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Some Bikes are Special

Some bikes are just special, but not for the reasons you may think. They may not be made of the latest and greatest material and they may not have the newest, best components. Sometimes, certain bikes just fit right and just ride right, and you and that bike do rides that you remember, unlike other bikes that you’ve ridden. Bikes like this join you on adventures.
IMG_0654My Davidson custom steel bike is just such a bike. It was built in 1998 with Reynolds 853/753, and originally was painted navy blue with white panels outlined in orange pinstripes with the Davidson lettering in orange. The original fork was a Look carbon fork painted to match (and that fork was noodly as hell). I’ve ridden this bike a lot. More miles than any other bike I’ve ever owned.

This bike bears the scars of being ridden. I cracked the rear stay and had to have it replaced which is why it is has a different paint job now. At that time, I replaced the fork and it was painted to match as well. This is the bike I was riding when I was car doored and I separated my shoulder and fractured part of my shoulder blade. The bike was okay, but the fork took a hit and needed to be replaced, so now it sports the bare carbon model shown. The paint bears countless scratches from times when I dropped the chain, or that time when I snapped my chain and went down really hard, or that time when my wheels came out from under me in a wet corner on a descent.

I’ve ridden this bike on more double centuries than any other I’ve owned. It’s surprisingly comfortable for rides of that distance. I’ve done countless brevets on this bike, riding through the day and into the night and into the next morning. One night on a brevet, I nearly fell asleep while riding this bike, and after a short nap (off the bike in an old schoolhouse), I remember shivering so hard from the cold I could barely keep the bike on the road. Later, we rode near a farm that had what appeared to be camels in it’s pasture. To this day, I’m not sure if that was real or the result of so many hours on the bike.

I’ve commuted on this bike and I’ve even raced it a few times. I’ve dodged turkeys and pygmy goats on this bike. I’ve been chased by cows and countless dogs on this bike. One morning I had a squirrel hit my wheel and, thankfully, bounce off. This is the bike I was riding the day before I proposed to my wife (while carrying the engagement ring because I didn’t want to leave it at the hotel). This is the bike I was riding on the morning of 9/11/2001 when I learned of the attacks. You could say this bike and I have a history together.

Sometimes, I scavenge this poor bike for parts for my other bikes, and I hang the partially assembled bike from a hook and leave it there. Sometimes for a year or more. The downside to being a cyclist is that newer bikes always come along that seem to promise this wonder ride quality. More stiff, more compliant, less weight….Then, something makes me put the Davidson back together and ride it. Every time that happens, I wonder why I stopped riding it. It rides so nicely. It fits me so well. It brings back the memories of all the other great rides we’ve done together. Well, it’s back together now, and I plan on riding it for a while. It may not always be my daily rider, but I’ll never get rid of it, either. Too many memories.

New Cycling Kit

As some of your may know, our good friend and graphics guru, Jon Grant, lost his son, Auggie, to leukemia. If you have followed my company’s goings on, you are likely aware of our previous efforts to help Jon and his family raise money to help pay for the hospital costs associated with Auggie’s treatment.CureSearch

Now, we continue to try to help raise money for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. This year, we’ve decided it was time to put together designs for a new jersey and matching bib shortsJersey_Bib_Shorts_NAVY2222, and of course, I asked Jon to start putting some ideas together. We decided to go for a lighter blue color style with navy and orange accents. The result, we think, is a very nice looking jersey. As we finished up the jersey, I asked Jon to develop designs for bib shorts to go with it. We also placed the CureSearch for Children’s Cancer logo on the left sleeve, along with the words “For Auggie”.

One thing everyone should know about Auggie is that he most wanted to be a super hero, and he wanted everyone to be one with him. Auggie would run around with his cape flowing in the breeze, fighting crime. If you had the pleasure of meeting Auggie in person, there was a good chance that he would hand you a cape and urge you to come help him fight. Even in the hospital, he would sing the theme song from The Avengers television series. We are asking you to buy our cape, in jersey and bibs form, and help us to fight children’s cancer. We are donating $10 for each garment sold to CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. Buy a jersey and bibshorts and we donate $20.

Please, join us in this fight!

The kit is available by pre-order through Squadra only and purchases must be made my July 10th. See the link here: http://synapticcycles.ridesquadra.com

Gift Ideas for Cyclists

December 5, 2014Joe BartoeProducts

New Synaptic PosterWe just added a new header to our online store for December called “Gift Ideas.” This is a great place to look around for unique gifts for the cyclists in your life.

Some of the items include our own merchandise, such as the “Enjoy your ride” poster to the left as well as some of our own t-shirts and jerseys.

