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    - Hey Drew, why don’t we sell this tape on this site? - Last week I asked for advice about the paint scheme of my now-built-but-unpainted David Kirk steel road frame. At the time I was trending toward a traditional Italian tricolore with a splash of yellow. Several of you created a virtual moodboard and I’m grateful for the awesome material you sent. Thank you. Two updates: (1) In case you didn’t catch it, Dave Kirk himself provided a crucial point of clarification. He had nothing to do with Serotta’s production of bikes for 7-Eleven. Instead he was involved with [...]

    The Art of Being Hip

    This is a What’s New about steel bikes. Let us now praise the timeless connection between beautiful, steel bikes and the art of being hip. Not hipsterdom. Just hip – - Note the steel bike at the hero image atop this article pertaining to Velominati rule number 5(b): Eddy never complained. - Longtime readers may recall that about a year ago I decided to buy a handmade steel frame. Part of it was curiosity about the process, and the other part of it was a wish to own at least one bike with a steel frame, steel fork, and parts [...]

    - For the bike-mad, the most glorious of Boston races has always been the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic , not the Marathon. Alas, a purported lack of interest took Fitchburg down. (Might we credit the amazing success of the Pan-Mass Challenge?) So even before last week’s events, with just a hint of being bummed, I would’ve admitted that the Marathon overshadows anything related to the bike. But following those horrors, the meaning of the race to New England America has taken on massively more meaning than before. Regardless of the sport, it might now be our country’s most important sporting event. [...]

    - More than a week has passed since Paris-Roubaix. Have you been able to shake its spell? For me, it’s been like a glow — one that pulses even hotter every time I see my bike. For the first time in ages I have full recollection of how I fell for the sport in the first place. The way I once stole every spare moment to tend to my bike, to think about it when others spoke to me, to doodle it when I should’ve been paying attention to something else. After a lifetime spent in the industry and two [...]

    BMC GranFondo GF01

    BMC’s GranFondo GF01 is a bike designed for long rides on rough roads. A cursory glance speaks volumes — the frame and fork are nothing like anything BMC has produced, yet as a whole, it still carries a distinct BMC flavor in its dramatic tube shapes and seat cluster — the latter of which is about the only thing that looks even remotely like the BMC flagship race bike, the SLR01. BMC engineers have created zones in each tube (even the seatpost) where the material and shapes are carefully designed to provide a degree of compliance while maintaining the torsional [...]

    With a high molecular weight polyethylene outer construction, the Clam Shell case provides a heavy protection at a light weight. On the interior, the case sandwiches your wheels between high-density foam padding for a shift-free, dependable level of protection. The case can hold two wheels, road or mountain (even 29er wheels with mounted tires), and it features two outer straps and two Velcro straps for the locking mechanism. This means that your wheels are not only protected from abusive handling, but they’re also protected from greedy hands, too. And to make transportation easy, the case also features a durable, topside [...]

    While most component groups burst onto the market touting one amazing, new technology, every piece of Dura-Ace 9000 has a complete redesign that makes it better than 7900. In the case of the levers, they’ve been built lighter, stronger, crisper, and more comfortable. The aesthetics are stunning, the feel is unparalleled, and even better, all of the new additions work symbiotically to achieve the perfect harmony between your body and the bike. 11-speeds? Absolutely. Lighter weight? You got it. The marriage between a standard and compact crankset? Amen. The Shimano Dura-Ace FC-9000 11-Speed Crankset has once again revolutionized the market [...]

    The angularity of the Orbea Orca Silver is unmistakable, and it’s a striking quality that leaves you with a lasting impression. At first glance, it looks almost brutish, like its planar design is there to skew its radar signature at some terrifying top speed. It shares this same overall shape with the more expensive Orca Gold, though this one makes use of a materials mix that leaves all the performance out on the road without producing such a lasting effect on your wallet. It’s not a stretch to think of the Orca Silver as the Ultegra of the Orca line. [...]

    The Excalibur/SRAM Rival bike is a perfect everyman’s race bike. It’s light, tough, and at under $1800, it won’t rip your wallet to shreds. It’s a spectacular entry into a carbon frame, and features the same geometry as the ProTour-tested Helium.

    Reviewed: Ridley Icarus

    If you cringe at the thought of taking your race-day bike out for those long, preseason training days, or you’re simply looking to dip your toes into the world of performance cycling without re-financing your home, the Ridley Icarus Shimano Tiagra Complete Bike removes all the heavy lifting from your decision-making process and quickly gets you riding. The Icarus is very much a workman’s steed, being a race-worthy and exceptionally upgradable platform thanks to geometry derived from the top-shelf Ridley Excalibur, and able to take the abuse of day-in day-out training, thanks to the light and strong 7005-series aluminum tubing. [...]

    The Zipp 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Wheelset is not only the lightest Firecrest clincher in the Zipp war chest, but even as a clincher, it reigns supreme as the ultimate Zipp climbing wheel.

    The new Quarq Red GXP Powermeter is the latest revolution in powermeters; not only by being the first powermeter to be designed into a SRAM gruppo, but also by increasing reading accuracy while decreasing overall weight. If you’re looking to take your riding to the next level, it’s an obvious choice.

    Garneau’s Course Apparel features next-to-skin fit and Garneau’s lightest, most aerodynamic fabrics. The Superleggera kit has mesh inserts throughout to keep you comfortable in sweltering summer temperatures, while the Race kit provides compression to reduce muscle fatigue and enhance performance during competition. The Course vest features a strategic cut-out in back that allows you to access your jersey pockets with ease.

