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Tune Out Go Ride

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 17:40

Hope you get out and ride today… after weeks of record-setting rain we’ve got record-setting heat. And, this tree in a lake.

We were shooting drone video of the Iron Horse at the Change Creek Trestle.

The first look at the results were funny because I don’t know that my final edit would be any better than this automagically created one by the DJIGlobal app after weeks of shooting and waiting for good weather.

One of the reasons I spend so much time riding on the Iron Horse is there is little to no cell signal.

I go there to tune out and ride and occasionally with a drone.

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Bicycle Tires More Choices Than Ever

Mon, 04/23/2018 - 11:20

You know everybody in the bike biz is talking about the motorization of the road and mountain bike categories, but an even more significant trend taking place is in tires. In the past few months, we’ve written about new offerings from

And, there’s even a new real-time tire pressure gizmo from Quarq. Now Challenge has released their TLR, Gravel Grinder tire.

We’ve kept you waiting, but now we’re ready, TUBELESS READY. That’s right, the first of the TLR range is on display at #seaotter. Check them out at booth 764 #challengetubeless pic.twitter.com/A4sFaIEZDC

— Challenge Tires (@ChallengeTires) April 20, 2018

Before that and 120 years after making their first bicycle tire, Goodyear enters the US market with a new line of performance bicycle tires.

Developed with Rubber Kinetics, who specializes in performance cycling products and urban solutions, the Goodyear line utilizes refined compounds and casings, each purpose-built for their intended environments. The tubeless designs covers the mountain, urban, road, and gravel categories.

All of these are worthy competitors to what we consider a benchmark for the Pacific Northwest: the Schwalbe Ones and Panaracer Gravel Kings. (The Compass aren’t new, boutique, and fabulous too).

It’s about to go down with @zippspeed @compasscycle

A post shared by Byron (@bikehugger) on Dec 16, 2017 at 1:44pm PST

As I’ve been saying since last year, it’s never been a better time to be a bike enthusiast with so much great gear, kit, and bikes available. The only hard part with so many choices is finding the brand you love the most. I’ partial to WTB Horizon’s for gravel.

It wasn’t that long ago, when tire choices amounted to Conti, Michelin, or Vittoria.

Of the Goodyears launched, the Eagle All Seasons offer the most new tech; including, what they call Tubeless Complete. That’s a bead and casing that doesn’t require a compressor to install.

If Tubeless Complete works as they say it does and a cyclist can swap out tubeless tires without visiting a shop, that’s a game changer and a competitive advantage.

Because that is not the case now.

Goodyear’s Tubeless Complete tech also promises a supple, consistent feel, and super rolling resistance.

 

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TyreWiz Launches at Sea Otter

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 08:00

Sea Otter is the traditional opening weekend of the North American biking season and where brands launch product. One of the more interesting new products is from Quarq and it’s a real-time tire pressure monitor called TyreWiz.

Just like the system in your car, it reads pressure and reports it to a dashboard. Knowing that bike manufacturers have monitors all over when engineering the next model, I hope we see more of these sensors. Sure, it’s geeky, but I’d like to know what stresses are on my frame; instead of just power.

To TyreWiz and from someone obsessed with that topic, it’s the first-of-its-kind tire pressure sensor for mountain and road bikes. It’s lightweight, durable, and a form factor like the cadence or speed sensors on your bike now.

The accompanying TyreWiz app uses the pressure data to deliver personalized recommendations and pressure alerts. Riders now have access to highly accurate real-time tire pressure data to measure rolling resistance, traction, tire wear, and rider comfort.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhUseS_F6sP/

When I get a demo bike in, part of the review process is how the bike performs at different pressures and on gravel specifically, the perfect pressure is elusive. And, I expect a sensor is far more accurate than pinching the tire.

How it Works

TyreWiz works with tubed or tubeless tires, and even tires with anti-flat sealant. For a Presta valve, just unthread the existing valve core with the included wrench and thread the TyreWiz sensor into the valve stem. The sensor, powered by a CR1632 battery that will last around 300 hours, can be paired quickly with a smartphone or head unit with ANT+ or Bluetooth Low Energy radio capabilities.

TyreWiz costs $199 USD.

Features
  • Designed for road and mountain bike riders.
  • Personalized tire pressure recommendations
    in the smartphone app for iOS and Android.
  • NFC pairing for fast and easy connection by BLE to a phone.
  • Data reported with +/- 2% accuracy at .1 PSI resolution
  •  Broadly compatible with tires that use a removable Presta valve core.
  • Box includes valve core removal tool for installation.
Specs
  • Weight: 10g per sensor for proper wheel balance
  • Wireless Communication: Bluetooth Low Energy, ANT+, NFC
  • Companion App: Android (Jellybean 4.3 or newer), Apple (iOS 9 or newer)
  • Battery Type: CR1632
  • Data Resolution: 0.1 PSI
  • Data Accuracy: +/- 2%
  • Dustproof/Waterproof Rating: IPX7

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The Story of Marshall “Major” Taylor

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 18:01

Sure, the campaign is selling Hennessy, but still a great story and one that’s under told.

