With LeTour in full force, it is that time of year where there seems to be a onslaught of discussions about race tactics and strategy. The TV coverage allows us to watch things play out and we get to hear some critique on what went down. With a week left in the race, I figured I’d share a few of my thoughts.
Despite a stage win and some time in the yellow jersey, BMC seems to be off to a less than awesome Tour with their so-called two-leader system. It was quickly evident on Stage 2 that there is confusion at BMC. When Richie Porte flatted with just over 4km it was obvious that he was on his own for the finish this day. After a neutral wheel change that took an eternity, he took the chase up on his own for some time before finally getting some help. BMC is strong enough, they’re stacked enough, to have guys deliver the GC guys to the 3km “safe” mark and a couple more to keep the pressure on to set up some stage win aspirations. Instead, BMC burned up most of their matches by 6-7 km to go in order to set up a shot at the stage with Greg Van Avermaet leaving the GC guys relatively unprotected. When no teammates stopped for Porte and the team car passed him too, I’m sure Richie went into “going to do what’s best for me” mode for the rest of the race. Only a few stages later this was evident as Porte found himself riding at the front with Froome and Quintana on his wheel as Tejay was barely hanging on in the next group. If these guys were working together, Porte would have followed or attacked those guys, but never just ridden at the front to extend the gap to the chasing group.
As the Tour entered the mountains a storm, named Froome, quickly put most GC contenders on their back foot.
The second thing that seems really obvious this year is that there are a lot of guys/teams who are content to race for second. This is something that became the norm in the Armstrong era and it continues when a rider as good as Froome shows up with a team as good as Sky. The formula is proven. On the first stage when taking time is possible, piledrive the competition and steal a minute. It sets up a very boring competition for second place. The only difference this year is Froome took some of the time with a surprise attack on a downhill finish. Everyone keeps calling for a Quintana or Aru attack and I’m sure that will come. It is hard to understand how hard it is to attack after a 100km of hard riding by Vasil Kiryienka, Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard is followed up with some in-your-face tempo on the climbs by guys like Gerraint Thomas, Mikel Nieve and Wout Poels. I doubt Froome could attack himself after all of that. So how do you go up against this? The challengers (BMC, Movistar, Astana) need to put Sky on the defense early in a hard stage. It might take some collusion as they don’t need to just throw a wrench into Team Sky’s plans; they need to throw a hammer. They should race like the finish is on the first summit of a four summit stage. Blow it up early and see how the pieces settle out. Get riders up the road and then have your GC guys ride aggressively from behind. If third place is going up the road on a climb, the guy in second needs to let Froome/Sky stay in charge. If they falter, second place stands to benefit and take some time. If they don’t, chances are pretty good that everything stays the same.
One of the most wonderful things about watching the Tour (and the Giro & Veulta) is even when the racing is slow, or predictable the scenery is still stunning!
Finally, it seems like the traditional “lead-out” train is a bit different these days. The teams are so good, and there seems to be a bit of parity among teams like Quickstep and Lotto. The train that starts at 4km out and delivers their rider to 300m just doesn’t happen anymore. Between the fight for the front with the other sprinters’ teams and the GC riders’ team trying to get their riders to the 3km mark makes it almost impossible for a team to take total control like they did back in the Cipollini days. This year it seems like that in the last 1500m, at least four teams take over the front of the race for a short period of time. In my opinion, and results would agree, this puts the thoroughbred guys like Griepel and Kittel at a disadvantage and favors the snappier/quicker guys like Cavendish and Sagan. These explosive guys need one or two teammates to move them into position, a bit of luck in not getting jammed-up, and they can sneak in and pick up the pieces as the big teams wear each other out. This is compounded by the fact that there seems to be more turns in the last 3-4km this year. Should Cavendish ride into Paris, it will be interesting to see how he fairs on the Champs, in what is traditionally a bit more of a horsepower contest, without Mark Renshaw. We’ll see if Sagan can match Cavendish’s four stage wins or if the stage will go to one of the monster-mashers.
