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‘Running changes’ are an annual right in the bike industry and there’s a good reason for them. They allow manufacturers to make subtle improvements to a product while still squeezing a return from money previously spent on molds, branding, and education, to name a few things. They let retailers stock up with fresh temptations to keep the cash register humming. And for consumers it’s joyous new fodder for mid-ride conversation, not to mention a boost of inspiration for those days when training seems like a chore. From this, a question: When are accumulated running changes so transformative that they warrant [...]

Competitive Cyclist

Massage makes you a cyclist. It’s not just the images of pro riders sitting on the tailgate of their team’s station wagon minutes before the start getting a light pre-race rub, nor the scenes of them clad in nothing more than a towel having their legs worked over post race, nor the training advice in countless books to put your legs up post-ride and massage them yourself; it’s the idea that you’re accepting wisdom as old as cycling itself. Even a short between race rub ties all bike racers together in a single act. Ever since we first heard about [...]

Competitive Cyclist

Motorex has put forth something that isn’t all that common, a biodegradable degreaser. And more than just that, the degreaser is designed to work with their chain lubes so that you can degrease, rinse, and before the chain is dry, reapply the Motorex chain lube of your choice. It sounds good in theory, but it’s only a cool trick if it works. We’re happy to report that it does. Spray it on, wait a few minutes, scrub, rinse, and your chain and drivetrain are clean. It was part of a larger cleaning routine where we’d first spray the chain with [...]

Competitive Cyclist

Motorex has put forth something that isn’t all that common, a biodegradable degreaser. And more than just that, the degreaser is designed to work with their chain lubes so that you can degrease, rinse, and before the chain is dry, reapply the Motorex chain lube of your choice. It sounds good in theory, but it’s only a cool trick if it works. We’re happy to report that it does. Spray it on, wait a few minutes, scrub, rinse, and your chain and drivetrain are clean. It was part of a larger cleaning routine where we’d first spray the chain with [...]

Competitive Cyclist

Here’s a quick overview of how to set up your Fox RP23 rear shock for best performance.

Competitive Cyclist

We wanted to see for ourselves how a sub-1300 gram UST wheelset could transform our bikes.

- Welcome to June 27. It’s end of the month; end of the quarter; and, for some companies, end of the fiscal year. Can you feel the desperation? Thankfully, we don’t feel it here. That is, we didn’t until a supplier of ours inadvertently CC’d me on this email. The names are blurred to protect the innocent, etc -- That tape is so cheap it makes you want to do what? - Rabobank’s Laurens Ten Dam wasn’t just King of the Mountains at the 2011 Tour de Suisse. He role-played as full-on mountain man, as in Ozarks or Appalachia. One [...]

Competitive Cyclist

New bikes are always fun. We got a chance to test ride the Yeti SB-66 to see how their Switch Technology suspension design feels on the trail.

- Officially, at least, the 2012 product introductions won’t occur until trade show season. Eurobike takes place in late August, followed by Interbike in mid-September. But early summer -- that is, now -- is high season for previews and rumor-mongering. Sneak peeks have become the rule, not the exception. After having our first glimpse at the future, one innovation for 2012 overshadows all else: the electronic shifting of Shimano Ultegra Di2. By now it’s common knowledge that to ride Di2 is to become obsessed with its incomparable shifting. Its overpowering technological superiority makes it a lust-stoking, wallet-choking necessity. Shimano’s history [...]

Competitive Cyclist

Dancing shoes. It’s an irony lost on no one that cycling shoes make you as graceful on the bike as they make you awkward off. For most of the sport’s history, cycling shoes have more resembled ballet slippers than the industrial hybrids they generally are today. They looked small and flimsy, and pretty much felt that way, though worlds better than riding in sneakers. Our first few pair of cycling shoes was the Detto Pietro Art. 74 a bargain-basement shoe that boasted a thin nylon sole, a thin cleat, a thin leather upper that looked like it was perforated with [...]

Competitive Cyclist

Rapha’s Pro Team line utilizes the latest and greatest in apparel technology to deliver a stellar kit that’s on the same level as our other top-notch brands.

Competitive Cyclist

The Assos BlitzFeder is a lightweight, extremely breathable “emergency” shell that you will automatically reach for on cooler rides with varying temperatures.