By 1901, Major Taylor was considered the greatest athlete in the world and was the first African American world champion in any sport. Major Taylor was one of the most renowned track cyclists of his time—and arguably one of the most celebrated athletes in history.

His story is known to cyclists and in the Seattle area, the Major Taylor Project empowers youth from diverse communities through bicycling. In MTP after-school clubs, students establish healthy habits, build relationships, gain confidence and discover their ability to affect positive change. I’ve met the organizers and youth involved and it’s a great organization.

Hennessy is celebrating Taylor in its latest Wild Rabbit campaign, created in partnership with agency Droga5. The connection to the brand is “Personalities that exudes a drive, a determination and an ongoing quest to break down barriers.”

In his own words, Major Tayler said

I was a pioneer. And therefore, had to blaze my own trail.

The campaign, running now, includes a 90-second, 60-second and 30-second cut of the ad, as well as shorter 15-second spots. They are dark, edgy, and morph into a vortex where Taylor faces his toughest adversary.

Shot in Ukraine, an unnamed cyclists stars as Taylor and according to Adweek, “The cyclist raced flat-out for four days straight in these awe-inspiring settings. He was so inspired that he raced from dawn to dusk to make certain that he did justice to Taylor’s story.”

I watched all the spots, they’re inspiring and a good way to memorialize a legend in cycling. And, hopefully encourage you to get involved with advocacy like the Major Taylor Project and get youth involved in a sport we hold dear.

Besides these films, Hennessy is honoring Major Taylor with an ESPN documentary, a statue, and a cycling apparel line.

Watch the making of below.

 

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Red Kite Ronde et Vous

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 11:42

Ed note: crossposting this from RKP and it’s about an event planned for this October. Save the date for Red Kite Ronde et Vous.

Bikes. Beer. Great riding. It’s a simple recipe, but one that reliably produces terrific results.

RKP is going to produce its first event next fall. It will be a gathering of bike makers and bike riders. We’ll look at great bikes, talk to amazing builders and go for two incredible rides.

The event will take place here in Santa Rosa, October 12, 13 and 14, 2018.

Among the frame builders who are already committed are Black Cat Bicycles, Hampsten Cycles, and Argonaut Cycles. We’ll be announcing more in the near future.

Registration will include the two rides, Friday night reception and Saturday night’s event. We will be serving food so you don’t have to leave to have dinner and local beers including Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing Co.

Saturday’s ride will recreate Sonoma County’s most iconic gravel ride: Old Caz, guided by none other than Mr. Grasshopper himself, Miguel Crawford.

And serving as our headquarters for the weekend will be our local oasis for cyclists: The Astro Motel.

A few years back we held a contest to name an event we wanted to produce (but turned out to be just too expensive to do), and the winner to that contest was the Red Kite Rondezvous.

We’re reviving that, but with a little twist: We are excited to present the Red Kite Ronde et Vous. We hope to see you in October. We will post registration info soon.

Read what it’s like riding these routes in Issue 21: Drop Bar Playground.

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Godspeed: The Race Across America

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:26

Set to release nationwide via Fathom Events on May 22 in more than 600 movie theaters, Godspeed – The Race Across America is a riveting documentary featuring two cyclists on their quest to win the 2015 Race Across America.

Overcoming the hardship of the 3000 mile race, the pair helped raise more than $50,000 for the orphans of Haiti via Building Hope International.

The trek Jerry Schemmel and Brad Cooper make is across 12 states from the Pacific to Atlantic Oceans. The documentary chronicles this first-time racing duo as they compete in RAAM for 24 hours a day covering miles of deserts, mountains and plains, to overcome physical exhaustion and sleep deprivation.

To see if the documentary is playing near you, check the show times on the Godspeed site. And, follow along on their Twitter and Facebook.

A race of this sort never interested me, touring does, but by watching the trailer I can tell it’s riveting, about a personal calling, and overcoming.

And, if you think their feat of strength was great, see what John Spurgeon did on a single speed. Also read about the Race Across Oregon, which is far more manageable, while every bit as hard.

The basic plan for most 4-person relay teams is to have two large vehicles (SUVs or minivans), with racers #1 and #3 in one vehicle and racers #2 and #4 in the other. Ideally the team is making forward progress at all times, and each vehicle alternates having a racer on course.

Finally, Team Type 1 and Team Type 2 did it in 2009

Both teams made it across the country, and that feat hasn’t been lost on the media. The New York Times just picked up the story in its Health section (registration required), and the piece is a nice look at the challenges faced when racing across the country while bravely managing a disease.

 

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MOVEMENT 12: Campagnolo slings another cog into the cluster

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 00:31

Based on decades of empirical evidence, the general consensus among 95% of the world’s drivetrain scientists has been that a 12-speed road group would someday soon become reality. The other 5% of drivetrain scientists either based their studies on long defunct Suntour drivetrains, or were secretly funded by Grant Peterson in an effort to discredit drivetrain evolution.

