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2018 Road Bike Buyer’s Guide



    It’s that time of year again, when nearly the entire bicycle industry heads to Germany for the Eurobike tradeshow and the first glimpses of next year’s products. We’ll be bringing you updates from Friedrichschafen with teasers of some of the gear that caught our attention, and we’re starting with pieces from Giordana, as well as Pinarello’s latest. Giordana First off, Giordana is upgrading its top-tier kit, the NX-G series, which stands for “Next Generation.” Expect features, fit, and prices that compare with the world’s highest end products—this is race-oriented gear developed for professionals and offered for aficionados. Along with a [...]

    Single Track 6: Part One

    In 2014, I competed in the Single Track 6 for the first time. As the name implies the race is six days, and takes place in five different locations around Western Alberta and Eastern and Central British Columbia. The race caught my attention because it runs though an area of the Canadian Rockies I’d always wanted to explore, and nothing showcases a trail network better than a stage race. The 2015 edition moved west to the wine region of British Columbia, so we based ourselves in Kelowna, a town that was central to all six of the stages. Justin Lindine, on [...]

    Lindsay Wetzel Polin is a writer for Competitive Cyclist with an eventful history in bike racing. She’s making her return to the professional ranks during this year’s Tour of Utah Women’s Edition, so we caught up with her to discuss regaining her form, staying motivated, and what it means to be racing with some of the fastest women on the planet. Q: What’s your cycling story? A: I got into cycling in college as a way to recover from running injuries and started racing mostly to have something fun and different to do during the summer off-season between track and [...]

    The Tour is here. Finally, all the melodrama about motorhomes, motorized bikes, and endless coverage of Sir Bradley Wiggins’ hour record bike can be brushed aside in favor of the main event. The way we see it, Contador and Froome cast long shadows over this year’s race, but Nibali, Quintana, and a few others may have something to say about that supposed dominance — provided they can survive the first, dangerous week. One for the Featherweights The dearth of time trial kilometers and the overabundance of climbing mean that this year’s edition of the Tour is a fitting tribute to [...]

    So you want to have an “adventure”? That’s pretty much where we were last weekend. Teammate and neighbor Justin Lindine and I had been kicking around the idea of doing a loop in our area that neither of us had ever pieced together by bike. Starting from North Ogden, we’d cross the Divide, head up the dirt road towards Avon, hop over to the ATV trail which connects on the east side of the road to Inspiration Point, then take the Skyline trail south over the peak and back to Ogden. I’ve been racing all around the world for a [...]

    Endurance mountain bike races have several different flavors, but one of my favorites is Prescott, Arizona’s Whiskey 50. It takes racers through nearly every type of terrain, which makes it an ideal example of what you can expect from a 50-mile race. Consider this an overview with tips and lessons learned on the road. If you haven’t raced a 50-miler, just know that 50 miles on fire roads isn’t 50 miles of single track—so I prefer to think of races in terms of time rather than distance. Mental Preparation First up, a point-to-point race is different than one that makes [...]

    Mountain bike stage races are one of the sport’s most enjoyable challenges, and having the right bike setup makes it even better. For the uninitiated, imagine traveling to an amazing riding destination, seeking out the best rides the area has to offer, and checking them off, day after day, with hundreds of your friends. It’s an enormous undertaking that’s absolutely worth the effort. Each race has its own flavor, but what they all share is that an appropriate bike setup is crucial to the experience. Take Pennsylvania’s legendary Transylvania Epic, for example. The race takes place over seven consecutive days [...]

    Recall Summary Name of product:Zipp 88 aluminum hubs for bicycle wheels Hazard: The hub flange ring on the front hub can fail posing a crash and injury hazard. Remedy: View Details Replace Consumer Contact: SRAM at (800) 346-2928 between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET on Friday, or visit or www.zipp.comand click on Recall Notice for more information. Report an Incident Involving this Product Recall Details Units About 12,000 Description The aluminum hub shell is silver. The outside flange ring is gray aluminum in the standard option and blue, gold, gray, pink or [...]

