Road Cycling Digest: Gravel Fork Face Off, MVDP to Race Giro d'Italia, New Bike Tools, & More

Apr 20, 2022
by Sarah Moore  



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.





THE RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE AT THE HEART OF WORLD CYCLING
By: Iain Treloar / CyclingTips

As the world reacts to the unprovoked Russian attacks on its neighbour, Ukraine, awkward questions are being asked about the influence of Russia beyond its borders. Avoiding the turbulence thus far is one of cycling’s most powerful figures – Igor Makarov, a Russian oil and gas billionaire with hefty influence around the globe, from the dictatorship of Turkmenistan to the UCI management committee.

(Read more.)
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MOHORIČ USED A DROPPER POST TO DROP EVERYONE AT MILAN-SAN REMO
By: Ronan Mc Laughlin / CyclingTips

Milan-San Remo is not usually a race known for tech innovation, but this year’s edition was no ordinary start to the Classics season. As all the pre-race attention focused on Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), and a host of non-starters, Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) had different ideas.

Speaking in the post-race press conference immediately following his first Monument win, the other world-beating Slovenian explained how he had prepared all winter with San Remo in mind, including working with the team to add a dropper post to his Merida Scultura.

(Read more.)
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WHY FOAM TIRE INSERTS ARE ONE OF THE BEST UPGRADES FOR YOUR GRAVEL BIKE
By: James Huang / CyclingTips

When it comes to bicycle performance, there’s nothing more important than literally where the rubber meets the road. Sure, there are other factors that come into play, but when all is said and done, it’s all about the tires.

Most of us are used to the standard variables affecting tire performance: casing construction and suppleness, rubber compounds, tread design. However, regardless of what tire you’re running, the biggest variable is air pressure. It’s an especially important tuning parameter when it comes to gravel bikes, where the tire sizes are relatively small, the terrain often borders on MTB territory, and traction is never as good as you want it to be.

(Read more.)
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PETER SAGAN HAS HAD ENOUGH OF BEING PISSED ON
By: Iain Treloar / CyclingTips

Peter Sagan has been in the professional peloton for long enough to have seen some things. He’s won some races. He’s had some nasty crashes. He’s sold luxury showerheads, shown his sweet potato to Daniel Oss, and he’s made music videos for Jerusalem artichoke juice.

But now, at the age of 32, he has had enough. Specifically, enough of being pissed on.

Now, that could be read as some sort of crass euphemism. It isn’t. Peter Sagan has spent years on the bike battling the wayward spray of his colleagues. Sometimes the wind has blown it into a fine, cooling mist. Sometimes he’s copped a thick stream to his leg. Sometimes – I don’t know this for sure, but I’ll take the creative license – the urine of other pro cyclists has spurted into Sagan’s spokes and from there, gracefully arced off in perfect parabolas all around him.

(Read more.)
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COOL TOOL TUESDAY #4: BUILDING A CYCLING TOOL KIT – THE BICYCLE-SPECIFIC BASICS
By: Dave Rome / CyclingTips

You now own all the general-use foundation tools and you’re ready to add some cycling-specific tools into the collection. But with thousands of tools to choose from, where does one possibly start? Well… here.

In this article, I’ll pick up where I last left off, and cover what I consider to be the must-have cycling-specific tools when building out a kit to handle the most common repairs on a range of modern bikes. Within this, I’ll give suggestions for where to spend and where to skimp, and I’ll offer some recommendations for those who seek the best.

(Read more.)
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A MOMENT IN PHOTOS: ALAPHILIPPE’S EXCELLENT CRASH TECHNIQUE AT STRADE BIANCHE
By: Caley Fretz / CyclingTips

There is skill in crashing well, as odd as that may sound. Technique, even. The ability to twist oneself in the air to minimize impact and to roll instead of thud can be as important to getting through a dangerous racing season as anything.

The wind whipped up across Tuscany on Saturday, picking up Strade Bianche’s white dust and flinging it across early spring fields. It did the same to riders. The decreased grip on the gravel roads combined with tall, aerodynamic wheelsets and nasty crosswinds with predictable results.

(Read more.)
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COOL TOOL TUESDAY #5: 25 NEW BIKE TOOLS FOR 2022, PART TWO
By: Dave Rome / CyclingTips

We’re once again in the midst of industry tradeshow season, and with that comes a flurry of new cycling products.

Of course, that includes new tools, so while I’m well aware that I promised the next edition of Cool Tool Tuesday would focus on tool storage and organisation, that will have to wait. I have some cool new tools to tell you about! As the title suggests, this is part two of my coverage of new cycling tools for 2022. Part one pre-dates the Cool Tool Tuesday series but is no less relevant.

