Posts tagged #Products

Umlenker or Top Pull Device.

Recently had one of these wheel into the store and thought that it was a clever idea and worthy of a mention.

A company called Speen make this device called the "Umlenker" which translated means the top pull. Nifty little doo-hicky gives you a clean and simple method of running a traditional bottom pull road derailleur with a top routed cable. Genius, which being manufactured and designed by a German company is not at all surprising.
The device is just the silver bar bolted onto the top. They make a version for Sram, Campy Etc.

 Visit them online to see their gizmo's 

http://www.speen.de
Posted on May 11, 2014 .

New Crankset From Sugino


The Road OX801D
          Sugino, the Japanese company famed for making some of the best crank sets to grace bikes through the decades have come up with yet another innovative design that is both stylish and addresses a common problem when choosing a gear combination. Lack of choice.
The MTB ZX801D
           The new OX801D for road and the ZX801D for MTB features a 110 and a smaller 74mm bolt circle diameter that enables the use of rings only usually obtainable on a triple. This new design and the selection of rings available gives you 13 possible combinations. Perfect for those looking for the ultimate touring setup or a cross racer looking for a tweak to the standard configurations. Mtb  options for running a wide gap for a low climbing gear on a tough or muddy course. The choice is yours.
Close-up Showing the 74mm. BCD for mounting  the smaller rings
           The build quality is superb, typical Sugino, and the outboard bearing bottom bracket configuration is very stiff. The setup also gives you the lowest Q factor available when using the lower 74mm mount rings at 145mm for the road and 156mm for the mtb. Let us know what your gear requirements are and we can put together the best combination for you.
Posted on December 6, 2012 .

Alfine 11 Shifters.

                The recent post on the new Shimano 11 speed internal hub created quite a stir and I have had many questions regarding it. One of the main queries has been whether you can run it with a drop bar STI lever. Answer; yes you can. There has been a drop bar brake shifter around for a while as an option for the older 8 speed Alfine hubs and that manufacturer, 'Versa', produces a lever for the new 11 speed unit.
The Versa 11 speed cable actuated shift brake lever.
                However that is not the only choice, for those of you into the whole Di2 electronic shifting experience Simano produce a dedicated 'Alfine' specific electronic shifter.
The Shimano electronic Alfine 11 speed shifter and cable brake.
            Both of these options come with a matching left brake unit which is obviously just a brake.


Posted on December 2, 2012 .

Shimano Alfine 11

           As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a big fan of internally geared hubs, from the old Sturmy Archer systems through to the new crop from Shimano, I think they are the best option for anyone who is a recreational rider, they are hassle free, need very little adjustment and are easy to keep clean. Another plus for people that transport bikes in the back of a car or pick-up is that there is no derailleur hanger to bend. Nothing screws up the shifting quite as quickly as a bent derailleur hanger.
          However, as much as I am a fan of internals for Recreational riding I have never recommended them for aggressive mountain bike applications. Except for one model, The Rohloff 14 speed internal hub. These hubs are in a completely different league and that goes for price as well, a Rohloff setup usually runs around $1400.
          Recently though Shimano has stepped up the game a little, the new Alfine 11 speed hub, although looking similar on the outside to the 7 and 8 that preceded it, are completely re-vamped internally. The 11s are even running an oil bath system just like the Rohloff. A sign that things have changed somewhat is the emergence of some cyclo-x rigs running the new Alfine 11. The hubs are also compatible with the new Gates belt drive setup. It is a bit soon to tell if these hubs have the durability required but initial feedback seems quite positive. We have a couple of projects in the workshop at the moment, which will feature a little later here on the blog, and an Alfine 11 is definitely on the short list as the drive choice.
Alfine 11. Total gear ratio of 409%.

Posted on November 19, 2012 .

