I recently got a package from BikeMine, and it contained Vittoria's new PitStop sealant/inflator.
This thing is a mere 70g and will inflate a tubular to 94psi and a clincher to 87psi. The sealant permanently seals the puncture and will go on to seal any new punctures for up to three months.
I have not needed to use it yet, but I will let you all now the outcome when I do.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I recently got a package from BikeMine, and it contained Vittoria's new PitStop sealant/inflator.
Friday, June 23, 2006
I've been riding FSA's RD-600 for a little while now and thought I'd write a few thoughts:
I really, really like the way they look.
The third flange is distinctive.
The wheels also ride well, that is, they aren't harsh, but are plenty stiff.
It'd be nice if those HUGE decals were reflective, a la Mavic.
I have to true them already.
My brakes are grabby and pulse -- I don't think this is the brakes fault, but I'm looking into that possibility.
They don't spin up as fast as I'd like, or like lighter wheels, but they feel plenty fast when I'm not accellerating.
As far as the pulsing brake issue, I'll be swapping out the pads and cleaning the rim surface even though the pads are new and the rim is clean. I hope it's the Shimano pads and not a fault of the machining in the rim.
Posted by James at 2:24 PM
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
I've been trying to come up with lyrics to the tune of 'Yellow Brick Road' to signify my retirement of my HAC4, but alas, I am no songwriter.
You see, the problem is functions... I mean, it's got plenty and to spare. The problem isn't with useability -- after using it for two years, I got pretty comfortable with it. No, the problem is with the batteries. There are three of them -- one in the watch, one in the handlebar clamp and one in the sensor pickup located on the fork. That there are so many aren't a problem either. It isn't that hard to swap them out. The problem is that after changing the watch battery, the unit might or might not work. Or it might work for a little while, then die, prompting a new round of fresh batteries. Only to have those die when you need it most. The fact is, the computer is unreliable, and reliability is something I'd expect out of a $400 computer.
Oh well. To be honest, I will miss many of the features. The power reading was worthless, since it is calculated and not measured, but I liked the altimiter and heart rate functions very much.
Posted by James at 9:51 AM
Monday, June 19, 2006
I've written before about the pinch that the cycling industry is under due to a lack of carbon fiber. Well, I got an email today from M2Racer. Rather than re-write it, I'll just ctrl-C/ctrl-V and you can read it yourself.
In the past few weeks, M2RACER’s supply of high modulus prepreg carbon
fiber has been shut off due to the heavy worldwide military and aerospace
use. Carbon fiber is used in nearly 50% of the M2RACER product lineup. In
addition, the price of titanium and exotic aluminum alloys that we use has
nearly tripled in the past 18 months. Due to the unavailability of carbon
fiber and excessive material cost increases, M2RACER can no longer be able
to provide our valued customers with lightweight, high performance, and
well priced cycling components.
M2RACER truly appreciates the enthusiastic support we have received from
our distributors, dealers, and customers.
M2RACER will close its doors permanently at the end of June 2006. Until
then, we will continue to service our customers with our very limited
Thank you all for your patronage and the privilege of having worked with you.
While many of their products were way, way out of my price range, I liked what they were attempting to do.
The real question is "who is next?"
Posted by James at 11:23 AM
Friday, June 16, 2006
James Huang is on a roll! Check out his preview of the 2007 Sram Freeride and All Mountain forks and components.
This stuff wasn't shown at Sea Otter so I haven't yet seen it in person, but based on his write up, it looks promising for those of you who crave more and better suspension. Notebly, the Totem -- below -- has 40mm stanchions. BIG, I tell you. That is what Fox is using on their dual crown downhill fork, the 40.
So check out the rest of the write up; there's some good things happening at Sram.
Posted by James at 11:50 AM
Monday, June 12, 2006
I ride in the dark quite a bit, but there is almost always one thing that happens on every night ride... it rains. You see, I ride in the dark, mostly, in the winter and here in Oregon, in the winter means in the rain. Well, lately I've been working way, way too many hours -- you can tell by the lack of consistent posting and, maybe, poorer content -- but I still need to get my riding time. I have products to review and stress to work out. Oh, and I need some fun.
So T. calls me on Saturday, after I get home -- yes I am even working weekends -- and asks if I'd like to ride. I say sure, but have things around the house to do. Following the chores, we head out to a local, rather difficult, trail. It's 10pm and we have a 35 minute drive to the trailhead. I've got a HID (L&M Arc Li-Ion) on the bars and the DiNotte 5W on my helmet. He's got a HID (L&M Arc) on the bars and a DiNotte 3W on his helmet. It's not raining.
Interlude: Riding the dark without rain ROCKS. Now, back to the story.
Normally I run a spot on my helmet and a flood on the bars. This time, however, due to the nature of the DiNotte -- love these things for helmet lights, so light and small-- it makes a wider beam that doesn't penetrate as far as the HID. So I aim it for the short distance and fire the HID further in front. This is a great combo. This gives me excellent peripheral vision, far away illumination and right in front illumination. This is especially helpful on the trail we were riding since it has numerous switchbacks, is very rooty and you can pick up quite a bit of speed.
