2013 Norco Range 650b – Tested

Words & Photos by Heather Makuch

2013 Norco Range Killer B

Norco just had their 2013 product launch and pics of the new products are starting to make their way around the web. One of their new exciting lines is the Range 650b series. I was lucky enough to receive a pre production prototype of this exciting new frame and have been spending a ton of time putting the new tech through it’s paces.

For most people the headline news on this new line is the 650b wheel size.  For those of you who may not be familiar with 650b, simply put it’s a 27.5 inch wheel.  A bit bigger than your standard 26″, but smaller than the wagon wheel 29ers.  Basically it’s the goldy locks of wheel sizes, not too big, not too small, just right.  Of course, the haters are gonna jump all over this crying out that we don’t need another wheel size, but one ride on a 650b wheel will have them changing tunes quicker than Usain Bolt’s 100m dash.

Beyond the “new” wheel size (650b has actually been around for quite a while, but has only recently made it’s way to the MTB world), the entire frame has been redesigned.  The tapered head tube, 142/12mm rear axle with Syntaces awesome derailleur hanger system, and A.R.T. suspension  (Advanced Ride Technology, but I prefer to call it Awesome Rear Suspension!) have all made their way to the new frame, but so has a bunch of other cool tech like the smooth welds (nicer looking and stronger), Gravity Tune (chainstay length increases/decreases proportionately to the size of the bike), and the clevis-less pivots (basially no welds for pivot points, the pivot is integrated directly into the tubing, making it stronger and lighter).  There’s a bunch of other stuff going on as well, but you can check out www.norco.com for more spec and tech.

At 5’0, I always have issues when it comes to the standover height of my bikes.  It turns out all the whining I did over the past few years has paid off, because the other big news with the new 2013 Range frame is the low standover height.  Despite the larger wheels,  my XS frame is almost 2″ lower than my 2012 Range.  For anyone under 5’7″, this is HUGE!  Most bikes I’ve had in the past fit once I got on them, but getting on and off was always a bit sketchy.  The guys at Norco took this into consideration with the new design, and the end result is a frame with the lowest standover height in the business.  On behalf of short people, thank you Norco.


I’m not gonna lie, I really like this bike.  Coming from a 2012 Range (using 26″ wheels), the improvements were immediately noticeable.  This is first bike I’ve ever owned that really fits.  Between the low standover and Gravity tune rear end, I finally have a bike that fits me in every way without losing suspension travel or other tradeoffs in geometry.  Right away I felt comfortable on the bike.


Having never ridden a 29er (they simply don’t make them small enough to fit someone my height) I can’t comment on how the 650b compares to full size wagon wheels.  What I can say, however, is that the 27.5″ wheels don’t really feel any larger than a 26″ wheel when maneuvering the bike, but seem to roll smoother over almost every type of terrain.  As a smaller rider, I often lack the muscle to be able to power through rough sections, but I was able to plow through sections that I would normally get hung up on.  Traction up climbs, corners, and when braking is also noticeably better, which makes sense given the larger contact area with the ground compared to 26″ wheels.  In fact, with the 650b wheels I was able to drop to a narrower tire and still feel just as comfortable while benefiting from the lower weight and decreased rolling resistance of the narrower tires.  I have to admit I was really skeptical going in, but it seems like the 27.5″ wheel hits the mark by delivering the benefits of extra rolling ability without a perceptible decrease in handling, and the bottom line is that after riding 650b wheels, I have ZERO desire to go back to 26″ wheels for all-mountain riding.
All in all the 2013 Norco Range is awesome.  The 650b wheels may be the latest trend, but the proof is in the ride and I’d be willing to wager this isn’t just another marketing ploy and they’re here to stay.  Throw in the fact that I finally have a frame that actually fits me properly, and without a doubt this is the best all-around/do-everything mountain bike I have ever ridden.
If you have any questions about the 2013 Norco Range series, 650b in general, or want to see the bike in real life please feel free to send me a note through Blacks Cycle at blackscycle@gmail.com, or come on out to one of our Tuesday evening shop rides.

Bike trails among best in world

Comox Valley Record.com

Grassroot efforts at the community level have earned Cumberland’s mountain biking trails a reputation as some of the best in Canada, if not the world.