Staying comfortable in the saddle is a never ending battle. Over the years this has especially been the case for women. For years female cyclists were stuck with wardrobe options geared towards men, making their search for functional yet comfortable clothing incredibly frustrating. Recently, manufacturers have taken notice of the growing number of female cyclists and now offer a great selection of female-specific cycling apparel.
Women’s cycling apparel has come a long way in improving a woman’s cycling comfort. However, not every garment is equal. There is a lot of room for personal preference when choosing between female specific garments. This is really apparent when choosing between traditional riding shorts or bib shorts. Without a jersey do bib shorts make it look like you are wearing a unitard? Well, maybe. But at Contender we think that the added comfort offered by bib shorts for women is worth it, and here is why:
MORE COMFORT AT THE WAIST
Bib shorts eliminate the need for a restrictive waistband. The elastic waistband of traditional riding shorts not only causes “muffin top”, it can also hamper your breathing and cause stomach discomfort. Wide, yoga waistbands may offer some relief from these issues, but not the full relief that bib shorts offer. By relying on straps to hold the shorts in place, bib shorts put no pressure on the waist, allowing you to breathe and move without restriction.
BETTER CHAMOIS PERFORMANCE
With constant movement and the accumulation of moisture, the chamois of a traditional riding short can sag over the course of a ride. Without the reliable performance of a precisely positioned chamois, you’re at risk for chafing, hot spots, and overall discomfort in the saddle. In contrast, straps on bib shorts offer more overall garment support, including the chamois, keeping it stable and in place throughout the duration of a ride.
NEW BIB STRAP DESIGN
In previous bib short designs, the straps were placed right over the most sensitive areas of a woman’s chest, causing a lot of discomfort. Recent designs, however, have taken care to take into account the curves of female bodies. At the shop we carry the Giro Chrono Expert Halter Bib, which scraps the use of traditional shoulder straps for a halter design, using lightweight mesh to spread pressure across the entire chest and not just in specific areas. We also carry the Giordana SilverLine Bib Short, which takes care to place the shoulder straps around and not directly on top of sensitive areas of the chest. Our favorite at the shop is the Assos T.laalalaishorts S7 bib shorts. With an easy to reach front magnetic front clasp in the center of the chest, the design eliminates straps over sensitive areas and makes adjustment and fitting of the bib extremely easy.
FULL SKIN COVERAGE
Compared to traditional shorts, bib shorts have a higher cut above the waist. So when you are in the drops or stretching your arms overhead, there is no worry of exposing your backside or belly to the eyes of an innocent passerby. This eliminates mid-ride jersey tugs and adjustments, helping you to stay focused on your ride and protects you from sun exposure in the wrong place.
ADDRESSING RESTROOM BREAK CONCERNS
This is by far the biggest reason some women prefer to ride in traditional shorts despite all the comfort benefits of bib shorts. When you want to use the restroom, many female riders understandably find it a nuisance to take off their jersey in order to drop their straps. For us, this nuisance is small price to pay for hours of improved comfort riding. Additionally, several manufacturers have created bib designs that allow you to undo your straps without having to disrobe. Our favorites at the shop include the Giro Chrono Expert Halter Bib which has enough stretch to easily pull up and over a helmet and the Velocio Signature Fly bib shorts which use a rear zipper for easy bathroom breaks without bothering with your straps at all.
Ultimately, it is up to the individual rider to weigh the pros and cons and decide what shorts offer the most comfort and convenience for their riding style. At the shop we carry a large selection of both traditional riding shorts and bib shorts for women. Visit or call to have us walk through our selection with you. It’s our goal to have you as comfortable and confident as possible out there riding.
The Tour de France is upon us and that means it is time to root for your favorite riders in Contender’s Tour de France pool. This year we are taking on a fantasy league vibe. It is simple, fun and points will be on the line for every stage. Plus there are great prize packages for whoever accumulates the most points and finishes 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall! Enter by posting a comment with your picks on this blogpost. You must submit your picks before the Tour de France starts this coming Saturday, July 2. Here is how it works!
