SRAM Guide Brakes for the Trail

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by Byron on Mar 26, 2014 at 5:06 PM


Confused by what a “trail brake” is compared to another brake, I asked SRAM’s Duncan Riffle and he said

When we use the term “trail” brake or any other specified discipline it has to do with intended use for that product. IE. A Trail brake would be suitable for a wide range of short to mid travel bikes that require a light-weight, robust and powerful package to get the job done in many scenarios. Where as a “Downhill” specific brake would be less concerned about weight and more about power, modulation and durability in extreme conditions…

Ok! Still unclear if you ride trails on bikes in spandex or baggies or spandex INSIDE baggies? Will figure that out later this year when we get on the dirt. As I understand and it was explained to me by Sean Estes, technically trail braking is a technique where you use your rear brake to set the attitude of the bike going into a corner. However trail brakes are brakes designed specifically for Trail riding as opposed to say XC or DH-specific brakes. The “Trail” experience sits between XC and All-Mtn, meaning roughly 110-140 mm travel, relative light weight, all-around geometry and equally good at going up or down.

Yep and I rode a sweet bike for the trail last year up to Searle Pass on the Colorado Trail. It was a Camber S-Works with a 1 X.

Camber

A Camber for the trail

Searle Pass

Up to Searle Pass

sweet singletrack

On Singletrack

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Chris Cross

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by Byron on Mar 25, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Another bike edit and this one is with Chris Akrigg on a Mongoose riding over pretty much everything a MTB would. What CX racers run over, he rode.

A lot to be learned technically from riding a cross bike, have to be on point 110% of the time, I had a lot of fun putting this together.

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How The Race Was Won - Milan-Sanremo 2014

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by Byron on Mar 24, 2014 at 1:01 PM

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Inspired In Barcelona

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by Byron on Mar 24, 2014 at 12:31 PM


We’ve ridden in Barcelona too and were inspired then and now. Ali Clarkson, Sean Watson, Danny MacAskill and guest rider Duncan Shaw ride some of the unique spots in Barcelona in this edit. Our time there wan’t free styling, but observing the Magnificent Streets, Folding Bikes, and Roundabouts in Girona.

Spain 06

A Spanish Intersection in 06

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Fix It Sticks In Your Pocket and Workbench

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by Byron on Mar 22, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Fixit Sticks

On the Workbench

After getting the latest PR about a return to Kickstarter and another launch, I asked Brian Davis the Founder of Fix It Sticks what was going on. He told me

Fix It Sticks returns to Kickstarter to launch their all new replaceable line of tools. Last year the company came to life making 2 sticks with permanently installed bits that interlock to form a T-wrench. Now they return to bring a more flexible line of tools that have replaceable bits.

So that’s a Fixit Stick for your pocket – we put ours in tool rolls – and the work bench. the Fix It Sticks Replaceable Edition is on Kickstarter for $30 per set (expected MSRP: $36) which includes 8 bits total and a recycled inner tube pouch. Also releasing the all new Fix It Sticks T-Way Wrench which is a permanent T-wrench for shop use and comes with 7 bits for $25 (expected MSRP $30). Both tools have powder coating options in case you want to color match with your bikes.

Brian added

With manufacturers using all sorts of different hexes and Torx fittings today this platform makes sense. Rather than buy all new tools riders can just grab a bit from any hardware store. They are past the funding goal, so these tools will be a reality soon, but the discount through the pre-order process is a good incentive to back to the project.

The Kickstarter campaign is here and you can pre-order on the their website too. The original version is also on Amazon.

