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Rock Shox SID Preview 2008 marks the 10th anniversary of an industry legend: Rock Shox SID. SID redefined the standard for a lightweight front fork with cutting edge features like positive air (pressure and volume) and negative spring (preload and rate), interchangeable rebound cartridges, hollow crown and magnesium lowers. For those of us that had previously lusted for Judy Yellow, SID Blue washed that from our minds the second we saw it. Now, SID blue is back, gracing the top shelf of SID forks -- World Cup. Rock Shox has thrown out all the stops in an effort not to [...]

Disabuse. It’s a fancy word. As I recall, I learned it about 15 years ago when I was cramming for the GRE. Disabuse. It’s a sufficiently fancy word, in fact, that I’ve never even used it once since I learned it. Disabuse: To be liberated from misguided notions. It’s the best word to describe my experience of doing the ‘cyclotourist’ ride the day before the Tour of Flanders, and my experience watching the Ronde the next day. Before my visit to Flanders I thought I knew the score. Pavé? I’ve walked the backstreets of Boston. I ride Arkansas farm roads [...]

My oh my, how far mountain biking has come since the days of Klunkerz … SRAM’s TruVativ HammerSchmidt The SRAM buzz machine has us talking and wondering once again about their upcoming introduction of TruVativ HammerSchmidt, dubbed ‘a revolution in transmission technology.’ With the keyword being ‘transmission’, it didn’t take long for the gear box term to surface. Gear boxes have been discussed and tested for many years now, most notably by the folks at Honda. However, Honda dissolved their dominant team a few months back, and simultaneously announced they had abandoned pursuing the mountain bike market. Enter SRAM. While [...]

Most of the press we’ve seen in the last few months about the new-for-2009 Shimano Dura Ace has focused on the electronic version of DA. Stefan Schumacher medaled on eDA at last year’s World Championship Road Race, and he and his Gerolsteiner team mates have served as guinea pigs for eDA ever since. While the pure novelty of electronic shifting tantalizes, we got our own medals (for bravery) for fighting at the Battle of Zap and Battle of Mektronic. While we’re intrigued by the alleged telepathic shift quality of eDA, it’s hard to shed our concerns for its weight, its [...]

For those of us that enjoy challenging gravity, the big news for Shimano in 2009 will be the release of a completely redesigned Saint gruppo dubbed Shimano Saint 810. The current and original iteration (save for a few tweaks), Saint 800, accomplished much of what it set out to do -- withstand abuse and provide great performance. But as the young gravity industry continues to grow, innovate and refine, it’s only natural that Saint did as well. After all, expectations have elevated. And, the early impression is that Shimano rose to the occasion, shedding approximately 300g (maybe more) from the [...]

Whoops. Accidents happen. You’re probably on this page looking for information about the 2009 Shimano Saint 810 groupset. Our good friends at Shimano North America asked us to pull the information down. There is a ‘press embargo’ on all ’09 Shimano product info ’til summertime. In other words, we can’t talk about it or otherwise acknowledge its imminent existence until this embargo is lifted. Sorry about the tease. We’d never even heard of a ‘press embargo’ before ’til this morning. We can’t say anything other than this: Shimano will come out both fists a-flyin’ in 2009. Expect great things.

Whoops. Accidents happen. You’re probably on this page looking for information about the 2009 Shimano Dura Ace 7900 groupset. Our good friends at Shimano North America asked us to pull the information down. There is a ‘press embargo’ on all ’09 Shimano product info ’til summertime. In other words, we can’t talk about it or otherwise acknowledge its imminent existence until this embargo is lifted. Sorry about the tease. We’d never even heard of a ‘press embargo’ before this morning. We can’t say anything other than this: Shimano will come out both fists a-flyin’ in 2009. Expect great things.

There’s been a flurry of activity here, and we’re going to get you caught up with a quick and dirty edition of what’s new: A/ CycleOps PowerTap 2.4 SL Disc – The long awaited CycleOps PowerTap SL 2.4 Disc hub is now available for sale, and we anticipate our first shipment in early April. We’re told availability will be lean at the outset, and demand has been heavy. B/ 650b – Life is all about compromise. Sometimes it’s best to meet in the middle. For the last few years the debate has raged 26′ or 29′ wheels. 29er naysayers complain [...]

A few of us here at Competitive Cyclist are involved with a local advocacy group, the Arkansas Freeride Society (AFS). We incorporated last fall as a non-profit group dedicated to promoting freeride mountain biking here in central Arkansas. The AFS worked with the city of North Little Rock to gain approval of our proposal to build an all-inclusive freeride area in Burns Park, one of the largest city parks in the nation. Our park is called the Argenta Freeride Area. We broke ground last October and have accumulated over 300 volunteer man hours to date. The Argenta Freeride Area is [...]

We recently had the good fortune to travel to breathtaking Taormina, Sicily, and we’ve returned with more than your typical snowglobe or lousy t-shirt, we’ve got a noggin full of good info and experiences busting at the seams. We traveled to view, learn and ride mountain bike products soon to be released by the industry’s elite manufacturers. Below we share bits of gossip and our experiences. 1. New Standards: The mountain bike industry loves standards -- that’s why we’re constantly adopting them. Coming soon to a bike under you: the Fox 15×100 thru axle and FSA’s BB30. It’s not just [...]

