GIVEAWAY | Aaron Gwin autographed jersey courtesy of Troy Lee Designs

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Congratulations to Mike Mitchell! He is the proud new owner of an autographed Aaron Gwin jersey courtesy of Troy Lee Designs.

Mike, email us at webmaster@pricepoint.com with GWIN GIVEAWAY in the subject line by 5 p.m. PST on Thursday, March 21, 2013 and we’ll get it on its way!

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ONE MORE HILL | Welcome to the All-New Price Point

“Hey, I think I can see my house from here!”

 

Sometimes you just have to put your head down and charge up one more hill. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s downright painful. But you keep going. You keep breathing. You keep spinning. Eventually you stand and sprint. You keep going because you know that just over that hill lies the next adventure—a ride that eclipses everywhere you’ve laid tracks up until now.

We’ve spent more than a few late nights here at Price Point headquarters, charging up our most recent hill—working on the all-new PricePoint.com—and now that we’re at the top, we couldn’t be more amped on the view in every direction. It’s been a great ride, and it’s far from over. We won’t stop at the top of this hill—or the next one. Every challenge is a new opportunity, and the new Price Point is just the beginning.

MORE DIRT, LESS DOUGH

The new PricePoint.com.

The new PricePoint.com.

 

Even though our own after-work rides have become sparse at best, we’ve forgotten what daylight looks like, and have subsisted on coffee, CLIF Bars and the occasional taco, we’ve managed to create an entirely new Price Point experience centered around a completely rebuilt website with improved shopping features like intuitive navigation, bigger product images, super-fast checkout, Q&A, a new rating system and even better deals. It is now easier than ever to get the gear you need and have it delivered quickly.

But the dialed new website isn’t all we’ve been up to.

Price is still the point, but in addition to the great low prices we’re known for, we are expanding our product selection to include more brands, models, colors and sizes of the latest trends, tech and products driving the cycling industry—still at unbeatable deals, all backed by The Price Point Pledge, our promise to provide you with the best selection, service and prices in the industry so you can get what you need and get on your bike.

Want to try before you buy? Our 90 Easy Returns make it painless, whether it’s the wrong size or the wrong color.

Don’t want to wait? Our 100% In Stock Guarantee ensures that if it’s on our website, it’s in our warehouse. And same day shipping means that you can buy today, ride tomorrow.

Found a better price? Our 120 Day Best Value Pledge means we’ll refund the difference if you find a lower advertised price up to four months from the date of purchase, because worry-free shopping feels good.

And just to celebrate the new Price Point, we’ll be giving away gear from now until Sea Otter, including a complete SRAM XX1 drivetrain.

LOOK, MA—NO HANDS!

Wait, we already used this picture for our Groundhog's Day sale. Why is it happening again?

Wait, we already used this picture for our Groundhog’s Day sale. Why is it happening again?

 

You won’t need your mouse and keyboard to connect with us anymore, either. Now that the new site is up and running, we’ll be spending a lot more time on the trails and at the races and events that help define our sport. If you see us, don’t be shy. Come say hi and we’ll give you the finger—a Price Point logo sticker, that is. Give it back by tagging us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter in a photo of your creative, legal placement of the finger-logo sticker, and if we post your photo, we’ll put together a Price Point prize pack with your name on it.

But for those of you still in front of a computer—whether you live somewhere you are forced to play a waiting game with Old Man Winter, you are recovering from an injury or just happen to be watching the clock in cubicle land—we’ve created this humble bike blog, The Link. Be sure to check back for plenty of contests and giveaways, reviews and previews on all the hottest new gear, updates from our sponsored riders, training and tech tips, and the occasional groundhog.

LOG ON AND DROP IN

Get dialed at PricePoint.com.

 

It’s been a long winter, but spring weather, longer days, new rides and the next adventure are just around the corner. It’s time to attempt to collect our thoughts and our riding gear. So, go ahead. Click around. Check out the site and let us know what you think. Think we could do something better? We want to know. Want to heckle us or cheer us on? Feel free to drop us a line. Then go ride your bike. We’ll see you on the trail.

by Don Stefanovich 

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ENTER TO WIN | Free SRAM XX1 complete drivetrain

FREE: SRAM XX1

To celebrate the all-new Price Point, we are giving away a complete SRAM XX1 Gripshift drivetrain (32t, 175mm) valued at over $1,200 to one lucky rider.

