Night Weasels Cometh Highlights 2015


by Byron on Oct 04, 2015 at 12:15 PM

From Dirtwire TV and Cross under the lights….

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Cambium in Kansas


by Byron on Oct 02, 2015 at 11:59 AM

Just when I was looking for some light, Friday content, this Dirty Kanza 2015 video from Brooks popped. Not sure, I’d want to ride a Cambium C15 for 200K, but they sell it well.

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Out of the Newsstand Onto Your Home Screen


by Byron on Oct 01, 2015 at 4:12 PM

iOS 9 brings many changes to Mac devices, including the Newsstand where our magazine was previously located. After the update, our mag app works the same with ad-free content and in-app recurring subscriptions. Subscribers can now move apps out of the Newsstand folder to their home screens and from there into whatever folder they like. After upgrading to iOS9, the previously undeletable, standalone Newsstand folder becomes a regular folder. In there you’ll find us and whatever other Newsstand apps you have subscribed to, like the NY Times.

As we talked about when the change to Newsstand was announced earlier this year during the WWDC, we welcome this change, along with our publisher 29th Street, who has made more Newsstand apps than anyone. The Newsstand created too much friction for readers and, as much as we believe in a mobile-app, content strategy in these ad-blocking times, we “should’ve never been buried in a weird little corner” on people’s devices.

Now you can get the content you want from us, as a Bike Hugger app, instead of a Newsstand one. Speaking of the content, our latest issue is about food, like this, and dropped last week.


Tasty like our content

Find us on the App store and the Web too.

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ENVE releases new SES 2.2 carbon tubeless clincher rims and wheelsets


by Mark V on Sep 29, 2015 at 11:03 PM

The new SES 2.2 carbon tubeless clincher rim represents the latest evolution of ENVE Composites’ road hoops, not only completing the aerodynamic update of ENVE’s entire road rim line but also being their first tubeless road rim product. With the early summer debut of a tubular SES 2.2, the carbon clincher was not really unexpected, but I am excited to see that it is tubeless compatible.

SES 2.2 clincher cross section

SES carbon clinchers will be available in 20 and 24 hole

As a group, the Smart ENVE System (SES) rims/wheels can be seen as ENVE’s second generation of road rims, replacing designs that were retroactively renamed “Classic”. Where older Classic rims represented a more traditional concept of wheel aerodynamics with narrow teardrop cross sections, the replacing SES designs use a more sophisticated approach that acknowledges the air flow that a rider and his equipment experiences is rarely straight-on. Using more rounded cross sections that encourage smoother air flow at broader angles of apparent wind, the SES rims are both faster and better handling in real world riding conditions. The SES rims were also specifically conceived as matched pairs of front and rear rims, each shaped for the nuances of its position. Fronts are generally shorter and broader to best function in clean, uninterrupted air that may have a significant side component, while the rear rims were deeper and perhaps somewhat narrower to maximize drag reduction in an air stream already churned by the front wheel and rider’s legs.

The SES 2.2 is a slight departure though, since in the pursuit of weight reduction, the rim profile is kept too short to really make any significant reductions in aerodynamic drag. Thus ENVE uses the same profile for both front and rear positions. At 400-410 grams each as clinchers (281 grams for the tubular versions), the SES 2.2 rims scratch a mere 25mm in height, but like the other SES rims they are markedly wide at 27mm. Being so low profile and incorporating SES design aspects, the 2.2 rims will have superlative handling even in really gusty conditions. Still, the new SES 2.2 clincher rims are not significantly lighter than the Classic 25 rims they replace, but their greater interior width gives any clincher they mount up more air volume for better ride and lower rolling resistance. AND most importantly, the new clincher rims are tubeless compatible. As 2016 rolls up, the tyre companies are finally offering full varieties of tubeless training and racing clinchers in a selection of sizes from a traditional road racing 23mm up to a 30mm cobble crusher (note: ENVE has optimized the rims for 25mm road tyres). The SES 2.2 clinchers thus become the most versatile wheel in ENVE’s road lineup, mounting up any tyre (with tubes or not) and excelling everywhere from rough roads to the high mountains, for which ENVE has taken efforts to set a new standard for carbon rim brake performance. A practical advantage to having a set of climber wheels with wide rims like the SES 2.2 is that users don’t have to totally reset their caliper brakes when switching between these climbing wheels and more dedicate aero choices such as ENVE’s 4.5 and 6.7 wheelsets.

