3T Strada

3T has released complete SRAM Force eTAP AXS builds on the Strada aero road bike. The bike is available in either 1x or 2x configurations, and is available now with complete details here.



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Shimano S-Phyre Wind Resistant Jersey

Los Angeles has been cold, very cold. Maybe we don’t experience sub-freezing temps, but it gets close on some occasions. Our weekly ride up to the Hollywood Sign meets at 6:30am on Wednesdays. It is early, it is dark, and the temperature tends to hover in the mid-40s this time of year. For a native of LA, that is freezing. So, in the hunt for one piece of clothing to keep me warm on these slightly misguided rides, I came across the Shimano S-Phyre wind resistant jersey. It is perfect.

This jersey is right in oh so many ways. First, the fit is spot on. It is slim, with just the right amount of drop at the rear, and the perfect length sleeves. The three pockets on the rear are large enough to carry all your tools, nutrition, tubes, and even a small windbreaker or vest. There is an additional zippered pocket at the rear for lip balm, cash and ID. The collar is high, perfect to keep the chill at bay. I’ve been wearing this jersey with a short sleeve base layer, and the combination is ideal for mid 40s to mid 50 temperatures. For me, keeping your core warm is the key to enjoyable riding, and the Shimano S-Phyre accomplishes this perfectly.



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Zipp 303 NSW Disc Clinchers

 

 

Those who know me have heard me gripe about any rims that are deeper than say 32mm. The reason for the complaints stems from riding bikes with deep dish rims in locales such as San Francisco, where the winds can whip themselves into a frenzy. Anyone who has ridden across the Golden Gate Bridge in windy conditions knows exactly what I’m talking about. On multiple occasions I’ve felt as if I could be blown clear off the bridge and into the cold waters below. Luckily this has never happened, but the wind has pushed me from side to side, and no matter what input I provide, the bike seems to be at the whim of mother nature. There it is – my reason to stay away from deep rims. Of course, I had never ridden Zipp wheels before. Now my opinion and wheelset choice has changed.

Casual bike fanatics know all about Zipp wheels and the dimples on the rims. The surface is similar to a golf ball, and if one were to read up on the tech, they would learn this surface provides a way to cheat the wind. Skeptical? I was, at least until I rode my first set of Zipps. My introduction to the company came via the 202 NSW disc clinchers. These wheels were almost exactly the same dimensions of another wheelset already in the quiver. Chance had it that I had the same tires mounted on both sets of wheels, and my local ride through the Hollywood Hills provided a real world testing ground. What I found was fascinating. When riding down Mulholland to the 101 freeway, a wonderfully smooth descent, I found that I would feel the wind pushing at the competitor’s wheelset. Nothing too horrible, as the wind here is typically mild, but pushing nonetheless. Soon after, I switched over to the Zipp 202s with the same tires on the same bike. I replicated the ride down Mulholland in very similar conditions, and I was awestruck at the difference. The wheels cut through the wind without any of the bobbles I felt on the other wheels. I was immediately sold. The dimpled surface was doing exactly what was promised, and provided the most stable descent I’ve had on my local loop.

Fast forward to the Zipp 303s. These wheels are substantially deeper than the 202s, so I was once again apprehensive. The new wheels were mounted onto the same bike, my wonderful titanium Haley, and off I went on my local ride. What a surprise. Again, the wheels provided an equally impressive ride, with no bobbles induced by the wind, but with one very significant difference. These wheels are fast, very fast. The rim shape not only cheats the wind, but it cuts through the wind providing for much faster descents. Still completely stable, but much much faster. I was also pleased to feel the difference on Forest Lawn Drive, a long flat stretch of road. The wind-cheating quality of the wheels allows for significant gains when pushing a high gear and keeping a steady tempo. It almost feels as if I’m getting an unfair advantage when using the 303s. A whole new world opened up for me.

Another aspect of the Zipp wheels I love is the silent Cognition hub at the rear. I prefer being stealthy when I ride, so the smooth and quiet operation of the freewheel assembly is music to my ears. From getting the bike out of the house at 6am without waking up the neighbors, to the wonderfully silent riding on the rollers of Mulholland, this is a feature I’ve completely fallen for. Some prefer announcing their arrival, but I prefer being discreet. Aside from being quiet, the Axial Clutch drive mechanism cuts down drag by a claimed 50% over a standard three-pawl system. Quiet and fast, a perfect combination.

The Zipp 303s are beautiful wheels to look at, a pleasure to ride, and one of the fastest wheels I’ve had the opportunity to test. These wheels are the perfect combination of aerodynamics and weight for any type of riding, whether it be gravel or road. The dimpled surface does what’s promised, slicing through the wind, and providing an amazing ride quality. I’ve been singing the praises of Zipp to those I ride with, and recommend these wheels to anyone looking for a significant upgrade to their bicycle.

 

 



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A Photo Or Two For A Wednesday

Wednesday is the day of our weekly ride up to the sign. We leave at dawn, and are finished with the ride in time to get to work. The ride contributes to our well being, and helps get us through the week. It is incredibly difficult to get out of the house at 6am, especially given it is dropping into the 40’s at that time of hour, but it is always worth the effort. After I get home from the ride, I feel invigorated, and ready to face the day. This highlights the power of cycling on the psyche, and how a simple ride up a hill can change your perspective on the day.

