A couple of weeks ago, we took in delivery of the new Specialized Venge Pro Force. The Venge is Specialized aero road bike that is setup to compete with rides like the Ridley Noah, Giant Propel, Cervelo S5 and other road bikes aimed at bringing aero technology from TT and Tri bikes to road racing frames. With the decreased drag and resistance, the bike is designed to cut through air with precision.
Specialized Venge Right Profile
About the Venge (from Specialized.com):
The VENGE is a pure-science mind wrapped in a lay-down-the-law body. With a one-two punch of Shiv-inspired aerodynamics and Tarmac-borne stiffness, this machine was born to fly. With multiple World Tour victories under its belt, the FACT IS 11r carbon frame and supreme handling delivers the winning formula of light weight, stiff and aero. With a measured 22 watts of free power at 40km/hr over the Tarmac SL3, it’s tailor-made for serious performers who like to crush competitors’ dreams and break spirits into tiny pieces.
Specialized Venge Front Profile
Features (from Specialized.com):
The Venge Pro’s competition-crushing combo of Tarmac-inspired stiffness and light weight with Shiv-inspired aerodynamics makes this pure race machine truly more bike than aero. A full compliment of SRAM Force components means high value and high performance.
UCI-legal, FACT IS 10r frameset, full-monocoque carbon frame with one-piece carbon OSBB/chainstay, internal cable routing, and tapered head tube provides the complete performance formula for weight, stiffness and aerodynamics
UCI-legal, full carbon monocoque fork with 3:1 airfoil shaping and straight profile for best combination of aerodynamics and stiffness
Specialized Pro FACT Carbon crankset with oversided BB and removeable spider, has an unparalleled stiffness to wieght ratio for efficiency and power transfer
Specialized Turbo Pro 127 TPI, offers BlackBelt protection for a tough tire that still offers low rolling resistance, great traction, and light weight to allow for quick climps and fast decents
Stiff, light, UCI-legal bladed carbon seatpost; pairs with Specialized BG Romin Expert with hollow Ti rails for durability
SRAM Force Hood
This version of the Venge is kitted out with a host of Specialized components and the complete SRAM Force component group (minus the cranks in favor of the Specialized Pro FACT carbons). Overall weight without pedals and the stock aluminum bar (Easton EA90 Aero review bar already installed as pictured) came in at 15 lbs 12 oz for a size 58. With this component group at that size, that is more than respectable.
Over the coming months, we are going to be using this bike to review road bike components and to review the bike itself. Stay tuned as we start putting the miles on for more updates. After the shakedown…we can tell you that this bike likes to cut through air much more than the Tarmac did…but that was to be expected.
With Strava and other GPS platforms, our phones have become a vital part of capturing our rides. After looking through some options, the guys at RockForm sent over one of their new v3 iPhone 5 mounts with case to review. I will be putting the mount and case through its paces on both our commuter bike, and also strapping it to the mountain bike to see how it performs off road on some rough singletrack. The RockForm mount attaches to your fork and replaces your top cap. Then the case covers your phone securely and snaps into the mount using a quarter turn system and a little magnet that’s integrated into the case. It’s a pretty ingenious solution and easy to install and setup for your preferred viewing angle.
Out of the box, the mount and case look great. Everything that you need is included, labeled well, and packaged nicely. It came with:
- The top cap mount, including a new bolt.
- A solid surface “remote” mount that you can mount to any surface (like a car dashboard)
- A tether for the “just in case” moments on the bike
- The iPhone case, including a rubber surround
- Screen protector, wipe, and alcohol pad for install
Everything necessary to clean, install, and mount
To start with, I really like the case itself. It’s a nice hard plastic case so it protects the phone on all sides, but it’s not so bulky as to take away from the iPhone’s size. Also, the magnet portion on the back side of the case has a rubber coating, so the case sits nicely on a desk or solid surface. Other full plastic cases slide really easily and I really like how this one sits solidly. Lastly, the magnet is a really cool feature. Since it’s coated in rubber, it doesn’t hurt or mar any surfaces, but it has an strong enough attraction to attach itself to steel surfaces. I’ve used it to hang my phone temporarily on my toolbox in the garage and also place it on the roof of my car and have full confidence that it won’t slide off. It’s a very cool, unexpected feature of the case, and I really like it.
I got the case installed on my shiny new iPhone 5 and the mount installed on the commuter bike to start with. I have a pretty short commute (3 miles each way, but I usually do some extra credit so it ends up being a 10 mile round trip) but it passes through our local city park and I do hop on/off a couple of curbs and sidewalks, so its a good test for the commuter application. The mount uses a quarter turn system, sort of similar (but MUCH more durable looking) to the Garmin mount, and then “snaps” into place using the small magnet on the back of the case. It’s a solid interface, easy to put into place, and feels very secure. You get a nice reassuring ”click” sort of sound when it goes into place.
Comes with everything needed to install. Impressive.
I haven’t yet used the full removable rubber bumper or the on the bike tether, as I feel just the plastic case is enough for my day to day use and on the commuter. I do plan on using both of those when I strap the iPhone to my Trek Remedy and hit the singletrack though.
