Jerry Baker has been riding in the Northwest since the roads were dirt, back when shorts were wool, chamois were leather, and you switched gears by removing the wheel and flipping it around. Here’s Jerry with a new Davidson
I’ll admit to being a bit of a label-hound when it comes to my bike stuff, but other times I want the cheapest part to do the job. Then there’s that special case where the brand name part is the SAME as the knock off. Apart from graphics and color - these wheel bags are identical. I have a couple of each in my garage right now and after inspection it turns out they are the same. I got the Performance bags for $9 on sale!
The Attack wheels have been on my Trek for a week now and I’m reluctant to give them back.
First off they are Carbon Clinchers – “Everyday Carbon” they say. How cool is that? I prefer tubulars for race day, but I can guiltlessly ride these to work without fear of being stranded with a flat. I’ve been running them in place of my Bontrager Race-X-Lite Aeros and the difference is noticeable.
For race day, I have carbon race wheels - light, aero but super stiff they are not. When I get out of the saddle to sprint I feel like my front end is a little “whippy”. In the past I just assumed that was the fork, but after riding with the Attack wheel I know that’s not it. These wheels are SUPER stiff laterally. I’m not sure if it’s higher spoke count or the fact that as clinchers the rim is 5+mm wider, but they really hold up to the strain (more on the stiffness below).
One cool concept built into their rims that I’ve never seen before on carbon is that they put a “braid” on the braking surface. It’s some sort of fiber that wears better than traditional carbon and gives you better brake modulation. They suggest Baradine pads for best performance. I rode the rims wet to see how that that would be handled and rather than the typical “sliding” feeling of wet carbon braking, they were actually pretty similar in feel. Maybe everyday carbon is realistic after all.
Stiffer than #$%&
Trying to figure out what made the Attacks so stiff when he was riding them, Byron chatted with Reynolds product guy and learned that
“the 32MM Attack is the most compliant in what’s a stiffer rim overall because of the lay up. The lay up is intended to resist twisting and being vertically stiff, while also not harsh (not an easy task, I’m sure). He continued, “a wheel compresses into a oval shape with the rider’s weight and torque pushing and pulling the spokes. With the carbon clincher, the rim is rigid and stiff, no matter how high or low the spoke tension and that translates into better power transfer, which is what a rider feels as ‘stiffness.’”
What Byron described as a bit jarring on a commute is “stiff and on rails” in a race. He also noted that it’s very similar to when he switched to carbon bars and realized how much flex is in aluminum bars.
You don’t realize how much a wheel deflects or compresses until you ride one that doesn’t. The Attacks also climb exceptionally well, for not being very light, because of the power transfer.
Take the long way home
CyclingNews.com has also written the wheels and we saw a lot of consistencies to our experience, but we look at it as a way to cheat the commute. Solid, light wheels can buy me some time on the way home. That means a couple minutes quicker on the way home, or an excuse to squeeze a couple more miles in on a sunny day.
The HPC is for the Cascade cyclist that wants to “ride fast, hard, far, and climb hills.” The High Pass challenge is an epic ride and whether they call it racing or not, you can bet cyclists are thinking right now of how to win it, place, set a personal best, or drop that dude that’s dangling just behind them and doesn’t take a pull.
As with the daily commuter challenges I’m not sure why they just don’t get kitted up and line up at a race – well they do have all those STP jackets; that counts as a kit. Whether a cyclist is kitted up, lining up at an race, or setting a personal best down Alaskan Way, it’s in our nature to compete. Lots of cyclists passed us with a gleam in their eye during the Tour de Blast (you can see it in the video) and I’m sure a peloton will form during the High Pass Challenge and that’s cool.
I first noticed the grizzly bear, then a girl in boots with a russian hat, and now the wolves on columns under the West Seattle Bridge near the Spokane Street Swing Bridge. I think they’re lithographed decals and wonder who the artist is … anyone know?