CyclingTips Digest: Corruption, Crashes, $10,000 Framesets, A Radical New Chain, & More

Dec 2, 2020
by Sarah Moore  


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.

(Read more.)





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.


(Read more.)






Could AI be the future of bike race coverage?
By: Matt de Neef

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.

(Read more.)





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.

(Read more.)





Ten products I loved in 2020: James Huang
By: James Huang

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.

(Read more.)





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.

(Read more.)





Shoddy investigates: Retirement plans of the pros
By: Dave Everett

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.

(Read more.)





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.

(Read more.)





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.

(Read more.)





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.

(Read more.)






95 Comments

  • 168 1
 Hang on, is someone implying that the UCI might be a teeny tiny bit dodgy?
  • 57 0
 I cannot see how that would be possible for such a transparent organisation...
  • 48 0
 No, clearly not. Why would it be implied that with the help of Swiss creative accounting, the UCI is a very effective money laundering operation with a great cover story. That would be as crazy. UCI can certainly be considered in the same high regard as FIFA.
  • 2 0
 @Mojo348: same address in Geneva anyway i guess
  • 4 0
 @Hugamo: FIFA is in Zürich and I believe the UCI in Aigle (Wallis). They may have mailboxes in Zug though. Just my 2 cents.
  • 2 0
 Here's a video from the bat**** crazy dictator guy. A true must watch. www.youtube.com/watch?v=txAHDiCF0oY&feature=youtu.be&t=774
  • 2 0
 @Mojo348: I would put the IOC in that esteemed group as well.
  • 1 1
 @DPfilms: John Oliver had a whole segment on him last year on his show Last Week Tonight.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9QYu8LtH2E
  • 2 0
 No way! Lance Armstrong says they were on the up and up during his whole 7 TDF wins. Nothing to see here folks, move on.
  • 46 1
 The article about the UCI shows why MTB needs it's own governing body. It's hugely corrupt and exists mainly to give rich people more money. Road and track cycling is broken beyond belief, I hope we don't have anything like that within MTB
  • 20 0
 Worked for enduuhhro
  • 12 0
 It's the same with any organisation i suppose.

They mostly all start out with good intentions:

Unify the many discordant voices into one singular voice that allows progress to be made clearly, with the shared/agreed values and goals of the many.

Sooner or later this turns from the many voices coming together with one shared voice, to the one voice telling the many voices what to think/say/do.

It would be brilliant if an MTB governing body could change things for the better. But i couldn't say any organisation is immune to a person's greed or lust for power - even in a community such as MTB that is overall well-spirited.

That's not to say we shouldn't try or strive for better. Nor is it to excuse the behaviour of the UCI. I agree with your point that it would be tremendous for the sport to have someone in charge that upholds the values and spirit of the MTB community. I suppose i'm just cynical as to how long it can last before it suffers the same ills as all the others.
  • 11 0
 @DidNotSendIt: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and turns into a racket.”


― Eric Hoffer
  • 5 0
 I have heard that most of the MTB athletes prefer Crankworx to UCI, even though its a smaller operation because they treat the athletes better and the payouts are better too.
  • 4 0
 Most things exist to give rich people more money.
  • 1 2
 @DHhack: I love that commentary. More so from folks who tend to be on bikes that cost more than most folks cars.......
  • 1 1
 @JustAnotherRiderHere: I hear that. My 3 bikes wouldn’t buy a Yeti lol
  • 34 1
 "Enter Bjorn Bikes. [...] about how environmentally hypocritical our pedal-powered scene can be"

Next article:

"Ten products I loved in 2020"

Am i the only one who sees the irony in this? ????
  • 8 0
 Well, they did state we're in an environmentally hypocritical scene.
  • 4 0
 The doc said if I don't stop rolling my eyes I'll lose them. Have to just walk on by nowadays.
  • 28 1
 BMC = Bullshit Market Company