The only drawback I found to the mount is that I now that I have such easy access to my technology, I caught myself texting and riding a couple of times, and also jumping on an email or facebook while sitting at a stoplight. It’s super easy to get distracted!
We will continue using the mount and case on the commuter and seeing how it holds up to more wear and tear, and shortly we’ll strap it to our big hit bike and test it out on the trails. Look for the full in depth review coming soon!
I’m relatively new to the mountain biking scene, only seriously riding bikes for 3 years. I therefore don’t know how it was in the “olden days”, but even 3 years ago, night riding meant buying a $400 light and riding slower than normal for 1.5 hours before the battery went out. Now with the abundance of inexpensive Chinese lights, night riding is a lot more approachable and so many more people can enjoy riding their mountain bike during the short days of fall/winter.
Our riding group was a mix of old and new lights, but recently one of the guys bought a $130 light from Amazon (Lumintrek 1600). Having had two of the “900 Lumen” Magicshine 808 series lights, I thought “meh, it’s not going to be better than my 2 light setup.” Boy was I wrong. It really is a game changer. The beam pattern and pure power of the Lumintrek 1600 light is way better than my Magicshine, and was leaps and bounds better than the older lights the rest of the guys were on. It’s not a total spot beam like the Magicshine, and it’s also not a flood. It seems to be a perfect blend of the two, to where it lights up quite a lot of the trail in front of you, but also let’s you really light up the area you are focused on. The one light is enough to where I can just throw a light on my helmet and don’t need a secondary bar light. Also the battery lasts a full 2.5 hours at high, so you get a great ride in after work. Needless to say, a couple of weeks later, we are all riding with the Lumintrek lights and all the older lights have been retired or sold off.
Luminktrek 1600 on the trail. 1/15s camera shutter so a great representation of what it actually looks like
It’s like a different sport. It’s daylight out there. We’re not any slower than during the day and when you are 3rd in line with those 1600 lumen lights all around, you almost don’t need a light yourself. Now there are a lot of other options in the market other than the Lumintrek light, and many at similar price points, but what really impressed me was the quality of the product, bike mount, battery, and helmet mount all for $130. It allows pretty much anyone, regardless of budget, to go out there and rip it up on their local trail after the sun goes down, which in itself is awesome!
Any of you guys using these inexpensive Chinese lights? What are some of your experiences?
(Editors note: This isn’t a formal review and we were not provided this light by the manufaturer. We were just happy enough with a product to write about it!)
For my whole time racing/riding I’ve used a mix of fluid/gel/food to get me by. While it’s worked, and I haven’t had too many nutritional issues, it sure isn’t convenient. Dealing with used and unused gel packets, wrappers, Clif bars, dosing etc is a pain in the butt. I’ve been looking at the possibility of switching to just a single source of energy, and when I heard about Tailwind Nutrition I was excited to try it, as it seemed like a product aimed directly at me. It’s a single endurance drink that gives you everything you need, and nothing you don’t. It is supposed to be easy on your gut, easy to drink (even after 6+ hours on the bike), and hydration bladder friendly (a must for long training rides).
Here at Bike198 we got some samples from Tailwind and we’ll be putting them through the paces during training and racing. The idea of it sounds awesome, and in my opinion, it has a bit of an advantage over it’s main competitor (Infinit Nutrition) as it is very camelback friendly, has easier dosing options for easy/medium/hard rides, and is slightly cheaper. Tailwind also does not have any protein in it’s drink, as according to it’s website, it can cause stomach issues in endurance athletes. Lastly, compared with a similar dose of Infinit (~250 calorie portion) is has more Sodium (750mg vs 380mg), same Carbs, more Magnesium (37mg vs 23mg), and more Calcium (63mg vs 30mg). On paper, it sounds like a winner.
I’ve now tried Tailwind on 2 different training rides and have had great results. The first ride was a quick “trial by fire” as it was a Performance Test I was doing as part of my training routine. It was a short ride (30 minute warm up, 20 minute test, 30 minute cool down) and I did one bottle of 2.5 scoops. Solid energy the whole time, but I wasn’t expecting to have issues. The next test was a bit longer as it was a 4.5 hour training ride this past Saturday. I put in 10 scoops of Tailwind into my 100oz camelback expecting to drink 20oz and 200 calories per hour. I brought some energy gels as backups, but didn’t have to use them. I felt good the whole ride and never ran out of energy. The taste is this mix of sweet/salty that kept me coming back and I never got tired of it the whole time. It comes in 3 different flavors, so we’ll see if Orange and Berry are as good as the Lemon one I’ve had so far.
I’m looking forward to using Tailwind exclusively as fuel for my training and racing. With my weight (170lbs) I plan on consuming around 150-200 calories for my longer training rides, and 250 during racing efforts. If things go well, this will be the end of my having to deal with gels, Clif bars, and other random things I have to hunt down and eat during my riding. I’ll keep you guys up to date with how the longer training rides are going, as I have a couple of 5-6 hour rides planned in the next 2 weeks.