 

The only surprise in today’s industry news is that Campagnolo beat SRAM in officially debuting a 12sp road group. Two years ago SRAM introduced 12sp for mountainbike single-chainring drivetrains, and it seemed entirely plausible that they would steamroll that tech right into the road market. However, SRAM’s rationale behind a twelfth cog was that the thinner chain and cog teeth were more than compensated by the elimination of the left shifter, front derailleur, and one chainring, and a significant portion of mtb consumers and bike brands have agreed. But the road market is in many ways rigidly traditional, and SRAM’s marketing success with 1×11 road drivetrains has been much more muted (though there are definitely some true believers out there such as Gerard Vroomen of 3T/Open Cycle).

So Campagnolo’s MOVEMENT 12 introduction (what is it with the bike industry’s obsession with all-caps?) is on one hand bold and on the other very predictable. Campagnolo has been on the forefront of adding cogs to the cluster, being the first to introduce 10sp and 11sp drivetrains (also they debuted 9sp head-to-head with Shimano back in 1997). And the venerable Italian brand is sticking to double chainrings, using the twelfth cog to tighten up the ratios at the low end of the gearing, rather than gambling on a road racer paradigm shift to the 1x concept. Once the 12sp groupsets, for now just in the Record and Super Record product lines, are widely available they should surely find little obstacle to acceptance among professional teams and riders, who have a central role in Campagnolo’s marketing strategy. The groupsets will have both disc and rim brake options, but the press release makes no mention of EPS, Campagnolo’s electronic shifting system that exists for current 11sp.

Super Record Ergopower, rim brake Non-series direct-mount caliper, and Super Record conventional caliper

A quick glance at the rim brake Ergopower levers reveals the brake blade and shift paddles have been refined for better ergonomics. In the past adjustable brake reach was precluded by Campagnolo’s use of an integrated brake caliper quick-release in the lever; the new version has a multi-position QR button that effectively creates 3-distinct reach positions. Also the brake blade, already the most curvaceous of any integrated lever on the market, has been further sculpted to work with differing hand sizes. The shift levers are a little larger and the mechanisms have been tweaked to reduce dead stroke before the mechanism activates. At the other end of the line, the rim brake calipers bear no resemblance to the previous generations of clampers. They are very angular, particularly at the front arm, and lack the forged in windows that gave the old calipers the “Skeleton” moniker. They actually come in both standard short-reach for Record/Super Record and a non-series direct-mount style, though unlike Shimano who use a symmetrical dual-pivot geometry for both, Campagnolo’s standard caliper design retains the typical central pivot plus offset pivot. In both cases the calipers lack QR features, since as mentioned those are located at the lever.

Super Record and Record hydraulic levers

The 12sp hydraulic disc brake lever is an evolution of the rather recently released H11 hydraulic l11sp ever and brakes, but the 12sp differ by being marketed as distinct Record and Super Record product rather than non-series items. The levers have adjustable free stroke and reach. Both hydraulic and rim brake levers allow up to 5 upshifts or 3 downshifts in a single movement

New Super Record crankset

.

The cranksets retain the four-arm/8-bolt configuration of the most recent 11sp cranks which allows standard, compact, and semi-compact chainring combinations to be mounted on the same arms. The new cranks seem to be based on the existing UltraTorque design, but the smooth face of the right arm is unbroken by the spindle, so seemingly the fixing bolt for the UltraTorque’s Hirth joint is fed in from the left side. Unlike the H11 crank that features a wider chainline optimized for 135/142 rear disc hubs, the new 12sp Record and Super Record cranks are said to fully compatible with both rim and disc brake drivetrains, though no specifics provided concerning chainline.

The front derailleur uses an actuation arm that is distinct from the parallelogram. The new mechanism is said to lead to quicker initial movement of the derailleur cage.

Record 12sp rear derailleur

Looking very much like a Huret Jubilee derailleur re-imagined by HR Giger while in a particularly brutal frame of mind, the 12sp carbon rear derailleur is perhaps the most radical departure from Italian traditions of yore. A couple years ago Campagnolo changed the actuation ratios of their 11sp product while introducing offset parallelogram pivots on the rear derailleur. The 12sp goes even further with an offset B-pivot similar to Shimano’s “Shadow”-type rear derailleurs, though it is unclear whether Campagnolo’s design uses a B-pivot spring or is unsprung like Shimano. The bulkiness of the carbon upper knuckle implies a spring might be buried in there, but since the PR didn’t make it clear one way or another we will have to wait for clarification. It is implied that the new derailleur can function as a direct-mount with the removal of the link that secures the upper knuckle to traditional derailleur hangers.

What Campangolo does say is that the derailleur geometry has been optimized for the profile 11-29 and 11-32 cassettes, so that top pulley will track consistently and accurately across the individual cogs. The larger size and reduced ratio options are the natural result of adding more cogs to the cluster. Both cassette options are basically straight blocks for the first 2/3rd of the cluster that then give four progressively spaced climbing gears on the low end, so there is little to gain in offering marginally different 11-23 or 11-25 cassettes. Perhaps we could see maybe an 11-27 in the future though? The new cassettes fit on existing 10/11sp Campagnolo freehub bodies, so going to 12sp will not require you to replace your current Campagnolo-compatible wheels.

