Entries by Byron

USA Pro Challenge Live Coverage

It was rainy and cold during Stage 2

This time of year, our attention turns to Cross, but hey there’s still road racing like the USA Pro Challenge. On twitter, Follow @eFirstBank for live daily coverage of the USA Pro Challenge. Guests commentators will include: @JasenThorpe, @mmmaiko, @LennardZinn, @303Cycling, @SaraiSnyder, @Gavia, and @DirkFriel. Expect to have a good time, and to get more in-depth, interactive coverage than is possible from broadcast media alone.

If you’re a decent person, win stuff: In light of some of the less-than-fantastic fan/rider interactions at some races this year, USA Pro Challenge partner, @eFirstBank on Twitter has launched a contest to encourage fans to watch the race in a fun, but responsible and respectful way. Skip the selfie, leave the dog at home, don’t impede the racers… do have a really good time. Simple enough, right?

Here are the details and on Stage One a moto careened off fans into racers and back.

Ellsworth Absolute Truth

AT in the Gulley

Riding the Truth in Seattle

We’ve been riding in the mountains and on mountain bikes lately, much more than usual. The demo bikes we have in include the Ellsworth Truth. It’s been on the cross-country scene for close two decades and has gained a cult like following amongst privateers for its active suspension a durable alloy frame. Ellsworth has now taken the Truth and evolved it into the Absolute Truth with addition of 27.5 wheels and a carbon frame.

The heart of the Ellsworth Absolute Truth remains its suspension system. To keep tires in the soil, it employs Ellsworth’s Instant Center Tracking (ICT) suspension system. Ellsworth states that the four-bar linkage design provides zero-energy loss to suspension action. By aligning the instant center on the chain torque line and continually tracking the chain torque throughout the range of travel, the suspension remains active, without pedal induced action.

Breaking with the carbon theme of the frame, a key part of the ICT system is the CNC machined asymmetrical chain stays. The chain stays are box sections joined at the lower pivot by a machined yoke, while the rear pivot sits directly in front of the rear dropouts and connect with the seat stays. The seat stays are carbon to help reduce rear wheel flex and assure alignment of the suspension pivots. The 125 mm of rear wheel travel is handled by a FOX CTD shock with remote lever. Up front Ellsworth has equipped the Truth with a FOX 27.5 CTD 32 Float that produces 130 mm travel.

Around the bend and up a climb

Despite its 125 mm of travel, the Absolute Truth is intended for racing and features a low and aggressive rider position. The suspension is more active than other race machines, especially in its initial travel. This is hardly noticeable while in the saddle, but hard efforts are met with bit of a soft feel at the pedals. Switching the FOX CTD shock to the Climb is the only setting that really eliminated the initial softness.

Making good time uphill on the Absolute Truth is determined by the CTD shock setting. For everything other than the most technical terrain, place the CTD in Climb and leave it. In technical uphill sections the trail mode can be used. It results in a slightly softer feel, but also dramatically increases traction and reduces wheel spin. On fast single-track descents, the Absolute Truth is predicable and fast with the active suspension keeping the wheels firmly attached to the ground over small obstacles. Big hits are absorbed well with just a bit of ramp up at the end of the stroke. The overall feel of the Absolute Truth is super plush. The plush suspension also aids in cornering, with the wheels constantly in contact with the ground.

More photos of the Ellsworth are on G+. Also see Issue 15 for my take on getting back into mountain biking with bikes like this.

Element.ly: Time Warps on a Seattle Bike Path

Mr. Himes

Catching up to Mr. Himes

A vignette I wrote about a bike path encounter with Mr. Himes was published on Element.ly this morning. That’s where a group of like-minded people who love bikes and being outside are telling stories, like the one I wrote.

Downtube

Barely legible decal

When researching the story about crossing a 30-year gap in bikes, I shared a zoomed-in, cropped photo of the down tube to determine what the bike was from a barely legible decal. Shared the photo on Facebook and Patrick Brady spotted the Expedition immediately. Getting all Captain Nerdlick about it, he replied

The Specialized Expedition was arguably the best production touring bike there ever was. I’ll add that it had a super-long wheelbase, something like 112cm. Super stable. I could sit up at 40 mph in the Rockies, open my handlebar bag and eat lunch while rolling. That bike was made by someone who knew touring. Tim Neenan was responsible for the geometry. He’s in Los Olivos, Calif., these days. He’s a chef and builds under the name Lighthouse. Owen Mulholland has one.

Read the rest of the story on Element.ly and perhaps you’ll meet Mr. Himes or a cyclist like him, on a ride too….

The bike I was riding, was this one, a Crux with CX-1.

Crux with CX-1

A Crux with CX-1, Zipps, and Sammy Slicks

Cross Tips Playlist


A collection of our Cross Tips in one playlist, including the ever popular Cyclocross Shenanigans and a clinic with Crosssports.

