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.
BIKES OF THE BUNCH: A BRANDLESS 8.2 KG MTB BUILT FOR LESS THAN US$3,000
By: Francis Lim
We are all in awe of the bikes that Dangerholm can come up with, technically and aesthetically, but not everyone has the deep budget and technical know-how to work on their bikes at that level. This build bridges the void between stock bikes and those creations. It’s something any bike enthusiast can do; a reasonably priced bike that can hold its own in terms of aesthetics and weight against all the superbikes out there.
Hong Kong has a lot of MTB trails and a robust MTB scene. I wear my road biking heart on my sleeve but sometimes, especially on colder days, I wish there was an MTB in our cramped apartment that I could take for a two-hour ride in Lantau Island where we live. I’d love to sneak onto small village roads, climb the steep hill to the Big Buddha or ride the big, new bike park built on the south side. And as someone not technically proficient off-road, I’d need the bike to be light for an easier carry!
ENVE GETS INTO THE FRAME BUSINESS WITH NEW ULTRA-PREMIUM CUSTOM ROAD
By: James Huang
Enve Composites — a brand best known for its carbon fiber wheels and cockpit components — has today announced that it’s getting into the carbon fiber frame business with the new Custom Road. It’s actually two closely related custom frames, both featuring a sleekly modern silhouette, an emphasis on blending ride comfort and aerodynamic performance, a low weight and custom paint, and fully custom geometry using a novel modular construction that’s made from start to finish at the company’s headquarters in Ogden, Utah.
CT EXCLUSIVE: CANYON OPENS UP ABOUT AEROAD HANDLEBAR WOES, DETAILS PLAN MOVING FORWARD
By: James Huang
Canyon’s latest Aeroad aero road racing bike debuted to much fanfare when it was released to the world this past October, and for good reasons. It was considerably more aerodynamically efficient than the already-fast previous model, it was up to 160 grams lighter and 40% stiffer, it was just as comfortable, and incorporated a novel multi-piece handlebar system that allowed for easy disassembly for travel. Combined with Canyon’s usual pricing advantages over other major brands with more traditional distribution networks, the redesigned Aeroad should have been a home run.
But instead, it turned out to be a nightmare, with seatpost-related wear issues popping up shortly after launch, and — far more disastrous — an extremely public catastrophic handlebar failure suffered by a star rider.
HERE’S THE LOWDOWN ON GARMIN’S NEW RANGE OF RALLY POWER METER PEDALS
By: Dave Rome
It was only a few days ago that we covered a leak from a Garmin retailer which showed a whole new range of inbound power meter pedals. What we didn’t know was that the release was just days away. The pedals are now official. Here are the details.
Wholly replacing the Vector range, the new Rally range of power meter pedals covers three distinct cleat systems: Shimano SPD-SL road, Look Keo road, and Shimano SPD mountain bike.
This means Garmin is the first to market with a pedal-based power meter solution built on Shimano’s SPD-SL cleat platform (although a leak suggests Favero may be close). Meanwhile, SRM/Look now has some much-needed competition in the off-road-friendly SPD space. The Look Keo version of the Rally remains mostly unchanged from the now-discontinued Vector 3.
THE APP THAT ADDS ADVENTURE TO YOUR EVERYDAY CYCLING
By: Matt de Neef
Ridge Road started out fine. The hard-packed gravel was nothing I hadn’t ridden plenty of already that day. When gravel gave way to bark-covered 4WD track though, the going got considerably tougher. When that 4WD track turned into gnarly, root-covered single-track I started to think my GPS had led me astray. And then it got steep. Struggling-for-traction steep. Stepping-off-the-bike-and-pushing steep.
As the gradient lurched savagely to beyond 20% I had to stop pushing and take a rest. It wasn’t just that my calves were on fire, getting purchase in my Shimano SPD-SL cleats was proving more than difficult.
This was no road. This was a hiking track that no bike could get up; certainly not a road bike with slick 25 mm tyres.
Don’t you love it when you grab that winter coat you haven’t had to use in months, put it on, slip your hands into the pockets and find a nice crumpled five quid, ten dollars, five euro note? Sure, it doesn’t happen too often, but it’s a nice surprise, one you weren’t expecting.
Well, that’s how I felt last week when I had a delivery. For the life of me, I couldn’t work out what was inside. I hadn’t ordered anything (that I was aware of) and didn’t have any test items due for delivery, so it was a mini-mystery. Or at least until I opened it up.