UCI = Unscrupulous Cycling Investments

Bjorn Bikes: I'm so looking forward to the ABBA...
  • 2 0
 Too bad, unlike Trek, they are not based at Waterloo. Yes, I might be trying too hard here, just taking a chance.
  • 2 0
 UCI = shaved legs
  • 1 0
 Mamma Mia
  • 19 0
 so that 10k frame is the standard roadmachine frame with the craftmanship that they should be putting into the standard frame for a wildly inflated price..... go bmc ?
  • 12 0
 I always think this when brands have a premium offer...so you have been sandbagging your quality?
  • 6 0
 @RonSauce: more like tea-bagging the quality
  • 11 0
 I celebrate the author and their $4 used hot pot cooker rather than trying to sell us some $9999 carbon fibre version with well marketed technology. That also goes some way towards the ‘hypocrisy’ of pollution mentioned in one of the other articles.
  • 12 2
 Unpopular view; CX has more in common with XC MTB than road, as it's an off road discipline. Being connected to the road is holding it back, as it's viewed as a support category, or a ladder to the road.
  • 1 0
 ...yeah but, pro CXers have what 3,4, or 5 clean and shiny pit bikes waiting for them after each lap, plus tubulars!?--I'd say they are more roadie than current roadies--road racing is simply where the larger paychecks exist.
  • 7 1
 We can fit cams into helmets with WiFi connections already, would open a whole new level of live footage if you can select a rider cam would be a great unique perspective in XC & cross, would work in DH/enduro but the costs wouldn’t be acceptable
  • 4 0
 Nah the cost is tiny. It will happen in the next few years.
  • 2 0
 @Afterschoolsports: Its already at that level gopro just needs to update the cams so that the live recording bluetooth range is longer.
  • 2 0
 @LevVT: the current technology in action cameras isnt up to scratch for live broadcasting. There are lots of other lightweight low cost options that have resilient transmission links. Cost per unit being less than $500. Basically peanuts compared to the rest of the broadcast equipment.
  • 1 0
 @Afterschoolsports: Yes but if they did update the technology it would be.
  • 1 0
 that would be awesome
  • 6 0
 I don’t think helmet cam footage would be a particularly good way to watch a race. It’s usually pretty terrible.
  • 1 0
 @sino428: yeah but if they made it better it could be a cool angle. Although they have so many angles any way with nicer cams so I don’t think there’s really point
  • 1 1
 @sino428: A friend of mine records race footage and puts in on YT. I am not saying it is a huge channel since he doesn't advertise it and does it at a loss for fun only, but people do seem to enjoy watching. And that is from a backmarker Pro, let alone front line elite.
  • 8 1
 Any organisation using HSBC as one of their main sponsors is supporting criminals. But then again, every other bank is pretty much the same and usually directly connected to bank oligarchs.
  • 6 0
 10K for a bike frame? You would think that the cost would be going down instead of up since carbon bike manufacturing has been going on for quite a while now and the bike manufacturers would have figured out how to save money doing it. This just smells of greed and makes me want to buy a cheap Chinese frame.
  • 8 0
 100% ditch the UCI. It's the same in Moto, the FIM are just as corrupt and greedy. Dollar, dollar bills y'all.
  • 3 0
 Nobody has the scope to pull a discipline from uci even ews has started its integration as expected with balls. Also the Olympics & uci work together so a new governing body has a serious task to break that partnership.
  • 7 0
 That chain looks like it came off my mini bike in '72. Not as rusted though.
  • 5 2
 With regards to the F1 crash replay, you're using that as a good example right? because they didn't show a single replay of the crash for about 15 minutes until they had confirmation that Grosjean was able to walk away from it and was talking to the medical people. After that they kind of overdid the replays but at that point we knew he was alive and relatively ok.
  • 1 0
 Yeah I was watching live and didn't see a single replay until they showed Grosjean sitting in the medical car
  • 3 1
 These are sort of apples and oranges though. I watched the F1 race live and frankly assumed that grievous injury had occurred. From the live broadcast (which showed the race from the front looking backwards at the moment of the accident) you could quite literally see the car explode. It is nothing short of a miraculous feat, the results of decades of safety innovation, that he was able to simply get out of the tub and walk away. Any road cyclist has seen or taken part in dozens of high speed crashes. Nearly all result in nothing more than some nasty looking road rash and maybe a broken collarbone or two. There are obviously many examples of much more serious incidents; personally I had a teammate get a TBI at a crit which ultimately resulted in him unable to return to college in the fall. In any case, since NEARLY ALL cycling crashes are nominally harmless, showing an instant replay seems pretty innocuous to me. Also, unlike in most sports, which play stops as the result of a serious incident, road racing continues. The front of the race keeps pressing forward, so the amount of time it takes the fallen riders to get back up off the ground is critical to the outcome of the event.
  • 1 0
 @TBaldwin90: Seriously, folks who have never played at the pointy end will never, not ever get it. Not even worth trying to explain things to them.

You on the other hand have probably heard "The only difference between Cat1 and Pro is who is buying dinner". Then, even if one is pro in the US...well....Belgium really can put one into a new perspective.
  • 2 0
 If you click through and read the article, the author is precisely using the Grosjean crash as an example of how cycling should also be broadcast.
  • 4 1
 So disappointed that the EWS got into bed with the UCi last year/year before.
the EWS is such a purist form of MTB competition, with no uplifts, and enough interest to keep everyone happy.
proper all rounded "mountain biking".
They should've had the balls to tell the UCI to sling it. they've done nothing positive for cycling as a sport, and i have no idea what they bring to the table that the EWS couldn't have implemented themselves.
  • 2 0
 Best meat to it. This article is further proof of many of our loud "protests" (AKA comments) were correct is calling out EWS for courting the scandalous UCI. UCI so I made your threat to their operations and no doubt made some shady moves behind the scenes to silly real EWS in under their umbrella under the guise of "drug testing" partner. Even that is lateral considering that uci's history with drugs and their connection to this Russian/Turkmenistan fellow. Then again what do I know I'm just a pink bike commenter.
Ride on folks. Big Grin
  • 1 0
 " UCI saw a major threat. " Not "..so I made your threat'. Apologies for the voice to text error above
  • 4 1
 On the broadcasting crashes thing, F1 handled it very well. Daniel Riccardo was disappointed how they handled it because they kept showing replays while Grosjean was on the way to hospital. I understand why he'd be upset with that.

