New Bike Day! 2018 S-Works Epic XX1 Eagle

My family and I flew back to Bloomington Illinois this weekend to visit friends and family as well as pick up my new 2018 S-Works Epic XX1 Eagle from @BloomingtonCycle . #newBikeDay fun!

After flying back to warm Dallas Texas Sunday I took some pictures at Northshore Trail on Labor Day with the help of my family. After the pictures and some family time, I took the Epic for its first ride. It’s great and really light at 22.09 lbs with Shimano XTR pedals on. I’ll write a full review after I have more saddle time with it. For now, here’s my first impressions.

The drivetrain was the biggest decision for the bike. I choose the build with Sram XX1 Eagle, a one chainring by twelve gears in the back with a crazy 500% gear spread (10 tooth smallest cog and 50 tooth biggest cog) that should allow for scaling most buildings. The drivetrain shifted perfect all day and the crankset was everything I could ask for out of a crankset. My one gripe so far with the drivetrain is I can’t grab two gears harder on the shifter in one finger pull as I cold with Shimano but that’s a tiny tiny downside.

The Sram Level Ultimate brakes were good on the first ride. I come from a long background of using Shimano XTR brakes so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I also don’t want to speak too much about brake performance and feel from a ride where I was beeding them in.

The new Roval Control SL wheels seemed flawless. The new Fast Trak tires now with Gripton as the road tires have had for a while were great. A good cross-country race tire with a lot of linear grip. They also held up through the thick tire eating rocks at Northshore just fine.

The brains in the front and rear suspension are one of the defining characteristics of the Epic. As this is my second Epic I have a lot of experience and familiarity. Again, I’ve only had one twenty-mile ride on the new Epic but it seems to react smoother and quicker. The brains opening and closing without me knowing. The platform seems very solid when I want it to be and completely open when I need it to be.

There are lots on the newly redesigned 2018 Epic that are technical improvements, one of which is the improved rear shock and fluid path to the brain over the rear axle. The fluid now takes a more straight line approach involving the fluid moving directly through the shock extension eliminating extra parts and turbulence causing turns for the fluid to encounter. Win win. Pretty rad engineering.

The saddle is a carbon railed S-Works Phenom which is light, comfortable, and feels like home every time I sit on them. The newly redesigned seat post looks great and shaves weight over the older version.

I’m a sucker for internally routed cables. It adds a lot of cleanliness to a bike in my opinion. I love the routing on the new Epic. I hope they are easy for mechanics to work on.

I love Bloomington Cycle & Fitness and the owners Caryn and Scott. They are better people than I deserve. I feel like I talk about them a lot on this blog but it’s because they constantly make me feel great. It’s still my local bike shop, just 789 miles further away now. Thank you’s can fall short in life sometimes and this is one of those cases. Much love.

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!

New Bike Day! 2017 S-Works Tarmac eTap

After the crash at last years State Championship criterium, I had to make some decisions. I did a lot of thinking about what I wanted to do about a road bike. I could have replaced the damaged parts on my 2014 S-Works Tarmac, but I decided against that. I took the opportunity to take the insurance money and put myself on a newer road bike. It felt like the right long-term decision. I also sold the non damaged parts from my 2014 Tarmac to a teammate. Again, it seemed like the right thing to do.

Fast forward to now. #newBikeDay

I decided upon and bought a 2017 S-Works Tarmac eTap. The Tarmac was the easy part of the decision, I loved my last Tarmac. Light, nimble, eager to jump and attack, terrific climber. What group to buy was the only real question. I landed at Sram eTap largely because Specialized wasn’t going to put out a new Dura-Ace Di2 bike anytime soon when I did some checking. I decided to give eTap a chance. To be fair going into this, I loved my Shimano Dura-Ace Di2. It’ll be interesting to discover my thoughts on Sram eTap as time goes on. I’ll be honest with my opinions and post follow ups.

I flew back to Illinois Saturday morning to go see some of my favorite people, the owners of Bloomington Cycle & Fitness. I may be 782 miles away in Texas but it’s still my local bike shop at heart.

