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    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 [...]

    The Last True Monasticism

    - 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 [...]

    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.

    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 [...]

    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. [...]

    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 [...]

    Park Tool Patch Kits

    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 [...]

    Giro Road Shoes

    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 [...]

    CycleOps Trainers

    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 [...]

    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 [...]

    Viva Lance Vegas

    - 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, [...]

    CycleOps Indoor Cycles

    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 [...]

    You’ve already seen the movie before. This isn’t meant as a critique of Chasing Legends , but as a commentary on the viewer. You almost certainly watched the 2009 Tour de France in its entirety, around which this movie is based. You’ve also likely digested if not devoured both print and online reports on the race, and have probably seen at least one other Tour-related movie, whether it be Wired To Win or Hell on Wheels , or Giro-centric Stars And Watercarriers and The Greatest Show On Earth. Chasing Legends aspires to explain the Tour de France by showing the [...]

    The Cancellara Crusade

    - Last week’s news about Cervélo spawned a tropical storm of opinion, both in the form of comments in our What’s New section, and in discussion elsewhere. In case you have a life and didn’t track it, let us play RSS reader for you. Some highlights, though not comprehensive at all -- Competitive Cyclist What’s New Cervélo.com #1 Cervélo.com #2 Slowtwitch.com #1 Slowtwitch.com #2 Boulder Report #1 Boulder Report #2 Not all of the comments are complimentary of Competitive Cyclist, which is fine since we’re all about the open market of ideas. It’s clear, though, that a couple of corrections [...]

    We’re fans of Arundel cages at Competitive Cyclist. Come to think of it, we’re fans of their handlebar tape and seat bags, too. Arundel has a fairly simple mission, “come up with some cool bike equipment that people want to buy.” Bottle cages were a great place to start. Everyone needs at least a few. Problem is, it’s a popular accessory. Bike companies make them, carbon-fiber companies make them, accessory companies make them, too. So many have waded in these waters, and yet so few really good designs have resulted. Many don’t excite the eye and hold bottles poorly. Some [...]

    - Some big news this week from Cervélo. No, your eyes are not fooling you: Cervélo has made the decision to exit the realm of online sales, i.e. they’ve fired all of their online dealers, including Competitive Cyclist. We’re bummed here for sure. It’s not for the potential loss of business -- we’ll finalize our plans for filling the Cervélo financial void by lunchtime. The bike business is where we’re PRO, and this is akin to an ill-timed puncture, but no more than that. Our bummed feeling, rather, is because of our memorable shared history with the brand. Our star [...]

    Zipp 900 Disc Wheel

    If you’re going to get heavily into time trialing of the non-hillclimb, non-cannibal variety, you’re probably going to feel compelled to invest in all the high-end baubles that the cycling world offers. These bits are beautiful, aero, as light as you can afford, and usually expensive goods that will spend the majority of their existence in closets or bags, but those few to several times you have them out every year, they will be worth more than their weight in gold. While we’ve tested out time trial bikes and see the value in them, we’d invest in a disc wheel [...]

    — For this bike nut, Interbike has always been a dream. And while we oft consider its relevance, and how it could be better for everyone (vendors, dealers, consumers), I’d guess that it’s always exciting for a first timer. And as much as I’d like to say that I saw it all, there were innumerable booths that I did not see, let alone stop by and visit. I’m still baffled by this, and it’s remarkable to think that I missed so much with two full days inside the Sands Convention Center. — While not actually part of the show, the [...]

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