To be honest, I have not been devoted to Campagnolo since the end of the 8sp-era, which coincidentally was the last time I was actually excited about addition of another cog, but I think that a lot of Campagnolo’s more recent designs have been both attractive and technically refined. Still, it’s hard for me say that anyone needs a 12sp double road drivetrain. Perhaps one can argue that the twelfth cog makes the bike fully optimized for both flat-terrain and climbing. To me the cumulative improvements to the levers’ ergonomics, the rim brakes’ geometry, and the cranksets’ aesthetics are the main features, and the twelfth cog is simply an occasional benefit. If you are surprised that Campagnolo is lagging behind on the electronic version of 12sp, you need only realize that the company has recently rolled out a lot of new designs in a short period of time without the resources financed by a huge OEM presence like Shimano or SRAM. Campagnolo surely won’t wait too long to roll out the EPS version though, since the World Tour pro teams are all gung-ho for electronic shifting nowadays. It will be interesting to see if the teams hold onto the 11sp EPS rather than go to the 12sp mechanical shifting.

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Gore-Tex Stretch Jacket

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 16:39

If you’re trying to understand why a cycling rain jacket costs $369 instead of $29, here’s why: it’s ok to sweat in the Gore-Tex Stretch Jacket and keep it on for the whole ride. What Gore-Tex started as the One has been iterated to include stretch panels and the result is a closely fitting jacket that will flap less in the wind, hug the body closer, and provide unrestricted movement while training, racing or just riding.

Gore Stretch Launch in Park City.

With a proper liner underneath, it’s all you need to wear in the rain.

Out for a ride in Park City—it was cold.

Compared to the clear plastic bags with sleeves cyclists used to put on when it rains and sweat profusely in, the technological advantage is…well, obvious. It doesn’t get that cold in the Pacific Northwest, so cyclists sweat out their jackets and try to start the ride feeling a chill, so as not to overheat.

Now, if it’s gonna be a wet ride, the Gore-Tek ShakeDry (and the other variants) is on from start to finish with maybe a zip down or up a bit to modulate the microclimate. Kit up and go comfortably without ever retreating the jacket either. The surface permanently beads.

The stretch works like it does in any other garment adding comfort and putting the membrane closer to your body so it can perform best. As with all the jackets in the ShakeDry line, the outer face fabric is no longer necessary (with exceptions for durability) and comfort is the key feature.

Riding mostly off road these days, I’ll unzip to my chest during a climb, then right back up for the loop, and the descent. You just can’t backpack with a ShakeDry or Stretch jacket, because there’s no outer layer.

That’s not a problem for me because I prefer a fanny pack and now through the spring I pack the jacket either in the boxy-bike bag or in a jersey pocket if I’m riding road.

The trick is to flip the alcohol into your mouth from the membrane without spilling a drop.

Potentially lost in the rapid release pace for Gore is how advanced the product is. The assembled media, including me, learned as much during the launch, where Gore presented the stretch version like a science fair with stations demonstrating how the tech has evolved. Most interesting we learned Gore’s founder originally envisioned this jacket nearly 50 years ago and they finally now have the tech to make it a reality. The stretch panels, also made of Gore materials, are privatized military tech developed to be worn with bulletproof vests.

Gore Stretch fabric was developed for the military.

Fabian Cancellara is Gorewear’s brand ambassador and was on hand for the launch. He explained the best version of the samples he tried is worn closest to the skin, but that was overly constricting. The stretch panels under the arms and upper back allow for a tight fit with less constriction.

Fabs flew in from Bern to hang out with the media during the launch.

Fabs told us

I’ve been waiting for this jacket and technology to come to production for a long time: it’s ultra-lightweight and super breathable; it fits into any jersey pocket, it’s completely waterproof and it fits like a second skin thanks to the stretch inserts.

And, because it breathes so well the jacket can be worn in warm but wet conditions, as well as very cold situations, whether or not it’s raining. I have the running version with a hood and just wear it around as a shell. When traveling, it’s particularly useful because it packs down so small and is light.

Fabs worked closely with Gore on the tech.

What Gore didn’t share with us is his how they print colors on a beading membrane, but somehow they do. While the jacket is grayish black, color accents pop on gray days or nights.

Features
  • Increased freedom of movement due to its snug and aerodynamic fit
  • Combined with persistent beading surface technology
  • Flexibility to fit many different body types and sizes
  • Great wearing comfort
  • Waterproof and beading surface
  • Improved breathability to reduce moisture-trapping air pockets under the jacket
  • Maintains the waterproof protection that consumers demand of a hard shell, without the feeling of restriction or bulk that may hinder movement
  • Compelling aesthetics: Technical & differentiated appearance
  • GORE‐TEX® SHAKEDRY Product Technology
  • GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology
Availabilty

Gore-Tex ShakeDry jacket is available now from Competitive Cyclist and Gorewear for $369. What you need to know is, by combining Shakedry with stretch technology borrowed from the military, Gorewear has released a cycling jacket that’s been engineered to create a closer fitting and more sculpted jacket while keeping overall weight very low with little bulk or noise.

It’s absolutely worth $369, unless you prefer to sweat out in a plastic rain cape of course.

