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As we’ve stated before, Truvativ HammerSchmidt is one of those products that we could barely wait to get our hands on. When we finally did, there was no doubt that the HammerSchmidt was a high-quality execution of a clever design. Truvativ has brought a planetary two-speed gearbox to the masses. We have loved it, both out on the trail and at the local freeride park. One thing we can’t stop doing is thinking of different ways to do things here at Competitive Cyclist. While we don’t claim to be engineers, we do like to tinker. We had an enthusiastic local [...]

- The most intriguing detail on the new Cervélo S2 and S3 is its cable routing. Instead of feeding into the frame in the downtube, Cervélo made things more aero by feeding the cables into the top of the top tube, directly behind the headtube. Cervélo’s design is a clever one. But after building up a few S2′s and S3′s and getting some mileage on them, we identified opportunities to do some nip & tuck work to the design. For starters, the tension of the cables cause them to pull outward as they loop by the stem. This puts them [...]

So we just got our hands on a Santa Cruz XC Carbon. Wow. Let’s just say that the bar just got higher. A lot higher. First, the large sample that we received tipped our scale at 4.49 pounds with the Rock Shox Monarch air shock. That’s a good 3/4 of a pound lighter than most XC bikes on the market. While that’s super news for all of us weight weenies, the design isn’t just about being light for Santa Cruz, it was clearly about building a better bike. Their attention to detail on the Blur XC Carbon is first rate: [...]

- Dueling derny videos. I don’t know which one I love more. Belgium or Texas. - The real race season has arrived. Kneewarmers. Mud-splatter. Overcast skies. Something about February racing in France warms the soul. How many days ’til the Ronde? - The podium at the Tour of Qatar is an awfully tantalizing place. - More proof that no such thing as real cycling journalism exists, did you see cyclingnews.com regurgitate the Andy-Pruitt-as-messiah story that appeared on velonews.com two weeks previously? In every element -- the photos, the storyline, the servile flattery to the Genius Of Specialized Body Geometry -- [...]

- Much gossiping about the impending Lance vs. Landis battle at the Tour of California. The hot rumor we’re hearing is that the pick-to-click is, in fact, Tom Danielson. Word on the street is that he’s flying. He’s proven in the past that he knows how to rock February. It’ll be interesting to see if he can get Team Garm*n some podium time. - Had some requests to do a weigh-in of the top-tier components from Campy, Shimano, and SRAM. Happy to do so. What you see below are actual weights done on our gram scale, not the manufacturer purported [...]

- Saw this thread on the Velocipede Forum by framebuilder nonpareil Richard Sachs and it was a surprise. Like you, I spend $60 for my USA Cycling license every year. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know, as card-carrying members, what that buys us? Based on my cursory review of the 2007 USA Cycling 990 Tax Return , I’ve learned the following: $13,323,525: Total annual revenue $8,252,159: Total annual expenses $2,960,768: Compensation, salary, and benefits to USA Cycling officers and employees $3,990,159: End of year savings and temporary cash investment assets $4,077,991: Short term investment assets $100,096 : Total cash grants [...]

Those of you who follow Competitive Cyclist know that we sold Colnago bicycles for several years. We have great respect for the technology of their frames and for their awesome race heritage. For various reasons, though, we chose to part ways in summer 2008. We did a pretty good job of selling off our on-hand inventory, but we’re still in possession of one final Colnago: It’s a 2007-vintage Extreme Power. It’s size 58cm (c-t), the color is ST03 -- an attractive Red/White scheme. It comes with a Cane Creek S-3 headset, and a painted-to-match Colnago Star Carbon fork. It was [...]

It’s officially winter. That means that the days are pretty damn short. So by the time most of us get off work, it’s all ready dark outside. That leaves us only a few options: not ride, ride the trainer, or buck up and ride at night. If you are seeing this message you either have javascript disabled or do not have a browser with flash installed or a recent enough version of flash installed. To get the latest flash go here. There’s something eerie about riding at night. I think that’s why most riders shun the trail after dark. For [...]

