Opinions

You don't have to like them but everyone has them. These are ours... you may not like them but we have them!

Fancy Opinions

After years of writing stuff about cycling, it was time to try something new - longform.

cycling with diabetes

Cycling with diabetes – an exercise in calories

Turns out hopping on a bike and going for a blast is no longer as simple as it used to be – do it wrong and you can pass out mid pedal stroke!

Pivot Point

It was not until very recently that the importance if this bike dawned. It was more than just a bike racked, it was in fact a pivot point in mountain biking history.

SIT Sprint Interval Training

Can SIT or sprint interval training sessions be as effective, if not far more so, than sessions much longer in duration? I did a bit of a test to find out.

Regular Opinions

It started back in 2001 or so and just kept going. Here you'll find the (very) edited collection of posts we made, including great stuff from @gearingrich, who was on the ELEVEN vélo wagon for the last two years before we stopped in 2015.

That Place

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

The Brand

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…

The abbreviated guide to bicycle dynamics

marketing departments tell people how bikes work, meaning there has been an ever growing tide of misinformation about how and why bikes do what they do

Knog Blinder

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,…

Brake Pad Toe-In

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…

Wrapping bar tape – a guide

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,…

Wheel of Wonder

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…

Chain Cleaning & Lubing

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…

Pedal Kinesiology – Some Thoughts

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?

Brakes As Objets d’Art

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…

Little Dudes Need Not Apply…

I’ve been sent something today which has given me real food for thought.

EE Vs M5 – Long Term Brake Test

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…

Bike Fitting

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…

Headset Adjustment

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’.…

Edging Towards Real BB Standard?

Earlier in 2011 FSA announced their new ‘BB386 Evo’ bottom bracket standard. To put it simply, it’s PressFit30 in an 86mm BB shell

Review: Audio-Technica ATH-M50

I wanted headphones that I could play on my iPod, were of a closed type so that I didn’t have outside noise interfering with my music.

FYHMT

‘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.

Fold that tub!

How to fold a tub

‘One Day’ roads

I’ll ride them though, “one day”…

Can’t Help But Be Intrigued…

…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…