Archive for the Road Bike Action Category

CYCLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS SET FOR AFRICA IN 2025

09/24/2021 0:02

Cycling’s road race world championships look set to take place in Africa for the first time in 2025, with the sport’s governing body the UCI set to rubber stamp Rwanda’s candidacy on Friday. Rwanda enjoys a healthy cycling culture and runs an annual eight-day stage race the Tour of Rwanda around the hilly city of Kigali, and has been selected ahead of Morocco. UCI president David Lappartient said when taking the post in 2017 he wanted to see Africa given a chance to host the annual event. The UCI invites all member states to its annual congress, which takes place this Friday in Leuven ahead of the final weekend of the 2021 championships in Flanders. Australia hosts the event in Wollongong in 2022, with Scotland in 2023 and Switzerland in 2024.

STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE UCI: www.uci.org

RBA/AFP Cover Photo: Bettini

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VINCENZO NIBALI WILL RETURN TO ASTANA IN 2022

09/24/2021 0:02

Veteran Italian cyclist Vincenzo Nibali is to leave Trek-Segafredo and return to the Astana team where his vast experience will help the next generation of riders develop, the Kazakh team said Friday. The 36-year-old won the Vuelta a Espana in 2010, the Giro d’Italia in 2013 and 2016 and the Tour de France in 2014, joining an elite club of just seven men to have achieved the grand slam.

“I know everyone there,” said Nibali in reference to his first spell at Astana between 2013-2016.

“It’s a real family and a team that brought me a lot of good things.”

“I have a few races targeted but lending my experience to a young team also tempts me,” he said.

Team director Alexandre Vinokourov was reading from the same script.

“Vincenzo Nibali needs no introduction, he spent the best years of his career with us, and the presence of such a champion will play a key role in the development of our younger riders.”

RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini

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LIGHTWEIGHT PFADFINDER EVO GRAVEL WHEEL

09/22/2021 0:02

First made famous by Jan Ulrich in the Tour de France when he was looking for every weight advantage he could to battle Lance Armstrong, the handcrafted  Lightweight wheels made a huge impression  in the burgeoning two decades ago world of carbon wheels.  All of the wheels were handmade at the Lightweight factory located in Friedrickshafen, Germany – they were expensive, made one-at-a-time,  and hard to get.

Eventually, the wheel brand decided to expand outside their core competency and jumped into the frame (and bottle cage) business. Although frame production was moved to Asia, the German marque continued with their domestic wheel program. As an aside, we would always joke with them how crazy their price of $100 for their Edelhelfer bottle cage would be and they would always retort back that they couldn’t keep them in stock!

LOOKING BACK WITH LIGHTWEIGHT

Going over the latest Lightweight wheel tech with our old Pal Frank who used to rep the wheels.

RBA has had a working relationship with Lightweight for years and we would meet regularly at both the Sea Otter Classic and  the Eurobike show which was held in their hometown.  We still remember the meetings when we would do our best to prod them into making wheels that were disc brake friendly and with a wider internal rim width.  It was back in 2017 when RBA first got their hands on Lightweight Urgestalt test bike that had their first disc brake wheels.

Former RBA editor Neil Shirley first put the Lightweight frame and wheel combo to test at the Interbike show in 2015.

 

Made famous in the Tour de France by Jan Ulrich, Lightweight eventually moved from making just wheels to frames (made in Asia).

 

The handcrafted build of each Lightweight wheel was as impressive as the ride they provided.

 

WHAT ABOUT THE NEW GRAVEL HOOPS?

Still handmade in Germany, Lightweight has jumped into gravel with a new wheel that uses carbon spokes.

The Pfadfinder Evo rims are still handmade in Germany and feature the brands carbon spoke technology with 20 spokes used  in each wheel. Unique to Lightweight is their proprietary Pentagon hub shape which is intended to better resist the increased braking loads of disc brakes.  At first glance of the tech specs, (just as it took awhile for Mavic to catch on with a wider internal width)  Lightweight has yet to grasp the American version of what a gravel wheel  should  look like.

Yes, with just a 18.2 internal width the Pathfinders are still on the narrow side. And, owing to their 23mm- 40mm tire capacity (and carbon spokes), it’s safe to say that these  wheels aren’t intended for the gravel rider looking to  “send it!”  Truthfully, we stopped using  pinner 23mm tires for road riding  years ago! Lightweight’s legacy was built on road race performance and it seems like the Pfadfinder hoops, while oriented or marketed  towards gravel, remain more of an all-road/performance road racing wheel.