We went through our entire inventory of products and have reduced our prices on many of them to provide greater values for our customers. Additionally, anything you purchase in the store (except bicycles) includes FREE SHIPPING!

SYNA12003_Tshirt_FRONT_01a

We’ve reduced the prices on our t-shirts and on all of the SockGuy products in stock. Our t-shirts are now available in 3 different colors (Navy, Ash, or Black) and 2 choices of print color (Orange or Light Blue).

The shirts are made by American Apparel and are printed using water-based inks. Once washed, you can’t even feel the artwork. And the shirts themselves are soft to the touch and fit great!

CAFreedomSGXWe’ve been long-time users and supporters of the SockGuy products. We really love their stuff. All the socks in our store are the SGX model, which are thin and provide an incredible compression fit that leaves your feet feeling great all day long. We even wear these off the bike! Other items we carry from SockGuy include arm warmers, shoe covers, and base layers. We use each and every product we sell, and we wouldn’t sell it if we didn’t love it!CAMPY_RD_gsSM_medium

Other fun stuff in our store includes matted prints of bicycle parts. These were hand-drawn by Jon Grant, our graphics guy, and each one has its own story, according to Jon. Each part was beautifully rendered in black ink on white paper, and each print was offset printed in dense, black ink on white, acid-free, Bristol cover. These can be found in the “Bicycle Art” portion of our shop. We sell 9 of these matted prints and when placed in a frame and hung on the wall, they are stunning and would be a great addition to your bicycle-related art collection!

MAFAC_gsSM_mediumOther items in our shop include beer glasses, bottle openers, tools and more. Please, take a look around at our gift ideas for cyclists. If You’re looking for something specific that isn’t listed, give us a call at (949)374-6079. If we can find it for you, we will! If you are looking to rent a road bike in Los Angeles or San Diego/Orange County please contact us as well!

 

Meet Greg Donovan-Los Angeles Area Road Bike Rentals

June 17, 2014Joe BartoeNews

We recently opened up our service area to provide Los Angeles area road bike rentals. Just like our shop that serves Orange County and San Diego County, our new shop offers free delivery and pick up of your bike rentals within our regular service area. Our LA area rental store’s service area is centered in Santa Monica and extends outward in an approximate 30 mile radius.

Greg_Donovan

Greg Donovan with one of the Cayo Evo 2.0 bikes from the rental fleet.

Greg Donovan is the co-owner of our LA road bike rental shop, and we thought it might be worthwhile to introduce him to you. On the left is a picture of Greg posing with one of the brand new Focus Cayo Evo 2.0 bikes in his fleet.

Greg, age 23, is an Atlanta, Georgia transplant to Irvine, California. He has been an avid athlete since his youth participating in many sports and activities including baseball, cross country, basketball, football, roller hockey, snow-boarding, surfing, mountain biking, and motocross. Greg’s current athletic endeavors are focused on triathlon competitions, setting his sights on competing in a half-Ironman distance this year (2014) and a full Ironman in 2015.

Greg has a keen interest in the bicycle business, recently teaming up with Joe Bartoe of Synaptic Cycles to expand the road bike rental business. In preparation for this endeavor, he wanted to brush up on his mechanical skills and recently completed a course in bicycle maintenance at United Bicycle Institute in Oregon. He’s also been working with Joe, learning the business and how to set up bikes for customers. Greg looks forward to serving other avid cyclists who have the desire to experience the beautiful California scenery on two wheels.

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Focus Cayo Evo 2.0 with Shimano Ultegra DI2.

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Volagi Liscio 2 with DI2 and hydraulic disc brakes.

The new fleet at our Los Angeles shop contains a number of Shimano DI2 bikes from both Focus and Volagi. The Focus bikes are all Cayo Evo 2.0 with full Ultegra DI2. He also has a number of brand new Volagi Liscio 2 bikes with full Ultegra DI2 and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. Other offerings are Volagi Liscio 2 bikes with brand new Ultegra 11 and TRP Hy/Rd disc brakes. All the bikes in the fleet are incredible riding bikes, ready for your Southern California riding adventures.

Pricing for rentals are the same at both the LA area and the San Diego/Orange County Stores. We offer the same level of service and the same experience at both shops so please do not hesitate to contact Greg and set up your rental if you’ll be staying in the greater Los Angeles area.

We are really excited about opening up our service area so we can better serve more of Southern California, and we are especially excited to bring Greg into the  business! Please, help us to welcome Greg and help him to establish his shop’s presence in the greater Los Angeles area. Greg can be reached at (310)925-3969. Give him a call to reserve a bike when you’re in town!