You pick your squad. Choose nine riders who you think will win stages and the jerseys at the Tour. It is up to you! Pick climbers, pick sprinters, a time trial ace, an escape artist or whomever you think could potentially win a stage or finish on the final podium. Fill your team with riders from any team that will give you the most total wins! Each stage win receives 2 points. If a rider on your team wins the Yellow Jersey or is 2nd or 3rd overall, you will receive 9, 6 and 3 points respectively. With one of your riders winning the Green Sprinter’s Jersey you’ll receive 4 points and for the Polka Dot Climber’s Jersey you’ll receive 6 points!
SIMPLY SUBMIT A COMMENT BELOW, WRITE 9 RIDER FANTASY TEAM and then LIST YOUR 9 RIDERS!
Best of all here are the prize packages! The winners will be notified via email after Le Tour ends and points are tallied!
1st PLACE PRIZE PACKAGE
Your choice of Kask Protone helmet
Contender Bicycles Gear – 1st Place Goodie Bag
2nd PLACE PRIZE PACKAGE
Your choice of color and model Uvex 810 or 202 variomatic sunglasses
Contender Bicycles Gear – 2nd Place Goodie Bag
3rd PLACE PRIZE PACKAGE
Your choice of color and size Giordana Men’s or Women’s Fusion jersey
Contender Bicycles Gear – 3rd Place Goodie Bag
*choice of product is limited to in stock product at Contender Bicycles
Salt Lake City has earned itself a reputation for being perhaps the best city in America for accessing the outdoors. With too many ski resorts to count within an hour drive, some of the best rock climbing in the world and an innumerable number of other options from hiking to bird watching or fly fishing, it is really hard to disagree with the accolades. Needless to say, and we admit we are a bit biased here at Contender Bicycles, the greater Salt Lake area is a cyclist’s paradise (and that isn’t even taking into account the rest of the state). We love it so much we made video featuring just a small sampling of the local riding.
For those new to town, new to riding or just hoping to get a ride in during their next visit check out some of our favorite local rides below.
There are three major points of contact when riding a bike, namely your hands, feet and seat. And the more time you spend riding the more important these three become. Each of these can be improved individually for the best fit, function and comfort while pedaling. To begin with, shoes and pedals are fairly easy to figure out as the old adage applies “if the shoe fits, wear it.” With a variety of brands and styles to choose from there are a lot of options for cycling footwear. Besides specific footwear for mountain or road riding, brands such as Sidi and Giro also offer narrow and wide shoe widths to best fit any rider’s foot. Different closure systems such as ratcheting buckles or twist-lock mechanisms add convenience and allow on-the-fly adjustment. As most riders will experience some swelling in their feet during long rides so they choose a shoe that offers a little more room in the toes to accommodate this. In addition, additional arch support through footbeds is something many riders consider.
On the front end of the bike there are numerous options for grips and handlebar tape. Many mountain bikers and commuters opt for the ergonomic grips which provide support for the palms, such as those by Ergon or shock-absorbing silicone grips, such as those by ESI or Fabric. For your road bike, the bar shape is probably the best starting point. Wing shaped bar tops and shallower drop bars have recently gained popularity. To wrap the bars, there is wide range of choices with various thickness and material to help will let you dial in comfort for your hands. For those looking for a bit more comfort, gel padding or a second layer of bar tape (often seen on the pro’s bikes during the cobbled spring classics) can be placed on the bar first before wrapping with new tape although this added comfort comes at the cost of added weight and for some a disconnect with the bike. Popular choices are a wing-shaped road bar with thick and tacky tape by Fizik or Lizard Skins which can offer great grip with extra cushioning. Of course good gloves are a crucial element here with long fingered and short fingered gloves coming with everything from thick gel padding to no padding at all.
Now onto the most subjective of these three, the saddle. There are literally hundreds of good saddle choices available to any and all cyclists. However, there are millions of cyclists so there definitely is not a “one size fits all” solution to saddle comfort. A good rule to follow, when you don’t like your current saddle, is to look for a new one that has a different shape than what you’re using. Basically, no amount of padding will make an ill-formed saddle work well. We have found that the best route to a more comfortable seat is to try a few before you buy. At Contender Bicycles we offer our Saddle Test Ride program with many of the most popular seats from Fizik, Fabric, Adamo, PRO and Selle SMP.
