SRAM expands the range of 11sp road cassettes with the 11-36T PG-1170


by Mark V on Dec 01, 2014 at 11:15 AM

SRAM debuts an 11-36T range cassette in the 11sp series PG-1170. Marketed as a compliment to the CX-1 single chainring cyclocross drivetrain, the new 11-36T cassette gives a 13% lower gear than the earlier 11-32T 11sp cassette. In common with other 11sp road cassettes from SRAM (as well as Shimano), the cassette requires a hub with an 11sp cassette body, which is wider than what fits 8,9,10sp cassettes and had been an industry standard for more than two decades. However, it does not require the proprietary XD-driver like SRAM’s 10-42T 11sp mountain cassettes. Ostensibly, the 11-36T PG-1170 is only compatible with the CX-1 rear derailleur with the “X-Horizon” non-slanted parallelogram design. The design of the CX-1 rear derailleur excludes the use of multiple chainrings. However, I know that SRAM’s long cage “WiFli” road derailleurs can usually handle a 36T cog (depending on the dropout geometry of the bike frame), so I’m sure that you could incorporate the 11-36T item into a 2x11 drivetrain.

And that’s the thing about this cassette: 11-36T is kinda odd for cyclocross. On the vast majority of cyclocross courses, save perhaps for some local novelty events, there’s no need of a gear that low even if you only have a single chainring. Most people I know are running 38 to 42 tooth rings in 1x10 or 1x11 setups with either 11-28 or 11-32 cassettes. If the ground is either so soft or so steep as to require a lower gear, you’d almost certainly be better off running because your max width 33mm tyres wouldn’t be able to float or grip. I see this new cassette as being better within 1X drivetrains for those adventure rides or gravel grinders that see some intense climbing like Vicious Cycle’s Gran Fondo series in Central Washington. It could also make an awesome 1x11 setup for riding steep city streets like in Seattle or San Francisco. Or you could use the 11-36 with a compact double crankset to make a touring bike with a practical gearing. Touring bikes need that low end gearing which has in the past been achieved with the granny ring of a triple crank, but even Shimano seems to be phasing out triples in their road line-up. SRAM 11sp 11-36T cassette seems like less of a hotshot racer’s weapon and more of a tool for the everyday rider.


Some people might be wondering why SRAM introduced an 11-36T cassette for a CX-1 derailleur that seemingly does not have the capacity to handle a 36tooth cog. I can confirm that the CX-1 derailleur can handle 12-36 and 11-36 cassettes from some drivetrain experiments this past summer.

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A Starry Night Bike Path on Cyber Monday


by Byron on Dec 01, 2014 at 10:37 AM


Was working on a Cyber Monday for bicycles, post, then I saw this in my newsfeed and my mind drifted to a place where bike paths are so prevalent, some become works of art. How lovely and inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

The recent Van Gogh-Roosegaarde bicycle path is made of thousands twinkling stones inspired by ‘Starry Night’. The path combines innovation with cultural heritage in the city of Nuenen NL, the place where Van Gogh lived in 1883.

Video on Vimeo and the rest of the story on Studio Roosegaarde’s site.

Back to the deals, see the recommendations from Go-Means-Go and DC Rainmaker; also, our Purist Bottles, Tool Rolls, and Amazon-featured bag closures. Also

and Mark V posted what he recommends too.

But oh those bike paths and that time we visited the Van Gogh museum.

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Trail Running in Sitka Alaska


by Byron on Nov 30, 2014 at 12:22 PM

While in Sitka and with cross season mostly over tried trail running in shoes Scott Sports sent me. Not a subject-matter expert in running (besides with a bike), what I noticed was they gripped with confidence across a variety of surfaces and were comfortable. See what Scott’s running pros have to say about them like Ian Sharman, while I figure out what to do with my hands… and hey a good portion on what I do on the bike is running on trails with a bike on my shoulder up stairs, so there’s that!

On the trails I almost exclusively use the T2 Kinabalu and this has got me through multiple 100-milers really effectively. The tougher the terrain is, the better, since it’s got the perfect balance of cushioning, flexibility and grip for the trails. I feel like I can run over technical, sharp rocks without worrying about hurting my feet, but it’s also fine for running on the short road sections that most long races have to incorporate at some point. – Ian Sharman.


And I enjoyed running by the Russian Blockhouse, a graveyard, Totem Park, and with Mt. Edgecumbe always in sight. See the photos from this video on G+ and listen to the Afrobeat tunes from Ayetoro on Bandcamp.

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Sitka for Thanksgiving


by Byron on Nov 28, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Cross Mountain

Sitka Sunrise

Before arriving in Sitka, for more than a month, we stocked up to go ‘into the black’ by the end of the year. We’re one of the many small business on Amazon and featured on their homepage and in a free book.

While here, we’re shooting sunrises, sunsets and this is one of our favorite places to ride. While it’s only a 14 mile loop, the roads and bridges are all new. They don’t fatbike here, cause there’s not much snow, but regular, old mountain bike on ATV trials.


Russian Blockhouse

While not my favorite thing to do, I’m running through the many parks they have in Sitka and the old Russian graveyard where we found this blockhouse and gravestones.


Sitka Sunset

Also keeping an eye out for eagles….