Volunteers perform regular maintenance on the forest trails, keeping them in prime shape for the many races that are run at the venue.

While Comox Valley Mountain Biking (cvmtb.com) is an excellent source of information on the sport, the United Riders of Cumberland (unitedridersofcumberland.com) is the voice of mountain biking in the Valley, according to one of the group’s original founders and board member Jeremy Grasby.

Grasby says UROC works with the Village of Cumberland, the two private landowners of the forest land (Hancock Timber Management and TimberWest), and  the Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS) to advocate on behalf of mountain bikers.

Grasby said mountain bikers enjoy the co-operative relationship they have with Hancock and TimberWest. He says both groups consult with UROC before they harvest and are interested in seeing the trails repaired when the logging work is done.

“The ultimate plan is to have a land use agreement in place with the village and the two private landowners. It’s an ongoing process,” Grasby said.

“UROC works with the forest society on a management plan just established for that area. We’re one of the stakeholders and we’ve been holding monthly meetings for the past few months.

“As far as trail maintenance goes we have a very active group inside of UROC,” he added. “Another group, the River Rats, are very active. They’re always out there … every day just shawzamming the trails. It really showed in our (recent) cross-country race. (They were) putting dirt where it needed to be and bridges where they needed to go.”

Grasby said it is great to have so much volunteer help, and those who want more information can check UROC’s trail maintenance page on Facebook.

However, he emphasized the best way to get involved is to financially support the forest society.

“That’s a great way to be involved. They have monthly donations. That helps them buy more land, which provides more mountain biking in Cumberland.

Ultimately the best way to manage it (the forest land) is to own it.”

He notes the non-profit UROC supports the CCFS through a variety of fundraisers, including their Fall Classic which last year collected $1,000 for the society.

UROC, with support from local bike shops such as Dodge City Cycle also works with the Cumberland Community School Society to provide a kids’ club at the elementary school, where the two groups help reduce UROC membership fees from $47 to $15.

Noting the CCSS provides bikes to those who need them, Grasby says a group of about 25 to 30 students gets together and goes riding for a couple of hours every Thursday.

Original Article http://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/sports/149929055.html

By Earle Couper – Comox Valley Record

Published: May 02, 2012 5:00 PM
Updated: May 02, 2012 5:10 PM


Raw Element Guest House now open in Cumberland

Welcome to Raw Element

Looking for a vacation house for mountain biking in the Comox Valley, skiing at Mount Washington or just vacationing? Cumberland’s newest guest house is now open for business.

Hosts Kim & Blair will happily welcome you to Raw Element Guest House.

This fully self-contained guest suite with a kitchen and private entrance located in the picturesque Cumberland on Vancouver Island, BC. It is located on a 1/2 acre in the heart of town and is walking distance to restaurants, pubs and shopping. The area is also well known for fishing, mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding with Mount Washington Alpine Resort only minutes away.

What Is Included:

  • Kitchen with fridge, stove and microwave
  • Coffee/tea making supplies
  • Wireless Internet
  • Telephone, TV, DVD player and movies to choose from
  • Queen sized bed with feather duvet
  • Double futon couch
  • Private bathroom
  • Private backyard access overlooking forest and gardens
  • Hot tub and pool access
  • Fire pit
  • Secure bike and sport equipment storage/wet room
  • Welcome basket filled with fresh local goodies included with each stay
  • Full breakfast available upon special request
Comfortable living space
Ready for a good nights sleep

For more information, to make a reservation and more check out their website at http://www.rawelement.ca/

Rails to Trails? Is it time to move on

For over 125 years rail travel has occurred on Vancouver Island. From the heyday of rail during the coal mining years of Robert Dunsmuir to the budd car travels of recent decades Vancouver Island has changed. Is it time for new thinking?

Recent news on removal of the Dayliner Cars

Many discussions have occurred on creating new formats of rail travel on the south island. Question should be, is there a benefit over bus travel on the same routes? In many cases the rail travel would likely be slower than the highway counterparts thus reducing the argument for rail. More information can be found on the Island Corridor Foundation’s website.