 ENTER TO WIN

No purchase necessary. Full rules and regulations at PricePoint.com.

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VIDEO | Troy Lee Designs A1 Enduro Helmet

Troy Lee Designs spent nearly three years crafting its most recent entry into the half-lid all-mountain/enduro market, and it looks as if it’s been well worth the wait.

The TLD A1 features full coverage and an aggressive style, making it a worthy contender for today’s emerging crop of enduro racers and all-mountain riders. Sixteen large vents coupled with a specially designed air-channeling visor are designed to keep the rider cool, while a deep rear profile provides more coverage than a traditional trail helmet.

TLD has a history in motorcycle racing, and it shows. In addition to the aggressive lines, the company has applied a paint/graphics process used in moto helmets—very unconventional to bicycle helmets—along with anodized hardware to create a unique and custom moto-inspired look.

Whether you are an elite enduro athlete or an after-work ripper, the long-awaited A1 was developed for you and the love of your sport.

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INSATIABLE INSANITY | Markley Anderson gears up for his second Tour Divide

Markley Anderson in Austria during the 2012 TransAlp. Photo by Sportif.

Markley Anderson in Austria during the 2012 TransAlp. Photo by Sportif.

It takes a hard man to ride a mountain bike 2,700 miles along the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico, gaining over 200,000 feet of elevation in the process. It takes an even harder man to ride it with his wheels rarely touching a paved stretch of road. It takes a really hard man to do it entirely self-self supported, carrying everything he needs.

It takes a mad man to want to do it again—the kind of mad man who would say something like, “Cross-country racing is fun, but too short for my liking.”

Price Point team rider Markley Anderson is no stranger to challenges, physical or mental. Formerly a paratrooper in the infamous 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army, Anderson has competed in powerlifting, bodybuilding and endurance and adventure races such as the TransAlp and the BC Bike Race. But when he arrived at the Mexican border in the dark, shaking beneath a crusted layer of salt and dirt 24 days after leaving the surreal postcard-like setting of Banff, Alberta, Canada, he swore he would never do it again. Now Anderson is quickly learning the meaning of the old adage never say never.

Markley Anderson descends in Austria during the 2012 TransAlp. Photo by Sportif.

Markley Anderson descends in Austria during the 2012 TransAlp. Photo by Sportif.

“It has a magnetism like no other event I have ever had the sweet and painful pleasure of getting to know,” Markley writes in his 2013 Letter of Intent. “Funny how one can be attracted to something that beats you down to what I can only describe as a crushed saltine cracker in a bowl of chicken noodle soup.”

Much like the men and women who attempt it, The Tour Divide is an entirely different kind of animal. There is no entry fee, you don’t need a license and there is absolutely zero support—save for emergency extraction, should you need it—along the way. Not a single prize is awarded. And although there is a mass start known as the Grand Départ in June, the race can be completed by anyone any time during the year.

Anderson displays his bike and gear as he begins preparing for the 2013 Tour Divide.

Anderson displays his bike and gear as he begins preparing for the 2013 Tour Divide.

Mild-mannered high-school counselor by day, masochistic mile-muncher by night, Anderson has already begun training and preparing for 2013.

“After having some time to reflect and heal from the wounds that the Tour Divide inflicts, I find myself wanting to venture back and improve my overall time— some kind of crazy romantic quality about the Tour,” Anderson muses. “In 2013, I plan to race the Tour Divide again with the focus being more on speed. Now that I have the experience from having done it, I will be better prepared in regards to equipment, training and mental resolve.“

Anderson will be attempting to best his own 24-day time set in 2011.

Follow this blog to see if he succeeds.

Read more about Anderson’s bike and gear here.

Anderson learns during the 2011 Tour Divide that even when you can't ride, you have no choice but to keep going. Photo courtesy Markely Anderson.

Anderson learns during the 2011 Tour Divide that even when you can’t ride, you have no choice but to keep going. Photo courtesy Markely Anderson.

 by Don Stefanovich 

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AND THEN THERE WAS ONE | SRAM’s XX1 simplifies drivetrain performance

"Push, fellars! There's singletrack in dem der hills!"