Ride all day in stretch, I wear the running version to travel with. More Gore Stories

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Alpinestars Drop Pro Kit

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 14:35

Ebikes are not exactly welcome on the trails in the Pacific Northwest, but if you’re going to ride one and with the increased speeds, Alpinestars Drop Pro Kit is optimized with PU reinforcement in high abrasion areas. It’s made from a light and durable poly-fabric main shell and convenient storage compartments resulting in a versatile, all-round enduro jersey.

The Drop Pro kit includes a short that also offers more performance and protection with PU reinforcements to increase durability and coverage in high abrasion areas.

Alpinestars is my fav line of mtb clothing, but I’m not convinced anyone needs ebike specific kit, but if you do, they’ve got you covered.

Find the Drop Pro kit at a retailer near you or direct online. The short-sleeve jersey is $69.95 and the shorts are $129.95.

Jersey Specs
  • Constructed from lightweight, advanced poly- fabric to promote moisture-wicking.
  • Stretch mesh on the back shoulders for fit and flexibility.
  • Open mesh insert on back panel for breathability.
  • Side pockets for convenient storage. Pocket incorporates loop label to secure keys.
  • PU reinforcements in high abrasion zones on sleeves.
  • Inner terry cloth for cleaning lenses.
  • Elongated lower back hem for extended rear coverage.
  • Reflective detailing for improved rider visibility.
  • Alpinestars’ Coolstar moisture-wicking technology avoids the build-up of sweat and helps keep rider dry and comfortable.
    Welded wrist hems for durability.
Short Specs
  • Constructed from lightweight, advanced poly- fabric to promote moisture wicking.
  • Ergonomically profiled PU reinforcements in high abrasion zones on thighs. Hook and loop strap waist adjustment with TPR pullers. Zippered side pockets and back pocket. Stretch material on the crotch and back yoke, with strategically positioned Spandex for mobility. Laser-cut front air vents for cooling airflow. Flat snap connection for compatibility with alpinestars inner shorts.
  • Welded hems for durability.

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Shimano Ultegra RX

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 14:02

Shimano debuted an Ultegra RX rear derailleur with a clutched cage pivot at last Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. Unlike the obligatory disc brake marketing at Paris-Roubaix, the riders in the professional peloton actually seemed eager to use this new product, as the sprinting over cobbles at 30mph creates a lot of chain slap and the threat of throwing a chain.

The concept of clutched cage pivots for chain management is borrowed from the mountainbike market. The complex dynamics of mtb drivetrains on full-suspension bikes has always presented a problem in keeping a chain under control. But other than pro riders pounding the cobbles at race speed, do road riders really need a clutched rear derailleur?

Well, the case can certainly be made that gravel riders could benefit from better chain management of course, though it sorta depends on what your type of gravel you’re riding.

But you know who benefits from a clutched derailleur all the time? Riders with 1x drivetrains. As much as I can see this as Shimano’s tardy acknowledgement of the gravel market, I think that Shimano could very well be hedging their bets that 1x road might not be a fad.

 

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2018 Road Bike Buyers Guide

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 08:50

Starting with road and then covering All-Road, Endurance, and Race-Rim (bikes for racing without disc) Competitive Cyclist is publishing the 2018 Road Bike Buyer’s Guides with videos like this one.

If you didn’t know, Competitive and Backcountry ship over 10K bikes a year, and Competitive Cyclist is the number 1 retailer for many premier bike brands.

Competitive Cyclists Brands

Those brands include

  • Assos
  • Castelli
  • ENVE
  • SRAM,
  • Shimano
  • Fox
  • Wahoo
  • Pinarello
  • Santa Cruz

In addition to content and video, Competitive has their “geniuses” they call Gearheads who work in Salt Lake City, UT  helping customers build a bike and order equipment.

So, say, you wanted a gravel grinder to ride the Iron Horse trail, you call them up, describe what you want to do, your budget, and they’ll walk you through what to buy.

In about 3 days, that bike shows up at your door. If you’re not into riding a road bike on dirt, maybe a bike like the Factor in the video will fit your style.

What’s more important about the bike Competitive delivers, is it’s pretty much ready to ride. In business since 1988, Competitive and Backcountry know their market and what cyclists want. I’m not so sure about the term Race-Rim and what that means, but Competitive does. They move more performance bikes than anyone else in the US.

It’s not all about sales either, Competitive also sponsors an elite U23 mountain bike team, Summit Bike Club.

Back to the Factor, that’s a bike I’d like to spend more time on. My schedule didn’t permit a demo, but the other media at PressCamp were impressed.

The 02 is a high-end road disc bike that is speed and light. Handles great tour. And, what you should expect from a road bike these days. That’s very configurable and shipped directly from Competitive’s warehouses to you.

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Bialetti Musa and Grinder

Sun, 04/01/2018 - 07:34

Bialetti, an Italian brand best known for its Moka Express is the #1 seller in Italy and has grown in the US and international markets to become an must-take stovetop coffeemaker for outdoor and fitness enthusiasts. When we travel, we take the Musa and Grinder with us.

The Musa’s compact shape lends itself to small kitchens, backpacks and traveling lifestyles and we take one with us when riding in the Methow Valley and anywhere else with a cabin in the woods.