Bottom Bracket Conversion

          A common problem that arises nowadays, with the influx of new bottom bracket standards is what, why and how to move from one system to another. With the threaded bottom brackets of old there was not many issues with a change to the newer outboard bearing systems but, with the move to frame specific systems, the switch is no longer as simple or, in some cases even possible.
          One of the most common issues is the press fit systems more specifically the PF30 and BB30 standard. Whilst both these systems are good and make for a solid crank interface often the issue arises because the frame has been purchased as an upgrade for a specific build kit already owned and the owner needs to convert the bottom bracket over to a threaded external system. There have always been a couple of options for this however, the good folk at Praxis Works, makers of our favorite chain-rings, have come up with a superb new conversion kit for the purpose.
         One of the biggest problems with conversions and even the press fit systems as a whole is that they tend to creak and groan. This is because the adaptors are, like the bearings, seperate from each other. With the Praxis system the cups are actually conected to each other by means of a threaded sleeve. This sleeve is very tightly machined but also as it is installed it flares out and takes care of any wiggle that may cause problems.
          If you are thinking of doing a conversion or have already performed a conversion with another product take a look at the Praxis system. It is the only way I will go in future. If you want more information or need a kit just let us know as we are Praxis dealers and use the full range of their products.

www.praxiscycles.com

Posted on November 14, 2012 .

New Lights

Another light, well it is the season, the Cateye "Nano". Lots of lights to choose from these days, the usual standard aa and aaa battery units, these are fine but the cost adds up quickly replacing batteries every five minutes. Rechargeable ones, with the battery pack that hangs in the bottle cage or a little bag under the top tube are o.k but a little inconvenient. Until this year the usb rechargeable units were not that great, now however we have a 600 lumen light without the added weight or hassle of a connected battery pack that can be quickly charged via a standard usb port on the computer. The nice features are the standard flash mode but also a setting that flashes one led while having the other shine a constant beam, see and be seen.




Helmet Mountable
Run Time High: 1.5 hrs
Run Time Low: 4 hrs
Hyper-Constant: 2 hrs
Flashing: 35 hrs








Posted on October 4, 2012 .

Tacx Drop Bar Light.

The good folks at Tacx have come up with another great idea. The "Lumos" drop bar light. It fits into the bar end of any drop bar and has a nice powerful red LED light that alerts drivers following of your presence. Now this is not a new idea, there are many makes and models that do the same thing however, where this Tacx unit differs is that it also has a forward facing white LED light as well. It obviously has to drop down below the bar a little to be able to shine forward but it is completely unobtrusive and stays out of the way of any hand position and fits well to the bar.  

We have fitted a few already and the initial feedback has been very positive.

Posted on September 29, 2012 .

New, Old School Wheel

We have a pretty lugged frame Cinelli road bike in the store at present for repair and service. One of its issues was a trashed rear wheel so we needed to find a suitable rim for replacement. A big problem when replacing rims on classic road bikes is matching the "look" of the original. Well good news, the folk at Soma, whom we are big fans, have just produced this beauty. The "Eldon" rim comes in 700 and a 32 or 36 hole count. It looks fantastic and, more importantly, is built well. Double eyelets like the old original Mavic rims and double wall obviously. Highly polished with non machined sidewalls. It built up very well and took 100kilos without any trouble.
Posted on September 27, 2012 .

2013. The Year of the GPS.

This is the time of year when we start to see new product brochures hitting the mail box. This year has seen its fair share of literature describing new shiny products that should hit the shelves in 2013. one such flyer that caught my eye was from the good folks a t Cateye. Well known for their fine cycling computers and light systems they are now eying the gps market, long the domain of Garmin. While I have nothing against the Garmin systems, they have produced great performing units for some years now, however good as they may be they are pretty expensive. Any other company looking to break the Garmin hold on gps is going to have to do something special and this is where Cateye could make a dent, they are planning to offer some pretty low priced models. One even has a tentative price tag of below $120. It remains to be seen if they can pull this off but that kind of price point certainly will have some takers. I will keep you informed and hopefully we will start to see them soon.

Posted on September 23, 2012 .

Re-Inventing the Wheel.



