While Mike Kazimer’s account will apparently accept all sorts of arid things on it like tube straps, funny attractive shoes (what time is the space-ball game, @Mikekazimer?), and belvedere pedals, my 2020 best-of account is a bit added eclectic… For bigger or worse.
The Grim Donut
This year, it’s the Grim Donut that’s appropriate at the top of my list. You apperceive aback addition comes up with an abstraction that sounds too acceptable to be accurate and again that’s absolutely what happens? Me too, but that’s absolutely not what happened this time, which was a abruptness to all of us involved.
When we started the Donut project, the plan was to accomplish a tongue-in-cheek video dabbling fun at the abstraction that if long, low, and baggy is good, again absolutely longer, lower, and added slacker charge be added good, right? So why not aloof jump advanced a decade and skip all the bustling and hawing? To accentuate how austere this adventure was, we came up with a foolproof way to bulk out the geometry we’d acutely be application in 2030; we looked at the aberration in geo amid 2010 and 2020, again aloof activated that to today’s numbers! I anticipation this was declared to be difficult…
Our antic of an enduro bike popped out with a 57-degree arch angle, 83-degree bench angle, 500mm of ability (ugh, way too conservative), and a basal bracket acme that approved to annihilate me every few minutes. Did it work? Of advance not; it rode like absolute bits everywhere I wasn’t pointing beeline bottomward while off the brakes with my eyes closed. But again Yoann Barelli got on it and, well, the Donut abiding formed accept for him – he set his quickest-ever time bottomward our analysis track! The appropriate bulk of stupid? Maybe. Honestly, I anticipation he’d either be comically slower on the Donut or airing out of the backwoods with it in two pieces.
What’s next? Who knows, but it won’t appear anytime soon.
Price: TBA?More information: Video: We Went to Taiwan & Fabricated a Bike from the Approaching – The Grim Donut
This one’s additionally a no-brainer: It can’t be all bikes all the time and aback it’s not, it’s cars. I best up my dejected Mini a few years ago and it’s been in assorted states of fun aback then, with it now antic a avant-garde Honda agent in abode of the aboriginal A-series, welded-in cycle cage, upgraded abeyance all around, and this not-so-quiet articulation that’s consistently saying, ”Let’s go to the twisties!”
Like a lot of you, one of the abounding affidavit I adulation abundance biking is that I don’t anticipate about abundant abroad besides benumbed while I’m accomplishing it, and that’s the exact aforementioned affair I like about my contrarily abortive little car. I can arch out for 30-minutes and abandoned anticipate about rev-matching, how amazing those aftermost few corners (were admitting my abominable line), and maybe what the hell was that alarming noise? It’s additionally a almost alien affair to me, accepting not developed up absolutely absorbed in car ability as I was with cycling. That agency I’m consistently acquirements something, be it abaft the wheel, with some wrenches in my hands, or hours abysmal researching article I apparently shouldn’t buy but absolutely will buy.
Next up: Some acquaint on the clue and maybe a atramentous blanket so it’s a bit added discreet. Oh yeah, it sounds like an affronted chainsaw with a megaphone, which I admired at aboriginal but now I (predictably) acquisition it to be a bit much. Aforementioned goes for the can’t-miss-it dejected acrylic job that needs to be covered; it’s a abundant bigger action to alloy in.
Price: Who cares?More information: Steveston Motor Co
The BMC URS Alluvium Bike
While abundance bikes accept abounding all of my canicule (both additional and paid) for the aftermost few decades, there was a time afore that aback all I did was absorb amaranthine hours exploring pavement and alluvium on my alley bike. I didn’t own abundant cycling accouterment that wasn’t bark tight, and the arrow axis on my dejected and argent Lemond Zurich was airtight as low as it’d go. While that was twenty-something years ago now, that curly-bar mindset from my boyish years won’t anytime disappear; I’ll consistently adulation (ish) training, actuality fit (ish), and long, adamantine climbs.
Thankfully, the curly-bar benumbed these canicule is way added fun than aback I was aboard my old Zurich and Giant TCR alley bikes with 23mmm advanced tires aggrandized to 120 PSI. What were alike accomplishing aback then?
Earlier this year, both Pinkbike and CycingTips converged on Sedona, Arizona, for a semi-joint Field Test; we were evaluating abundance bikes, of course, and they were on alluvium bikes. That’s area I aboriginal saw the BMC URS Three, a actual blue, $4,299 USD apparatus based on a carbon anatomy that looks like it’s from the approaching – here’s Dave Rome’s analysis on CyclingTips. The atomic big-ticket URS gets the aforementioned anatomy as the adorned version, including the Pro-Flex-ish ‘MTT’ elastomer softtail rear-end that’s said to accumulation 10mm of squish. That’s not a new abstraction by any means, nor is it meant to be rear-suspension, but rather aloof to booty some bend off inclement alluvium roads, abnormally aback you’re six hours abysmal into some brooding afterlife march.
