We're so into Cyclocross that we made this special page for it. Also publish a Tumblr about Suffer Faces.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes: Runkels No More

With a hydraulic disc-brake bike in the stable this year, I realized a setup I’ve ran forever would change. No more auxiliary brakes because you can’t interrupt the hydraulic lines. The brake levers on CX bars, in addition to the ones on the hoods, have many names. They include cheater, interrupter, top mount, auxiliary, and Runkel.

Redline with Runkels

Redline with Runkels at CX Worlds earlier this year

They were invented by Dieter Runkel who rode them on courses with big drops, descents like we don’t ride anymore in the US. Soon after Dieter rode them at Worlds, manufactures like Redline made them by hand for their athletes.


Runkel photo: Werner Getzmann

The first commercially available version came from SRP. Empella made the biggest splash when they sponsored the Spar Select Cross team that is now Fidea with Wellens & Vervecken, and had most of their bikes equipped with the levers.

Redline with Runkels

Redline with Runkels back in the day

I’ve always just had them, including on the bike I raced in the Looville mud at CX Worlds. Checking with a couple go-to-guys on the history of Cross, Tim Rutledge from Redline said

After Runkel rode those, we went to Tektro and other brake makers & begged for levers, but couldn’t get them, so we handmade them for our racers.

And Matt Hill from Crosssports added

Bike positions have changed over time and people ride cross bikes with much less reach than they used to. The drops they do over in Europe at the Elite level are still every bit as hairy as they were “back in the day.”

Including the drop we used to ride at the South Park course that landed in a sand pit. I asked Matt why Runkels aren’t used much anymore

Biggest reason they went away, though? As soon as they became something you could buy, rather than something you had to make yourself, they lost cred with the folks who are more concerned with what is cool than with what works.

They still work for me. Guess if I miss them that badly when riding a hydro-equipped CX bike, I can set them up with the TRP HY/RD. That’s a brake I was very skeptical of and it works great. It’s a hydraulic brake actuated by cables, so you could run the Runkels inline with it.

Redline with TRPs

14 Redline with TRP HY/RD

See more photos of the 2014 Redline Conquest Pro with TRP HY/RD on our G+ page.

Cross Clinic with Crosssports

Uploaded video from the Cross Clinic with Crosssports yesterday. The short is added to our collection of Cross Tips on YouTube. Also see another clinic from last year where Matt taught us how to best dismount and remount. He makes it look easy… the parade wave teaches clinic attendees how to better balance themselves on their bike, a critical skill when dismounting into the barriers and then remounting after them. All the attendees did very well.

In the latest issue of our Magazine, we share more about the upcoming Cross season, including some notes on sand pits. We’ll kick off the racing this season at CrossVegas.

Ready for Cross 14

D-Plus for 14

D-Plus is back for another season

It was the first CX workout of the 13/14 season yesterday and the D-Plus is running good. Mark V is making another iteration of this type of bike right now in a 700c/650b version and it’ll get welded in two weeks. For more about Mark’s quest to ride across a sandpit and a Cross preview, download and subscribe to our Magazine.


Mark’s latest obsession

Issue 03 is available now for $1.99.

Cyclocross Tips 13

Following Issue 03 that’s focused on Cross, here are some tutorial videos we’ve uploaded over the years. In 13 minutes and 9 videos, we cover the basics, and most importantly the barriers with Crosssports. Sandpits are a different matter entirely, cause souls and entire seasons gets lost in the dusts of those. The sandpits are Silver Lake drove Mark V into a deep obsession from which a new bike emerged. For all of us, let’s hope he gets at least 4 bike lengths across them this season.


A sandpit buster is being made right now in downtown Seattle

Wellens Can Ride Sand and You Cannot

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In the editor’s note to Matt Hill’s sandpit tutorial for Issue 03 of our Magazine, I wrote

Once ate at Hooters next to Wellens, for reals and have never made it all the way through a sand pit.

True story and Bart remembered the moment too. Then I’m sure went about his training and perfecting his technique of attacking the sandpit in a giant gear and stomping his authority on the pedals with soul-crushing power. Like glaciers that pound rock for millennia until it gives way to powder, Wellens crushes the sand relentlessly and powerfully. He powers through it like a Paris-Dakar moto, throwing up a roostertail of dust into his competitor’s faces.

Because our Magazine is a mobile app, we want to keep the download reasonable and shipped just 2 photos from 30 taken of Wellens in the sand and the rest of them are on G+.

Mark V was so mortified in that same pit he began obsessing about what’d roll better over the sand: 650b or 700c? That obsession resulted is his new Cross whip that he describes at length in Issue 03 too.

If I am racing on the typical cx course that you see here in the states, not far removed from a fast, dirt criterium, then that is all the bike I would need. But I still yearn for the versatility of truly fat tires……Sixteen months ago the idea hit me to create a 700C/650B cyclocross bike with disc brakes, 2 months ago the lightweight 650B xc tires became available……

Read about Mark’s bike and how Wellens rides the sand in our Magazine available now on iTunes for $1.99 per month or $3.99 per issue. Download the issue, read it, practice, and maybe avoid the sand despair #37 felt that day.


This season my goal is 4 bike lengths into the sandpit and then a clean dismount/remount cycle.

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