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Updated: 23 weeks 5 days ago

Zipp 3ZERO MOTO Inspired Wheels Launched

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 12:57

Zipp’s new 3ZERO MOTO inspired wheels launched. Zipp said the new wheelsets provide riders with the control and durability required for pure speed on enduro courses or trail riding. 3ZERO MOTO carbon is available as a 27.5 or 29.

Moto remains a powerful source of inspiration for good reason, Zipp is based in the racing hotbed of Indianapolis. For more than three decades the components company has used motorsports as an inspiration to develop pioneering carbon cycling innovations.

Zipps single-wall approach, what they call Moto Technology, allows the rims to “pivot” from either side of the spoke bed while traversing rough terrain. The approach to comfort is similar to how Stan’s carbon rims flex.

What happens is, when the wheel encounters obstacles, the rim edges flex instead of bounce.  That means there’s a feel of extra suspension and control. If the rider and bike are in control, that means they’re going faster. While an entirely different wheel, what’s why tubular Zipps in cross have been so popular.

Zipp 3ZERO MOTO Inspired Wheels Zipp 3ZERO MOTO Features
  • Higher impact resistance
  • Reduced chance of pinch flatting
  • More traction in rough corners
  • Smoother ride in rocky terrain
  • Ability to run lower tire pressure
  • Reduced rider fatigue

Learn more about Zipp’s latest on their website. I’ve spent hundreds of hours on Zipps and most recently, 650b 303s. In a first for Zipp, they’re offering the rims alone so you can build them up with the hub of your choice. The rims ship in 8 colors too.

I’d consider for my gravel bike building these with a dynamo hub for not only speed an control, but a powered light.

Zipp 3ZERO MOTO Works

From Zipp’s PR, this is how their new wheelset works

  • Lateral stiffness — In a sharp turn, the rim remains stiff, providing confidence that the wheel is firmly planted.  Zipp’s wide hub flanges provide better spoke-bracing angles which help to increase the lateral stiffness.
  • Torsional windup — When torque is applied to the rear hub when pedaling, you don’t want the spokes to create a spring-like flex sapping your wattage. Having 32 spokes at the right tensions keep the wheel constrained during windup, meaning the energy in your legs is efficiently transferred to your rear wheel.
  • Radial compliance — When you hit a rock, the system is designed to act as a shock absorber. Zipp’s MOTO Technology allows the rim to flex, which absorbs the impact energy and spreads it away from the impact zone for increased durability. In essence, more of the rim carries the load from the impact.
  • “Ankle” compliance — Imagine a runner rounding a sharp turn, the ankle naturally flexing to maintain grip as the runner leans. The rim can locally flex to stay parallel to the ground during cornering, which increases traction much like a human ankle. This ability to twist locally allows it to deflect during single bead impacts without the rider getting bounced off line.
  • Durability and ride quality — 3ZERO MOTO rim strength exceeded our expectations for impact resistance due to MOTO Technology compliance. As for ride quality, the wheel also deflected three times more than top rival box-section carbon wheels. That extra compliance behaves like extra suspension, but it also spreads the impact energy over a larger area. This also benefits the rider in the form of pinch flat prevention.
  • The benefits of all that are simple. More control. Fewer line deviations. Greater durability. Fewer pinch flats. The net gain? Pure speed.

I’d consider a set for my gravel bike and building them with a dynamo hub for not only speed and control, but a powered light.

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Mark V & Rivnuts: Repairing water bottle bosses on carbon bikes

Mon, 04/08/2019 - 05:29

Virtually all carbon and aluminium bike manufacturers use something called a “rivnut” as a water bottle boss. A rivnut is like a combination of rivet and a nut, forming a threaded anchor in a thin-walled material. Over time, a rivnut threads can corrode or strip out. Or a bolt could seize within the rivnut and/or the rivnut’s grip in the tube wall could weaken, leaving the rivnut spinning in the frame. Sometimes the rivnut can be retightened, but often times replacement is the only cure.

