Cabling your bike cleanly

A little while back, my good lady wife’s bike was in need of a spring clean so I took the opportunity to finally cover something I’ve been meaning to do for ages – cables. But this is not so much a ‘how to setup and tune your brakes and gears’ and more like ‘how to keep your cabling tidy when you do it’… The cable of choice for me at the moment is the Jagwire ‘Racer’ or ‘Hyper’ range – they’re available in loads of colours, and are one of the very few cables that you can get in purple (to keep…

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Didn’t I already write a bit on what I thought of the crotchety old men of the UCI and bicycle design?

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It’s every rider’s little dirty secret. I’m sure it’s the same theory for all activities, but for cycling deep in the back of every cyclist’s mind they secretly like to think themselves as being ‘hardmen’. Some just think it, others are quite overt about it but either way it lingers there, simmering under the surface. I’ve been lucky to know some real hardmen (to be clear, by ‘hardmen’ I do not mean pros who race – they are a different breed entirely). They put me into perspective at that point when it was easy to think that because I was…

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I’m allergic to production bikes. Ok, that’s not strictly true, but I will generally avoid most production machines – usually based an irrational dislike of the brand, a less irrational dislike of the available colourschemes, ill-suited geometry or a combination of the above. Recently, on the hunt for a new project, I had a (rather late) discovery that a number of previously ignored bikes actually have quite well-suited geometry. The more I looked the more my interest piqued, and I began to latch onto somewhat alternative project plans. A happy accident occurred when one such frameset appeared in my size…

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I bet that title caught your attention!? Let me expand on that. Bicycle ‘design’ is boring and I mean both in terms of visual appeal and in terms of design and designing. It’s funny when you think about it but somehow, in the world of bicycles, we seem to have ended up with a never ending rehash of the same basic concept. Can you imagine if automotive or consumer product design was the same? What would our world look like, if fundamentally we were using all the latest and greatest technology, only to recreate something that has not changed all…

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At the London round of the Rollapaluza National Series during the week a conversation got my cogs whirring… Nick Hussey, Damien Breen (of that most excellent In The Saddle blog) and myself were talking – it was like a mini bloggers convention (although not ‘mini’ in that any of us are particularly short I might add). Whilst Nick and I were getting all excited about the new hydraulic SRAM Red brakes, Damien seemed to glaze over. You see, Damien prefers to just get on with the simplicity and essence of the ‘just ride’ approach to cycling whereas Nick and myself…

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Bike fitters can help you, don’t get me wrong – just be mindful that there needs to be much more consideration of the broader picture.

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Road riding is what I do, but coming from an MTB background means I’ve always had one eye on a return to the dirt – except each time I investigate beyond “what else could I get for the price of that second hand bike in the classifieds” I get scared off. Last time I looked you either rode XC, freeride or downhill and chose your suspension travel accordingly. Now that 26” wheels are ‘dead’ (sorry G, but that’s what ‘Tha Kidz’ and the bike companies tell me – G: Don’t worry Rich, I already knew 4 years ago ;) ),…

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Different to be different, or different for a reason – either way, why? Or, perhaps more to the point, why not? In recent times, Parlee have released two new bikes – one is their ESX ‘aero’ frame, the other is their Altum (which also comes in a slighter heavier ‘R’ variant). The ESX is Parlee’s first entry into the ‘aero’ market, whilst the Altum is set to replace the Z5 as their flagship light weight production model. Both models exhibit a prominent bump on their top tubes. Whilst this might be an ‘aero’ feature on the ESX, on the Altum…

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It seems to me that ‘innovation’ is a term that is used loosely in the bike industry to describe a marketing opportunity to drive sales.

