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    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, [...]

    Reviewed: Rapha Soap

    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, [...]

    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 [...]

    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 [...]

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

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

    Reviewed: FOX RP23

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

    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 [...]

    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 [...]

    The BMC RM01 reminds us of old-school pro bikes, even with all the modern touches and materials. Back in the day, you could get a bike with pro geometry in different Columbus tube sets. Columbus SLX if you wanted the pro copy, maybe Columbus Max if you wanted a stiffer bike that was for bigger riders. Columbus SL if you wanted something a little cheaper and a little more flex. You could get it in even heavier tubes, like Cromor or Thron, if you just wanted the pro geometry and a pro-esque paintjob. There were some fictions about the old [...]

    Giro has once again revolutionized the bicycle helmet with their newer, lighter, and sturdier Aeon.

    Wool socks have experienced a renaissance. Once, they were the last vestiges of antiquity in the cyclist’s wardrobe, after wool shorts, jerseys, and undershirts had been consigned to the scrap heap of history. Ever since that day, wool socks were probably destined to return, and lead a bottom-up return to the ancient high-tech fiber. We never understood the disappearance of wool socks. Cotton socks never appealed to us, and synthetic never did well in poorly ventilated shoes. The issue of whether or not wool socks were “scratchy” always seemed like a non-issue, as once the shoe is clamped down, the [...]

    Up to now it seemed to me as though the Giro could only be properly watched in two places: (1) In Italy. (2) In my kitchen. In a paradigm-shifting visit, the wonderful Rapha Cycle Club carved out spot #3. Oh, San Francisco, most lovely of all American cities. Can’t we just make the Tour of California 7 different days of coursing through your streets? The world can have Lake Tahoe and the Donner Pass. I’ll sip my coffee, reminiscence about the best Californian race there ever was, and spend countless hours in May glued to the TV as the big [...]

    The perfect helmet should be like the perfect saddle. You know it’s right when you forget that it’s there. No pressure on your body, no need to contort and adjust. In an effort to help make the most of your helmet shopping, we’ve put together a comparison of our six best-loved models. We’ve focused on four areas: venting, weight, retention systems and a mystery category. Safety is a given here, all of the helmets meet or exceed CPSC impact tests. Instead we’re examining a higher calling: fit, comfort, and vanity. We put Giro’s trifecta of high-end helmets under the microscope: [...]

    The perfect helmet should be like the perfect saddle. You know it’s right when you forget that it’s there. No pressure on your body, no need to contort and adjust. In an effort to help make the most of your helmet shopping, we’ve put together a comparison of our six best-loved models. We’ve focused on four areas: venting, weight, retention systems and a mystery category. Safety is a given here, all of the helmets meet or exceed CPSC impact tests. Instead we’re examining a higher calling: fit, comfort, and vanity. We put Giro’s trifecta of high-end helmets under the microscope: [...]

    - A thank you to everyone who expressed concern over the last two weeks for our team at Competitive Cyclist. At some points the tornadoes made it seem like the London blitz. We spent night after night huddled in the basement, air raid sirens blaring, a blackout in full effect. We had the good fortune to emerge mostly unscathed. I say mostly because one of our service techs — his name is Jeremy and perhaps he built your last bike — had his home guillotined by a tree as he crouched in a closet with his 4-year-old daughter. Thankfully they [...]

    The Stalingrad Moment

    - A debt of gratitude to the readers who answered my request to upload the finale of the 1998 Fleche Wallonne, what we might call The Passion of Bo Hamburger. His truncated attempt to ‘rock the baby’ is even more charming than his Spinergy wheels or VDB’s hairnet. It would be nice if there was a way the Cozy Beehive could upload this to its canonical compilation of victory salutes. A tip of the hat to two of the folks who uploaded Fleche clips, both of whom also happen to be fine bloggers: Cycling Inquisition and Helmeteering. - The evolution [...]

    The Instinct to Shill

    - Lugged steel has proven hard to kill, proof of the fickleness of sentimentality in the bike market. Who among us daydreams of riding with feet pinched by Alfredo Binda straps? Of bumping bars in a peloton while reaching for friction downtube shifters? Of riding in shorts whose chamois was just that — the hide of a goat-elk thing? The shorts were the worst of it. In the span of 5 hours what you squatted on was transformed into a desiccated filet. Then came the night, when the sweat dried and the chamois crusted over. Prepping shorts before every ride [...]

    Lebowskis in Wetsuits

    - There are 8 million stories from the pavé of northern Europe. This is one of them: ‘The race was going well up until just before the Arenberg when Geraint crashed. We waited and had to chase like hell to get him back on before the forest then he crashed again at the entrance. Again I waited, chased like hell made contact and we all crashed again on an oil patch on the cobbles. Anyhow, I did my job (which was to protect Flecha until the forest and then go as a far with them as possible) and my legs [...]

    - Bike racing was different in my 20′s. Not better, just different, with a much stronger dose of gutsiness. Mid-hill repeats this week it came to me in haiku: The fear of crashing was nothing compared to the fear of getting dropped. My interval-addled brain remember bits of the most essential roadie text since Krabbé’s The Rider, Michael Barry’s Le Métier. Its voice of experience has driven me back to it pages again and again – ‘In bed, lying awake in the darkness, everything from the past and future swirls together…Once the lights have gone out my mind starts to [...]

    The Painter’s Eyes

    - We sell chamois cream. A metric ton of it each year. Assos and DZ Nuts are the stalwart brands. New to the game is Rapha. When searching for ointments, if you mis-type their URL, (.com instead of .cc) the vibe is mildly different. Out goes stylish suffering. In comes ‘The Sound of Music.’ - Kidding aside, Rapha is madly popular here — with our customers, and with our staff. Beyond our love of their clothing, we like their sense of initiative, including how Rapha (the bike company) quickly launched a series of rides worldwide in support of the Japanese [...]

    If the price doesn’t make you do a double-take, then the beauty of the Wilier Izoard XP most certainly will. It’s paired with our specially-configured SRAM Rival component package to provide 2012′s best value in an Italian race bike. To see all our Featured Bikes and learn more about the program, click here.