Toys for the Two Wheeled Set (and the well heeled)


It doesn’t matter what you ride or how you ride, this is the time of year when the bike biz incites your lust for new stuff.

Whether you ride in shorts or a skinsuit, with hairy legs or shaved, in chunky shoes or carbon kicks, there is almost certainly something in the bike mags that’s got you drooling. There was so much good stuff at the Sea Otter Classic we needed a bib. Everywhere we looked, we saw something that had us reaching for our wallets.

Here’s a small sampling of the stuff that made our list.

Pactimo, Day of the Dead Jersey

If you’re looking to stand out from the pack – and what cyclist wrapped from head to toe in what their friends affectionately call “Spandex” isn’t – look no further than Pactimo’s limited-edition designer jerseys. The Denver-based outfit works with a laundry list of designers, some of whom actually have cycling backgrounds, to deliver wearable art that works.

“You can show up on a ride with something completely different than anybody else has,” said Karl Heidgen, VP of Custom Sales. “Keep it different.”

Pactimo’s been making gear for eight years, and started with a simple idea: Focus on custom kits for individual riders, smallish teams and their private label business. The designer gallery is an opportunity to engage their growing customer base without the hassle of going into the retail space.

The vibrantly colorful Day of the Dead kit designed by Arlene Pederson is available in a jersey with a matching bib for men and jersey/shorts for women. Other designers who’ve worked with Pactimo include Gregory Klein, Kristin Mayer and Miguel Paredes.

Want one? Better move fast. Each design is limited to 100 pieces.



Colnago C59 Disc

If there was ever any concern that disc brakes would look like hell on a road bike, check out the Colnago C59 Disc. We couldn’t take our eyes off it. It’s a thing of beauty.

Colnago took the C59 and redesigned the chainstays and fork to compensate for the force of braking moving downward from the traditional brake locations. What the bike gains in weight beefing up the frame and fork has been matched (almost) by the weight saved by running discs over traditional road brakes. Look for the weight to keep falling as the technology improves.

So far Colnago isn’t saying whether we’ll see the C59 Disc as a frameset or complete bike, and it definitely did not mention price.


Smith Pivlock V2 Max

Pivlock shades may not be the trendiest-looking shades, but if you prefer function to form, Smith has you covered.

The Pivlock was designed specifically for athletes, which means you can keep your eyes on the road regardless of what the terrain throws at you. They feature an adjustable nosepiece to keep ‘em where you want ‘em and three sets of lenses: clear, rose and dark. Changing lenses is a snap, too.

They come in a variety colors and are available in the smaller Pivlock V2.



Moots MX Divide

Moots is no Johnny-come-lately to the big wheel game. It arguably was the first to the table a dozen years ago with the YBB 29er, and it’s upping the ante with the MX Divide.

“Our goal was to build a really well-balanced cross-country and recreational bike,” said company president Rob Mitchell.

Moots drew from its long history of lustworthy mountain rides when designing the MX Divide. It is one oversized titanium tube after another, beautifully welded by builders who can only be called craftsmen. The front triangle joins the rear end via a carbon link, keeping weight down and stiffness up. The ride is plush throughout its four inches of travel, with minimal bobbing.

We can’t wait for Moots to send us one for a thorough and thoughtful review. (Rob, you still have our number, right?)

$4995 frame


Patterson Transmission

If you have been thinking about a belt-driven commuter bike but concerned about being locked into a bike with meager gearing choices, stop worrying. Patterson’s just doubled your choices.

The Transmission is a two-speed planetary crankset, with internal gearing equivalent to 28- and 45-tooth chainrings. The crankset has been available in a chain version for about a year, and the new belt drive converter lets you run a Gates carbon drive. It couldn’t be easier, too.

“It’s like a Mr. Potato Head,” said Sam Patterson, who invented it. “You can yank one piece off and slide another one on. Super simple inside.”

Dave Lev of TI Cycles used a belt-drive Transmission on the rig that won “Best Experimental Bike” at this year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show. We saw a few other manufacturers chatting Patterson up at Sea Otter, so you’ll probably see them showing up on other rides soon.



Cardo Communications System

Trying to chat up your riding buddy can be a frustrating experience. Even chatting up the stoker on your tandem can be a challenge. It doesn’t have to be.

Cardo has been making motorcycle Bluetooth communication systems since 2002. You can see where this is going – the company has designed a helmet-to-helmet system specifically for bicyclists. It can accommodate three riders, and with a range of half a mile, they’ll hear you complaining about the pace before you fall off the back for good.