Competitive Cyclist

Skin is the largest organ in the human body. It should be treated well for both short-term and long-term reasons. Comfort, performance, and health; to name a few. More importantly, because we enjoy riding, and know that sometimes our skin presents limitations we’d rather not have, we periodically investigate ways to help our skin in an effort to further help ourselves. We don’t know if this is why Rapha decided to get into the skin care business. Regardless, they decided to get into a realm that only few clothing companies have dared tread before. They’ve designed their own chamois cream, [...]

Competitive Cyclist

Skin is the largest organ in the human body. It should be treated well for both short-term and long-term reasons. Comfort, performance, and health; to name a few. More importantly, because we enjoy riding, and know that sometimes our skin presents limitations we’d rather not have, we periodically investigate ways to help our skin in an effort to further help ourselves. We don’t know if this is why Rapha decided to get into the skin care business. Regardless, they decided to get into a realm that only few clothing companies have dared tread before. They’ve designed their own chamois cream, [...]

Competitive Cyclist

Skin is the largest organ in the human body. It should be treated well for both short-term and long-term reasons. Comfort, performance, and health; to name a few. More importantly, because we enjoy riding, and know that sometimes our skin presents limitations we’d rather not have, we periodically investigate ways to help our skin in an effort to further help ourselves. We don’t know if this is why Rapha decided to get into the skin care business. Regardless, they decided to get into a realm that only few clothing companies have dared tread before. They’ve designed their own chamois cream, [...]

Competitive Cyclist

To ride new trails is to live. And to do so on a new bike alongside the folks that created it gives an insight that is rarely gained through isolated experimentation. I had the opportunity to visit Yeti Cycles‘ world headquarters in Golden, Co to do just that. We were invited to test ride the new SB-66, a new 150mm trail bike with their latest rear suspension design. The Yeti nexus is unassuming from the street and doesn’t lend much towards what goes on inside. However, as soon as you walk through the front door, you realize that Yeti is [...]

Competitive Cyclist

Shorts are shorts. Of course they are. And they aren’t. We’ve all had bad shorts, or shorts with just one detail off, a detail we ceaselessly focus on whenever wearing said imperfect shorts. Back in the day, we had a few pair of bottoms that were only good for 90 minutes at most. All good shorts are comfortable. All bad shorts are bad in their own inimitable way. Rapha put themselves on the map by going zag when everyone else was going zig. Most discussions of Rapha clothing focus on their jerseys, jackets, and casual riding wear. Even though their [...]

Alongside snails half-drowned in garlic butter and damsels with armpit hair, another once-off putting item from France that now makes my mouth water is the Osymetric chainring. It’s not oval-shaped or otherwise visually sensible. Rather, it has the profile of an egg with squared-off corners. Yes, it’s often mentioned in the same breath as Rotor Q-Rings or (God forbid) Biopace simply because it’s not round. But while trying them out here we’ve experienced something with pedaling efficiency that’s far beyond other chainring designs — round or otherwise. If you’re a data maven, we can steer you to science here. This [...]

Competitive Cyclist

No matter how you ride, or what you need in a saddle—Prologo has you covered with a host of attractive and comfortable options.

Competitive Cyclist

If it’s a lightweight-big-wheeled-race bike that you’re after, the Santa Cruz Highball should be on your short list.

Competitive Cyclist

The latest version of the Kashima-bathed Fox RP23 features Adaptive Logic Technology, which allows you to fine-tune your ride like never before.

Competitive Cyclist

The Ibis Mojo SL-R is a game changer in the world of “do-it-all” mountain bikes.

‘…She had learnt that the serpent hisses where the sweet birds sang, and her views of life had been totally changed for her by her lesson.’ -- Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy David Millar’s memoir Racing Through The Dark serves as the long-overdue confessional for an entire generation of bike racers. His downward tumbles -- from amateur powerhouse to exhausted neo-pro; from determined reliance on his own physiology for recovery to the use of injections; from injections to full-blown dopage -- are not portrayed as a morality play. Rather, as David Walsh laid out about Motorola in the late [...]

Competitive Cyclist

Kudos to Wheels Manufacturing. They’ve made compatibility the cornerstone of their business. In so doing, they have made mixing and matching new and old components and across platforms incredibly easy and have taken the sting, and fear, out of purchasing many seemly-proprietary parts, and allow those with special needs to keep their bikes rolling. Want to get your Campy shifting to work with Shimano cassette hubs? They’ve got the solution. Need to find a shim to get your fork, handlebar, stem, front derailleur, seat post to work with your frame? They’ve got that as well. They even have pedal washers [...]