(Read more.)
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THE NEW SPECIALIZED ALLEZ SPRINT KEEPS ALLOY ALIVE AND WELL
By: William Tracy / Peloton Magazine

You would be forgiven for thinking you’ve already seen this bike before. The new generation Specialized Allez Sprint has arrived, and it borrows elements from its carbon WorldTour winning cousin, the Tarmac SL7, while further innovating what can be accomplished with alloy.

The Allez has been in Specialized’s lineup in various iterations since the brand started producing bikes over 40 years ago. In that time it has gone from the main race bike to being superseded by the carbon fiber Tarmac, but it’s always kept its eye on performance, especially for those on a budget that can’t stretch to carbon. The latest Allez Sprint continues that tradition with all new advances in alloy construction to create the fastest version yet.

(Read more.)
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FIRST LOOK: QUOC’S NEW GRAN TOURER II GRAVEL SHOE
By: Tim Schamber / Peloton Magazine

There has always been a buzz around the Quoc brand for many reasons. First, how do you say the name? I’m certain it has been said in 20 different ways but it’s safe to say that however you say it, it’s probably not correct. So move on or watch the short video below. Second, it’s one of those brands that you want to root for because it can’t be easy to start a shoe company and be successful when there are already a ton of them out there with bigger bank accounts and more resources. And finally, shoes are deeply personal and cyclists are both fickle and loyal, so how do you take a chance on a product that’s not necessarily part of the mainstream as we know it? With all this, Quoc has persevered and thrived. They aren’t giant but they aren’t necessarily a start-up either. They are in between and since 2009 they have carefully, systematically, and steadily evolved as a company that does branding well but more importantly makes damn good products.

(Read more.)
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JONATHAN VAUGHTERS ON MANAGING A PRO CYCLING TEAM
By: Peloton Magazine

Now burlier, capable of deadlifting over 300 pounds, Jonathan Vaughters looks far removed from the man who once set speed records up America’s toughest climbs and guided GC contenders to grand tour victories. And in many ways he is far removed from his life as a professional cyclist. “My job is to not look back; it’s to look forward,” says the general manager of EF Education–Easy Post, one of the longest-running outfits in professional cycling.

Managing a pro cycling team has occupied the greater part of JV’s waking hours since 2005. On this week’s episode of Bobby & Jens, he takes us through the broad strokes of his job. Learn about what it takes to keep a professional cycling team running for well over a decade and all the challenges it entails. “We’ve had to be really creative to keep the team going as long as we have,” he says.

(Read more.)
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DEFENCE AND REDEMPTION: TREK-SEGAFREDO PULL OFF BOTH AT PARIS-ROUBAIX FEMMES
By: Matilda Price / Peloton Magazine

Trek-Segafredo came into Paris Roubaix Femmes with heavy expectations on their shoulders: not only searching for the next win after an uncharacteristic quiet patch, but also carrying the mantle of a potential title defence, aiming to replicate the success of absent 2021 champion Lizzie Deignan. It was a big ask, a two-pronged challenge that required a combination of strength, tactical skill and a dose of good luck, but one that Trek-Segafredo were ready to answer.

(Read more.)
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GIRMAY’S TRUE GRIT CHARACTERISES CYCLING’S CONTINUING PURSUIT OF DIVERSITY
By: Jeremy Whittle / Peloton Magazine

When Biniam Girmay sprinted to victory in Ghent-Wevelgem, cycling’s capacity to confound predictions and to come up with moving and powerful storylines was rekindled. In this, the very toughest and cruellest of sports, Girmay’s win proved that it sometimes takes huge determination and resilience to achieve ground-breaking success.

But the brutality of the cobbled classics or the mountain stages in one of the three European grand tours does not compare with the obstacles that Girmay would have faced as a young child growing up in Eritrea. Born in April 2000, the 21-year-old lives in Asmara, at an altitude of 2,300 metres. While he will now return home to spend time with his family as a genuine superstar, Eritrea 20-odd years ago, and even now, is not a hospitable or secure place to live.

(Read more.)
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PARIS-ROUBAIX TECH: TIRE LINERS, STRAIGHT CHAIN LINES, AND BIG RINGS AT EF EDUCATION-EASYPOST
By: Ben Delaney / VeloNews

Tires and gears got bigger in 2022 for EF Education-EasyPost, and not just for Paris-Roubaix. Veteran mechanic Jac-Johann Steyn walked VeloNews through what’s changed this year for the team in terms of how the bikes are set up, and what’s been done special for Roubaix on Sunday.

