Where are we riding in 2016? Places like this with our bikes and cameras; including a custom camera bag for the Trek Boone. Photo: Ben Moses.
From our Instagram), finishing the year with a Maui Sunset and wishing you the best in 2016. Thanks for following and being part of what we do with the bike. We’ll have plenty to share with you in the new year.
Among my cycling shoe collection, I have a pair of older Sidi Energy road shoes. They are a well-made shoe, if perhaps with a couple of the unnecessary gimmicks that Sidi feels compelled to add to their top-of-the-line shoes. But I have always had problems keeping my Speedplay Zero cleats situated. Speedplay cleats are a little finicky because they contain moving parts for which the rest of the cleat functions as a housing; thus if you over-tighten the bolts you can inhibit the operation of the cleat. The bolts for the first layer of these rather complicated cleats can eventually loosen, requiring complete disassembly of the cleat to rectify. And maybe it’s because the shoes are pretty old now, but to my chagrin the intervals between re-positioning have gotten shorter.
My solution involved a trip to Home Depot for some anti-slip tape from 3M. It’s the stuff one uses for non-slip adhesive tapes on stairs or ladders. Just trace the shape of the cleat onto the tape, trim to size, and paste to your shoe in the exact desired position. Now the cleat has something grippy to cling, and the tape itself shows exactly where the cleat should be positioned.
ENVE SES 2.2 rims with textured brake surface and tubeless clinchers
For the past few years ENVE has been diligently expanding their line of carbon rims in both off-road and road/triathlon models. It’s possible that their mtb efforts have been more successful in relative terms, since ENVE has been a leader in that emerging demographic while the road/tri market was already crowded long before the company entered the fray. But the SES series of rims bring much to riders affiliated to the pavement party. Including the new 2.2 and 7.8 series this fall, ENVE covers the whole rim profile range from 25mm (f&r) height of the SES 2.2 to the seriously deep 85mm/95mm (f/r) of the SES8.9 rims, with all sizes in between. Throughout the range, SES rims incorporate subtle refinements and quality as opposed to flashy gimmicks, and the quality of their construction is considered tops in the game. And unlike their other major competitors, ENVE offers their carbon rims as either alone or built into a wheel with a selection of top name brand hubs from DT and Chris King (as well as their new in-house built carbon hubs). With the introduction of the SES 2.2 in particular, ENVE also adds tubeless-ready road rims to their repertoire.
The SES 2.2 stands out among all the other SES rims because the shape and height of the 2.2 puts weight reduction ahead of minimizing aerodynamic drag. As a devout believer in aero wheels, would I like these rims?
Bike Hugger had the opportunity to build and then test a set of the SES 2.2 carbon clincher rims. The rims are available in 20h and 24h options, as front and rear respectively. Unlike the other SES road rims, the 2.2 rim set uses the same shape and height for both front and rear positions, so one would assume that you could make a 24/24 spoke wheelset. Don’t expect to see other spoke count options; ENVE moulds rather than drills the spoke holes into the rims, unlike most of the industry. This means that the carbon laminate is unbroken at these high stress areas, consequently the rim can be made stronger and lighter. But they can’t just drill a blank rim differently to change the spoke count. The two sample clincher rims weighed 419 and 421gr (f/r). This is very close to the claimed 400-410gr claimed weight for the clincher but 50% more than the claimed weight of the tubular SES 2.2. This seems extreme, but actually throughout the SES product line, the clincher rims weigh around 110gr more per rim than their tubular counterparts, regardless of profile depth. It’s just that on the 2.2, a rim without much profile, that weight difference is proportionally much higher.
