CyclingTips Digest: Zwift World Champs, A Skinny Tire Field Test, Terrible Cycling Hacks, & More

Jan 6, 2021
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.




INTRODUCING THE 2021 CYCLINGTIPS ROAD & GRAVEL FIELD TEST
By: Dave Rome

Squeezed in between Australia’s border lockdowns we managed to get the whole Aussie CyclingTips crew together in Bright, a small town within Victoria’s High Country, to sample some of the locally made beverages and test some interesting bikes (not necessarily in that order).

Our first Field Test in early 2020 focussed solely on various sub-categories of gravel bikes but this time around we got a little more eclectic with the bikes we tested.

(Read more.)





WHAT’S GOING ON AT SPEEDPLAY?
By: Ronan McLaughlin

Speedplay’s lollipop-style pedals burst onto the scene in the 1990s, and the dual-sided design, low weight, and generous assortment of cleat setup options proved popular with weight weenies and bike fitters alike. But since being purchased by Wahoo Fitness in 2019, the brand has all but disappeared from social media, and the website hasn’t been updated in months. And after flooding the airwaves on the bikes of CSC and Cervelo Test Team years ago, the brand has slowly disappeared from top-level racing of late, only finally making a high-profile return with EF Pro Cycling this year. Stock is difficult to find, too, and people the world over are asking the same question: What is happening at Speedplay?

(Read more.)






WEIGHTS, STRAPS AND FANS: THE PAIN CAVE OF A ZWIFT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS RIDER
By: Ronan McLaughlin

The first-ever eSports world championships took place this week, pulling in riders from all over the world to duke it out virtually on Zwift’s fictional Watopia island. But every one of those riders was in an actual place, on an actual trainer, sitting in front of actual fans. What did their in-real-life setups look like? Where did they find marginal, and not-so-marginal, gains? We thought it might be interesting to peek inside a UCI eSports worlds rider’s pain cave.

Chris McGlinchey was Ireland’s sole representative in the inaugural eSports worlds and a seasoned Zwifter. Ranked world number one for a while earlier this year, with many Zwift races on his palmares and an outdoor road national championships podium to his name, McGlinchey started the worlds as an outside favourite for the win.

CyclingTips spoke to McGlinchey immediately following the race finish to get an insight into how he prepared for the race and any hacks he had made to his indoor setup.

(Read more.)





YOU SHOULD NOT USE THESE TERRIBLE CYCLING HACKS
By: Iain Treloar

Facebook is a shitshow. That is a statement that is presented not as opinion, but as fact, because it is incontrovertibly the case.

But when the social media giant isn’t meddling in political process or conducting unethical research, it’s also a place where people upload videos that are shared and reshared around the world, the tendrils of their influence spreading like ivy into the walls of a house.

There is one such video that was recently brought to our attention. It is called “Upgrade your cycling experience with these easy hacks”, a title that is followed with a subheading that reads “Upgrade your cycling experience with these easy hacks:”

There is nothing after that colon.

(Read more.)





PRODUCT PICKS OF 2020: THE BEST OF THE BEST
By: Dave Everett


In our Ten Products We Love articles, we each gather ten items that we’ve loved. It may be gear we’ve acquired through the year via testing, new bits we’ve spent our own cold hard cash on or maybe items that aren’t new to the 2020 manufacture catalogue but new to us.

We hope each list says something about the author. Actually, there are a couple that isn’t that hard to guess as to who the gear belongs to. For starters, there are no prizes for guessing the tech guru who has eleven of the ten items being tools (or something close to that), and equally, there are zero awards given to the sleuths amongst you who work out the author who’s included a “Swift” product in their list – and yes, I do mean Swift as in Taylor, not “Zwift” as I’m guessing most of you would understandably expect.

To accompany the article, we thought we’d put a video together. But don’t worry, it’s not an epic marathon where we each delve into our top ten and ramble. Nope, I thought better of that. Instead, I’ve asked for two items from each member of staff, who either had a few moments on their hands or could be bothered to do a bit of filming – yeah I’m looking at you Iain, letting the Oz side down.

(Read more.)





THESE ARE THE BEST (AND MOST SURPRISING) PLACES TO GET A DRAFT IN A BIKE RACE
By: James Huang

Drafting has been a highly effective strategy used in bicycle races since the dawn of the sport, with riders not only safely hiding behind other riders, but also getting the occasional tow from various motorcycles and cars in the race caravan. The energy savings are obvious when you’re tucked right behind something that’s blocking the wind for you, but what about when you’re further back, or even when a vehicle is relatively close behind you?

As it turns out, the interactions we’ve all been assuming to be innocuous may actually be anything but, and it’s probably time the UCI rethinks its rulebook and how races are managed.

(Read more.)





SPEEDX HAS BEEN RESURRECTED … SORT OF
By: Iain Treloar

If you’re at all familiar with the defunct Chinese bike brand, SpeedX, then perhaps you’ve got questions about where they ended up.

All of those questions (and probably a few more, let’s be honest) were answered in a major investigative feature published in June 2019. And while the company remains every bit as dead in the water as it was then, there’s one recent development that SpeedX riders will welcome.

(Read more.)





CYCLINGTIPS PRESENTS: DE STIG, THE MUST-SEE CYCLING DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR
By: CyclingTips

Four years ago, the professional cyclist Stig Broeckx was involved in a crash at the Tour of Belgium with two race motorcycles and nearly lost his life.