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I had a new lust… a gleaming new Polar ‘device’ that is due out, the V650. A long time fan of Polar, as their HR kit is some of the best going, so the idea of bundling that with a good GPS and barometric elevation tracker was too good to be true. Bliss! Then I thought about it. The past few months has seen me back on the bike in anger. ‘Winter’ was a write off, three months of being constantly sick wiped out any form of riding, so when I finally got back to riding, I said to myself…

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I like disc brakes. I NEVER liked rim brakes. EVER. So when I heard that road bikes were finally stepping into the modern age and slowly adopting discs, I did a little jig; only a little one but one none the less. If there’s one thing that being so heavily into mountain bikes for so long taught me, was that disc brakes, without question, are superior in every way to a rim brake. Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not some mountain bike infidel preaching his brand of dirt (get it? that was a pun!) to the road bike…

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There’s a number of bikes of a particular format that I’ve always had a level of intrigue over. Many (most, even) of them get good reviews, lots get ridden by the pros at the Spring Classics and a number of them have some really nice features about them, as well as being well suited to those long of leg and short of torso – i.e. Me. In the industry, bikes of this format are referred to as sportive / fondo / endurance geometry. I prefer to refer to them as “bikes that actually fit me without a massive stack of…

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This time I was determined to get out into the dirt. The last time I came down, it rained and frankly, a wet 4 degrees C is below my ‘enjoyment’ level, regardless of how good the trail. This time though there was no excuse, 2 days off summer officially starting, it was warm. Of course that meant getting out of bed by 5, but with 4.20am the regular start time of my road rides these days, 5am seemed like a luxury. I was flying solo too, always too hard to organise people when you don’t exactly know when or where…

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Be it weight, technology, gear count or (*yawn*) disc brakes on road bikes, I can’t help thinking too many of us are listening too intently.

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Dear Cyclist Waiting At The Junction… Yes, you – and no doubt you at numerous points along any given ride, be it on a commute or a bunch paceline – do yourself, and all other road users, a favour… Before I go on, let me just remind and reiterate fact that I am a cyclist too, and that this is, ultimately, a cycling-based blog. All the more reason for you to heed this advice: Learn to clip-in to your clipless pedals WITHOUT LOOKING. Please, for the love of all things cycling, do it. NOW. Cycling is, we are repeatedly told,…

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Lately there has been a lot of hoopla about the supposed war going on between ‘cyclists’ and drivers…

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After a good long time it’s just not working out any more and not to make you upset, it’s not me; it’s you.

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Where I live, there has been and continues to be much hoo-har, beating of chests and gnashing of teeth from bricks and mortar retailers bemoaning the flat retail sector and the loss of sales to online operations. Every second day there’s some retail group or another having  good go about online retailers stealing their business, this week the headline in the paper was a good bash at our postal service ‘helping’ online stores increase their business. Yea, really. Now this might come as a shock to some retailers but I have a theory about just why you might be loosing…

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This is something that’s been sitting with me for some time now. Riding in Sydney of late has made me ponder it further, as the rate of bike snobbery seems to be on the rise, and when I say bike snobbery, I don’t strictly mean a snobbery associated with the physical bike but more of the all over mentality of ‘fitting in’. What really got me thinking, and maybe the cause for this post, was a recent incident that occurred in the comments section of an online review for kit we’d sent over to Bike Rumor.com. The stand out comment…

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Long time readers might remember a long buried section on twosix for oldskool bikes called Warbirds. This was essentially an area for glorifying old bikes that were still on the trail. The intent, although never realised, was to actually seek out and glorify those old warbirds that were still alive and kicking. Well, riding around the other week on some sensational singletrail with G it dawned on me that the most modern bike between us was constructed in 1996. For those who don’t know, G was getting around on a circa 1820’s Mountaincycle San An he got brand new for…

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Stop reading right here if you are a 130 pound stick shaped whippet, as the ONLY way you’ll get lighter on the bike is to spend lots of money! If though you are like the 90% or riders out there, fitting riding in between jobs, family and everything else, I have a question for you – what’s the best way to make your bike lighter? I can hear the myriad of answerers pouring in now. In the wheels, lighter stems, posts, cranks… get a new bike. Was that your answer too, to make your bike lighter, by either replacing it…

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Right, back on the mountain bike after too long. Seriously, city living and family guff can all but kill the best intentioned mountain biker. That and the fact that riding on the road is just so damned easy to do in comparison. As shameful as it sounds, I rolled my own ‘pièce de résistance’ (so far) in frame design out for only the second time for a properly serious good old dirt session in a year (discounting the wee sessions with the lad). I know how that sounds, just typing it make me hang my head in shame to be…