The corridor was built in the days of steam trains and would not be comfortable for high speed commuter traffic such as the West Coast Express. The passenger capacity on the bud cars is not much different than modern double length commuter buses.

Others will argue the historic joy of rail travel, but the lines are overgrown, the views have been lost and it’s time to move forward.

What’s next?

Cost estimates for repair and replacement of the required rail parts would exceed 15 million dollars. This would only repair existing, and not provide for new or increased capacity or realignment for commuter train travel.

Rail and other components of rail lines have a reasonable value on the used or even scrap market.

Instead of spending 15 million to repair, let’s move forward to development of a rails to trails corridor like nothing seen before.

Removal and sale of existing track materials, regrading of the line with light crush materials and signage / pedestrian crossings would be relatively cost neutral.

Existing buildings and parking infrastructure would provide on and off points for cycle tourism and local recreation, and an ongoing maintenance contract for grading and foliage control would be passed on to local service clubs or even included in the recovery costs.

Cycle rail trail routes would provide additional sources a of travel revenue, offer opportunities for local communities to become involved in the project and could be extended to all former sites to provide the most extensive network of recreation trails in North America.

A review of existing networks of rail trail would easily show with minimal costs, tourism and recreation opportunities would be extensive and benefit a broader range of businesses and services on Vancouver Island. Linking with existing structures of the Cowichan Valley Rail Trail and the recently restored Kinsol Trestle, the opportunities for a prosperous future is great.

Rail to Trail projects have created success stories in other parts of the province.

Examples of Rail Trails

It’s a sad day indeed to lose the sound of trains on Vancouver island, but maybe a new opportunity will show itself through Rails to Trails.

Nikon announces new rugged compact digital cameras

The first in Nikon’s new AW series of waterproof, shock-proof, cold-resistant compact digital cameras

You won't lose this one in the forest!

Equipped with a number of features, including GPS support, an electronic compass and map display, and action control convenient for outdoor shooting

TOKYO-Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the release of the AW100/AW100s, the first model in Nikon’s new COOLPIX AW series of compact digital cameras suited not only to normal shooting situations, but also equipped with a number of features and functions that make them fun to use in a variety of outdoor situations.

Large screen and well laid out controls

The AW100/AW100s, Nikon’s first compact digital camera with waterproof, shock-proof and cold-resistant specifications, is a high-performance model with an effective pixel count of 16.0-million pixels. It offers not only basic camera features such as a backside illumination CMOS image sensor and functions for capturing still images with superior image quality and recording full-HD movies with the same superior picture quality, but is also equipped with a number of new features including GPS support, an electronic compass and a map display. Adoption of a lens utilizing new thin, right-angled optics makes the AW100/AW100s one of the slimmest truly waterproof compact digital cameras available. It offers not only a fashionable and elegant design that makes it perfect for everyday use, but also a tough body well suited to outdoor shooting.

To date, Nikon has offered three COOLPIX series of digital cameras: the L series, a line of cameras equipped with functions that make them fun and easy to use; the S series, a line of cameras offering advanced functions and refined design; and the P series, a line of high-performance cameras with a variety of functions that support more authentic photography. Now Nikon is pleased to add the AW series to its COOLPIX lineup. AW-series cameras are stylish models that offer superior image quality and support recording of more active scenes. The introduction of this new series allows Nikon to support a broader range of customers with cameras capable of recording special moments in a wider variety of situations. Nikon will continue to offer the enjoyment of capturing and viewing images by expanding its lineup of digital cameras to suit the needs and lifestyles of ever diversifying users.

