Thursday, August 29, 2013

Urban Velo #38 in Stock

  We now have available the newest issue of Urban Velo on Ben'  Simply add one to your cart for free on your next order!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wheelsmith Spokes Video: Made in Milwaukee WI

  A video from shows us how Wheelsmith spokes are made in Milwaukee WI.  Here at Ben's Cycle we build custom wheels specified by our customers daily, and 98% of the time we're using Wheelsmith spokes; unless its a proprietary wheel.  Looking to build up a new wheelset?  Head over to and choose your rims, hubs, spokes and we'll build them at no charge.  Also, if you don't see the products you want for your build, than please ask us and we'll get them for you!

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Chrome Bags in Stock: The Bravo and Barrage

MSRP $159.99
  The Bravo laptop bag is water proof, compact and expands out to double capacity for day excursions where ever you and/or your bicycle takes you.
MSRP $159.99
    The Barrage Cargo bag is a bag that can carry your gear, laptop and have enough room for transporting a helmet, wet gear, shoes or anything else you don't want stinking up your precious cargo.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Rock Complex Bike Park - Franklin, WI

  The Rock, designed by the number one Bike Park designers in the world is the first Downhill Bike Park in the Midwest.  The Rock features Downhill and XC trails for all levels, including the 2nd largest BMX track in the country.  Head over to their website for more information.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Tires in Stock: Schwalbe Marathon Touring/Commuter Tires

  Now available on Ben's is one of the nicest tires for the money when it comes to durability and quality.  See our selection of urban/touring tires here!

Monday, August 19, 2013

North American Bike Polo Championship Results

    For those of you who hadn't watched for the last few days; you've missed some excellent bike polo. Thanks to Minneapolis for putting on a great event and for presenting it non-stop to those who couldn't make it up there.
    Here is a soft list from Podium of the top 18 teams and their respective win/loss standings. There are a few results not assigned from the last couple of winner bracket finals; but I'm sure that NAH will have final results in a couple of days.

1) Beavers 10/0/0 +33 42
2) The Guardians 8/2/0 +22 40
3) The Assassins 7/3/0 +9 35
4) The Breaknecks 7/3/0 +8 34
5) Bill Murray 6/2/2 +16 39
6) Mosquito 6/2/2 +9 36
7) The Control 6/3/1 +15 38
8) The Means 5/2/3 +11 39
9) Big Country 6/4/0 +4 32
10) Thunder Buddies 6/4/0 +4 31
11) the Makers Y'all 5/4/1 +5 28
12) Polo Bred Piranhas 5/4/1 +2 30
13) Magic Toast 5/4/1 -1 32
14) The Greens 5/5/0 +6 30
15) White Fang 5/5/0 +0 30
16) Los Cuatreros 4/5/1 +1 28
17) Team Ginyu Force 4/6/0 -4 27
18) Ghost Wolves 3/7/0 -10 29

     In the final game the Guardians beat the Beavers 5-2 which had its share of unbelievable bike handling, ball control, defensive/offensive plays, and good old fashioned rivalry; everything that makes a superb championship game.
    But it wasn't over. Due to double elimination tournament rules (and the Beavers being previously undefeated), it meant that the Guardians had to beat the Beavers twice to take it all.
    The final game took a different turn, the Beavers took complete control and defeated the Guardians 5-0, sealing the championship and the NAHCBP title for 2013. Congrats to the Beavers on another North American title!

Friday, August 16, 2013

North American Bike Polo Championship - LIVE!

Coming to you from luxurious Minneapolis Minnesota! If you happen to have a newfangled projection machine at your disposal; check it out at

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Re-Stock: White Industries Components

  Ben's Cycle just received a healthy amount of White Industries components for re-stock this morning.  We stock just about every product White Ind. makes!  So, if there is something you're looking for that we don't have on, then please let us know and we'll be happy to get it for you.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Lights in Stock: BOOKMAN

  We're now stocking BOOKMAN lights in the battery and USB versions.  We have some model and color combinations available now, but we'll also have more in the near future.  See our selection here!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cyclocross Gear: Wheels and Tires

Cyclocross Gear: Wheels and Tires

The easiest upgrade for any cyclocross bike is wheels. A good set of cross wheels can make a huge difference in how your ride, how well you corner, and how fast you are over the flats.
And by far the best upgrade is a set of tubular wheels. Here is a short video about the difference between clincher and tubular wheels.
For cyclocross, tubulars are the best option out there. Despite the messiness and hassle of gluing the tires onto the rims and the cost of tubular tires, tubulars allow you to run really low tire pressures (usually between 22-28 psi) that allow the tires to literally conform to the ground. You can corner faster, ride through mud, sand, and other materials more solidly and confidently, and not worry about pinch flats.
A third option that racers are exploring are tubeless tires. These are clinchers but instead of a tube inside, the tires are filled with sealant that prevents flats. You still can’t ride pressures as low as tubulars, but if you just have clinchers wheels and they are compatible with tubeless tires, it is a close second for tire options.