The basic tactic is to grind out the rivnut without damaging the surrounding tube wall and then replace it with a fresh, maybe stronger rivnut.


First Dremel out the outer flange of the stripped rivnut. You might want to protect the surrounding area with a layer of electrical tape in case the tool slips. The goal is to remove the flange without touching the surrounding carbon. Once the flange is thin enough, you might be able to tear it off with pliers. Once the outer flange is removed, you should be able to lightly tap the rivnut so that it falls into the frame interior. With luck, you should be able to shake the rivnut’s remains out of the frame through with the bottom bracket shell or the headtube.


The broken rivnut You can rig up a tool with a long 5mm bolt and a 6mm nut, but here’s the proper tool for the job. Most manufacturers use an aluminium nut, which is a relatively soft metal and vulnerable to galvanic corrosion (particularly in carbon frames). For repairs, I use a steel replacement.


On the left, a rivnut in its original state. On the right, a rivnut that has been compressed. The corrugated wall crushes to form an interior flange.


For extra security and to make up for any damage that might have occurred due to rivnut failure, I coat the replacement rivnut in epoxy before I install. Promptly use a shop rag dampened with denatured alcohol to remove the excess epoxy. The bottle boss is probably good to go immediately, but best results would come after the epoxy finishes curing in 24hrs. Use a well-greased stainless steel bolt to ward off future reoccurrences.

One potential problem is if the you can’t shake the rivnut out of the frame interior. Most current monocoque frames (especially those with tapered fork steerers) have large openings at either the head tube and sometimes the bottom bracket shell. In a worse case scenario, you’ll have to find a way to make it so that the rivnut doesn’t rattle around like the last bean in the coffee can. You’ll need something super sticky.

I suggest spray insulation foam, the kind  you find at a hardware store to fill in spaces in old walls. You will only use a tiny fraction of the canister though. Conveniently the canister comes with a thin straw applicator. So you can snake the little tube into the hole in the frame that the rivnut once occupied, squirt a small dollop of foam inside near the bottom bracket, and then tilt the frame about until the rivnut hits the sticky goo. You will want to wait until the foam cures before riding, but it won’t be rattling loose ever.

If the offending rivnut has a seized bolt in it (probably still loosely but unyieldingly shackling a bottle cage in place), you’ll have to deal with that as well. In that case, it helps to have a Dremel with a small cut-off wheel, but really anything goes…so long as you don’t put any undue stress on the carbon tube or have any stray tool strikes.

I work for titanium framebuilders, whose frames use welded-in bosses and don’t suffer from this issue (though some Ti builders do use rivnuts). Whenever I am fixing this issue, I am rescuing some other brand’s bike. I have executed this fix on everything from Colnagos to Cannondales, Cervelos to Pinarellos….and more than a couple Litespeed titanium frames. So yes, I can and have done this many times. But I have to make it cost enough to justify the time I am not assembling our own custom bikes, and the fee has to be worth the risk responsibility I have to accept when working on your bling carbon bike. And NO, you cannot hang around and watch me as I work.


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SRAM Force eTap AXS Pt2: $1000 cheaper and 300gr heavier than Red

Sun, 04/07/2019 - 13:12


Why tease the readers by holding back the bottom line? Hot on the heels of the flagship SRAM Red eTap AXS debut in February debut, Force eTap AXS essentially does everything for fewer ducats but at a 300gr penalty. But if you want a good grip on the differences between these two wireless electronic gruppos still fresh from the oven, read on.


The Force eTap AXS cassette. 12sp XDR-type in 10-26, 10-28, and 10-33 options


These SRAM eTap groupsets are functionally the same, more or less. They are both wireless, electronic 12-speed drivetrains with choices of disc or rim brake and 1x or 2x cranksets.  The derailleurs and levers differ in the construction methods and materials. While having the same electronics, Red AXS units has cold-forged aluminium and UD carbon,  and Force uses aluminium castings and CFR moulding. The XDR-type cassettes offer the same three range choices, but the Force Mini-cluster rivets each cog into a stack. SRAM elegantly carves Red’s costly X-Dome cassette out of single block of steel and caps it with an aluminium 12th cog. The biggest differences come within the brakes and cranksets.

