Rally Cycling Team in SoCal


by Byron on Jan 28, 2016 at 1:08 PM

At the Rally Cycling team camp, everything is moving….. On assignment for Digital Photo Pro with Rally in SoCal, shot with the Sony A7S II and Rokinon lens (35MM, T1.5) and made this short edit from the b-roll.


Rolling into Malibu

I’ll have much more to share in the next issue of our magazine, dropping this week, including stills, and a with a nod to the working-class, blue-collar bikes Rally is racing.

Team Bike

Diamondback Podium E’tape

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Hoogerheide Highlights


by Byron on Jan 27, 2016 at 9:50 PM

Highlights from Hoogerheide and a taste of what’s to come this weekend at CX Worlds.

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In SoCal with Rally Cycling


by Byron on Jan 26, 2016 at 3:48 PM


On location in Malibu with Rally Cycling, and here taking photos of Highway 23. I’ll share more about this shoot in the next issue of our magazine.

Rally team car

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Another Pro Quality Compact Camera: Fuji X-Pro2 Launched


by Byron on Jan 24, 2016 at 8:58 AM

A photo posted by Zack Arias (@zarias) on

This week at a launch event in Japan, Fuji celebrated the X-Series’ 5th anniversary and also announced their new X-Pro2 mirrorless camera. Followers of Zack Arias (including me) watched the event on Instagram and he shared his photo taken with the new camera. His comments (and excitement) from Instagram

I’ve been testing the new #fuji #xpro2 for a little over a month now. It’s a beautiful camera. The new sensor is phenomenal. 24.3 MP. Dual SD slots. New processor. Weather resistance. Wifi. New hybrid viewfinder. Built in diopter. New film simulation modes. 250th sync speed. Kick ass shutter / ISO combo dial. ISO usable to 128,000. Manual & electronic shutter. Fast. Sleek. Gorgeous. It’s finally here!!!!


I was first introduced to mirrorless by David Schloss a few media cycles ago, when he proudly shot with a X100 and praised its retro-rangefinder design. That camera offered superior image quality in a compact design, much as the Sonys do now. It was the first camera to really recognize that there was an advantage to exploring a professional-quality non-SLR solution.

His field test for Image Resource addresses the pros and cons; including limitations (since addressed) three years later by the new X-Pros. The most significant improvement is the X-Trans CMOS III sensor with 24-megapixels that puts Fuji on a similar footing with the Nikon, Canon and Sony. As I shared last month, it’s all about the sensor….and when paired with a high-quality Fujinon lens, expect beautiful photos from this camera, like Zack posted.

Fuji’s approach to reduce moiré and false colors is interesting with a random color filter. Despite mixed results with their hybrid viewfinder – optical and electronic – Fuji continues to improve it sticking with their tech, instead of switching to an OLED like Sony. Sony’s half-inch XGA OLED viewfinder on the Alpha series cameras gave us no pause, as the resolution is just as good as an optical one. Where Fuji has stepped up the mirrorless game is with robust weather resistance

Four pieces of magnesium alloy and is sealed in a total of 61 points on each section, making it dust-proof, splash-proof and capable of operating in temperatures as low as -10°C.

I haven’t worried about my Sonys too much, but also would NOT stand outside in the rain with them. The X-Pro 2 might not handle a rainy Seattle winter, but it stands up to the elements better than any of the current Sony cameras. We’ll have a demo camera in soon.

Fuji also increased focus points from 49 to 77 and expect the X-Pro2 to be welcomed by Fuji fans, as well as us.  In the mirrorless market, the more competition, the better. In support of the launch, Fuji also launched several mini sites, including one featuring a mountain bike to demonstrate their new focusing system.

The X-Pro2 body goes on sale for $1,699.95 next month at $400 more than the X-T1 from 2 years ago. It’s a premium pro compact camera targeting professional shooters, like the market Sony defined and we write about on Sony Mirrorless Pro. Worth noting, how Fuji is emphasizing rugged toughness, with outside imagery and this battered-hero image. Also, when I was at the D5 launch, the media I spoke with all wondered where Nikon’s mirrorless tech was – it wasn’t, but here’s Fuji matching and arguably exceeding Alpha series cameras with sought-after features like ruggedness.