In fact, I like this setup so much I doubt I'll be going back to a spot beam on my helmet -- quick note, even though the lens on the DiNotte 5W is the same as the 3W, the 5W has a much broader beam.
If you haven't ridden at night recently, dig out your lights, charge them up, put the kids to bed and go have fun!
Posted by James at 2:07 PM
Thursday, June 08, 2006
There is a new article posted on Cyclingnews.com by James Huang of AngryAsian fame. This particular article is an intro to a longer bit of research to try and determine -- somewhat scientifically, he does have an engineering background after all -- the benefits and detriments to 26-inch and 29-inch mountain bike wheels. He makes some good pionts in the article, but that won't keep me from putting in my two cents.
First, let me state this up front, I have ridden exactly one 29" wheeled bike -- I recounted to make sure. There is a reason for this, and I'll get to it in a minute. Second, I am not opposed to them, per se, rather I feel that they -- like single speeds, full rigid, full suspension, road bikes, mtn bikes, 'cross bikes, etc -- have a place. That place might not be under me, that's all.
29" bikes essentially use road wheels (700c) and wrap them with HUGE tires. The effective outer diameter is around 29". As James points out, this alters the geometry of the bikes in order to fit the larger wheels/tires.
This is where I, personally, have issue with them. Often, propenants of the larger tires say that they are better for everyone. Not true. They might be better for me, but I'm at the small end of those that can fit bikes with the large wheels. Now, I'm not a giant at 5'8" -- on a good day, when I'm wearing shoes and thinking tall thoughts -- but I'm not miniscule either. However, adjust a bike for 29" wheels and I get poor standover, longer wheelbases, and generally not ideal handling. It's like really small road bikes with 700c wheels. They don't look right and the angles seem to be off, just to fit the wheels.
While a problem for me, this, I think, is where the wheels shine for taller people. They allow the bike to be sized up correctly. Taller frames, taller wheels. Just remember that everything needs to be adjusted too. Brake rotors need to be bigger, or the same brake doesn't slow you as well as with smaller tires. The gearing will be harder, too. Once everything is adjust, for the larger wheels, though, the bike could be a faster rolling one.
Oh, and the lucky dog, he gets to ride two custom Seven hardtails.
Posted by James at 3:36 PM
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Cranks and Front Derailleurs this time.
As suspected, the new middle ring is carbon fiber and titanium. Also, the new rings share the same bolt patterns as the XT and LX cranksets.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2007 Shimano XTR – Phase III
Crankset & Front Derailleurs
Irvine, CA: Rounding out the new product debut for 2007 Shimano XTR is the FC-M970 Hollowtech II crankset and ultra-rigid FD-M970 / M971 front derailleurs. New XTR takes the critical triad of weight, performance, and durability even further than the well received current generation system with a new design and incorporating exotic materials. New XTR will be available fall 2006.
Incorporating the benefit of rigidity with minimal weight of the Hollowtech II combined bottom bracket and crankset system, the new FC-M970 manages to drop even more weight while increasing shifting performance and durability
* Patent-protected chain ring design means unmatched shifting performance
o Market standard front shifting performance (when combined with a Shimano front derailleur) is taken even further by the precision molding and machining of the composite carbon fiber and titanium middle chainring and greater rigidity of the outer chainring.
* Enhanced durability
o The titanium teeth of the middle chainring along with the nickel plated chain interface surface of the outer ring combine to a conservative 100% increase in durability over prior generation XTR chainrings.
* More precise bearing adjustment
o The new left hand crank arm mounting system provides a higher integrity solution that creates more precise bottom bracket bearing adjustment, extending the bearing life while keeping rotating resistance to a minimum.
* Lighter weight and more versatile
o Even with all of the additional benefits over prior generations, the new FC-M970 shaves even more weight from the current model thanks to the new crank mounting and the composite carbon fiber / titanium middle chainring. The 44-32-22 rings also share the same bolt pattern as other popular Shimano cranksets such as XT and LX.
FD-M970 (top swing)/M971 (down swing):
Fresh front derailleur designs compliment the new crankset and continue to provide the most confident front shifting available.
* Wide pivots
o The extra wide pivots of the M970 create a rigid structure that ensures assertive shifting as well as longer pivot life
* Multi-clamp and variable cable routing for maximum versatility
o Using a multi-clamp design as well as an adaptable top or bottom cable pull mount create a once size fits all front derailleur
2007 XTR coming October 1st, 2006.
I've said it before, I can't wait to get my hands on this stuff! Competition between SRAM and Shimano is only yielding innovations for the end comsumer. Though, to be honest, I wonder if they had to pay Stan Lee anything for using the X-Men symbol on their components?
Posted by James at 8:08 AM