Force AXS flatmount hydraulic caliper. Force eTap AXS rim brake caliper. Short-reach but a little more generous clearances for wider rims and tires in the 28mm range.

The Red eTap AXS hydraulic calipers are almost identical to the previous 11sp eTap’s, featuring the Monobloc design in either post or flatmount. Force AXS caliper uses a new design, entirely different from any of the road groups. In fact, it superficially bares closest resemblance to a flatmount version of SRAM’s budget mtb caliper, the Level LT. Both groups use the same disc rotor though. The Force AXS rim brake takes a parallel path by essentially gussying up the same brake arm forgings used in the existing Rival/Apex groupsets, rather than making a cheaper version of the Red’s AeroLink caliper. This move saves Force almost $100 on Red.

Force eTap AXS crankset with 48/35 replaceable chainrings

When it comes to the cranksets, I strongly suspect that the arms featured in both lines are themselves directly derived from the previous 11sp groups. The moulded carbon-fibre crankarms accept modular chainring spiders or DM chainrings, but different from the previous incarnations, the AXS interface uses the same 8-bolt pattern first seen on powermeter cranksets from SRAM’s sub-brand Quarq. It should come as no surprise that all the Force and Red AXS cranksets can be upgraded with powermeters. There are presumably material differences in the Red and Force crankarm construction that partially explain the $270 difference in cost in the outwardly identical shapes, but the biggest difference comes in the chainrings.

SRAM AXS powermeter spider, $599 upgrade.

SRAM designed Red AXS with the marginal gains philosophy, so the Red chainring options put lightweight and performance before economy. That means the double chainring sets are formed one-piece. Not only that, but the rings are integrated into the powermeter versions. Wear out the rings, and you’ll need to replace it all as a unit. On the other hand, Force AXS cranks allow you to replace the rings individually, including on the $599 powermeter 2x spider available as an upgrade.

One other difference: Force AXS cranksets offer a GXP spindle option. Why? Because it turns out that SRAM has not provided for a press-fit DUB bottom bracket that can fit Trek’s BB90 standard, nor have they developed an external bearing BB to fit Italian-thread (either for dimensional limitations and/or cost reasons).

In the next couple days, I will continue with a Part 3 to the eTap AXS narrative so I can talk about its possibilities and limitations. And I will probably point out how much I disapprove of the DUB standard.

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SRAM Force eTap AXS : Part 1 (all the acronyms in the world)

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 02:05

Not quite two months ago, SRAM debuted their flagship Red eTap AXS. It’s the definitive expression of the wireless electronic shifting system. This week SRAM is building momentum with the announcement of a 2nd-tier road gruppo. Force eTap AXS has put all that tech within reach of the masses. That’s if they can get through the confusion that is SRAM’s marketing.

According to SRAM, the term “eTap” is strictly an electronic road gruppo reference, itself an allusion to the “DoubleTap” ergonomics of their original mechanical dropbar shifters. But the new “AXS” is a blanket term for any of the updated electronic shift systems, road or mtn, that feature enhanced integration and customization. This means that the original 11sp Red eTap is not AXS, nor are any of its shifters or derailleur compatible with the 12sp-only AXS components. Conversely, all of SRAM’s 12sp mtn gruppos are branded “Eagle” in general, and the new electronic mtn gruppos are labeled specifically “XX1 Eagle AXS” and “XO1 Eagle AXS”.

eTap is Road, Eagle is Mountain, AXS is Both

So eTap is road only, Eagle means 12sp mtn, and AXS is only the newest electronic road and mtn groups (which happen to be 12sp).