SOME QUICK BACKGROUND We first started to comprehend the full force of the global economic meltdown in October 2008. We predicted in a What’s New column back then a few inescapable consequences, all of which are slowly-but-surely coming true. The imminent demise of manufacturers like ABG and Teschner represent the tip of the iceberg. Retailers are proving to be no less susceptible to the pain of failure. And for every one story like these, there are 10 rumors about companies in dire straits. Make no mistake, the culling has begun. Another prediction we made had to do with the pricing [...]

PRO TEAMS & RIDERS - Jon Benet Gerdemann. - Metrösexual. - It’s hard not to feel bad for Baden Cooke. He either misinterpreted promises from the Rock Racing team or he was flat-out lied to (TBD in a court of law). What’s sad is that this mess comes only a couple of seasons after his ‘lost year’ with Unibet. Where there’s a Le Groupement situation brewing, Cooke somehow seems to find it. What’s the real condition of Rock & Republic? Based on the noise about their team, it’s not great. But they’re certainly trying to shuffle the deck to make [...]

The power of the internet never stops amazing us. Combine a thread about the new Cervélo S3 on the influential Weight Weenies forum with one misinterpreted reply by Cervélo to a consumer and you end up with the hottest rumor on the web since Biggie killed Tupac: Word on the web is that the S3 isn’t compatible with Super Record 11. Is it true? No, it is not true. The purpose of this missive is simple and clear: To clear the air and to explain how and why the Cervélo S3 is indisputably compatible with all Campagnolo 11-speed componentry. The [...]

The sport of cycling is one that lends itself to territorial rivalries. Tour vs. Giro; Italy vs. Asia; Portland vs. Indianapolis. You needn’t look hard to find how geography breeds enmity. And the table was set in late 2005 for new hostilities to erupt when -- for the first time in time immemorial -- the US Pro Road Racing Championships wasn’t slated for Philadelphia, but instead it was awarded to the humble southern city of Greenville, SC. Philadelphia is a glorious place. And I don’t say that just because I went to college there, or because the best piece of [...]

What started as a small effort in summer 2008 to upgrade the functionality of our website became a considerably larger labor of love. The net result now, nearly 7 months later, is the biggest upgrade to our site in almost 4 years. It looks different, and it has a good bit of added functionality to make surfing and shopping easier than ever before. And that was our ultimate goal: To make your Competitive Cyclist experience better in every way. By design, these changes aren’t disruptive to the familiar look & operation of our site. And, admittedly, in many cases we [...]

A quick New Year’s Day postcard from Competitive Cyclist HQ: We’re moving! Economy be damned, we spent 2008 building a gorgeous 25,000 sq ft facility from the ground up. From Friday, January 2nd to Sunday, January 5th we’ll be moving in. Due to the complexities of the moving process, please note the following: We will not be answering the phone on Friday, January 2nd and Saturday, January 3rd. However, we WILL be answering email throughout the moving process. So please feel free to communicate with us via email between Thursday, January 1 through Sunday, January 4th. Ground orders placed after [...]

Many of you have called and emailed to wish us Merry Christmas. The sincerity of these missives has been wonderful, and we’d like to reciprocate here by telling everyone out there in bike-land to have a safe, peaceful, exciting-as-you-please Christmas from Competitive Cyclist. And, resist as we might’ve tried, we feel compelled to share with you the very best Xmas note we received. It’s from our pal Michael Barry, of Team Columbia fame. Even though he’s Canadian and his wife is American, they now live in Girona, Spain year-round. And for those of you who eat, sleep, and live road [...]

Welcome to part 2 of the Competitive Cyclist Year End awards. Part 1 went over rides and gear. Part 2 focuses on the bike industry itself, plus some miscellany not so easily classified. BIKE INDUSTRY AWARDS Business of the Year: Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) is our first nominee. As we’ve explained in the past, QBP is the most influential company in the bicycle industry. And they’re doubly important because many of you have never heard of them. They are, as that old ad said, The Quiet Company. While Trek vs. Specialized, and Shimano vs. SRAM each fight their very public [...]