Scott and Caryn, the owners of the Bloomington Cycle & Fitness are so good to my family. I was running so late Saturday after a lot of unfortunate things happen like the death of a new MacBook Pro and Southwest losing my bike bag for five hours. In the end, Apple came through in a big way with a brand new replacement and Southwest found my bike bag. Lots of stress that day but Scott and Caryn’s positive attitude made all the difference. I was instantly reminded why I love that place and those people. Scott stayed late to fit me on the bike and make all sorts of changes I’d asked for. They are the definition of great knowledgable customer service. I love that place.

Now back at home, I took some pictures before I take it for a it’s first Texas ride.

I asked for the Sram Red 22 crankset to be replaced with the new Sram Red Quarq crankset to keep access to a power meter.


I loved the Roval CLX40 wheels on my last Tarmac and I anticipate loving them on this bike. The CeramicSpeed bearings seem to roll forever and are as smooth as anything I’ve ever felt. The S-Works Turbo Cotton tires are something I’ve wanted to try for a long time now, I’m excited to get on them.

I had a straight S-Works carbon seat post and S-Works Romin saddle swapped in to recreate the pieces I loved on my last road bike.

The 11R carbon in the S-Works is pretty amazing stuff. Rider engineered performance I’m excited to experience.

The S-Works handlebar has a drop that I love so far. Very comfortable so far. The shifters and brakes seem comfortable and work well so far.

The frame is an engineering and art masterpiece. The shaping on the head tube is beautiful and functional offering great stiffness.

It’s really light at 15.43 lbs with the Sram Red Quarq power meter, two water bottle cages, and Speedplay stainless pedals, and K-Edge Garmin mount. I’m really happy with everything so far, it should be the beginning of a great relationship with the bike.

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!

New Bike Day! Ibis HD3


The older I get the more I enjoy trips with friends. Riding mountain bikes in amazing places like Colorado with great friends are some of my favorite times looking back on recent years cycling. With that in mind, I was fortunate enough to purchase a new trail bike this year. I choose an Ibis HD3 based on a demo a few years ago at our local trails, friends recommendations, and the geometry coupled with the pedaling efficiency of the DW Link suspension.

I ordered the frame set in December and waited patiently for the in demand bike to show up in Illinois at my local bike shop. With great things comes great demand I hear. I moved a handful of parts from my previous trail bike to the frame, mainly the Shimano XTR bits. What I didn’t have to move over I purchased the remaining Shimano XTR parts to round out the bike.

Shimano XTR trail brakes, XTR 2 by 10 shifters, Thomson Downhill aluminum handlebar for durability, and a Thomson 50mm stem make up the cockpit.
MJ5L3708 MJ5L3688

The wheel build consists of Derby 41mm wide carbon rims, DT Swiss 240s hubs, Shimano XTR rotors, Specialized Butcher front tire and Specialized Purgatory rear tire both of which set up tubeless.
MJ5L3685 MJ5L3718 MJ5L3693 MJ5L3668 MJ5L3677
MJ5L3695 MJ5L3700 MJ5L3683 MJ5L3722

The dropper post I had on my last trail bike made a huge difference on my last trip to Colorado, it was a no brainer on this build.

I can’t thank my amazing local bike shop enough for helping me through the build process or talking parts, ordering the correct pieces, and building up the bike. Bloomington Cycle & Fitness is great.
MJ5L3721 MJ5L3658

Bike Update – 2016-03-16

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!

New Bike Day! 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29

MJ5L0819During my trip to Crested Butte last year I fell in love. I loved the adventure of the trip, I loved the terrain, I loved the scenery. I knew that I wanted more. The bike I rode in Crested Butte, my 2013 S-Works Epic, is a great bike, but I wanted something better suited for the intended use. I found myself in a situation where I had two cross-country mountain bikes and made the decision to sell the one I rode less, and while I will miss my old hardtail, selling it opened the option for me to buy a trail bike. My criteria while looking for a trail bike were through axles front and rear, a tapered head tube, and be reasonably priced as I won’t be riding this bike much unless I’m headed out-of-state. I stumbled across a stock 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29 being sold locally for a great price and pulled the trigger.