Last but not least, Tailwind Nutrition is so sure of it’s product, it offers the Tailwind Challenge. “It’s simple: if Tailwind Endurance Fuel doesn’t make you stronger, happier, and less stressed while you train and at your next event, we’ll pay your race fee.” That’s a pretty bold statement and I like the fact they put their money where their mouth is and back up their product.
Earlier this year, Cervo Rosso came to us with a set of their Swiss National Pride jersey and Strada bibs for review on Bike198. Since then, this high end jersey and bib combo has been through everything ranging from century road rides to cross country mountain bike events in an attempt to see what they could take. After all the abuse and trips through the washing machine, we are ready to let you guys know what we think…
Who is Cervo Rosso?
Cervo Rosso is a cycling apparel company based out of Switzerland with manufacturing done in Italy founded with the goal of making the best possible apparel for cyclists.
Our values respect the needs of discerning riders who want to perform at their very best in absolute comfort all year round. Looking exceptional in a unique and classic design come as an added bonus.
The passion they have for cycling is readily apparent in your dealings with the company and the pride they take in every piece of cycling apparel that Cervo Rosso manufactures. With a wide range of options from short sleeve jerseys to wool winter garments, they have you covered and ready to hammer all year long.
Review: Cervo Rosso National Pride Jersey
The first thing you notice when you get out the National Pride Jersey is the almost silky feeling material. The lyrca SPORT and polyester combo is some of the best feeling fabric we have ever worn.
This jersey is designed to optimally support you during high intensity and longer duration rides. Made from the MITI TECH POWER, the Short Sleeve National Pride incudes a Lycra SPORT front panel that gives the jersey an exceptional body fit cut and feel, whilst the rear portion of the jersey utilises a cross construction of polyester that provides exceptional vertical moisture transportation capacity. This simply means that the jersey remains dry and ensures low moisture retention.
What this creates is an extremely well fitting jersey that doesn’t feel too tight or too loose. It just seems to fit perfectly and feels great when worn.
A great feature that we found on this jersey was the sleeves. While the elastic arm grippers are a great bonus (no wrinkly elastic…just rubber like grippers that keep them in place), the best feature of the sleeves was actually the fact that they were slightly longer than all of the other jerseys we have tested in the past. If cycling tan lines are a descent measurement, we would guess that the sleeves descended about an inch father down our arms which resulted in a more comfortable fit that didn’t move while riding.
The National Pride jersey comes with your conventional 3 pocket rear setup that held bottles and other much needed ride items securely.
During the summer months in Georgia, the National Pride jersey was surprisingly cool given the black color combo. The material expelled heat quickly while drying out just as fast. This kept our cores cool during 100 degree climbs in the mountains. Under a little bit cooler weather (around 60-70 degrees F), the material still did a great job of shielding wind, so there is a wide range of temperatures that this jersey is capable of protecting your body against.
If we had one gripe about the National Pride jersey it would be that you can see your bibs through the white on your back. While this is purely visual and as zero effect on performance, we thought it was still worth noting.
Review: Cervo Rosso Strada Bibs
The Strada bibs from Cervo Rosso are made out of the same great material as the jersey with the same red, black and white design.
Made in the heart of Italy, the Cervo Rosso Team Race Bib-Short MK 2 features 3 panel body fit Xtra Life Lycra construction, flat lock stitching to prevent chafing and the new HG07 TECHNOLOGY insert, providing exceptional ride comfort and antimicrobial protection. With the inclusion of Cervo Rosso elastic grippers to ensure secure fit around the quadriceps, these shorts will stay in place in extreme riding conditions.
The cut of these shorts brings that same level of perfection as the jersey it matches. Once you put them on, it almost feels like the bibs has been molded for your body. There are no areas that feel stretched or bunched up as you start to warm up spinning. While I was worried about the silky feeling material on slicker saddles, the material change in the rear to the matte finish kept my rear on the saddle without feeling excessive slipping.
The chamois (their HG07 insert) is a great combination of long distance comfort while not feeling overpowering. With rides ranging from short mileage sprints to long distance all day events, the chamois never felt too big or not padded enough. For this rider, it also just seemed to work and it was the last thing on my mind while riding.
Unlike the jersey that found a little bit longer sleeves, the Strada bibs did have shorter legs than we were used to. I am 6’1″ tall with a 34″ inseam, so my femur is longer than most. I was told that the newer versions of the bibs did get slightly longer leg lengths so that should help tremendously. I was actually running into situations where the bottoms of the legs wanted to ride up despite the great grippers purely because of the way they interacted with my quads. If they were an inch or two longer, they would have been perfect.
Overall: Cervo Rosso Cycling Apparel
You get spoiled quickly wearing the Cervo Rosso cycling apparel. Just the feeling of the fabric alone is worth the price of admission if you are into high end cycling clothing. When you add the cut and styling (I prefer the red, black, white simplicity), this is a killer combo Cervo Rosso as put together for cyclists. After numerous trips in the washing machine and even a couple of mountain bike wrecks, the National Pride jersey and Strada bibs still look as new as the day they came out of the box.