“In previous years we were on a 26mm for normal stages and a 28 and in the classics,” Steyn said. “Now we changed this year, and we are on 28s all around throughout the year, then obviously we change to 30s, the bigger tire, for Roubaix.”

(Read more.)
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POWERSTRAP, BOA AND LAMINATED MESH COMBINE IN NEW FIZIK FEROX CARBON GRAVEL SHOES
By: Ben Delaney / VeloNews

Fizik’s latest gravel shoe is the top-end Vento Ferox Carbon, a model that combines a lightweight laminated-mesh upper with the brand’s wide Powerstrap Velcro strap and a BOA dial.

The claimed 297g shoe launched today for $299.

The shoe also comes in black, but the most striking ‘lilac’ color highlights the laminated-mesh construction of the upper, which Fizik claims to be breathable and supple but durable against cuts.

(Read more.)
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GRAVEL SUSPENSION FORK FACE-OFF: THE NEW FOX 32 TC VS THE ROCKSHOX RUDY XPLR
By: Alec Levy-O'Brien / VeloNews

With both the meteoric rise of gravel riding these past few years, Fox updated its 32 Step-Cast Adventure Cross known as the 32 Taper-Cast Gravel Fork to the new 32 Taper-Cast Gravel Fork.

Fox is no longer the only heavy-hitting suspension manufacturer in gravel, as RockShox recently released the $799 RockShox Rudy Ultimate XPLR as part of SRAM’s wider XPLR gravel line.

The 32 TC is an updated version of Fox’s gravel-focused fork originally released in 2017. However, this new edition comes with a different structural design that steps away from the traditional front-facing arch.

(Read more.)
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THIS $35 GRAVEL INNER TUBE COMES WITH A ONE-YEAR REPLACEMENT POLICY AGAINST FLATS
By: Ben Delaney / VeloNews

Tubolito originally created its thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) inner tubes as an anti-flat solution for commuter and touring riders. Compared to a standard butyl tube, a TPU tube is more slender, lighter, and more resistant to flats. Also, it is not cheap. Tubolito inner tubes sell for $35 in the U.S.

Notably, Tubolito has a one-year replacement policy for its tubes. A standard butyl tube at a bike shop these days will run you anywhere from $5-$12, depending on what you’re getting.

(Read more.)
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MATHIEU VAN DER POEL RECONFIRMS GIRO D’ITALIA START: ‘IT WILL BE GOOD FOR MY EVOLUTION’
By: VeloNews

Mathieu van der Poel reconfirmed his plan to start the Giro d’Italia, and hinted at a full three-week appearance rather than the opening week extravaganza of his grand tour debut at the Tour de France last year.

Speaking with Wielerflits after his Paris-Roubaix top-10 last weekend, the Alpecin-Fenix ace said he saw next month’s Giro as a key stepping stone in his cycling career.

“The Giro is a race that appeals to me. I think it will definitely be good for me in the future, to do a grand tour for my evolution as a rider. Especially when you see what a spring I’ve ridden now. That was not very extensive,” Van der Poel told Wielerflits.

(Read more.)
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NEW AND UNRELEASED TREK DOMANE SPOTTED AHEAD OF PARIS-ROUBAIX UNDER TREK-SEGAFREDO
By: VeloNews

Trek-Segafredo riders have a new version of the Trek Domane bike ahead of Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Roubaix Femmes, which is a significant departure from the current endurance bike.

Major changes include the elimination of the seat mast, the front IsoSpeed, and the adjustment feature for the rear IsoSpeed. IsoSpeed is Trek’s name for a pivoting junction designed to offer vertical flex without lateral movement — in other words, comfort without a sacrifice in handling.

Trek is not commenting on the new bike, but there are other things we can deduce by looking at the photos taken from just after a Paris-Roubaix Femmes reconnaissance ride.

(Read more.)
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Author Info:
sarahmoore avatar