The water bottle, or bidon as it’s known in cycling circles, is an essential accessory but something that’s seldom the focus of our attention. While I like to have matching bidons, colour co-ordinated to my bike, that’s about as much thought as I put into it. That is, until I find one that has sat a little too long without being washed out. One sniff of a few-day-old protein shake is enough to make anyone sit up and take notice of a simple bidon.
I am consciously trying to make bidons last longer. Caring for bidons and keeping them clean is the most significant factor in helping them last longer. So what is the best way to clean a water bottle?
It was back in 2017 that I first got my hands on Dynaplug’s tubeless repair tools. At the time I wanted to know whether they would plug a road tubeless tyre puncture as well as they do lower-pressure off-road rubber. Long story short, ever since then I’ve carried a Dynaplug tool with me on any ride where I’m rolling with tubeless tyres, and the original EpiPen-style Racer tool remains a product I recommend to this day.
Since that review, Dynaplug has refined and evolved its product range that centres around the patented jab-and-go plug concept. You can now get “road-specific” versions with shorter insertion tubes, there’s the Carbon Ultralight which is a lower-cost and lighter version of the original Racer, and most recently, there’s the Racer Pro. At just over 10 cm in length the new Racer Pro may be marginally larger, but it’s also twice as useful. Let me explain.
PARK TOOL RELEASES NEW DERAILLEUR HANGER GAUGE, BIT TOOL AND MORE
By: Dave Rome
The world’s largest bicycle tool company, Park Tool, has been busy expanding its enormous catalogue of tools. Today the company has announced four new additions to the workshop range which arrive hot on the heels of a recent expansion in bearing-related tools.
Two weeks ago, we published our 2021 Team Bikes of the Men’s World Tour feature ahead of the UAE Tour. With Strade Bianche raising the curtain on the Women’s World Tour this weekend we are taking a look at the World Tour machines of the women’s bunch.
After a largely interrupted first-year post-restructuring, the Women’s World Tour has grown from eight teams last season to nine for 2021. This year’s calendar is also affected by COVID-enforced race postponements and cancellations, but riders and fans alike will be eager to see the racing underway on the white (sometimes brown) roads of Tuscany.
OPINION: WHY PROGRESS IS SO SLOW FOR ROAD BIKE TECH
By: Dave Rome
As a tech editor I get to test some seriously nice bikes and cycling products while calling it work. Equally, I get to test some seriously nice bikes and cycling products that I simply can’t afford to hold onto once my testing is done. And in what’s unquestionably a first-world problem, once that testing is done, I return to my nice-but-comparatively-not-so-state-of-the-art bikes.
And that got me thinking. Why is it that new bikes made for off-road riding leave my older, personal bikes feeling like relics of the past, while I’m perfectly happy to jump back on my old alloy rim brake road bike after riding the latest and greatest race machine?
NEW OAKLEY ENCODER SUNGLASSES INTRODUCE CLEVER NEW INTEGRATED FRAME DESIGN
By: James Huang
Sunglass giant Oakley has long had a reputation for pushing boundaries when it comes to style. But while the company’s new Encoder model does sport a somewhat avant garde look, the most interesting thing about it has nothing to do with optics or aesthetics.
At first glance, the Encoder uses a fairly straightforward frameless shield layout and an oversized lens that offers generous coverage. But while frameless sunglasses often offer field-of-view and weight advantages over full-frame designs, they also tend to be flexier, offer a less-secure fit, and generally just don’t feel as substantial.
RAPHA EXPLORE POWERWEAVE REVIEW: THREADING THEIR WAY TOWARD PERFECTION
By: Iain Treloar
Two years ago, Rapha took its first unaided steps into the cycling shoe category. In the past, the British company had a long history of footwear collaborations with Giro, but the launch of the lace-up Explore gravel shoe and Classic road shoe represented a clean slate.
There were some wobbles on the way, and the Explore, while promising, wasn’t an unmitigated success – as I found through an extensive long-term review published early last year. But the Pro Team road shoe, which followed soon after, showed impressive signs of evolution, along with some fancy woven uppers that all but eliminated the fit quirks of the Explore – despite the two sharing the same fit.
Remco Evenepoel – speedy bicycle cyclist, pelvis smasher, alcohol-free beer abstainer – has inked a multi-year deal with Pizza Hut Belgium as the chain’s new ambassador.
In a tweet linked to a press release, Evenepoel showcased a couple of shots of the moment that the two icons forged their “tasty collaboration”. While the deal is presumably lucrative, the Belgian star has not disclosed exactly how much dough he made.