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    Shimano Deore XT

    10-Speed… better than nine? We test the new Shimano XT to find out.

    Catlike Whisper Plus Helmet

    onClick=”pictureslide(‘/images/competitivecyclist_blog/reviews/091910/CatLikeWhispPl2.jpg’); return false;”>When we first saw the Catlike Whisper Plus helmet, we didn’t understand it. Yes, it’s a helmet. Yes, it must have passed all the relevant tests (first CE and now CPSC standards as well), but it wasn’t shaped like any other helmet on the market. Unlike the others, which have obvious structural elements holding things together and limiting the design, this helmet seemed to have started as a solid mass that someone had taken a Dremel to, boring holes here and there until, we assumed, the structural limit was reached. Maybe it was inspired by

    CycleOps Joule 2.0 Computer

    The Power Tap Joule 2.0 closes the gap between post-ride analysis software and on-the-bike training. No other computer provides the same wealth of real-time data.

    See or be seen… Which is more important? Perhaps you can have both.

    - We were on the scene at last week’s ProTour races in Canada. You can’t beat Montreal and Quebec City for scenery, and from what we read, the beauty was matched by organizational know-how. Capping it off was two great wins by two great PROs. (Ever since Robert Gesink lost the 2008 Paris Nice on a monumental Stage 6, during the final descent into Cannes, we’ve loved the guy.) Memory of the weekend? The Wilfred Owen-like fog spewing from the back of the peloton -- a black cloud made up of vaporizing brake blocks and carbon rim dust. While we [...]

    Syllamo Trails: Work and Ride

    This is the time of year that we get excited all over again for riding our bikes. It’s strange; March and April are nervous times, wondering if we’ve ridden enough in the off-season to reach our goals for the year. We find out soon enough every time, and sometimes we go well, other times not so well. That is the way, right? But as the season progresses,there is always the yearly slump during the stifling heat of our Arkansas summer that damps our enthusiasm a bit, making family time or even yardwork a good bit more alluring than hours spent [...]

    “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. 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 [...]