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    Photos: Re Wikstrom Intense’s flagship Tracer 275 Carbon rolled out amid a media blitz unlike anything I can recall seeing online. And while the campaign had its share of detractors, it’s obvious that Intense put everything it had into developing this new platform. For this reason, it’s understandable if you’ve been put off by the expensive advertising campaign. But if you’re not quite sure why you’d want to buy an Intense, it’s time to let you in on a secret — this bike absolutely rips. The Frame The carbon frame, which was engineered by German composites firm SEED, isn’t built [...]

    “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” This was the inscription Dante saw fixed upon the Ninth Gate of Hell, which, if I had my way, would also be a well-suited banner ad fixed atop any cycling news site this week. I suppose that placing “of news” after “hope” would be a more apt addition, but hell, who’s counting anyways. Yes, it’s the week preceding the Race Who Should Not Be Named (because of its army of IP attorneys), meaning that we’re all left in a vacuum of banal controversies and who-really-gives-a-shit stories. It’s a tiresome week, but a penance [...]

    Maybe it’s fitting that talk of a brand steeped in “football’s” past be discussed during this WC season, right on the heels of the Giro, where, in case you hadn’t noticed, the overall winner and his early Aussie pursuer were both wearing a certain Italian label’s kicks. It just shows the reach that Diadora — with humble roots originating in the manufacture of custom hiking boots — has on the highest level of multiple world sports. Its top-end Vortex Pro Shoes are no exception, as they were created for the most demanding racing cyclists, with power transfer, a precise fit, [...]

    Photos: Ben Kuhns | Location: Empire Pass, Park City Alright, alright, I’m sure that there’s at least five forum members out there who’re either grumbling, or shouting, something heinous at your screen right now, so let’s go ahead and address what might be on your mind. You could be thinking that a carbon Merlin is pure blasphemy. Fair enough. To me, though, it’s nothing short of progress. Not surprisingly, this sentiment is also shared with some of the original Merlin staff. As it’s been explained to me, titanium was never used and propagated solely for the sake of warm fuzzies, instead, it [...]

    Over the past 14 years, David Millar has worn every jersey at the Tour, won National road & time trial championships, and taken stages at every Grand Tour. Just as important, though, he’s maintained a strong sense of altruism that’s extended itself to his final season via the Eloquence in Movement Project. True, he’s had highs, and he’s had lows, but he’s come out the other side as an open book, full of unabashed opinion and candor. And because of this sense of openness, there isn’t much that we don’t know about his career. Luckily, though, my interests tend to [...]

    Slim-fitting and muted-toned outerwear is nothing new in the current equally-at-home-on-the-bike-and-at-the-office category of cycling apparel. But when you have an established brand like Giro bringing its knowhow, a fresh approach (and color palette) is added to this seemingly saturated corner of the market. Originally conceived as a collection of functional riding apparel that borrowed heavily from casual street wear, Giro’s New Road continues to evolve beyond that initial scope. And while the California-based label’s aim is to provide alternatives to the loud-Lycra team kit standard, it’s doing so in a way that appeals to a variety of cyclists through smart [...]

    If you’ve ever registered for a race (or known a serious runner), you’ve probably had (or heard stories about) an epic pasta-filled meal the night before the starting gun fires. Carbohydrates are the primary way to top off your glycogen stores. But there are other ways beyond just white bread and pasta to get the energy you need to reach the finish line strong. Why carb-load at all? Consuming carbohydrates before exercise tops off the stored glucose in your muscles and liver—also called glycogen—and reduces chance of premature fatigue for athletes of all types.¹ Muscle glycogen is the primary source [...]

    Photos: Re Wikstrom True, there were plenty of full-suspension 29ers before the Santa Cruz Tallboy, but its arrival marked a huge shift in the way that big-wheeled trail bikes were perceived. It was nimble, composed in corners, and accordingly, it quickly dispelled many of the mythological shortcomings of “wagon wheels.” And much like the Tallboy, one might tell the same story about the Tallboy LT Carbon. It was one of the first longer travel wagon wheelers that aggressive riders really felt at home on. And while it’s been unchanged for a few seasons now, it’s still every bit as capable [...]

