What's going on in the curly bar world? CyclingTips Digest showcases articles from our sister site, CyclingTips. In each installment, you might find endurance coverage, power-to-weight ratios, gravel bike tech and, of course, lycra.
The dictator, the oligarch and the UCI president
By: Iain Treloar
Cast your mind back to June. Before the racing season resumed. Before the Tour and Worlds and most of the Classics, when the world was still trying to wrap its head around this pandemic thing.
In that lull, when everyone was otherwise preoccupied and not really thinking about cycling, the UCI awarded a dictator its highest honour, which was all very cool and very normal, especially seeing as it was kept under wraps until CyclingTips broke the story.
To this date, the UCI has made no mention of it anywhere on its website.
Stop broadcasting crash replays before we know the fate of the rider
By: Caley Fretz
I’d just sat down with my Sunday morning coffee and casually flicked on this weekend’s Formula 1 Grand Prix when the fireball lit up my TV. It came just three corners into the race, in the usual first-lap chaos. Romain Grosjean clipped another car and went careening into a row of Armco barriers that sliced his car in half like a hot knife through butter, spewing fuel and fire into the space where we all knew he should be.
It happens fast. Then it hits you. There’s a human being in there, in that fire.
Bike race coverage has changed a lot in recent years. Gone are the days of simply sitting down to watch a basic race feed. Nowadays, we have more information at our fingertips than ever before, helping to augment the viewing experience. We have second-screen apps that allow us to track the position of every rider throughout a race, and we have on-screen data showing riders’ speed, heart rate and power output, all in real time.
Now, a group of researchers in Belgium is trying to push the envelope even further.
How one bike brand is making others look environmentally irresponsible
By: Dave Rome
At this year’s Taipei Cycle Show I got talking to a product manager who was in the midst of setting up a new bike brand. Normally I’d glaze over upon hearing another such story, but this was different. It was filled with talk about disposable and non-recyclable products, irresponsible packaging, poisonous working conditions, and an over-complication of the bicycle that’s designed to have you buy more, more often.
Enter Bjorn Bikes. A start-up out of Vancouver, Canada that aims to raise awareness about how environmentally hypocritical our pedal-powered scene can be. The brand’s first model, a do-it-all, make-it-what-you-want gravel frameset, is made with up to 60% recycled stainless steel and a fork that’s up to 70% recycled aluminium. The bike is accompanied by a grip made from recycled materials, and there’s a tyre in the works, too.
Cycling took on a whole new meaning for me in 2020.
Looking back, I’d more or less taken for granted the ability to head out for an hour or two at a moment’s notice, and to ride purely for the sheer enjoyment of it — that sensation of earthbound flying, as I’ve always liked to think of it. A few months ago, that carefree attitude gave way to cycling becoming more a respite from increasingly stressful days that never seemed to have nearly as many hours in them as my family deserved, and increasingly restless nights that felt just as unfairly short.
For a while there, getting on a bike became something I did almost more out of necessity instead of something that just made me happy. It was a precious moment of escape that I grew to cherish more than ever. Somehow I get the feeling this is something that doesn’t need to be explained to anyone reading this right now.
The new normal: the current thinking behind wide road wheel design
By: James Huang
It was only just a handful of years ago that 15mm was considered an optimal width for everyday road wheels, narrow enough to slice through the air, light enough to feel faster on the climbs, and a suitably broad foundation for the 23mm-wide tires commonly used at the time. Today, most modern high-performance road wheels now measure around 20mm — an increase of just 5mm, but a whopping 33%. What’s the thinking behind this rapid change? U.S. technical editor James Huang takes a look at the upsides and downsides of this now-common trend.
The announcement that Vital Concept-B&B Hotel rider Tom-Jelte Slagter was planning on calling it a day on his racing career and venturing into the world of selling agriculture equipment, or more precisely tractors, got me thinking. What the heck are all the pros up to that I used to admire? What has happened to some of the superstars of years gone by?
Sure, we know a few end up behind the wheel of a Skoda yelling at younger versions of what they used to be, or beaming from our goggle boxes telling us how the race is panning out, or even coaching the next generation. But what about the ones that just want to get away from the two-wheeled world?
Well, I decided to do some digging – I pretty much just asked Twitter to be honest- and found out where some of our heroes have ended up.
Radical new chain claims to be faster, more durable than anything available
By: Ronan Mc Laughlin
With over a century of refinement behind them, the roller chains used on modern bicycles are incredibly efficient, remarkably strong and durable, and relatively inexpensive. There’s always room for improvement, though, and UK company New Motion Labs has introduced a completely different design that not only promises better efficiency, but also decreased wear throughout the entire drivetrain, and all without the need for laborious cleaning and lubrication procedures.
This isn’t just some lab experiment, either. They’re soon going to be used in top-tier UCI track races.
BMC unveils a $10,000 Masterpiece frameset — because it can
By: James Huang
BMC quietly rolled out a few days ago a curious new flagship road bike called Masterpiece. There was no online launch event, or even a press release. There is, however, a dedicated web site littered with even more hyperbole than we’re used to seeing in the bicycle industry.
“Iconic.” “Unequalled fidelity.” “Perfect at birth.” “Flawless.” “An exclusive and unparalleled example of what can be done when no expense is spared.” “Driven only by perfection.”
What’s conspicuously missing from the page are the usual performance claims associated with top-end product. Is the Masterpiece some groundbreaking aero road racer? An ultralight climbing bike? Some new fully custom project?
No, no, and no. It’s actually not even exactly “new”, either.
Devinci Hatchet Carbon gravel bike review: Just enough MTB seasoning
By: James Huang
We reviewed a whole bunch of gravel bikes at a wide range of price points at our recent Gravel Bike Field Test, but we still left a ton more on the table. One of the bikes that was most requested by CT fans for us to review was the Devinci Hatchet Carbon — and now that I’ve spent the last few months on one, it’s easy to see why. It handles superbly, rides nicely, offers tons of tire clearance, it looks good, and is even pretty good value. Well done, Devinci.