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I just got the latest digital copy of a mtb mag in my inbox today, so, as one does, I rushed over to have a read. Nice deal this digital delivery thing and I save a tree… or a leaf. I find it interesting after all these years, that there’s still stuff to write about when it comes to mountain biking. It’s a good sign and means that it’s still progressing in new directions and there are still things going on that are interesting. Admittedly I might glance over half an issue but there’s always something that catches my eye…

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The idea was simple – I wanted something I could do with no equipment to start, took no more than half an hour and did the whole body…

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Two week’s ago, G lamented on the merits of going ‘Bog Standard’ – or, perhaps more to the point, why taking the complete groupset approach on an MTB often yields a more reliable, maintenance-free machine.  Whilst the same can be – and often is – true on the road scene, there are a few exceptions.  Whilst G didn’t claim or suggest there is no place for aftermarket, I felt the need to offer a repost in support of the boutique, aftermarket componentry that does cut the mustard, along with some reasoning behind why some folk eschew the likes of Shimano, SRAM and…

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Put up your hand if you remember what it was like to ride a mountain bike in the early to mid 90’s. Remember all those must have, lust worthy boutique parts? While the road scene was still stuck with what they were being served up by Campy, Shimano and the tail end of Suntour, the mountain bike world was rife with anodised choice. The boutique industry flourished with all manner of parts to replace most of what your bog standard bike came with off the floor. And, if I recall, we all craved the offerings. Apart from the colours, one…

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Fiddling.  It’s what you do best.  You know you shouldn’t but you just can’t help it, can you? “I could just try…” “What if I just…” “I reckon if…” Well, Rich, it’s time to stop. For ages now there’s been a constant stream of saddle changes, stem swaps, wheel choice ‘dilemmas’ (they’re not dilemmas at all, I just turn them into unnecessary dramas), and fretting over the general look, feel and setup of my ‘bike 1’.  And then there’s the “what about if I nudge my saddle down / up / back / forward by 5mm?” and other minuscule changes…

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I think it’s one of those things that every one who’s ever ridden a mountain bike has

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How it started was one of those strange stories, perhaps best left for another post about how the internet works. What happened though was I found myself working in the bike industry (in a way I had not before, just to clarify) and for one of the great names in the annals of Mountain Bike history. The journey that ensued was one of interest, bewilderment and a lesson in how to do, or not, things, with whom and for what reasons. Over 2008, I found myself starting to do an increasing amount of work for a brand (I shall refer…

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I hate bike lights. Don’t get me wrong, they serve their purpose; they’re just such ugly things that stick out, stand proud, have mounts that look crap if you leave them on the bike or are fiddly to put on and take off if you don’t leave them on the bike. It’s exactly why I’m such a fan of “USE Light Mount”, the new Exposure Flare saddle mount – change the lairy red band for a sturdy black one and you barely know the light is there. Finally though, Knog have answered my prayers. The Blinder isn’t just one light,…

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Perhaps a slightly random subject to focus on, but it’s one I’ve been asked about a lot – or rather, as much as anything is one which is answered with a blank expression when mentioned. What’s brake pad ‘toe-in’? It’s when the front of the brake pad touches the wheel rim before the rear. Why bother with toe-in? Well, under the forces of forward momentum combined with the application of braking force from each side, the brake pads undergo a twisting motion. If you set your pads square against the wheel rim this twisting means the rear of the pad…

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There are heaps of videos on YouTube about wrapping bar tape, but I thought I’d add my tuppence with this photo sequence of how I wrap mine – including doing the ‘figure of eight’ wrap (I can’t actually remember how to wrap without doing that anymore!). So, here goes… Firstly, my method involves wrapping the tape away from the bike – by which I mean clockwise on the drive side, anti-clockwise on the non-drive side. I do this because that’s just how I always have and because I find it finishes more neatly and looks better at the top. Also,…

