Road Disc This Shit is Bananas

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by Byron on Apr 15, 2016 at 10:08 AM


By now, you’ve probably read or heard that the UCI suspended their disc brake experiment. They did so after a racer at Paris-Roubaix was seriously injured, he said by a rotor. Following the suspension, I wrote a rant on Medium Bicycles, taking the industry to task for this; how you say, “shitshow?” Or, an even simpler way to put it is, this shit is bananas.

Try it yourself and know that because no new molds are being opened for caliper-brake bikes, there is an unprecedented flurry of activity in Taiwan right now. The economic costs of the suspension and bad PR are probably worse the hydro failure at CX Natz and subsequent recall.

And, if you prefer…a GIF too.

The fix? A wider, less sharp rotor or a cowling, like they should’ve done from the onset of road discs. Expect a new, safety disc ASAP.

And the buyers of bicycles, they sure ain’t no hollaback girl.

HT to @Crosssports for the banana/rotor idea.

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Wilier Triestina GTR Team Disc

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by Byron on Apr 12, 2016 at 8:24 PM

Unrelenting

On Medium Bicycles this morning, shared a story about the Wilier Triestina GTR Team Disc. That’s an Italian “adventure” bike and built for all-day endurance. I’ll share another story about it later this month in Issue 35 of our magazine…for now, here’s a bit of what I had to say

When it comes to bike design, youth knows no pain, and up until now, carbon bikes were made as stiff as possible. As carbon technology enters its 30s, being a bit older and wiser, that supposed to hurt belief has given way to preferring an all-day experience, and wherever the route may take you off or on road. Sorta like how instead of wingtips, you’re ok wearing loafers now, or no more neckties.

Also see more photos on Instagram, like this one.

And, the @wilierusa @wiliertriestina GTR Team Disc close up. Read the story today on medium.bikehugger.com and thanks to @martingisborne for the editing help.

A photo posted by Byron (@bikehugger) on

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Hayman Wins Paris Roubaix on a Foil

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by Byron on Apr 11, 2016 at 5:22 PM


Always happens like that, just when I’m burned out and cynical about the sport, a race like the 2016 edition of Paris-Roubaix happens. An unexpected, lucky win, and on a bike I’ve ridden, and raved about. Right? Scott’s PR shared the backstory and video from ORICA-GreenEDGE above. Riding a smart race all day, Hayman proved to be the strongest in a sprint of five, after a grueling 253 kilometers. The 37-year old ORICA-GreenEDGE veteran riding his 15th Paris-Roubaix, made all the right decisions in a race where everything can go wrong than. His first smart move was to jump into a break that formed after about 70 kilometers of racing and stayed there.

“I didn’t have to surge to get in position before the cobbled sectors, I just had to make sure I saved as much energy as possible while being in the front group,” Hayman said after the race. “Everybody that has ridden Paris-Roubaix knows it’s one of those rare races where being in an early break can get a rider a good result.”

When pre-race favorites caught up to Hayman’s group, Hayman was he let the others work

They knew I was in the breakaway during large parts of the race. I was able to just sit there and save energy,” the ORICA-GreenEDGE rider commented after the race.

I’ve had enough bad luck in Paris-Roubaix in the last fifteen years. Everything went right today, I was in a good place mentally, I was relaxed and I was trying not to put pressure on myself.

Then we all know what happened next….

About the Bike

Hayman won Paris-Roubaix on a Scott Foil Team Issue. While the first Foil was super stiff and not very comfortable, the engineers at Scott invested a lot of time in order to improve the comfort of the new Foil. Did Hayman win cause he was less fatigued? Perhaps, sure didn’t hurt, and I know when I rode the Foil, I appreciated how fast and compliant it was.

See my review of the Foil in Issue 32 of our Magazine. And, congrats again, for such a huge win for Hayman, his team and Scott.

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Motos in the Mix and a Call for Better Production Values

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by Mark V on Apr 10, 2016 at 10:27 PM

Team Sky’s speedster Elia Viviani was caught behind a crash within the Arenberg sector, and perhaps he was thinking that there would be no way that he would play any further role in this year’s Paris-Roubaix.

And then the motorcycle plowed into him from behind.

Viviani walked away from the collision with contusions and cuts, but just two weeks ago at Gent-Wevelgem another pro cyclist was killed. Belgian Antoine Demoitie died of injuries sustained when a following motorcycle attempted to evade him where he had fallen in a crash but unfortunately tumbled directly unto his head and upper torso. Demoitie is the first fatality involving a race vehicle collision in many years, but in the context of a recent epidemic of such collisions, perhaps UCI officials and race organizers should look at his death, not as an isolated incident, but as the natural and inevitable result of current practices and protocols.

Viviani’s incident really is the last straw, as if someone’s death (apparently) wasn’t. Crashes are given with Paris-Roubaix, especially in the Arenberg Forest, and it is not as if anyone could have forgotten the loss of Demoitie in less than 14 days. Despite all that, a race moto could not avoid mowing down a stopped rider at the most predictably crash-prone portion of a race that is synonymous with crashing, while painfully aware of both severity and recentness of the previous incident. It is past being an issue of individual carelessness, because concerned operators and the predictability of situations has made no difference. Eliminating those variables, something must be wrong with how these races are being run.

