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    “Why train when you can buy speed?” asks the cardboard packaging for the Arundel Chrono bottle and cage. The concept of buying speed is fairly essential to most people who race against a clock. Even if you’re into Merckx-style time trials, you’re still looking for the tightest-fitting wool jersey, the lightest aluminum rims, the most aerodynamic J-bend spokes, the fastest-rolling tires, and so on. Back in the day, mechanics would take grease out of ball bearing races and put in oil. They’d remove the dust caps and sometimes take one bearing out of each race to reduce the friction of [...]

    2010 Eurobike Confidential

    Some conclusions after roaming the halls of the 2010 Eurobike trade show in Friedrichshafen, Germany – - Color of the show: Lime green. It was everywhere, like one show-wide tribute to Liquigas or ISD. Lime frames, lime components, even lime Conti GP 4000 tires. Where do these meetings happen — where the big guns of manufacturing converge and vote on the haute hue for the upcoming season? Lime green? I don’t know what they were thinking, but I do know what they were drinking. - Brand of the show: Cube. They have no presence here in the US yet. But [...]

    ISM Adamo Podium Saddle

    As mentioned in the Cervélo P3 review, we also tested a number of time trial-specific products along with the frame. Possibly the most important of those was the Adamo Podium Saddle from ISM (Ideal Saddle Modification). We were hesitant to move off our beloved Flite even on a time trial bike because it’s easier to dial in position with a familiar saddle, and even if there is saddle-related discomfort, we can probably remediate the issue easier when it’s a saddle we’re already intimate with. We rationalized that the time trial position we’d be using would be different enough that the [...]

    Our sales history speaks for itself -- 10-speed is the hot ticket. Since SRAM debuted their XX group, it’s been present on our high-end mountain bike builds like marshmallows at a campfire. And with Shimano’s release of their new XT 10-speed Dyna-Sys drivetrain, our curiosity was sparked. What would be the ideal setup for my bike… or yours for that matter. It’s a question worth discussion for sure, and in my book, worth an investigation into the subtleties (like a splinter stuck in your finger or a big stick to the head) between what we’re used to and what we’re [...]

    Clean your chain. It’s the bike maintenance equivalent of eating your veggies. The benefits include riding quieter, shifting better, riding with greater mechanical efficiency, and a longer-lasting drivetrain. Crazy to have ceramic bearings if your chain is crunchy. It’s not necessarily fun, but you should do it. And probably at a shorter interval than you currently employ. We’re not advising re-lubing the chain every ride as some people advise. Just if you’ve been in the rain, or dust, or dirt, or after a few weeks of daily riding. There was a time when we only cleaned the chain when we [...]

    The bicycle is such a great way to see places and cyclists are such natural travelers that the difficulty flying with a bike entails is nothing short of tragic. Everything we’ve worked on and can do on a bicycle is not only thrown in stark contrast, but nearly destroyed by the efforts it takes to get a bicycle to and from an airport. On a bike, we’re light, graceful, fluid, powerful. With that bike wrapped in the appropriate protection and the necessary gear packed in a case, we’re almost always heavy, awkward to the point of bumbling, leaden of foot, [...]

    Ibis Mojo HD Carbon

    Whether you’re looking for your first “real” race bike, or a backup for your cost-is-no-object dream bike, few bikes in the marketplace can match the Ridley Compact for performance and value.

    Ridley Compact

    Whether you’re looking for your first “real” race bike, or a backup for your cost-is-no-object dream bike, few bikes in the marketplace can match the Ridley Compact for performance and value.

    SRAM XO 2×10

    The new X0 group closely follows in XX’s big footsteps, yet it works great, offers some new surprises, and is more affordable.

    The Sidi Ergo 2 is the gold standard in cycling footwear, and with the new Lite version Sidi has only raised the bar.

    At 1550 grams and nearly half the cost of every other wheel we sell, the Mavic Ksyrium Elite is a real bike racer’s dream: light, stiff, fast, and durable.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2T9eg5Cjy8 The Catlike Whisper Plus is an attractive departure from the current crop of helmets available in the US. You get 39 vents to keep you cool, an über-low weight, and the retention system is minimal, functional, and comfortable.

    Pronunciation Guide

    - Ride nice bikes long enough and you’ll be looking for a pronunciation guide. Ciöcc, Battaglin, Serotta, et al. And while I’m cautiously confident in the correct sounds of these brands, I’m fully certain of another, much more important one: SRAM. It’s just like it’s spelled. Ssssssss (say it like a snake) -Ram (like the Dodge truck). What it is most definitely not: Schramm, like Tex Schramm of NFL fame. No bike name is more phoenetical: SSSSSSSSRAM. - Gossip, anyone? From multiple sources this week I’ve heard tales of a juicy potential acquisition. Dorel, owner of Cycle Sport Group (read: [...]

    The Eager Unplugging

    - I like race officials and in the races Competitive Cyclist organizes we shower them with baubles and gifts to show our affection. A small request of Race Official Nation to exhibit the best traits of a bike racer: Self-sacrifice & sticktoitiveness. Please oh please squint those eyes so we can wear our race numbers the right way, and stop asking us to re-pin them in non-PRO, sponsor-logo-nullifying ways. - If you already follow Competitive Cyclist on Facebook or Twitter then you already know we consider this Nicolas Roche article in the Irish Independent the single best PRO blog entry [...]