Amongst our varied joys, chores, and responsibilities here at Competitive Cyclist, we serve on Zipp’s Dealer Advisory Board. We provide input on both future product development and current product performance. Despite their wonky, engineering-fixated exterior, the guys behind Zipp are in fact really cool. So our most recent board meeting was quite fun, especially thanks to the fact that it coincided with Team CSC’s pre-Tour of California training camp. The venue was Agoura Hills, CA, and other than serving as CSC’s first full-team gathering for 2008, it would be the proving grounds from which Bjarne Riis would choose CSC’s Tour [...]

There’s much to love about Colnago: The blissful geometry of their flagship bikes, their race heritage, and their hard-headedness about technology (e.g. no integrated headsets; their love affair with lugged carbon; their delight in straight-bladed forks). But what charms us also irritates us: They think that in 2008 the world still believes that Made in Italy > Made in Asia, which has 2 net negative effects on the brand: (1) The cost of their most sought-after models (all made in Italy) -- Extreme Power, C50, Extreme C -- continues to skyrocket as Italian labor costs climb and the Euro annihilates [...]

Item #1. The truth liberates. The truth hurts. If you’re bike geek in the least you owe it to yourself to bookmark the rouesartisanales.com website. It’s run by a gang of crazy Frenchmen, and the prose (charming broken english and all) is far less relevant than their spy shot photos and amazing performance tests. It’s a scoop a day over there, and I don’t know where they get their prototype product photos and other info -- is their bowtie really a camera? -- but it’s where news is broken. Perhaps no rouesartisanales article in 2008 will have as far reaching [...]

Competitive Cyclist

The 851 AirJack uses 851 and Roubaix fabric to provide increased thermicity values. It offers improved breathability and is water repellent with total wind protection.

2008 Pegoretti Frameset ETA 2007 was a rough and tumble year for Dario Pegoretti due to the aggressive course of cancer treatment he took to fight his lymphoma. The great news is this: From everything we’re being told, the outcome has been very positive. He beat the cancer down, and he’s healthy once again. It’s obvious to us he has boundless newfound energy, because his frames have been arriving to the US at a clip we haven’t seen in years. We’re grateful for the inventory, of course, but we’re even more grateful for the fact this symbolizes his good health. [...]

Competitive Cyclist

If you’re like most, you “coked up” today. Whether it was the bitter bean, the sweet black gold, the sophisticated tea, you got the buzz. It’s not like it’s a crutch, just something you’ve come to depend on to get you through life, to paraphrase Bobby Hill of “King of the Hill”. Whatever it is, the purpose is clear; it gets those neurons firing, the synapses jumping, pulse quickening, oxygen-uptake increasing, fat burning, etc. You do it for speed, whether or not you realize it. Makes you wonder if the Western world could have become what it is without, and [...]

Competitive Cyclist

The pinnacle of warm-weather jersey design. Four different fabrics and multiple panels combine to make it our most technical jersey for riding in the summer heat.

As we write this What’s New entry, Christmas is just a few days away and it’s a natural moment to reflect on the Year That Was. We had a lot of great things happen here at Competitive Cyclist. Our business continues to grow at a rate far beyond our rosiest projections. We’ve had a stellar year for addressing fundamentals: Our bike build QC process is now thoroughly dialed, and as a result we’ve seen a near-total elimination of erroneous component installation and UPS shipping damage; our overall order fill rate is higher than ever before; and our errors-per-order-line rate is [...]

Competitive Cyclist

The first wheel ever to show positive drag in a wind tunnel. At 15 degrees of yaw the Zipp Sub 9 Disc showed a -80g drag reading creating lift rather than making drag.

Competitive Cyclist

Looks great on the bike or off. Windproof, waterproof, and noticeably more substantial than other caps. Comfortable, yet snug elastic band keeps it in place; brim is lined with antibacterial.

Competitive Cyclist

Oakley’s first cycling specific design in 15 years. Hydrophobic lenses repel water and moisture, and surge ports prevent fogging. High Definition Optics insure a crystal-clear field of vision.

Competitive Cyclist

When Speedplay first debuted their Zero pedals, some considered it a step backward for the pedal company. The older X/2 pedals weighed in at 198g/pair while the new Zeros weighed in at 206g/pair. This is for the versions with the stainless steel pedal spindles, not the freakishly-light titanium spindles that have a weight limit (185lbs max). The Zero weighed in at 52.5g each as opposed to 42.5g each. Overall system weight for the Zero is 324g vs. 308g when using shoes with the three-hole mounting standard. In a world where newer should be lighter, that Speedplay would make the new [...]

It would be too easy to say Interbike has become irrelevant. The signs are all there, of course, that North America’s one-and-only trade show has outlived its usefulness to the bike industry. The European equivalent to Interbike -- Eurobike -- takes place a full month beforehand. All the North American industry A-players make the trip to Freidrichshafen, and cyclingnews.com and velonews.com do a superb job in covering the new product releases there. So, in short, nothing at Interbike is ever new anymore: Everyone has either seen it in person or online already. And, to boot, the industry as a whole [...]

All the bike industry big guns have tasty treats forthcoming in 2008: Shimano has their carbon fiber Dura-Ace crankset. Mavic revamped their entire high-end wheelset portfolio. And rumor has it that Assos will give their bib short line the same sort of face lift they gave their jerseys in ’07. But no new product intro has had the same seismic effect as the new SRAM Red road gruppo. What is Red? Here’s your 50-words-or-less answer: SRAM took the fundamental functionality of their Force gruppo and souped it up with a cost-is-no-object mentality. The shifting (specifically between chainrings) is vastly enhanced. [...]