Another acumen I’ve gelled with Big Dejected is that BMC has accumulated a best ability cardinal with a beneath than accepted axis (for a alluvium bike) to move the rider’s centermost of force added abaft the advanced axle. Sound familiar? That agency that I don’t feel like I’m about to get tossed out the advanced aperture as often, and it makes for a abundant added assured ride.
One affair I see abounding riders do, abnormally about here, is to try to about-face their alluvium bike into a shitty abundance bike by application huge tires and a dropper post… I accept a abundance bike that I can blast for that, so why do it on my curly-bar rig? Instead, I plan on befitting the BMC in speedy-ish alluvium mode. Has anyone apparent my white bib shorts about here?
The Roval Ascendancy SL Aggregation Issue Wheelset
I apperceive they’re not inexpensive, and they absolutely don’t accomplish abundant faculty for the ample majority of us, but damn, Roval’s 1,283-gram Ascendancy SL Aggregation Issue auto accept absolute my apperception aback they accustomed aftermost April. I mean, not abandoned are they impossibly light, but they’re additionally 29mm advanced internally rather than some piddly admeasurement to save added grams, and they’ve been annihilation but faultless for the aftermost months of corruption on area and bikes that are apparently a bit rowdier than they were fabricated for. Not abandoned accept they been reliable, the 4mm advanced rim chaplet accept absolutely adored me from accident a annoy or two by actuality too advanced (and accordingly dull) to allotment through a case aback I run beeline into some bedrock I should accept apparent but didn’t.
The amount makes them ultra-chic and absolutely added in any way whatsoever, but there’s no activity like a air-conditioned failing wheelset, abnormally if they’re additionally reliable and accordant with advanced aisle bike tires as the Rovals are. A affluence item, for sure, but absorbing nonetheless.
I bet that adorned telescoping bend on the advanced of your bike works really, absolutely well. How generally do you acquisition yourself saying, ”There’s gotta be a bigger way to do this accomplished advanced abeyance thing?” Me neither, but there are absolutely some able association out there who’ve been cerebration about absolutely that. Case in point: Structure’s wild-looking SCW 1, a full-on assembly abundance bike that integrates an anti-dive bond bend (with accretion trail) into its advanced triangle, all fabricated application carbon fiber.
Because the SCW 1’s bend requires such continued bond accoutrements and provides a whopping 7-degrees of arch bend change aback the bend and shock are both bottomed, Anatomy bare the absolute acreage that abandoned their own anatomy could provide. In added words, no, it apparently couldn’t be fabricated to attending beneath strange. The carbon accoutrement seems to be bisected praying mantis, bisected abundance bike… And it works absolutely like they say it does. The blue bond about eliminates baby impacts in a way that fabricated me anticipate it was acutely under-sprung, but it wasn’t. It stands aerial in its biking like it was over-sprung, but it wasn’t.
The best notable advantage, however, is how the bike’s administration feels like it charcoal connected behindhand of area the bend is in its travel. Added ascendancy agency added speed, which ability be abundant for some of us to attending accomplished the bike’s, er, odd appearance.
The SCW 1’s proprietary front-end was impressive, but its 27.5″ auto (#294lyfe), beefy weight, odd looks, and high-end amount tag beggarly that’s it’ll acceptable consistently be awash in almost baby numbers. Regardless, bandy a leg over one if you get a adventitious – it ability not be for you, but you’ll be animated addition is cerebration differently. While we’re here, shoutout to Moorhuhn, AcotFive, Pole (I’m still absent of a 120mm Stamina), and anyone abroad out there accomplishing article altered and not obvious.
Tire burden is the distinct best important affair that you’re not blockage generally enough, abnormally as it has a massive aftereffect on your bike’s performance, and alike added so now that best of us are active absolutely low pressures. Let’s say, aloof as an example, that your weight, tire, and area beggarly that 25 psi would be an ideal pressure. So you usually adopt it at 25 psi, but now let’s say that you don’t ride your bike for a few days… Can you absolutely aloof go for addition ride afterwards blockage it? I achievement not, because you could accept a actual altered acquaintance if your tires accept absent as little as aloof a few psi, let abandoned way more. The added the rider, or if they’re almost failing tires, the added the burden cogwheel will matter; it’s abnormally important if you’re application low-volume elastic with adjustable sidewalls.
Am I crazy? Maybe a little, but there hasn’t been a distinct ride over the aftermost decade or added area I haven’t arrested or adapted my annoy burden afore branch out. To do that, I use Topeak’s $65 USD Shuttle Digital (there’s an analog adaptation as well) gauge. This little guy has a alternating head, air drain button, a valve lock to advice authority it on, and you can alike affix your pump (which I never do) for an inline system. I accumulate one in my accessory bag that comes with me on alley trips, addition in the car, addition in the Jeep, one by the advanced door, one in my shop, and one in the washroom.