COOLPIX AW100/AW100s Primary Features

  1. An effective pixel count of 16.0-million pixels and a 5x optical zoom NIKKOR lens with a zoom range beginning at the wide-angle 28 mm (equivalent in 35mm [135] format) for coverage of a broad range of angles of view
  2. Nikon’s first waterproof, shock-proof and cold-resistant cameraThe AW100/AW100s offers durable specifications for shooting in the severe conditions presented with outdoor activities such as swimming and diving, or while hiking or skiing. It is waterproof to approximately 10 meters, shock-proof with a fall of up to approximately 1.5 meters, and can withstand cold air temperatures as low as −10°C (14°F).
  3. Equipped with convenient functions of outdoor shooting
    Action Control
    This feature allows you to apply a variety of camera settings by simply pressing the large action button on the side of the camera and then shaking the camera. Action Control is convenient when gloves worn underwater or while skiing make operating the buttons on the multi selector difficult.
    Underwater scene mode
    When Underwater scene mode is enabled, either manually or automatically in Easy Auto mode, white balance is automatically adjusted using exclusive parameters to prevent unnatural green or blue cast in images captured underwater. In addition, adoption of a backside illumination CMOS image sensor that increases image quality with shooting at high sensitivities, less noise at high sensitivities all the way to the maximum ISO 3200, and a lens-shift + electronic vibration reduction (VR) function support capture of beautiful, blur-free images exhibiting very little noise under the low-light conditions experienced underwater.
    GPS (with A-GPS), electronic compass, map display, POI (point of interest) display, log function
    The high-performance GPS and electronic compass built into the camera acquire and record position information with shooting. This information can then be viewed on a world map1 displayed in the camera monitor. The A-GPS function2, adopted for the first time with a Nikon digital camera, makes using the GPS feature smoother and simpler.
    The AW100/AW100s also offers a log function that can be used to track and record movement with acquisition of position information even while the camera is off. Logs can then be saved and displayed in the camera monitor. POI settings for recording and displaying place names can also be specified.
    These features offer active users who enjoy sports or traveling new ways to enjoy their photos by allowing them to keep a record of their jogging route along with photos they have taken along the way, or to record their movement on an outing while on vacation as a file that can then be viewed using Google Earth™.
    In addition, when photos are uploaded to Nikon’s image storage and sharing site, my Picturetown, the photos can be displayed on a map using the application’s map view, and photos with position information attached can be shared with others. An update that will enable support for displaying heading information and logs with my Picturetown’s map view is planned.
    • 1Not available with the COOLPIX AW100s.
    • 2The A-GPS function built into the AW100/AW100s acquires satellite information data available from Nikon’s website, enabling faster positioning.
  4. Backside illumination CMOS sensor enables capture of images in which noise is suppressed, even with shooting of dimly lit scenes such as night landscapes and indoor scenesAdoption of a backside illumination (BSI) CMOS image sensor, which increases image quality with shooting at high sensitivities, has led to even further advances in Nikon technologies that enable the capture of beautiful nighttime shots. When the HDR (high dynamic range) option is enabled in Backlighting scene mode, images exhibiting rich expression of tones and noticeably less loss of detail in shadows and highlights can be captured by combining multiple shots taken in quick succession.
  5. An elegant design suited to both everyday and outdoor useAdoption of a lens utilizing new thin, right-angled optics has enabled one of the thinnest bodies (just 22.8 mm) among truly waterproof cameras. Despite being a very tough camera with waterproof, shock-proof and cold-resistant specifications that stand up to severe conditions, the AW100/AW100s retains an elegant form that is also suited to everyday shooting around town.
  6. A function for recording high-resolution full-HD movies with the press of a buttonImpressive full-HD movies with stereo sound and a frame size of 1920 x 1080 pixels can be recorded by simply pressing the movie-record button on the back of the camera. In addition, optical zoom can be used during movie recording. The camera also offers an HS Movie feature for recording movies that can be played back in slow motion (1/8, 1/4 or 1/2 normal playback speed) or fast motion (two times faster than normal playback speed). Naturally, movies can also be recorded underwater.

Other Features

  • EXPEED C2 image-processing engine for increased image quality and faster image processing
  • 3-inch, approx. 460k-dot (HVGA) TFT LCD monitor with wide viewing angle
  • Smart portrait mode for more certain capture of beautiful portraits
  • Easy auto mode with which the camera identifies the type of subject and automatically applies the optimum scene mode
  • 19 scene modes
  • A subject tracking function with which the camera automatically tracks the specified subject
  • The supplied filter adapter can be used to attach common 40.5-mm diameter filters

