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2018 Road Bike Buyer’s Guide



    A Lineup Of Two People

    – Do you remember Chris Waskevich? I do. Not the person, but the name. Somehow I raced through the 90′s then the ’00′s and never saw Christian Vande Velde filed under ‘Chicago pro success story.’ But Chris Waskevich? He seemed to race everywhere in America and the gnarlier the slugfest, the better his results. I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup of two people, but I can tell you who he raced for: Turin. Not the ancient Italian city, but the Chicago bike shop whose sponsorship embodied a whole city no less than GS Mengoni did New York. Where [...]

    A Metric Ton Of Moxie

    - A SRAM Red mystery lever seen on the pro cyclocross circuit: And in looking at this not-so-mysterious SRAM Force lever, it’s easy to envision post-crash oil slicks all across the world’s cyclocross courses in the 2013-2014 season. - Good writing and thoughtful thinking make tiresome topics worth revisiting. Dig deep into your suitcase of interest and read this one last article about l’affaire Tygart. - Lance’s tweet frequency over the last month has been near-nil. But this weekend he came back with a metric ton of moxie. Titled ‘Back in Austin and just layin’ around’, the lighting in this [...]

    - It has been three weeks since the USADA Cycling report was issued. The monumentally forceful outcry has now seemingly run its course. So much schadenfreude, heartbrokenness, and huffy-puffiness, all of it spent. Now what? It seems that only two things are certain. Lance will remain a very comfortably rich man. And I, for one, am already becoming sentimental for those sweet days of 2003. No doubt, the protagonists back then were junkies through-and-through, salivating like Keith Richards at the sight of a needle. But good God the racing and the drama in those days was the best. By comparison, [...]

    Sidi’s new top-shelf mountain shoe is lighter and easier to adjust than its venerable predecessor, the Dragon 3.

    - Even Paul Kimmage admitted to experimentation with drugs back in his racing days. In light of that, doesn’t Team Sky’s notion of a ‘Doping Pledge’ have a frightfully totalitarian vibe? When you look at the world as a battle between saints and liars, the first thing lost is the very notion of humanity. - Recently I’ve found myself car obsessed, a common affliction in road cycling circles. While I’ve long avoided it, it’s almost as if it’s the logical endpoint of how we cyclists spend our time. How often do we train with half-held breath, hoping hope and praying [...]

    - Where the Tygart Affair (we have to name it something, don’t we?) proved most remarkable was in the heartbroken woe we heard time and time again from the riders. With each mea culpa — almost universally featuring Grand Tour-scale usage of the passive voice – riders bemoaned how they were victims of a dastardly system. By contrast, nearly nothing was uttered about the sinister satisfaction they surely felt when their peak fitness was amplified by perfectly timed-and-dosed dopage. Dave Z’s send-up of Jimi Hendrix was the only expression of the thrill of the perpetrator. Are the riders conducting revisionist [...]

    You just turn the lever until it goes ‘click.’ So easy, foolproof, almost. Just about any owner of any bike can use one. Just about every owner of expensive bike gear should use one. This is why the Effeto Mariposa Giustaforza II 2-16 Torque Wrench is worth serious consideration. Avoiding just one stripped bolt could save you more than the price of the wrench. Torque is a pretty easy concept. It’s a “moment of force” or rotational pressure. Wikipedia reports, “torque is defined mathematically as the rate of change of angular momentum of an object.” In other words, a torque [...]

    We interview Dr. Allen Lim, founder of Skratch Labs, about their full line of hydration products.

    It’s easy to envy Allen Lim. He’s been everywhere important in the bike world. He’s worked with not only the best teams, but the best riders. He has most journalists eating out of his hand, literally. And his best advice seems to be of the no-nonsense kind. Why isn’t someone with scads of power doing better at bike races? ‘It’s that you’re a shitty bike racer,’ he once told Velo. Lim is mostly off the road these days, but he’s coaching top cyclists and running a business called Skratch Labs. Skratch Labs drink mixes, both their Exercise Hydration Mix and [...]

    Competitive Cyclist visits Cross Vegas during the Interbike 2012 trade show to cheer on our boy Chris MacKay who is riding the all-new, CC-exclusive Wilier Cross Carbon bike.

    Passive recovery is one of those things we want more of in our life. Not just sitting down and drinking water, but something that will massage our body, strengthen our mind, build our muscles. As we’ve written before, compression garments hold a tantalizing possibility. Free speed. Just by pulling on the right pair of socks or squeezing into the right kind of tights, we can recover better and go faster once back on our bike. 2XU, one of the big names in the athletic compression garment business, offers Recovery Compression Tights, part of their Refresh line of clothing. Refresh is [...]