In the past I have actually disparaged climbing wheels, but I honestly find these rims really keen. If I could only have one road wheelset, I would be quite torn between these SES 2.2 and something like ENVE’s deeper SES 4.5, such is my faith in the aero wheel. But the handling, tyre options, versatility, and yes, weight of these SES 2.2 make for a superb choice if aerodynamics are not the be all and end all of your riding experience. If I could have TWO wheelsets, then SES 2.2 is a obviously a given.

The SES 2.2 carbon clinchers will be available as a built wheelsets with hubs from King, DT-Swiss, and ENVE’s own superlight carbon hubs. Prices start at $2,575. Pricing and availability of rims a la carte were not available at the time this was written.

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QRGate: Another Quick Release Recall


by Byron on Sep 29, 2015 at 5:38 PM

A who’s who of bike companies have jointly recalled quick releases after Trek did earlier this year. 13 companies comprising 17 brands make the recall rise to the level of a gate suffix, like #qrgate. Is your bike one of the millions recalled? Check this website and apply the #2 pencil test. Our take?

Tulio should rise from the grave and haunt bike designers like a Dickens ghost past and present.

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Sagan Wins Worlds


by Byron on Sep 28, 2015 at 1:44 PM

Highlights from the Men’s race and the dramatic finish by Sagan. After what’s been described as an “odd” year for the bike biz, Sagan’s win is exactly what the sport needed. As Jason Gay said on Twitter and in his article

and my favorite moment was the interaction with Boonen….

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Built: Beer and Bikes


by Byron on Sep 28, 2015 at 11:44 AM


Built is a series of talks by people who create. The next one is this week at Lucky Envelope Brewing and Sage Cycles and Full Speed Ahead. Join us to learn about bike design and the art of wheel construction on October 2nd, from 5-8 PM, while enjoying local beers. The event is free and please RSVP.

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Worlds Highlights


by Byron on Sep 27, 2015 at 9:08 AM

Highlights from the Womens race yesterday and live now is the mens race in Richmond VA.

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Issue 28 At the Table


by Byron on Sep 25, 2015 at 10:53 AM

Issue 28

Either for training, racing, or just riding, the big meal after an event, or stuffing a sandwich in a jersey, our rides depend on what we eat. Issue 28 drops today on iTunes and the Web, and costs $4.00 an issue or $16.00 for an annual subscription.

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Mark V at InterBike 2015: Bring on the fat skinny tubeless


by Mark V on Sep 24, 2015 at 9:30 AM

After a three year absence from InterBike, I decided that rather than aimlessly roaming the labyrinth of booths I would purposely seek out only the product in which I already had interest. Now that cyclocross season is on and the disc brake question already decided, we can go back to the cyclocross racers traditionally fave topic: tyres. Specifically, I wanted to see what was available now that the majority of companies had finally gotten onto the tubeless bandwagon.

Tubeless tyre development has been annoyingly misguided when it comes to non-mountainbike applications. Whether it be road, cyclocross, or the newest trend of gravel” (aka “all-road”, “adventure”), several companies or collaborations thereof have tried to bend the industry to their own design parameters but have fallen short of re-making the market in their own image. To date several similar and (in practice mostly interchangeable) standards have emerged. Shimano and Hutchinson pioneered road tubeless as a rigidly defined set of standards for rims and tyres which have nonetheless proven heavy and overly demanding on rim/tyre bead tolerances while also tethered to now-outdated fashions of (narrow) rim width. Ultimately the market has mostly abandoned the original road tubeless standard for tyres bigger than 28mm in favour of lighter and more forgiving designs, though the downside is that theres not much to reign in varying tolerances across the industry. Regardless, the newer designs mostly rely on liquid sealant to prevent air leakage and a contoured well inside the rims tyre cavity to aid in seating the tyre bead. These tyres are variously named tubeless ready, sealant compatible, and now tubeless easy among other phrases. The rims that they best fit have been heavily influenced by Stans NoTubes wildly popular rim designs.

Schwalbe S-One 30mm road tubeless tyre

Schwalbe Paris-Roubaix worthy S-One 30mm tubeless clincher

Initially developed more than a decade ago, the original road tubeless standard was designed around 23mm road racing tyres and ~20mm wide (~16 internal width) rims, typical at the time. Keep in mind that this predates the big cyclocross boom that came in the later 00s, so 30mm plus tyres were not at all at the forefront of product development. As cyclocross became an important segment, many innovators were eager to apply the knowledge and lessons gained with tubeless in the mountainbike realm. Now with the fast growing interest in so-called gravel bikes, theres even more potential to capitalize on tubeless in wider casings. In fact, the once assumed racing standard of 23mm race tyres has rapidly been losing favour to 25mm, and all recent road rim designs have drifted towards 23-25mm (external) width rims.

