The Black Bibs from Starlight - now in stock!

Our sister company Starlight Custom Cycling Apparel has an awesome new project - The Black Bibs. The philosophy is to bring a great pair of bibs or shorts to cyclists without breaking the bank. Money is saved by not using sublimation printing (yes, they really are black) and using a folded lycra cuff rather than an external power band.

The result is a bib for $40! It's comfortable enough for all-day rides and durable too. We also have shorts at just $30. These are available on the website linked above or at our shop.

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We're Hiring!

We need some help! Starlight Bikes is looking for someone in the next few months to work the front of the shop. Starting date is flexible as we're close to winding down for the season but we want to be ready for Spring. Responsibilities include:

  • Helping our awesome customers with their bike needs.
  • Taking care of stock and special orders.
  • Occasional rides with new cyclists.
  • Teaching basic repair classes.
  • Identifying appropriate marketing initiatives.
  • Service writing.
  • Being an ambassador for the shop while on the road, trail, and greenway.

Bike industry/retail experience is preferred. You must have a knowledge of bikes and bike culture. Send us an email through here or drop by a resume.

 

2018 Norco Storm 9.2

We've seen the 2018 Norco line and it's great. The spec is even better than 2017 and the colors are definitely bold. We'll have examples of almost every style of bike next year, but the first taste showed up this week. The popular Storm bikes had been sold out in popular sizes so the 2018 line got an early release. They brought it down to just 3 models (from 4), but like last year all are available as 27.5 or 29, with also 27.5 womens versions. In additioan, at just $479 there is an upgraded Stormwith Hydraulic brakes.

The Storm 9.2 we got is awesome for $559. As expected it has hydraulic Tektro brakes and a lockout Suntour fork. The drivetrain is Shimano Altus 9x3 (most bikes you see at this price are 8x3). One big upgrade is the name brand WTB rims and tires. If you want to try out riding at Carvin's Cove without spending a ton this is the place to start. Norco gives 2 other color options but I'm partial to the green we got.

2018 Norco Storm 2 29er

2018 Norco Storm 2 29er

Hydraulic brakes and Altus 9 speed shifter pods

Hydraulic brakes and Altus 9 speed shifter pods

Altus 9 speed rear derailleur

Altus 9 speed rear derailleur

Suntour XCM fork with lockout and WTB rims and tires

Suntour XCM fork with lockout and WTB rims and tires

Norco Fluid FS 4.2

Here's another post about a Norco bike that is unique and distinctly awesome. The Fluid FS 2.4 is a full suspension trail bike for the little shredder in your life (it also comes as a 20"). Overall the Fluid series could almost stock a bike shop by itself. The adult Fluid FS is a great platform at a ridiculous price for the spec. There are also several hardtail models including a 24+ plus bike.

The new color for 2017 takes into account the fact that orange is every kid's favorite color.

The new color for 2017 takes into account the fact that orange is every kid's favorite color.

Unfortunately we didn't get to test this bike out because of the size, plus it will be in its new owner's hands in a day or two. We know how it will ride because the Fluid platform is rock solid and fun. The spec is unlike anything we've seen. It comes with a Rocksox Recon fork and Monarch rear shock.

Chain guide for the Shimano 1x10 drivetrail, plus a Monarch air shock.

Chain guide for the Shimano 1x10 drivetrail, plus a Monarch air shock.

The drivetrain is a Shimano Deore Shadow 1x10, Tektro provides the hydraulic disc brakes. I assume these would be Shimano but Tektro has stepped up and made hydraulic levers for small hands. Even the Wellgo platform pedals with sealed bearings are a perfect match for this bike. I'm already looking for a pair of these to upgrade by kid's Storm hardtail.

To top it off this bike even comes with a dropper post by Trans-X. We put a fixed post on this one for the new owner but she will probably grow into the dropper soon.

This bike isn't hanging around long but we have a good selection of the Norco youth hardtails in.

Yes - you are seeing this correctly. That's a lockout on a 24" fork.

Yes - you are seeing this correctly. That's a lockout on a 24" fork.

The Norco Torrent - Fun in any Situation

A few months ago I did something unexpected for my style of riding (slow and careful) - I bought a Norco Torrent 7.1+ hardtail. The Torrent is an all mountain hardtail with a 140mm DVO Diamond fork. Many won't have heard of DVO Suspension. They make only high-end downhill and enduro forks and shocks and were the US guys behind the respected Marzocchi brand. Read up on it and you'll see that it's a well-built product that has almost infinite adjustment.

The rest of the parts work great, and the stock Maxxis Minion DH 2.8 tires will roll over anything. Spank rims wer ealso a great choice on a bike like this. The only weak spot was the Trans-X dropper post that eventually was swapped for a KH (photos show the transition period with a fixed post).

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I'm not a good bike reviewer but I can say this bike is fun wherever you ride it. Most of my riding is done on Mill Mountain lunch rides and this bike is perfect for those. It is kind of a drag riding there on the DH tires so I made the switch to Ikons, which I'm looking forward to maybe even trying out later today. Come by and check this bike out, if not just to see the Diamond fork in person.

2017 Felt Line

We are beyond excited about the changes to Felt's road bike line. The Z recreational line has been replaced by the VR - all with disc brakes and room for gravel tires. The F has been made a bit less aggressive and includes some great affordable alloy bikes. We've been a Felt dealer from our start and this is the best they've ever looked. 2017 bikes are trickling in so stop by and check out what we have.

 

2017 Felt F3

2017 Felt F3

Rediscovering Explore Park

I finally had a chance to head out to Explore Park after more years than I care to mention (other than family hikes). We all know what the future holds for the park with the ambitious master plan that Roanoke County has approved. Until then we have the present - which us actually a lot of fun. The trails remind me of what I rode when I started mountain biking in Richmond. Definitely not the epic quality of the Cove but still a great place to spend a few hours. Short rooty climbs define the trails here but it's a great place to spend a few hours and feel like you're somewhere new.

 

Sugar Run Gravel Loop

I think one thing that scares people away from gravel rides is the idea that the realm belongs to the ultra riders of events like Dirty Kanza 200. That is so far from the truth and we're right in the middle of dozens of loops that are opened up once you have the appropriate bike.

One such loop is Sugar Run. It can be accessed via County Line Road on Bent Mountain. Stay on the road past Amreihn Winery to where you turn left at Kings Road. Kings turns to stretch of gravel for most of the loop. Take a left on 644 (still gravel) back to County LIne Road. If you park at the church on 221 just past the road it is about an hour loop, possibly the best hour in the area.

Crowell Gap

Just a few minutes away from town is a road that is almost legendary for its steep gravel pitch. Crowell Gap starts where Bandy Road ends. Take a right and you drop down to 220, where you can pick up Back Creek Rd for the "Super Bandy" loop. Take a left and the pavement climbs. Then the pavement ends. At the crest you are in Franklin County, where the sign warns that motorized vehicles are not recommended beyond this point. Luckily a gravel bike does not fit this description and fun awaits on the ultra steep descent. After you are rewarded with a short stretch of single-lane farm road with a Flemish feel. Once the road ends your options are almost endless.....