Top Stories from CyclingTips: Rainbows for van der Poel, Ferraris, & the Headwind Championships

Feb 17, 2020
by Sarah Lukas  


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.




A Desert Dream - The scenic route: Tucson, Arizona pt.1
By: Marshall Opel

The flight into Tucson took us low over the outskirts of town, close enough that I could clearly see the massive cacti and bushy scrub that dot the desert landscape. I could see the roads and gravel that wind through them, too, up and down over the land’s contours, and all I wanted to do was ride.

Situated roughly 60 miles north of the Mexican border, Tucson’s temperate weather and quality riding draw cyclists looking to escape. Sonoran desert and mountain ranges in all directions feel quintessentially southwest.

(Read more for pt 1.)
Ready for more?
Check out "A Guide to Mt Lemmon - The scenic route: Tucson, Arizona pt 2."




2020 Giant XTC Advanced SL 29 1 hardtail review: fast as
By: Dave Rome

For 2020 Giant has overhauled the long-lived XTC hardtail platform by giving its geometry a tweak, adding a little comfort and putting it on a high fibre diet. What hasn’t changed is the XTC’s cross country racing purpose, and with a frame that’s stiffer than uncooked pasta, 29in wheels and a 100mm fork up front, this is one bike that loves to be ridden elbows-out and pinned.

(Read more.)




CyclingTips Podcast: What if schools had a bike mechanic class?
By: CyclingTips

In this week’s Nerd Alert, James brings back a report from the Outdoor Retailer show about a bike mechanic class that’s coming to American schools. Finally, we find out which podcast hosts are the best (and worst) mechanics.

(Read more.)





Take a bow, Mathieu, you’re world champ again
By: CyclingTips

Mathieu van der Poel led the cyclocross world championships from end-to-end and crossed the finish line with a 90 second gap, leaving no doubt who stands as the best male cyclocross racer on the planet. (not to mention his performance on an xc bike...)

(Read More.)





Nerd Alert Podcast: How to make the perfect disc brake
By: CyclingTips

This week, James chats with brake engineer John Thomas about the difficulties in perfecting disc brakes, and how the very nature of the way we put bikes together these days makes it almost impossible to make them completely silent.

(Read more.)




The Dutch Headwind Championships is cycling’s silliest, most spectacular race
By: Iain Treloar

Forget the Herald Sun Tour, Langkawi or Valenciana – there was just one race you really needed to pay attention to last weekend.

Raced along a gruelling 8.5km course, plotting a straight course down a storm-surge barrier in the southern Netherlands, the sixth annual Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships (NK Tegenwindfietsen to its friends) was held on Sunday.

(Watch here.)




The Secret Pro: Never buy a Ferrari
By: The Secret Pro

What’s up, readers. Long time no see. It’s only February, but the year has already kicked off with a bang.

Riders have started taking the Tour Down Under more seriously. Just look at how it wasn’t only Aussies who won stages this year. Then Little Evenepoel demolished everyone in San Juan. That kid is terrifyingly good. And some races have been cancelled already, due to coronavirus and the death of a sultan or something. Just like a mountain stage, we’ve hit some highs and lows already.

(Read More.)



52 Comments

  • 25 0
 The Dutch have to have a headwind challenge as they dont have any hills Smile
  • 11 0
 Wait till you hear about their tailwind events. PB gonna be lit.
  • 8 0
 One of the biggest stars on the scene, a guy called Gwind, once famously won an race without his chain.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, the lack of hills sure has implications for the number of athletes getting into mountainbiking here. The headwind challenge is one alternative. Have you looked at the recent CX world championship results (not just the elite male which are getting all the attention)? Last years BMX WC and Worlds results, track cycling? Sure as a mountainbike enthusiast I would love to see more of that too but I get that athletes may choose a different path if that is what their local terrain/facilities allow.
  • 16 2
 How to make the perfect disc brake...?

Take a Moto brake and make it smaller.
  • 7 0
 With a floating caliper? Magura had the Gustav M and it was hugely powerful but somehow cycling people don't like drag and noise these days.
  • 11 0
 whats wrong with the current generation of disc brakes? running my trusty saints for years without complaints...weve been coming a long way since the times of shady cantilever brakes
  • 1 0
 @vinay: no not with a floating caliper, that was back in the days. You doesnt need an extra servo wave or something for a good and modular braking power.