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I recently happened across the opportunity to buy some of the cycling industry’s very best components – Chris King hubs – at a price that could not be ignored. But what format to get, and what do with them? Should I buy 24-hole road and build them into something bling and carbon, something more practical for a nice sturdy build, or perhaps some singlespeed MTB ones to keep spare for when I (eventually) build a 29er?… In all my musings, this blog post sprang to mind – my (now ex) colleague Stuart musing over the hand built wheel: “Now I…

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Sticking with the recent theme on cleaning (and leap-frogging the planned article on polishing due to bad planning on my part), this week I’m going to focus on cleaning and lubing your chain. How often you clean your chain really depends on how much and how regularly you ride, and what kind of riding you do. Ride on the road in the dry more than three times a week and you really want to be doing it fortnightly at worst. Any more regularly than that and it really should be a weekly job, especially if there’s decent distances involved. Ride…

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For years as cyclists we’ve been constantly badgered about how smooth our pedal stroke should be, about how we should ‘pedal in circles’ and pull up through the pedal stroke as well as push down. But should we really? Where’s the proof?

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When it comes to road bikes I developed a slightly unhealthy obsession with brakes pretty much from the start.  But I don’t mean from a ‘weight weenie’ perspective you understand – it was simply as an interesting component that’s nice to look at.  Objet d’art for my bike, if you will. It started with my first proper road bike too.  Ok so I’d dabbled with a Giant that I never used and a Cannondale that I sold to fund my dirty habit (I was really an MTBer back then), but then came the bike that started it all.  A Titanium…

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And so the Bike Tart’s posh brake fetish continues… Now that the EE Brakes have been on the Cannondale for a couple of months I thought it would be a good time for a longer term review. Like the Reynolds wheel review it seemed like a good idea to use my experience of them to pitch them against and equivalent – in this case, their equally lightweight predecessors, the M5s. It’s been quite a while since I ran standard groupset brakes on a bike – I have a bit of ‘a thing’ with brakes where I believe a bike can…

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Kind of an ‘Ask The Bike Tart’ and a Tuesday Tune-Up all rolled into one this week (and delayed a week due to the migraine that knocked me flat last week!). An important subject too: Bike fitting. Luis asked me this: “You’ve mentioned several times the importance of proper bike fit. Do you have any preference regarding a particular method or set of tools, such as Retul, for example? Or are we to depend on an experienced pro? On top of that, how long does it last, or how often should I go back for a refit?” It’s difficult to…

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It’s the bane of any sensitive cyclist, and often the first thing to go wrong on a poorly maintained bike – get your headset adjustment wrong or don’t keep an eye on it and you could be looking at an expensive repair bill, or worse, a written off frame. So what’s the secret? In short, there is none – it’s one of the most simple adjustments to make. Some folk may have slightly quirky devices here which can introduce complications – Look and Time have their own adjustable headset designs for example, and the bods at USE developed the ‘Ring-Go-Star’.…

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‘hardmen’ of cycling, when bikes were made of pipe, gear selection was hard or harder and the concept of a sports drink was having a beer on the fly.

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…about how road bikes and hydraulic systems will develop through 2012. There’s been lots of banding about of the word ‘hydraulic’ in road circles of late – something which I flatly refused to believe would happen, right up until the mention of the possibility that SRAM’s new Red group might feature hydraulic shifting. It doesn’t look like it will, although SRAM are openly touting their plans to introduce hydraulic road levers soon. The immediate thought is that this disc brake development is based around the UCI’s decision to allow disc brakes on ‘cross bikes – true, and obvious. But if…

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I wasn’t going to do anything on gear indexing because it’s a subject that’s frankly covered perfectly well over on Park Tool. However, I do have one neat little trick that I use when cabling up a rear derailleur, and that might prove useful to some of you… So, start as you should when setting up the rear cabling with the chain on the bottom sprocket. One thing that Park and other manuals and guides suggest doing when cabling a rear mech is to wind the rear mech cable adjuster all the way in, and then back it out –…