Member since Mar 30, 2011
1,401 articles

96 Comments
  • 73 3
 This gravel thing is funny, one day roadies will wake up on XC bikes wearing baggies Wink
  • 13 1
 The funny thing is that I've found that there's a huge crowd that bought into the gravel thing and never had a road bike before. btw I wear my fox baggy shorts on my gravel bike. Extra pockets! But yeah the gravel things is getting out of hand. I bought one that serves as a turbo bike and "gravel" on days that I need something really simple and easy to clean in comparison with the enduro or xc bike. This dropper/fork defeats the purpose.
  • 7 2
 and the world will be just a little bit better place.
  • 32 0
 While I am going the other way - Trails are getting busier and the mountain gravel roads bring me all the things I liked about XC - Exploration and being in wilderness without a ton of people and me on my bike. Anyone having fun on a bike is a good thing.
  • 7 2
 @bartbart: That's for sure. And a lot less screaming wanna be "stocked" middle age guys queuing up to see who's the first to go to the ER on some stupid jump. I had to detour out of that fauna, it was making my relaxing times everything but that.
  • 2 0
 This is exactly what happened to me lol
  • 10 0
 the tried trope of "gravel bikes are just mid-nineties mountain bikes" continues to hold strong
  • 11 0
 @t-stoff: yeah I know a lot of people (myself included) that have come to gravel from mtb to get off the beaten path / away from crowded mtb trail areas and spice up otherwise boring trails and fire roads.

The closest mtb singletrack to my house is about 12 miles away on gravel paths/back roads, and not really exciting enough to be fun on my full suspension. Now that I have a 'gravel' bike (really a modified old bikesdirect CX bike with bigger tires... whatever) one of my favorite rides is home --> loop the singletrack (which is a lot more interesting on the gravel bike) --> coffee/beer stop --> home, total ~50 miles. That ride would *SUCK* on a trail bike, but it's a blast on skinny tires. Great workout, lots of miles, technical in spots, keeps me out of the car... wins all around. Overall the whole gravel thing has really made me consider all kinds of longer routes and linkups than I would have on my mtb.
  • 10 0
 @hamncheez: yeah I feel like my average gravel ride would be significantly less fun on 26" wheels, narrow rims, inner tubes, 600mm flat bars, super short wheelbases, etc.

I do like the that 90's mtb sense of "lets just cover a lot of ground and take these bikes where they're not really supposed to go" element of the gravel scene though. Mtb in the 90s felt like much more of an adventure before heavy-traffic machine built trails became the norm (not that I'm complaining, it's just nice to do a different kind of riding). In that sense gravel is a little like 90s mtb, but with way less patching of tubes and breaking stuff all the time.
  • 3 0
 @bkm303: it was more in reference to those short travel forks with tapered lowers....

A few months ago I got hit by a car and wrecked my old Specialized Tarmac. Because of COVID prices, the dudes insurance gave me $5k for an 8 year old road bike. I've stashed some of that, and I've been keeping my eye on buy/sell looking for an old 2007ish Canondale Scalpel with the flex stays and lefty. I'll then throw drop bars and gravel wheels on it. Instant, cheap adventure bike.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: yeah I would be very jealous of that setup. Sounds fun!
  • 7 1
 @t-stoff: agree with this 100%. every trailhead is filled with 100 overweight bros in Tacomas with a cooler full of beer. I even saw some a few people bring a portable grill to the parking lot. I wonder if they are they there to ride a bike or to party? I can do a 3 hour gravel ride and will see about 0-3 cars and get the same feeling I do from mtb.
  • 4 0
 @andyelton: I stopped riding with a group I had hung with for a long time as they (d)evolved into this...defining moment was when they cut a ride short to go back to lot to start drinking. Nothing wrong with group / social rides, but to your point, it should be about the ride first.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: I wish the problem was only after the ride. When I go for a 3 hour ride by myself Strava gives me like 2:40 moving time. Go with a buddy and I’m lucky to get 2:00. Not the worst thing in the world since it’s good to catch up, but I came here to ride my bike.
  • 3 0
 @Blackhat: the funny things is I started with them off the bike for awhile and out of shape, so I was one being waited for, and didn't mine the breaks...which eventually flipped to where I was waiting. There were also a few who totally neglected maintaining their bikes and caused a lot of that loitering in the woods you describe.
  • 2 0
 @ReformedRoadie: oh man, I'm not gonna get too irritated waiting for someone who's not as fit as the rest of the group, but is trying hard and has a good attitude. But when the group has to stop for a preventable mechanical... you don't get invited next time.
  • 4 0
 @Blackhat: I feel the same way - I did a 3:33 ride today and moving time was 3:24.. Dont get me wrong I love beer and also love grilling and chilling, but there's a time and place for everything. when im on a bike, its for biking. I swear half of mountain bikers are in it for the cool bikes, and the parking lot "scene." I am basically anti-scene.
  • 1 0
 @bartbart: Squampton or Whisneyland?
  • 39 0
 I like this addition to Pinkbike. I'm not too bothered about road cycling besides occasional workout rides, but it's interesting to keep tabs on what's happening in their world.
  • 11 0
 Yes, there’s a whole different culture of tech and drama.
  • 2 0
 I ride a road bike a ton (30,000 miles on my current bike I bought in 201Cool and have almost no idea what is going on in that world.
  • 4 1
 @JSTootell: you should try off-road mountain biking!
  • 4 0
 @kingbike2: I put in a few miles here and there.

