When I was sized to my first high quality road bike in 1984 it was simple: stand over the bike, lift it up to make sure you had an inch or two clearance, and you were good. Then choose between a 10 or 11 cm stem. Done!
Things got a bit more complicated with sloping top tubes in the 90s.
But things have gotten downright weird in the last ten years or so, especially with mountain bikes.
About five years ago Lee McCormack published his theory of RAD on PinkBike. What is RAD? “The Rider Area Distance (RAD) is the imaginary line between your bottom bracket and the centers of your grips.”
I’d ignored this whole RAD thing up to now, but after two years of riding a Large Ibis Ripley that feels too cramped for me, I measured my RAD yesterday and it helped confirm that I need more reach (for many people, though, RAD will indicate your are riding a bike that is too BIG).
Check out the videos below and let me know your thoughts!
I thought it would be fun to compare my 20 year old IndyFab cross bike to my new DeSalvo gravel bike.
Steel fork vs carbon fork
Canti studs w/v-brakes vs disc brakes
1 1/8th head tube vs tapered head tube
2 c-rings vs 1 c-ring
13-26 8 speed vs 11-42 11 speed
QR vs thru-axles
Clearance for 35mm tires vs clearance for 50 mm tires
35mm tires with tubes vs tubeless 48mm tires
42cm road bars vs 44cm flared gravel bars
Standard seat post vs dropper post
For as long as I can remember, Mavic has been synonymous with rims and wheels. My first serious wheelset back in 1984 was Campy Record with Mavic G40 rims, and for years the combo I rode was either Record or Dura Ace hubs with Mavic MA40s. And of course I had my Mavic GP4 tubular wheelset for race day. In the world of professional bicycle racing, the neutral Mavic support vehicle was ever-present. Here's a famous pic of the Mavic guys rushing to Laurent Fignon at the 1982 Blois-Chaville after his Campy Ti BB spindle snapped (video of the epic crash here).
Mavic continued to innovate in the 1990s. They launched the first electronic group in 1992. Their SUP rims with machined sidewalls made wheelbuilding much easier (which I appreciated greatly as a shop rat wheelbuilder). And they changed the wheel industry forever when they launched the Helium pre-built wheels in 1996.
But Mavic fell on hard times in recent years. Three years ago they filed for bankruptcy and exited the US market altogether. And for a little while there, the future of the brand was in doubt. But now they are back with a new owner and a new facility in Waterbury, Vermont. In addition to re-establishing sales and support services in North America, Mavic will unveil new products in the next few months. Read the full story at Bicycle Retailer.
This recall involves Shimano Ultegra FC-6800, Dura-Ace FC-9000, Ultegra FC-R8000, Dura-Ace FC-R9100 and FC-R9100P 11-Speed Bonded Hollowtech Road Cranksets manufactured prior to July 2019 sold individually and on bicycles sold by other manufacturers such as Trek and Specialized. A crankset is the component of the bicycle that the chain and pedals attach to for pedaling. The recalled models have printed ‘Ultegra’ or Dura Ace’ logos on the arm. The affected models are pre-July 2019 production and have the following two letter production code on backside of the crank arm where the pedals are attached: KF, KG, KH, KI, KJ, KK, KL, LA, LB, LC, LD, LE, LF, LG, LH, LI, LJ, LK, LL, MA, MB, MC, MD, ME, MF, MG, MH, MI, MJ, MK, ML, NA, NB, NC, ND, NE, NF, NG, NH, NI, NJ, NK, NL, OA, OB, OC, OD, OE, OF, OG, OH, OI, OJ, OK, OL, PA, PB, PC, PD, PE, PF, PG, PH, PI, PJ, PK, PL, QA, QB, QC, QD, QE, QF, QG, QH, QI, QJ, QK, QL, RA, RB, RC, RD, RE, and RF.
Consumers should immediately stop using the cranksets manufactured before July 1, 2019, and contact an authorized Shimano dealer to schedule a free crankset inspection. Only consumers whose cranksets show signs of bonding separation or delamination during the inspection will be provided a free replacement crankset and installation.