Nikon COOLPIX AW100/AW100s Specifications

Effective pixels 16.0million
Image sensor 1/2.3-in. type CMOS; total pixels: approx. 16.79 million
Lens 5x optical zoom, NIKKOR lens 5.0–25.0mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 28–140 mm lens in 35mm [135] format) f/3.9–4.8; Digital zoom Up to 4x (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 560 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
Focus range(from lens) [W]: Approx. 50 cm to ∞, [T]: Approx. 1 m to ∞, Macro mode: Approx. 1 cm to ∞ ( wide-angle zoom position beyond Δ )
Monitor 7.5 cm (3-in.), approx. 460k-dot, wide viewing angle TFT LCD monitor with anti-reflection coating and 5-level rightness adjustment
Storage media Internal memory (approx. 83 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
ISO sensitivity ISO 125, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Auto (auto gain from ISO 125 to 800)
Fixed range auto (ISO 125 to 400)
Interface Hi-Speed USB
HDMI output Can be selected from Auto, 480p, 720p, and 1080i
Power sources One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 (supplied)
AC Adapter EH-62F (available separately)
Battery life(EN-EL19) Still pictures*1: Approx. 250 shots Movies: Approx. 1 h 35 min (HD 1080pP (1920×1080)) (When recording a single movie, the maximum recording time is 29 minutes and file size is up to 4 GB even when there is enough free space on the memory card.)
Dimensions(WxHxD) Approx. 110.1 x 64.9 x 22.8 mm
Weight Approx. 178 g (including battery and SD memory card)
Supplied accessories*2 Camera Strap, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12, Battery Charger MH-65, Filter Adapter, USB Cable UC-E6, Audio Video Cable EG-CP16, ViewNX 2 CD-ROM
  • Unless otherwise stated, all figures are for a camera with a fully-charged Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 operated at an ambient temperature of 25 °C (77 °F).
  • *1Based on Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA) standards for measuring the life of camera batteries.
  • *2Supplied accessories may differ by country or area.


Garmin Edge 200 Cycling GPS Lets You Review, Relive & Plan

It is an all too familiar situation when you get home from a bike ride and wonder aloud, “I am exhausted, exactly how far did I just go?” or: “I was flying down that hill, I swear I must have been going 30 mph!” Well, now we give you an affordable solution to know those answers during and after your ride.

Garmin Edge 200 Cycling GPS

Today we announced the Edge 200 GPS enabled cycling computer. Lightweight and stylish, the Edge 200 features a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, requires no calibration, can be switched quickly and easily between bikes and can be used in all types of weather.

“The Edge 200 was designed for those budget conscious cyclists looking for the basics — speed, distance, time and calories,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “With no set-up or sensors required, simply switch on, press start and go. The Edge 200 adds so much to your ride that no ride will ever be the same again.”

Whether you ride for fun, fitness or to feed your competitive edge, users will love seeing how far and how fast they rode — all without wires and sensors. Edge 200 stores up to 130 hours of ride data and sorts activities to quickly look up the fastest, longest or last ride – providing motivation and inspiration that’ll keep cyclists on track. With a 14 hour battery life, Edge 200 features a USB interface for easy charging and data transfer.

Weighing a mere 2 ounces, the Edge 200 is both lightweight and affordable. It features a high-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix® satellite prediction – meaning there’s less time spent waiting and more time spent riding. The Edge 200 also allows users to set alerts for distance, time or calories to make it easier and more fun to achieve their goals

The Edge 200 helps cyclists bring new life to old rides with Courses, a feature that lets riders challenge their times on previous rides. A digital cyclist shows their speed relative to past performance, along with an indication of how far ahead or behind they are. These can be taken from rides stored on the Edge or downloaded from the huge and expanding Garmin Connect™ community (http://connect.garmin.com ). Here users can quickly and easily log their rides, track their totals, set goals, share rides with friends and family and participate in an online fitness community of more than 70 million activities around the world. Garmin Connect displays metrics such as time, distance, pace, and elevation. This information is shown through charts, illustrations, reports and a variety of map representations including street, photo, topographic, and elevation maps. Use Garmin Connect’s new Course Creator feature to plan new rides or convert a past activity into a Course.

The new Edge 200 is expected to be available in the third quarter of 2011 and have a suggested retail price of $149.99.