I mostly bike commute. Only time I drive is one day a week when I go for an MTB ride after work. I did 12 hours on my MTB last week.
  • 2 6
flag kingbike2 (Apr 20, 2022 at 17:08) (Below Threshold)
 @JSTootell: you should buy an ebike!
  • 4 0
 @kingbike2: I already have two motorcycles.
  • 1 0
 @kingbike2: Damn it. I keep seeing this message. And hearing it. And dreaming it. And thinking it. Definitely something to do with age, infirmity and generally giving up.
  • 1 1
 @BenPea: meant to be humorous but seriously if you haven’t ridden an ebike , try it, they are fun.
Fwiw I don’t have an ebike, too expensive and complex.
  • 1 1
 @kingbike2: I did, it felt good but not right, which is how I intend to live my life from now on, so the trigger will soon be pulled.
  • 33 22
 “Cycling’s continuing pursuit of diversity...” That headline reminds me of the fairly narrow spectrum of diversity in mountain biking, at least in the PNW US — and not just racial, cultural, physical-ability, and neuro / intellectual-ability diversity — but also socioeconomic diversity. Cycling, and especially mountain biking, often has incredible financial barriers for equipment, access to riding areas, and so forth. There are so many amazing people who would make extraordinary and/or enthusiastic bike riders or racers, but who never, or rarely, get the chance to enjoy riding mountain bikes. I cringe when I see 5-digit mountain bike price tags (and no 3-digit offerings) or bike-shaming comments and commentary that criticize those who ride older or low-cost bikes. Let’s all do everything we can to help and encourage people of all physical & intellectual abilities, across all racial, cultural, and socioeconomic spectrums, to have the opportunity to enjoy (and get hooked on) mountain biking.
  • 23 3
 This is just like saying there are incredible people out there who would make wonderful politicians, but they just don’t have the funds to campaign. I’m all for getting people into cycling, and I think the pandemic has brought more people than we could’ve imagined into the sport. However, blaming bike brands for pumping out 5 digit bike prices has nothing to do with who rides bikes or engages in the community. I see SO MANY kids get into cycling on 3 digit priced bikes and get absolutely hooked! I will always foster people who try to get out and make an attempt at a new hobby, gatekeeping has never made sense to me. But, you can’t expect everyone who gets on two wheels to get hooked on biking, regardless of their race, cultural, or socioeconomic spectrums.
  • 39 3
 I think I would make a first rate formula 1 driver, if only there weren't those shameful socioeconomic barriers holding me back.
  • 5 0
 @SEA5ONS: absolutely right. I've been riding since the mid 90s and I've witnessed tons of friends that started with really modest new (like me) or second hand bikes and evolved to better ones and they still enjoy nowdays! others started with top and gave up, not finding love and sold them. And I can give examples of the opposite, of course.
There's always, as in any other sport, company's that make top end expensive hardware, but you can fall in love by starting cheap and build your way in. Sometimes its a matter of luck, your friends, culture, where you live, and not deep pockets at all.
  • 7 7
 @commental: Surely you aren't saying that the socioeconomic barriers to cycling shouldn't be any lower than, say, F1 racing.

While I enjoy motorsports (minus NASCAR), I can't argue in good faith the world would be a better place, or humanity improved, if everyone had access to F1 cars.

I can honestly make that argument in favor of greater access to cycling.
  • 3 1
 @commental: real life example is the Canadian kid who’s dad happened to be a billionaire and was thus able to make to F1.
  • 3 0
 We are all on an elitist mountain bike page here, of course we are going to make fun of shitty bikes and the idiots riding them. (that was tongue in cheek). Out on the trail I am going to bet we all are very encouraging and nice. When I meet casual cyclists and invite them to come ride mtbs they often say "oh I'm not that fast" and my reply is " we are all having the same amount fun, come on, it will be fun". I'm sure lots of you are like this.
  • 20 1
 @tommyrod74: Life isn't fair. Never has been, never will be. Feel free to spend as much of your hard earned on buying bikes for those less privileged than you as you wish. That might make a difference to them. Posting on here about the perceived injustice of it all won't.
  • 5 0
 I guess I see way more cheap/clapped out bikes in my area.