    “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?” - Robert Burns, Auld Lang Syne Regardless of whether your New Year’s celebrations historically generate a swill-fueled forgetting of all acquaintances, both new and auld (not to mention the question of where the hell your keys went), or sweating to the oldies on the trainer while watching some ambiguous, youthful face ravenously shout at a ball perched atop a brightly lit building, let Skratch accompany you along your journey. Why, with a little ingenuity and some booze, your cherished Exercise Hydration Mix will transform into an elixir worthy of the [...]

    Whether you’re buying a gift for a loved one or a riding buddy, if they’re a mountain biker, they’re bound to be picky. That mountain bikers tend to have strongly held opinions is well known, and that fact makes buying a mountain bike-related gift a challenge. However, any of the following gifts will appeal to a wide range of riders, significantly improving your odds of getting them a gift that they’ll appreciate and actually put to use. Blackburn Wayside C02 Inflator Simple, reliable, and absolutely indispensible, this C02 inflator makes a great stocking stuffer. It’s a perfect solution for quick [...]

    Admittedly, the tail end of fall is an odd time to write about bib shorts that are designed to keep you cool. But hey, I’ve been riding in the Santini BCool Bib Shorts since July, and frankly, I’ve been a little busy lately. However, instead of chalking this up to simply being a lapse in my productivity, I’m more of the opinion that the extended test period actually adds an extra dimension to the review of these bib shorts, given that I can now attest to their dual ability to exceed expectations in both cold and hot conditions. Let’s dig [...]

    Leg Warmers Vs. Bib Tights

    In the vein of cutting to the root of closely guarded, seemingly ambiguous preferences, I thought that I’d dig into the seasonal debate of warmers vs. bib tights. Like all things bike, it’s a polarized debate with little room to sway detractors from their soapboxes. However, unlike many of the face-palm-debates of cycling gear, both sides of the fence have rather compelling reasons to stand on. But to come to a winner, we need to get into the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of both warming methods. Bib Tights Until recently, almost all bib tights pretty much sucked. Sure, there were [...]

    “And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.” - Friedrich Nietzsche Interbike 2014. What can I say, there were people in kilts, there were people in kits, and oh yeah, there was a bike show, too. This year, I mixed it up a bit and only went for a day. From a trend spotter’s point of view, and also as someone that prefers the comfort of his own bed, this is really the way to do it. Along these lines, I have a fast track, at-a-glance report on the trends of the show and [...]

    Perhaps a handful of you remember, but I wrote out some Interbike predictions last year that wound up being pretty spot-on. Honestly, though, it’s not terribly difficult to pull off when there’s a conveyor belt of vendors pouring through the Competitive doors everyday. Regardless, you don’t work here, nor are you inclined to attend the show, so I felt it prudent to provide you with a heads-up on what I expect to see from the show this week. In other words, I’ll be telling you about what’ll be worth getting excited about. Let’s see if I can get it right [...]

    The Road to Mont-Blanc

    The high mountains are a mysterious and unpredictable place offering a moment of escapism to experience life amidst a journey of new and unknown limits. On August 4th 2014 Mavic road ambassador Mike Cotty faced his toughest challenge yet, a 1,000 kilometre non-stop journey across the Dolomites, Eastern Alps and Swiss Alps including 21 mountains and over 21,000 metres of climbing, or the equivalent of ascending Mount Everest nearly 2.5 times in a single ride. Battling adverse weather conditions in the Dolomites and a punishing headwind for the final 500 kilometres meant that Mike had go above and beyond the [...]

    Photos: Re Wikstrom | Location: Canyons Resort, Park City, UT If you’re reading this, you probably know that FOX Racing Shox has been losing ground lately to some key competitors. And while the seemingly unstoppable California brand was resting on its reputation as the leader in mountain bike suspension, its competitors were hard at work cranking out products that were aimed squarely at challenging FOX’s dominance. The tension came to a head when RockShox released the updated Pike, and in the process, redefined what consumers expect from off-the-shelf suspension. Sensing the shifting tides, FOX has pushed back with the redesigned 36 FLOAT, [...]