    Photos: Re Wikstrom Some have argued that the Bronson Carbon’s position in Santa Cruz’s lineup was challenged with the arrival of the new Nomad. Well, it’s true that the Bronson isn’t as all-out aggressive as the Nomad, nor is it as snappy and quick handling as the 5010. But rather than seeing this as a liability, it’s actually why I like the Bronson as much as I do. Suspension The Bronson’s redesigned VPP suspension platform rides considerably higher in its travel than earlier generations of VPP bikes — a trait that I appreciate, as it adds to the pedaling efficiency, [...]

    Photos: Re Wikstrom Niner’s name makes it perfectly obvious that the brand stands for all things wagon-wheeled, and the R.I.P. 9 RDO represents the Colorado brand’s take on the ultimate trail bike. Naturally, this means that it’s efficient, lightweight, and capable. And while it certainly is all of those things, there’s something, well, special about the ride that’s hard to pinpoint, yet impossible to ignore. Suspension Part of the R.I.P. 9′s magic is in its CVA suspension platform. At 125mm travel, this rendition of the parallel link platform is designed around the increased bottom bracket drop that’s characteristic of 29er [...]

    The week after a Grand Tour is traditionally dedicated to post-race lessons and analysis, and there’s certainly plenty to talk about from the 2014 Giro d’Italia. But what stands out for me is how well the race, dedicated to 1998 champion Marco Pantani on the tenth anniversary of his death, reflected the positive aspects of Pantani’s racing while still being almost unrecognizable when compared to the Italian’s greatest wins. Pantani has a complicated legacy. While pretty much every notable rider of his generation relied on EPO, Pantani’s hematocrit levels — a measure of red blood cell density and a tell-tale [...]

    As an American, I can attest to a feeling of longing for heritage brands. After all, most American companies that are older than a century are usually limited to jeans, beers, and whiskeys. And while I’m known to imbibe, I can’t help but feel that shallowness overcomes my romanticism when I wander the plastic halls of a store. However, there are brands like Mavic that still fill my heart with the good stuff. This year, Mavic is celebrating its 125th anniversary, and for us to celebrate this celebration, I sat down with Mavic’s Road Product Line Manager, Maxime Brunand, to [...]

    Photos: Re Wikstrom Yeti’s SuperBike lineup is legendary for a reason — the bikes rip. But while the 66 has a pedigree of being one of the most aggressive trail bikes out there, the 95 tempers the formula with a more conservative ride. Granted, it still has the suspension and geometry to get you in and out of scary situations, but I found it to be most at home on long, incredibly fast rides. Suspension Yeti’s Switch Technology eccentric pivots create what’s effectively a miniature parallel linkage. This lets Yeti control the wheel-path through the stroke, while a rate-modifying link [...]

    Through my Internet travels yesterday, I unassumingly stumbled upon this piece in Bicycle Retailer. The article tells of an e-bike drivetrain manufacturer, NuVinci, that’s partnering with Evelo Electric Bicycles on an incentivized weight loss promotion scheme of some kind. The gist of it is that, for 30 days this summer, they’re putting up $10 a pound for every pound that you lose on one of their bikes. Needless to say, like with most advertising campaigns, my thought process went clear in the opposite direction of the ad’s intent. Sure, there’s the obvious low hanging fruit to be plucked clean regarding [...]

    Stage 16 of this year’s Giro, with back-to-back climbs of the Gavia and Stelvio, was intended to be a sweeping, memorable day with a serious GC impact — what might have been called an “epic” ride back when that word still had meaning. In many ways, it over-delivered. While complaints that the stage was run in full (or even at all) abounded, most controversy surrounded an escape by Movistar’s Nairo Quintana, and several other riders, that took place on the Stelvio descent after race radio and Twitter announced — inaccurately but fairly unambiguously — that the race had been neutralized, [...]

    You’ve been pushing hard for the last hour. You have 30 more minutes to go, but your training partner is challenging you to a minute-long sprint. Not one to be perceived as a weakling, you accept their duel and push through. Your muscles scream as you push them faster, faster, faster. Eventually the burn gets so bad that you need to bring your body back down to an easy pace. “LACTIC ACID!” you curse. As an endurance athlete, there has probably been at least one time that you’ve used the term “lactic acid” as a synonym for a swear word. [...]