Only time I negatively judge them is when I see them without a helmet. Worse yet when I see some fancy gizmo but no lid. Saw so many people in 2020 with a GoPro but no helmet!
  • 6 9
 @commental: Wow, seems unnecessarily harsh. Thanks for reminding me that life isn't fair, otherwise I might have forgotten. I don't think it's beyond the scope of this discussion to point out that a sport that's always had high barriers to entry seems to be getting more and more that way as prices increase, even though posting here doesn't help the issue.

I feel that trying to make life more fair where possible is a worthwhile endeavor. I'm on the lucky side of the socioeconomic scale, and I recognize that while my hard work factored into this, I'd be kidding myself to think that's all it was. A lot of it was who my parents were, how I appear to others, and what country/state/city I was fortunate enough to be born in. I could have very easily been less fortunate.

You're correct, however cynical you may be, in that opining here does little good, except maybe to make others aware of just how fortunate we are. I'll engage more locally in helping young cyclists to help. I won't, however, go with the "I've got mine, life isn't fair, too bad for you" attitude I sense from you.
  • 9 5
 @tommyrod74: Whatever. Lots of words there, if you can prove your actually backing them up with actions I'll listen.
  • 7 0
 @tommyrod74: I can't agree with the idea that mountain bikes are getting less accessible though. A £700 polygon siskiu is a substantially better bike than a £1000 bike from 10 years ago. Pre covid £400 bikes were coming with hydraulic disk brakes and functioning forks! Let alone all the other geometry, tyre, 1x improvements. S-works is optional, and cheap bikes have never been better.
  • 2 3
 @L0rdTom: That's all definitely true, and good point. I still believe that historically it's been a (relatively) tough sport to get into and that it would be great if more people had access to it, though maybe there isn't much to be done to help, except on the local and personal level.
  • 6 0
 There's this funny thing called working and saving towards a goal. No one told me to get into mountain biking when I was a kid and my parents sure as hell knew nothing about it. I used to read Mountain Bike Action while my mom grocery shopped - I thought those bikes with Manitou and Marzocchi forks were the coolest things I had ever seen. Rock Shox Judy? Ya, that was bad ass. I told my parents how I wanted to get one and they had a simple answer, "You're going to have to work for it and come up with the money yourself."

I worked all summer long as a 13 year old at my uncle's print shop collating magazines and by September, I had enough to buy a Trek with a red Manitou fork. I grew out of that, sold it on ebay, worked and bought a Trek Bruiser 2! When I bought my used '02 Specialized Big Hit DH in scab red off of ebay two years later, I did the same thing.

The best things in life are earned, not given. No one is required to or contractually bound to buy a new bike or an expensive bike. Most people don't do either. Pinkbike's buy and sell has been my saving grace for years. It's an amazing tool.

Mountain biking is to this day one of the best things that I have in my life. I can attribute having it in my life thanks to my own curiosity, my parents forcing me to set a goal and the incredible feeling of achieving that goal and owning something I thought was never possible.

I am 32 now. A lot of things in life don't care about your age, gender or race - especially setting goals and achieving them.
  • 2 7
flag tommyrod74 (Apr 20, 2022 at 11:13) (Below Threshold)
 @thedevilwearsrapha: Even if those things don't care about your age, gender or race - and I implied exactly zero of those things above as factors - they do care about socioeconomic status.

I worked hard for my nice things, too. It was easier to do so because I didn't have to worry much about very basic needs like shoes to wear or food to eat when growing up. If your uncle owned a print shop, and you could afford to use your earned money to buy a mountain bike instead of helping your family pay rent, then I'd assume it's most likely that you didn't have to worry much about those things, either.

I swear, it's like some of you have a congenital empathy deficiency. Yes, I had it harder than the kid I know who has 2 S-Works bikes at age 17. Yes, I had it a lot easier than many people did. I recognize both of these facts and simply wish that more people had access to the sport. It's amazing and fun but also expensive, even at the entry levels.

Surprisingly, empathy isn't incompatible with general principles of capitalism or your idea of a work ethic.
  • 8 1
 @tommyrod74: I'd beg to differ that with the incredible reach of the internet and globalization (which I don't personally care for), more people are aware of mountain biking than ever before, thus have that initial access to what mountain biking is. I had to find it in a magazine at a grocery store, not Instagram.

You're pigeon holing people into categories and circumstances and that's the problem. What about people in OTHER situations than the one you describe? Why exclude them?

I don't care who you are or your socioeconomic status, if you want to get into mountain biking there are cheap-ass bikes out there that one can get if they put their mind to it. Stop discounting people's abilities to achieve success in any capacity because of your idea of their personal limitations. We all have limitations at some point and how we get around them is part of who we become and how we become stronger as individuals.
  • 2 5
 @thedevilwearsrapha: I'm not arguing awareness, I'm arguing access and affordability. Knowing that kitesurfing exists doesn't mean anything if I can't afford the gear. And while that's a good example of a sport outside the means of many (most) people, I personally feel that cycling should be more egalitarian.