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Steve Hed, aero wheel innovator and all-around cool dude, passes away at 59


by Mark V on Nov 26, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Steve Hed at Interbike

Here at Bike Hugger, we are saddened by the news that Steve Hed has died at age 59. Founder of Hed Cycling, Hed’s personal history has been deeply entwined with high performance cycling, particularly in triathlon and time trialing. Since the mid-1980s, Hed had represented the personification of the American innovator: creative, maybe a little kooky but willing to follow his ideas with equal measures of diligence and honesty. With many hours in the wind tunnel long before it was cool, he helped bring deep profile rims and disc wheels to cycling world, but when his own design for a composite spoked wheel did not produce good results in aero tests, he scrapped the idea (unlike several other manufacturers). Years later he would purchase the rights and equipment to manufacture what is now generally known as the Hed3 wheel. Then in the 21st century he was the leading proponent for the current philosophy of wide aero rims that acknowledge real world riding conditions. Additionally, he led the move towards wider clincher rims and wider tyres in performance road riding, as exemplified by the C2 Belgium rim and the even wider Belgium Plus recently. Something I personally respect is how clean Hed designs are, without all the trademarked and patented gimmicks that companies in Hed’s wake have added to distinguish their products in the consumer consciousness. Arguably, in an industry that is awash in hype, Hed represented a purity of design and purpose.

For such a small company, Hed Cycling has always had surprising connections to the biggest names in cycle sport. When I visited the Hed Cycling’s headquarters in MN a few years ago, the guys were glued to their monitors as they watched Levi Leipheimer power through his ToC time trial, knowingly commenting on how Levi had been consulting on wheels and positioning earlier that year. I walked through Hed’s shipping department to see a box of wheels to be shipped to some customer named “Contador” in Spain.

I couldn’t say that I knew Steve well. With longish, almost white hair, I could picture him blending in at a local coffee shop or farmers market. But he had certain sense of humour. One year he brought a downhill MTB wheel with a deep section rim profile to Interbike. He had this twinkle in his eye as he explained the design. Whenever I think about that occasion, I imagine that Steve built that prototype to answer a half-baked question or a bar bet, and then with the actual data hidden in his hand, he wanted to see how many people would hype it up.

I had met Steve several times at Interbikes over the years, but one of my favourite anecdotes I’m sure he never realized. I worked at a bike shop that was renowned for the retro tastes of one of the owners. That owner bought some vintage parts from a seller on Classic Rendezvous, and when they arrived at the shop I recognized the Minnesota address. In fact, Steve was the seller, and included some Hed Cycling paraphernalia as a bonus. Oddly, those items……erm…..disappeared from the box. So today I’m going to wear that Hed Cycling beanie as I ride one of many bikes fitted with Hed rims. Good bye, Steve.

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RIP Steve Hed, an Innovator


by Byron on Nov 26, 2014 at 11:16 AM

As we’re heading out of town, heard that Steve Hed passed. Here’s a video interview with him from last year and it was always like that, every time we met, we geeked out on bikes.


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Bicycle Black Friday


by Byron on Nov 26, 2014 at 8:09 AM

Bikes and inventions

Been stocking up for weeks

Mentioned our Tool Roll yesterday, of course Clip-n-Seals (a best-selling, and Amazon-featured bag closure made by the parent company of Bike Hugger), and there’s gear on sale too, like this light, lock, and wool cap.

For more bike deals, see DC Rainmaker’s post and hey if you’re riding and relaxing instead of shopping on Friday, that’s what we’re doing, up in Alaska. They’re not on sale, but our Purist bottles are popular too.

Before leaving for Sitka, for more than a month, we stocked up to go ‘into the black’ before the end of the year. We’re one of the small business on Amazon and featured on their homepage and in a free book.

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Holiday Shopping Endorsement: Tool Roll


by Byron on Nov 25, 2014 at 10:49 AM


Tool Roll doing its job, that it does

This Tinyblackbox pic is our Black Friday/Cyber Monday every shopping Holiday endorsement! Also see the Wired review of the Waxed Canvas Tool Roll from earlier this year and now they ship for free with Amazon Prime.

They’re all hand made in Seattle and built to hold a spare tire, CO2 canisters, as well as a couple bike tools. Bundled up the roll fits right into your jersey pocket. According to Bike Hugger, they designed the roll to help organize flat tire tools, and offer an alternative to the traditional seat bag, which can rub against (and ruin) your expensive bike shorts.

And there’s Jim fixing a flat with his.

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A Long Bike Ride


by Byron on Nov 25, 2014 at 9:20 AM


After last night, the country needs to go on a long bike ride; clear its head.

We’ll do that in Sitka, Alaska this week, visiting grandma and local haunts like the P Bar. Also working on Issue 19 and 20 of our magazine. The photo above is from earlier this year when we were riding in Eastern Washington.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Enumclaw: Tractor Pull of a CX Race


by Byron on Nov 24, 2014 at 1:49 PM


Like a tractor pull in the slop

This is one CX race I was super upset to miss, but knew better with a nagging knee injury, and the expected conditions of MUD BOG. There’s a reason Enumclaw is nicknamed, the “claw” too. Cause it grabs at you, robbing speed, and sometimes throwing you down into the mud.

Peter from Woodinville Bicycle shared these photos and Michael Brazel had this to say on his Facebook:

The ENTIRE course was a slick, deep, muddy mess. ‘Tractor Pull’ conditions, 400 watts @ 4 mph. Any firm green grass that could be found was a blessing. I spent the entire hour searching for firm ground. Another small Single Speed A field. This time my start was not so good, last place chasing the group through the first lap. Then, as everybody settled in, I started pulling them back one by one. Midway through the race in 3rd place and the leaders still in sight I clipped a chain link fence and hit the deck hard. I took inventory to make sure all limbs were still pointing in the right direction, climbed back on continued my search for firm ground. Finished the race on the lead lap (thanks Russell Stevenson) and held onto my 3rd place for the day and series lead.

Well raced! I was icing my knee, while Brazel was searching for firm ground. The course was a two mile flat loop that I heard felt completely uphill with a 50+ft run up. Speeds ranged from 3 to 6.5 mph and in the elites, 10-min laps.

Epic as the claw always is. See the rest of the photos Peter shared on G+ and Flickr.

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