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Custom fitted insoles in cycling shoes was always something I couldn’t get my head around – I mean, your cycling shoes have nice, stiff soles and that’s all you need to transfer the power from your legs through the pedals, right? So out of curiosity as much as anything, I decided to get some insoles made… Getting an appointment at ProFeet in Fulham was easy enough, and on entering the store I was asked to fill out a form to help understand any specific needs, what my sport focus was (they cater for runners and triathletes too) and whether I…

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On Saturday I managed to get in my first ride on my Look with the new Edge bars and Specialized Roubaix bar tape mounted – these were the bars I’d originally planned to put on my Baum when it arrives, but got cold feet when I considered the fact that I’d never used this shape of bar before, and because I wasn’t entirely keen on how they’d look on the finished bike. With very subtle changes seeming to make quite big differences to my comfort on the bike at the moment I wasn’t sure how these bars would fare, but…

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Perhaps a bit random, but it’s something I needed to work out for myself due to probably having to use a ‘loan’ (Wendy’s) set of wheels when I initially switch to Campag (when I eventually find a second bike that fits) so I thought I’d check it out, photograph it and share it here. Besides, there’s not many wheelsets out there as common as Mavic so it might be useful. And if I was doing anything DT Swiss it’s be too simple: “pull this one off, put this one on” (yes, it really is that easy on most DT hubs!).…

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I’m a fussy bugger. Oh, wait, you know that. Anyway, it means I fuss over the silliest of things. Lights are one of these things – they serve such an important function, yet they’re all so ugly, bulbous and obvious. Or at least they were. Knog answered my prayers already, but now they’ve done an even better job. Introducing the Knog Blinder 4V… See – tidy and discreet isn’t it? And it’s not a garish red with a big bolt-on clip that ruins the lines of your bike when it’s not mounted. I mentioned I’m fussy, right?… Here’s a better…

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I was chatting to a fellow bike nut on Saturday about a few things – something came up which has been on my mind for a while… Ever marvelled at how good that shiny new {insert shiny new component of choice} of yours is? Wondered how you ever lived without it? Claimed how you’ll “never go back” to the old one? Yes? How about positional changes on the bike? You made a switch to your position on the bike that unequivocally made you faster, right? I’ve done both too. But there’s a good chance that the benefit you’re feeling is…

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So with the ‘Finishing Touches’ series over and done with it’s time for the Tuesday Tune-Up to turn to the real hands-on stuff… This week: Gluing tubular tyres. Before I start, my apologies for the lack of images here – I don’t currently have any rims that need gluing so I’ve not been able to do this a step-by-step image guide. Hopefully it’s descriptive enough to be clear. First things first, don’t go near any glue – get those tyres unpacked and mounted onto a set of rims. Doesn’t matter if they’re not built wheels yet, or even if they’re…

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A bit of a Tuesday Tune-Up cheat this week I’m afraid – this entry is based on one I’ve used twice before! Still, it’s been a while and it serves as a useful precursor to next weeks’ entry on getting some showroom shine to your bike shed. So, after a grim wet and dirty ride (yes, I do ride in the wet sometimes!) how does a Bike Tart go about making his dream bike sparkle again? Allow me to share a few of my secrets and techniques… First and foremost, a polished frame is easier to keep clean. I’ll get…

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Several years ago, at the start of the whole Mountain Cycle thing, I was introduced to a line of cranks that for all intents and purposes were the goods. At the time we were in the market for a crank spec and I was assured that these cranks had been ridden in-house at MC for the best part of a year and proved flawless*. All seemed good. Fast forward to now and my damn crank creak has returned in earnest. On my last ride I pulled up and gave things a good tug. To my alarm, the non drive side…

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Yes, that’s treads, not threads – this ain’t no fashion blog, and you’d all look stupid having me advise you on what to wear this winter… *ahem*, where was I?… Winter tyres – what are the options then, now that we’re heading for that time of year? Here’s my take… It will surprise… well, probably very few of you that my winter tyre of choice is the Vittoria Pavé – I love Vittoria tyres and run Open Corsa CXs (much to the dislike of a few of my riding buddies) most of the time on my Baum. When it turns…