The Good: Cervo Rosso Cycling Apparel
Incredible materials and cuts
Good for a wide range of temperatures and riding distances
Longer sleeves on jerseys increase comfort and aero
The Bad: Cervo Rosso Cycling Apparel
Price – You have to pay to play
Bib leg length was a little too short for taller riders
COUPON DEAL FOR BIKE198 READERS: Get 10% off the STRADA MK2 Bibs with coupon code “Bike198″ –> Strada MK2 Bibs
If you are looking for the best the cycling industry has to offer, Cervo Rosso should be on your list. Cervo Rosso is also looking for test riders in the US and Europe. If you are interested, follow this link for details.
If you are anything like me, you are always on the search for nutrition bars and supplements to consume on your rides. There are a ton of options on the market, but the trick for every rider is finding something that keeps the pedals moving forward while also working well with your individual stomach needs.
Ever since the conception of the PowerBar, companies have been looking for ways to improve and innovate in a market that is designed to give you more energy and keep your endurance going longer in sports activities.
Review: PureFit Nutrition Bars
The crew over at PureFit Nutrition Bars sent over a handful of different flavors of their bars for testing on Bike198.
I will start by being completely honest. I have a difficult time reviewing nutrition products. Does one really out perform the other? Did I really get increased energy from this bar vs. the other brand? The reality is that it is really hard to tell. I don’t have a lab with perfect conditions or science to back it up. I just get out and ride and see how my body does in reaction to the food I am in taking.
At first glance, the PureFit bars look a lot like the chalky PowerBars of old. However, the taste is much better and while they might look dry…they are actually pretty moist. I didn’t feel like they were completely drying out my mouth on the trail while eating. I did feel the need to take a drink of water afterwards, but I do that will all nutrition items…even the Cliff Bloks.
When done, the weight in your stomach is somewhere between the lightness of a Cliff Blok and heaviness of a Cliff Bar. Personally, I can not eat Cliff Bars while riding due to how heavy they feel in my stomach. Over the course of a ride, the Cliff Bars will actually make me feel sick. The PureFit bars sat in nicely and did not give me the same sensation. That makes these bars a nutrition item that I would actually purchase and use again on rides.
Another thing I really like about the PureFit bars over some of the other alternatives are the ingredients.
PureFit bars do not contain dairy, wheat, gluten, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, or trans fats, so they offer a sound nutritional choice.
I am not an organic eater by any stretch, but the choices PureFit has made in the ingredients they use in their bars means you are getting as much healthy nutrition as possible while also being friendly to a wide range of riders with various health needs. Ironically, they also tend to taste pretty good with a lot of different flavors to make your refueling enjoyable.
I will use the PureFit bars on the trail and road again. Their taste matched with the way they sit in my stomach on rides is very appealing. I get to eat something substantial without the negative side effects of an upset stomach on a ride. The choice of ingredients and portions seemed to keep my energy going on rides, but that is difficult to measure.
If you are a rider that is looking for more than a Blok but do not want something super heavy…this is probably the perfect bar for you as it also tastes pretty good at the same time. Even riders that are used to heavier products like the Cliff Bars might find that this lighter option does just as good of a job. My personal favorite was the Granola Crunch.
Over the past couple of months, we have been riding around on the Enve Composites 45 clincher carbon road rims. These 45mm deep carbon rims are the all around deep dish from Enve (formerly Edge Composites) that promise to be the best balance between shallow climbing rims and really deep dish rims that provide great aero benefits.
About Enve Composites
Evne Composites is based out of Ogden, Utah and all manufacturing, engineering and design is based out those headquarters. That puts Enve the short list of American based manufacturers and designers of bike components that actually still keep everything in the states.
Enve makes an assortment of carbon components, but they are most known for the road and mountain bike wheels that can be seen on anything from Tour de France bikes to World Cup downhill racing. With over 30 years of design experience and history with companies like Specialized, Felt and Easton…Enve knows the industry and bike components.
As mentioned previously, the 45′s are a 45mm deep carbon rim with carbon braking surface that is available in both tubular and clincher variations. For the purposes of this review, we were running the clincher rims on White Industries hubs as provided by Enve for this article. The wheels were ridden on the Specialized Tarmac SL3 review bike.
Enve 45 Specs
Rim Weight: 440g
Weight with DT Swiss 240s hubs: 1,458g
Rim depth: 45mm
Recommended Tire Pressure: 100 – 140 psi
The 440g rim weight puts the Evne 45 puts the overall wheel weight slightly less on 240s hubs than the comparable 303 from Zipp and slightly heavier the Reynolds forty six setup. Pricewise, you are looking at about an $850.00 rim cost which will land you right at the Reynolds and slightly more than the Zipp 303. All three of these setups are very close in weight (for the clincher) and price if you are looking into a full carbon rim setup in the 45mm depth range.