LIGHTWEIGHT PFAFFINDER EVO TECH SPECS

36mm deep
Tubeless compatible
Carbon spokes
18.2mm internal rim width
24 mm external rim width
Up to 40mm tires
Use of special high-modulus CFRP fibers
Claimed weight: 670 grams (f)/760 grams (r)
Interchangeable rotor for Campagnolo, Shimano und SRAM
Compatible with all current groupsets (Campagnolo, SRAM, Shimano)

Two versions of the wheelset will be available; standard and the Schwarz version that has unique graphics and CeramicSpeed bearings.

LIGHTWEIGHT PFAFFINDER EVO PRICE: $5000

For more: Lightweight

Although the bikes were made in Asia, they retained the quality build that made the wheels famous.

 

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SPECIALIZED S-WORKS ROMIN EVO MIRROR SADDLE TEST

09/21/2021 12:02

Just over a year ago, Specialized launched their first saddle using an additive 3D printed liquid polymer material for the padding, the S-Works Power with Mirror. Well turns out the premium saddle and tech has made its way to the Romin shape as well and we have had it for a few weeks. This technology isn’t new or limited to Specialized as we have also tested the Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive Saddle that launched in September of 2019.


The Romin shape is what we would consider more traditional in length and overall shape. Sure the S-Works badging tells you it’s going to be of the highest grade materials with a price tag to match but the Romin shape has always been a top pick for the RBA staff over the Power. The Mirror technology elevates the saddle’s potential far beyond what is possible with traditional foam.

The Ride

When first inspecting the saddle it is clear just by pressing the Mirror padding that the density or support level changes throughout the saddle. Foam padding has tried to do this for years by adding gel or layering different density foam but nothing is as seamless or dynamic as the 3D printed tech. Just as it was on the Fizik saddle the Romin Evo has a very complex network of voids and connections that Specialized is calling struts and nodes. Specialized is claiming 22,000 struts and 10,700 nodes, almost double that used in their original Power version and further allowing more tuned support.

Specialized is claiming 22,000 struts and 10,700 nodes, almost double that used in their original Power with Mirror.

On the first few rides we noticed how well the saddle felt with no “break-in” needed. We almost forgot we were testing a new saddle because there were so few issues. The one biggest difference we notice with the Mirror version over a regular saddle is it was hard to slide forward or backward on the saddle. We had to raise ourselves up, removing pressure from the saddle to get in a new position, something that we never notice on a regular foam saddle. This isn’t a bad thing just something that took a few rides to adapt to.

This sort of position sustaining hold that the saddle has was also nice when efforts were high. Even when we were pushing the pedals hard we remained in the same position on the saddle, something that we can’t say for most saddles. Don’t get us wrong, the saddle still offers the on-the-nose aggressive position as well as the normal position that you just don’t get with a short Power saddle. The Mirror padding is also nearly solid through the contact area with small perforations, unlike the Fizik which we have had mixed experiences getting dirt or debris in. The carbon shell and rails just help elevate the performance and tuning that the Mirror tech offers.

Concave flex-tuned FACT carbon shell matched with oversized 7x9mm FACT carbon rails.

Overall the experience was good and if you have $450 to spare try it. Like we said in the Fizik review, this is new tech and long-term durability is yet to be seen but we have over two years on the Fizik with no obvious determination. One true upside has been that when wet the saddle doesn’t retain moisture, something that we can’t say about foam. Also, the level of padding and support for this weight is absolutely unmatched.

190 grams for the 143mm width and 193 grams for the 155mm width.

The Details

  • Concave flex-tuned FACT carbon shell
  • Oversized 7x9mm FACT carbon rails
  • 26cm long
  • 143mm and 155mm width options
  • 190 grams (143mm width) 193 grams (155mm width)
  • 3D printing from a liquid polymer
  • Claimed 22,000 struts and 10,700 nodes in the structure

Price: $450

specialized.com

If upgrading from alloy rails, make sure your seat post is 7×9 compatible.

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2021 WOMEN’S TIME TRIAL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS AND PHOTO GALLERY

09/21/2021 0:02

European road race champion Ellen van Dijk of the Netherlands claimed a second time-trial title at cycling’s world championships on Monday after finishing ahead of Marlen Reusser and Annemiek van Vleuten. The 34-year-old Van Dijk was 10 seconds faster than Switzerland’s Reusser, who was also runner-up in the Olympic event in July, and 24sec ahead of her compatriot Van Vleuten, who won in Tokyo. Van Dijk went down the ramp over an hour before her key rivals and had a “quite horrible” nervous wait in the leader’s hot seat.