The best way to address these points of contact is with a proper bike fit, as this will give you an expert opinion on what it will take to make your bike both more comfortable and efficient. There are many ways of going about a fitting with most starting with the shoe/pedal interface and working up from there. As avid cyclists we are big fans of using shoe and pedal combos to better connect rider to bike. Being “clipped in” not only creates an efficient pedal stroke it also helps in isolating your body position and finding the best location for your saddle. Once the saddle is properly in place you and the fitter can go to work on finding the best location for your hands on the bars. Many of us have previous injuries or other physical issues that can be easily addressed in the fitting process making our time on the bike more enjoyable.
At Contender Bicycles in addition to offering a free fit with most bike purchases we are pride ourselves on helping customers walk out with the perfect bike, not necessarily the stock bike. While manufacturers often use more neutral saddles and select bar widths based on the frame size some riders find themselves needing to make changes immediately. In these instances we are happy to work with you to pro-rate the value of the parts you need switched out for those that will help you get the most out of your riding.
Please feel free to come by the shop if you have questions on any of these points of contact.
With the weather warming up, snow melting – and summer right around the corner – Utah’s mountain biking trails will be getting busy. From Corner Canyon to Flying Dog and Pinecone, when the trails get crowded we all must deal with an increasing number of obstacles. Runners, hikers, dogs, horses and other bikers can all work together to keep the trails safe and fun for everyone by following these 8 tips for proper Trail Etiquette:
Yield to uphill trail users; Regardless of mode-of-transportation the uphill trail user always has the right-of-way.
Yield to horses; Yeah or nay, an equine always has the right-of-way.
Yield to hikers; hit your brakes and pull over for hikers and runners getting a workout on your favorite trails.
Ring your bell; a handlebar mounted bell is a great way to politely pass others riding your way.
Stay on the trail; Resist the temptation of cutting through switchbacks as this greatly increases erosion.
Avoid muddy trails; Though tempting, riding in the rain has a negative impact on our already sensitive trails. Deep ruts, potholes and other irreparable damage will ruin them for weeks to come.
Tune in; Riding with headphones in, or bluetooth speaker blaring, may be fun but they both greatly reduce your ability to hear what is going on around you. Stay tuned to your surroundings to better avoid an incident.
Stay alert; Keep your eyes pointed down the trail to best see what is coming your way and be ready to slow your roll, or come to a stop, so everybody can enjoy themselves out there.
We want all of you to get out there and enjoy all of Utah’s great trails. Share the responsibility of keeping trails safe, fun, and in good repair, and you we will all be enjoying many miles of dirt far into the future.
HAVE AN OLD PAIR OF SHORTS OR BIBS LAYING AROUND THE HOUSE? SHOW THEM TO US AND RECEIVE A $50 CREDIT TOWARDS A NEW PAIR OF ASSOS SHORTS OR BIBS!
Assos T.campionissimo_s7 Bib Shorts
Assos Lady’s T.laalalaiShorts_s7
Assos T.neoPro_s7 Bib Shorts
Assos T.equipe_s7 Bib Shorts
Assos T.cento_s7 Bib Shorts
Assos Lady's H.laalalaiShorts_s7
Assos Lady’s T.rallyShorts_s7
From June 1 to June 30, show us your old bibs or shorts and receive a $50 credit towards the purchase of any pair of Assos s7 bibs or shorts. You can either show us a photo or bring them into the shop! Have two old pairs laying around? Walk out with two pairs of bibs having saved $100!
If you are unable to come by the shop, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org a photo of your bibs or shorts with the following information:
First & Last Name:
Upon receiving your photo, we will email you a coupon code to be used on ContenderBicycles.com to purchase your new Assos bibs!
>We happen to think you are a great person and we are pretty sure that your friends and family feel the same way. So of course we want you to stay as safe as possible out on the road and trail. Unfortunately, even if you take all proper precautions cycling can be a dangerous sport. While there are a number of simple practices such as a basic safety bike check or obeying the rules of the road and trail, the reality is that if you ride long enough you will eventually find yourself on the ground. Keeping your head safe is imperative and luckily there are a ton of helmet options to fit any budget or riding style. With that in mind we hope this basic guide can help you find the right helmet. So in the unfortunate event you find yourself closer on the pavement or trail you have your head covered.