The bike business is a business like many others, ideas come and ideas go, some good some bad and many are just there to let people know that the company ain’t dead. Every once in a while an idea comes along and just kind of hangs in the periphery, just waiting for their time to come. One such idea is 650b wheels, not that the 650b wheel is a new idea, hell it’s not even an old idea it has been around for decades, but to mountain bike designers and riders it is relatively new. There are some people, and I myself am one, that contend that if we had designed mountain bikes from the ground up in the beginning instead of modifying road bikes and cruisers to go biking in the woods, we would probably have opted for 650b wheels right from the start, however modifying frames led us to the smaller 26 inch wheels that then became the mountain bike standard for so many years.
        A few years ago we made the quantum leap to the 700c wheel, more commonly referred to as the 29er, which has made a huge impact with off roaders. This has made it difficult for the 650b though. Going so long with one choice, the 26, then adding the 29er quite recently has meant some reluctance from mass manufactures to add yet another wheel size and different bike geometry to already swollen product lines. Luckily the fear of being left behind by the competition has won out and we are seeing many choices from frame companies along with tire and rim manufacturers for 650b. This is very good news. And here's why; Choices.
As mentioned before the industry standard 26inch wheel MTB has been around since the start of mountain biking, the 29er or 700c MTB wheel is a relative newcomer and the 650 b is the new kid in town. The important thing to keep in mind here though is to not disregard any of the old wheel sizes just because there is a new one. They all have their place when looking for a new bike.
During this bike season we have seen a lot of new customers, which is very nice, a lot of new MTB’ers have come through the door as well and a good deal of them have opted for the 29er. Now don't get me wrong a 29er is a fantastic machine but it is not for everybody.
Designing frames and frame geometry for big wheels is tough, sure anyone can build a bike to accept big wheels but getting the handling and feel dialed in is a very different matter and it is especially difficult getting it right on mid to small frame sizes. We have seen many, many riders lately that look like they have been swallowed whole by their bike and, while this arrangement is fine for a gentle trail ride, on a more MTB specific trail or good single-track it must be akin to riding a bull elephant with colic.
Before I carry on let me clarify what we actually mean when we talk about these different sizes. Below are the measurements, in millimeters across the wheel, bead to bead. The bead of a rim is about 3mm down from the top of the rim.

26        559mm
650b    584mm
29er     622mm

As you can see the 650 falls about midway between the other two you will also note that the bead seat diameter of the 29er is the same as a standard road 700c so why do we call it a 29er when it is really only a modern 27inch road wheel. Well it is because some bright spark decided to measure the diameter outside to outside with a fully inflated mtb tire on, which gives you a measurement of roughly 29inches. Confused yet?
Anyway, back to the business at hand.  If you are a tallish or leggy person the big wheel option is definitely a choice for you. The frame size will be plenty to accommodate the extra clearance while still maintaining the ride characteristics of a good mtb. All the rules of bottom bracket height and head and seat tube angles still need to be obeyed and they can be with a mid to large frame size. However, if you are, shall we say a little vertically challenged, this is where problems arise. The rules of designing a bike to perform well for the rider tend to get thrown out the window and it all becomes about designing a small enough frame to at least reach the pedals on while the design is sacrificed to fit a big set of wheels. This really does not work. The cut off for a bike designed for the rider instead of the wheels generally falls somewhere around the 5’6” mark. There are exceptions for those with exceedingly long legs in relation to body height but generally speaking this is where sticking with the 26” wheels tends to be the better option.  Now though we have another option 650b.  This is where the slightly smaller size gives us, as frame designers, much more scope to still design the bike for the ultimate ride and handling but still giving the option of bigger wheels.
A Soma "B-Side" Built and ready to roll.
For those wanting to know more about the options available in the 650 or 29er range stop in or fire me an email. There are lots of choices. At the moment some of the best 650b frames tend to be from companies like Soma who offer the B-side. I expect some of the major names to start producing complete 650 bikes in the next year’s product line.
Posted on September 23, 2012 .

Laser Lights Are Here!