“I didn’t expect to feel so emotional, but it has been so long (waiting) to get the world title back,” said the champion, holding her hand to her heart and fighting back tears.

“Marlen was so strong and was faster than me at first, but when she lost time near the end, I couldn’t quite believe it, it’s been a dream so long.”

Van Dijk last won the world title in 2013 in Florence and on Monday covered the 18.8 mile flat run through Flanders in 36min 05sec, at an average speed of 31.3mph.

In a field of 49 starters Pakistan’s Asma Jan was last across the line some 15 minutes adrift. The action continues Tuesday with the women’s and men’s junior time-trial events, also ending in Bruges.








 

WOMEN’S TIME TRIAL RESULTS

1 VAN DIJK Ellen Netherlands 36:05
2 REUSSER Marlen Switzerland 0:10
3 VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek Netherlands 0:24
4 NEBEN Amber United States 1:24
5 BRENNAUER Lisa Germany 1:29
6 LABOUS Juliette France 1:47
7 KLEIN Lisa Germany 1:52
8 LOWDEN Joscelin Great Britain 1:59
9 MARKUS Riejanne Netherlands 1:59
10 AMIALIUSIK Alena Belarus 2:19

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BREAKING NEWS – TEAM INEOS MOVES TO DISC BRAKES

09/21/2021 0:01

Long championed by fans of old-school technology, Team Ineos announced today that they will finally be joining the rest of the modern world in adopting disc brake technology…look for Shimano’s hydraulic disc brakes to become standard fare for the future.

Here’s what the team release had to say…

TEAM INEOS MOVES TO DISC BRAKES

 

“The INEOS Grenadiers will race on the Pinarello DOGMA F Disc at tomorrow’s GP de Denain in the lead up to Paris-Roubaix. After close consultation with the riders, performance team, Pinarello and Shimano this marks the first race in the initial phase of the disc brake roll out for the team.

Carsten Jeppesen, Head of Technical Partners, said: “We are always looking at ways to improve our kit, technology and bike setup to ensure the riders have the very best options that are available.

“Our relationship with Pinarello has always been grounded in a love of racing and innovation, and their work on the DOGMA F Disc should enable our riders to race to their maximum.

“Working closely with Pinarello and Shimano, we will continue to develop the all-round disc package, optimising weight, the integration across Dura-Ace, and improvements in the quick release system.”

Director of Racing Rod Ellingworth said: “Pinarello are constantly working to keep our bike at the front of the peloton and their commitment to providing us the very best equipment has been evident across this project. Rider feedback has also been encouraging.”

Fausto Pinarello said: “I’ve been convinced about disc brakes since I started riding them myself and I’m happy the team is going to race on them in the final part of this season. The INEOS Grenadiers are constantly pushing for excellence in everything they do and we are delighted with the DOGMA F Disc we have developed with the team.””

SAYING GOODBYE TO OLD SCHOOL BRAKES?

Vuelta Espana 2021 – 76th Edition – Richard Carapaz (ECU – Ineos Grenadiers)

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TONY MARTIN SET TO RETIRE AFTER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS CONCLUDE

09/20/2021 0:02

Germany’s Tony Martin will hang up his bike after the World Road Cycling Championships this week in Flanders, his Jumbo team announced on Sunday. Martin, 36, won four world titles in the individual time trial, in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016.

“The world time trial (Sunday) and mixed relay (Wednesday) championships will be the last races of my career,” said Martin, who has been racing for the Dutch team Jumbo since 2019.

Competing at the top level since 2008, Martin also won five stages of the Tour de France between 2011 and 2015 and two on the Vuelta a Espana. This year he exited the Tour de France in an ambulance early on stage 11 after suffering face and leg injuries when tumbling into a deep roadside ditch, having been at the center of a crash-marred opening day that saw a fan knock half the peloton down.

“The bad falls this year also made me wonder if I am ready to continue to face the risks of our sport,” said Martin.

“I decided I didn’t want to, especially since the race safety has not improved despite the many discussions on the routes and barriers.”

Tony Martin (GER – Team Jumbo – Visma)

RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini

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2021 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MEN’S TIME TRIAL RESULTS AND PHOTO GALLERY

09/20/2021 0:02

Italy’s Filippo Ganna retained his time-trial crown at cycling’s world championships in Bruges on Sunday. The 25-year-old Ineos rider defended his title by beating local favorite Wout van Aert (Jumbo) by five seconds in a carbon copy of last year’s outcome. Another Belgian, Remco Evenepoel, took third, 43 seconds back at the end of a flat 27 mile course in the opening event of the championships in the Belgian city.

