Category Archives: Bikes


News- Pinkbike Praises the New Carbon Trance published a new feature on the 2017 Trance Advanced, claiming the modern trail bike with a composite mainframe and 140mm of Maestro suspension “showcases what Giant does best.”

In his review, Pinkbike editor Richard Cunningham talks about the mountain biking culture at Giant USA’s Southern California headquarters, and how that passion helps to create bikes like the Trance Advanced.

You’ll be hard pressed to find fitter or better bike handlers,” Cunningham writes. “Here, where climbs are sustained, the soil is sketchy, and speeds range from switchback survival to eye-watering ridgeline descents, the Trance is their weapon of choice. These are the men and women whose job it is to mix it up with Giant’s pro athletes and develop their next enduro, downhill and cross-country race bikes, so it should come as no surprise that the crew regularly updates their favorite trail bike with lessons learned on the professional racing circuit. So, the Trance Advanced is literally Giant’s personal ride, made available to the public.”

Cunningham details all the latest advancements to this year’s Trance Advanced, including reworked frame geometry and updated Maestro suspension with a new Trunnion mount shock and Advanced Forged Composite upper rocker arm. And he describes how all these features improve its performance on the trail.

“It’s fast, it feels nimble in the turns, it has a certain lightness to it,” Cunningham writes. “At speed, when the Trance’s suspension is pushed to the limits, the bike naturally floats off the backsides of tree-root gnarls, off-angle rocks and undulations in the trail.”

Summing it up, Cunningham writes: “The reason it works so well is that they built it for themselves, to blaze trails, try foolish things, and to chase each other around the backcountry—which happens to be exactly what most of us live for.”


Flat vs. Clip Pedals: A Rundown


When selling a mountain bike or simply talking upgrades with customers, one of the most common topics we cover is pedals. Pedals can be a tad tricky to choose: first there are myriad of brands and models many of which have fairly specific biking purposes. Second, there are two major camps in the mountain biking world which can be occasionally fanatical; the clipless vs. flat pedal crowd. But what we’d like to point out that at the end of the day we don’t feel one is better than the other, both have their distinct advantages, and the key is finding the right solution for your needs.


Clipless pedals is one of the one of the more confusing terms in the bike industry, as they are the pedals with specific shoes and cleats which clip into the pedal. For clarity sake we often refer these at Start Haus simply as “clip-ins” when discussing pedal options with customers. The term “clipless” derives from the pedals with straps around the foot, which were referred to as “toe clips” (not a pedal option we will be discussing). With the advent of cleats and a mechanical pedal, the “clipless” pedal was born. Flat pedals do not clip in in any way; they most often rely on pins on the pedal and tacky shoes for traction.

Getting into these differences, those in the pro clip-in category will often cite an efficiency advantage while climbing. In short with the pedal attached to the shoe the cleat is pulling with the upstroke of the crank, an advantage one does not have with flat pedals. It turns out its been a bit tough to quantify the precise energy advantage that clips have over flats, but arguably there is a slight benefit there. Also, with clip pedals you’re feet are literally clipped to the pedal; this creates a super stable platform for the rider to push on, pump and ride. Many of those who have been riding clips for a while have become reliant upon being so connected to the pedal, and when riding flat pedals they may not like the feeling of their foot coming off the pedal or moving in any way.

For years flat pedals were generally used by downhillers, BMXers, and beginning mountain bikers. The last few years have seen a flat pedal renaissance. Flat pedals allow the rider to get a foot off the pedal very quickly. Second, a flat peal rider has a much greater platform to stand on, which can be a big advantage when hitting jumps, pumping berms, and generally riding freeride terrain. One last advantage to note that flats have over clip pedals is when the foot has been removed from the pedal it is much easier to get the foot into position than with clips.


It must be mention that flat pedals are reliant upon the combination of a good pair of pedals and high quality bike shoes. Good flats are generally low profile (meaning they are thin) to reduce pedal strikes. Good flats have quality pins to keep the foot in place, which are generally replaceable if they get bashed on rocks. High quality shoes have high friction rubber and a flat stiff sole. The sole should be stiff to absorb impact and create a tough surface to connect to the pedal.

As far as shop employee preferences go, those who started and kept with flats ride flats; those who are clipless veterans ride clips. If you’ve been riding clips and never felt comfortable or never got used to them, join the dark side and try a good pair of flats!

We really don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to the flat vs. clipless debate. Our experience has shown that flat pedals do not hold you back on climb-intensive rides or even pure XC bike rides. Like most things in life, the correct answer is based on one’s expectation of the product’s performance and your preference. But what we are sure of is our ability to help you find just the right pedals for your mountain bike! We carry top pedal manufacturers like Race Face, Spank, VP Components, Issi, and Xpedo as well as great bike shoes from Five10 and Pearl Izumi. Call the shop or come on by to check out the selection.


Norco Bikes at Start Haus Now!


Start Haus is pleased to announce our partnership with Norco Bicycles! Norco is an innovative Canadian bicycle brand that has been building excellent bikes since 1964. Norco builds everything from urban/townie bikes to some of the meanest and fastest downhill bikes around. They’re best known for their sweet mountain bikes.

Come in and check out the all mountain Sight in both 27.5 and 29” wheel size.

Norco Sight C9.1

Or this enduro beast, the Norco Range, also available in the 27.5 and 29er variety.