On The Road: Enve Composites 45 Clinchers
The first thing I noticed when I mounted up the Enve 45′s on the Tarmac was how well they matched the bike. Vain I know…but the carbon with white logos looked like they just matched the frame. In typical deep road rim fashion, the 45′s do have large Nascar style logos at three points on the rim surface, but the absence of any color does help them blend in even if slightly more than others.
The wheels were ridden on everything from centuries to local, weekly sprints to get an idea on how they would handle a large range of riding situations. As with most deep dish rims, they will have their strengths and weaknesses…so let’s get into it.
JRA and Climbing With The Enve 45′s
Ideally, the perfect climbing wheel is a shallow dish, really light weight rim. Obviously, the 45mm depth of the 45′s is not ideal, but they did phase wheel on long mountain climbs that were protected by tree cover. The 440g rim spooled up quickly and held momentum well. Power transfer to the ground was efficiently handled through a strong wheel build and stiff design of the rim profile. Under hard stand and hammer situations, you do get the carbon sound as you tweak the bike left and right. That is pretty normal for any deeper carbon rim.
The Enve 45′s handled their absolute best solo with head on and 45 degree angle winds. The deep profile cut through head on winds like a knife and made keeping speed in less than optimal conditions easier. As long as the wind direction did not hit past the 45 degree mark, the wheels continued to cut through and allow for higher averages. Once the wind cut sideways, the 45mm depth and angled cross section ran into trouble. Especially when dealing with cross winds off fields in the open, I felt like I was riding at a steep angle to keep the bike straight. This got multiplied with large gusts as the bike would almost change lanes.
Pace Lining and Descending With The Enve 45′s
Where these wheels really came alive was in pace line and downhill riding. When riding with a group, the wheels literally pull you into the rider in front of you. In smaller groups, I actually found myself apologizing to other riders as I was having to brake to keep from running into the rider in front of me without pedaling. The way these wheels cut through the draft allowing me to save energy for the pull was amazing. It almost felt like I was cheating in comparison to some other wheels I have ridden.
Once you get into long downhill situations, the wheels continued to shine. The low profile deep dish sliced through the air allowing for 5 – 7 mph higher top end speeds and they made for a much more stable bike. The bike tracked straighter and inspired more confidence in extreme leaning turns bike keeping the steering stable and predictable.
The Enve pads (required for the carbon braking surface) did a great job of bringing the bike to a stop. Surprisingly, they didn’t run into a lot of the high pitched squeal you typically hear with carbon braking surface rims. Braking pressure was pretty linear and came on strong even in wet conditions.
Let’s face it…carbon road wheels are not going to be for everyone. The price of this wheelset is close to the average of what most of the industry spends on their entire bike. Given the pricepoint, weight and performance, the Enve 45′s are a really strong contender in the all around 45mm depth market. For my type of riding in the north Georgia mountains (we use the same roads that were in the Tour de Georgia), the 45′s were a perfect mix of aero benefits with minimal drawbacks. If you are in more open, windy areas, you might find that crosswinds make your life a little bit harder with a deeper set like this.
Overall, I’ll miss this wheels as they head back to Enve. The 45′s seemed faster in straight line and descending than the 303′s while the 303′s seemed to handle crosswinds a little bit better due to the nature of their profile. The 45′s matched the bike perfectly and were incredibly fast in my core riding conditions. If they weren’t so expensive…they would have stayed on the bike and would be my choice out of the current 45mm depth offerings.
Good: Enve Composites 45 Clincher
Tire sucking speed in pace lines
Fast and stable in long downhill situations
Predictable, quiet braking
Black/white color combo matches most frame colors
Bad: Enve Composites 45 Clincher
Price – You have to pay to play in carbon
Susceptible to adverse handling in strong crosswinds
To purchase Enve products or check out pricing, click here. You can also request a build from your favorite wheel builder or through Enve direct.
Cervo Rosso is a new apparel line for cyclists that is taking the industry by storm. From magazine covers to your local races, this new high end manufacturer of jerseys, bibs and assorted apparel are looking to up the ante of what is expected of the garments that get you to the end of your ride or race. While the European markets are swallowing up everything Cervo Rosso has to offer, expansion for the company is looking towards US markets to give us a taste of this new cycling apparel brand.
Born and bred in Switzerland, Cervo Rosso captures the bygone era of European cycling by combining the beautiful heritage of the sport with the most technically advanced fabrics and styling available. The end result being performance cycling wear at it’s very best.
What you wear on your bike matters to us
At Cervo Rosso our passion is road cycling. Every Cervo Rosso product is put into the hands of professional riders past and present, where performance and durability are tested to the limit. Additionally styling and design input are provided by those who share an intimate passion for cycling and understand the individual statement performance cycling wear can make. Whether it is competitive racing or inner city commuting, style, passion and performance reflect our product range.
The Cervo Rosso Collection
At Cervo Rosso we source the finest technical fabrics available no matter where they are found in the world. Additionally we manufacture in multiple locations worldwide including New Zealand, Italy and Great Britain. This is a deliberate choice to ensure we have the highest possible level of expertise and technical know how specific to the functional requirement and the fabric included each of products.