“My shape has much improved since last week,” said Ganna, who finished second to Switzerland’s Stefan Kueng in the recent European championships.

“I did a small altitude training camp to defend this jersey and I hope to go looking for a third next year.”

Van Aert was left feeling “very disappointed”.

“It’s a silver medal too much when I wanted the gold,” he said.

“I can of course be satisfied with my time and performance but it’s gutting to miss out by so little.”

Ganna arrived in Bruges on the back of a Tokyo Olympics where he missed out on time-trial glory but led Italy to team pursuit gold.

Evenepoel had held the fastest time for much of the time-trial, but was eventually beaten by the final two riders, van Aert and then Ganna, who averaged 33.8mph. It was a 16th road cycling win, and 14th in the time trial, for the 25-year-old Italian, who was also world bronze medalist in 2019 and whose Grand Tour experience has seen him claim five stage wins in the Giro d’Italia over the last two seasons. Swiss rider Kung finished fifth, at 1:06, just behind Denmark’s Kasper Asgreen. Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar, the reigning two-time Tour de France champion, finished 10th (+1.52).









TIME TRIAL RESULTS

1  GANNA Filippo Italy 47:47
2  VAN AERT Wout Belgium 0:06
3  EVENEPOEL Remco Belgium 0:44
4  ASGREEN Kasper Denmark 0:46
5  KÜNG Stefan Switzerland 1:07
6  MARTIN Tony Germany 1:18
7  BISSEGGER Stefan Switzerland 1:26
8  HAYTER Ethan Great Britain 1:27
9  AFFINI Edoardo Italy 1:49
10  POGAČAR Tadej Slovenia 1:53

 

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EX-PRO CHRIS ANKER SORENSON KILLED WHILE RIDING WORLDS COURSE

09/20/2021 0:02

Former pro cyclist Chris Anker Sorensen was killed in a road accident on the sidelines of the world championships in Belgium on Saturday, Denmark’s TV2 Sport reported. The 37-year-old, who won a stage of the Giro d’Italia in 2010, was in Belgium to report on the race. Belgian broadcaster Sporza said that Sorensen was out cycling when he was involved in a collision with a car. In his riding career, Sorensen competed for the CSC, Saxo Bank and Tinkoff teams. As well as winning the eighth stage of the 2010 Giro, he captured the sixth stage of the 2008 Criterium du Dauphine and was Danish national champion in 2015.

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BIKE TEST: CALFEE TETRA ADVENTURE

09/19/2021 0:02

Frequent readers of RBA should know well the Calfee story by now. The short version is that following a few years of making carbon frames badged appropriately enough as Carbonframes in Reno, Nevada, Craig Calfee welcomed Bob LeMond into his frame factory in 1990. Bob was in search of some frames for his son’s bike team. Of course, Bob’s son wasn’t just any kid. It was Greg LeMond, and the three-time Tour de France winner was looking for a new frame for his team and him to use for the 1991 season.

And with that, Calfee’s carbon frame (branded as a LeMond) would not only become the first full-carbon frame to compete in the Tour de France, but also the first to “wear” the yellow leader’s jersey.

Within a few years, LeMond and Calfee would go their separate ways, and Craig would relocate his factory to the NorCal coastal town of La Selva Beach, where he continues to produce a variety of carbon and bamboo
bicycle frames.

With its small-diameter tubes and signature webbed construction, of all the bikes found in the Calfee catalog, the Tetra Classic shares the strongest DNA link to the bike LeMond rode back in 1991.  

THE FRAME

From the first day that Craig opened his frame shop over 30 years ago, custom-made carbon frames remains the name of the game. Virtually any feature a customer can think of can be done. Each Tetra frame starts with an array of Enve carbon tubes that are specifically chosen for the size of frame ordered and with different fiber orientations depending on use.

As Craig explained why the Tetra uses smaller but thicker tubes, he is quick to recount those early design days with the defending Tour de France champion: “Greg always wanted it to be lighter, but just as important, he stressed that the frame had to be durable so that if he crashed, he could still get up and rejoin the race.”

The heart of the Tetra frame is its signature, hand-sculpted gussets, which contribute plenty of stiffness and efficiency to the ride. Due to the small diameter tubes, the Tetra relies on external cable routing.

Unlike his other bikes that use pre-molded lugs, the Tetra tubes are joined via a compression process with a 3k weave overlay that creates the webbed gussets, which is eventually hand-sanded into shape. Given the level of hand-finishing that goes into each frame, no two frames are exactly alike. Calfee says each frame takes upwards of 35 hours to produce. 