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On the back of my Blinder and Blinder 4V reviews, Knog were kind enough to send me their latest offering – the Blinder 1 – to me to receive the same treatment. This is quite a timely review as most places are slipping – not so quietly it would appear – into the late autumn and early winter months, and with British Summer Time now over (and clocks changed one way or the other in most other parts of the world) daylight is now much more scarce for many, meaning bike lights are becoming a priority. On the other hand,…

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Last night I had the pleasure of working with Campag for the first time in quite a long time. It was my first tete-a-tete with both Super Record and with 11-speed too. It was also my first time properly working in close quarters on a Colnago, but that’s another story… I say it was a pleasure, because it truly was exactly that, and it brought home some realisations that I’ll share with you now. The bike I was working on was a not-so-shiny, albeit brand spanking new, Colnago EPS belonging to my friend, clubmate and chiropractor, Craig. He’d approached me…

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The legendary ‘weight weenie’ stalwart Vs it’s slightly overweight, significantly cheaper but no less good-looking counterpart. A fair comparison? No. But it’s not so much a ‘comparison’ as an understanding of what each wheel offers. First up, the Mavic ‘heavyweights’… Dear god these things make a great noise when you wind them up! Once you do get them rolling they’re nice and smooth too, and despite being 52mm you don’t seem to get blown about too much in the wind – I’m comparing to 46mm DT Swiss and Lightweights at 40mm, both of which I felt crosswinds on more. One…

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A bit of a Tuesday Tune-Up cheat this week I’m afraid – this entry is based on one I’ve used twice before! Still, it’s been a while and it serves as a useful precursor to next weeks’ entry on getting some showroom shine to your bike shed. So, after a grim wet and dirty ride (yes, I do ride in the wet sometimes!) how does a Bike Tart go about making his dream bike sparkle again? Allow me to share a few of my secrets and techniques… First and foremost, a polished frame is easier to keep clean. I’ll get…

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Ah yes, I’ve recovered enough to blurb about the thing that was the 2011 Interbike. So, what was that all about….? Vegas. I arrived and it was raining. Go figure. The streets were flooded and it’s still a shit hole. After the first visit, where the gloss and insanity last just long enough for it to be fun, I just can’t see the point of the place. Interbike. For an exhibitor, the show is just a blur of days where your voice gets horse and feet sore. On the first day we realised it was 4pm and had not even…

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I was strolling along with Wendy, boring her to tears with stories about how I get blown about on my bike when it’s windy and wondering what it must be like for lighter guys on deep section wheels and how super light wheels feel for bigger riders. It got me thinking about the whole ‘aero Vs light’ wheel thing, and about wheels in general – time for a Brain Fart… So, aero wheels. Zipp’s Firecrest and Enve’s ‘SES’ (Smart-Enve-System, I think) are the current hot topics on the aero front, each claiming their wheel is better for particular reasons. Zipp…

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Firstly, a retraction. At the start of the year I fitted Answer’s Haven’s to the test Zen II to see what all the fuss was about. At the time I was evaluating them as an option for Mountain Cycle’s ‘special build’ bikes, after all, these things were all the rave it seemed, so if they were that good we had to give them a whirl. After putting them on the bike though, my elation turned to confusion as it seemed they were to softest wheels known to man. Bank the bike into a mild corner and the back ‘wheel’ sprung…

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So, we arrive in Australia and I commence riding. Little did I know but the helmet I wear – a Giro Aeon – is not approved for use here. Bugger. Now, I could just carry on regardless. After all, stories of being asked to change helmets at races have been known, but it’ll be a while before I’m fit enough to race anyway. No hurry then. Except for the small factor of health insurance. Stack the bike wearing my Aeon and I might not be covered. Sure, they’d have to check, but better safe than sorry in my book –…

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I’ve been riding these brakes for a little while now – certainly long enough to know how they work, feel and generally perform. About time I told you a bit about them then… I’ll admit, there’s always been ‘something’ about TRP brakes which has put me off – I won’t say I can’t pin-point it, because I know exactly what it is: ‘Tektro Racing Products’. Yup, I was being a brand snob. There’s just too much of a connection to cheap Tektro brakes on bikes where the manufacturers are cutting out groupset components to hit a price point. Regardless, I…