The then-26-year-old Belgian was taken to hospital with serious head injuries, including a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain, and was in a coma for months. At the time doctors feared he may never regain consciousness.

De Stig tells the story of Stig Broeckx’s grueling rehabilitation and journey back to life.

(Read more.)





SHODDY’S BEST BUDGET PRODUCT PICKS OF 2020
By: Dave Everett

This last vid for 2020 is all about me trying to right a wrong. It’s a round-up of products that impressed me but don’t cost a bundle, where the performance outshone the price. My budget bangers of 2020.

Why budget bangers? Well, I got called out on social media.

After I posted my Ten Things I Loved for 2020, it was kindly pointed out that none of the gear I’d used in either of my budget challenges – where I tried to kit myself out from top to tail for summer at a partially $200, and then again for winter – had made the cut for my favourite items of 2020.

(Read more.)





CYCLOCROSS DIARIES: WHAT A BELGIAN RACE DAY LOOKS LIKE
By: Caley Fretz, with photo by: Kristof Ramon

With the entire US cyclocross calendar cancelled, the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com team had a choice: make the jump across the Atlantic, or don’t race at all. They chose the former.

The riders, Kaitie Keough, Curtis White, and Clara Honsinger, have been living and training in social isolation with the support of the team mechanics, Gary Wolff and Michael Berry, since early November. In a year of uncertainty and ambiguity, they are putting in the work to make it to the start line of races and gaining results on the way to the UCI World Championships in Ostend, Belgium.

These weekly briefings, written by the team, will share the oddities and nuances of European racing, plus an inside perspective on the strangeness of this cyclocross season.

(Read more.)





UNCERTAINTY OVER QUARANTINE PROTOCOLS FOR TOKYO OLYMPICS AMID CONFLICTING REPORTS
By: Dane Cash, with photo by Cor Vos

Uncertainty about the quarantine protocols that will be in place for the Tokyo Olympics is raising questions for riders and teams across the world of cycling amid conflicting reports on how long athletes will be required to quarantine upon arrival in Japan next July.

Het Laatste Nieuws reported on Wednesday that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had told national Olympic committees that athletes participating in the Tokyo games will be required to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. If that proves to be the case, it will have major ramifications for the men’s and women’s pelotons, with many star riders likely to have other objectives just before the Olympics that would no longer be possible in the event of a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

(Read more.)




DOES PRO CYCLING HAVE A SAFETY PROBLEM? A RIDER’S PERSPECTIVE
By: Joe Laverick

Joe Laverick is a young British rider who spent 2020 riding on AG2R’s feeder team in France and has just signed a deal with the esteemed Hagens Berman Axeon squad for 2021. He’s living the life of an aspiring pro, trying to make it into the WorldTour, and has a solid insight into the risks of the sport. He penned this piece addressing the question of cycling’s safety record and whether more could be done to make it less risky for riders.

(Read more.)






13 Comments

  • 21 0
 When do we get the gravel huck to flat video?
  • 2 0
 They'd need to give Jason some bionic ankles. Poor buddy.
  • 16 0
 Gravel field test? Are they a bit more open this year or still super conservative like we’ve seen it in the mtb world until not long ago?
I remember their reviews of the Evil Chamois. Way too long, don’t trust that wacky geometry. "Size down, and put at least a 70mm stem to get enough grip on your front wheel" is pretty much what they said.
So what have I done? Sized up, kept the 50mm and guess what? Never lost my front end.
Conclusion: learn to ride the bikes that are handed to you. Don’t think the next bike should be suited to the way you’ve always been riding. Be open.
  • 3 0
 I honestly think the Gravel test should be done with a mix of Pinkbike testers and cycling tips testers. Most gravel riders I know come from MTB vs. road... and look at gravel bikes from an MTB perspective.
  • 5 0
 I love my Chamois Hagar!! I too, sized up. I put a 30mm stem on it and it is a speed demon. It's so much fun but it doesn't seem like they're selling well. But I could be wrong. I hope I am. I would like to see more companies push in that direction. I'm looking at you Santa Cruz!
  • 1 0
 @itsonlyaname616: Santa Cruz has been quite slow to catch the train of longer reach, and even longer for steeper seat tubes on their mtb. I would be too impatient with them.
  • 2 0
 @bonkmasterflex: Interesting, the opposite is true for me. Most gravel riders I know are former roadies who've had one too many close encounters with drivers staring at their phones.
  • 1 0
 @bonkmasterflex: Perhaps CyclingTips' two tech editors come from mountain bike backgrounds? Wink
  • 3 0
 That draft topic makes me wonder if the times are shorter and shorter as there is more and more asistence cars and motos in road races
  • 5 1
 I have the same cheap ass lawn mower as Chris McGlinchey, it's shite it blew up in a ball of smoke.
  • 1 0
 BRB, I gotta go put my kickstand in one of the shoes I am currently wearing and hang my keys on my shifter cable. Wait, where is my money? Oh yeah, lost somewhere in the middle of my handlebars. ????
  • 1 0
 Be sure to ziptie your handy clever bottle holder so it covers those two useless ugly bolts that are on like every bike frame ever!
  • 2 0
 The FB cycling hacks vid is hilarious

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