The Haley Cycles atop the Sign.


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Maloja Clothing

 

 

Many years ago, on a drive from Switzerland to Italy, we came across a small town near St. Moritz called Maloja. It was an unexpected discovery, and we spent a rather unusual night in the Maloja Palace. Unusual, in that we were the only guests in the entire hotel – a bizarre circumstance, since the hotel regularly fills up – we just happened upon it at an unusual moment. The walks, the dinner, and the hotel were unforgettable.

My discovery of Maloja Clothing seems to have come about unexpectedly as well. On a day a few months back, I was perusing my normal blogs when I spotted the word Maloja. My memory of the overnight stay has stuck with me, so seeing the name immediately got  my attention. A little more digging, and I discovered Maloja Clothing.

The company, based in Bavaria, Germany, specializes in outdoor clothing. Everything from Nordic Ski gear to cycling specific clothing is available on their site. It’s a varied collection, and there is definitely a European aesthetic to the design. Pricing is quite reasonable, and judging from the above pictured jacket I’ve been wearing, the quality is top notch.

This jacket, called the Carl, is designed in Bavaria and made in Bulgaria. It is a blend of wool, polyester and nylon. The interior is as soft as can be, while the exterior has a faint herringbone pattern. There are cinch straps at the waist, two internal pockets, two zippered hand pockets, and one zippered chest pocket. The main zipper of the piece closes the jacket snugly around the neck, keeping the warmth in. The jacket is windproof and water repellent, and has elastic cuffs. I’ve been wearing it continuously, and look forward to taking it to the mountains in a few weeks.

Maloja has found a niche that distinguishes it from other brands, and their founding principles stem from a slightly different perspective than most. I enjoyed reading the short piece about “how it began”; it seems the town of Maloja also had a profound impact on the folks who started Maloja Clothing.

 

 



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Schindelhauer Electric

Schindelhauer has added two new bicycles to their already stellar line-up. Introduced to the world today, the Karl and the Heinrich are both electric bikes, powered by the latest generation Bosch Active Line Plus motors. The Karl is a single speed belt-driven bike, and the Heinrich is an eight speed belt-driven bike. The combination of this latest motor from Bosch, and the belt drive system, is sure to make these two some of the quietest e-bikes available. The design is thoughtful, with the battery incorporated into the downtube. These bikes do not scream electric; instead they radiate an image of cool design. My Schindelhauer Ludwig is the best city bike I’ve ridden, so these two stand to rank high amongst the electric bike offerings. Sporty, fast, and comfortable are the qualities that immediately come to mind, and I’ll bet the Karl and Heinrich possess all three. The only downside to these two releases is having to wait until 2019 for delivery. Schindelhauer is definitely testing my patience.

 



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3T Exploro

 

 

British racing green isn’t only for MGs and Jaguars. New from 3T is the limited Exploro with a complete build in racing green. The total package is $4500.00, and is available now directly from 3T.

 



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Science in Sport Beta Fuel

 

 


 

Science in Sport recently released an addition to their already excellent line-up of nutritional products. The new Beta Fuel is a liquid nutrition mix of 80 grams of carbohydrates delivered in an isotonic and ph neutral solution. This translates to a liquid fuel that doesn’t upset the stomach and is easy to consume. I have found the Beta Fuel to be extremely useful on rides where I am trying to put in a little extra effort. Mixing and drinking the fuel before a ride also helps to stave off any dehydration because it is recommended to mix one packet with 500ml of water. This helped me in Switzerland over the summer, as my rides took place in hot and humid conditions, something I am not used to at home on the West Coast. There are currently two flavors available – orange, and lemon & lime. Both are quite subtle, but my favorite is lemon & lime. For the days you’d like to try to come up with something special on the bike, one packet of Beta Fuel might be the added boost needed to unlock a fresh PR.

 




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Tune Wasserträger 2.0

 

 

I tend to spend far too much time poring over websites such as those from Fairwheel Bikes or R2 Bike, looking for small parts such as seat collars and stem caps. The small details make a difference on a build, and I enjoy the challenge of finding extremely lightweight parts that function exceptionally well. Following that guiding ethos, I have found what I consider to be one of the finest bottle cages on the market. The Wasserträger 2.0 from Tune is an impressive piece of engineering. It is made of carbon, with a matte UD finish. The Tune logo is in glossy black, subtle, but apparent. The attachment screws are 7075 aluminum, and the weight of the bottle cage is a claimed 9 grams. On my scale, the bottle cage came in just shy of 10 grams, and the screws add a hair to that. Overall, this is one of the lightest cages available, which leads to the most important question: do they keep the bottle securely in place? I run bottles from Abloc, a small San Francisco start up, so my impressions are based on those bottles, and I can say with absolute certainty, these cages have never ejected a bottle. Even with incredibly rough riding on fire roads or just plain old rough pavement, the bottles remain securely in place. I’ve used these cages on several different bikes over the last few years, and I’ve never had a problem. They are rock solid, and they have a pleasing design that complements any bicycle. It may seem like high praise, but I’ve gone through quite a few cages from other manufacturers that do not do their job. The Tune Wasserträger cages are a premium piece of kit that functions as well as it looks.



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