Well we are nearing the time of year when light begins to fade and safety becomes a concern. The last few years have seen quite an influx of new lights and high density LEDs that function for many hours on little power etc. Something a little different this year though is the inclusion of laser beams. Yep lasers, hell I'm of the opinion that anything with a laser has got to be good. We should be receiving our first batch any day now so I will have a test report soon but for now take a look at the pictures to see what they are all about. Basically in addition to the high density LED light we have two lasers pointing down to highlight a path for motorists to stay clear as they pass.
Posted on September 21, 2012 .

Choosing a Powermeter




First things first, what does a power-meter actually do and why do you need one? Traditionally cycling performance has been measured by using a basic sensor fitted to the bike which tracks and monitors speed, distance and, more recently, cadence. Within those features we also have average speeds, max speeds attained, etc. Whilst this information is good and for most people who just want to keep a general record of miles ridden and average speeds probably all that is necessary, however the data and feedback does not take into account ride conditions such as headwind, tailwind, altitude or gradients. More importantly there is no measure of effort from you, the rider.
                 Lots of riders nowadays use some form of cardiac feedback, usually in the form of a band with a sensor worn about the chest and, though this data is useful, it still has large gaps and omissions plus it is wildly inaccurate at times. Again, outside factors of terrain and climate, altitude, whether you had a late night or two shots of espresso before you started all have effects on your base line. There is also a significant lag between pedaling output and your hearts increased beat rate.
                 So this is where a power meter takes over. It really is the only accurate way to gauge and compare performance. Power-meters measure power output in wattage and, more importantly, remove all the variables from the data. As an example; you completed a ride last week in fair weather and kept up a steady output of 285 watts for two, twenty minute training intervals. Today you did the same ride, this time in driving rain and a headwind but still completed two, twenty minute intervals, your distance covered was much shorter but your power output was 288 watts. You did better, but your ordinary computer would show that as a bad day. With the power meter this is accurate usable data, no need to discount the day or make notes to allow for bad weather. Watts are an accurate measurement of your performance regardless of all the changing forces acting against you. The end result is a phenomenal training tool and record of improvement.
                 During racing and endurance events it is a great source of feedback for maintaining calorie intake to match output and also keeping a comfortable pace for a long endurance event.
               
So, now that we have covered what a power meter can do for you we shall take a quick look at your main choices.  The benchmark device is probably the SRM range of crank mounted power meters. Very reliable, accurate and the company has been producing meters for many years. Sadly though, what limits their popularity is the price. While any of these devices are not cheap, setting up a bike with an SRM unit is going to run around 3 grand. Ouch. 
Next in the line-up is Ergomo, these guys produce a solid, bottom bracket device which you can install with a crank-set of your choice. Accurate and the company produce the usual range of data analysis software. Ergomo is cheaper than the SRM meters but still a little more expensive for a full system setup than the third choice.
 Power-Tap from CycleOps is about the cheapest option for a reliable power meter system and, for that reason, it is this system I shall concentrate on here. Still not cheap but they do have an option below a $1000 which is considerably less than the SRM. Even the top of the line G3 ceramic is less than the next player in the market and for that reason alone Power tap has become a very popular choice.
I shall start at the top with the G3 ceramic. This hub is the world’s lightest power meter and the complete hubs weigh in at a mere 315g. Next we have the standard G3, basically the same hub but without the ceramic bearings. The weight is still excellent at 325g and you can always upgrade to a ceramic bearing at a later date if you feel the need. The G3 series hubs are a complete makeover from the original power tap hubs. They have a significantly reworked body and allow for much easier servicing. One of the main differences and to my mind the most important one is the increased gap between the flanges. This dimension is very important and affects greatly the final strength of the wheel. The G3 series hubs increase the gap by 5.6mm over the original models and this makes it possible to build a very stiff and strong wheel, the dimensions are much the same as any road race hub in fact.
The original design is still available; it is called the Power-Tap Pro. With a sticker price of less than 900 a hub it is by far the cheapest meter option out there. Each year it gets a basic makeover to keep the internals up to date but shape and external dimensions have changed little. The pro is a fine piece of equipment and has accuracy the same as the G series, all the hubs have great accuracy, to within +/- 1.5%, and the company produces a great range of analytical software, it is quite a bit heavier than the G3s but it is also a lot cheaper. Over the years we have built a lot of them up and I always recommend getting one with a higher spoke count. With the closeness of the flanges on this hub we need to get as much strength as we can from the spoke number. You are not going to be making massive weight savings opting for the 24 spoke, not when the hub itself is 450g, so do yourself a favor and opt for the 32. With a 2x pattern and maybe an offset rim or a deep V at least, it can be built up quite strong and stiff.
When used for training purposes and accurate performance recording the standard Power-Tap Pro is a fine choice however, if like many you are looking for a wheel to race with I would suggest opting for the G3 series. These hubs are much the same as any of the many race hubs that we use and with the extra flange width I can build a super race wheel that gives you feedback as well.
A final thought on some other options. Recently there have been some forays into the power meter market by a few well known players. Over the past few months I have read some interesting press releases with regard to pedal devices. On the face of it a pedal option sounds a good idea, easy to transfer from bike to bike for one. But some of the price points that I have seen are ludicrous and I would like to see them in action first with some good field testing and data collection behind them. Some of the accuracy reports I have seen are a little disappointing, but it is early days. For the moment I suggest the Power-Tap , for best accuracy and bang for the buck.
Posted on September 12, 2012 .