Fuji is targeted pros with their new camera. Fuji is targeting pros with their new camera.

As long-time Bike Hugger followers know, we’re super into mirrorless because of their compact size, professional quality images, and lightweight – I’ve been shooting with Sony Alpha series cameras since they came out. FujiFilm has stepped the mirrorless game up and we’ll have our demo in soon with posts and images to follow.

Interested in Sony or Fujifilm cameras? Follow our sister sites for more mirrorless cameras content:

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Northwave Winter Boots in the Rain


by Byron on Jan 23, 2016 at 12:08 PM

These winter boots from Northwave are so stylish, I wanna wear them out, around town, on a date. It seems Northwave read or heard about my bootie-boots solution for riding in the rain, and considering the El Niño conditions here in Seattle, sent the Extreme Winter GTX. The main feature of the Winter GTX is

All the benefits of a shoecover, none of the weakness of a shoecover.

shoes without booties

No shoe cover required? Hmmm

Sounds good and the weather is cooperating with the proper test conditions. I’ll write more about the Northwaves and the Gore One in the next issue of our magazine. 32 drops next week.

Also see Mark V’s review of their Arctic boot with the

Well, if not glorious, then at least comfortable. Northwave has long offered competent winter cycling shoes, perhaps because the Italian company also has a successful line of snowboard products including boots. Of course, in the cycling world Northwave first made its reputation with completely over-the-top print ads featuring the stars of professional cycling in outlandish vignettes, like Mario Cipollini dressed as a musketeer and holding a naked blonde. Though I have known all that for years, I have never before owned Northwave shoes until now.

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Bikepacking Peru


by Byron on Jan 22, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Huayhuash from Joey Schusler on Vimeo.

Spotted on Vimeo, a beautiful bikepacking trip in Peru.

This was all a spur of the moment idea; part of the vicious cycle of making every adventure more thrilling than the last. January was the off-season, or rainy season, for the Andes so the wilderness would be completely desolate. The three friends hoped to be the second group to complete this trek on bikes. However, they underestimated the relentless weather they would encounter as they traveled for a week above treeline.


Photo Joey Schusler via PP

Spur of the moment ride in Peru? Sounds good and read the rest of the ride report on Passion Passport.

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Tyler Farrar at the Tour Down Under


by Byron on Jan 21, 2016 at 6:33 PM


Farrar finishes Stage 3 on a fan’s bike after he crashed near Cudlee Creek. Photo: Anne Fedorowytsch.

The news from the TDU today is that a fan gave Tyler Farrar his bike and shoes after a crash. Tyler went on to finish with no penalty – there’s a rule against taking a nonteam bike, but hey, it’s the TDU? Who’s paying that much attention. According to the Adelaide Advertiser, Anthony Tooman, gave Tyler his shoes because of the mismatch between Shimano and Speedplay.

“We could see him (Farrar) on the side of the road and asked ‘do you need a wheel?’ and he said ‘na, a wheel is not going to cut it’,” Tooman last night told The Advertiser.

“Then it went to ‘well, what pedals are you running?’

There isn’t video of the bike and shoe swap, but see the reporting of the crash here with an unlucky racer upside down on the side of the road.

I haven’t seen Tyler since we raced cross together, but he grew up in Washington state and I watched he come up through the ranks. During that race he said, “On your left Bro” and, “F this is hard.”

Great to see Tyler back in the news, now let’s hope for something better than a crash…..

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Dropouts, Good Aesthetics, and Bad Design


by Mark V on Jan 17, 2016 at 6:19 PM

The old saying “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” has an analog in bike frames, and on metal bikes often times it is the area around the right rear dropout. Millions of bikes don’t fail at the dropout, but I’m never surprised when I see one break. Fatigue failures basically require two things to occur: a cyclical load on the structure and a focal point where the stress can overwhelm the strength of the material. A bicycle frame is a deceptively complex problem to analyze stresses, with a huge number of variables that are difficult to quantify. I suspect that the vast majority of dropouts in the history of bicycle design were designed with aesthetics and intuition in mind rather than detailed stress analysis. Accumulated experiences would be incorporated into new designs. By now, you’d think that the dropout would be perfected, but manufacturing methods, frame styles, and drivetrain components have continued to evolve. Setting aside the carbon fibre frame construction and the rapid onset of thru-axles, dropouts on metal bikes still fail too.

