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    Climbing In The Drops

    - It cost SRAM a pretty penny to acquire Zipp, but it was a smart move for several reasons. Dissect a high-end bike on a component-by-component basis: Is any single brand for any single component as coveted as Zipp is for wheels? Maybe Chris King once owned the headset with the same dominance. But the proliferation of the integrated headtube makes that ancient history. Otherwise, healthy debate exists on what’s ‘best’ for any other component on the bike. When SRAM acquired Zipp they bought this mindshare, they bought a nice pipeline of future product, and they bought operational infrastructure that [...]

    - It’s been a barn-burner of an early season. It’s spawn urgent questions galore: Will it ever stop snowing in Europe? How injured is Heinrich Haussler’s knee? How steep is too steep? Will Boonen break through at Milan-San Remo? Whose fault was it -- Sanchez or Le Mevel? What member of Ricardo Ricco’s family will test positive next? What does Leif Hoste dream about when he dreams about summer? And, most hotly debated of all, just how extensive is Linus Gerdemann’s moisturizing regimen? For a PRO with a not-unimpressive palmares, he has the most precious face in the peloton. – [...]

    Forsaking The Hacksaw

    - I’ve spent the previous 8 months in strict monogamy with a Ridley Damocles PI -- the largely unseen & unsold version of Ridley’s super-popular Damocles model. The one-and-only difference is that in lieu of a standard 31.6mm seatpost, the PI has an integrated seatmast (ISP), which has given me ample opportunity to judge the overall desirability and practicality of the ISP design as a whole. Looking back at other ‘innovations’ in the evolution of the modern road racing frameset, most of them eventually seemed to make sense: Threadless stems and oversized headtubes lead to a tangibly stiffer and surer [...]

    I Bought A Footache

    - A few years back we made a big push with Rocket 7 custom shoes and it was a fun project though it was doomed from the start since finding comfy shoes is a more complicated affair even than settling on a new saddle because, for starters, you have two feet to make individually happy. Compounding the problem was Rocket 7′s infinite customization options -- the number of ways to find displeasure was myriad. Rocket 7 is now out of business, primarily due to waning interest on behalf of its owner (not because the product was anything but blissful) and [...]

    Strangers in a Strange Land

    Last weekend, I had the opportunity to ride on one of our local IMBA Epic trails, The Womble Trail near Mt. Ida, Arkansas, along with a dude I’d never met from Ohio. We’d spoken on the phone previously, as he gave us a ring to see about some local trail beta. To be honest, it seemed odd that he was spending a week’s worth of vacation riding our trails when he could’ve gone to Santos, Florida or he could’ve stopped even closer to home in Tennessee or North Carolina. It was flattering at the same time, so I did the [...]

    Fruit Chewy Banesto Kit

    - The NAHBS is upon us so within a week who won’t tire of the go-to phrase of the event -- ‘bike porn’? It won’t just be the frequency of its usage that’ll grate, but the inherent inaccuracy of the phrase itself. What’s intended, surely, is an evocation of glamour or beauty, and porn, rather, is a crude means of arousal whose effectiveness is matched only by its inelegance. There’s little lovely about it, and if there’s any such thing as ‘bike porn’ it’s 45 minutes spent on a weekend watching a grainy live feed of a second-tier PRO race [...]

    --There was a time when I really loved BMX bikes, but it’s been a few years since I appreciated one like I did the first summer I owned my Mongoose Expert. That August was, or I recall it as, exceptionally hot. But I rode that damn bike all day, every day. It wasn’t that I had an insatiable urge to ride, but my Mom told me to share it with my older brother until he got a new bike for his birthday in September. I remember petitioning against the ruling, and being awarded a stipulation that he was only to [...]

    200 Sleestaks

    - Red lights, roadside dirty diapers, shattered glass: Powerless to ruin a ride, but a nuisance just the same. This is where I classify certain runners — those willingly deaf to the world thanks to the ipods they wear. Their music: Too loud to hear you approach, no matter the warning you try to provide. Their music: A necessity to them since it’s the only salve available against the Sisyphean tedium at the heart of their dreadful sport. “Share the road” entails situational awareness of everything present yet theirs is a solitary universe. - You’ve put the bike on the [...]

    - If the goal of training is race simulation, then the hardest intervals must be accompanied by a dire need to piss. Just because you know how doesn’t mean circumstances will permit it. - Alongside artisan and robust, we hereby ban the word ‘epic’ since its overuse is rife and the bar for what constitutes epic-ness has fallen so low. It’s so neatly summarized here. - The cinematography. The surf music. The colorized spectacle of the Anquetil/Gimoni age. This film is an obvious precursor to La Course en Tete and it’s totally epic a blast to watch. The first minute [...]

    Motos, Metal, and Mystery

    --How often have you been engaged in conversation with someone, telling them that you’ve been out on your bike for a ride only to be questioned, ‘you ride a sport bike or cruiser?’ No. Bikes. Bicycles. I’m talking about pedaling here. The mistake is easy, I suppose. After all, many of us are out on the road for hours at a time, and it seems the easy assumption most folks make is that when someone is out on a ‘bike’ for five hours, they must be twisting a throttle and covering some serious miles. There’s no real offense taken when [...]

