What's going on in the curly bar world? Road Cycling Digest showcases articles from our sister sites, CyclingTips, VeloNews and Peloton Magazine. In each installment, you might find endurance coverage, power-to-weight ratios, gravel bike tech and, of course, lycra.
Parrot Gets Peckish, Destroys Wheel
By: Iain Treloar / CyclingTips
There’s a full spectrum of ways for bike parts to be destroyed – crashing, driving into a garage, simple neglect. But it’s safe to say we’ve never heard of a parrot writing off a high-end wheel with its beak. Until now.
In a post to a local buy/swap/sell group, a Queensland cyclist called Vanessa asked for a lead on a new front wheel, with a surprising story behind the request.
Behold: Campagnolo’s Revolutionary New Gearing System
By: Ronan Mc Laughlin / CyclingTips
Here follows an announcement of extraordinary implications, something we should have spotted in 1946. We must have missed it.
This here exposé is intended to transport us back neigh on 80 years to the mid-1940s and give one of the most important technological advancements in cycling history the global announcement it deserved. Exact facts and dates are hard to pinpoint and there is a hefty portion of speculation but this is to be enjoyed and imagined, not taken for fact. Read with a speedy wartime radio advert voice.
How the heck am I writing one of these again? Where did the year go?
With just a small handful of adventures away from home, the past year has seen my riding return to exploring local suburbs for hidden trail treasures. Knobby tyres very obviously took preference over slicks, and baggy shorts over lycra. A three-month lockdown that only recently ended saw riding become my prominent form of social escape, and with that, social activities such as afternoon drinks were merged with bikes.
Off the bike I found myself spinning wrenches even more than usual. I’ve really had to restrain myself with the number of tools included in this round-up.
Below is a list of products that have left the biggest impression on me over the past year (or beyond). And just like in previous editions of our “10 products” series, the items covered here are those that I see myself recommending and using for years to come.
2022 Giant Revolt Advanced Bucks The Trend, Going Longer, Lower, And Steeper
By: James Huang / CyclingTips
It’s been interesting to watch the evolution of mainstream gravel bikes over the past few years – which is a funny thing to say in and of itself given gravel has only been “mainstream” for a few years as it is. Giant’s first carbon gravel bike, the Revolt Advanced, debuted barely three years ago, but there’s now a second-generation version that incorporates some of what Giant has learned about this rapidly evolving segment since then.
Not surprisingly, Giant has extended the reach of the new Revolt Advanced, but not by any extreme amount. It stretches just 5-8 mm depending on size, although it’s worth noting the previous version was already on the longer side for the time, and Giant has never been known to be terribly progressive (often for the better).
Does Road Cycling Have A Problem With Match Fixing?
By: Matt De Neef / CyclingTips
On April 25, 2010, on the final climb of that year’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Alexandre Vinokouorov punched away from Alexandr Kolobnev and opened up a gap. The controversial Kazakh rider maintained his lead all the way to the line to take his first big win since returning from a blood doping ban. ‘Vino’ was back.
Late the following year, Swiss magazine L’Illustre alleged that Vinokourov had paid Kolobnev €100,000 to let him win the Belgian Monument. The magazine went on to publish emails between Vinokourov and Kolobnev that seemingly confirmed the deal.
How I Became The Internet’s Most Notorious Bike Thief
By: Iain Treloar / CyclingTips
The year: 2013. My jeans were tight, my hair was long, I was in the gory core of my 20s, and I was trying to make my way in life.
After several aeons of diligent study and many more working at a bike shop while trying to get a job as a writer, I’d finally landed a gig at a cycling magazine for an advocacy organisation. Things were looking up. In those days my heart sometimes whispered a quiet dream to my brain, that maybe one day I’d make a mark on the world. Who knows? Melbourne’s a big city, but I had big dreams.
For one edition of the (now defunct) magazine a colleague had written an article about her bike being stolen, and we needed a feature image. All the bike thieves in our stock photo archive looked a bit shit, but we had a bike, a camera, a big bolt-cutter, and a can-do attitude.
Silca’s $85 3D-printed MTB Cleats: 90 Kg Saving Per Leg?
By: Ronan Mc Laughlin / CyclingTips
Silca seems to find a marginal gain in almost anything. Hot off the heels of its aero socks, Silca has announced 3D-printed titanium mountain bike cleats.
Why, you ask? Well, unfortunately, there are no aero or drivetrain friction gains to report here; rather, this marginal gain is actually a marginal loss. That’s because the new 3D printed cleats are said to be 25-30 g (including hardware) lighter than stock mild steel offerings from most brands. Despite this weight reduction, Silca claims an internal lattice structure (called a gyroid) in the 3D printed titanium ensures the cleats retain the stiffness and strength of a regular cleat.
As we often hear, though, marginal gains accumulate into massive savings. Silca provided a calculation of what that 25 g might mean for a rider: “25 gm reduction x 100 rpm = 180 kg of mass not lifted per hour of riding, 90 kg per leg!”
OneUp is a Canadian-based accessory and component company with a focus on the mountain bike world. The brand got its start doing 1x conversion kits and chainrings when many mountain bikes still had front derailleurs, and the company has since pivoted into offering impressively well-thought-out dropper posts and cleverly stash-able multi-tools, among other things.
