richmond Park. 

Kisscross is a darn big deal. The series began with 30 guys and gals, content with someone shouting "Go!" and racing for beer. Over the years, it's grown to include more city and county parks all over West Michigan, with an emphasis on local shops, local businesses, and local racers who just want to have fun. 

There is a full points series over the course of the five race days, starting in September and ending in November. Each stop features a different park, and a different local shop takes on course design. We're excited to highlight Richmond Park in Grand Rapids, and to put on a challenging, unique course that you're going to love. 

Cyclocross is a great way to get into racing. It's fast and intense, but only as intense as you make it. There's no pressure; after a lap or two, most spectators have no idea who is winning or who is last! Most are more focused on food hand-ups, cheering, and simply enjoying the race. And that's easy to do, because cyclocross is by far the best spectator-friendly type of cycling. On a short 1-1.5 mile course, the whole course is easy to see! 

The kid's race starts things off at 10:30, followed by the 30 minute Beginner/Junior race at 11am. The Experts start at noon for a full 60 minutes, with the Sport category capping things off at 1pm. 

We'll have tons of prizes, and the spoils don't always go to the victors! Everyone has a great chance to pick something pretty sweet. 

Check out all things Kisscross right here. 

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Kona Opens Up The All-Road Rove For 2018

We're all about bikes that open up new ways, places, and options to ride. The much-loved Kona Rove has already built a cult following around the go-anywhere, do-anything platform. It's no surprise that we were pretty darn pumped when we saw the full Rove offering for 2018! 

There are now NINE options on the Kona Rove, making it easier than ever to select the build specifications for how you ride. The Rove used to provide a different spec compared to the race-oriented Private Jake. With the PJ on hiatus (we'll miss you) the Rove gets to open up its offerings to include a more 1x and 2x builds, plus a whole new wheel size. 

First, the Rove starts at just $850 for the aluminum, Shimano Claris rig with 700 wheels. There's no better way to get onto a do-it-all drop bar bike, and one that is truly ideal for commuters. The next big jump is to the Rove ST, the classic steel frame option that we absolutely fell in love with. That boasts the ease of a Rival 1x drivetrain and essential offer a Private Jake build on a steel frame, with very similar geometry.

Here's the real jump. For 2018, Kona went all in on all-road, offering up Road Plus options utilizing WTB's 27.5" wheels and Horizon 47c tires. The wheel size allows for wide tires that can handle singletrack, loose sandy roads, and massive days of exploration. Especially in Michigan, this wide footprint makes a big difference, especially for linking together gravel and trails by pavement without feeling sluggish.

Kona offers three Roves with Plus Road wheels out of the bikes, starting with the Rove NRB. The Rove NRB DL gets you into Shimano 105 and, for our vote, is the best bang for your buck of the whole enchilada for $2099. The blingship of the line-up , however, is the Rove LTD. It's Reynolds 853 steel, Force 1 drivetrain and WTB's KOM carbon wheels in the 27.5" size as well. 

You're going to see more and more of the Rove and all of Kona's 2018 in the shop, so make sure you swing by! Watch our Facebook and Instagram to see what else we're building up. 

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It's Like Christmas In July! But In August!

2018 is here! One of those fun things in the bike world is the slow release of the next model year bikes well, well before the calendar reflects said model year. And for a long, long, long time that meant seeing the new stuff and then losing sleep over actually getting it until January, or February, or maybe March, who knows. It physically hurt. Seriously. 

Well, no more. Kona made a change, and it's a change that makes so much sense you'd get a $5 bill back. Here's the million dollar idea; you don't see the new stuff...until you can actually get the new stuff. Yeah. Crazy, huh? 

That means you'll be seeing all the 2018 models popping up on The Cog as they're ready to ship. To make sure you don't miss anything, we'll be relaying the unveils and announcements via our social media. We've already seen the new Sutra and two (2) Unit options out. We're expecting to see more Rove, Jake, and Wozo options coming down that long and glorious pipe very soon, too. 

That Unit? Well, in addition to the famous singlespeed, Kona is offering a SRAM NX geared version. It's the flipside of the "Well, if I get a singlespeed Unit I can add gears"; now, you can start with a bomb-proof drivetrain and go SS whenever you want to/need to. For the people into frame color, it also gives you at least consider the choice to grab black or red and get what you're into. 

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