Is it that there are too many race vehicles in the caravan? It is often said that the parcours of today’s races encounter more road furniture (speed bumps, posts, reflective dots, traffic turtles, etc) than in the past, making them more treacherous to racers. Are there likewise more motorcycles mixed in with the racers? Assuming that there are more motorcycles than in years past, are those motorcycles used by commissaries, neutral support, medical support, or television crews? I don’t have the data, but I think it is a safe bet that media interests are the likely sources of additional motos.

If that is true, then not only is it reprehensible to race organizers and officials to sacrifice rider safety for monetary benefit from the television coverage, but it also shows a lack of ambition and imagination on the part of media and the UCI. With today’s technology, you can’t tell me it’s impossible to put a transmitting action cam on the majority of the bikes in the peloton. With the plethora of power meters used on bikes, you could include all kinds of metrics on the video feed, which would no doubt appeal to a broader television demographic. And by broader, I mean American. Americans love quantifying their sports. Baseball is mind-numbingly boring, but all the statistics give it a satisfying tangibility. Imagine cycling coverage like Formula One…from the driver’s POV, and Monday morning’s dominant discussion at the watercooler will be about Kittel’s gear choice and cadence for the sprint , or whether Quintana was sustaining too much wattage too early in the Alps. Bike manufacturers would love it too, since the camera equipment could count towards the 6.8kg weight minimum that they’re always bitching about, allowing them to sell lighter yet more expensive framesets to the (well-heeled) everyman.

There are so many better options to televise cycling than motorcycles getting all up on the riders to film their feet going round in circles.

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Trek Boone this Spring

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by Byron on Apr 08, 2016 at 2:22 PM

My spring whip set up for forest service and farm roads

By now, I think I’ve exhausted the IsoSpeed tech totally works story lines on Medium Bicycles, our mag, and time to share with you how the endurance bike I’ve been riding this spring is built out. Doing double duty as a rain/gravel whip, the PDW fenders have remarkably not vibrated loose on the rough roads so far, and the VeloOrange, custom fit front rack has transported beer and later on, supplies for an all-day ride.

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Those hubs were previously in a set of tubulars for CX and repurposed for tubeless and set up for gravel

The Rest of the Spec

  • ATM custom camera bag—Andrew the Maker made me a bag for the RX1RII, which I used to take the shot above, and the shots in the stories about the Boone.
  • Panaracer Gravel Kings—The Kings perform well across varied terrain, as expected and running at 40 PSI front and 45 rear. I imagine a Japanese tire-compound engineer manufactured a gravel-emulation rig in a tire lab, and tested various profiles to find the one that rolled over crushed shale with some hardpack dirt the best. The tall crown on them rolls over gravel and pack dirt as designed, but you’ll want to keep the bike upright in bumps or washouts, as they’ll drop to the right or left when the sides catch. On the pavement, the sidewalls are stiff as rocks, but on crushed surfaces, these tires are awesome. For more lateral grip, in looser or deeper conditions the larger 35 is recommended.
  • Stan’s Rims—The hoops on the Boone say as much about the change in what I’m riding as anything I’ve written lately. The Grail was designed for cross, gravel, and traditional road riding in that it can be used for both high and low pressure applications. Grail rims are of the BST (tubeless for low pressure) variety with a max pressure of 45psi, and accommodate the Panaracer’s tubeless-ready bead with no leaks or burps. The reason to run tubeless for adventure, is they’re less likely to pinch or snake bite. And, tires have matured in ride and quality. Rim tech too, in just a few short seasons.
  • Look Pedals—After my PT banned me from ever riding on ATACS again, because of my knee injury, and I refuse to ride SPD, there wasn’t much choice left in MTB pedals. For my fit, I need the widest stance to keep my knee properly aligned. The S-Tracks offers a wider contact area and shims to adjust the height depending on sole lug thickness. After a few hundred miles on them, knee is good, and the pedals perform as designed.
  • Bontrager lights— On occasion, I’m out after dark and these light the way just fine. Not for commuting, but just getting home.
  • Lezyne—As I’ve shared, I prefer a minimalist approach to bike computing.

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Rack in use, while the can leaked, still worked.

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Look Pedals

Related IsoSpeed Stories

Back out there this weekend too, with more stories to follow, and a summer of finding adventure with our bikes.

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Trek’s Sizing is a “Say What?”, and is IsoSpeed Suspension?

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by Mark V on Apr 05, 2016 at 2:47 AM

This post is about the new Trek Domane. Actually, that is a lie. This is really all about how the lack of consensus for technical and marketing terms within cycling makes me want to punch people in the face.