First Impression: Cervo Rosso Cycling Apparel
Cervo Rosso sent over their National Pride (Swiss) jersey and the Team bib shorts for review on Bike198. Packed in a nice red bag, these jersey’s and bib’s feel incredible to the touch. A soft, almost silk-like feel to the fabric and extremely high quality stitching really separates these from other kits laying around the office.
Personally, the high contrast, simpler design really plays to my tastes given the more wild designs I have seen on jerseys as of late. The simple red, black and white color scheme with the Swiss cross on the arm band rocks.
We are going to put some miles in on the kit (and numerous trips through the washing machine) to see how they hold up and their comfort level on the road. Stay tuned for more as we put these premium, performance cycling apparel pieces through the paces over the coming weeks.
In the middle of winter, many cyclist’s thoughts turn to …indoor bike trainers. Not because trainers are inherently attractive, but more because their alternative may be a lot less tolerable.
It’s not much fun to pedal your bike through standing road-slush, or to attempt to remain upright on sheets of ice. Of course there are riders in the cycling world who get a kick out of ‘winterizing’ their bikes with homemade studded tires and duct tape reinforced fenders, but a lot of us aren’t quite as compulsive about our bike riding ways.
On the other hand, we’re not willing to throw up our hands and watch the winter weight accumulate around our waists like a jelly roll either. That’s where some well timed indoor bike trainer workouts come in.
Three Basic Types Of Trainers
Indoor bike trainers are categorized into three basic groups, defined by how they create resistance. From least expensive to most expensive, they’re wind trainers, mag trainers, and fluid trainers. Each has their advantages…and of course each has their disadvantages.
Wind Trainers: Loud, Weak, but Foolproof
You can’t get much simpler than wind trainers. The resistance is provided by impellers attached to the roller. There isn’t a lot that can go wrong with a wind trainer, unless it’s so cheaply made that the bearings fail or basic metal parts break.
However, in the eyes of some riders there isn’t too much that can go ‘right’ with a wind trainer either. The two most common complaints are how loud wind trainers are and how little resistance they provide.
The level of sound when the rider’s pedaling hard can be a real problem in tight living quarters, such as an apartment complex. It can get so loud that some cyclists report having to wear earplugs.
For riders intent on getting a strong ‘interval’ style workout, wind trainers may not be appropriate, since they can’t provide extremely high levels of resistance. On the other hand, for riders seeking an easy to moderate ‘steady state’ type resistance workout, they may be adequate.
Mag Trainers Have Come A Long Way
It wasn’t too long ago that tales of discarded mag trainers weren’t hard to find. With more parts to go wrong, and shoddy workmanship, I’ve read old reports of mag trainers leaning to the side, or clanking themselves all the way to the junkyard.
Consumer satisfaction with old school mag trainers was lacking.
That isn’t the case anymore. High end mag trainers like the CycleOps Mag trainer or the Cycleops Magneto trainer are well designed; made using high quality materials and workmanship. In fact, using an innovative design, the Magneto is the only mag trainer on the market that provides progressive resistance…the level of resistance increases naturally as the rider increases their effort, without having to manually change anything on the trainer.
Mag trainers produce their resistance utilizing the opposing forces of magnets.
Fluid Trainers Dominate Now That They Don’t Leak
Fluid bike trainers have established themselves at the top of the heap now that they aren’t plagued with leakage problems. Until Kurt Kinetic came up with a design that allowed them to completely seal off the silicone filled chamber in the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine, fluid trainer owners could count on their trainers eventually starting to spill fluid all over the training room floor.
Fluid trainers are the quietest of the bunch, and they provide resistance that’s most helpful for the cyclist who’s in need of some extreme resistance during high intensity ‘interval’ style workouts.
The resistance from a fluid trainer increases exponentially rather than linearly, so the harder the cyclist works, the more difficult it is to squeak out every extra mile per hour on the trainer.
In simpler terms, it’s a lot harder to increase speed from 24 mph to 25 mph than it is from 14 mph to 15mph. When looking at a speed vs resistance graph for a fluid trainer, the slope get steeper and steeper, until it approaches near vertical at extreme speeds.
There’s Now A Trainer For Just About Any Level Of Rider
The indoor bike trainer world’s evolved sufficiently to now offer a trainer for just about any level of cyclist.
Casual cyclists who don’t want to spend a lot of money, will work out at a mild to moderate intensity, and who value a simple design may gravitate toward a wind trainer.
Mag trainers appeal to riders who want more sophistication than a wind trainer, but who don’t want to risk the leakage problems that plague some fluid trainers. By offering a variety of resistance levels, mag trainers supply more variety to the rider who will exercise at various intensities.
Fluid trainers are the quietest, supply the most vigorous resistance, while costing the most. Now that leakage problems are a thing of the past in some models, more riders are gravitating toward fluid trainers.
About the author: Ron Fritzke is a cycling product reviewer with a passion for ‘all things cycling’. A former 2:17 marathoner, he now directs his competitive efforts toward racing his bike…and looking for good cycling products.
