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Competitive Cyclist

Looking at this Selle Italia Flite Gel Flow opens old wounds. Selle Italia stepped on a minefield when they retired their Flite design and the shrapnel was felt under cyclists the world over. The saddle, the first of the modern lightweight saddles, was hugely popular both for roadies and mountain bikers, and many of them hung onto their saddles until they broke. Realizing the mistake they made, Selle Italia reintroduced the Flite design. The new shape and rails were lighter than the old shape and rails. And, as they did with the original Flite, and they do with all their [...]

Competitive Cyclist

There’s no more important cool and cold weather accessory than the arm, leg, and knee warmer. Castelli’s NanoFlex material revolutionizes this fundamental piece of cycling apparel.

Competitive Cyclist

We offer several different iterations of thermal bib shorts, but none are as well executed as the Assos T.607 S5.

- The rule isn’t clear about these year-end reviews -- whether they’re best done at the end of said year, or better kept under wraps ‘til the new year comes in. With that one solitary bit of uncertainty in mind, I hereby bring you an otherwise utterly self-confident act of judge, jury & executioner, a.k.a. our 2010 in review. We offer it up in two parts. Part 1 pertains to the year of racing and fanhood. Part 2, coming next week, pertains to product and bike industry stuff. - Crash of the year: Dwars door Vlaanderen. Hell hath no fury [...]

Last week we took a look back at the year in bike racing and fanhood. This week we take a look at our highlights from 2010 specific to gear and the people who earn their keep by making & selling gear. - Product of the Year: It’s as much the ‘Brand of the Year’ as ‘Product of the Year’. Garmin didn’t just devour the bike computer market, but thanks to the functionality and variety of their computers (and price points) they grew the bike computer market tenfold. That’s great news, and perhaps this is what we should’ve expected from a [...]

Competitive Cyclist

One of the best developments in shoe design we’ve seen in the past few years is the return of four-bolt soles on the bottom of cycling shoes. This design means those who ride on Speedplay pedals don’t need the three-bolt plate that attaches to the Look three-hole bolt-pattern sole common throughout the cycling world. The reason we’re excited about this development is we’re Speedplay users. It also might be we think that if we can lose weight and increase efficiency just by switching shoes, we probably should do it. So praise is due to DMT for making shoes with Speedplay-compatible [...]

Competitive Cyclist

Mavic has been a quiet entrant to the computer wars. It seems largely by design on their part. Their Wintech USB units don’t have the features that magazines like to salivate over: they don’t read power, don’t have GPS, don’t have a zillion data streams on display, and, while wireless, don’t run on the ANT protocol. They have four features that together give Mavic computers a unique spot on the bike computer matrix. Those features are unit shape, mounting system, transmitter, and interpretative program. We chose the HR iteration, with the e-Skewer transmitter. First is the unit shape. It is [...]

- A century after Good Housekeeping Magazine introduced its Seal of Approval the UCI has unveiled its own variation. Good Housekeeping’s test program lacks the fanatical independence of Consumer Reports. But the magazine does make good on the warranty promised by its seal when products it endorsed prove to be duds. Don’t expect any guarantees from the UCI’s scheme, however, In fact for cyclists and the bicycle industry it looks as if it may offer nothing more than more added headaches and expense. And the only obvious beneficiary is, you guessed it, the UCI itself. The plan is the latest [...]

Competitive Cyclist

We tested the Candy 3 Pedals to see if the new design with bearings made them better than their older pedals… it did and they are.

Competitive Cyclist

Finding the right transitional top to wear when spring and fall hit can be tricky, but the Assos IJHabu Jacket is near-perfect when the temperatures range from 45-65F.

- Charleroi is best known around here as being the start town of the Fléche Wallonne. The Wall Street Journal tries to make it famous for other reasons, naming it the ‘ugliest’ city in Belgium. - For those of you who don’t dig PRO, here’s some ammo for you: What’s the deal with photos of real pros in the wintertime who wear earwarmers, but not gloves? That seems to defy all laws of on-the-road thermodynamics, and is a PRO idiosyncrasy I totally can’t advocate. Hands first, always! - The meltdown of Team Pegasus has been akin to your first interval [...]

Competitive Cyclist

We thought the Garmin team made a huge mistake when they chose Mavic as their wheel supplier over Zipp. Yes, the selection probably has more to do with bundles of cash than it does performance, but considering how Garmin claimed they were giving their riders the best tools, from physiologists to powermeters to yoga mats to recovery modalities, it was odd that they didn’t go the route of the Highroad team, go without a wheel sponsor and let the riders or directors choose what’s right for the given conditions. Mavic, to us, leans toward the solid side of solid performance. [...]