Custom Wheelsets For Sale

June 10, 2014Joe BartoeNews, Products
Pacenti_Wheels

Pacenti SL23 Wheelset laced to DT Swiss 240S hubset. Tires are Hutchinson Sector 28 tubeless clincher.

It goes without saying that cyclists come in many shapes and sizes and strengths. A 135 pound climber probably doesn’t need the strength of a wheel built for 220 pound sprinter. And now, with the advent of the off-the-rack wheelsets, we have to be careful of weight limits when purchasing our equipment. It makes sense to have a wheelset built for you and your riding style rather than buying a set that is designed to work for “most people”. For that reason, we are going to start offering custom wheelsets for sale. As part of this process, we are building up some wheels for our rental fleet that customers can demo when they rent one of our bikes, or on their own bikes, if they choose.

Why offer custom wheelsets? There are a ton of benefits to custom-built wheels. Here’s a partial list:

  1. You help design it!!
  2. The wheels are built to fit your needs and riding style!
  3. You can go to any bike shop and get it trued or repaired! We’ll even supply extra spokes and nipples!
  4. Lifetime guarantee for trueness and spoke replacement!

We will be offering only aluminum rims on our wheelsets, initially. We are not enamored with carbon rims for everyday riding for reasons that we’ll get into in another post. Our current favorite is the Pacenti SL23. It is a 24mm wide rim that is tubeless clincher compatible, and it is available in 20, 24, 28, and 32 hole drillings. Weighing in at 450g per rim, it is lighter than comparable rims, and we find that it builds up into a light, strong wheelset. We can also build wheels with rims from DT Swiss, HED, Velocity, and Stan’s.

Shown above is one our first wheelsets. It features DT Swiss 240S hubs laced 2 cross to the Pacenti SL23 rims (24 hole front/28 hole rear), using Wheelsmith double-butted spokes. Total weight of the wheelset (minus tires and skewers) was just over 1500g. We’ve mounted up the new tubeless clincher from Hutchinson, the Sector 28, and have been riding the heck out of them ever since. We now have well over 700 miles on this set and they ride great and have stayed perfectly straight from the start. The price of the wheelset decribed here would be $1100 and would include skewers and rim tape.

Building a custom wheelset is a personal thing, and it’s the best bang for your your buck as far as upgrades for your bike. If you’re considering a new custom set of wheels, give us a call at (949)374-6079. We’ll walk you through the process to ensure that you are getting the wheelset that meets your needs. And the best part is you get to pick your own: hubs, spokes (silver or black), nipples, colors, rims (style and color), and lacing pattern! If you are interested in testing out some our custom wheel builds contact us today!

Bike Rentals-Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties

Since we started our business, we have gotten calls for bike rentals in the greater Los Angeles area. Up until now, we have had to charge an additional fee for serving those areas. It was simply too long a drive and too far outside our normal service area to serve without charging for the extra time and mileage.

We are extremely excited to announce that as of the week of May 26th, 2014, we have officially begun to serve the greater Los Angeles area, along with our other service areas of Orange and San Diego Counties. In doing so, we will offer our same great service, along with FREE delivery and pick up within our normal standard service area. Our new service area will be an approximate 30 mile radius from Santa Monica.

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2013 Focus Cayo Evo 2.0-Ultegra DI2

To reserve your bike or contact us, check out our designated Los Angeles page. If you use our fillable forms, simply use the pull down menu to specify the area you are interested in. Otherwise, feel free to call us directly. Don’t worry about getting it wrong. We’ll gladly direct you if you’re not sure about what area to choose from the menu!

Liscio_Ultegra11

Volagi Liscio 2-Ultegra 11

Greg Donovan will be the day to day manager/owner of Synaptic Cycles Bicycle Rentals in Los Angeles. He has been working hard behind the scenes to learn the business and get set up and ready to go. He will be starting out with incredible road bikes from Focus and Volagi. His Focus offerings will be the Focus Cayo Evo 2.0 with full Ultegra DI2 drivetrain. Additionally, he’ll have several Volagi Liscio 2 bikes with Ultegra 11 speed mechanical or DI2.

Greg approached me around the end of 2013 with a desire to partner up in the Synaptic Cycles venture. He was a former customer and a great guy so I though it would be worth exploring. Since then, he has worked with me to see how I go about the day to day business, attended the United Bicycle Institute courses to learn more about bike mechanics, and shown a willingness and desire to serve customers in a way that our customers have come to expect.

Along with individual bike rentals, Greg will be offering group and corporate event services, just like in our original service area of Orange County and San Diego County. Please, help me welcome Greg to the Synaptic Cycles family and get in touch with him about your bike rental needs in the greater Los Angeles area!

 

Copyright © 2012 Synaptic Cycles Inc.