    Reviewed: SRAM Guide Brakes

    Photos: Re Wikstrom Trying to track down a bleed kit for a non-Shimano brakeset in our office should have been my first clue. I mean, I’ve long been aware of the popularity of Shimano’s stoppers, but the blank stares and prevailing “sorry, I run Shimano” replies from my fellow dirt shredders drove the Japanese manufacturer’s dominance home. Fortunately, with good timing on my side, I’d heard a buzz about SRAM‘s new Guide brakes, which had just landed and were said to be quite the improvement over current models under the Chicago-based brand’s umbrella. I mounted up a set and have [...]

    Niner RLT 9 vs. BSB 9 RDO

    Photos: Re Wikstrom It was around this time last year that I first laid eyes on the Niner RLT 9 at Interbike. Needless to say, it was a pretty big deal at the show, but for whatever reason, the official rollout was lengthy, and the RLT didn’t start hitting the shelves in mass effect until just a few months ago. Similarly, albeit better timed, the BSB 9 RDO was launched just shortly ahead of the ‘cross season. And though I’ve been riding both bikes over the entirety of the summer, these ‘cross bikes have seen little to no actual ‘cross [...]

    With the last of the Grand Tours underway, the Euro pros are arriving at peak form, but to the horror of the masses, this translates to arriving in veiny form. Persistently lowering body fat percentages, blazing summer temperatures, and well, riding 150k per day for an entire summer are the primary culprits. However, ever since Bartosz Huzarski became the first cyclist since Big George to try and capture the birthing of an alien from their legs, the pros have been attempting to demonstrate some one-upsmanship — particularly Garmin-Sharp, or soon to be, well, Cannondale Something Something Sharp?   While it [...]

    Photos Courtesy of P2P Here in Park City, we’re fortunate enough to have one of the finest trail networks in the world. In fact, if you ask the IMBA, we have the finest in the world. However, the question begs to be asked: what does this even mean? Well, in the shortest sense, it means that we have more than just awesome trails; we have awesome trails in abundance. Where it gets trickier, though, is explaining this in reference to the self. It’s a selfish thing really, Mid-Mountain, Crest, whatever — these all account for singular rides, albeit epic ones. [...]

    Last December, I had the privilege of conducting a nearly hour-long interview with one of cycling’s most important figures, Louis Garneau. Of course, I had to get there first, and I’ll tell you, getting to Quebec City, Quebec isn’t easy. First, there’s the flight to Chicago, which always leads to an extended layover in Chicago. Incidentally, there are only two cities that fly to Quebec City — Chicago goes directly, and New York connects from Calgary. Either way, you’ll probably come in on a late-night puddle hopper, only to land in a dark, cold, and almost entirely French-speaking country. As [...]

    Made with almond flour, these pancakes are gluten-free and lower in carbs than traditional pancakes. Skip the sugar crash and fuel up for morning rides with these hearty pancakes that have an ideal mix of carbs, protein, and fat. The batter will be thin and delicate, more like a crepe than a pancake. Almond flour is just finely ground whole almonds. Most groceries now stock it in the baking goods aisle or with natural foods (one common brand is Bob’s Red Mill). You can make your own using a food processor or blender—just be sure not to grind the nuts too [...]

    Words: Mike Cotty Through careful development, analysis, design and testing fabrics and materials have been constructed to allow you to perform to your highest level despite the conditions that you face. Whilst it may be less pleasurable in the rain, wind or cold knowing that you are well protected should bring an extra level of confidence, allowing you to keep riding. Being comfortable on the bike is fundamental in not only enjoying your ride but also getting the most from your own athletic ability. Whilst there are many different disciplines in cycling, from the highest level of professional racing all [...]

    Photos Courtesy of Corima Surely, you saw Nibali ride to victory on Corima wheels this summer, but long before Astana set out on its Tour campaign, I was riding a pair of Corima’s Aero + carbon clinchers. Now, I’m no stranger to “spendy” wheelsets. From triathlon to track, I’ve been lucky enough to be sponsored by some of the biggest names in cycling. However, I’ve never actually found a set of race wheels that felt both comfortable and secure enough to train on. And while I know that carbon clincher/tubeless technology has come a long way in the past few [...]