For more information check out the Garmin site.

Garmin Edge 200

It’s full steam ahead for trail beside the rails

By Philip Round, Comox Valley Echo February 15, 2011All aboard! The first section of a new paved trail for walkers and cyclists alongside the rail tracks through Courtenay will definitely be built this summer. 

It will run from Fifth Street to Cumberland Road and will include extensive landscaping, providing a way more attractive setting for the city’s train station.

The project is a joint initiative of the City of Courtenay, Courtenay Rotary Club and the Island Corridor Foundation, which owns the E&N railway land.

Similar projects are underway in the Capital Regional District

The three groups hope that before long further sections will be added to the trail to create a safe and appealing cross-city route for pedestrians and bike riders alike.

Mayor Greg Phelps said this project would provide an alternate transport link avoiding busy roads and beautify the first place visitors saw when arriving by train.

“Right now this area doesn’t look very inviting,” said Phelps.

“We’re going to pay a lot of attention to the surroundings with landscaping and possibly some murals.”

Rotary club president Robert Buckley said the work would start in April and he hoped the first section would be complete by September.

“We look forward to supporting it, not only with fundraising dollars but also with our club members volunteering their time to help construct the trail,” he added.

The club is making the ‘trail along the rails’ their major fundraising initiative for 2011, and will be dedicating all money raised through upcoming online and live auctions to the project.

The internet auction will run through March and the live event will be on April 16 at the Filberg Centre.

In recent years the two events combined have raised about $50,000, and the city is also earmarking a similar amount of money to support the project.

Auction chair Art Meyers told the city council last night the club hoped to see the trail extended down to 17th Street quickly, and eventually reach the Comox Valley Parkway at 29th Street.

But Mayor Phelps has a grander vision. “I hope I live long enough to see this run all the way to Victoria,” he told councillors.

At several places along the rail tracks between Courtenay and Victoria there were sections of trail either developed or in the planning stages, he noted.

The dream was that one day they would all link up, providing an outstanding recreational and tourist attraction for Vancouver Island.

For now, the Rotary commitment was a “great first step,” he said. “Once again Rotary has stepped up to the plate with dollars and labour, and we’re very grateful.

“It’s going to make it much easier to get this project off the ground.”

The project envisions a three metre wide hard surface trail being constructed after invasive plants such as Scotch broom and Himalayan blackberries have been removed.

In their place, hundreds of new trees and shrubs will be planted and benches installed along the way to create a welcoming environment for train travellers and trail users alike.

Councillors warmly welcomed the plan, and said it should be full steam ahead for the project.

Councillor Jon Ambler said it would breathe new life into the area – “exactly the sort of thing we should be supporting.”

And Coun. Manno Theos said it would result in “a cleaner, safer and more people-friendly area along that corridor and it will become a tourist attraction.”


© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

Night riding: Quality pedal time during our west coast winters

It’s pretty easy to get depressed this time of year. The wet weather, the short days, and most importantly, the lack of riding time. Although there’s not much that can be done to the weather or the short days, but with a decent set of lights you can help satisfy your craving for more time on your mountain bike until daylight savings time returns in the spring.

One of the cool things about night riding is how different it is than riding in the day. Now that might sound kinda stupid, like I’m stating the obvious, but riding at night seems to change the trails and how you look at them. A trail you’ve ridding a million times in daylight will look and feel completely different at night.

The best option for lights is to run a helmet mount setup. The nice thing about a helmet light is that the beam shines in the direction your head is facing. Anyone who’s spent more than 2 minutes on a mountain bike will understand the importance of this, since you’re not always looking in the exact direction that your bike is heading. My first set of lights 12 years ago was a bar mount system. I think I rode with them twice before going to a helmet mount setup. Yes, it makes that much of difference.

My old BLT Blitz with it’s 15W halogen and sealed lead-acid battery was the cat’s meow in it’s day, but is literally like holding a candle next to a stadium light when compared to the lights these days. High power LEDs with 900 lumens and sealed lithium ion batteries have made trail riding at night a lot more enjoyable.