Tire Sealant, Our Recommendations.


       Tire sealant has been around for a good many years now and has certainly improved greatly in that time. What started as a thick sludge suitable only for a lawn tractors or wheelbarrows has now progressed to a foaming lightweight liquid suitable for a race wheel tubular. When I was mountain biking regularly in England I had great success avoiding punctures by using a bottle of the green slime in each tube. When the tires wore out and were removed from the rims there had been so many punctures sealed that the tubes had welded themselves to the tires, made me a fan of the stuff for life. It is still sold today and is still Martian green and still works great in a tube setup.
        Basically all the sealants work in the same way. When the casing is breached air rushes out through the hole taking the sealant with it, as the sealant flows through the hole, particles in its formula seal the gap. Although the principle is the same throughout the range of products on the market we have found some of these potions are more successful than others at getting the job done.
        For a comfort on hybrid bike or even a fat tire mountain bike running regular tubes Slime is still hard to beat. It is easy to install in a Schrader tube and, with a little patience and a removable valve core, it can be used on skinny valves too. Although it can be put in road tubes I find that it does not work quite as well under high pressure. Although Slime is about the beat of the bunch when using a tube, making the switch to a tubeless system can offer up a whole new set of possibilities.
       When using a tubeless system, such as the one offered by Velocity or the similar Stan's method, we prefer to use the Cafe Latex brand of sealant and the Stan's sealant. When putting a tubeless mountain setup together we prefer the Stan's sealant. This stuff works great on big tires, it seals quickly almost any puncture from thorns to nails and helps seal any areas around the valve and along the beads. It will not seal a cut or slit, none of the brands will, and like other makes, it does lose its effectiveness over time. Any punctures sealed stay sealed but after around 3 months the mixture dries up considerably and ceases to work sealing new holes and needs replacing.
      When it comes to tubeless road systems we prefer the Cafe Latex brand. This stuff is great on high pressure skinnies and seals quickly and permanently any punctures. Like the Stan's it also helps seal values and beads however we do find that it tends to keep its effectiveness a little longer.
Posted on August 29, 2012 .

The New Crop Of Disc CycloX Bikes.

       When the rules changed to allow disc brakes into cyclo x events I was a little underwhelmed at the initial offerings available for the season. It was not unexpected, the rule change was talked about for many months in earnest and I assumed that manufacturers would have been ready to roll with disc equipped bikes from the get go. I was wrong.
       It seems that everybody needed a year to get their respective asses into gear and, it seems, 2013 is the year for great disc cross rigs.
       One such bike is the new Raleigh RXC Pro Disc.
Shown above in full race spec. Including carbon rims and Shimano Di2 group. However we also are able to build the full carbon frame and monocoque fork up in any custom configuration.
www.Raleighusa.com
Posted on August 22, 2012 .