    - If you have a long memory for short-lived things, then you remember that in 2007 Giro released a footwear line. Unlike helmets (and later glasses), Giro wasn’t actually manufacturing these shoes, but rather it was a licensing deal through an outfit called TRG Group. To call it a disaster would be the honest truth: The arrangement was dissolved after one brief-yet-eternal year. Which is why it’s pretty interesting to see what’s been on Levi Leipheimer’s feet during the Tour. A sign of a shoe resurrection at Giro? - Our Maillot Panache Virtuel jersey is shuffling amongst a worthy cast [...]

    The First Addiction

    - The Tour de France is a gear-snooping delight. Our favorite bit so far is, in fact, decidedly Italiano, i.e. neon -- Team Milram’s ‘Safety is Sexy’ glowing grello Rudy Project helmet. - Technical surprise of le Tour is courtesy of the real King of Avoiraz (sorry Andy Schleck) -- Daniel Navarro of Team Astana. Did you see that he wears half-shorts, not bib shorts? When was the last time you saw a bib-less PRO? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one, but based on Navarro’s one-man Spanish Inquisition up the final climb on Stage 8, he’s welcome to do [...]

    Fizik Cyrano Seatpost

    Seat posts are the mules of bike componentry, which makes it almost surprising that Fizik, a company that is nothing if not flashy, would enter the field. Seat posts carry almost unbearable weight while remaining either anonymous for being perfect or hated for being less than perfect. Continuing the metaphor, they can probably hide illicit drugs, but the carrying capacities thereof are not the point of this review. Seat posts only do one thing, and that one thing doesn’t seem terribly demanding. All a post has to do is hold a saddle in a fixed position. And posts are seemingly [...]

    - The traits of a great bike mechanic: He reads & returns to the manual. He loves his torque wrench. He welcomes conversation about the problem that, at any given point, he’s trying to solve. At the end of the day his bench is spotless. And while I don’t know what makes an amazing surgeon or pilot, I imagine it’s not unlike the work done by the best mechanics: 99% of it is precise adherence to protocol, and the other 1% is a wicked sense for improvisation. For all of the more complicated components handled by a mechanic, none in [...]

    Last year, we were talking with the importer for Continental tires. Small stuff, chitchat, catching up. Out of the blue, he asks, “what do you think of 25mm tires?” We told him of our experience with the Michelin Pro3 Race 25mm tires. He didn’t mention Conti’s version, he didn’t even ask why we hadn’t tried it. He just did a happy dance. A grown man doing a happy dance over a tire 2mm wider than the norm. 25mm race tires have that kind of following. No one is bragging over their tire choice, few are advertising, but when it comes [...]

    - Vanity that is not PRO: Averting your eyes from road to computer to check your speed mid-descent. - Vanity that is PRO: The proper wristwatch. This was a What’s New topic earlier in the spring and I put on display my grandfather’s aged Longines as an example of impeccable on-the-bike style. Several readers -- clearly as mad for watches as they are bikes -- wrote me in a panic, assuring me my Anquetil-era heirloom wouldn’t stand the sweat etc. of a day at the races. So, with that background, a quick watch-related update: Of the many charms of the [...]

    Our quest for faster recovery never ends. This mission is of a piece with going faster on the bike. Riding faster is comprised of many elements, not the least of which is the amount of fatigue we’re feeling before we even get on the bike. And while fatigue is an important component of gaining fitness, it also slows you down on the bike. Faster recovery is better recovery is greater freshness is greater ability to push oneself on the bike is that wonderful feeling when you’re rolling as the wind. Last year, we tested out the Craft compression socks. This [...]

    - ‘Custom geometry’: A PRO phenomenon that died out right around the same time as hairnets. A shame, really, since in all the impenetrability of PROness perhaps the most subtle is a special rider’s special preference in the handling of his bike. Whether it was Steve Bauer’s late-career revelation about the wonders of a 66° seat angle, or the magic of Tafi’s one-off Paris Roubaix Colnago, who amongst us wouldn’t want an hour on a frame tailored to a PRO’s mad idiosyncrasies? A while back I did more than just test ride a custom PRO bike -- I went ahead [...]

    Start designing a bike computer for the power age from scratch. It’s got to offer lots of data at once. It has to offer metrics that are relevant to power. All of the data needs to be accessible easily and quickly. Know that the finished product doesn’t have to contend with wires. Know that it should have a mount that can go on the stem or handlebars. Know that it needs lots of memory. It should also work with both indoor trainers and on rides. This was the game CycleOps played when they went about designing the Joule. We have [...]

    The Proprietor

    - An old-school trend worth reviving: Double disc wheels. You can’t tell me a Zipp 808 front is meaningfully more stable than a disc. And something about a front disc makes you look so committed to the art of time trialing. - Another tantalizing old-school trend: Booze on the bike. Friday afternoon beers at work have led to who-knows-how-many prophecies of weekend bike greatness? The euphoria of well-timed Shiner Bocks is something I’d love to feel mid-ride, rather than the night before. Epic feats I’ve envisioned then never seen through: Plans for a record-breaking Saturday afternoon of hill repeats; the [...]