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2018 Road Bike Buyer’s Guide



    POC Body Armor

    The folks at POC expect that you’ll be doing crazy stuff on your bike. When you do, make sure that you are properly protected. POC makes a full range of pads and armor to keep you safe.

    This wheelset marks a new chapter for Easton. It’s called UST. They’re strong and light and you’re guaranteed the best tubeless performance possible.

    Bianchi Infinito

    Bianchi’s Reparto Corse division combined lessons learned on the road with Bianchi’s rich heritage to create bikes that have, as their catalogue eloquently states: “Technology with SOUL”. The new Infinito is a perfect example of this philosophy.

    The Winter of Love

    - My earliest memory of cyclocross is tied to how obscure the sport once was. It was the late ’80′s, my grandparents lived an hour north of NYC in Cornwall. It’s a beautiful town on the Hudson, just on the other side of West Point. It’s tucked in by roadie delights I was discovering for the very first time back then: The endless hills of 9W (‘…the W stands for ‘wicked”), the brutality of Bear Mountain. As I recall, Cornwall was also the home of a tiny shop called the ‘Bicycle Doctor’ -- the sole sponsor (and employer?) of a [...]

    Giro Prolight Helmet

    Rather than simply tweak an existing design by adding more volume, more vents, or just changing the shape, Giro decided to commemorate their 25th anniversary with something special – and the result is the lightest helmet on planet earth – the Giro Prolight.

    Garmin Edge 500

    The Garmin Edge 500 is as easy to set up as it is to use when you’re on the road or trail. It’s a compact, feature-rich cycling computer that offers every possible metric you need (42 in all), including the ability to read power from any ANT+ device.

    Fighting the Urge

    --The natural processes of the human body are a strange and wonderful thing. And while I’m no physiology expert, I can appreciate the simpler processes. The flow of energy seems an obvious pathway. Though certainly complex, it makes sense on a superficial basis -- in goes the food and drink, and out comes the waste products. In between is where the magic happens that makes us go fast. In terms of my past successes and failures, I’d say there hasn’t been one time that I’ve reflected on anything that wasn’t on the consumptive end of that routine. Either it was [...]

    - Who amongst us isn’t still in the afterglow of Cancellara’s Paris-Roubaix dominance? The most telling moment of his superiority was shortly after his attack when he caught then tore through the small breakaway ahead of him. The way Björn Leukemans angrily shook his fist at him as Cancellara shed him -- that told the whole tale. (If you look about 90 seconds previous to this shot -- where the two of them take a left-hander -- check out how Björn shakes his head in disbelief, again suggesting the absurd pace of Cancellara.) - A PRO friend who rode in [...]

    It was time for a new bag. Our Sci-Con bag disappeared on our December epic. The cleat didn’t break, the bag didn’t fail, it just went missing. Maybe we didn’t secure it after replacing the tube in a convenience store. We didn’t realize it until we were home and de-icing the bike. The Arundel Dual bag looked like a good solution. Seat bags should be light, unobtrusive, non-damaging to shorts and seatpost, and secure. The Dual seemed to have all these features. As easy as the cleat system was on the Sci-Con, we wanted the extra security of a Velcro [...]

    My Surrogate Belgium

    - A week in Texas. The remotest reaches of Hill Country. Distant from San Antonio, from Austin, from phone, from TV, from internet. It was a week devoted, ascetic-like, to worship of the bike. Kerrville, Willow City, Fredricksburg: An unjustifiable thicket of roads shortening the distance from nowhere to nowhere -- potential journeys (based on the traffic) seemingly taken by no one. Texas: You are my surrogate Belgium. Like Flanders it’s not just wind but a great, hardback thesaurus devoted to the language of wind. Shoving, heaving, bullying. To ride in Texas is an immersion in the lexicon of sailing [...]

    Yesterday, I crashed

    --Yesterday, while filming some video for a POC body armor review, I had a crash. It seems fitting. And while not out of the ordinary, this one left me with a few things to think about. I don’t know the reason for the introspection. It’s not that I’m having an ‘I’m getting too old for this shit’ time in my life. Sure, I don’t bounce like I used to and bruises, aches, and pains seem to stick with me a little longer. No, I think the difference is that my crash yesterday wasn’t rooted in plain stupidity, an overreaching sense [...]

    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 [...]