Velocity Rims and Hubs


I have been building wheels for many years now and over those years I have used rims, spokes and hubs from every manufacturer that has produced them, from Mavic to Zipp, Wheelsmith to Sapim and Chris King to DT.Swiss. Some of these companies have remained favorites, others, not so much and some have just plain priced themselves out of the market.       
One company though has remained a constant favorite here at Cycle Depot, Velocity. This little Australian company has never disappointed, offering a superb product, whether it be hub or rim, at a good price. I use more Deep V rims from Velocity per year than all the other brands combined and, out of all the wheels I build, close to 80% of them have a Velocity Hub or rim. Now there is more good news. Apparently I am not alone in my affection for all things Velocity. It seems a good many wheel builders feel the same way, so much so that America has become the largest market for their product and, to meet that demand in a more timely fashion, Velocity has just recently brought their manufacturing facility to the U.S., Florida to be precise.
So instead of the 'made in Australia' stickers they will now sport ‘made in the U.S.A.’ This will also help with the price, as shipping from the land down under is not cheap. While I do not expect the products to go down in price, I do not expect them to go up either.
Check them out at; www.Velocityusa.com
Posted on August 21, 2012 .

New Titanium Manufacturing Process.

       A huge leap forward in bicycle frame manufacturing happened, very quietly, in the English countryside recently. "Charge Bikes”, a builder of some very nice frames and arguably the best titanium cyclo x bike frame on the market at present, has teamed up with the European Aeronautics Defense and Space center and come up with a completely new manufacturing process for titanium.
      Basically the process uses a sophisticated 3D modeling program to create a layer by layer printed guide, which is then used to print onto powdered titanium. Each of these layers is fused into the powdered titanium, gradually building up the part. With this method they are able to produce designs that could not be produced by any other method.
      The video below shows the process in action producing some shaped, hollow, dropouts, for use on their new 'Freezer' cylo x bike. The possibilities are truly endless and I can see countless parts being manufactured this way. Another benefit is the lack of waste material. Traditionally, when we manufacture a part, we start with a block and whittle it away until we end up with the shape we need. Even casting, which is a little less wasteful, still has quite a bit of cleaning up and filing to complete. With this new ‘printing’ method only the powder that is printed and required is used.
       Check out the video and visit www.chargebikes.com

Posted on August 17, 2012 .

New Tubes From Michelin.

          The good folks at Michelin recently added a new tube to the line-up and this is not just another round piece of rubber but a completely new, very profiled design with a square shape to the top and raised sections. It is designed, apparently, so that instead of the rubber being pulled apart it is compressed. This makes a big difference in the event of a puncture, the pressure works with the tube to help seal the hole. Add some sealant to the design and you are good to go, in theory. In practice I have not had much feedback yet but it sounds like a good idea for a trail tube to me.
          Check out the video for a more detailed explanation.


Posted on August 13, 2012 .

Praxis Chain Rings.

       Some time ago we became involved with a company called Praxis. A friend and avid rider told us about this new chain ring manufacturer that was using forged presses to create  the ultimate, profiled ring. We looked them up and became dealers.
        Their products are very impressive and the feedback received from riders is positive too. Basically they cold forge the alloy using a huge 2 story press delivering a blow of some 1000 tons of pressure. The result is a chain ring that is extremely durable and light at the same time. I do not know if you have looked closely at a chain ring before but, they have lots of divots and scoops on the teeth and on the sides. These features are called ramps and pins. They basically create areas around the ring where it is easier for the chain to jump from one ring to the next. Praxis has taken this to the next level and every tooth has a slightly different profile to its neighbor. Also they have matched rings together in a way never before done as well. They have perfectly timed transitions with departure points on one matched to pickup points on another.
Look Cool Too...
         Anyway, take a look for yourselves. Praxiscycles.com They are adding products to their range all the time and have rings that can retro fit to most of your setups, so you can bolt the rings onto existing crank sets..
Posted on August 10, 2012 .