    As the top-shelf cycling clothing gets better and better, technology gets pushed down the line, and now the low-end clothing is as good or better than the premium offerings you could find several years ago. This shouldn’t be news to anyone taking a close look at cycling, but even though we see this stuff every day, the reality hits when we pull on bibs, zip up a jersey, and go for a ride. Capo’s Serie A Jersey and Bibs are toward the bottom of the company’s offerings. They fit in just above the Modena threads and below the Pursuit, and [...]

    - Paying cash for a yacht large enough to land a helicopter on the deck. Subsidizing a new wing of the local modern art museum. A distant third on the industrial tycoon’s to-do list is bankrolling a pro bike race team. Or at least that’s what I figured motivated titans like Igor Makarov and Andy Rihs, not to mention earlier legends of cycling sponsorship like La Vie Claire’s Bernard Tapie and Mapei’s Giorgio Squinzi. If you’re awash in cash and in love with the sport, why not buy a team? There’s a good reason why team ownership has become the [...]

    A Freezer Named Siberia

    - Shall I tell you of the gold-speckled mushrooms I once ate? With great care I pressed them onto a slice of pepperoni pizza. The next four hours were magnificent. At one point I proposed to an oak tree. Ah, memories of youthful drug consumption and the middle-aged bildungsromans that often result. Whether it’s collegiate ‘shrooming or the US Postal pharmacopoeia, it’s like that old cliché about porn: At first, so enthralling. Then soon, the tedium arrives. ‘The Secret Race’ by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle is just that. It’s a coming-of-age story that fascinates in countless ways before a [...]

    Eurobike Confidential

    - Last week we made our annual pilgrimage to Friedrichshafen, Germany for the industry’s largest trade show, Eurobike. While it’s rare to be surprised by what you see there, it’s still an essential event because Eurobike is where a summer’s worth of hype can be confirmed or dismissed. For three days we fondle prototypes and conduct umpteen ten-minute interrogations. By the end of it all, the view of next season in our crystal ball becomes unclouded. Most impressive technology of the show: It was an easy choice to award this to Shimano Dura Ace 9000 mechanical shifting. In an outcome [...]

    The one wheelset life. To us, it seems like folly; three seems about right. Have a solid 28- or 32-spoke set of aluminum-rimmed clinchers for year ’round daily use. This is the set that gets pummeled; dress them in heavy tires with heavy tubes. Then have a set of carbon race clinchers for local and flatter racing. Race tires and latex tubes. Than have a set of carbon race tubulars for out of town and hillier racing. Racing tubulars. The three sets cover all the possibilities, save time trialing, and you can probably get a decent wheel cover for one [...]

    - Dear Lance: Long time, no talk. Looks like last week was nasty in more ways than one. A friend said he saw you on his Delta flight to NYC. You’re flying commercial again? Mellow Johnny’s Airlines has gone the way of Braniff. Bummer. And as far as the USADA business goes, no doubt you’ve been paying out the nose for professional advice. Today’s your lucky day. I’m offering some for free. Buy a copy of ‘Titan’ by Ron Chernow. Yeah, it’s a behemoth. Over 700 pages narrating the life and times of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. The writing is [...]

    - Q: Where have the What’s New updates been for the last two months? A: Off the back, obviously. The last eight weeks have been a blur dominated by two things. One fun, and one not so much. Together they devoured any discretionary hours for diary-keeping. Fun came in the form of summertime riding. A lot of it. And even a bit of racing. In case you’re trying to figure out where your next bike riding vacation should be, make it Park City. One summer here has confirmed for me that it’s paradise, whether your fancy is road or mountain. [...]

    Reviewed: SRAM XX1

    Inside Greg Herbold’s lair, our XX1 loaner bike gets assembled by SRAM’s Chris Hilton and Andy Benz. One look at a bike with the XX1 drivetrain and every front derailleur and chain guide-equipped bike looks cluttered and antiquated. Note the initials on the seatstays— H-Ball’s personal bike. Note to self, rubber side down. Another note to self, those are some pretty narrow tires on for Moab, we’re going to get schooled. If you are lucky enough to be an XX drivetrain owner, you already know how good the cassette is. The same zero flex, machined steel masterpiece is used in [...]

    During our visit to the 2012 Dealer Camp we check out the upcoming line of helmets from POC.