If you’ve never tried night riding it’s time to give it a go. We have a ton of great lights in stock, with trail worthy options starting at $135. Trust me, if you value time on your bike it’ll be the best money you spend all winter.

We’ll be starting up our weekly shop rides on Tuesday evenings soon. If you’re interested give us a shout or make sure you sign up to the Blacks Cycle Facebook group so you get the event invites.

For more from Black’s Cycle check out their blog at http://blackscycle.blogspot.com

Tough Digital Cameras for Mountain Bikers

Have you destroyed a perfectly good point and shoot camera with your desire to record your passion to ride? From dust or mud to rain, snow or sweat most cameras don’t take lightly to any amount of abuse. Over the last 4 years or so, manufacturers have finally caught up by producing tough, durable cameras for use by those who venture to the unforgiving outdoors. We’ve compiled a list of some popular and new models showing up a local camera shops.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2A – $379 Website Link

(Check out our quick review of the new DMC-TS3)

Panasonic DMC-TS2A

Comes with it’s own Silicone wrap for extra bump protection – SDXC compatible

The Panasonic DMCTS2A features Panasonic’s exclusive Intelligent Auto Mode that now includes Face Recognition, a function that “remembers” faces from previous shots. When a familiar face appears in the frame, the camera will prioritize focus and exposure to capture it beautifully. This clever function makes it easy to get sharp and clear photos of loved ones in a group of people.

• 14.1 megapixels, 4.6x optical zoom, 2.7-inch intelligent LCD
• Waterproof to 10m, shockproof to 2m, freezeproof to -10°C, dustproof
• Intelligent auto mode
• Face Recognition
• Sonic Speed autofocus
• AVCHD Lite records HD movies while using less space on your memory card

Pentax Optio W90 – $349 Website Link

Pentax Optio W90

The rugged Optio W90 offers enhanced waterproof (6m), shockproof (1.2m), dustproof, and coldproof (-10°C) performance and has a number of advanced, user-friendly features including a 12.1 megapixel high resolution CCD sensor, internal 5X optical zoom lens, large 2.7-inch LCD and HDTV-proportioned movie recording.

An inventive Digital Microscope mode with LED lighting perfectly captures even the smallest and closest macro subjects as near as 1cm from the camera.

Pentax exclusive Pet Recognition Mode automatically takes your pet’s picture when it faces the camera.

Ideal for shooting in almost any condition, the Optio W90 is the perfect companion for all your outdoor adventures.

• 12.1 megapixels, 28mm wide angle lens with 5x optical zoom, 2.7-inch 16:9 LCD
• Waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, coldproof
• 720p 30fps HD movie capture with in-camera still extraction
• Digital microscope mode with three LED subject lighting

Olympus Tough 3000

Olympus Tough 3000 – $229 Website Link

Economical model from the most trusted name in rugged cameras.

As with previous Tough cameras the 3000 is shockproof to 1.5m, scratchproof, waterproof to 3m, and able to withstand temperatures as low as -10°C (or “freezeproof” if you like). Behind its monocle-like lens-cover sits a 3.6x wide angle zoom (28-102mm) and a pretty tiny 12 megapixel CCD sensor. Must-haves are sensor stabilization, HD movie, HDMI connectivity and “Magic Filters” (known as Art Filters elsewhere). Credit though for 1GB of internal memory and USB charging.

• 12 megapixels, 3.6x optical zoom, 2.7-inch LCD
• Waterproof (10 feet), shockproof (5 feet), freezeproof (-10°C)
• 2-1 anti-blur solution: Sensor Shift and Digital Image Stabilization
• Simple one-touch button allows you to record movies in HD video 720p

Olympus Tough 6020 – $329 Website Link

Olympus Tough 6020

Best design to price ratio now using SD/SDHC cards

The Olympus Stylus Tough 6020 takes great pictures – and just about anything else you throw at it. Able to withstand cold, water, and even impact, it’s the ultimate point-and-shoot camera for the great outdoors, or the clumsy type. And packed full of features, it captures images you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

• 14 megapixels, 5x optical zoom, 2.7-inch LCD
• Waterproof to 4.8m (16ft), shockproof to 1.5m (5ft), freezeproof to -10°C
• 2-in-1 anti-blur solution
• One touch movie recording in 720p HD

Olympus Tough 8010 – $449 Website Link

Olympus Tough 8010

Full metal body for the most rugged camera from Olympus.