Take a look at braking.com. okey theyre an italian brand but, the system looks really nice and the ergonomic is like moto style. and thats really nice.
  • 2 0
 @funkzander: i dont speak about cantis. Its about the discbrakes or the neaty shimano resorvoir, with brakepoint wandering. The older shimanos where nice. The moto brakes are really simple and working now for years. the bike brakes are sometimes shitty, sometimes nice...
  • 1 0
 @funkzander: Looking at the picture, I suspect they may be talking about flat mount road disc brakes. I’ve got Ultegras and my mate has 105s and they are noisy as heck in the wet. Silent in the dry.
Mountain bike brakes, they hardly ever seem to make any noise.
I think it’s because the flat mount calliper has the bolts too close together and the calliper mounted on a kind of cantilever bit that’s bolted to the frame. I might be imagining things but to me it looks like vibration just waiting to happen.
The most annoying thing about my brakes on the road bike is that they not only are very noisy, but they make two different tones. Super embarrassing when pulling up to a traffic light!
  • 2 0
 @jaame: I was tootn' a horn with my rear brake all day Saturday while mtbing on a snowy trail.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: What pad compound are you running on either set? IME pad compound and the rotor itself are the main cause of "turkey call" brakes, especially when they only gobble under certain circumstances.
  • 1 0
 @maxyedor: I don't know to be honest. Shimano ones that came in the brakes, and shimano discs.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: I have no experience with these road brakes. Though what I understand from brake sounds is that it can also be because of spoke tension or just because rim and/or frame have large cavities which help to amplify the sound. But I trust you already know your stuff around mountainbike disc brakes whereas I don't know much about the road bike variation. As for brake pad material, I thought resin pads are more silent than sintered pads.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: I haven’t really looked into it because I only use my road bike occasionally and would never go out in the rain on purpose. I have got caught a couple of times and that “turkey call” (!) is obnoxious.
I am going to say the pads are resin because they make no sound when dry.
  • 11 1
 Was going to say that I view road bike news on PB like I would a crack dealer hanging about outside my kids' school, but Dutch headwind races? Yes flipping please!
  • 6 7
 Come on, this years Tour Down Under was on fire
  • 1 0
 The most horrible bit about it seems to be the coaster brakes. You can't ratchet. If you can't make a full cycle, you're off. Seeing this on PB though, I'm just surprised to not yet have run into a hater saying Gazelle is a PON brand so they surely must have used e-bikes.
  • 3 0
 @vinay: not sure what the issue is when these dudes and gals make 8.5km of full cycles in 100km headwind
  • 4 0
 @mi-bike: You can't backpedal on a coaster brake so if you come unstuck in a dead spot (one foot low, the other up) there is no way to get out of that other than get off the bike, lift the rear wheel and bring the cranks in the horizontal position again. On a bike without coaster brake, at least you can backpedal and bring the cranks in the ideal position while still rolling. Or you can even ratchet if it gets tough. You can't do that on a coaster brake bike.

On other not so nice thing of coaster brakes is that it requires a chain for you to be able to brake. I once approached a traffic light at speed on a borrowed bike. The light switched to red but the chain fell off. There isn't much you can do in such a situation other than jump off the rolling bike. Obviously not an issue in this these headwind championships but surely a bit of an issue in traffic.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: the only way it's a good solution is if you learned to ride a bike on one.
  • 1 0
 @thanks I was well aware of what coasterbrakes are as I’ve logged many a km on them. They’d be horrible for mtbing for obvious reasons but for the Dutch situation they’re perfect. The ultimate clutterfree cockpit also.

Yes having a chain fall off when approaching a red light may be the worst luck ever but considering most bikes in NL have horizontal dropouts and “perfect” chain tension, chances of this happening are really, really small.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: dude if you don't have anything constructive or even minutely funny to say please don't bother posting it at all.
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: Actually most little kids these days are getting bikes with coaster brakes as nearly all hand brakes are impossible for them to operate. They can only just hold the grips so these brake levers are either way too far out, or close but hit the bars before they even get a decent amount of brake power, or you manage to get them close and with decent brake power but the leverage is way too heavy.

Yeah I get that these coaster brakes are part of the challenge. It requires you to maintain a certain pace and not back off. I've ridden loads on these bikes too but I'm not convinced they're perfect. Mostly because it is a rear wheel brake. As a kid it is fun because it is easy to generate a skid and because you load only one pedal, it also makes you whip out the rear wheel to one side. But for actually slowing down I think it is sub par if you ride fast and have to react fast in traffic. You'll get the rear wheel sliding before you're getting half decent deceleration. Aside from hydraulic disc brakes (which you're now seeing more on the trekking kind of bikes and obviously on the pedal assisted bikes) I think roller brakes are currently the most trouble free brakes (if you're getting the ones certified for 130kg system weight, that is). They work consistently in the wet, require little maintenance (except for the odd lube with the special grease few people seem to know about) and it is nice to be able to backpedal in places.