Except that the batteries powering all the derailleurs (as well as the new Rockshox Reverb AXS dropper post) are the same eTap battery. SRAM of course has now dropped the eTap moniker from all recent references to the “SRAM battery“, just to destroy any sense of logic or perception of continuity in their branding.

Tomorrow I’ll have more a chance to discuss the Force AXS. How it relates to the rest of the AXS systems too. For now you just need to accept that the bike industry’s love for insufferable acronym word salads barely exceeds their penchant for creating new bottom brackets standards. And I will not be talking about SRAM’s unforgivable “DUB” bottom bracket standard.

Also see this post about Stradas with AXS.



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Strada Force eTAP AXS: 3T’s 1X Road Bikes Go Electronic

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 19:24

Previously, eTap electronic wireless shifting was only available at the Red level. This meant the technology was out of reach for a lot of people or cyclists with more discerning tastes. In the second generation, announced today, SRAM is offering eTap at the Force level. Mark V is writing about Force eTap AXS in another post. This one is about Strada & Strada Due Force eTAP AXS.

3T offers two models with Force eTap AXS. The first is the Strada, 3T’s breakthrough aero frame with unparalleled comfort. It’s still the only aero frame optimized around the comfort of larger tires (depending on the tire and rim combo even 32mm effective width tires can fit, realistically it’s a 28), we always knew the Strada would come into its own with a 12-speed drivetrain.

The difference between the Red and Force is the finishes. The internals are the same. Force weighs more because the finish are of a less quality.

The two groups feel the same.

Strada Force eTAP AXS

The Force eTap drivetrain comes with a 10-33 cassette and a 44t chainring, given you the top-end gear of around a 48×11 (or 53×12) and the climbing gear of a 36×27, so very close to a standard drivetrain for all terrains. The 12 cogs in the back have nice small steps through the whole range with 1-tooth jumps for the first 6 cogs. That feels more like a road bike. 3T builds the Stradas up with revamped Discus C35 wheels, carbon SuperErgo cockpit with Pirelli tires & Fizik tape. It’s a good build and at a reasonable price. 3T added a new red livery for the Force  eTap AXS groupset.

For those prefer a front derailleur, 3T offers the Strada DUE Force eTap AXS. The Strada Due gets a similar finishing kit to the Strada, but of course with a front derailleur and 2×12 gears.

Strada Force eTAP AXS Pricing and Availability

For pricing, spec, and more details about Strada Force eTAP AXS click through to 3Ts site. I’d share the differences between the groups, but SRAM hadn’t published them at the time of the story.

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Green Guru Waistpack Available at REI

Mon, 04/01/2019 - 17:31

Colorado-based eco-friendly outdoor brand collaborates with industry leaders to bring the sustainably-made Tripster to market.  A Green Guru Waistpack Available at REI is great news for cyclists. Also, shoppers who prefer upcycled materials and working with co-ops.

A Green Guru pouch travels with me wherever I go on the bike. In it are my keys, credit card, and a bit of paper money.

At its roots, Mountainsmith is a fanny pack expert that cares deeply about our environment,” says Torie Palffy, marketing manager at Mountainsmith. “Green Guru, a fellow Colorado-based brand, is arguably the best in the industry at turning upcycled goods into cool, functional gear, while REI provides consumers with locations across the country to recycle various materials. Mountainsmith handled the design aspect of this project, and together we created a truly unique, sustainably sourced product that we are incredibly proud of.

Each Tripster pack involves all three companies. REI Co-op members drop off old bike tubes and climbing rope at REI, Green Guru takes those recyclables, as well as other excess materials from around the industry, and turns them into pack material. Green Guru then employs Mountainsmith’s expertise in waist pack design to build each pack at its manufacturing facility in Colorado. Each pack is constructed with different upcycled materials, so each piece is unique in its own way and features different colors, patterns and prints.

Find the Tripster at REI for $44.95.