Luckily there is a slew of helmet options to suit every type of rider. With options from under $50 to over $300, new technologies and aggressive marketing makes deciding which helmet is right for you a daunting decision. The most obvious concern is safety. Protecting your head and brain in the event of a crash is the purpose after all. Luckily, every helmet sold in the US is required to pass the same standards established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and will have a sticker showing the model has passed the test administered by the CPSC or the independent ASTM inside. As a pass/fail test, it isn’t possible to distinguish helmets based on their ability to protect against impact, that doesn’t mean however that there are not additional safety features offered by various manufacturers that you may want to consider.
These aren’t your grand-daddy’s helmet. Many modern budget helmets, such as the Giro Foray, take their design cues from their top of the line siblings to offer comfort and ventilation that would have been ProTour worthy just a few years ago.
Top of the line helmets, such as the Kask Protone, combine incredibly light weights, wind cheating aerodynamics and ventilation the help keep the head cooler than if you weren’t even wearing a helmet to offer Tour winning performance.
While helmets designed specifically for road cycling tend to focus protection around the front, top and sides of helmets, some mountain biking and commuter helmets such as the Kask Rex or Giro Sutton extend further down the back of the head to provide better coverage to the back of the skull. In addition, many of helmets designed for mountain biking and commuting have fewer ventilation holes to improve protection from objects, such as pointy rocks and sticks, getting past the helmets protective foam. Even the road market has seen a large amount of resources put into improving protection for the areas most likely to impact the ground in the event of a crash. POC, for example, increased the amount of foam on the sides of their Octal helmet over the temples, where their research indicated this was the most exposed area to impact during a crash.
Mountain biking specific helmets, such as the Kask Rex pictured here, generally provide broader coverage to protect more of your head from impact to the back that can be more common while mountain biking.
Many commuter helmets feature more coverage to protect from falls when tackling the complex urban environment, as well as simpler construction and “burlier” shells to keep prices lower and help the helmet survive the rigors of being packed and carried in/on bags.
>Perhaps the best protection a helmet can afford is helping protect from an impact ever occurring. This is particularly important on the road. With more cars and unfortunately more distracted drivers than ever, one of the best ways to stay safe on the bike is to be as visible as possible. While helmets have traditionally come in heavily black or white colorways, the last few years have seen an influx of color options. While greys, silvers and blues may not increase rider visibility significantly the fluorescent yellows and oranges available on many helmets from the budget Giro Revel or Foray to the carefully selected “Attention Visibility Interaction Protection” (AVIP) colorways of the POC AVIP Octal MIPS should help drivers spot you from further away and decrease the chances of an accident. The Belgian manufacturer Lazer has probably developed one of our favorite features for enhancing visibility in their integrated LED upgrade for their Rollsys equipped helmets (many also available in a highly visible orange) including the Z1 helmet. While it is not an LED designed for daytime use, it is a convenient way to ensure you always have a light in case you are caught out as the day begins to fade.
Fluorescent Orange (such as the Lazer Helium seen left) and yellow helmets help increase rider visibility, while still looking cool, to keep you safe on the road compared to more traditional color ways such as the black Lazer to the right.
Another new addition to the cycling helmet market is the Royal Institute of Technology/Karolinska Institutet of Sweden developed Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). MIPS is a thin, low friction insert built to sit between your head and the helmet foam and is designed to reduce the amount of rotational force your head (and thus brain) experience in the event of a crash. Hopefully this reduces the trauma experienced by your brain during a crash. While there hasn’t been a lot of real world data, leading to verification of the lab results, most helmets featuring MIPS only suffer a slight weight and cost penalty ($20 for most Giro models such as the affordably priced Savant MIPS). We think MIPS is promising. For those not wanting to take jump to MIPS, some research indicates rounder and smoother designs are less likely to catch or “stick” to the ground in the event of an impact thus reducing the amount of rotational force.
The yellow MIPS insert (left) provides protection from rotational forces by creating a low friction interface between your head and the helmet foam.