As Byron posted on Medium, Trek launched the new Domane, but I’m still mildly peeved with the name Domane, which as I have been assured is pronounced “DOE-mah-NAY”. Strange that no one seems to pronounce the name of Trek’s other pro road bike model, the Madone, as “MAH-doe-NAY”. But maybe that’s because the Domane is marketed as an “endurance” bike, which as far as the general consumer need concern themselves means a road bike with more upright positioning, more forgiving ride, and more tyre clearance….but not enough tyre clearance to take on deep gravel. Kudos to Trek for providing fender mounts too when many other manufacturers have clearly assumed that potential buyers either like to endure winter road spray in their face and up their crack or perhaps live only in southern CA where rain is only slightly more likely than a quality movie starring Adam Sandler. I’m thinking of a bike with name that rhymes with Blue-Ray.

Pro Tip: Don’t slip up and call the Domane an “enduro road bike”, brah. Enduro is a totally different scene…think baggy shorts and beards rather than power meters and paceline etiquette.

The big update on the new Domane is the IsoSpeed Decoupler on the headtube. Also, the IsoSpeed on the seat tube is now tunable. But what I really want to know is whether IsoSpeed can be classified as suspension…or not. It certainly does not involve coil springs, swing-arms, or telescoping shocks like more conventional suspension designs, but IsoSpeed is definitely more substantial than elastomer inserts bonded onto a frame to act as vibration dampers (ie, Zerts do not equal suspension). Technically I would have to call the Domane a full-suspension bike, though emphasizing the phrase “full-suspension” with the Domane seems misleading. Doing so both trivializes the difficulty of adapting conventional suspension designs to road use and obscures the elegance and cleverness of Trek’s design.

As those of you who know me and my fascination with road bike suspension, might expect, I have more than a passing curiosity with the Domane and its IsoSpeed decouplers. I’ve played around a little bit with the IsoSpeed on Byron’s Trek Boone test bike, but that bike is way too large for me to ride. Byron usually rides a 56 or 58cm frame, I usually take a 48-49cm. I wondered if there was a Domane size to fit me. The Trek geometry chart answered that question but not without first begging another.

Listed in three separate columns on the geometry chart, there is a frame size number 50 cm, an actual frame size 50cm, and a seat tube (45.0cm). What the hell does that even mean? Am I the only one who sees the problem here? That’s like saying a “6-foot tall man” is actually 6 feet tall in so much if you measured him from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head, that measurement would be 5ft 6in. Other bike brands give a “virtual size” and a “seat tube size”; don’t make this more complicated than it has to be, Trek. When you said that bike was literally 50cm in size, you obviously meant figuratively

As for the question “Does Trek make a Domane in Mark V Size?”, the answer is no. Because Mark V Size, as rigidly defined by the international standards commission known as STFU-GTFO, is a reach dimension of 367-386mm and a stack of no more than 515mm for pure road bikes and no more than 530mm for endurance/gravel/touring bikes. The 50cm Domane has a reach of 368mm and a stack of 546mm…and that’s just too damn high for me.

So the new Trek Domane is full-suspension. It is solidly in the category of “endurance road” bike, which has nothing to do with “enduro”. Mark V Size is not within the subset of the Domane sizing range, and Pluto is not to be referred to as a “planet”. All non-standard usage of technical terms henceforth will be punished.

Ed note: awesomely for Byron, Trek makes a Boone AND a Domane SLR in his size. He’s ridden one off them so far and shared stories about both on Medium, in our Mag, and here on the blog. Also, with all the media attention, you maybe wonder what IsoSpeed decoupling is, here’s an explainer.

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Domane SLR: Isospeed Decouple What?

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by Byron on Apr 04, 2016 at 10:07 PM

Trek Boone

Trek Boone with Jump Off Joe in the Background

Perhaps you have no idea what a decoupler on a bike is, and if so, that’s ok. Because earlier today, I shared a story on Medium Bicycles about the Boone and just-announced Domane SLR. The Boone is decoupled in the rear and the Domane SLR has decouplers on both ends. An IsoSpeed decoupler is Trek’s technology to suspend a road or cross bike by decoupling the seat stay from the top tube—those two tubes are traditionally welded or molded together and that’s where the seat post attaches. Separating the seat/top tube junction allows a pivot with just enough movement to absorb the hits and smooth out the ride. The system does not bob o r sag like a fully-suspended mountain bike pivoting at the bottom bracket. As fun as riding off road on a road bike is, the vibrations and bumps will eventually fatigue the rider—that’s why Trek introduced the Domane with Cancellara in the most brutal races of the season, so he could float across the cobbles to a win. 

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Rear IsoSpeed Decoupler

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Front IsoSpeed Decoupler

Anyone that’s spent a few appendage-numbing hours on farm or forest-service roads riding a road bike, has probably wondered when they could get some relief from suspension. The SLR extends Trek’s decoupling tech to the front triangle and I expect it’ll work just as well as the rear does now. There’s nothing else like it in shops or races today. 4 years after Trek first released IsoSpeed, other manufactures have yet to respond. With tech that good, the market won’t wait much longer from them to compete. Read more about the Boone I’ve been riding this spring on Medium too and in Issue 31 of our magazine.

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Google’s Self-Driving Bicycle

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by Byron on Apr 01, 2016 at 5:04 PM


After a busy week and getting Issue 34 Truth out, a light-hearted new product from Google, on April 1st, and congrats to Vanmoof for being in the video.

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