Map of a Steady Hundred Miles or So
by Byron on Jul 29, 2014 at 8:50 AM
Sharing an annotated map of our steady hundred miles or so ride from West Seattle to the rural roads of East King County last weekend. On this ride I ran over a slug, a snake, and saw Sir Mix-A-Lot’s house. Also dived right to avoid a distracted driver and cleared an unseen drainage ditch that unsteadied our bikes like an IED had gone off. Shaking that off we continued to pedal and…
When we turned out of the trees into the sun, it was like the opening sequence of an action flick.
A cross-dissolve transition from shade to the sun and into a fast descent with twisties.
He’s the climber and me the rouleur, and I did what was expected in this section.
Shift+click, click to a lower gear, and put the hammer down.
That curves ahead sign is my cue to GO!
Read the rest of the story in a free preview article from Issue 15 of our magazine that drops next month. It’s shared ad-free in the Medium Bicycles Collection.
Scott Week in Deer Valley
by Byron on Jul 27, 2014 at 8:14 AM
I spent a week riding hardtail, enduro, trail, freeride, downhill, AND road bikes with Scott. Here’s my take…
Apparently I never used my T-Rex-style, cyclist-adapted arms for anything but steering and steadying myself on bike, cause they hurt after 3 days of lift riding during the first 1/2 of Scott Week.
Twinlock control on the Genius locks out the suspensions while the XTR stops the break and the SRAM XO-1 propels it.
Pushed, clicked, and shifted every knob and lever hanging off a bar so wide, crows could flock on it. At times, that meant I wasn’t in the right gear at all, and my seat was dropped too low or high.
Genius LT Tuned (long travel and the best spec)
Eventually I forget about the rear wheel, realizing it’ll follow the leader, I just steered the front, focused on the good lines. Letting go of all I knew about keeping a cross bike upright in the mud helped too, it was like I’d unlocked the next level. On a CX bike, it’s a constant balancing act between the wheels and always pedaling for traction. Leaning into a berm with the Genius, my thoughts were only on the distance from A to B, and the next turn.
After the Genius, I rode a Scott Gambler and caught some air with it, about the width of a credit card. It maybe the most appropriately named bike since the Tarmac. On it, I broke even.
Compared to levers and switches hanging off the wide-as-a-church-door bar on the Genius, the fewer controls on this bike can be summed up as muscle memory.
Gambler on top of the mountain, near the microwave towers.
A well-designed, big-hit bike allows you to just point and shoot; there’s no need to pick a line, just roll across the terrain like you’re in a Desert Storm driving a Hummer.
I finished my mountain runs on the 2015 version of a Voltage. The Swiss engineer that designed it for freeriders, asked how it went. I tried to sound like I had some authoritative knowledge with, ‘A bit tight.’ Then he told me in extensive detail how the suspension coil was too large for me and I should try a medium next.
“Alright,” I replied and took a big pull from a hydration pack bite valve.
I just thought it was super fun with my arms up and out in the attack position, standing on the pedals, demanding, “what else this double-black trail got?”
Voltage in the Aspens before a double-black trail
Scott’s road engineer assured me with thru-axles, there was no brake steer or fork shudder, and he wasn’t lying. Descending from the lodge on a twisty road towards Silver Lake, I pushed it until the Contis felt twitchy. On the big hits, the seat cluster took the brunt willingly, and with the next turn of the pedals the bike was back in line, tracking true.
The Scott marketing language describes the Solace with “zones.” One for comfort and the other power. Translate that to mean Scott has found a fine balance between horizontal stiffness and lateral compliance. A bike that accelerates well with all-day comfort is what all manufacturers are chasing now. In the past couple decades, the bike industry figured out stiffness, and now performance comfort is what their CAD programs are crunching.
Solace with disc balances performance and comfort
Speaking of the back in the day, their was a time when getting a new pair of shoes for road or mountain was a two-week ordeal. You had to break them in, they rubbed you raw for a while, and not anymore. Scott handed me these shoes at the start of the week and I rode them everyday. The fit was near perfect with no breaking in.
Team comps MTB fit great and are very comfortable
When you look at Scott’s complete line of road and mountain, it’s no surprise they’re staffed with industry veterans and making products as good or better than any other company in the industry. They don’t refer to themselves as the other S, but if you’re interested in a quieter company spending less on marketing and more on engineering and development, find a dealer near you. I recommend them for the shoes alone.
The only complaint was their water bottles are a few generations behind the big-pour, soft-squeeze version standards on the market today, like the Purist or Camelbak Podium.
The Case for Nibali’s Win
by Byron on Jul 26, 2014 at 6:07 AM
The cheering kid, the man with a camera for an arm, her very French, Cest la vie hair stylings…and Nibali gaining more time
Bike Hugger Magazine contributor, Patrick Brady makes the case for Nibali on his blog, Red Kite Prayer.
While the credibility of professional cycling certain merits skepticism, epithets and innuendo simply accelerate a race to the bottom. What if the sport is in the midst of rebuilding its integrity, and Nibali’s impending victory is the rightful result of talent, training, teamwork, and timing? If evidence shall be required to support accusations, what is needed to restore credibility?
Our policy is, if they test nonnegative then we discuss, until then Nibaly was 3 minutes off the Reis Hautacam record. That’s not extra terrestrial and, as he said himself, he acquired a 7 minute lead over 20 stages
I’m very different than Lance,” said Nibali, whose news conference manner is certainly far less combative than Armstrong’s. “I haven’t done one huge performance. I got 30 seconds here, 40 seconds there.”
And hey I rode a new Tarmac like he’s racing earlier this year.
Photo: Photigule uploaded to Flickr