The SES 2.2 carbon clincher rim is 25mm in height and 27mm at maximum width. It is designed to work best with 25mm clincher tyres, as the road market is quietly but rapidly abandoning 23mm as the conventional size for performance road tyres. If the tyre width is progressive, then perhaps the textured brake track can be thought of as almost old-fashioned as the whole road market is poised to throw everything into disc brake designs. That may be so, but there are some riders (myself included) who decline to become early adopters, preferring instead for standards and designs to mature before they start updating an entire stable of rim-brake road bikes and wheelsets. The interior of the tyre wheel is sculpted to allow tubeless tyre beads to corral the air pressure and then pop the tyre into place. With such tubeless-ready rims, you generally need to use thin, plasticky rim tape like Stans. The airtight tubeless tape is not strictly needed if you’re not using tubeless tyres, but otherwise mounting or removing conventional clinchers on such rims with a woven rim strip in place is a ridiculous chore. ENVE included both types with the bare rims, but I didn’t even contemplate using the woven strip.
ENVE gave no specific recommendations on which hubs to use, though it would be ridiculous to use cheap hubs on rims of such quality. Nothing is worse than a good, strong wheel that becomes useless after the hub craps out. Good hubs rarely come cheap, but we’re not talking about bargain shopping today. I suspect that most ENVE rims end up getting built on DT hubs, but I think that a premium American-made hub would be more appropriate. I considered using White Industries T11 hubs, since I use those hubs on 70-90% of my custom wheelbuilds. White Industries hubs are light, come in a variety of colours and spoke counts, have a titanium cassette body that resists cogs digging in (DT hubs suffer badly from this), and have easily replaceable bearings. The bearing preload can be adjusted with just a 2mm Allen wrench, but so far in my experience the T11 have rarely required adjustment. But I just happened to have a Chris King R45 hubset with the necessary 20/24H drilling, sitting unused in my cache. Introduced a few years ago, the R45 hubs use a newer, lighter version of King’s unique “Ring Drive” freehub mechanism. It’s the Ring Drive that gives King hubs their characteristic (some say annoying) mechanical whine while coasting, though the R45 version is definitely quieter than the older version, still used on their mtb hubs. The newer Ring Drive is only available in aluminium, which means that the cogs’ splines can notch the the body more easily than the White Industries hubs, but the R45 hubset is also slightly lighter because of it. One annoying aspect of King hubs is that the bearings generally loosen up 1-3 times after you build the wheel. More on that later.
I could have ordered the same spec wheel assembled in-house from ENVE, but you see, my R45 hubs are turquoise and ENVE use black King hubs….and turquoise looks cooler. Obviously. And getting the pre-built wheels from ENVE wouldn’t give me anything to say about building the rims.
Carbon rims in the rain and muck? No problem
Decades ago, the best components outside of Europe were manufactured by Suntour of Japan, but today everyone knows that Shimano dominates the industry worldwide while Suntour is little more than name that was sold off years ago. The Suntour’s demise is generally attributed to a failure to develop worthy index shifting systems to compete against Shimano. The story is a little more complex than that. Index shifting necessitates developing the drivetrain as an integrated system, a concept that Suntour never really grasped until the company was already hopelessly behind. But in those last years before index shifting, Suntour made some of the finest friction shift derailleurs to ever grace a bicycle. And what’s interesting is that mid-level Cyclone series is often lauded as the best, rather than the racer’s flagship model, Superbe.
Recently a customer brought me a NOS Cyclone 7000 rear derailleur to replace his battered existing Suntour derailleur. This is the first new Suntour rear derailleur I have touched in over twenty years; I kept the box as a memento. The 7000 derailleur is actually from 1987, after the index revolution had already begun. For my own vintage bike project, a red 1983 Sannino, I hunted down a relatively clean Cyclone Mk.II (also known as model#3500). Aesthetically it was considered a little plain looking; nevertheless the dainty thing weighed a mere 176gr and shifted better than just about anything else.
I needed a front derailleur and I happened to find a NOS front Cyclone to match the rear. No box though.
Here is the stock Galli rear derailleur, as reasonable facsimile of a Campagnolo Nuovo Record. Not without its charm, but the Cyclone Mk.II outperforms it. Period.