While higher priced helmets do not inherently provide improved safety that doesn’t mean that don’t offer advantages especially for a rider looking for more comfort or better performance on the bike. Most notably, as helmet price increases ventilation, weights, retention systems and as of the last few years aerodynamics, on road helmets anyway, generally all see improvements with each price jump. These become important considerations when selecting a helmet. If you find the helmet you purchased becomes too hot during summer ride, or the retention system or shape causes hotspots you may be less likely to wear it. A helmet left at home does nothing to help protect your brain in the event of a crash.
The Giro Sutton features an incredibly basic retention system composed of elastic cords and cord lock, helping the Sutton stand up to the abuse of urban commuting but may not be the best system for all day riding.
Basic ratchet retention systems offer good adjustability but are often bunker and heaver than their counterparts on more expensive helmet models.
The Lazer Rollsys system is particularly popular with the staff in the shop offering infinite adjustment. The design is almost quite proper among longer haired customers who wear their hair in a pony tail while riding as the design does not require treading their hair between the ratchet system and helmet.
Helmets should fit snuggly but comfortably. Start by measuring your head and comparing with the sizing guide from the manufacturer. Some budget helmets come as one size fits all but these days a lot of models come in several sizes to help you get the perfect fit without looking like you have a mushroom on your head. A helmet should be worn level, with the retention system in the back (the number of riders we see with helmets on backwards is somewhat disconcerting) and the front about midway down your forehead. The retention system should be tightened enough that the helmet does not easily slide in any direction, without feeling like it is squeezing your head in any unfordable way, and the chin strap gently touching to help insure the helmet will remain in place should the worst occur.
Finally, it is important to remember that all helmets have a shelf life. Indeed, most manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 3-5years (each brand has determined their own lifespan so check the owner manual for your particular model to determine the life of your particular helmet). While you may not of crashed while wearing your helmet they still suffer a lot of abuse from everyday use (being tossed on a shelf, accidental drops, and UV degradation to the foam), and as perhaps the most important piece of safety gear you wear cycling you don’t want to find out your helmet is no longer ready to stand up to the forces of a crash after the fact. It is also important to remember that helmets are designed only to provide protection from a single impact, so in the invent to a crash, especially if you hit your head (helmet) at all, it is always best practice to replace your helmet even if there are no visible signs of damage.
Saturday, May 14 through Wednesday, May 18th is your chance to demo a bike in the iconic Pinarello Dogma line-up! The Pinarello demo truck will be at the shop and contains the much talked about Dogma K8-S and their Tour de France winning Dogma F8.
There will be no charge for a same-day demo on either Pinarello Dogma. A photo copy of your I.D. and credit card will be required. Additionally you will need to sign a release. Please contact Cody at email@example.com, call 801-364-0344 or swing by the shop to reserve a day on any bike listed below. We have most sizes available for both the F8 and K8-S.
When we were invited to Madrid to visit Rotor Bike Compenents HQ, we really didn’t know a whole lot about the company. Mostly, we knew about their cranks and chainrings with them having a lot to offer from aero cranksets to cranks with powermeters to round chainrings to their oval Q-rings. We’ve seen the high quality of these parts as they are featured on just about every model in Cervelo’s lineup. However our limited knowledge certainly did not lessen our excitement to be part of the official launch of Rotor’s new Uno hydraulic shifting system. This is a huge step for Rotor to take further inroads into component manufacturing especially when taking on Shimano and SRAM. Needless to say we were excited to take a look.
We arrived at Rotor for a quick lunch and then a tour of the operation. In the States, they’d probably call it something catchy like the Rotor Campus as it occupies a few buildings and all facets of the business are taking place here. The buildings were in a small industrial park and it seemed like they had just grown into vacancies in the complex as needed. On display in the entryway were winner’s jerseys and the matching colored cranksets from three grand tour vicitories of Sastre, Hesjedal and Cobo.
These guys are proud of the athletes and teams representing Rotor. Probably the best endorsement is that by Marianne Vos (who many argue is the best female cyclist ever) where she has basically strong-armed Shimano into allowing her to use Rotor’s Q-Rings.