Detroit Bike City


Like Boise, Detroit is a bike town that you don’t hear much about, until now… While that’s an iPad add, the story is still great and shareable.

Issue 15: Scott Solace

Take Solace against a guardrail

Take Solace against a guardrail

In Issue 15, Bike Hugger contributor Patrick Brady reviews the Scott Solace and found that

Finally, we’re catching up to the idea that many of us might be happier on a bike other than the ones being raced at the Tour of Flanders.

I asked Nic Sims, Scott’s Director of Marketing to tell me more about the bike’s “zones.” He said

The top half of the bike is the comfort Zone you can think of it as the area of the bike that as a rider we have the most contact points that will feel bumps etc so in this area we have worked to develop the most forgiving ride the big noticeable area is the seatstays, very thin which allow some vertical flex. But you need a bike to move forward and this is through pedaling which is the lower region of the bike or Power Zone, you hear talk about lateral stiffness and this is important as this is the side to side load that pedaling causes, so the better the lateral stiffness the more efficient the bike will be. The Solace has blended both worlds to offer a bike that has excellent pedaling efficiency and amazing comfort.

The bike also has Asymmetric rear end – drive side chain stay is up to 2mm taller than non drive side depending on size, the bottom of the Drive side seat stay diameter is up to 3mm bigger than the opposing stay depending on size, this is to take into account the power forces delivered to a bike comes from the right hand side. We also utilize Size specific tubes and layups – Other companies are talking about doing this now but we have had it for over a year. Tube dimensions change for each size, the seat stays on a 58 are 1mm thicker than on a 49, the top tube is 1.5 mm thicker than a 49 and the down tube is 3mm thicker. The head tube gets extra reinforcement on the bigger sizes, the fork comes in two different layups, the down tube gets a stiffer lay up on the bigger sizes and the seat tube get softer lay up on the smaller sizes.

So that means, the Solace is a performance, comfort carbon bike. That’s what the industry is chasing these days, to find the right mix of layup – the new Tarmac is after this goal too. As Patrick said, for the rest of us to ride, all day, if we want.

I rode the Solace too, threw it into corners, and slammed into the biggest hit on the pavement I could find. Over the bumps, the frame “cantilevered,” and for the rest of the ride, performed as good as expected.

Read Patrick’s review on your iOS device or the Web for $4.99 an issue and $14.00 a year.

Issue 15: A Mt. Bachelor Playlist Photomap


My editor’s letter for Issue 15 is written as a vignette and shares the music listened to during a 5 hour ride on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. This annotated photomap is an accompaniment to the ride playlist.

Like a headwind in all directions, the uneven, rough-and chunky chip seal surface drained the watts, robbing my legs of speed — setting me off tempo. Grabbing for another gear that wasn’t there on the final hundred feet up to Mt. Bachelor, a dirge shuffled in. Interrupting my concentration, it was a snatch of a song, a click of a shifter. Just a few Morphine downbeat notes from a standup bass and skip!

Issue 15 The Mountains and Burnt Socks

He’s one of the smartest people I know and Chris Matthews still put his cycling socks in the oven. You can guess what happened next, right? The story of how he rode without socks until the next town with a store, and a sock aisle is featured in Issue 15 of Bike Hugger magazine.

And I can relate. When riding, I often become stupider. I have a permanently-scarred knuckle from this one time when I decided to dry my cycling shorts in the microwave. I did not know that the shorts (a pair of piece-of-shit Pearls perhaps or equally shitty Assos during one of their bad importer periods), had a plastic insert sewn into the pad. I guess the insert held the pad in place and microwaves melted it into a molten, burn-skin-to-the bone mass that scarred me instantly.

Chris didn’t get burnt, but had to endure a sockless ride and luckily no other Rapha Gentlemen saw him sans socks, suffering on a climb. I would have called that out if seen, like I did Lance Armstrong, when he was spotted sockless.

The burnt sock story is featured and you can read it for free with a sign in.

Besides the free cover story, Issue 15 includes 10 more articles like

And a mountain playlist from me.

Robin Williams: Appreciated

Robin

RIP

The last time everyone I knew was unmoored by a death it was Adam “MCA” Yauch.

Now Robin Williams.

Bike Hugger Magazine contributor Patrick Brady writes about him as an enthusiastic cyclist.

As a cyclist, his jokes about our proclivities, about the Tour de France, about the bike itself gave us permission to see ourselves through other eyes, to laugh at ourselves. What a gift.

And it seems wherever Robin traveled he stopped at a shop, including the one in Seattle where Mark V works.

EXO on Bikes


Back from vacation and finishing up Issue 15 that drops tomorrow, here’s a moment of zen – a video interlude with K-Pop boy band EXO riding bikes around on stage.

The fans go nuts.






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