Once they’ve dropped you, you can pair your headset to any Bluetooth device so you can listen to your iPod or call home and ask for a ride.

$269.95 single / $469.95 pair


Yeti SB95

Spotting this at Sea Otter was a bit like catching a glimpse of Bigfoot – we’ve heard it existed, but never expected to see it.

Yeti’s big-wheeler is so hot the Golden, Colorado, company can’t build ‘em fast enough. And for good reason. This is a bike you can spend all day on, riding just about everything from technical twisties to fast fire roads. Built using Yeti’s very own Switch Technology and redesigned with the 29er platform in mind, this five-inch trail bike looks to be loads of fun. The SB95 has a low top tube providing ample stand-over height, it’s through-axle compatible and has short chainstays. This bike would be great for riders transitioning from a 26er.

“It’s pretty damn fun and it will make you faster on a lot of trails,” said Dave Ziegman, Yeti R&D/Test Rider.

Want one? The line starts behind us.



Kappius Hubs

How many points of contact are enough?

Russ Kappius kept asking himself this question, mostly because he didn’t think guys like Shimano have enough in their rear cassettes. He gave the whole design a serious rethink and came up with his own number. That number is 240. (even my favourite Chris King Hubs only have 45 teeth)

That’s an astronomical figure, given that the average rear hub has between 18 and 36 and even the incredibly awesome Industry Nine Hubs have 120. To accomplish this, Kappius redesigned the hub, clearing out the area beneath the cogset to install an oversize spline. That spline sits atop an externally mounted drive. We’re still wrapping our heads around it, but Kappius claims the system is stronger, with less play and better power transfer.

The goal was building a bombproof hub that doesn’t weigh a ton and is super easy to use. He appears to have succeeded; his mountain bike hub weighs 269 grams, and the cassette slips right on. No chainwhip or cog tool required.

And the sound? Oh, the sound. It’s like angry bees on steroids. We’re not sure our riding partners will like it, but we love it.

$699 rear / $299 front


Shimano Shadow Plus

Shimano is trickling down the rear derailleur stabilization tech from its flagship XTR mountain group to those of us without sacks of cash to spend on gear. The new Shadow Plus system promises fewer dropped chains, better control, less slap and a quieter ride.

What’s not to like?

Well, the tech carries a heftier price and a bit more weight than the current Shimano offerings. But they believe the advantages outweigh the drawbacks and the resulting shifting stability makes switching a no-brainer.

Of course, SRAM offers similar technology, called the Roller Bearing Clutch. So there is that.


Camelbak, All Clear

Few things suck more than having to drink nasty water or not being able to drink it at all. Camelbak is here to help with a UV system that purifies water in just 60 seconds.

It couldn’t be easier. The UV bulb is built into the cap. Pour in water, turn the indicator on, swirl the whole thing around a few times and wait. An LCD screen tells you when you’re good to go.

Camelbak says the system eliminates more than 99.9 percent of bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Yummy!



Danny Shane, Cross-Hybrid polo

Danny Shane’s been making jerseys for about two years and introduces the Cross-hybrid polo, a top designed to be worn after you get off the bike. A fashion piece, if you will.

Each jersey is infused with white ash, produced by burning bamboo, and said to be breathable, light and stink-resistant. We tried one, and everything Danny Shane says is true. These jerseys are comfy. And plaid. Very, very plaid.

“We’re really inspired by the European cycling culture,” said sales manager Christian Beer. “Argyle has been popular, but nobody has done the plaid before.”


Intense Hard Eddie

Intense made its rep building big-travel bikes for the downhill set, so it’s a surprise to see it wandering into hardtail, 29er territory. Hard Eddie is a bike those of us who aren’t into big air can love.

Hard Eddie frame comes in at impressive 2.7 lbs, with 135 mm, 142 mm or single-speed rear dropouts. Regardless of whether you’re building a lightweight single speed or put a freeride rig with 100 mm of travel, you’re covered. This is a smoking-hot package from a bike company with legit cred.

$1889 frame / $430 rigid fork


Teva Links Mid

To anyone who was actually around in the 1980s, the thought of Tevas being at all cool may seem wrong on many levels. But the company has come out with a freeride mountain-specific cycling shoe that is, dare we say it, fashionable and functional.

The Links Mid is, as the name suggests, a mid-height cut of the brand’s popular Link mountain shoe. It’s got flexible armor across the toe, a sole designed to play well with pedals and something called ion-mask technology to make them waterproof.

Light, comfortable and stylish? Yes. Seriously. Look for them by the end of May in any color you like as long as it’s black.