    Ergon designed the SM3 saddle from the ground up. The ultra-thin shell was developed using finite element method analysis to map loads and areas of stress. This gave the saddle its distinctive shape, and allowed Ergon to tune the shell for optimized deflection. The shell has progressive dampening layers that are individual to the different saddle widths. Every size option gets its own layer for rider-specific compression. Adding to the SM3′s trail taming is a nose-mounted micro-damper. This damper, located in between the shell and rails, filters out smaller vibrations.

    - (1) In the literary cult of Spring Classics literature, the most cultish book is Joe Parkin’s ‘A Dog In A Hat.’ The book spawned Joe’s tripidicular blog ’6 Years In A Rain Cape’. It was part Belgie reminiscences, part how-to PRO manual. Somehow, someway, in the time between the Parkin Authorial Apotheosis in 2009 and 2013, Joe lost control of his blog’s URL. Have you seen it now? Bummer. (2) In the bike biz, the Heavyweight Battle of the Titans is Specialized v. Trek. The Wizards of Wisconsin have suffered mightily over the last year. Seemingly every important one-day [...]

    Dear Brendan

    From: Jill Layfield Subject: Getting on the same page Date: March 25, 2013 11:16:01 AM MDT To: Brendan Quirk Dear Brendan - Given how tumultuous last week was, I thought it’d be wise to send you an email summarizing our conversations up to this point. As you recall, upon receiving your resignation/confession, I asked you to reconsider. I suggested that a 72-hour ‘cooling off period’ might be beneficial to you. So for three days you vanished. Upon your return you made it clear you were conflicted. You told me you spent the time wandering the streets of San Francisco — [...]

    Dear Jill

    Jill Layfield, CEO Backcountry.com 1678 Redstone Drive Park City, UT 84098 Dear Jill – I’m writing you less as boss and more as friend. In the same way, this feels less like my resignation, and more like my confession. It’s with a heart heavy with regret that I must tell you my time has come. I’ll forever cherish my 19 months here at Backcountry.com. No other company and no other group of people would’ve offered the same opportunity, challenge and joy. I wish I could remain part of it. But, alas, I now answer to a higher power. You see, [...]

    Skratch Labs is onto something different –a drink mix optimized for hot water. Seasonal flavors are something we’ve seen from Clif Bar and Mountain Dew and elsewhere, but it’s new to the electrolyte drink scene, as is the idea of making something for hot water. This is a limited edition flavor; so next winter there should be something new. And to highlight the unique offering, it also comes with a glass jar, which you can reuse and reuse and reuse. Skratch Labs appeared in late 2011 under the name Secret Drink Mix, or SDM. This was playing on the fact [...]

    - The first in an occasional series highlighting the architecture that helps make the world’s most beautiful races just that, beautiful. We kick things off with a photo from one of America’s toughest mountaintop finishes. The Snowbird Ski Resort is becoming as synonymous with the Tour of Utah as Geelong Heights is to the Tour of Langkawi (please note I did not make an analogy to a European race, thank you.) The dizzying mountains of the Little Cottonwood Canyon provide plenty of drama. But things look that much more otherworldly on race day due to Snowbird’s Brutalist architecture. Let’s be [...]

    There is a fair amount of discussion as to what a chain should do. For some, it’s a disposable small part, and as such, you should buy on price alone. For others, it’s an indispensable part of a bike’s shifting performance. Others still see it as moving mass that should be minimized. KMC’s X10SL chain hits on two of the three points. It’s designed for easy shifting at a light weight to compete with the best chains on the market. At 5.88mm wide, it works with all 10-speed systems. Ever heard of KMC before? We’ve seen KMC chains around for [...]

    - If Bjarne Riis was Mr. 60%, Bloomberg News reports that Lance Armstrong was Mr. $218 Million. Unwanted exposure of his personal finances capped off one of Lance’s worse weeks. It’s bad enough that the US government made public its effort to do what Zuelle, Beloki and Ullrich couldn’t. But could anything burn Lance up worse than the idea of Floyd Landis hitting the lottery because of it? The comic relief ends up as the star. Floyd, Floyd, Floyd…Do you remember where you were a century ago — back in 2006 — when you first heard he failed a Tour [...]

    We learned our lesson when we gummed up a freehub with grease, costing us a stage race. It suddenly couldn’t engage, we couldn’t get a wheel in time. Race over. A friend learned when his freehub was screeching as he coasted out his door after servicing his rear wheel. In these situations, it took frantic web searches and anxious telephone calls before the problem was diagnosed. Then, with a little work and the proper lubricant, the problem was solved—though our sticky freehub was never quite the same again. Freehubs are nothing the average cyclist wants to service until he has [...]

    - Australia? Yawn. Qatar? Double-yawn. But the Etoile de Bessèges? When the Bessy arrives it means the bike racing season is officially here. At long last, Euros in Europe being Euro. - With the racing season now underway, some tips for making the most of it: Get epidemiological: Get big-ringing: Get bloodied, but unbowed: Get blown away by the comments, v 1.0. Get a whole lotta love: Get realistic: Which US-based world championship event received more holistic support from USA Cycling — 2013 ‘cross or 1986 road? Sure, this year USA Cycling covered a portion of the Exergy shortfall. But [...]

    - We’re all Lance experts now. But if you flip back to earlier pages of American elite cycling folklore, you’ll find the story where Eddy B, in his broken English, told his riders, ‘Horses are fast, yes? Then you should eat horsemeat.’ - As much as I may try otherwise, I can drum up zero excitement for the annual January blitz of sun-soaked Australian racing. Perhaps shifting from mud-clogged Belgian CX winter to the high heat of Down Under summer is too disjointed. Perhaps it’s that top form is never more useless than in January. Perhaps it’s that no winner [...]