This is the go-anywhere, do-anything camera you’ve been waiting for. The Olympus STYLUS TOUGH 8010 snaps stunning photos and records sharp HD movies. And, whether you’re hurtling down a rugged trail, plunging underwater, or ripping on your snowboard, the STYLUS TOUGH-8010 is engineered to thrive in any condition.

• 14 megapixels, 5x optical zoom, 2.7-inch LCD
• Waterproof to 33ft, shockproof to 6.6ft, freezeproof to -10°C, crushproof to 220lbs
• Dual image stabilization
• Record movies in HD video 720p
• Uses SDHC memory cards

Sony Cybershot DSCTX5 – $369 Website Link

Sony Cybershot DSCTX5

Ultra-slim touch screen interface and really simple panorama mode.

Amazing things come in this small package. The Cyber-shot TX5 has it all, from a stunningly thin 3/4″ body to advanced technologies that make it easy to shoot gorgeous photos and videos. Aside from its remarkable intelligence, the TX5 is also built extremely tough. Its airtight construction is waterproof (10ft), shockproof (5ft), dustproof, and freeze-proof (-10°C). Just slip it in your pocket and you’re prepared to capture the world in style, no matter where you are.

• 10 megapixels, 25mm wide angle lens with 4x optical zoom, 3-inch LCD
• Slim, waterproof and stylish
• 720p video recording
• Optical SteadyShot
• Intelligent auto mode and smile shutter

Canon Powershot D10 – $399 Website Link

Canon Powersho D10

The largest camera in this list, but typical Canon performance with great picture quality.

For those with a taste for adventure, there’s a camera as bold as the active life you lead. It’s the Canon PowerShot D10. Waterproof, freezeproof and shockproof; it’s tough enough to take what you dish out. Plus it’s got all the high performance features you expect from a Canon digital camera. You’ve got 12.1 megapixels of resolution plus all of Canon’s powerful, state-of-the-art imaging technologies so you can capture your epic experiences in breathtaking colour and awesome detail.

• 12.1 megapixels, 3x optical zoom, 2.5-inch LCD
• Waterproof to 33 feet
• Temperature resistant from 14-104°F and shockproof up to 4 feet
• Blink detection and smart auto
• DIGIC 4 image processor with evolved Face Detection technology

Fuji Finepix XP10 – $199 Website Link

Finepix XP10

Economy camera with ok quality pictures, but priced for kids, teens and other abusing users.

Fujifilm has launched its first rugged compact in the shape of Finepix XP10. Sporting a similar slim, curvy body design of the company’s Z33 waterproof camera, the XP10 is designed to be dustproof, waterproof up to 3 meters, shockproof up to 1 meter and freezeproof to – 10 degrees. It incorporates a 12MP sensor, 2.7 inch LCD, 5x (36-180mm equiv.) optical zoom lens and features 720p HD video recording, AF tracking and an Easy Web Upload option.

• 12.2 megapixels, 5x optical zoom, 2.7-inch LCD
• Waterproof (3m), Shockproof (1m), Freezeproof (-10°C) and Dustproof
• HD image and movie capture at 720p
• Easy upload and in-camera visual effects
• Face Detection with Auto Red-Eye Removal, Blink & Smile Detection

Panasonic DMC-ZS7K -$449 Website Link

Panasonic DMC-ZS7

Not so rugged, but combines the zoom of a digital SLR with the Video quality of a HD camcorder, and fits in your pocket! GPS sensor will let you track your images

The Panasonic DMCZS7 camera comes fully equipped with a 12X LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR optical zoom lens that handles wide angle and telephoto shots easily. The 12MP sensor ensures you capture every last detail. And an array of shooting features simplifies the process of getting amazing, professional-looking pictures.

• 12.1 megapixels
• 25mm wide-angle Leica lens with 12x optical zoom
• 3-inch intelligent LCD
• Intelligent auto mode
• AVCHD Lite movie mode with stereo mic and zoom