Bialetti recognizes the “love” its Moka Express has received by outdoor/sports enthusiasts And, is the proud sponsor of the Team Colavita/Bialetti Women’s Cycling team.

At home, we have a convection cooktop so use the Musa with the grinder. It’s stainless and produces a smoother coffee taste than the aluminum.

The Musa is available in a 4-cup and 6-cup for $44.99 and $54.99 in Amazon.

The portable conical ceramic burr grinder crushes whole coffee beans into the desired coarseness, ensuring superior coffee flavor. It has an easy to adjust wheel to set preferred coarseness, as well as measurement markings located on the bottom chamber indicatiing the amount of grounds needed for a coarse, medium, fine, and ultra fine for use in coffee press, pour over, moka pot and ibrik (Turkish brew). Bialetti’s Manual Coffee Grinder is available for an MSRP of $49.99.

The Musa and Grinder work great and the company supports cycling. No wonder, they’re so popular with cyclists and anyone into the outdoors and making good coffee.

Bialetti also makes coffee, but we take a locally roasted batch with us like from Vashon Island or Victrola.

Whatever roast and grind you prefer, the Musa or Moka Express will make a good cup. I’ve also used the Brika that froths the coffee with a special valve (sort of like the creme on an espresso), but they don’t make it stainless. If they did, I’d have one of those as well;

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Rapha Explore: Cargo Bib Shorts

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 15:37

It’s been said repeatedly (by us mostly) that adventure is where all the innovation is happening in the road category. Several reasons for that, some of which I shared in an article last week about the 3T Strada. And, earlier this month, Rapha announced Explore featuring cargo bib shorts.

I’m not saying bike shorts with pockets is breaking that much new ground—ask anyone who commutes in Carharts with a padded brief underneath. But for cyclists like me that prefer to not carry stuff on their backs or in panniers, more pockets are welcome. If the aesthetics of it look familiar, Giro’s New Road was ahead of their time by about 6 years. Ironically, where Giro’s line performed the best was mountain biking.

I suspect that’s where I’ll ride Rapha with Explore kit too and on the Iron Horse with my brown bike. I may not be pinning a number on and lining up for a race anymore, but baggies don’t suit me, never have. A less race-oriented, more casual look does.

That’s one of the reasons, besides exceptional materials, I’m riding in Alpinestars so much. They’ve got a super comfortable short with a large pocket on the back and a technical shirt that can get worn for days without needing a wash.

Rapha’s answer to the technical shirt you can ride in and do other stuff is called their Technical T-Shirt and it’s made from a cool and dry wicking fabric. A loose cut doesn’t get sticky in the heat and there’s a hidden reflective trim for visibility if you get caught out after dark.

The shirt is why Rapha sews pockets on the short. The shirt has none. Rapha added pockets on both legs and the upper back for a phone, energy bar, and vape pen. The cargo bibs are made from a new, lightweight Shadow material, that sheds water as you ride and are comfortable up to 30 degrees centigrade, making them the ideal bibs for every ride. The same material that sheds water also dries fast.

I’ve owned bibs from Rapha since they launched…take care of them and the last seemingly forever. Rapha insists the pockets won’t stretch out are secure and on the back inconspicuous and unnoticeable. That means if you want to wear them under a pair of street shorts you can and stash your phone, a money roll, or whatever.

Like all Rapha Explore comes at a premium price and their fans are willing to pay. The Cargo Big Shorts cost $270 USD and the Tee is $75. In cooler weather, I’d pair the tee with the also excellent Brevet base layer for another $100.

If you’re looking for a deal on Rapha, the spring 20% off sale is happening now.

Cargo Big Short Features
  • Leg pockets with secure stretch closure keep small items
    to hand
  • Back pockets mean you can forego the usual jersey
  • Two reflective stripes on both legs
  • Reflective stripe on the back of the shorts, ideally positioned for visibility on the road
  • Lower front yoke makes for easier toilet breaks
  • Same comfortable upper as Brevet Bib Shorts, with added stripe detail
  • Proven Brevet chamois pad, perforated to dry quickly, tested for long distance comfort
  • Brevet fit suitable for long days in the saddle.
Brevet Base Layer Features
  • Permanent antibacterial treatment for days of freshness
  • Brevet stripes under the arms
  • Flatlock stitching to seams to minimize chaffing
  • Close-to-skin fit for comfort and ease of wear.

Learn more about Rapha’s Explore on a mini site dedicated to it. I have the shorts and tee in and riding as soon as the rain stops.

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Iron Horse Trail: Ellensburg to Cle Elum

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 10:42

Getting ready for Dirty Kanza, Path Less Pedaled rode the Iron Horse from Ellensburg to Cle Elum and shared their edit.

That’s a fav section of ours too, including the two tunnels. I’m spending more and more time on the Iron Horse; especially, after the Lake Olallie Trail opened up.

The switchbacks follow an old logging road and cross an even older landslide above Seattle’s original watershed.

A post shared by Byron (@bikehugger) on Nov 26, 2017 at 5:42am PST

On the weekend, starting from the trailhead Rattlesnake, the trail is crowded. In the summer, tour companies will take cyclist through the first tunnel, but after that we’ve ridden all day and not seen anyone else.