Green Guru Waistpack Available at REI Features
  • Green Guru sourced tent and canopy fabric, REI provided tubes. Climbing rope and Mountainsmith designed a pack you’ll love to wear
  • Fabric colors and patterns will vary.
  • Base is made from durable, waterproof upcycled bike tube rubber from members.
  • Lash tab made from upcycled bike tube material hints at rugged origins
    Double zipper on main compartment.
  • Stylish design from Colorado.

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His Name is Dnyan and He’s Riding a Bike

Wed, 03/27/2019 - 19:31

Daily doodles and the links Google shares in search aren’t a news story for me to share. Until, I noticed this one about the bike and Google translate. His Name is Dnyan and he’s riding a bike.

His Name is Dnyan and He’s Riding a Bike

With only a tent, a bicycle, and Google Translate, he’s riding a four-year journey. And, doing so to learn from a world of people.

Every morning, Dnyan Yewaktar does what millions of people do: He gets ready for a bike ride. The difference? His destination is never the same. It might be a Buddhist temple in South Korea, a hostel in Tokyo, or a baseball stadium on the outskirts of Havana.

For the past two years, Dnyan has been traveling from country to country, riding his bike through small towns and big cities, with a singular focus. His goal is to ride in Gandhi’s footsteps, spreading peace, love, and compassion. To do so, he hopes to meet as many people as he can, learn from them, and share what he knows about the world.

The connection to Google is Dynan is using Translate. Most inspiring,  is he measures the success of his mourning in the people who have left an imprint on his soul.

It’s a great story and should appeal to anyone that’s thought about giving it all up and riding around the world. The last time I remember Google publishing stories about the bike is when they launched Bike Maps and their bikes.


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Koroyd Responds to Wavecel with a Nope!

Wed, 03/27/2019 - 19:01

Finally Koroyd responds to Wavecel with a “Nope!” I’m sure incredulous about the visual similarities too between the two anti-slip helmet materials

In case you missed it, Bontrager released Wavecel after weeks of hype and many, including me, noticed the similarities between the materials. MIPS, the original anti-slip technology, also responded with an equally dismissive tone.

My take is, isn’t it great that we have bike brands arguing over safety v. speed. It’s the cyclists that wins and I welcome more helmet tech. And, a culture from Trek that puts safety first.

If your helmet doesn’t have an anti-slip liner in it, throw it out, and buy one that does. All of the tech better protects your brain in the event of a crash because it keeps the helmet on your head instead of rotated off.

I’ve included the press release from Koroyd below. Normally, I would read their PR, parse out the marketing, and tell you what they said. Because Koroyd, are scientists and engineers, I’m just sharing it.

Circular Tube Structures Are Scientifically Proven To Be The Most Efficient Energy Absorbers

Koroyd has established itself as the pioneers in head protection following lessons learned from a very high profile air disaster in the UK. A research project, initiated by the CAA, established that a circular tube is the most efficient structure to absorb energy for a given distance. On the back of these findings, we developed Koroyd as an arrangement of thousands of miniature tubes welded together into a single structure. Through the tubular geometry, the Koroyd structure exhibits significantly higher energy absorption capabilities than other materials. Koroyd was the first open-cell material which was commercially integrated inside helmets to absorb energy through plastic deformation of the geometry, rather than the traditional compression of a foam.

Rotational Acceleration Remains Outside Of International Standards

In recent years more and more emphasis has been placed on the risks of rotational acceleration to your brain, however it should be noted that this subject still remains unaddressed by the international standards surrounding head protection. Instead, there is a scientific community and various private companies, who are researching and delivering solutions which potentially reduce the risk of rotational acceleration to your brain during an accident. Whilst not currently a legal requirement of any helmet, rotational impacts are known to represent a risk – and one which is actually substantially reduced as a by-product of reducing LINEAR ACCELERATION.

The Importance Of Reducing Linear Acceleration

Consider that your brain is suspended within a bath of cervical-spinal fluid, surrounded by a protective membrane called the dura. When your head hits something hard, your skull decelerates and stops but your brain continues to move, colliding with the inside of the skull. In this collision, your brain can sustain any number of injuries, from bleeding in the brain, to shearing of the tissue, or bleeding between the brain and the dura, or between the dura and the skull. The type and severity of injury is determined by all acceleration to the brain.

