Bike Hugger

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Updated: 16 min 44 sec ago

Scwhinn Varsity

15 hours 45 min ago

$60.00 Scwhinn Varsity from the 70s, couple hundred on saddle, and grips. Optional rubber duck. Priceless.

How Lance Armstrong Ruined Everything

Fri, 04/17/2015 - 03:17


Impossibly fast up far-away French hills and there’s not enough miracle believing!

Humor from Phlaimeaux

A Weekender: Trek 920

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 07:26

Last month, shared a story about the nostalgic, adventure trend gripping the bike industry. And with the Trek 920 in to demo, here’s a 7 second review.


All you need to know really and succinctly. Impressed and intrigued by the 920, back burnered all work decisions for what am I gonna hang off those racks?

Let’s see…

  • Panniers filled with snacks
  • A change of clothes and backup batteries
  • Camera and map
  • My road kit and the road scene
  • A baguette!

Getting your groove back on the bike, experiencing that momentum once again, and immersing yourself in the ride is the theme for issue 23. That’s what we’re doing on bikes like the 920.

UCI Approves Disc Brakes

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 06:05

This week the UCI approved the use of disc brakes in trials this summer, more testing in 2016, and if the experience is satisfactory, they’ll get officially introduced during the 2017 UCI World Tour. Between the Mark and me, it’s an ongoing debate on their value and he discussed brakes at length in his Issue 23 Paris-Roubaix article. Well he’s anti-disc brake for the Pro peloton and I disagree, we both advocate large volume tires for road bakes.

The greatest benefit that disc brake bikes might bring to the race is to give the pro riders access to production frames and forks which can accommodate tires larger than 27-28mm since that is about all the clearance that can be had on a production frameset built around the ubiquitous short-reach brake caliper.

Expect to see more disc-brake marketing from the industry this summer and see our reviews of disc bikes in past issues.

Also see the disc tag on our blog.

Wired: S-Works McLaren Tarmac

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 04:38

Riding an S-Works McLaren Tarmac, photo: Bokanev

As I lean into the turn, a slight mist from the Pacific Ocean beads up on the chrome-accented top tube. The sun burns through the haze hanging over the sleepy, deserted coastal road just outside Santa Cruz, while this $20,000 Specialized S-Works McLaren Tarmac bicycle and I get to know each other. The process repeats over and over: lean into a turn, tap the brakes to burn off speed, jump on the pedals, and accelerate coming out of a corner.

Hugging the fog line, I roll up and down every inch of road I can find within a few square miles. Through the taut frame, I swear I feel every rock and the viscosity of the tar that binds them together. As cars pass me, it’s funny to think how many of them cost less than my ride.

“I’ve ridden plenty of bikes from Specialized,” the I wrote article continues, and this one is quite different. What Specialized learned from McLaren is the template for their next generation of bikes. Importantly, what drove this Mclaren-izing of their to-market process is certain staleness in the bike industry. With a lack of innovation following aero road bikes a few seasons ago, Specialized felt they’re reached the limit of their understanding and delivering significant milestones with new product. For 20 years prior to this development, carbon bike makers did it all hand, by gut, their wits, and determination. Before the McLaren version, I rode the new Tarmac when it launched, and shared how that bike was iterated in our magazine

That’s what designers, engineers, and marketers at bike companies are chasing now. Like the perfect wave for surfers, it’s all about the ride. The Tarmac delivers that and Specialized engineered not only a new platform, but a handling benchmark.

That new Tarmac platform was developed with help from McLaren and read the rest of the Wired story for what that means. Also, how that ride was designed with intent and experience in mind.

ISO view of the S-Works McLaren, a screenshot from their toolkit

As magazine contributor Nathan Wright noted, with the impressive engineering done, Specialized now must educate customers about the Tarmac platform. Because, unless people ride the bikes and feel the difference, the numbers appear arbitrary; however proven and backed up they are with McLaren’s expertise.

See the rest of the photos from me and Bokanev on G+ and a related story on Element.ly about the owners of the McLarens.

In The Shop: Litespeed Ti

Mon, 04/13/2015 - 18:11

Seeing this old Litespeed in a shop invoked memories, with its geometrically enhanced tubing. Ti-3Al-2.5V was borrowed from aerospace, where strength, weight, and malleability are critical factors for hydraulic systems. Shaping tubes into triangles and then welding them at the joints, takes a skilled welder, and when done right, Ti is superior material for bike frames. Later carbon overtook the demand for Ti, but it’s still our all-around fav. That’s because of the springy ride and durability. Good titanium frames happen when high quality tubing is joined by expert welders, who join the tubes cleanly without ruining the raw materials.

Wired: 138 MPH Down a Ski Slope

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 01:25


While watching Paris-Roubaix this morning, also reading the story from my friends at Wired about How You Design a Bicycle to Hit 138 MPH on a Ski Slope. You know, as if the cobbles, aren’t extreme enough….