Pointing out that many people face challenges in affording the sport isn't pigeonholing nor discounting them. Some of them can overcome the challenges. Many can't. It's reality.

You don't see it the same way, and I'm OK with that. I'm not trying to convince you. You're trying to convince me I shouldn't wish the sport was more accessible; I think that's invalid.

In any case, as I said above, I'll find ways to help locally.
  • 2 0
 @tommyrod74: it's sounds like you've have a very privileged life and that's definitely a good thing you recognize it. I think some people get the feeling you're projecting this onto everyone else here, not saying you're doing it intentionally. Some of us had to work our asses off to buy our bikes and didn't have super privileged lives. I can see how that would be annoying to those people. I think people also get annoyed with all the "online talk". It's very easy to make comments about how the world is unfair and others should be doing something to fix it. Attention is great and all, but it doesn't really do anything besides annoy those who don't share your experiences. Maybe you do run a bike donation or coop, I don't know. Just giving another perspective here. All of our lives are different and generalizations typically don't help very much.
  • 2 0
 bike-shaming hahahahaha
  • 1 3
 @DylanH93: I get what you are saying, but it’s not like I’m asking people here to give up what they worked hard for and give it to somebody else. I’m just saying how much better off the sport would be if everything were less expensive – we’d have more people riding, and a lot more talent in the ranks of competitive racers as well. Everyone would benefit from the sport being a little less expensive. That doesn’t denigrate anyone’s hard work or invalidate their dedication to pay for things. This reminds me a little bit of the argument against student debt forgiveness… It’s the idea of I had to borrow and work hard and suffer, so why shouldn’t everybody else? Well, the point is that you shouldn’t of had to do that either. Society in general would be better off if higher education or subsidized in someway. Similarly, we all benefit from the sport being a little cheaper.
  • 1 2
 @JLantz: Also, I hope I’m being really clear that I’m not doing anything remotely like bike shaming. I own some very expensive bikes myself and I have seen many talented writers who were exceptionally fast on far more common rigs.
  • 1 3
 @DylanH93: I’ll add this as well, and then I will leave it alone… Sure, I recognize that I am privileged, but like anyone else here I’m sure I don’t look at myself as being born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Honestly, the people I know who were born into riches don’t see themselves that way, either. Everyone thinks of themselves as a self-made man or woman. We all stand on the shoulders of the people who came before us; some of us were lucky to have tallerr shoulders to stand on. There is no changing that, now or in the future. I just think we all would benefit if the sport or a little more affordable, even those of us with plenty of disposable income.
  • 12 0
 Most impressive about the Alaphilippe Crash is that after he went down, he immediately dodges the other flying bikes and roadies, like he knew whats going to happen behind him.
  • 1 0
 It’s pretty instinctive in my experience. “What’s coming behind me?!?!?!?” is the absolute first thing going through my head when I hit the deck on a road bike. I could be covered head to toe in rash with a broken collarbone and would still think that before noticing any pain.
  • 1 0
 That SWorks is so aero it gained elevation mid-crash - epic photo capture
  • 1 0
 The storyline that Alaphilippe somehow has an excellent crashing technique aged extremely poorly, considering that he broke his shoulderblade and two ribs in a Liege-Bastone-Liege crash this weekend. Always was too good to be true.
  • 14 1
 Russian oligarchs and the UCI make great bed fellows.
  • 9 0
 I giggle at gravel suspension forks, when considering a substantial number of road-only cyclists still debate the effectiveness of disc brakes! hahahaha
On a road cycling forum, after the Milan San Remo win (the one with the dropper post) there was one guy who very seriously said "if you aren't sitting on your saddle when you go downhill around corners YOU WILL DIE". I would love to take this guy mountain biking.....
  • 2 0
 It's really odd how against disk brakes some of them seem to be.
  • 2 0
 I giggled too, because with their short travel and narrow stance, they mimic the MTB suspension of the 90's, making these bikes seem to go back in time even more. Skinny tires, skinny travel, what's next? 56cm flat bars?
  • 12 0
 I read Quoc, but my brain saw Croc
  • 8 0
 I like gravel biking because it reduces the number of riders on the singletracks. Whatever floats yer boat.
  • 6 0
 Just here to see the internal conflicts between “bUt tHiS iSn’T DH” versus tyre inserts and roadies with better bail techniques than them
  • 1 0
 I think many pro road riders "saw the light" with those airliner/tire insert. They could be a little safer over the bike.
  • 8 3
 So bathroom breaks no longer exist in road racing and everyone just pisses over the rest of the peleton? Yuck. Another reason to stick to mtb.
  • 3 0
 A bit more civilized , the peloton agrees when and where to piss, i.e. on stage races in the deserted countryside everyone will slow down as take a piss.
  • 2 0
 One of the few big bike events I did, the lead peloton (which I was in) all slowed right before the first big climb. All those who had to go pulled out, peed off to the side, then pulled back into the group. No drama or mess at all.

