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.

The Harsh Reality of ‘Euro’

You hear the term ‘Euro’ all over the place in the road world.

Roast Pumpkin, Feta and Pasta Salad

It all started after the Highland Fling a couple of years back. We were given a little ticket that would entitle you to a post-race meal in the goodie bag..

An Indexing Trick

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 –…

ProFeet Insoles Review

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…

Review – Edge Bars and Roubaix Tape

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…

Mavic Freehub Switch

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!).…

Review: Knog Blinder 4V

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…

The Placebo Effect

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…

Glue that tub!

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…

Clean your bike!

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…

Soft… not all are created equal

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…

Winter Treads

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…

Review: Knog Blinder

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,…

A Campag Epiphany?

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…

Lightweights Vs Cosmic Carbone SLRs

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…

Bike Cleaning

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…

Interbike 2011

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…

Wheels: ‘Aero Vs Light’ – Does It *Really* Matter?

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…

A retraction, tyres and an old school attitude to gears… in that order

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…

Specialized S3 Helmet – First Ride Report

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 –…