Once the suit and bike were ready, the team put Barone in the wind tunnel, happy to find that their computer modeling delivered the aerodynamic numbers they were hoping for. “It’s about the same approach as Formula One,” says Amerigo, or designing a plane.

A Road It Seems You Could Ride Forever

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 12:10

Tulips by Ben Moses

Getting your groove back on the bike, experiencing that momentum once again, and immersing yourself in the ride is the theme for Issue 23 of our magazine. Dropping on the same weekend as Paris-Roubaix, it also includes a free cover story from Mark V about a race that is simultaneously one of the most famous and the least representative of the sport. There’s a crazy story I heard about Roubaix too.

A couple months ago, in Issue 21, Patrick wrote about a drop bar playground and how he

… Never stopped loving the way the bike could swoop and zoom over unpredictable terrain.

He said those words to me just a few hours after riding Old Caz on a Diverge. He was still buzzing from the experience, beaming from the afterglow. I said, “write that down!” And he did. The emotions of rediscovering what makes us ride long hours keeps us going through the lows and for new riders, it’s what you’ll end up chasing too. Doesn’t matter where you find it — a personal best commute, race, ride, or tour — just that you eventually do.

The groove happened for me a few weekends ago, when we decided to just keep riding on a nice day after so much rain, and finished at 5 hours and 100 miles. Stepping off the bike, within an hour I was doing chores, and having dinner with family. It hit me then, “just banged out a hundred miles, then vacuumed, some laundry, and NOT TIRED.”

Still in shape to ride that long, I gotta keep the momentum going.

Also, the sounds of that ride is wrote I about in Issue 22….

What is in Your Bag?

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 06:38

Reaching inside of this bag, I expected to find something illicit, illegal, or perverse, but instead I found a jug of cranberry juice.

Sort of a let down.

No vodka either.

I know Mark has carried much of his daily life in that bag. You can get one custom bag made sort of like it from R.E.Load or a bespoke bag maker near you.

Bikes on the Grid

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 11:51

Photo by Andtrea on VSCO Grid

I mentioned shooting wide last week and you can enjoy pages of bike photos not locked up in the 640 x 640 Instasquare format on VSCO’s Grid, like the one above from Andtrea, MIGUELCMATIAS and AHG below.

Photo by MIGUELCMATIAS on VSCO Grid

Photo by AHG on VSCO Grid

Also from photos from us like this fat bike riding into the sun.

Bigger Tires

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 10:52

I don’t know what the world may need but bigger tires are a good start for me…

It’s that time of year when I get asked to recommend bikes and the response is…”at the mid to high end, bikes are all good, can’t find a bad one; so, get the one that’ll fit the biggest tire possible and then run them at lowest pressure you can.”

As this photo shows, cram that tire in there!

Flanders 2015 Highlights

Sun, 04/05/2015 - 06:14


The final kilo with Kristoff beating Terpstra 3


The Shimano team car hitting Jesse Sergent AND The FDJ team car AND Sebastien Chavanel.


The tweet of the race.

Shimano have unveiled their #parisroubaix neutral service vehicle #rvv pic.twitter.com/Hc9lAkM2RK

— The Broom Wagon (@broomwagonblog) April 5, 2015

Also see this moment when Lizzie Armitstead saved it after her cleat broke at 200M in the women’s race.

To the team/support cars it’s a known danger, and happening more often.

Forest for the Trees

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 12:53

Such a shame to crop these photos to 1:1 for Instagram, so here’s the original, wide in the gulley. If George Carlin was alive today and a photographer, think he’d tell the boys at Insta where they can put their square format. That’s a Ridley X-Fire we have in to demo.

Bontrager Flare R: Daylight Visibility

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 04:59

I’ve been running daytime lights in Seattle for a couple seasons now on my rain bike – the choice varies depending on what we have in on test and that’s currently the Flux from Spesh (more on those in another post). With gray skies, changing weather, and traffic I’m usually blinking most days, and early evenings, until the sun sticks around for more than a few hours during the Summer.

Today Bontrager announced their all-new Flare R, designed for daylight visibility. As their PR says

While using a light in the daytime may seem counterintuitive, studies have shown that 80% of cycling accidents occur during the day(1). Additional studies on accidents resulting in the fatality of a cyclist show that in 40% of all bicycle vs. car accidents, the victim was struck from behind(2). Bontrager engineers began developing Flare R to combat these staggering statistics, with the ultimate goal of increasing confidence and safety with a lightweight, sleek, compact product that is relevant to every type of cyclist, from recreational to racer.

The Flare R is a 65 Lumen CREE LED (brighter than a car light) with four distinct patterns, two for daylight-riding and two designed for nighttime usage.