All this said, I don't think they necessarily got them these bikes because of the coaster brake challenge. If you're getting bikes like these, if it is single speed you're getting a coaster brake. If it doesn't have a coaster brake, you're getting gears.

As for the chain falling off. Sure it is an easy fix but if you're borrowing a bike in a hurry, you don't always go through a full check. Especially as most of these bikes have the chain in a box so you're not immediately aware of how slack the chain is until you ride it.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: my kids never used coaster brake... it’s parents who are afraid to teach them to ride with regular brakes, probably don’t want to run with their kids for the first few months. They just want to give them a brake that works when kid panics. I’ve seen kids eat dirt because of coaster brake MANY MANY times. Because they want to ride like kids who ride without coaster brake. Then they borrow the bike without coaster brake and they hit stuff REAL hard. I told some parents who to borrow my kids bikes on our pump track: no. Because I am tired of seeing kids being scraped off the gravel. You can teach kids to use hand brakes. They learn to operate IPad when they are 3, they can operate a bloody brake. They crash 3 times and they learn. This is from observing many kids, not just mine.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Nah, as I said it is quite hard to get kids' bikes where they handbrakes can be set so that a three year old can operate them properly. They've just got much more power in their feet. Actually both my kids got used bikes (no point buying new) with both v-brakes as well as coaster brakes. I was actually planning to remove the coaster brake from the rear hub but realized the kids just didn't manage to decelerate the bike properly in traffic. They just weren't stopping. The risk isn't that they go OTB (because honestly I think that is a reflex people need to learn to work with), it is just that they can hardly pull the brake lever and when they try they have little grip left on the handlebar grip itself. They manage once they've reached the age of five or six but until then cable operated hand brakes are hard to operate. Or well my neighbor got his son a mountainbike with a cable operated disc brake and that one is doable as you can set the pads quite close. And with hydraulic brakes there is probably no more issue.

Either way they've been using hand brakes for years now. Not sure about the iPad though. Heck, I can't even operate an iPad.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: it’s a matter of getting Vbrakes and Alivio or Avid FR5 levers And extra long adjustment bolts To bring the lever closer, then adjusting the brake pads a bit more carefully than what you would do for your own bike. Sometimes handlebar can’t accomodate them so it’s another expense. Those “junior” levers on kids bikes are worthless. They are smaller but they are wobbly and cumbersome anyways. FR5s or Single Digit 7 are best for kids. Sure it means you Need to spend extra 100€ on the bike But it’s only a matter of priorities. Just buy a Frog bike... if there’s anythinf that really still sucks with kids bikes up to 24” it’s the cranksets. I wish Sram made 130-140-150 spiderless cranks with road spindle for 63mm BB. The Q-Factor on pretty much all cranks out there is horrific. It should not be wider than 150mm.
  • 6 0
 XC race bike gets reviewed on CyclingTips, but Pinkbike gets ebikes, whatever Bernard Kerr is doing on dirtbikes, and that thing Mike Levy has been riding lately?
  • 3 0
 Was at Dubendorf for the Worlds CX. MVDP is such a nice guy, always available for the people. Really impressive on the track, although Pidcock was so cool to see IRL too.
  • 2 0
 Pidcock f*cking smashed it!
Great to see Wout Van Aert in the mix too Smile
  • 1 0
 @Artikay13: When I saw Pidcock took 2nd, I thought that it was for U23. So good.
  • 3 0
 John Thomas? I'm guessing this doesn't translate to all countries or his parents have one hell of a sense of humour.
  • 4 0
 Wow, by PBs criterias, XC hardtails are not considered MTBs any more.
  • 1 0
 It's more that CyclingTips has a little bit of cross over into the mountain bike scene. Some of the CT readers are cool with them mountain bike things.
  • 2 2
 I am at a loss to see how a top level hard tail have such sky rocket prices. Surely it has top spec but it's missing a sizeable amount of work/parts.
  • 7 0
 It takes a lot of people & money to not put all that work & all those parts on that hardtail.... hence the sky high price tag.
  • 2 0
 The disc brake nerd alert podcast was a good listen.
  • 1 0
 Glad you checked it out!
  • 1 0
 Borrow the Secret Pro for MTB. Thanks in advance.
  • 1 0
 That was just "GB-cut-the-course-in-1990" - best site EVER from back in the day!!
  • 1 0
 Go Hawks !!!!
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