In the Tool roll

In the tool roll

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Milano-San Remo 1992: The Legend of Sean Kelly

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by Mark V on Mar 21, 2014 at 8:28 AM

This weekend is the first really big professional road race on the calendar, Milano-San Remo. Up until now, it’s roughly been the equivalent of spring training, but Milano-San Remo is the first race of the year that really, really counts. It’s got history; it’s a race that the racers’ fathers’ fathers dreamed of winning. It’s got scenery, speeding along the Italian coast in the first rays of spring. It’s long, at almost 300km/185miles. And it’s got speed. The only climbs are relatively shallow and come late in the race, and M-SR would almost be easy if the peloton weren’t just drilling it for more than six and a half hours before they get to the 3km finishing straight in San Remo. The race usually ends in a bunch sprint, but on occasion a wily racer can keep a gap off the last climb, the Poggio, since the descent is sinuous and narrow.

In 1992, the Ariostea team’s leader Moreno Argentin stormed up the Poggio, breaking free of his rivals well before the crest of the climb. The veteran Italian would keep his lead all the way down the descent that emptied into the finishing straight, where he would celebrate his first win at Milano-San Remo.

Or at least he would have if Sean Kelly hadn’t absolutely blistered the Poggio’s descent. We are talking LEGENDARY. It’s not that Argentin wasn’t making a fast descent, though he was being a bit conservative. No, it’s that Kelly was brilliant. He wasn’t even the at the front of the chasers at the crest of hill, but he leaves them all behind like they had opened parachutes. Kelly is on Argentin’s wheel right as they entered the straight, and even at 36yrs of age the former TdF green jersey winner still packed a formidable sprint. It was Kelly’s second M-SR win and the last major win of his illustrious career.

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Celeb Framebuilder Swears off Award Shows

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by Byron on Mar 20, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Brando Warhol

A builder like Brando

He’s got the longest waitlist of them all (waitlists are how framebuilders measure their worth in this game) and stayed home from the annual framebuilder pageant. The backchannel chatter about NAHBS (North American Handbuilt Bike Show) was more negative this Spring than most shows. I’ll leave the why that is for the people that were there, but this is like Brando swearing off award shows ‘cause it’s not about the art.

Most Y2K framebuilders couldn’t work without a cad program. Or design a frame without a misfitter. Many couldn’t produce a frame without a dedicated fixture, or measure “straight” without a two ton granite table. There’s a whole subculture that goes online and asks OTHER framebuilders how to add braze-ons, what tubes to use, and what brazing rod to buy. These guys aren’t building something as much as they’re assembling material based on a set of instructions. And who among them still makes his own forks?! Things have changed, alright.

Well of course it isn’t. I also don’t expect Sachs to get fat and wear a muumuu, but he does fashion himself as a celeb. One trained in the craft and not playing to some scripted reality show.

Ignore the best lug or ironic facial hair awards and find a builder near you. The best ones I know don’t seek the limelight. They just make bikes, like this one by Bill Davidson and Mark V…

D-Plus in the Gulley

D-Plus outfitted for gravel with those Sammy Slicks

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Light & Motion Solite 100

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by Mark V on Mar 20, 2014 at 3:48 AM

I’ve got this thing going on where Start out the work week sick, stumble through a couple days dead on my feet, become a whirling dervish of productivity for the next two days and then fall sick again for my days off. An old roommate flew in to town to get away from the Deep South for a bit and do some hiking. I had to opt out, but I gave him one of my Light & Motion lights, the Solite 100. It’s a little multi-purpose, USB-rechargeable light that can be hand held, stood on end with an articulating light head, or worn on a strap about a helmet or bare head. You can get a bike-mount for it, but there are other L&M lights that do that better. It’s not super bright compared to my L&M bike lights, but it does provide more than enough light to set up camp on a dark, cold, rainy night out on the Olympic peninsula. And with a 20hr burn time on low, you have enough time to get things done without worrying that it’ll cut out on you. But I still couldn’t be motivated to leave the warmth of my apartment.

I think my friend was just enjoying the novelty of cold rain; he went back to Alabama on a Monday night red eye. Meanwhile, I’ve had all winter to enjoy rubbish wet weather. I’d gladly take some sunshine, and if not that, then at least good health. Literally sick and tired of this.