Now consider that linear acceleration IS a parameter which features prominently within ALL current international standards, and is an area within which Koroyd equipped helmets DRAMATICALLY outperform the legal limits. This is as a result of Koroyd’s self-imposed ‘Helmet Safety Initiative’ under which Koroyd equipped helmets have to voluntarily meet much lower limits compared to those mandated in the standards.

Regardless of the impact direction, ultimately linear acceleration is always going to be important. And reducing linear acceleration will also reduce angular acceleration which is a result of oblique impacts.

Koroyd’s Holistic Approach To Helmet Design

It is widely accepted that to efficiently absorb LINEAR ENERGY a helmet must make maximum use of the 20-30mm of thickness available within the liner to optimally decelerate your head in an impact – which Koroyd does.

To effectively manage linear and rotational forces the helmet must be designed as a complete system. The former requires compression of materials (and in Koroyd’s case a unique ‘crumple zone’ approach), whereas the latter requires a system capable of fluid movement to redirect the energy.

This is why established systems which claim to reduce rotational forces typically operate independently of the core liner.

Our belief is that any system designed to reduce rotational energy should compliment the helmet’s ability to absorb linear energy, not compromise it by design – especially as it’s actually the latter that is the only component of the global certification requirements.

Whilst we welcome any advancement in helmet technology which has the potential to lower the risk of injuries, Koroyd remains wary of a technology that potentially shift’s the pendulum of the debate way too far in the opposite direction from established industry standards, favouring a focus on reducing rotational acceleration, at the potential detriment of linear impact performance.

Helmets have to offer holistic protection against linear and rotational acceleration. We are currently evaluating the Bontrager helmets under the same published test protocols that the rest of the market are working to. Despite the fact that we strongly believe the existing helmet standards allow helmets to be certified to a level which represents too high a risk of injury (which is why we established the Koroyd Helmet Safety Initiative), we also believe that it is important to offer consumers accurate information based around industry-wide, standardised test protocols.

From The Pioneers In Head Protection The Original Green Material

Koroyd equipped helmets are currently exceeding global industry standards in cycling, snow, motorcycling, industrial safety and military markets. Over the last 10 years our company has developed a profound knowledge of materials, construction, accident dynamics and human injury tolerances, we apply it daily through all our activities. We are looking forward to seeing more scientific led research and solutions as well as acceptance across the board as to what better performinghelmets are and then to ultimately see that implemented in future standards. There is currently too much marketing led communication which is not built on accepted knowledge – we all have a duty to present factually to those enjoying our products, whatever their activity.

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The Man of Steel Video Series

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 11:34

In the first episode of the upcoming The Man of Steel video series, Giovanni Battaglin takes you inside his workshop. That’s where he builds eponymous steel frames.

I can’t get enough handbuilt bike content and sharing the start of this eries for Battaglin’s emphasis on Columbus tubing. Over the course of the next 8 videos, Battaglin unveils the “secret formula” he has been using to make some of the most successful and iconic steel bikes in the late 80s and 90s, like Stephen Roche’s Triple Crown bike.

We wanted our customers to see how their steel frames are made. We’re proud of the final result, and we can’t wait to launch the complete series

That’s a big effort for a small company and while own production bikes, my custom is the go to. It was built right here in Seattle by Bill Davidson. Looking at Giovanni Battaglin’s site, the Power+ Disc model appeals to me the most for the fillet-brazing, front and rear axles with a carbon fork.

Stop Steel Features
  • Fillet –brazed steel frame
  • Columbus Spirit HSS tubeset
  • Carbon tapered fork
  • Tapered head tube 1”1/8 1”1/2
  • English BB
  • Front and rear thru-axle 142×12 mm
  • Head parts and seat collar included

While I prefer Ti, not going to argue with a high-quality steel bike. The last one I rode was a Wilier, another Italian brand and wrote about it in this post.