Ben’s has numerous options for wheelsets, including Reynolds, Easton, Hed, and Shimano. In addition, we can build up wheels for you so you can choose sweet hubs from Chris King, DT Swiss, or White Industries and pair them with Velocity rims. I paired Velocity Major Tom tubular rims with Shimano disc hubs to create some bomb-proof solid wheels for this season!
Finally, if you are running discs this year, you can also choose wheelsets that are set up for 29er mountain bikes! Just add cross tires and you’re ready to go.

Cross tires have generally three tread patterns: light or file tread for grassy courses where you don’t need much traction; mid for pretty much everything; and heavy or deep tread for muddy races. Again, the advantage of clincher or tubeless set ups is that you can one wheelset and several sets of tires that you can interchange as the conditions dictate.
With tubulars, racers usually needs several sets of wheels with tires mounted for different conditions. I have wheelsets for file treads, mud tires, and mids.

Clincher: We currently stock clincher tires from Hutchinson, Kenda, Michelin, Panaracer, and Vittoria. We can also get Clement tires. Each of the tires is 31-34 mm wide. If you race UCI races, your tires must be 33mm or less.
Tubular: We currently have Vittoria, Clement, and Challenge tubulars in stock. Last year, we started selling the Clement LAS and PDX tires, which became one of our most popular items. I rode these all of last year and loved them. The PDX is a mid knob tire, so I often ran the PDX in front and LAS file tread in the rear for optimal speed.

Ben’s also can glue up your tires for you if you purchase tubulars. Gluing cross tires is a practiced art. If you haven’t done it before or just glued road tires, please make sure you talk to a seasoned tire gluer for cross. Cross tubulars are stressed often in corners and if you have a poorly glued tire, it can easily roll off, dumping you to the ground.

Cyclocross Gear: Bikes

Cyclocross gear for 2013

Buying a bike:
You have numerous options to get a bike for the 2013 season.

Retrofit Something Old
If you are new to the sport and have never tried cross, I’d suggest borrowing a friend’s cross bike or use a mountain bike or hybrid. Get out to a cross practice or a race and give it shot. Wisconsin races now have a category 5 beginner’s class. Or if you’re older you can join in the masters category 4 race.
The biggest difference upgrade you can make will simply be the tires. If you can get some cyclocross knobby tires 32-33 mm wide, you’ll be fine for your first clinic or race. (See the tire section for choices.)

Buying Something New
If you’ve tried out cross and would like to buy a bike, again, you have several options. One of the awesome things about a cross bike is that you can use it for commuting and touring as well if you choose!
The first decision you make is frame material, and that decision really comes down to the money you want to spend. There are four basic kinds of frame materials:
- Steel: great feel, very comfortable and compliant. Can be heavy and not as stiff as other materials. Steel is usually reasonably priced.
- Aluminum: Lightweight, stiff. Lighter than steel but a less comfortable feel. Aluminum is typically fairly cheap.
- Titanium: Comfortable, stiff, Weighs about the same as aluminum. Fairly expensive.
- Carbon: Very lightweight, very stiff, comfortable ride. More expensive.

Aluminum/ Steel for Your First Bike
If this is your first cross bike, and you are working with a budget, I’d consider three different bikes from Ben’s:

1. The Milwaukee Bicycle Company cross bike. This is a ridiculously comfortable steel bike that corners like a dream. You can make it lighter by ordering lighter weight parts, but this will also drive up the price.
2. Specialized CruX alloy (aluminum). Many people will talk about the “geometry” of a cross bike. That essentially means how the builders use angles to put the frames together. Specialized got this dead-on right. The E5 alloy frame is responsive, fairly lightweight, and stiff. I use it also as my road bike!
3. Focus AX-1. Focus, a German manufacturer, redesigned the AX-1 this year. I rode these last year and really enjoyed the stiffness and the slightly more aggressive geometry, which means the head tube is a little shorter and you can dive into corners. Focus has not yet come out with the 2014 models, but Bens has several 2013 models available.

We can also order bikes from Surly, Salsa and some other manufacturers of reasonably-priced cross bikes.

Carbon: The Race Bike
The best all-out race bikes for cyclocross are made of carbon. While some may argue that steel is the ultimate frame material, carbon is lighter, stiffer, and more responsive. At Ben’s, we work primarily with three frame manufacturers: Specialized, Focus, and Foundry.

1. Specialized Carbon CruX. I’m building up mine now as we speak. It’s light, stiff, responsive. Great geometry that lends itself to great control going around corners and powering through straightaways. You can upgrade to the seriously stiff and light S-Works model.

2. Focus CX-1. Tight geometry. Light, incredibly stiff, and very responsive. I’ve ridden Focus CX and AX bikes, and they are incredibly responsive. They go exactly where you point them.

 3. Foundry Harrow and Auger. These two bikes are stealthy and beautiful. Foundry set out to make a no-nonsense carbon cross race bike in the Harrow and a solid cross bike in the Auger. Both have all the great characteristics of a race bikes. The Harrow frame is built up in the bottom bracket and front end to be stiffer and more responsive.