Competitive Cyclist

If you’re looking for an affordable way to fly with your bike, Pika Packworks offers a lightweight and durable case that protects your bike like a suit of armor.

- The entire literature of ‘How To Train’ boils down to the same key concepts we all know: The 3 Types of Riding (intensity, intensity, and decidedly unintense); when & how often to do each; what to eat; fitting your bike; channeling the holy trinity of fate -- luck, superstition, or divine intervention (you pick.) What the literature tends to avoid, though, is something of similarly lofty power. I’m talking about the unacknowledged might of a serious night of sleep. For most folks I know, 6-7 hours is a luxury. Thanks in the very least to fitful kids, jobs whose [...]

Competitive Cyclist

Observing an inner tube discarded on a road fills us with revulsion. It’s not only the littering, but the discarding of what is almost certainly a perfectly repairable tube. Some people might think they’re too rich or busy to repair a tube. Super. Then take it home and then give it away to a broke bike rider. You can toss whatever on the ground in a European ProTour race and it will likely be treated as manna; even if a rider takes a dump on the road during the Tour you can bet someone will figure a way to take [...]

Competitive Cyclist

Giro’s PRO-caliber line of road shoes deliver tunable fit, exceptional good looks, super low weight, and the ultimate in comfort and performance.

- Reaching way back into the archives to add more to last week’s conversation about Campy brake pad replacement. - Attentive readers might recall it was almost exactly a year ago that I pooh-poohed the Hipstamatic camera app for the iPhone. It seemed to muck up the main point of photography (composition) in preference for the fancifully random use of filters & lighting trickery. And then I saw this impressive set of photos on the NYT and -- in a fit I’m now accustomed to having -- I felt my heaving wrongness. Added cruelty could come in the form of [...]

Competitive Cyclist

The CycleOps family of indoor cycles and trainers will keep you in tip-top shape when a hectic schedule or adverse weather conspire to keep you off the bike.

- No feeling is so transcendent: The deep-seated nonchalance that comes the day after a 6-hour ride. It’s not weariness, but rather an experience of having one’s emotions wrapped in bulletproof glass. The world feels slower, quieter, nothing perturbs. Even-keelness. Inner equilibrium. Glorious reminders that cycling is a drug indeed. - If you own Campy brakes and you ever tried to replace your brake pads, you’ve likely acquainted yourself with all manner of expletives for the fact that pad-and-holder feel cemented together. Extracting the pad from the holder is a fingertip-numbing nightmare. From the Dept. of Unintended Consequences is a [...]

Competitive Cyclist

We love small bags that have just enough room for everything we need. Small doesn’t always work for fitting everything we need and Sci’Con makes bags that seem to put a hard limit on “everything.” Limits can be good; if a bag expanded to infinity, we’d probably figure out how to fill it. We tested out two Sci’Con bags, the Elan and the Compact. This is our second go-’round with Sci’Con bags. We had a bag last year that was just big enough to fit everything we needed. It was the S-Case. The mounting was less than perfect as the [...]

- Dark days in Toronto. - Interesting company in New York. - See Popo get ambushed by the feds in Austin. See carabinieri ding him just the same. From there it’s a slippery slope into summertime’s repressed memories. Think back to Landis’ acid quip (not to be confused with his acid trip) -- ‘Well, it depends on what your definition of fraud is. I mean it -- look -- if [Lance] didn’t win the Tour, someone else that was doped would have won the Tour.’ This, of course, begot another of July’s quotable quotes (this time from Lance’s defense attorney, [...]

Competitive Cyclist

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7EVpYc9Sd0 CycleOps Indoor Cycles are a sure fire way to stay fit when weather, work, or a busy family life conspire to keep you off the bike!

- Regardless of your political leanings, last week’s midterm election had one significant impact to American cyclists: 18-term MN Democratic Congressman (and House Transportation Committee Chairman) Jim Oberstar was defeated. Bike Portland and others have nicely summed up how Oberstar was arguably the most powerful cycling advocate in America. It’s a truism of politics, it seems: All Americans hate pork except for their pork. Chapeau Congressman Oberstar. You made the lives of American cyclists (Democrats and Republican alike) safer and you’ll always be remembered and appreciated for it. - Maybe I should’ve known the name Geoffroy Lequatre before now. Maybe [...]

- We’re one week into our merged website and we’ve been the beneficiary of loads of thoughtful feedback regarding our changes. Most of the comments have been encouraging. And while there’s been criticism, much of it has been constructive and we’re appreciative of that. We’ve taken it to heart, and we’re already working on enhancements and modifications because of it. The most common expression of displeasure pertains to how road and mountain components now live within one single category, i.e. road and mountain rear derailleurs are grouped together. The changes to how we show bike brands, apparel, and accessories haven’t [...]