Just in time for winter riding season here in the US, the LeMond Revolution indoor bike trainer has landed and ready for review. With bad, cold, dreary weather looming, we expect to get a lot of use out of this trainer to keep the winter legs from settling in and ruining spring epics. With the LeMond Revolution’s unique direct mount system, it integrates directly with your drivetrain to create an “on the bike” experience with a resistance fan leading the way as you shift through the gears.
The LeMond Revolution Overview and Specs
Introducing the LeMond Revolution, a direct-drive bike trainer that integrates directly with your bike’s drive train. By simply removing your rear wheel and slipping the trainer into your dropouts, it replaces the need for mushy, slippery tire-to-roller connections, while eliminating wheel and tire wear and tear.
Realistic Road Feel
The Revolution features High-Inertia Technology (HIT), designed with a large, weighted fly wheel that mimics the inertia of a rolling bicycle. The Revolution spins freely when the pedals aren’t engaged, and delivers progressive wind resistance similar to real-world conditions.
Ease of Use and Cost Savings
The Revolution fits all road bikes and works seamlessly with your mountain bike or winter-specific cross bike. Simply remove the back wheel, attach the rear dropouts to the spindle and go. No more tire slippage and wear, front wheel blocks or unstable platforms. Plus save $50 to $100 a year by not having to replace worn out rear tires.
Choice of Pros
The LeMond Revolution is the official bike trainer of Team Garmin-Transitions. Tested by riders like Dave Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde and Tyler Farrar in the harshest and most competitive cycling environment.
2 Models to Choose From
The LeMond Revolution can be ordered direct from LeMond Fitness – sold with or without a SRAM/SHIMANO compatible cassette.
Be on the lookout for more indoor training tips and the full review of the LeMond Fitness Revolution trainer as we continue to put in the indoor miles. To get your own LeMond Revolution and learn more about the product…click here.
The Specialized Toupe road bike saddle is the flagship saddle out of the Specialized lineup. With pricing starting off at around $80.00 all the way up to the S-Works that will run you $250.00, the Toupe has a complete lineup centered around it’s distinct shape for a wide variety of riders and budgets. For this review, we picked up the Team model which comes in at $170.00 as tested (red/gloss black).
Patented BG design is lab tested to assure blood flow to sensitive arteries
“Medium” rated ultra-light padding for longer rides
“Medium” rated carbon-reinforced shell for all-day racing and durability
Durable, lightweight solid titanium rails
Tough, light and water-resistant Micromatrix cover
Width: 130mm approx. weight 175g (+/-5%)*
Width: 143mm approx. weight 179g (+/-5%)*
Available in 130mm and 143mm widths *All sizes not available in all markets
MSRP: $150.00 – $170.00 ($170.00 as tested)
The Toupe Team saddle uses Specialized’s Body Geometry technology to get you on the right size for your body. When fitted on their fitting system, I came out at 100mm which put me on the line between the 130mm and 143mm sizes. For more a more aggressive riding position, I should chose the 130mm and for a more upright the 143mm would be a better choice. I went with the 130mm width as my riding position is typically pretty aggressive with the bars well below the saddle.
For some more informational on Body Geometry and how it relates to Specialized’s saddle design, I have included this promotional video below from Specialized. Now realize this is a marketing video, but it does have some good information in it that will help you realize how they come up with their designs.
Review: Specialized Toupe Team Road Saddle
The Specialized Toupe Team road saddle is “our highest performance road saddle, this sleek minimalist is ultra-light and tuned for racing stiffness, with a flat profile and thin padding perfect for explosive efforts.” In other words, this is one of the more narrow designs from Specialized that is tailored more towards seasoned road riders than beginners that are not conditioned to long stints in the saddle.
During the review period, we rode this saddle on everything from 10k+ feet per climbing in one ride to a flat century that had a grand total of 947 feet of elevation gain. With that wide range of riding conditions, we were able to see how the Toupe Team would perform for most riders.
The narrow profile and lightweight padding of the Toupe Team was surprisingly comfortable over longer rides with a lot of in the saddle time. Even on the first ride (the long flat century), I didn’t notice any hot spots or numbness until we were far into the ride (and everyone did with that much sitting). On longer elevation rides, there was zero numbness or pain as we went to tackle long climbs and long descents. There was adequate padding for my hind parts, but riders that look for a little bit more cushion are going to want to step down to another Toupe model or look at another saddle like the Romin. The Toupe is designed to be a lightweight, race saddle at this price point and that comes at the sacrifice of some material.
The center cutout and narrow profile create a great fitting saddle that allows for normal blood flow to prevent any issues while riding. I did find that the better posture I kept on the bike, the more comfortable the saddle was while riding. The lazier I got sitting (sitting heavy, shoulders tense, etc.), the more pressure I felt on the saddle and that was a quick reminder to clean things up a bit. Even with the thin center profile, there was enough support through the middle of the saddle and I never felt too much flex or collapsing while hammering in the seated position.
