Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pro Bike: Simon Clarke's Super Six Evo

   Cannondale's pro road team has had a challenging couple years. The combination of a young roster and losing some talent meant they weren't finishing at the top of the peleton in the big races . They appear to be poised to be more competitive for the 2016 season, evident in this letter written by manager Jonathan Vaughters. One of the leaders on the team is Simon Clarke, a recent addition formerly of GreenEdge.

Simon Clarke

   He is everything you want in a leader, handsome, strong rider, awesome bike. Bike Radar did a great article on Simon Clarke's sweet Super Six Evo:

Cannondale Super Six Evo Hi-Mod

   It's interesting to see how a pro sets up his bike. He's got a mix of parts, allowed since C-dale apparently doesn't have a sponsor restricting what they can use. He's running Shimano Di2 group, and some sweet Cannondale Hollowgram cranks.

Hollowgram crank

   It's amazing the gears the pros can turn. He's running a 53/39 chainring set up and an 11/25 cassette. This is so manly I think I have to go punch a bear. I run a 50/43 chainrings and 11/28, a mockery of fitness in comparison.
   He has done something that I think is really cool - put a satellite shifter on the flats of his bars so he can shift the rear derailleur from the comfort of the upright position. I'd only ever heard of multiple shifting buttons being used on tri bikes.

Shifters all over the place

   Thanks to Bike Radar and Cycling News for the great article and pics. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Motors: Not Just For Motorcycles

   Get ready for a wild ride, with bicycle motors, stolen parrots, iPads with x-ray technology and a good friend to take the fall.
   Femke van den Driessche just became the face of the latest scandal to rock cycling. The UCI impounded her pit bike at a race in Belgium for suspected motor use. The UCI used what it vaguely referred to as tablet based technology to identify that her pit bike had some sort of motor in it.

Femke in action

   The UCI Officials took the bike apart and found an undisclosed kind of motor in the frame.

A distressed Femke van den Driessche

   Initially, her father jumped to her defense, claiming the bike was not hers. A male friend came to bat for Femke and said the bike as his own.

...

   To make things more weird, her dad and brother are facing charges for stealing rare birds from a pet shop.

Stolen bird in question

   Depending whether the UCI buys the friend bike story, Femke could be facing hefty fines in the thousands of dollars (8-10 parakeets, street value) and an unknown length ban. 
   I can't get over the parrot thing. I thought a family into cycling would have high enough moral standards not to be stealing birds.

"This career is no more!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hello From India!

   I am writing this from my hotel in sunny and warm Hyderabad, India. While there is 12" of snow on the ground in Boulder, I'm wearing flip flops and a tee shirt. I flew from Denver to Dallas, to London, and then onto Hyderabad. All in all, I was in transit for about 25 hours. 

The route taken

  Landing early in the AM and then going into the office was an unmitigated disaster. I was pretty jet lagged and making to dinner was a challenge! Next day though, I'm feeling solid! Here's the view from our hotel:

Hotel View

   It's funny how you can see developed areas right next to undeveloped areas. And piles of rocks everywhere. Lastly, the Super Bowl is coming up, and the hotel is showing it for guests. They even have a mannequin set up to promote it:

Go sports

   That is a cricket batters helmet, a Seahawks jersey and cycling shorts. Jokes aside, I am impressed they got an actual football since football is so much less popular over here.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday WTF: Road Shifter Hacks

   While putting together a post on road group differences, I came across some really wacky configurations - and here they are! Unconventional road shifting set ups...

Mtn shifter on a Space Saver

Grip shift on the stem

Grip shift on the... somewhere

   Whatever keeps your gears turning!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Now That is a Cool Cargo Bike

I don't know who Kenney Stantorp is, but this bike was on his Facebook page with no other information.

Mystery bike

   Google reverse image search returned no results either! It treated it like some kind of scooter.

   It looks like a whole lot of custom work for an imitation Bullitt. I'd like to know if it's a hacked up Bullitt welded to some other frame parts, or a complete custom job.

   I do like how the steering linkage goes above the headset. This way the head shock works without any steering problems. On a normal fork, you could attach the steering rod to the fork upper, which moves with the frame, like this:

Linkage connection

 The mystery bike has to go above the headset since it's a headshock. Well designed! Full suspension cargo bikes aren't entirely unheard of, here are a couple examples:

Fully custom

   Even one that started out as a Bullitt:

Modified Bullitt

   What a time to be alive.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Fat Bike: First Impressions

   Merry Christmas to Me:

Marshal Mesa

Spring Brook

   Got a new (used) Salsa fat bike over the break. I had been looking at a few options for a fat bike, and this one came up on Craigslist and I jumped on it. After a few rides, here are my take aways from the wonderful world of biking in the snow:


  • It was much louder than I expected. The crunchy snow and big tires meant I couldn't hear much going on around me.
  • It didn't float over crusty snow like I expected, marketing be damned. I haven't tried it in powder yet.
  • It was really fun to rail corners. The large, aggressive tires provide a lot of traction
  • The front tire tracks funny, especially if you let it wander. It took deliberate effort to get it back on the trail.
  • I ended up stopping kind of a lot to change layering and keep my body temp regular. Mostly removing a second pair of gloves and skull cap. 
  • It was pretty cold, so I was using snow boots and flat pedals. 
   I have been riding my cx bike in the winter a lot, so had a pretty good handle on what to wear. Notables include: Thin gloves under mittens; Thin skull cap under snowboarding helmet; Gators over winter boots. I'm really excited to try it out after a fresh snow! 


   Natalie also got a new set of wheels - and it's been a long time coming. She'd test ridden a couple bikes with various components, but none felt as good as this one. This is a Specialized Crux Expert. It has 11 speed and HY/RD disc brakes. This bike is really sweet. Light, stiff, just a perfect ride!

Natalie's new whip

   Now we need some snow to melt so she can get out and ride it!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Chain Whips and You

   For a long time, chain whips have been designed like this:

Park Tool chain whip

   You use this to get a good hold on your cassette so you can loosen the lock ring. Without this handy tool, getting your cassette off is downright impossible. Park Tool has come out with a new design for the tool:

Park Tool chain whip pliers

   With this design you don't have to wrap the chain manually, you can just grab ahold of your cassette and go.

In action!

   I know what you're thinking - how much time does this really save? Well, probably not much, but if you're looking for the cleanest way to work on your cassette, this is it. If you're looking for the biggest hassle when working on your cassette, check out the home made jobs below:

From a cut up crank arm

Some pipe and chain

Copper pipe and chain

   Truly necessity is the mother of invention!