Before gears, there was only one way to the top. Photo by Gary Fisher, courtesy of Charlie Kelly/Sonic.net

Gravity junkies and freeride fiends have been espousing the benefits of running single-ring setups nearly as long as they’ve been using shuttles and ski lifts in order to maximize their down time.

But why lose gears? At one point in the ‘70s—when a few boys in Nor Cal riding 1940s Schwinns figured out that grafting road gears onto their “klunkerz” allowed them to climb up as well as ride down—being able to shift was the single greatest innovation in the blossoming sport of mountain biking. We’ve been adding gears and complicating things ever since. More is better, right?

In theory, yes, but if you weren’t much concerned with climbing, it made sense to ditch the front rings—it was simpler, and, with the addition of a chainguide, all but eliminated dropped chains and the cacophony of chain slap.

So many a ham-fisted freerider went to work—not unlike those Nor Cal incendiaries years before—mixing and matching parts. They paired a single front ring with a rear cassette, then slapped some sort of chain-chastity containment unit around it. Which was fine, considering the extent of climbing on their “big” bikes was rather limited.

But what if you do climb and want a wide range of gears for a wide range of trails? And what if you climb mostly to reach the same kind of rowdy, chunky downhills capable of rattling the fillings out of your head, and don’t want to add guides and pulleys and gizmos just to avoid dropping your chain? We were trying to simplify things, weren’t we?

Enter XX1

SRAM’s XX1 goes up to 11. If they rode bikes, Spinal Tap would be stoked.

 

SRAM’s new golden child pairs a single, front chainring—available in 28, 30, 32, 34, 36 and 38-tooth flavors—with an 11-speed rear cassette for a wide range of gearing conducive to today’s all-mountain and enduro riders. But that’s not to pigeonhole it; everyone from cross-country hammerheads to aforementioned gravity junkies can find something to like here, especially with the wide range of rings available—rings designed not to drop chains. Seems like common sense.

Traditional rings are designed to drop chains, and traditional chain management then is designed to attempt to negate another component’s intended purpose. It all sounds a bit convoluted, doesn’t it?

In addition to lacking the ramping of traditional rings meant to dump the chain, XX1 ring features teeth of alternating thickness designed to fill the different size openings in the chain. SRAM calls it “X-Sync.” As it will be doing all the work all the time, SRAM made the front ring of durable aluminum, and paired it with carbon crank arms for a light-yet-strong package.

The X-Sync tooth design is designed not to drop chains. Who'd have thunk it?

The X-Sync teeth are designed not to drop chains. Who’d have thunk it?

 

Even the chain gets some special treatment here. Aside from playing nicely with the aforementioned X-Sync design of the front ring, the XX1 chain is coated with HARD CHROME—a friction-reducing coating to prevent wear, elongation and weakening. We see no reason this technology shouldn’t trickle down to other chains (it probably will), but it particularly makes sense here, where a thinner profile is necessary to mate with the tighter spacing of the 11-ring cluster.

Along with the Type 2 chain-tensioning clutch-style tech on the rear mech, all this means dropped chains essentially don’t exist. Sure, some riders may still opt for a guide of some sort, but most will likely never miss it should they ditch it. It also makes for a quiet ride—a really quiet ride. And anything that allows for greater appreciation of the sweet sounding duet that can only be performed by tires and dirt is fine by us.

Aside from the Type 2 technology, the XX1 rear derailleur moves in a “straight parallelogram” as opposed to the traditional “slant parallelogram” of traditional modern derailleurs. All this mumbo jumbo really means is that the shifting path moves perpendicular to the chain line, since the rear derailleur is now dedicated to rear shifts—not attempting to compensate for changes in chain length due to front shifts. Again, simple. Nice.

Shifting duties will be handled courtesy of an 11-speed shifter available as a trigger or the recently revived Grip Shift.

You rang?

While we can only guess what the next addition or subtraction might be to mountain-bike technology, SRAM’s XX1 seems like a simple-yet-elegant solution from which most riders—regardless of bike or riding style—can benefit.

Have you ridden XX1? Give us your impressions in the comments below.

Want to ride XX1? We’re giving away a complete XX1 drivetrain here.

The only real question now, is what will you do with all that newly vacant real estate on the other side of the bars? Maybe it’s time for a bell.

by Don Stefanovich 

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