  • Day Flash mode will utilize all 65 Lumens in a strategically placed random flash pattern designed to draw a motorist’s eyes.
  • Fully charged run time is 5.75 hours.
  • Day Steady mode uses 25 Lumens of steady illumination and is great for group rides.
  • Fully charged run time is 4.25 hours.
  • Night Flash mode uses an irregular flash pattern punctuated by short pops of increased intensity.
  • Fully charged run time is 23 hours.
  • Night Steady mode provides 5 Lumens of steady light great for consistent nighttime visibility.
  • Fully charged run time is 21 hours
  • MSRP $59.99.

Like the Volvo Light Paint I mentioned in our social channels last week, critics will tweet

@bikehugger All this new "safety" stuff is like handing out kevlar vests when we should be dealing with the sniper on the roof.

— ThePathLessPedaled (@pathlesspedaled) April 2, 2015

And sure, but I’ve been talking about the lack of a safety emphasis from the bike industry for years and welcome these new products. As road sales flattened and decline, marketers are figuring out the needs of everyday biking and how fear keeps people from riding.

1 Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2013: Main Results”, Department for Transport, 2014 “Collisions Involving Cyclists on Britain’s Roads: Establishing the Causes”, TRL Report PPR 445, 2009; 2 Every Bicyclist Counts, League of American Bicyclists, May 2014

A Short History of the Bike Toss

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 03:54


In honor of Jack Bauer’s performance at #GentWevelgem, here’s an updated version of The Bike Toss (A Short History). Di2 failed on me once and hard, jolting the whole bike. I didn’t have a camera crew nearby on a moto or overhead in a chopper, but I sure threw that bike….

A Rattling Cage

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 14:43

A couple weekends ago, three of us roadies stopped on the ship canal trail to fix a loose bottle cage and none of us had a tool or a pump…plenty of C02 cartridges though, enough to fill the tires on a semi.

The things we’ve learned over the years got discussed during the pause in the ride, and we talked about the early season crashes.

Our own injuries came up, how life sidetracked us from a sport we love for a season, and how the fastest cyclists we know don’t race anymore.

As Snake Hawk bullet points here, “Racing is optional,” like when the mood is right, or when it suits our fancy again.

After hand tightening the bolt, the rattling cage didn’t fall off before I got back to the garage, and I thought about the sounds on that ride.

The noise didn’t bother me as much as it once did. Also made sure there’s a multi-tool in my roll before the next ride.

Sounds we hear when riding, like a rattling cage, is the topic of our current issue. Available now on iTunes and the Web, Issue 22 Sounds cost $4 or $16 for an annual subscription. 23 Momentum drops next month.

Antidepressor

Sun, 03/29/2015 - 02:43

Back on the bike is the antidepressor.

Like a Minivan

Sat, 03/28/2015 - 13:16

Shawn’s cargo bike

Shawn O’Keefe was explaining to me how he bought a cargo bike to take his kids to school, but the convo was really about getting old, being responsible, and two friends that don’t ride together as much anymore.

“It’s like your minivan,” I said.

I think he secretly hated that bike, like you hate a minivan for being so practical, and the right thing to do for the wife and kids.

“When you kids get older, they’ll weight too much for it, so you can retire it then.”

That’s what I did and got a race bike, like this one.

An unrelenting bike

Getting your groove back on the bike, experiencing that momentum once again, and immersing yourself in the ride is the theme for the next issue of our magazine, number 23. Our back catalog is on iTunes and the Web and cost $4 or $16 for an annual subscription. The current issue, number 22, in is about Sounds, like the one the chains and huge lock made when Shawn unlocked his cargo bike from that tree.

Remy Team Edition

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 10:33

Had a lot of fun riding Scott bikes in Austin a couple weeks ago, like these two Sparks. During Scott Week last year, rode a Tuned Genius LT too, and their downhill bike. Scott PR shared these photos of the Genius LT 700 Remy Team Edition, as seen at the Enduro World Series stop in New Zealand.

A “DH” configuration with big pedals, tires and wheels: Without the carbon rims, it weighs in at only 13.4kg (size large). Syncros 760mm bars and 50mm stem are colour matched to the frame. Shimano Di2 lets Remy customize his shifting to his own preferences and the demands of the course. Smart integration of the Di2 cables: the hoses and wires are neatly integrated into the frame.

Also see this Scott Bike story from Issue 15 of our magazine about riding in the mountains and the Scott Bikes tag.

The rest of the Remy bike photos are on G+.

Issue 22 Sounds Like Dogs

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 10:19

Setting up the wide-angle shot

These dogs photobombed our shoot with their own ideas about disruption and getting our attention during SXSW.

And this dog photobombs us.

With his buddy.

The sounds they made – sniffing, snorting, and cavorting – is what the latest issue of our Magazine is about. What we hear when riding our bikes. Available now on iTunes and the Web, Issue 22 Sounds cost $4 or $16 for an annual subscription.