    Photos: Re Wikstrom Chris Cocalis, of Pivot Cycles notoriety, has a history in the bike industry that rivals many of its legends, and by all accounts, the guy also rips. That probably has something to do with why the Mach 6 is such an unadulterated shred machine. It’s billed as an enduro racer, so as you’d expect, it’s not the fastest climber — although it does the job surprisingly well. Get it pointed down a hill, though, and in many situations, it’s actually faster than a full-on downhill bike. But the real surprise is that, for being so aggressive, the [...]

    Somewhere, despite awkward fat jokes and an endless train of ghost-written regret-rospectives, cycling in the US has given birth to the most important bike race in the world right now: the Amgen Tour of California. Don’t believe me? SRAM chose ATOC to launch its new wireless electronic groupset, arguably the biggest tech development of the season. Then there was Shimano, which rolled out its pre-launch action cameras by rigging them to John Degenkolb’s and Koen de Kort’s bikes. The resulting footage speaks for itself: I have my quibbles with the specifics of each marketing effort (SRAM initially dressed their components [...]

    Summer is fast upon us, and while mere mortals seek refuge from their cubicles in the warming suns of some far off place, professional cyclists find themselves in full-on race mode. However, this isn’t to say that they don’t carry a bit of a Spring-Break-Daytona-Beach-2007-Forever mindset with them to southern Europe for the season. As you’ll find, most still seize the opportunity to work on their tan lines, play games, mock the unsuspecting, and most importantly for the Euro pro, score some chicks. So, insert a little hoop earring, throw back your silk polkadot scarf, and see what’s been happening [...]

    Words: Charly Wegelius, Photos: Offside/L’Équipe There are just two clues in our home that cycling has any place in my life. Two pink jerseys hang in my office, one for each Giro d’Italia that I “won” without ever getting anywhere near the podium: one as a rider, one as a directeur sportif. Sometimes guests peak in through the door and their attention is invariably drawn to these symbols. “Wow”, they say. “What an inspiration!” Well, actually, no. I have only ever found success to be a rather poor fuel for further endeavour. That’s quite a peculiar state of affairs when [...]

    Photos: Re Wikstrom It’s been over three decades since Scott Nicol built the first Ibis frame. In that time, the brand has innovated, grown, been sold, been put to rest, and ultimately, resurrected. But not everything has changed outright over the course of history. For some time, Nicol has been back at the helm, and Ibis is just as strong, if not stronger, as ever. With all of this experience, it’s not surprising that Ibis prefers to refine existing designs rather than reinvent the wheel on a seasonal basis. Perhaps this explains how the Mojo HDR 650B came to be? [...]

    Yes, a conversation with that Alberto Contador, or the Alberto Contador depending on your level of fandom. But as you can gather from the range of my questions below, my geek-level is pretty much off the charts. Honestly, though, who really cares about me right now — let’s get the introduction rolling. In case you’ve been living under a rock, a rock located deep in a cave that’s hidden even deeper in a crevasse nearing the center of the earth, Alberto Contador has won just about everything that there is to win in cycling — multiple times over at that. And [...]

    I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t greet the opportunity to test the Marc Pro Muscle Recovery and Conditioning Device with some hesitation. I’m not sure if this hesitation emanated from a primordial fear of applying electricity to my body, or if it instead teetered on snake oil skepticism. But, in the midst of this internal dialogue, I remembered, oh yeah, I used to use something just like this in physical therapy after a reconstructive knee surgery. With my fear subsided, I remembered just how effective it is to have a tool like this in your recovery war [...]

    It’s been 10 years since my last sanctioned race, and while life’s been nothing short of organized chaos since that point, I’ve had little more than one constant in my existence equation — shaving my legs. There’re a number of reasons that I could say as to why I do it, but honestly, most of those reasons would be complete and utter bullshit. In all honesty, the rationale is equal parts expressing a commitment to cycling and sheer vanity. And for 95% of cyclists, this sentiment rings true, regardless of if we admit it to ourselves or not. Really, though, [...]