Components and Brakes
Two final decisions you will have to make for your cross rig are for parts and brakes.
1. Brakes: Traditionally cross bikes have always had center pull cantilever brakes for good stopping power in the mud. There are great options out there for you. TRP, Shimano, Avid, Paul, and other manufacturers all make great parts. Here is a Velonews review of canti brakes. If you buy a complete bike, obviously, brakes are standard.
In 2012, the UCI, the governing body of cycling, decided that cross bikes could have disc brakes. The advantages of discs are that you get much better stopping power in rain, mud, and snow. The downside is that they are heavier than cantis. While some companies like Avid have made discs for cross bikes for years, most manufacturers have released products this year for cross disc.
I chose to get disc brakes on my CruX bikes because of the control I get in wet conditions.
2. Components: You can spend as much as your heart desires on components. Again, complete bikes come with quality components. Shimano now has cyclocross-specific components as do many other companies. Since cross racing in tough conditions causes a lot of equipment failure, many cross racers - including me - go with less expensive but still good components, such as SRAM Force or Rival and Shimano Ultegra or 105 groups.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cyclocross Clinic for Beginners!

Never raced cyclocross before? Never experienced the fun and excitement?

Learn how and join the fun. Ben's Cycles is teaming up with the my wife inc cyclocross team to host an informal Learn to Race Cyclocross clinic August 24 from 9-1 at the nearby Kosciuszko Park on Lincoln Avenue.

Cyclocross is a crazy kind of race that is primarily on grass, mud, and sand where cyclists get off their bikes to run over barriers and up hills. It's a fun scene with lots of cheering and goofy behavior.

It's also a safe way to race your bike and challenge yourself. It's the cycling version of a Tough Mudder or Gladiator run. And if you do happen to fall down off your bike, it's almost always on the ground or in sand or mud! Here are a series of videos from VeloNews to get an idea of what cross is all about. Notice the crowds and craziness!

This clinic is for beginning racers who want to learn how to race cross this fall in Wisconsin.

Anyone can join us: women, children, men of all ages and abilities. We will focus mostly just on dismounting and remounting your bike, cornering, then practicing on a short course.

The clinic is free. The my wife inc cyclocross team will accept donations to sponsor their junior Ian Haupt's travel expenses to races this year.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Get Your Bike Fit Dialed In at Ben's Cycles

A good bike fit will make a good bike feel great and turn an awesome bike into one that makes you  feel you could ride at the Tour!

Fortunately, at Ben's, we have some of the best fit experts anywhere. Brett M. will work with you - your feet, your posture, your muscular and skeletal systems - and get you totally dialed into the right fit on your bike.

Brett and Steve use the Specialized Body Geometry Fit, as well as years of experience and lots of training at the Specialized factory in California.

And a good fit means a faster, more comfortable ride!

This is from Outside Magazine in an article discussing the most common cyclists' mistakes, including not getting a good bike fit from someone who knows what is going on!


Fitting your bike to your body
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retul guru cycling 3d bike fit customize bike personal customization cycle road bike
Photo: Alan Daniels
There is no reasonable argument for paying $3,000-plus for a road bike but not a couple hundred bucks to have it fit perfectly to your body and riding style. In the past few years, bike brands have invested heavily in fit technology that precisely records your ideal position and then compares it with a database of bikes and components to suggest the best combination. The result: you’re faster (a fit can boost power output by 10 percent) and more comfortable.
How to Fit Your Bike to Your Body
Tron-style fit bikes like the Retül Müve Dynamic and the Guru Experience allow assessment and adjustment of every measurement without the rider ever having to dismount.
2. Video is displayed as you pedal, and fitters can compare footage of different fits. In some systems, bikes are set on a 360-degree turntable. Others, like 3D Bike Fit, add a second camera.
3. The Retül harness attaches sensors to your flex points that transmit fit angles to a computer to capture static positions and patterns, like how your knee tracks through a pedal stroke.
4. Power meters test how a position affects rider output. Small tweaks can make a significant difference.
5. Your contact points with the bike matter most. Many fitters offer custom footbeds and pedals with varying spindle widths. The Specialized Body Geometry sit-bone tool measures hip width, so you can choose the ideal saddle.
Retül: Get fit on the Müve Dynamic at one of 280 U.S. sites. From $300.
Guru: Some 60 retailers run the Experience system. From $100.
3D Bike Fit: This San Francisco shop ­offers the greatest number of custom options. From $195.
Specialized Body Geometry Fit: The largest selection of components and some 200 fit centers. From $250.

You buy online, adjust your saddle height by feel, and wonder why your back hurts, knees ache, and nether regions are covered in golf-ball-sized saddle sores (yes, it happens). While bike fitting still remains a mix of science, art, and trial by error, a quality fit will prevent some of the most common injuries and concerns riders face.
The Fix: Ask around, and find a reputable fitter in your area, says Mayhew. But opt out of any spin-scan analysis. While countless coaches and fitters extol the virtues of pedaling in circles, some of the sport’s top athletes have the least circular pedal strokes when they’re really putting out the power. Instead, ask to focus on comfort and aerodynamics—the power will come.
A good fitter will also help you swap out the components on your contact points—hands, feet, bottom—to maximize comfort and performance, so test out a variety of saddles before you give up on your bike.

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