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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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Warm Mitts For Any Weather: Serfas Subpolar Glove Review

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James put the Serfas Subpolar glove through the rigors of a frigid few weeks in Grand Rapids. Thi is his story. 

BRRRR!!! It sure has been cold lately and that can make it difficult to get out for a ride. Difficult but not impossible, all depends on the gear you suit up in to brave those frigid days. There are so many different options out there for all the parts of the body to be covered but the part that counts the most is your sweet little hands that do all the things you want done. So why not make sure they’re nice and cozy? Exactly what a lot of people think which is why that body part gets the most options on ways to stay warm!

Even though there are so many options out there to talk about I want to focus on one particular one, the Serfas Subpolar glove. I’ve been using these gloves for a couple winters now and I gotta tell ya, they are fan-freakin-tastic! As a matter of fact, they’re so good that I actually use them for everyday winter use and not just riding. These babies keep my 10 little digits feeling warm even done into single digit temps like we’ve been experiencing for like the past month. Granted there is some slight cold when I first start moving on a ride but once the blood is pumping away with my vigorous efforts my hands are perfectly fine for the duration.

You may be asking “what makes these gloves so great?” Well for starters they’re windproof and waterproof (2 things that are quite necessary this time of year!), fleece lined for extra warmth, gel padded like regular cycling gloves for comfort, and they’re touch screen compatible. Now for the real kicker, they’re less than $50!! All those great features and a great price!? Sounds like a win to me! Oh and remember how I said I’ve been using them for a couple winters? Yeah, they’re still full of life and will probably see a couple more (barring I don’t eat it and destroy them, fingers crossed) so they’ve got an incredible life span on top of those already great features. The one downside to these amazing gloves is that they’re not waterproof in a downpour rain situation like during the 2017 Barry Roubaix but that was more a personal lesson learned and not the fault of the gloves.

Maybe thick gloves aren’t your thing for winter riding. Maybe you’re a person that likes to wear a thin glove while having poogies on your bike. Maybe you like the lobster claw style glove. Maybe you like to wear mittens and use chemical warmers in them. Whatever you’re flavor may be, its never a bad idea to keep your mitts warm! There are many different options out there. The Serfas Subpolar glove just happens to be my go-to gloves for winter conditions. If you want to ride in the cold, but can’t keep your hands warm during a ride, I strongly suggest giving these a try!

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Mark's 2017 Kona WoZo Review

Our own Mark Hendershot (yes, THE Mark Hendershot) has been putting Kona's new WoZo through the paces! See the bike, the build, and the feedback after some seriously fun miles in West Michigan. 

I’ve been testing the 2017 Kona WoZo (tubeless version) on the trails and beaches of West Michigan since early fall. My mind has been blown away!

My name is Mark F Hendershot and I have been riding bikes for a long time. Riding for Santa Cruz as a member of the OG Syndicate Team, I was the 24 hour soloist specialist wacko for several years. I’ve lodged many hours in the saddle! I have performed a ton of product testing. I am currently employed at Central District Cyclery in Grand Rapids Michigan.

The Kona WoZo is a fun bike to ride! It’s the step-father of the Kona Honzo, Kona’s trail and race ready 29er.  This machine handles like a full suspension bike without all the maintenance issues and weight associated with it. The Wozo is a four season vehicle that has been called a quiver killer. It truly is the jack-of-all trades cycle. After a lengthy test ride period, I think they’re right. I would be thrilled to only have the WoZo in my fleet.

First, the build. The 7005 Aluminum WoZo comes with a 100mm Bluto fork. The front and rear tires are 4.8 and 4.0 Schawalbe Jumbo Jim’s respectively. The Sun Ringle MuleFut rims and Jumbo Jim rubber easily sets up as tubeless. This rig has a very capable mix of SRAM NX/GX 1x11 components. The WoZo has external/internal dropper post ready mounts. The clever folks at the Kona shop equipped it with sliding dropouts that can be adjusted to as short as 420mm to make it extremely playful, accept a vast array of tire sizes, or in a pinch it could be set up as a single speed. Every little detail is thoroughly throughout and ergonomically planned, and works well together.

The conditions in my neck of the woods tend to be on the sandy side of things. Some trails can get rather muddy with roots and rocks just to keep you on your toes. The vast majority of trails in West Michigan throw a mix of things at you; tight, twisty stuff with short steep climbs and some fast, wide-open sections, too. Between seasons it’s not uncommon to find messy, slushy ground cover. We average around 75 inches of snow per year. Typically we have a few meltdowns throughout the winter, which causes sloppy, icy, downright disgusting terrain. I’ve not had to make a single adjustment and it still handles like it did out of the box.

The WoZo is defiantly a confidence-inspiring ride. It has made me a better rider. The one aspect of the WoZo that separates from other fat bikes is its aggressive geometry. It climbs like quickly and responds to power like a dream, and it descends like a jackalope. I was able to clear tricky lines that I hadn’t been able to on other bicycles. The Bluto’s small bump compliance paired with 4.8 Jumbo Jim is unmatched. The WoZo handles like a dream in the deep snow. It goes where I point it to, no questions asked. I was extremely impressed with how it handled the messy conditions. It tracked better than anything I’ve ridden. The Schwalbe Jumbo Jim Tires look like a three season tire, but I was amazed at how well it handled the white stuff. They felt like they were made of Velcro. It tackles the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan like a monster truck. It just plows through anything you put in its way.

The 2017 Kona WoZo has left me in a state of bliss. The nimble gazelle-like ride puts a perma-grin on my mug! I would highly recommend putting your tush on the $2,399 WoZo providing you can find one.


For more information go to http://konaworld.com/wozo.cfm

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