Look, I get it. Moots has a demographic that can afford something like this ($9,999!) and probably even wants something like this. And the small brands can’t just let Trek and Specialized take over the high end, high tech e-bike world. This feels a bit like when Porsche started making SUVs, which helped keep them in business so they could keep making 911s.
Still, I appreciated the fact that when Carl Strong went to carbon fiber after decades of focusing on steel and titanium, he created a whole new brand–Pursuit.
This week Santa Cruz introduced the Heckler SL, a new lightweight e-mtb. At around 41 pounds, the Heckler SL sits in between their 30-pound pedal bikes and their standard 50-pound e-bikes like the Heckler and Bronson. The Heckler SL is a mullet with 150mm of travel and utilizes the lightweight Fanzua Ride 60 system.
What are your thoughts on this new and growing category of lightweight e-mtbs? I haven’t ridden any of them, but so far my favorite bike in this category is the Transition Relay, which utilizes the same Fanzua Ride 60 system. Unlike the Heckler SL, you can remove the battery in the Relay and ride without, dropping the bike down to 37.5 pounds. The Heckler SL's battery is permanently integrated, which is a deal killer for me.
Watch Santa Cruz’s video below for more on the development of this bike.
I just stumbled across this 2019 interview that PEZ Cycling did with Paul Willerton. Willerton was a successful US pro road cyclist who raced with Greg LeMond for several years, but he abruptly switched to mountain bike racing in 1994 and started riding Bontragers. I'd always wondered about this. I thought it was super cool at the time--I was working in a shop that sold Bontrager and had just bought a Bontrager Race. I thought they were the best and coolest race bikes you could buy. But why did Willerton switch to mtb?
PEZ: Why go to MTB?
I didn’t like what I was sensing in professional road racing. My teammates at Z were really confused at the new level being displayed by riders that had never been at that level. Then, at Subaru, I only saw a continuation of this. When you spend years and years competing, and beating, peers that you’ve known since juniors, and suddenly they exceed not only your level but go to the peak of the sport, it’s pretty baffling. What I was seeing was the early days of biotech and blood manipulation. What I was feeling, on the bike, was the discomfort that causes. Cycling is hard enough. I thought road racing wasn’t for me, so I naturally looked for another place to enjoy cycling. MTB was it, but it only lasted for one year, 1994. By 1995, I noticed the exact same things happening in World Cup MTB. Sure enough, from what we learned in subsequent years, it was.
Read the full article at Pez Cycling News. There's a lot more interesting stuff in there!
I love the pic below. Note the Mag 21, cantis and one inch threaded headset! These were steep, fast, light and quick handling bikes!
Fall to me doesn’t mean pumpkin spice and turtleneck sweaters. It means bike lights and cold weather gear. Are you ready? Check your batteries–I just replaced the CR 2016 battery in my Planet Bike blinky. Are your headlights holding their charges? I have three Light & Motions that I rotate through–I'm getting them charged up and am testing them out now. Are your gloves, tights, vests and winter jackets in good shape? It’s happening! Just one more week before summer is officially over! Don’t get caught out in the dark/cold/wet unprepared!
I’m late to find this out but apparently Surly is telling dealers “there are no future productions planned for the Steamroller.” The Surly guys made no mention of this at Sea Otter when I asked if they would ever bring back the awesome cream color on the Steamroller–AKA the “Creamroller.” (And BTW I’m still looking for a cream Steamroller in a 56.) Sadly this brings to an end a two decade run for this venerable and highly adaptable frameset. If you want one, I’d get in touch with your LBS soon. My guess is supplies are running low!
The 1971 motorcycle racing documentary On Any Sunday is often credited with introducing BMX to a wider audience. The opening credits shows kids riding wheelies and jumping their Schwinn Sting-Rays in the dirt. In just a few years this So Cal sport would go international and create a whole new industry. Watch the movie in its entirety below!