The Specialized Toupe Team road saddle is a great option for seasoned riders. I never once felt like there was not enough padding as the saddle fit so well that extra cushion was not needed. My only real gripe about the saddle is that the front plastic nose had a tendency to grab my cycling shorts when I was coming from sprinting in the drops to sitting back down when you are coming back on the saddle lower than normal. The sharp edge of the plastic nose would grab the lycra of my shorts so I would have to lean forward a little bit and then back on. Other than that, the Specialized Toupe Team is highly recommended as it has been one of the more comfortable road saddles I have ridden to date.
For 2011, the colors changed but the overall design and weight stayed the same.
Positives: Specialized Toupe Team Saddle
Lightweight Design: Titanium rails and low profile
Body Geometry Fit System: Get the right fit for your body type without having to guess
Stiff enough for racers
Negatives: Specialized Toupe Team Saddle
Price: There are other models available if you aren’t ready to spend $170.00
Plastic nose would grab shorts in some situations
If you are looking for a comfortable, light saddle for your road bike with a fit system that guarantees comfort, the Specialized Toupe Team is hard to beat. To pick up your own Specialized Toupe saddle, visit your local Specialized dealer for a saddle fit or go to Specialized.com.
Getting the right fit on your bike is crucial for efficient power transfer to the ground, but…more importantly…it insures that you prevent riding related damage to your body and prevent pain on the road or trail. Many riders are looking for a cost effective way to get the right fit on their road or mountain bikes, so The Bike Fitting Kit from CycleTime is an at home solution for those riders not looking to spend major money on a professional fit.
The Bike Fitting Kit comes with an instructional DVD that teaches correct positioning and shows how to achieve it. You will learn how your body will benefit from correct positioning, and the consequences of not having it. The first part of the fitting is the stationary fit. This will get you close to your ideal position. This is where most bike fittings stop. At Cycle Time LLC, we take it one step further. You will get an additional tool that will allow you to fine tune your bike, based on your body’s feedback. That tool is a Fine Tuning guide. It is a list of the top 16 pain related problems caused by an incorrectly adjusted bike, and then it tells you the recommended adjustments to make to eliminate the discomfort. This will allow you to fine tune your bike with confidence, and start riding pain free, at your full potential.
Included in the Bike Fitting Kit:
Fine Tuning guide
Tips to make you a better cyclists
12 in. Goniometer
4,5, and 6mm hex keys
Review: The Bike Fitting Kit
As you can probably imagine, bike fitting is something that is done very often around the Bike198 garage. Finding your correct saddle height, positioning and other fit items is a crucial element in making sure the bike rides correctly and to prevent injury while we swap between different bikes during the week. With the Tarmac Pro from Specialized coming in for review and a huge mountain ride ready for the weekend, I took this opportunity to use the Bike Fitting Kit to get the Tarmac ready for some of the most brutal riding in North Georgia.
As with most products, the first thing I did was open the box to see what I was dealing with. The Bike Fitting Kit includes everything you need for dialing in the proper fit on your bike all the way down to the most popular hex head wrenches. I sat down at the computer, popped in the DVD and watched the instructional video. While they are using an older bike in the video, Steve from CycleTime walks you through all of the necessary steps to dial in your perfect fit on any bike. He illustrates how you use the tools and what to look for as you go step by step to get fitted on your bike at home.
Going through the video, Steve is dead on with all aspects of bike fitting on road bikes, but he did have one thing that I did not agree with on the mountain biking fitting portion of the program. He suggested that wider bars are more stable (which they are), but that they are used for roads and more smoother surfaces while narrower bars are for technical terrain. It is actually the other way around and that is why you see the widest bars on downhill mountain bikes that see the worst terrain you can ride.
After watching the video, I used the provided cue sheet and tools provided in the kit to nail down the fit on the new Tarmac.
Once I hit the road, it was obvious that The Bike Fitting Kit got me incredibly close to my ideal fit on the bike. The Bike Fitting Kit provides you with a great, neutral fit that you can then fine tune to your preference. To be honest, about the only thing I really changed was handlebar height after I was done with the fit process and everything felt incredible on the bike while I hit over 5,300 fit of climbing over 47 miles hitting speeds from 3 mph all the way to 50 mph. Everything felt dialed in, stable and I had zero fit related pain on the bike.
Overall: The Bike Fitting Kit
The Bike Fitting Kit is perfect for riders that are not sure where to start on the fitting process but do not want to pay the big dollars sometimes required for a professional fit at a shop or fitting boutique. The supplied video and tools will get you to a safe, comfortable and efficient fit on your bike that you can use on friends and family as well.
Personally, I would update the video with a more current road bike as an example and fix the one minor error on the mountain bike side of things, but…that aside…this product is perfect for riders that want to get their bike fitted correctly and do it themselves. I will be using it on future review and personal bikes in the Bike198 garage to insure everything is fitted correctly before I hit the road or trail.
Positive: The Bike Fitting Kit
All tools for proper fit included
Instructional video illustrates how to correctly fit yourself to a bike and why
Cue sheet included for fitting after watching video
Easy step by step process that can be completed by any rider
Extremely affordable and accurate
Negative: The Bike Fitting Kit
Video needs a little bit of updating (newer bike and slight MTB error)