Competitive Cyclist

We’ve talked about highly anticipated products before. Hardly anything has had us biting our collective nails as much as Truvativ HammerSchmidt. That’s the beauty of the bike industry — once we think we’ve seen the best and brightest, and that technology has taken us to the top, along comes a new model year and a slew of hot new products. Thankfully, some schools around the country, and the world for that matter, are graduating industrious and enterprising designers and engineers. HammerSchmidt is the first of its kind to hit the beaches here in the states, one of a group of [...]

We’re in the waning days of 2008, so it seems sensible to look back on the year and hand out some awards. This is Part One, pertaining to rides and gear. Part Two, which will follow in a few days, will pertain to the bike biz and miscellany -- RIDES Best climb of the year: We had no shortage of good ones this year. Nominees include: A Euro Pro training ride legend, Els Angels on the outskirts of Girona; the heavenly urban gem, Decker Canyon Road on the outskirts of Los Angeles; the Appalachian version of the Galibier, Roan Mountain [...]

We would like to inform you about a product recall that has been implemented December 19, 2008. Through long term product testing, Magura has concluded that the first production batch of Durin Race 80/100 suspension forks may have a structural flaw in the lower leg assembly. Durin Race 80/100 suspension forks produced during the first production run must not be used from this point forward. Further use of this product may result in failure and pose a possible risk of danger to the user. We ask that you communicate this recall to your customers as soon as possible, reiterating that [...]

Lately I’ve been finding myself gravitating to local trails in my area. Yes, you can attribute this to higher fuel prices, family responsibilities, and maybe just getting older. For the last ten plus years I’ve traveled all over Arkansas and the country in search of the perfect trail experience. Arkansas boasts classics like Buffalo Headwaters Trails, Womble, Ouachita Trail, Lake Leatherwood and Syllamo Trail System. Each trail has a special place in my mind and I have added them to my pool of mountain bike experiences. Epic trails bring out the wanderlust inside me to travel and explore new areas. [...]

‘Even if markdowns are more aggressive than usual, it will still be a cheaper markdown now than if you have to take it later in the season.’ Brendan Hoffman, CEO Lord & Taylor, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal, 12/4/2008, ‘Holiday Shoppers Lured Only by Big Bargains’ It’s become axiomatic by now that when Christmas approaches, retailers pull out all the stops to drive revenue. ‘Tis the season for deep discounts, and as a retailer who cares as much about gross profit margin as I do revenue dollars, I often wonder what does it mean? What are the motivating [...]

I had an old Pearl Izumi t-shirt with the slogan ‘Save the Trails.’ Some of you may remember it. There was a big blue whale riding a mountain bike. It had a goofy smile on its face. It was obvious that the whale knew something about having a good time. Did he know something I didn’t? Years have passed and so has many a mile under my tires. I spent those early days in a town without trails. Sure, I could drive to some great trails, but ride from home? Well, I could, and I did. But those were rides [...]

- 2009 is most definitely here, as evidenced by the backlog of cool new stuff in our receiving department. Highlights this week include the arrival of the Cervélo S3 and Shimano Dura Ace 7900, a combo we’re sure we’ll be pairing together countless times for the next few years. We built our first S3/7900 on Wednesday. There’s a lot to love: The ‘Rings’ paint scheme looks like a knock out in person. The flat-but-chunky S3 chainstays (the same stays used on the P4 TT frame) are pure sculpture, like Cervélo took Pegoretti Big Leg Emma chainstays and turned them 90 [...]

Weekends like the one that just passed remind me that it’s a good time to be a cyclist. A few folks from the shop took our fat tired bikes out Sunday afternoon to enjoy some camaraderie, shake off the cobwebs leftover from Saturday night’s excess, soak in a beautiful fall day, and play on the singletrack in our soon-to-be backyard of Burns Park in North Little Rock. It was one of those days when most everything seems right with the world. The trail was dry and the soft sound of the light dusting of leaves on the ground crunching under [...]