Light & Motion Solite

Light & Motion Solite

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Halo Belt in a Bag

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by Byron on Mar 19, 2014 at 9:06 AM


A Kickstarter we apparently missed is now in rev 2.0 and it’s an LED belt for cyclists and anyone else out at night. Well how ‘bout an iteration of this concept that lights up a messenger bag? Like this Halo Zero Messenger Bag from Rickshaw we spotted a few years ago during our Mobile Social Interbike.

Glowy Bag

A bag that glows

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PDW 3Wrencho

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by Mark V on Mar 19, 2014 at 7:50 AM

A month ago I wrote about being selective with your portable tools, and I explicitly recommended the Soma Steel Core tyre lever. Funny enough, seems that some people read the prose I spew on this blog; the guys at Portland Design Works took issue with my choice of tyre levers. So I said I’d take the Pepsi Challenge. A few days later a PDW 3Wrencho arrived in the mail.

A little explanation about the name of the tool. 3Wrencho is a play on San Rensho, which was the brand name of legendary keirin (Japanese professional track racing) framebuilder, Yoshi Konno. The name San Rensho roughly translates into “three victories”, where “san” means “3” in Japanese. By coincidence, San Rensho at one time marketed some keirin-specific tools for adjusting regulation track bikes at the velodrome. Though San Rensho doesn’t exist anymore as a builder, the tool is still available (at least a few years ago), and I have one. However, that tool is too big to use as on-the-road repair kit, and neither does it have a tyre lever. And why would it? Keirin bikes only use tubulars anyways.

Back to the actual 3Wrencho tool: is it the best tyre lever ever? Well, it just might be. It matches my criteria in terms of shape, and it is nylon-coated to protect your rim. But it is definitely beefier than a Soma Steel Core, and I’m not quite sure what it would take to break it. Despite this, the 3Wrencho isn’t so thick that you can’t get it under the bead of tight fitting tyres. The 3Wrencho also incorporates a 15mm box wrench to fit track hub fixing nuts, the tyre lever portion is even angled out so that you can spin the wrench on the nut without catching on the bike’s stays. Compared to Surly’s Jethro Tool, the 3 Wrencho is miles better ergonomically for hossing on track nuts while only marginally longer, while the shape of the 15mm box fits better than the Jethro’s on the fixing nuts of certain internally-geared hubs. And the Jethro doesn’t have a superb tyre lever integrated into the other end like the PDW product. The Jethro just has a bottle-opener….and it’s not like there is any great shortage of bottle opening technologies in the world.

PDW 3Wrencho tool

PDW 3Wrencho has a 15mm box wrench end for the fixing nuts of track hubs and internally geared hubs.

So final verdict? Is the 3Wrencho the best tyre lever ever? Hmmmm, I’m not gonna say that that for a couple reasons. First, it costs $25 which is a lot for a tyre lever if you rarely need one in your travels. Sure, it has that 15mm box wrench, but if you have quick-releases on your wheels then that’s not doing anything for you. It would no doubt last longer than a Soma Steel Core in a shop environment. But even if it doesn’t break, in a shop environment you will eventually wear through the nylon coating, depending on your technique. And in a busy bike shop, tyre levers are like Bic pens in a office: they disappear constantly. I can buy 10 Soma Steel Core levers for the price of one 3Wrencho, lose 3, have another 3 stolen, break one, give one away, accidentally take one home in my pocket, and still come out ahead (yep, that about describes what actually happens).

However, if you look in my own personal tool kit, I keep a 3Wrencho. It is handier than the Jethro Tool as a track nut wrench and better than the Soma as a tyre lever, so I could reduce the number of tools I’m carrying while simultaneously improving ergonomics. If you want an utterly dependable tyre lever for your portable tool kit, there is no finer. And if you ride a bike with some sort of fixing nut for the hub, then without a doubt this is your tool.

PDW 3Wrencho tool

Soma Steel Core lever on left, PDW 3Wrencho on left

PDW 3Wrencho tool

PDW 3Wrencho tool

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