With regards to the article itself, the writer says the barrier is what "sliced the car in half". I'm just here to let y'all know that the barrier did not cut the car in half. The cars are designed to break apart under that huge amount of stress to reduce the amount of rotation force put on the driver. If a barrier is sharp enough to cut through carbon fibre and all the power unit components, then the "safety cell" that the drivers sit in wouldn't be able to hold up to it either.
  • 1 0
 Very interesting read about the UCI.

The riding/cycling that i (and presumably most people here) do - i.e. riding my mountain bike in the woods or riding on the road for fun/leisure/exercise - is a completely different world to the cycling the the UCI is involved in.

It would be interesting to know though, how much the activities and work of the UCI (allegedly nefarious or otherwise) in their cycling world trickles down or influences my cycling world (if at all).
  • 2 0
 They might not influence you, but you are still putting money in their pockets and increasing their influence without trying.
  • 2 0
 That new chain seems to be a bit wider then what we have now. Could this work on a 12-speed drivetrain?
Maybe this is something for a camshaft drive in an engine.
  • 1 1
 Design does not look like will work for 12 speed, but maybe?
Would be nice to use different pitch chain too?
  • 6 1
 That new chain makes total BS claims, so it doesn't much matter.
  • 3 0
 @SJP: and all for a 2% gain at best. Wind resistance losses are orders of magnitude bigger. The sooner road bike makers throw away the UCI rule book for non "race" bikes the better. Then they will be able to benefit from the geometry advancements we have seen on mtbs over the last 10 years.
  • 2 0
 It's designed for track,so it won't work with gears.
  • 12 0
 @fartymarty: Can you imagine the gains when paired with a super wheel, the bike would pedal itself up the hill.
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: No kidding. Remember the few glorious years when carbon hit the scene and there was no two-triangle rule for frames?
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: the non “race” road bike is called a hybrid or a fitness bike.. there arent any radical geometry advancements that could move from mtb to ROAD bikes.. have you ever ridden a road bike?
  • 2 0
 @GZMS: I'm thinking lower front end, smaller front wheels, less upright riding positions - much better aerodynamics. The point I was making was that mtb geo has been allowed to evolve without rules where as road geo hasn't and is very confined by the UCI.
  • 1 0
 Doesn't look like it will be compatible with current shifting systems either, ramped cassette cogs need to catch the link but these pins may hang up. Cogs would need to look way different and be spaced farther apart to even shift with this chain. But this would be good for gearbox bikes.....
  • 2 0
 That chain looks like a nightmare to repair on the side of the trail. The pins don't go all the way through. Is there a master link? Looks heavy too. But neat idea.
  • 2 0
 LOL at that link in the dictator story to the Turkmenistan cycling unveiling video:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=txAHDiCF0oY&feature=youtu.be&t=774

how good
  • 3 0
 the bmc "read more" link ;d
Is that some hidden davinci ad haha
  • 3 0
 Your BMC link goes to the Devinci
  • 2 0
 Fixed thanks!
  • 1 0
 One of these cycling tips stories got pushed into my Google news feed, so I clicked it, eventually scrolled down to the comments, and was reminded why I'm a mountain biker.
  • 2 0
 That chain looks like a half link chain that was put into a blender and then marketed as a new and innovative product.
  • 3 0
 Yep, BMX has been running half links for years. However, everyone in the 'adult' cycling worlds knows BMX'ers know nothing and are just kids playing in the dirt/street right? Big Grin
  • 1 0
 So the timing chain took its bloody time to enter this market, 05t or 525h timing chains....google it. Car market is getting 150,000-200,000 kms on these chains.
  • 1 0
 Just so that you are aware your BMC link is incorrect and links to the Devinci Hatchet article.
  • 1 0
 Road bike with wide tyres. Bang that drum, just saying.
  • 2 1
 hold on, went through this page .... am I still on PinkBike??
  • 4 1
 It is identifying as PinkBike......
  • 1 0
 Great article about Bjorn
  • 1 0
 @sarahmoore The $10,000 BMC frame link goes to a gravel bike review
  • 1 0
 Edited thank you!
  • 1 0
 Anyone notice the age of some of those articles?
  • 1 0
 Does wax last on mtb chains? I'd love to not have to re-lube every ride.
  • 1 0
 Yes it does
  • 1 0
 Soooooo much LOL.
  • 2 3
 President Berdimuhamedov and Turkmenistan is seriously dodgy, but I'd still rather live there than the USA!
  • 1 0
 Interesting stuff.
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