If you are into the bike, as a hobby or lifestyle, I strongly recommend you add a steel whip to your quiver. It’s like vinyl for an audiophile, shooting b/w for a photographer, or eating street-vending noodles for a foodie. Columbs tubing has stood the test of time too. And, will give you that steel is real ride quality you’ll never get with a carbon bike. It won’t be as fast, but that’s not what riding a classic like a a bike from Battaglin is about.


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MIPS Responds to WaveCel

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 10:35

There’s nothing brands in the bike biz like more than out standardizing each other with propriety products. That’s for sure and today MIPS responds to Wavecel with a resounding, “prove it.”

I noticed this in the study Trek cites too about their anti-slip helmet liner. The difference between their WaveCel and MIPS-equipped helmets are negligible. And, only slightly better than Koroyd that’s in Smith helmets. Here’s a quote from MIPS

Preliminary test results of WaveCel helmets by MIPS cannot substantiate these claims. While further testing is warranted, MIPS cannot see that the helmets perform in a way that the claims Bontrager/WaveCel makes in the comparison between WaveCel and other helmets/technologies.

Both have 5-star-ratings screenshot from Virgina Tech.

While Trek, MIPS, and Koroyd hash this out. What you need to know is if your current helmet doesn’t include an anti-slip system to keep it on your head in a crash then it’s a good time to replace it.

MIPs, Wavecel, Koroyd, and Composite Fusion from Kali work significantly better than helmets without a retention system. With all of them performing better, find one that’s comfortable and fits your head.

MIPS Responds to WaveCel

Also, pay attention to how well the helmet moves air. The first iteration of Smith’s helmet negated the Venturi effect and was too steamy for me. Later, Smith reduced the amount of Koroyd in the helmets. MIPS can fatigue your scalp during a ride because of  padding and straps touching your head. The MIPS inside a Lazer helmet, for example, I just can’t wear. The POC won’t even go on my head.

Any of those brand may fit you perfectly. I haven’t worn a WaveCel, but of the other three styles, Kali is the most comfortable and what I wear daily. In calling out Trek, what we can hope happens is more testing.


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Bontrager WaveCel Helmets

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 20:06

Today Trek introduced  Bontrager WaveCel Helmets with a safety technology similar to Koroyd and what Smith launched 5 years ago.

WaveCel, Koroyd, and MIPS deploy retention systems inside a helmet that prevent it from sliding around or popping off your head on impact. Kali Protective has a similar, but lesser known technology called Composite Fusion.

The reason Trek hyped WaveCel as the most innovative product they’ve developed in the past 30 years is they’re marketing it with science, studies, statistics, a university, a white paper, and this statement

We are cycling enthusiasts on a mission to help more people enjoy the benefits of biking and to do that with the most advanced protection possible.

Safety First, is a First

Of course, bringing more safety products to market is good for cycling. And,  Trek seems to be the only bike company with a safety culture that started with daytime running lights. Perhaps that’s why WaveCel is so important to them and was teased for the past two weeks.

Because the road market is down without anything new since aero and motors, the media and cyclists alike were expecting something quite different.

If your current helmet doesn’t include a system to keep it on your head in a crash like any of the 4 I’ve talked about in the post, it’s a good time to replace it. The study cited by Trek, indicates all the systems work significantly better than helmets without a retention system.

Find one that’s comfortable and fits your head. Pay attention to how well the helmet moves air. The first iteration of Smith’s helmet negated the Venturi effect and was too steamy for me. Later, Smith reduced the amount of Koroyd in the helmets. MIPS can fatigue your scalp during a ride because there are padding and straps touching your head. The MIPS inside a Lazer helmet, for example, I just can’t wear. The POC won’t even go on my head.

Any of those may fit you perfectly. I haven’t worn a WaveCel, but of the other three styles, Kali is the most comfortable.