If anything, these trends have allowed tubeless technology to naturally gravitate to applications that can most benefit from its particular characteristics. Despite the early focus of road tubeless, todays standard clincher tyre in the 23-25mm racing size range is impressively light even when combined with an inner tube, while generally a tubeless tyre in the same size is comparatively heavy and not-so supple casing. Yet a ~35mm tubeless ready tyre can really shine without the burden of a big inner tube while still being reasonably supple. And of course, tubeless tyres don't suffer from pinch flats like conventional clinchers when ridden at the low air pressure typical of cyclocross racing. Given how obviously cyclocross tyres could be improved with tubeless technology, it is hard to comprehend why the entire clincher market for cyclocross did not go tubeless 3-4 years ago while just within the last season most of the same manufacturers have been able to pull 27.5+ designs out of their ass overnight. On the other hand, since many existing, conventional cyclocross clinchers made for halfway acceptable tubeless conversions, perhaps that somewhat softened the immediate market demand for dedicated tubeless designs. The demand for 27.5+ tyres is certainly driven by OEM market for all those 27.5-plus mtn bikes that product developers have decided will be the next big thing after fatbikes.

With a slew of product coming from mainstream manufacturers, MY2016 is set to be the year that tubeless tyre technology makes its ascension in the arena of cyclocross and gravel tyres, the thick end of the skinny tyre spectrum. Schwalbe, Maxxis, Clement, and even IRC have some sexy looking treads.

German company Schwalbe has gone all in for tubeless, from narrow racing 23mm up to brutish gravel 40mm options. Themed One across the board, the road racing models are named Pro One. Frankly, I couldnt care less about 23 and 25m tubeless tyres, but the 28mm version is right in my strike zone. Compared to all the other tubeless tyres I scoped at Interbike, this is the lightest and has the smoothest tread. With Schwalbes MicroSkin casing, this should be a fast option for performance road bikes that are a little generous on tyre clearance. The S-One is modern classics tyre fit for Paris-Roubaix. At 30mm, this is really for the new generation of endurance road bikes with disc brakes that, freed from the tyre clearance issues caused by the decades long industry fashion of eschewing long reach rim brakes, have sufficient room for rough-road rubber. The S-One uses a moderate dot matrix tread. The G-One gravel tyre has courser, more raised dot pattern and comes in 32mm and 40mm options. The smaller G-One would be the choice for riders with a cyclocross frameset designed around UCI tyre regulations, while the larger size is more in line with recent gravel-focused frame designs. Lastly, Schwalbes X-One is designed for performance in the mud, with a tread of tall, siped knobs in the center of the tread that grow smaller in the transition to siped, oblong knobs on the shoulder.

Schwalbe Pro One tubeless road clincher 700 x 28

Schwalbe S-One 700x30 road tubeless clincher

Schwalbe G-One tubeless gravel tyre comes in 32 & 36mm versions

Schwalbe X-One cyclocross tubeless clincher

Maxxis got a little bit of a head start last year when they rolled out their tubeless ready version of their Mud Wrestler. I have found the Mud Wrestler TR to be a solid all-around tyre that still clears mud well when it gets truly sloppy. This year Maxxis adds a gravel tyre called the Rambler, its tread consists of a variety of rectangles and blocky shapes with both textured and hollowed centers. With a low-ish height and tight spacing, the 40mm casing is available in both 60tpi and 120tpi versions. Maxxis updated their Re-Fuse model with a larger size (40mm) and tubeless ready construction. Its fine diamond-pattern tread promises low rolling resistance, though perhaps at the expense of traction and control in softer conditions.

Maxxis Rambler gravel tyre tubeless

Maxxis Rambler 700x40 tubeless clincher for gravel

Maxxis Re-Fuse 700x40 all-road tubeless clincher

IRC is not a company that Ive made any effort to follow in the past, but I had to loop around for another pass at their InterBike booth. The Japanese company had three different treads for tubeless on display for cyclocross. The Serac CX (32mm, 380gr) has a center of alternating angled blocks with smaller side blocks on the shoulder. For full slop conditions, the Serac XC Mud (32mm, 380gr) has taller angled blocks widely spaced and arranged in opposing pairs in the center, while the side knobs are still closely spaced but longer. The Serac CX XR (32mm, 375gr) is something of a throwback to traditional cyclocross dry conditions tyres, with a course diamond matrix devoid of any side knobs like more recent designs from Challenge, Tufo, and Clement. Even more of a time warp, IRC showed displayed a 28mm version of the Serac XR that harkens back to the 1980s when cyclocross tyres were typically barely wider than road tyres. It is somewhat odd that IRC didnt bring out a more voluminous version to take advantage of the current gravel bike trend.