As we waited for other members of our group to arrive, we were able to look at some of the inventions of founder Pablo Carrasco. During our visit with him it was obvious he is an innovator. So much so that he had once been offered a position in a engineering roll with a Formula One program. Hanging on the wall were probably twenty different iterations of his original project (what was eventually called the RCX) , a crankset where the crankarms traveled at different speeds, and out of sync with each other, during each pedal stroke through a series of gears and cams. The original crank is in the photo below.
Pablo thought, and studies showed, there were efficiencies to be gained and that such a system might have less wear and tear on the body. The oval chainrings, or Q-rings, represent this idea at the simplest level. Pablo said that he and his team are working on just about everything on the bike other than seats, tires and frames and that he is trying to eventually bring to market a newer version of the RCX crankset.
Rotor seems ready to take on the future. They recently “merged” with a long time machining partner who is basically next door. They are well-funded and seem like a company just the right size to be able to innovate, produce and sell great bike components. We were shown a new powermeter and a mountain bike crankset that can use their oval chainrings.
Rotor’s Uno hydraulic system was the focus of our visit. With Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo only having cable-actuated and electronic systems, this system is definitely unique. Basically hydraulic pressure from the shift lever triggers a clock-like mechanism in each derailleur to move the chain. In a cabled system, the ratchet is in the shifter and signals the derailleur to shift by pulling or releasing cable. Things like tight curves for internal routing, weathering of the cable and worn out housing all deteriorate the quality of this “signal”. The Uno system partnered up with German company Magura for both rim and disc brake options and to capitalize on their strength in hydraulics. Unlike most disc brakes, the shifting hydraulic line is very thin gauge (3mm in diameter) and it can run anywhere a Di2 wire can go.
The results is a group that seems to have a solid foundation for strong and precise shifting and that can compete with the electronic systems on the market. It also shares a lot of positive attributes of the electronic systems: it is very light, it should hold adjustment for a long period of time and it should require less routine maintenance, without the need to replace cables or charge batteries. Rotor is constantly improving the ergonomics and the actuation of the shifters through feedback from testing by two major professional teams. The future will bring multiple shifting points for a time trial bike, longer cage options for gravel and cross bikes and a mountain bike option. For bikes that get muddy, the Uno system should really be a plus. We are particularly excited for a one-by-eleven version to be released down the road.
We’ve been wondering when this day would come. Cannondale is finally launching the second iteration of the 29r Scalpel platform. The last platform spent five years at the top of the list for best cross-country bikes. This one is poised to do the same. How did they make it better? While we really need to get out and ride this thing, there are a few features that really stand out as nice improvements to what was a solid performer.
First, Cannondale has extended the System Integration (SI) treatment deeper into the new Scalpel. We are most excited about even shorter chainstays through using asymmetry in the rear wheel and the rear triangle. For 29″ full suspension, the new Scalpel should live up to it’s name in being able to cut up the trail. Second, the new suspension linkage seems much improved. Not only does it look cleaner, it seems simpler and also should take a bit more a beating. Cannondale is building the Scalpel to be ridden hard and aggressively like cross country race bikes really get ridden. The new linkage should accommodate. Finally, we have to give Cannondale a high-five on having eight killer build options. Not only did they go heavy on Shimano brakes, they offer the right wheel choices in Enve, CZero and Stans. They offer great choices in 1×11 and 2×11 drivetrains from both Sram and Shimano. Cannondale didn’t forget about the ladies this go-round. Not only did they offer three sizes, including a XS that will offer the most petite riders a seat at the table, but they also offer every model in a small sized frame that now features 27.5″ wheels.
The new 2017 Scalpel looks like it literally and figuratively can cut to the point. It builds on a platform through a series of tweaks and improvements while combining the best component selection in the market to create a family of Scalpels that has something to offer everyone. Good thing 2017 came early!
Looking to score a great bike at a really great price? We have over 200 bikes including a large fleet of Scott demo & show bikes. Select from a huge range of bikes from junior to road to mountain to cyclocross at close to 40% OFF.
Great savings on other brands from Giro, Cannondale, TIME,BMC & more. Take an extra 20% OFF the lowest marked price on any clothing, shoes or helmets already on sale. All sale items are final sale.