This first photo shows a fixed-gear/single speed bike with a fractured dropout. It is a steel bike from a somewhat niche yet inexpensive brand, a brand that has the wherewithal to have its own dropouts made rather than buy generic frame fittings. The brand’s marketing taps into the everyman appeal of traditional steel framesets, which is made accessible through the economy of Taiwanese manufacturing. The dropout design incorporates a practical integral axle tensioner bolt and stylized cutout windows beside the chain stay and seat stay attachments that harken to the delicate embellishments the framebuilders of yore added to forged or stamped fittings with much hand-filing labour. But these windows are not added by hand, nor is the dropout is likely stamped or forged. Most likely is investment cast, since modern manufacturing methods allow near-net shape items to be quickly developed and economically produced. However, cast steel parts frequently have less strength than forgings. In all likelihood, the strength of the material was just not sufficient with the windows removing so much metal in the area. Interestingly, the left dropout partially fractured in the exact same place. Basing statements on anecdotal evidence can be shady business, but I did see two more bikes with broken dropouts like this not long after. And current production of this model eschews the window cutouts adjacent to the chainstay, suggesting that the manufacturer felt compelled to change the design.

The picture below shows a dropout that cracked right beside the chain stay. The dropout design seems rather conservative, but this particular failure was actually one of six to eight that I personally saw. Most likely these dropout failures occurred because either the metal used in the dropout had some sort of metallurgical defect affecting the strength and/or microstructure, or the area was brazed too long or too hot such that the dropout material weakened or became embrittled. I’m inclined to suspect the material issue rather than a manufacturing error, since the factory has a very long history of making traditional lugged steel bicycles sold under their name and as well as other brands.

The next two photographs show a titanium frame from a well-known manufacturer. This particular bike is a discontinued flagship model that showcased all their weight-saving techniques. But at a certain point weight-saving becomes a tricky game. First costs go up as you use more expensive materials and methods, and then you’ll have to knowingly sacrifice strength and/or durability to remove material mass. That’s probably what happened here. The seat stays on this frame are crazy light; I’ve seen bubble tea straws that were stouter. Also, the seat stay seems to be swaged down to a point rather than using a bullet. You pretty much can’t do that unless the titanium tubing has been annealed to lower yield strength to avoid cracking during the shaping process. And since resistance to fatigue is proportional to material strength and with the tube walls being so whisper thin, this is probably a case of too weak or too little material.

In this particular case, a person brought the bike to show a local titanium framebuilder to see if it could be repaired, but there was no way to economically repair. I don’t remember why the person couldn’t address the problem to the original manufacturer, whether it was because it was out of warrantee or if he wasn’t the original owner, but he was understandably disappointed. One often hears that “titanium lasts forever” but the truth is more complicated than that. Good design and manufacturing are more important than material alone.

This last photo depicts a titanium dropout from a recently defunct framebuilder. With nowhere to address a warrantee claim, three different owners brought bikes in with the same problem within three months to see if DKCBikes could execute a solution, so I am confident that this has been an issue elsewhere for the bikes using this dropout. I am not sure if the shape of the dropout is the issue or the material. Though I kinda like the style, which is something of a cross between a hooded and plate dropout, I wonder if the perhaps the section wasn’t thinned out too much. Alternately, perhaps the edges of the dropout should have been rounded more to reduce the likelihood that they act as a stress riser. Lastly, perhaps the particular alloy of titanium was not of sufficient strength, instead being chosen for ease of machining.

Dropouts seem so simple, but if that were true you would think that after 150 years of bicycle evolution failures would be unheard of. Up till now, I think most of that happened when frame manufacturers either get too ambitious in weight-reduction or too clever in making the dropout look cool or unique. From here on out, the requirements of disc brake mounting and adoption of thru-axles are going to burden designers in ways that were never before considered.

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by Byron on Jan 16, 2016 at 9:33 PM

A video from a few years ago, but still relevant to the work it takes to become a world champ like Sven did in 2013. A win I watched on assignment for Wired. While CX is pretty much over in the states, Worlds is later this month on the 31st.

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