IRC Serac cyclocross tyres (Sand, Mud, standard versions (l-r)

Kendas Flintridge Pro gravel tyre is available in 35 and 40mm sizes. Having made the Kenda Happy Medium my choice for gravel and grass/dry cyclocross racing for the past two seasons, I wonder how the Flintridge will actually measure when mounted. My 35mm Happy Medium is more like 38mm on a HED Belgian Plus rim (25mm external), too big in fact for adequate clearance in the rear triangle of my cyclocross bike. Similarly, the 32mm HM mounts up at almost 35mm. In contrast, the Maxxis Mud Wrestler TR is right on the UCI-limited 33mm even on a wide 25mm rim, and Clement specifically designs their tyres on appropriately wide rims. These are important considerations if you are looking to race UCI-sanctioned races or if your gravel bike is not overly generous for tyre clearance.

If any company has gotten direct requests from users for tubeless, it is Clement. Their all-around MPX and mud-loving PDX tubulars and clinchers have become instant favourites on cyclocross courses, while their EXPLOR MSO and USH clinchers have helped shape the gravel tyre market. However, attempts to adapt their standard clinchers to tubeless have met with decidedly mixed results, as evidenced in numerous message boards across the web. Certainly no market research has been necessary to conclude that fully tubeless-ready Clement tyres would be hot sellers, but apparently it has taken the company some time to get the moulds developed and product proofed. So much so that the eagerly awaited MPX and PDX tubeless models wont be available until February, well after cyclocross season will have ended. In the meantime, the company expects a 36mm tubeless version of their MSO gravel tyre in November.

If theres one surprise from Clement, it is that they are bringing out a tread designed for even nastier conditions that the PDX, which is already well-regarded in the mud. Named after the airport code of Bostons Logan airport (all Clement cross & gravel tyres take their names from airport codes), the BOS tread is all about tall paddles down the middle with buttressed side knobs and relatively open transtion. But like the others tubeless CX tyres from Clement, dont expect availability for the current season of cyclocross. Personally Im eager to try this one out. My initial impression is that this BOS would be the choice for really wet, soupy conditions whereas the PDXs cows foot knobs would be better for thick, sticky mud, but Clement's Johs Huseby explained that the really aggressive side knobs will make for excellent traction on off-camber sections. And for cyclocross racers without an unlimited budget for wheels, tubeless cyclocross tyres allow one to swap out tread patterns with ease.

Suppose that one has one cyclocross bike and two tubeless wheelsets. In the Pacific Northwest, you'd start the season with one wheelset each of file tread and medium conditions tread, and then change the selections out as the season progresses. Mid-season I would bring a medium conditions setup and a mud tread option as the fall weather starts to soften the courses. Depending on El Nino and other things, I could be ending the season by bringing something like a Clement PDX setup and a BOS option in case Sunday's race weather forecast calls for wrath of god with slight chance of Armageddon. To have that versatility with tubular tyres, one would need three or four wheelsets per season and a LOT of time to prepare them. Tubeless clinchers give about 90% of the performance of tubulars at half the cost per tyre and an eighth of the effort.

The new Clement BOS CX mud tyre from Clement. Unfortunately, it won't be available until after the 2015-16 cyclocross season

Of all things, no one has clearly explained to me why Michelin has seemingly given up on being a player in this niche of the bicycle tyre market. Their original Mud CX clincher had a hallowed reputation in the mud, while their Mud2 has been a widely popular choice for all-around use and has been “ok” as a tubeless conversion. But it has been ages since anything else in the skinny knob theme has debuted from the French company, and nothing at all in terms of fully “tubeless ready” CX product. The other French company, Hutchinson has ceded much of the limelight for tubeless CX, while their tyre designs have perhaps been hampered by the companys fidelity to the original road tubeless standards. Regardless, MY2016 is the year that tubeless technology has made it practical for the amateur cyclocross racer to obsess over tyre tread choices before lining up in the grid.

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