While other Calfee offerings represent the modern, big-tube aesthetic, owing to its small-diameter tubes, the Tetra lacks the internal cable routing that’s become a mainstay of contemporary bike design. The one nod to modernity that the Tetra features are the hand-molded, “flattened” chainstays to bring added compliance.

The flattened chainstays are hand-molded and designed to provide added vibration damping.

Since each Calfee frame is made one at a time, in addition to sizing, the customer can choose between 700c or 650b wheels, add S&S couplers, bottle mounts, added stiffness and, best of all, an array of beautiful paint options. 

THE PARTS

Back in 1991 LeMond used a mix of Campagnolo and Mavic parts to build his race bike. With Mavic currently on the skids, it was left to the Italian component and wheel maker to provide a Chorus drivetrain with their hydraulic brakes, along with the Fulcrum Race 3 DB wheels.

Matched with the titanium dropouts, Campagnolo’s carbon Chorus derailleur helped bring some real class to the Tetra. Matched to the 48/32 chainrings, the 11-34t cassette had a gear for every need.

The Chorus group is Campy’s mid-tier 12-speed offering highlighted by the sultry, double-curve, carbon-wrapped brake levers, and the best-available hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm (front) and 140mm (rear) rotors. Interestingly, Fulcrum’s 28mm-deep, 21-spoke aluminum Racing 3 DB wheels use a 14-two-cross/7-radial pattern that swaps sides from front to back. Typical of Campy’s obsessive pursuit of performance, the wheels feature an array of their signature design features, including two-way fit for tubeless and clincher tire use and beautifully machined 2:1-ratio hub flanges. Despite the narrow 19mm internal width, Fulcrum says the rims can be mounted with up to 42mm tires.

One of the first things that everyone who eyed the Tetra noticed was the massive gap between the 32mm Terravail front tire and the fork crown. This was due to our test bike being an all-road/gravel-oriented Adventure model that uses a tall (397mm axle-to-crown distance) Whiskey gravel fork. The Tetra is also available in a road-specific Pro model that, in addition to different geometry, runs a shorter (367mm axle-to crown-distance), road-specific Enve fork. 

The origins of today’s Tetra rest on the yellow jersey laurels of Greg LeMond in the 1991 Tour de France.

THE RIDE

As the title of this test infers, don’t presume that owing to the small-diameter tubes that the bike is whippy. It’s not. In fact, it’s just the opposite. This bike proved just as stiff as any modern, molded race bike we’ve ridden.  

Unlike the shorter-wheelbase Pro Tetra (99.3cm), our Adventure-spec version has an elongated wheelbase (103cm), which brought some good stability on dirt roads, but made fast dives into tight corners a tad less than race-bike-quick. One rider (with size-44 shoes) did complain of heel-clearance issues with the flattened section on the chainstays.  

“The handmade Tetra Classic can be built out on par with the price of any run-of-the-mill production bike getting popped out of an assembly-line mold. That’s just part of what makes it so special.” 

Where Dustin Hoffman was only advised around a single word in The Graduate (“plastics”), to get the most out of the Tetra, we have two words—“air pressure.” We started out with 60 psi in the tires and found the ride on the rough side. By dropping the front and rear tire to 50 psi, both the ride quality and handling changed dramatically for the better. While the bending of the flattened chainstays are intended to provide some vibration damping, it was in combination with the decreased tire pressure that the Tetra’s comfort quotient became most apparent. 

The Campy Ergopower shifters stand far apart from the S-brands in both design and performance. The inboard thumb shifters have solid detents that provide quick and precise single shifts and up to five gears in a single downward push. The separate lever that controls upshifts is cradled inside the brake lever and requires some added throw to get three shifts in one push.  

Photo: Pat Carrigan

THE VERDICT

Although a standard Tetra frame sells for $4000, our test bike priced out much more, thanks to all extra menu items that were thrown at it. From the $110 titanium head badge to the $100 extended head tube, and including the $1500 custom Cabernet Red paint, the handmade Tetra Classic can be built out on par with the price of many run-of-the-mill production bike getting popped out of an assembly-line mold. That’s just part of what makes it so special.

PUNCH LINES

Carbon pioneer legacy

As custom as you want

Road- or gravel-friendly versions

STATS

Price: $9980, $4500 (frameset)

Weight: 17.25 pounds

Sizes: 48-66cm and custom

www.calfeedesign.com

THE GEAR

Helmet: Bell Z20  

Jersey: Endura           

Bib: Danny Shane                   

Shoes: Exustar        

Socks: 7mesh

Glasses: 100% Hypercraft

 

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