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This is a piece I wrote for the Mountaincycle.com blog when it was still… well alive. “Incrementally I don’t know what it would cost you to fab the frames stateside, but I’d be willing to buck up for it. I would no more buy a Browning shotgun made in Japan, a Llama pistol made in Spain, or a high-end bike, like I thought yours were going to be, made in TW… Fire the damn bean counters and give me an American flag on my frame!” This was an email that landed in the inbox at Mountain Cycle Inc.’s inbox this…

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After what has been a totally manic week, which sees your truly coming down with a case of ‘cabin fever’, after what seems to be the week of endless rain, Friday night is finally here and there’s nothing on the tube but the wedding stuff. Looking down at the floor, the magazine lying discarded reminds me what this whole part 2 thing was supposed to be about, after part one seemed to poo on the hot topic of the last week, internet forums. This week I spent the whole week working on a sales strategy document to present to the…

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Just off the plane back from the 2011 Sea Otter and there was plenty of things to ponder, after being on the front lines for 4 days. As most know, I went over there on official business, doing the Mountain Cycle thing for the 4 days. It was a big event for us as a company, as it was the first time in somewhere around 10 years that Mountain Cycle fronted new bikes to a public audience. The reaction to the line was fully positive, especially when one considers that there are still some tweaks to be done to colours…

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‘Back ion the day’, read close to 10 years ago now, we used to be the distributors for Scary Fast Racing’s glove. Gloves, if you knew them, were some of the best on the market. To this day actually, I think that SFR ‘Spyder’ glove is still one of the best lightweight gloves ever made. Since my secret stash of Scary Fast finally died, I have been searching near and far for what I would consider a suitable replacement. Where that has come from has been somewhat unexpected. Enter POC. If you don’t know, and chances are most don’t, POC…

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One could sit back and ponder just what the hell was all that about but near a year and a half of work came to a sudden and abrupt head a little over a week ago in Taipei, as the new Mountain Cycle line was finally revealed. It’s been interesting since then… It stared with the lead up. Several days in Taipei building the bikes which included receiving the San Andreas 2.0 frames at 8pm one day out, after their journey right from the factory, via the Mega Fast Train, to me in the basement of a building – an…

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Every now and then on the trail I see something and think Mmmmmmmmm. The mind starts ticking and inspiration flows. I thought I had to share the latest installment. Its been a while since I have been near a DH bike, unless of course walking past the neglected DH bike inthe garage consitutes being near one, let alone thrown my leg over one. OK, I’ve not ridden a DH bike in a long long time, probably too long. Been thinking about a spin lately, but just couldn’t get myself motivated. Well the motivation just turned up in a big way…

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The prototype bike came off the line, ended up in a box and was in my hands within a day. A few days later I was out riding on it, working out all the little things that needed correction – hardly anything. A few days prior there was much stressing, after the frame was weighed at the factory and the number that came in made us all not so happy. And so the folly began. Several hours of discussion, emails and whatnot, followed by many hours of 3D CAD work, and weight had been reamed out of the frame. We…

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Maybe not the best advice to be honest, but that’s just what 10 foolish members of the Glenrock Trail Alliance did today. As temperatures went up and over the 40 degree mark and some poor souls took part in an adventure race around us (whats the fun in adventure on a day like this?), we got in and hand finished some new trail in the park. The section of trail we were working  on (Upper Jumping the Gun) is a heavily used section of trail that was flat and straight. Funnily enough, the lack of grades and lack of curves…

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Anyone who’s read a Bike Crit-ique of mine on a bike that has a aluminium rims with a silver brake track is probably used to seeing a comment about how ugly I find that look on a bike. Until recently the only way around that has been to either run a carbon wheel, which isn’t to everyone’s desires or budget, or to run a set of Ceramic-coated Open Pro rims which leads you down the route of a traditional 32h wheel build. When Mavic announced their Exalith black aluminium coating with the launch of their new SLR wheels last year…

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I started this journey because I had lost my motivation to ride and I wasn’t getting out and enjoying cycling. My weight was rising and my fitness was plummeting.