2013 Giant Anthem X Advanced 29er

The number-one-selling full suspension bike in Giant’s stable gets a revamp for 2013. The top-of-line version now has a carbon fiber front triangle and is lighter, stiffer and sexier.

The Anthem X slimmed down and stiffened up. Giant claims the new frame is 7 percent stiffer up front. The headset is the super-beefy Overdrive2, and the impressive girth of the downtube makes it appear the Anthem will take anything you throw at it. This is one stunningly attractive race-ready ride, with a claimed weight of 23 pounds.

It’s also insanely expensive. The range-topping Anthem X Advanced 0 will run you $8,900.

“The catch, if you will, with composites is obviously price, so we will continue to sell the aluminum version,” said Andrew Juskaitis, Giant marketing. “It’s the hand labor that goes into producing a frame like this. There’s no way around it. There is no way to automate it. This is something that takes a long time to build by hand.”

Road Racing – how exciting can an end of stage be?

this was very exciting … watch from about the 45min mark….

Iljo Keisse (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won a dramatic stage 7 at the 2012 Tour of Turkey in the city of Izmir, surviving a crash on the final bend with 1km to go.

Keisse attacked his six breakaway companions 6km from the finish and held a 40-second lead over a charging peloton into the last turn when disaster struck. While gingerly making his way alone around the sharp bend, nonetheless Keisse’s front wheel slid out sending the 29-year-old Belgian to the tarmac. The picture of calm, Keisse picked himself up off the pavement, put his chain back on and sped onwards down the final straight to the finish.

All of the Belgian’s breakaway companions were swept up inside the flamme rouge, but Keisse managed to just hold off the surging pack led by Marcel Kittel and Alessandro Petacchi to secure the biggest victory of his career and continue his team’s excellent run of form in 2012.

“I’m over the moon about this victory,” Keisse said. “Here in Turkey my condition is improving day by day. Every day I was a little bit better. Also yesterday I tried to get in the breakaway without luck. Today I chose the right move. The guys in the break were really motivated. In the final I felt strong. I knew that If I kept going on it was possible to arrive until the finish.”

Bulgaria’s Ivailo Gabrovski (Konya Torku Seker Spor) remains at the top of the general classification, 1:33 up on second-placed Alexandr Dyachenko (Astana) and 1:38 ahead of Danail Andonov Petrov (Caja Rural).

The Tour of Turkey concludes on Sunday with a 121km stage in Istanbul.

heart in mouth time

Pedal on Parliament Edinburgh

pedal on parliament was amazing. Came across from Glasgow on the train

best kind of luggage

and then joined up with another Brompton rider who showed me a nice way down to Leith on the cycle path (old railway)

Joined up with a feeder ride in Leith

small leith feeder ride

then on to the park where the crowds got bigger and bigger

an hour before the start and already 1000 bikes

then a wait for the off

clogged meadow road

then down the royal mile

clogged pt2

and eventually to parliament where we could barely hear a word of the speeches on a feeble PA … but message to holyrood is strong if a bit silent …

FROM Pedal on Parliament SITE Just wow. When PoP thought of this we wondered if we might get 300 riders out. Then we raised our sights a little and started to hope we’d see a thousand. As we stood at the top of Middle Meadow Walk and saw the bikes come pouring in from all directions we began to think we’d started something big but we didn’t know how big until the head of the ride reached Holyrood while the back was still leaving the Meadows. The police’s conservative estimate was that 2,500 of you were out there pedalling on Parliament and we suspect it might be even more. In fact, we think that more people turned out to ride with us than have even signed the petition, showing the depths of feeling that was out there among people to see safer cycling.

2012-04-28 14.51.33

There will be more as we digest all the great photos and videos, blog posts and testimonies that have been pouring in since the moment the ride started to assemble in the Meadows. We’d like to thank you all who turned out – not just for turning out but for being such a great, good natured and patient crowd. We’d like to thank the police for their assistance at a ride that turned out to be up to ten times larger than they were expecting. And, with a few grumpy exceptions we’d like to thank the people of Edinburgh for allowing us to have our moment in the sun – and in many cases, cheering us on.

Please, keep posting your pictures on our Flickr group and adding your stories on the Facebook group, keep tweeting them your videos and blog posts, and keep signing the petition(which will be up for a few weeks yet before we formally lodge it with the Scottish Government. And keep watching this space – we need to keep in contact because, for all the warm words from our politicians at Holyrood today, changing government policy to bring about the real changes needed to make Scotland a cycle friendly country. We’ll let you know what happens next soon, but for now the (exhausted) people who brought you Pedal on Parliament are going to have an early night…