How WaveCel Works

WaveCel absorbs energy on impact. The layers of the gel-like material move independently and flex until the cell walls crumple and then glide, actively absorbing direct and rotational energy and redirecting it away from your head.

This three-step change in material structure—flex, crumple, glide—is remarkably effective at dispersing the energy from an impact. Nearly 99 times out of 100, WaveCel can help prevent concussions from common cycling accidents, according to Trek.

Bontrager WaveCel Helmet Pricing

Bontrager WaveCel helmets are initially being offered in four models:

  • XXX WaveCel Road Helmet ($299.99)
  • Blaze WaveCel MTB Helmet ($299.99)
  • Specter WaveCel Road Helmet ($149.99)
  • Charge WaveCel Commuter Helmet ($149.99)

Find them online and at your local Trek store.

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ALLITE Concept Bike

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 10:56

Magnesium alloys, like Super Magnesium have been around for a long time. This ALLIT concept bike features “Super Magnesium” by its US manufacturer ALLITE.

Elemental magnesium is a very low density metal. Therefore, when alloyed with other elements the resulting metal tubes have really impressive physical characteristics.

However, alloys with great strength traits that are formed into tubes suitable are notoriously difficult to weld. For instance, that’s why you see magnesium alloys cast or machined into components.

The ALLITE concept bike at NAHBS is really about marketing the material to framebuilders.

Above all, success for ALLITE in the bike industry, requires convincing framebuilders that their “Super Magnesium” material has been tweaked to overcome weldability issues.

In addition, there will need to be a source of fittings. Those include

  • Dropouts
  • Bottom bracket shells
  • Integrated headtubes

The fittings must be in the same alloy. In other words, the current vendors who cater to framebuilders don’t have those items in magnesium. Ultimately, this is important in the age of thru-axle dropouts with flatmount disc calipers.

In a flat market, it’s great to see innovators. Especially, with a challenging material like magnesium. I won’t be at NABHS this year.

It starts this weekend in Sacramento. Magnesium as a frame material is a post Cold War affect. It came from demilitarized Russian sources. I saw a frame or two come through the shop back then. The material is lighter and stronger than aluminum and cheaper than carbon. ALLITE launched last year at Interbike.

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BUILT Presented by PEARL iZUMi

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 08:53

BUILT by PEARL iZUMi is a series of videos created to celebrate handmade bicycles. They partnered with Shimano and visual documentarian Justin Balog, to feature Breadwinner, Horse Cycles, and Sklar.

Three of the four-part video series is out and shared with us. I’ve embedded Sklar here. Watch the episodes about Breadwinner and Horse on our YouTube channel. The photos are on Google.

And, it’s great to see niche builders get the attention they deserve. We’ve been posting handmade (or handbuilt) bikes since we started this blog. Those include my bikes and Mark V’s collection.

Horse Cycles

The latest of those, the Modal, is a rolling test jig and is now configured as a 650b rando style bike. I carry my cameras in the front boxy bag.

View this post on Instagram

This bike is a workhorse to say the least. It’s been and done so many things. Inside that boxy bag is a camera.

A post shared by Byron (@bikehugger) on Mar 3, 2019 at 2:02pm PST

Speaking of handbuilt bikes, NAHBS starts this weekend in Sacramento where builders like the three mentioned in this post show off their wares.

NAHBS Poster Pearl is Back

Next to a worn out pair of Time shoes in my garage, I’m sure are Pearl shorts. It’s great to see them back in the business and from what I hear, they’re giving Assos and Castelli a run for their money. They now offer the best value in gear. Ultimately, PI Dry is like Castelli’s Nano, but more durable. It’s the fabric they use for tights.

Peal’s gear covers more bases than anyone else. They have five different fits, so no matter how fat or thin you are, they have stuff that will fit you. Same for your budget.

Pear’s gear covers more bases than anyone else. They have five different fits, so no matter how fat or thin you are, they have stuff that will fit you. No one can touch their $100 bibs. I expect the new $250 bib will rival Assos that costs $200 more.

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