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I was reading the Ed’s intro in the latest issue of Bikemag. It basically went like this: Boy discovers riding. Riding was fun. Boy becomes serious and then pro but when he turned pro, it became work… and not fun. Boy, now Man lost interest in riding. Fun was gone. Man stopped riding. Recently, with new job Man rediscovered the fun bit. Man now realises riding is about fun, nothing else. Man’s having fun. Last week, Lenny and I hit up Awaba. 20km of single track bliss, including some new trail I have not ridden before. It’s the first time…

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When it’s wider, it just feels better. Got your attention you dirty minded folk, haven’t I? So just what am I on about? Wide bars on your bike, most notably your mountain bike. You see, like many ‘old sKool’ riders out there (ie. been riding since some point in the 80’s), I grew up with bars being a certain width, which usually narrower than shoulder width. So, like everyone I came to believe that the ‘norm’ was the best option. Over the years the bars I ran widened slightly, adding an inch to either side but for the most part…

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When we first kicked off the VVC at Awaba, I remember meeting an very enthusiastic chap and his (poor?) better half. The chap stood out because he had an enthusiasm that was hard to define and when you consider he took the train up and rode to the event, only to then ride 12 hours solo, how he managed to keep the enthusiasm going was, to be perfectly honest, not easy to understand. Come the second VVC, there he was again, this time with an even louder shirt and hooking into the ‘bribe for laps’ scheme like there was no…

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I was reading the other day on some mountain bike forum that such and such a bike looks like some other brand’s bike. It’s not the first time this has come up and it’s not going to be the last. What it signifies though is that ‘that’ particular avenue has gone as far as it can go. It’s something I ponder quite a bit – ‘where to next?’ to put it another way. In the case of say a mountain bike frame, there literally are so many ways you can stick the various bits together and do so in an…

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I really didn’t mean to, I had no expectation of doing so, and I still don’t quite believe that I did. But a few weeks ago, I went and won the solo part of the 12 hour Day Night Thriller race in Taupo, New Zealand. This was my last warm-up race before the big scary one, the World Solo 24 hour champs in Canberra on 9-10 October. I’ve done the Taupo race a few times before, as part of a team and solo. I even did it solo on a singlespeed cyclocross bike a few years ago. So I knew…

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I was looking through old ‘draft posts’ that I had stared in the WordPress database and found the below bit. I am not sure when I wrote it but is must have been around 2007 or so. It’s interesting reading this little time capsule now, some 3.5 years on from when I sat down and wrote the words, I guess trying to explain what had happened to Lab-Gear V1.0. Reading it now and looking at what has transpired over the past year and half or so, it seems that I have ended up where I have wanted to all along…

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Yep, it was a week of compacted madness. Personally, it meant that I climbed on board a plane, one of those new BIG ones with two full decks, and flew up to LA on the Tuesday, drove to Vegas, and then on the Friday, drove out and flew back. Not my fave way to spend 30 off hours but hey, Interbike had to be got to. Anyway, I really was not sure what to expect, I knew Eurobike has been causing a little grief and Cannondale and Giant didn’t turn up at all. In a way it felt all very…

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Bit of an odd article title for someone who’s obsessed with cycling isn’t it? Maybe, but when someone who – in theory – shouldn’t even be racing utterly dominates a Grand Tour and then continues his season expecting (or at least being expected) to dominate the very next Grand Tour and biggest event on the cycling calendar, why should I bother? Firstly, a bit of background about me – probably the most surprising thing being that I’m still fairly new to road cycling. Sure, I’ve had road bikes in the past (an early Giant TCR back in the late ‘90s…

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For some reason, despite a major need for one of those old carbon Proflex/K2 bikes, I have always had a fear of all things carbon. Well founded fear or completely irrational?Probably the latter and as such I recently had been starting to be swayed towards its pretty looks. Some nice Ritchey parts (seat post and bars) had found their way onto my main ride and have been great. No complaints at all with them and the actual feel of the bars is better than anything I have used before. That opinion swaying towards the use of carbon may have been…

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