The Iron Horse (AKA John Wayne) is as unique as it is beautiful. It’s a rails to trails, sure but one that was made into a state park and you can traverse Snoqualmie Pass—main highway across the mounts, dividing the state between east and west—by bike.

Looks like Path Less Pedaled had as much fun as we do whenever we ride it. Last time, we rode until we found snow. And have been ticking off sections of the full 287 miles.

Mike McGuffin rode all of it and few years ago and documented the adventure in Issue 05 of our magazine.

The next twenty miles of trail pass through the Yakima Military Training Center. After a few rough detours, and some soft sand we began the ten mile descent into the Columbia gorge. The rail trestle spanning the Columbia at Beverly is blocked with chain link and razor wire.

Iron Horse Stories

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All New Ibis Ripmo

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 08:59

It’s like the love child of a Ripley and an HD4, the all new Ibis Ripmo is a 29r that’s always down for another lap. With 145mm of efficient dw-link travel (160mm front), a sub 6 lb frame weight, modern geometry, and clearance for a water bottle (with piggy back shock), this is the most versatile Ibis has ever built—they’ve built a lot.

It’s also a terribly-kept secret…The Ripmo was spotted this past weekend at EWS where Ibis racers Robin Wallner and Bex Berona had their best finishes to date.

What’s New

The Ripmo’s reach is nearly an inch longer than the EWS Team winning HD4, with clearance for a 175mm dropper, and a pedal-friendly 76° seat tube angle.

The rest of the features include an all-new, stiffer, lighter lower link with internal cable tunnels, clearance for 2.6″ rubber, and a threaded BB.

Facts
  • 29” Wheels
  • 145mm dw-link rear travel
  • 160mm front travel
  • 2.6” tire clearance
  • Carbon fiber front and rear triangle
  • Available in sizes S-XL, fits riders between 5” and 6’6”
  • Frame weight from 5.08 lbs / 2.3 kg (w/ out shock), 6.06 lbs / 2.7 kg w/
  • Fox DPX2 Available with either Fox DPX2 or X2 shock
  • Complete builds from 28.1 lbs / 12.7 kg
Details
  • Threaded BB
  • ISCG 05 compatible with removable adapter
  • Shorter 44mm fork offset
  • Steep 76o seat tube angle
  • In-frame molded cable tunnels
  • Bottle cage mounts inside front triangle
  • Works simultaneously with piggyback shocks and larger water bottles
  • Size M-XL compatible with 170mm droppers, 125-150mm for smalls
  • Polycarbonate downtube protector and molded rubber swing arm protectors
  • IGUS bushings in lower link, bearings in upper link
  • 210mm eye to eye, 55mm stroke shock
  • Post mount rear brake
  • 203mm max rotor size
  • 1x specific design
  • Boost spacing

Complete Ibis Ripmo builds start at $4,099, framesets with DPX2 shock start at $2,999.

 

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Freitag F155 Clapton: Individual By Day, Reflective By Night

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 11:13

I’ve acquired so many bags writing about bikes and cameras, that I could decide which to use just by venue. There’s a fancy one for going out dressed up and to meetings, the Chrome for hauling, and one to just toss stuff in and go work in a coffee shop. Also, a Thule to travel with and another Chrome to take with me on a shoot.

Now, Freitag, a fav brand ever since we visited Berlin has a high-vis bag, the F155 Clapton. According to the launch PR

Learning from a truck means learning how to commute: Our latest F155 CLAPTON backpack, then, is a rugged individualist designed for commuters traveling by bike or public transport by day. But when night comes, its reflective cat’s eyes ensure that wearers are safe and sound.

The truck reference cites Freitag’s use of old truck tarps as their material. Regards convenience and functionality, it’s packed full with all the experience Freitag has amassed making professional bike messenger bags over the past couple of decades:

  • A water-repellent backpack made of robust, individual and used truck tarps
  • Variable volume with special fold’n’rolltop mechanism for closing
  • Reduced sweating and massively increased comfort in wear thanks to 3D mesh padding on back and shoulder straps
  • All-round immediate visibility thanks to five smartly positioned reflectors
  • Interior featuring upholstered laptop compartment, outside with various docking sites for cycle helmet, u-lock and key fob together with a well-concealed, rapid-access external compartment below the extended belt center line

What I like most about Freitag is the individualism, because they’re cut from recycled truck tarps, no two are the same. Not only will the F155  stand out clearly from the gray mass of commuters.

When it gets dark, its reflecting contour markings let other other road users know you’re there.

Buy the F155 for $290 direct from Freitag. Also, read more about them in this book from Amazon.

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LOOK Cycles on Tour

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 11:00

LOOK announced that they’re returning to an old-school, work-the-events, road-trip strategy to market their road bikes this year. That’s pretty much how the bike industry as we know it today was started in the US. Reps with bikes and gear at bike races. If you see them, def take one for a test ride. They’re defiantly French and fast.

Starting this spring and into the summer, a fleet of Volvo V90s will be deployed across the U.S. which include traditional road races, granfondos, gravel events, and cyclocross races, as well as custom events at LOOK retailers.