Price: $65 USDMore information: www.topeak.com
The Hans Dampf Tire
Yeah, I apperceive your WT Minions are really, absolutely good. And yeah, I apperceive the Assegai is stickier than hot glue. But I additionally apperceive that aback it comes to aisle bikes, you ability be bigger served allotment article that offers a added applicable antithesis of weight, rolling speed, and traction. I’d additionally altercate that putting too abundant annoy on a bike is one way to ruin its character; account 1,300-gram elastic on your 120mm bike that never sees aces area or acceleration to accomplish the best of your tractor tires. Congrats, your bike is not abandoned slower appealing abundant everywhere, but additionally added difficult to get off the ground. There are exceptions (reliability, of course), but it’s kinda like how you don’t appetite to over-tire your sports car. Or like how putting 2.0″ cross-country tires on your decline bike would end badly.
Aaaaaanyway, my go-to 29″ annoy for accomplishing all the things on my aisle bike is Schwalbe’s Hans Dampf, finer in a 2.35″ amplitude (because that’s all you need) and in the softest compound. I’m consistently cerebration about versatility, abnormally aback it comes to tires, and Hans gives me the appropriate mix of weight, rolling speed, and absorption for area I ride. I can put on a set in the average of a torrentially wet bounce division and not be let down, or I can run them through the summer as a mid-weight all ’rounder. The case is additionally able abundant for me to run low psi aback it’s apathetic and slippery, or up too aerial afterwards them activity terrible. There are bigger tires aback it’s muddy, or if you’re activity mach-enduro over pointy rocks, or if you abandoned affliction about descending, but that’s not how I think.
Thing is, tires accept to be the basic that gets in our arch the most; I’ve had riders abundant slower than myself ask how I’m alike still alive, meanwhile they haven’t arrested the burden in their bald-ass whatevers for six months. The cons account is short, but there’s no accepting about the actuality that I tend to allotment ’em added generally than those Maxxis tires I antic about. And both brand’s tires amount too much. Also, not actuality added of a specialist annoy agency they’re not the best at anything.
Okay, a abnegation here: Smith sponsors the Field Tests and food us with helmets and glasses, including the ones I’m about to burst about. But if I absent my Forefront 2 and Attack Max glasses tomorrow, I’d arch bottomward to Corsa, my bounded boutique actuality in Squamish, to buy them.
To be honest, while I’d rather not abrasion glasses at all, I’d additionally adopt to not lose an eye. While I’m not hot on the name – is it declared to be inspiring? – these are one of the few glasses that don’t accomplish me feel like either a absolute blockhead called Chad (sorry Chad) or addition who alone drinks tiny, big-ticket coffees and wants you to apperceive it. Instead, I aloof attending like a abhorrent cyclist cutting functional, abhorrent glasses. I’m air-conditioned with that because of the anatomic part; they almost anytime fog and bound bright if they do, it takes abnormal to bandy lenses, and the adjustable fit is, umm adjustable.
There are lighter and windier helmets than the Forefront 2, but as continued as I’m not in the average of a cross-country chase on a hot day, I’m apparently cutting a atramentous and blooming Forefront with MIPS. Aboriginal and foremost, it’s comfortable and provides added aegis than the visor-less lid chase lid @brianpark prefers me not to abrasion to photoshoots (”It looks like a bird on your head.”) He’s not wrong. Speaking of that, I like that the Forefront doesn’t attending like a archetypal bike helmet, with added edges than curves and that aberrant ‘Koroyd’ being in the vents. Downsides: That’s over $500 USD on a helmet and glasses aback there are affluence of added economical choices out there that are aloof as effective.
Much like anybody abroad out there, we started our own podcast this year and it’s been fun seeing it grow, so I’m activity to shout-out one of my claimed favorites. One of my adopted things to do is an aboriginal morning Monday airing afterwards a Grand Prix weekend, rain or shine, because that’s aback I accept to The Race’s (confusing website name, I know) post-race podcast. There are a agglomeration of altered F1 podcasts out there (including F1’s own that annal three times anniversary event) that all action some array of insight, but it’s adamantine to exhausted the boots-on-the-ground advantage from Mark Hughes and the blow of their team. I’ve been afterward F1 aback my aboriginal adolescence and haven’t absent a chase in over twenty years, and I absorb any and all English-speaking advantage that I can find, but there are still times aback I’m thinking, ”Wait, what in the F-duct aloof happened?” The aggregation at The Chase consistently sorts it out afterwards added ambagious me, though, which isn’t an accessible feat.
They additionally do a abundant job of non-race podcasts accoutrement tech, rules, politics, and annihilation abroad activity on, as able-bodied as additionally accomplishing the tech-focused Gary Anderson Show and retro-minded Bring Aback V10s podcasts. If you’re an F1 fan new or old, you’ll adore The Race’s podcasts.