7 miles and 1500' later, I was no longer with the lead group...
  • 1 0
 @kingbike2: ah thanks, that sounds more realistic actually.
  • 3 0
 Curious about gravel bikes, for those who bought a gravel bike and ride on gravel roads have you ever ventured off-road?
On Mount Fromme there’s a logging (gravel) road that you can ride to the top and back down. I used to do this until I discovered the all trails that branch off it. Now I only ride the road to get to the off-road trails. I recommend gravel bike riders give it a go, much more fun.
  • 8 0
 A lot of gravel riders are already mountain bikers.
  • 4 9
flag kingbike2 (Apr 20, 2022 at 8:03) (Below Threshold)
 @zephxiii: wtf, why would a mountain biker get a gravel bike. Go all in and get a road racing bike it’s a totally different in good way.
  • 10 1
 @kingbike2: Because gravel bikes are the appropriate road bike for most people. If you aren't racing, why would anyone get a racy road bike? In general they are uncomfortable and impractical, I love being able to put a rack on mine and enjoy the more comfortable riding position. It's a much more versatile bike, and I don't see any downsides to a gravel bike vs. road bike for the average rider.
  • 1 1
 @corporaltedbronson: Hey I love my racy road bike and I'm perfectly comfy on it. I also love my gravel bike, it's more of a go anywhere bike with a nicer ride. However if I really want to go anywhere and be super comfy then I just ride my HT with RaceKings. Each are awesome in their own way.
  • 3 0
 @corporaltedbronson: a proper stiff lightish road bike makes you feel superhuman going up a hill in a way that no other bike does, so I see their place.
  • 4 0
 I ride my gravel(ish) bike on everything from pavement and gravel roads to moderate singletrack. Great way to spice up otherwise boring mtb trails, and to make riding to the trailhead from home a lot less shitty. I'll happily ride 12 miles one way to the nearest singletrack on my gravel bike, but doing that on my trail bike feels like a slog. And a proper road race bike wouldn't really be able to handle the trails. Gravel bikes are just awesome "go wherever" bikes with a much more comfortable ride feel vs a true road bike.
  • 1 0
 @zephxiii
@L0rdTom
Fair, and I've had fun rides on fancy road bikes no doubt, but I'm a one road bike kind of guy and versatility is king.
  • 1 0
 The mtb trails around me are closed after rain so a gravel bike is great for getting away from people on gravel roads. Also riding to breweries or another stuff at the near by downtown.
  • 1 0
 @corporaltedbronson: if you get a racy road bike you can travel in social groups called “peletons” and piss on each other while riding. True , I read it on Pinkbike.
  • 1 0
 @kingbike2: there are definitely cheaper ways to get pissed on if that's your thing..
  • 3 1
 Next few weeks we'll have a BMX weekly update as well. Slowly but surely PinkBIke will cease to be an MTB site. Kinda sucks. And I'm a leg shaving former Cat 2. I love road riding and racing, but liked having a dedicated dirt site.
  • 1 0
 yep Alaphilippe skills are really good,love how he jumps away from the other riders behind him,what a cool photo!The hole sequence is really awesome. Road bikes are those who need tire inserts the most IMO. They could run flat to safe,or stop with some warranty tire would not come off the rim and crash.
  • 1 1
 The AX issue sure gave RS enough time to put together a nice looking gravel fork. That lower is a thing of freaking beauty. The ID is killer. The graphics are solid. The color is perfect. If I could stuff the FOX crown into the RS lower that thing would be perfect. Appearance wise...
  • 1 0
 loved racing with the big Ginger Gorilla as a junior. Stoked to see he is still wrenching at Pro level. Lekker Jac-Johann!
  • 1 0
 Road cycling has embraced metric for tyre width, I wonder how far away it will be for mountain bikes?
  • 1 0
 Surely the best upgrade for a gravel bike is an XC bike.
  • 1 0
 heck of crash that!
  • 1 0
 That crash looks savage.
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