The LOOK NRS event tour includes Killington Stage Race, Hotter N Hell and Fitchburg Longsjo, and continues through Interbike Outdoor Demo. That’s 100+ events. The bikes on tour included the 795 Light RS, 785 Huez RS, and the 765 Optimum Disc All-Road.

Look will have their pedals with them too including the new KÉO 2 Max Carbon road pedals and X-Track off-road models.

Both of those I run for road and mountain.

The 765 starting at $4500 and fitting a 30mm tire interests me the most with disc brakes and their flax dampening layer in the carbon—sounds gimmicky, but it’s how they effectively tune their ride. And, one of my all-time fav bikes was the Museeuw, which also used flax.

LOOK taking their bikes to events is a great way to showcase the brand’s heritage and its exceptional 2018 offerings. . The demo bikes are also equipped with SRAM RED eTap, so you can try that out too. The V90s will carry the various bikes with Thule, another fav brand.

While my tastes have changed to riding road bikes on dirt and gravel with high volume tires, if you’re a go-fast racer type, or like to think of yourself as one, the 795 is the bike you’re looking for and one to consider.

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A Sagan Fondo

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 12:16

Peter Sagan is coming to California to ride a fondo with you. Twice. The first is on dirt and the second pavement. There’s a festival too.

The inaugural #Sagando is a 68 mile, 5,500 feet of elevation, dirt party (shorter options too). The road edition details are TBA. Both events have free beer at the end. One is a race, the other ride, both are gonna be super fun.

Gravel/Dirt Edition

May 3, 4 and 5, 2018, Truckee, California—best suited for a cyclocross or rando or mountain bike with 35c or larger tires. This event will be a competitive gravel/dirt event with awards for top 3 riders in various age and gender groups. Cyclocross and mountain bikes are great choices for this race. The riders are capped at 1500. Here’s the route.

Daily Schedule:
  • May 3rd: Fundraising Gala. Cost $295pp.
  • May 4th: VIP Pre-Ride and lunch with Peter Sagan.
  • May 5th: Race day!

The cost is $145 per person and includes:

  • Of course, the opportunity to ride with and meet 3x World Road Racing Champion Peter Sagan!
  • Traffic controlled intersections *(See “Ride Rules” on “More Info page”)
  • Competitive categories and prizes to top finishers
  • Post-Race festival entry
  • Sumptuous, abundant post-ride meal
  • Lagunitas Beer for participants over 21
Road Edition

November 1, 2 and 3, 2018, host city TBA—This event is NOT a race, but your ride time will be recorded, and results published. (Designated as a race or not, you know cyclists and with Sagan there, there’ll be a fast group for sure.

Daily Schedule:
  • November 1st: Fundraising Gala (200 person cap). Cost $295pp.
  • November 2nd: Top Fundraiser/Sponsor Pre-Ride with Peter Sagan.
  • November 3rd: Gran Fondo!

The cost: $185 per person and includes:

  • Of course, the opportunity to ride with and meet 3x World Road Racing Champion Peter Sagan! In a no drop-setting , yeah right.
  • Traffic controlled intersections *(See “Ride Rules” section below)
  • Post-Ride festival entry
  • Delectable, glorious post-ride meal
  • Lagunitas Beer for participants over 21

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microSHIFT Road – Centro 11 at Lake Como

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 20:04

Today MicroSHIFT’s released a new video featuring their Centos 11 road group set. Filmed on iconic cycling roads are nestled in the area around Lake Como – Italy.  It’s a beautiful location and I’m happy to see another group on the market.

I haven’t used it yet, but microSHIFT has a unique dual-control lever system that shifts the eleven speeds. You can shift 4 gears at a time with a prominent thumb lever. Road CC reviewed it in last year and it’s priced against Shimano’s 105 at about $500 for a group. I found it on Amazon for $246 direct from China.

If you’re perhaps building up a b-bike, a c-bike even or a bike for a kid going to college a budget group that shifts decent and has 11 speeds is appealing.

It offers a lot of shifting for the price.

The Centos 11 is also compatible with Shimano so you can mix and match parts; again, for a parts-bin bike that you don’t want to spend any or as little a possible on. Sure, you can do that with downmarket Shimano groups, but not with 11 speeds. I have at least a 1/2 of a 11 speed group in a box in my garage, so I’d think about the Centos 11 for a rain bike as well.

The rear derailer weighs 194g and the front weighs 95g, which is in par with Shimano. The finish looks good too in black and white. Users of the group have reported being happy[y with it, while Road.cc was not.

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Graeme Obree’s Bike

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 09:13

Cycling fans of this era will have a massive appreciation for Graeme Obree’s bike, for this video, and the data it reveals. Sometimes, beauty comes in the most unexpected forms and ways; like, a DIY bike made with washing machine parts that broke records and was banned.

To the question, “Which was fastest, the Superman or the Egg position?” Imagine how different bikes would be if Graeme Obree had any friends in the UCI…or if only his name had been “Francesco Moser”

Sidebar to the film: those Trispokes were crazy fast.

 

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