Norco Range A7.3

Hungry to hit the Truckee Bike Park? We are excited to announce we have some beautiful Dirt Jumpers from Norco as well! Available in both 26 and 24” wheel sizes the Ryde 26 and 24 come in at the unbelievably low price of $499!

Norco Ryde 24

Along with Giant, Liv, and KHS we feel that Norco is a tremendous addition to the Start Haus bike offering. Come on in today and see what’s new in the bike world or take a test ride. We love to answer all your questions about bikes and gear!


Getting the Most Out of Your Mountain Bike

The bike industry is ever changing. It seems like every year a new wheel size comes out making your beloved bike less valuable by the minute! For many it is unfeasible to upgrade to a new bike every other year and at a certain point it’ll probably make more sense to replace components to make the bike perform more to your liking. At Start Haus we’ve had the pleasure of upgrading many bikes installing more modern components on and making them more fun to ride!

One of the common upgrades we’re doing is converting drivetrains to 1×11. By converting your bike from a two by drivetrain to a one by achieves several significant benefits:

  • Weight loss. Obviously by taking the front derailleur off the bike eliminates weight, but don’t forget that the front shifter and cables also get eighty-sixed. Depending on what the component spec is the bike is usually losing ¾ of a pound!
  • The cockpit gets significantly cleaned up. With the advent of dropper posts we find one shifter on the handlebars is all we can tolerate. All our shop employees are running 1×11 or 1×12 drivetrains with the rear shifter on the right and dropper on the left and we have a clean cockpit that makes for easy shifting and fun riding.
  • If I’m being totally honest front derailleurs are a pain in the neck. They operate under far greater loads than the rear derailleur and are more difficult to adjust properly. Less moving parts means less mechanical failures on the trail and this equals more riding time!
Running 1x11 makes for a trouble free ride.

Running 1×11 makes for a trouble free ride.

Less levers means more fun!

Less levers means more fun!

With Shimano in the game converting your drivetrain to 1x is more affordable depending on your hub type. If you’re not looking to get the top level components we’ve found the Sram GX derailleurs and shifters do a great job at a great price!

Within the last couple of years suspension forks and shocks have become mind-bendingly sweet. Several of our customer’s have opted to upgrade both fork and shock, which will have a dramatic effect on the handling of your mountain bike. Since Rock Shox released the Charger Damper in their Pike fork and then followed by the Lyric, several wise riders have opted for this choice, along with the vast majority of our shop employees. Although with Fox upgrading dampers and releasing new forks and shocks this year, we expect many of the fastest riders to choose Fox again. While a suspension upgrade is not usually cheap it has a tremendous impact on the trail. In a place with trails like Lake Tahoe it just makes sense to have the best suspension that you can afford.

The new 36 Performance Elite

The new 36 Performance Elite from Fox.

The third and final upgrade we’ll talk about is going tubeless. Most mid to high end bikes these days are coming with tubeless ready rims. Eliminating inner tubes also trims weight, but also allows the rider to run at lower tire pressures. The upside is the rider will experience less pinch flats and by running lower tire pressure the rider will experience better traction on the trail. Wheels are certainly a part of the bike that gets pretty hammered, so some will find it necessary to upgrade wheels throughout the season.

Stop by Start Haus to talk bikes, components, upgrades, or just stop in to say hi! We love upgrading bikes and remember our goal is to give you the best riding experience you can have; we love sharing our passion for outdoor sports!


Tuesday Evening Group Trail Ride – FREE DEMOS

Join us every Tuesday for a free guided group MTB ride!  We’ll offer tips, training, and more to help you better your biking experience.  Each Tuesday we’ll host a trail ride- free mountain bike demos available for the ride!

Tuesday’s All Summer- TRAIL RIDE– 6:00PM – FREE BIKE DEMOS

We’ll meet up at Start Haus at 6:00PM.  Get fitted and reserve your bike.  Then at 6PM we ride over to the trail.

More rides to come!  Check out our events page on FaceBook here.


Start Haus Skunk Werks: Custom Builds

Here at Start Haus, we like building bikes.  So much so in fact, we’ve starting building up Tahoe dream bikes just for you.  Starting with a stock Giant bike, such as the Trance Advanced 2, we add and mod how we like to ride em.

First off, why keep all that extra weight on your crank?  With our custom built bikes, we like to git rid of the front derailleur and shifter hardware, swap out the cassette in conjunction with upgraded Shimano X1 components, add a RaceFace narrow wide chainring, thereby making an 11 by 1 drivetrain. But why stop there?!  We swap out the stock fork for one of our all time favorites, the Rock Shox Pike.  In either a 150mm or 160mm, the Pike is one killer fork.  Excellent damping, perfect travel, and amazing durability.


Beyond that, we might swap a stem, or throw on an upgraded wheelset like Stan’s TR Flow’s.  All this makes what we think is the perfect Tahoe trail bike.  Swing by and check it out!


Liv Demo Day and Sale! July 18th

This Saturday at 12PM Start Haus is hosting a women specific demo ride with Liv bikes!  Come on out and try some new bikes, meet some new riding buddies, and get 10% OFF Liv bikes!  Please bring a helmet, valid drivers license, (and a credit card for a security deposit).

For more info, check out the Facebook Event here.