OneUp’s 100cc high-volume mini pump was the clear winner in its category in my previous mini pump shootout. Designed to fill mountain bike tyres and therefore great for gravel bikes, it offers an enormously efficient inflation rate. The head can be removed from the pump to be used as a CO2 inflator, and the pump can be used as a storage vessel for OneUp’s own multi-tool and/or a CO2 cartridge. It’s a strong example of OneUp’s genius.
The Headset That Won’t Die? CeramicSpeed Rolls Out SLT Bearings
By: Ronan Mc Laughlin / CyclingTips
CeramicSpeed has quietly rolled out what could be a significant update for headset and suspension pivot bearings. SLT (Solid Lubrication Technology) bearings are said to offer staggering levels of durability, potentially offering some light at the end of the tunnel for painful headset replacements on frames with internally routed wires/cables and hoses.
The Danish brand has already partnered with Factor (and several other manufacturers yet to be announced) to include its SLT headset bearings as standard for some models.
Peter Sagan Fined For Injuring Police Officer After Breaching A Covid-19 Curfew
Peter Sagan has been fined €5,000 ($5,600) by a Monaco court for injuring a police officer in an altercation in April after the car he was traveling in was pulled over for breaching a COVID-19 curfew, according to media reports.
Sagan was fined an additional €100 euros for breaking the curfew, and must also pay €1,500 ($1,700) in compensation to the officer.
Danish Rider Retiring At 21 Calls Use Of Pills In Pro Racing ‘grotesque’
A Danish rider, who has announced his retirement aged just 21, has called out the use of pills in pro racing.
Ludvig Wacker, a former member of the Sunweb development team, decided to pull the plug on his career this year citing a big crash that made him scared in the bunch, and mental exhaustion, behind his decision to step away from the sport.
In an interview with the Danish website Feltet.dk, Wacker described the blatant use of pills in cycling as “grotesque”. He added that he believed young riders would obtain the pills themselves without any action from their teams.
Power Analysis: Comparing Cycling’s Three Grand Tours
By: Zach Nehr / Velonews
It can be easy to forget that Jasper Stuyven won Milano-Sanremo this year, that Kasper Asgreen won the Tour of Flanders, and that Damiano Caruso won Italian hearts and nearly the Giro by finishing second in 2021. The road cycling season has come and gone in the blink of an eye, but there will always be a few highlights to remember this year. Mathieu Van Der Poel’s sprint at Strade Bianche was one of the best attacks of the year, while Tadej Pogačar’s romping at the Tour de France was a dominating statement.
In this article, we’re going to dissect the three Grand Tours of cycling – the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España – to see how different they really are. They say that everyone tries to peak for the Tour, but do the numbers reflect that? The cold Giro mountain passes are a lot different from the melting Spanish pavement in the Vuelta, while Italy in May is a lot different than France in July.
The sport of cycling is fortunate that its history is being preserved by dedicated museums all over the world, often supplied by collectors who sometimes restore iconic bicycles to their original form. That’s the case with the machines depicted in these pages, several of them currently on display at the KOERS cycling museum in Roeselare, Belgium, while others come from riders’ personal collections. What’s most surprising is that the diamond-shaped frame used in the first Tour de France 118 years ago remains the basic shape today, even though the material has changed from heavy steel to ultralight carbon fiber. What has changed most of all is the equipment—from a bike with a single fixed gear and no brakes in 1903 to one with 22 electronically controlled gears and hydraulic disc brakes in 2020.
Summer holidays in the Dordogne, cycling with my family when I was 11 years old. Hot, empty roads. Cruising ahead, I imagined winning a stage of the Tour de France; stopping to wait for the others, I was perfecting my ever-so-professional insouciance. Already, my career path was set. I would become famous. Even the French motorists seemed to be acknowledging this fact by giving me an encouraging beep. Not quite sure how to react, I responded with a shy English schoolboy smile and prayed that they didn’t stop to ask a question.
To understand the impact François Faber would make on France (where he was born and raised), Luxembourg (his father’s country) and the sport of cycling, we first need to see what life was like when he was growing up in the 1890s. France had suffered a series of economic, political and military setbacks in the previous decades and was hoping for a brighter future. The so-called Golden Age of Cycling was in full progress, and the first gas-powered automobiles were appearing on the streets of Paris alongside bicycles and the ubiquitous horse-drawn vehicles. Longer-distance travel was via steam-powered trains and ships. Telephone service was in its infancy, radio broadcasts and film entertainment were still decades away, and the only way that people knew what was going on in the world was through newspapers, magazines and word-of-mouth.
It took me about 15 minutes to fall in love with Lisbon. I didn’t really want to, but this colorful city by the sea gets to you in a hurry. I had come from spending a week in Évora, due east, 90 minutes on the train. The cycling in Évora was my reason for being in Portugal but I booked two extra nights to explore Lisbon. On my way to the train station in Évora one of the wheels on my suitcase gave up the ghost and I arrived in the city dragging its maimed carcass down the twisting cobbled streets of the Mouraria neighborhood cursing under my breath. It was an irritating introduction.