Tour Time on Twitter

Got started a bit late with Tour coverage, being at a wedding, followed by a holiday, but now it’s on and being curated via Twitter here and a page on our mobile site.

Happy 4th

Havianas

In some Havaianas, we take a few days off this time of year, and hope you do too. Once back, work starts on Issue 26 of our magazine. The theme is celebration.

The struggle of a climb. A beautifully crafted bike. Going on a diet. The dedication required to bike to work, complete a century, or race.

It drops in a couple of weeks. I’d also recommend your read this heartwarming and sad (bawling, actually) story for the holiday weekend. It has a happy ending.

SXSW V2V 15

Back in Vegas on July 21st for SXSW V2V 15 and another social ride. This one is mellower that our traditional Mobile Social Interbike later this year, but we’ll ride the Strip just the same. More details after the holiday and see you soon.

Martyn Ashton - Back On Track

The catch and embrace at the end of the Marty’s run; well, I got a bit teary. The joy in Marty’s voice too, and with so much marketing being thrown at the Tour this year, a relief to just watch a great ride. It’s been two years since an accident that left him paralyzed, and great to see him back on his bike and on track.

Tour 16: Aero Road Bike Show Down

It’s like one of those cooking shows…you have a week before the Tour starts to wow the judges with an aero road bike. The ingredients are: carbon, some aluminum, and you have use of a wind tunnel.

Who Wore it Best

Who Wore the Aero Road Bike Best?

After updating our Who Wore the Aero Road Bike Best graphic with the new Madone, shared it with Mark V, who wrote back with these observations.

Venge

Somehow the stem/bar looks like a Soviet submarine detail. What really pushes this design into a league of its own are those crazy brakes, unlike any mechanism I’ve ever seen on a production bike. Lots of proprietary parts makes initial fit critical, because the design makes tinkering with rider position largely impractical to any degree. One small virtue is that the handlebar is adjustable for tilt, but hand height is achieved with a combination of bar rise (0 or 25mm) and spacers on the steerer.

Foil

This one will probably not make shop mechanics roll their eyes, being largely devoid of kooky aero tricks. Scott again exploits Kamm-tail sections to produce a versatile bike with an excellent balance of weight, ride quality, and stiffness. The BB-brake position has its share of detractors, but it can still function well. Not running the cables through the stem or head tube makes the Foil the most conventional of the three. The top of the line model has a one-piece bar/stem, while mid-level bikes have an aero stem that accepts conventional bars.

Madone

The biggest details are the internally routed bar/stem and the IsoSPeed “decoupler” which basically allows the front and rear wheels to respond independently to the road surface. Trek uses a proprietary direct-mount brake that appears to use an internal roller cam mechanism similar to the old Cunningham-design Suntour mtb/bmx brakes. Overall the design reminds me of Robocop.

And what I said was

I’ve ridden and reviewed two of the three previous versions of these aero road bikes and the Cervelo S5. What it comes down to, at this level of bike, is they’re all fast and good. It’s the geo and ride quality that makes the difference. Having spent time getting jack hammered by a seat mast, I can tell you comfort will win for the rest of us, and not the pros.

That’s because all the aero advantage is lost when a rider shifts around in the saddle, trying to get comfortable. Haven’t ridden an ISO-coupled bike, but assured by colleagues and friends that it “totally works,” I’d bet on the Scott for the best ride, but then it has those darn BB-mounted brakes. Again, I imagine what these three bikes will look like in their next version, with discs

As I opened this post, if the pre-Tour bike hype was conducted like a cooking show, now add discs into the mix, and see what happens. Then it gets real interesting.

Let us not forget Cervelo, as Mark V followed up in another message

Cervelo Soloist got the ball rolling on aero road, but S5 and 1st-gen Foil became the bookends that defined aero road market. S5 is a triathlon bike morphed into a road bike (as in fast in a straight line but lacking the handling and sprint stance expected of a pro road bike). Meanwhile the Foil is all about cropped airfoil sections that give light weight and drivetrain stiffness. The first Venge took many features seen on early Cervelos along a different stylistic route; second gen leaps off that springboard into highly developed aerodynamic integration (ie proprietary parts). 2nd-gen Foil keeps the aero tech in moderation as did its predecessor. 2nd-gen S5 completes that Cervelo’s evolution into a proper road bike….unfortunately Cervelo have no media presence at Pro Tour level, and they are literally last (model) year’s news.

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