    - Race season looms. Since New Year’s our group rides are reaching full-boil ever earlier. And, worse, rumors of solitary stealth training abound -- the cycling version of fish tales -- who solo-climbed what how many times; how fast; how far; how little they eat; how ‘a drink’ has come to mean Perrier. The mileage and intensity escalates, which means the most precious gift of all is within grasp. It’s not fitness I’m speaking of, wonderful as that is. Rather, it’s the rest day. That blessed hour or two where no force goes into the pedals. You’re not a racer [...]

    The 2nd-Most Famous Texan

    - Inspiration for the Footon-Servetto-Fuji team kit is here, at 0:36. - When you see that offering plate, please dig deep into your hearts and wallets. These two poor lads are in desperate need of plane tickets to Spain. - For a team so committed to principles and such, how did the Cervélo Test Team end up with Theo Bos on the squad for 2010? Has been absolved of his reputation as bully extraordinaire? - A new concept here in the What’s New section: We’ll abbreviate it SIBE, which is short for ‘Shit I’d Buy on Ebay’. We’ll start the [...]

    Expos, Crest, Kiwi

    - You have no heart if you don’t feel for World Cycling Productions. Go back in time just a bit and their money-printing formula was obvious: Pay a fee to the ASO for exclusive North American rights to video coverage of any race worth a flip; pay a bit more to Phil and Paul for their commentary; then add one last layer of cost for production and voilia! you end up with another year’s library of race videos. To the hardcore race fan and likewise for the average mass market Lance worshiper, you needed a fix and WCP was the [...]

    Ibis Mojo SL

    The Mojo SL weighs what a good race bike should, yet it descends like a dream. 140mm travel + dw-link = trail rocket.

    --It’s no wonder that pro road bike racers do things that amaze. They spend huge amounts of time training for a singular purpose, perhaps one event, or day even. Careers are often built on a solitary Tour stage win. The magnitude of their efforts is witnessed live on tv sets across Europe. They’re paid well because of it. The question then today is…is it any less impressive when someone like Danny Macaskill swoops through an urban street, linking bunnyhop tail whips, 360s over enormous stair gaps, and rides 10 feet up a tree only to fakie back down and half [...]

    Silence Kit

    - We’ve made the choice to stop sales of Pegoretti frames here at Competitive Cyclist. Dario’s bikes continue to be what they’ve always been -- beautiful to behold and beautiful to ride. As a human he’s no less radiant and humble than he was a decade ago when we first got involved with him and his name had none of the currency it now possesses. Our decision is rooted in a few things, but the primary reason is the trend we’ve seen in our Pegoretti frame sales: The proportion of stock to custom has tipped heavily (shall we say completely?) [...]

    The Look Keo Carbon Blade pedal is the next revolution from the company that invented the clipless pedal.

    BMC Team Machine SLR 01

    BMC’s new Team Machine SLR01 is the highly anticipated follow up to their best selling Pro Machine. The beauty of this beast truly runs more than skin deep.

    The Fulcrum Racing Zero is amazingly smooth, yet laterally stiff enough to provide ungodly acceleration when you need it.

    - Did anyone doubt whether Lance is filthy rich? 7 Tours, best-selling book(s?), the most swooshed current athlete (as measured in duration) this side of Tiger. Surely he’s racked up spectacular lucre and I celebrate that someone in our speck-on-the-global-sports-radar sport (see here, where the intrigue of pro cycling is compared to badminton gossip) -- yes, one of our own can count his gold in bricks, not in ounces. Having acknowledged the magnitude of Lance’s wealth, I must ask if anyone else scratches their head at photos like this. Grinning on the tarmac in Hawaii in an ostentatious show of [...]

    Skins Compression Wear

    Using Skins compression wear to speed up your recovery is an easy way to gain a legal advantage over your competition.

    Our year-end review of 2009 started last week with all-important categories like Blog of the Year and Restaurant of the Year. This year we get a bit more focused on the bike itself. Climb of the Year – East: Let’s start with a definition of terms. The geographic center of the United States is Lebanon, Kansas. More relevant here, though, is the concept of the psychological center. Places in the Eastern and Central time zones are (psychologically) considered ‘East’. Places in the Mountain and Pacific time zones are considered ‘West.’ The winner is the high point of South Carolina, sitting [...]

    Santa Cruz Tallboy

    As light as a 26″ bike, but stable and smooth rolling as only a 29er can be. The Santa Cruz Tallboy hits the market in a big (wheeled) way.

    - I’ll always remember 2009 for the unalloyed terror in which it started. The economy threatened with a mysterious future violence, like a blood-lustful army on the outskirts of town. What was uncertain was its exact size and swiftness. What was sure was its intent of pillage and revenge. Being in the retail sector (and being in the off-season, to boot) made January and February 60 days of panic. But then the season kicked in, and just as we saw one of the most beautiful 1-day victories of the year, the cyclists of the world re-opened their wallets and opened [...]