With the new to me trail bike in hand, I contacted the good folks at Bloomington Cycle & Fitness to order some parts. I swapped out the Sram brakes in favor of Shimano XTR brakes because I’m convinced there is nothing that compares in terms of performance and reliability. I also swapped the brake rotors in favor of 203mm front and 180mm rear Shimano rotors. I swapped out the low-end Sram drivetrain with Shimano XTR shifters, XT Shadow Plus rear derailleur, and a SLX front derailleur. I choose the XT rear derailleur over XTR because of the XT having a metal cage where the XTR uses carbon. For a piece of the bike that sits low and has a good chance of seeing a rock at some point, I chose the cheaper and probably stronger option. I didn’t choose the SLX derailur as much as I was told it was the only Shimano option for the proprietary Specialized mount. MJ5L0829 MJ5L0836MJ5L0874Before I sold my hardtail mountain bike I removed the custom wheelset with the intention of putting them on the new trail bike. This wheelset was made of Stans Arch rims laced to DT Swiss 240s hubs. I had to have the rear hub converted to a 142 x 12mm through axle and also had the DT Swiss Star Ratchet Upgrade done to double the number of engagement points. I had to purchase a new front hub to support the 15mm through axle. MJ5L0867I wanted to swap the stock crankset which proved more difficult than expected because of limited chainring gearing options. I settled on a Sram XO crankset with an integrated bash guard. MJ5L0856MJ5L0827A key component for this project was a dropper seat post. I choose a KS LEV based on recommendations of friends. MJ5L0869The Specialized carbon handlebar is secured to the front end with a Thomson 75mm stem. MJ5L0859A big thanks to the great folks at Bloomington Cycle & Fitness for their help sourcing parts and assembling the bike. MJ5L0839The bike now weighs in at 28.75 pounds as pictured. I’m looking forward to the future trips this bicycle will allow me to partake in! I am headed back to Crested Butte later this summer and other trips are being planned to places like Moab Utah and Alabama!MJ5L0815

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!

New Bike Day! Surly Straggler Custom

MJ5L0098I’m fortunate enough to have several bikes but I’ve never had a good commuter. I enjoy riding around town and to work but without a rack and pannier, my back typically ends up sweaty because of using a backpack to hold my work laptop and other stuff. My amazing wife decided to do something special for my 30th birthday this year and make my dream commuter a reality!

This bike is very special to me. Not only is it made of awesome parts, but it has a lot of sentimental value because my wife worked with some special people in my life to make it one of a kind! She worked with Bloomington Cycle & Fitness to order the parts, some of which were hard to find, she worked with one of my best friends who is a painter to lay down an amazing and unique paint job, and she worked it out for me to watch and help with the build process as much as I could.

I used the Sram Rival group from my now sold Specialized Roubaix for the drivetrain.
MJ5L0087The wheels are built up with Chris King R45 hubs and Stans Iron Cross rims, and Hutchinson Sector 28c tubeless tires.
MJ5L0051 MJ5L0068 MJ5L0070The brakes are TRP Spyre. In my opinion they up the bar for mechanical disc brakes. They feature dual moving brake pads that help with modulation, power, and setup.
MJ5L0106The cockpit is made up of a Thomson seat post and stem, a S-Works carbon handlebar, Brooks Cambium saddle. The front end is held together with a Chris King headset.
MJ5L0093 MJ5L0049 MJ5L0045The rear rack is made by Civia and is minimal and lightweight.
MJ5L0072 MJ5L0114 MJ5L0117I very grateful for my wife, my amazing friend who painted the frame, and my local bike shop for making the parts gathering and the assembly a reality! I won’t forget what you all did!
MJ5L0065 MJ5L0104

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!