1. From the Top: Compass Stampede 700 x 32 Tires
2. News & Reviews: Product Review: Rotor QXL Rings
3. Question of the Week: How Many Wheelsets Do You Own?
4. Ask Coach Fred: Can I Fit Hard Group Rides Into Weekly Training?
5. Sponsors: Cycling Products from our Sponsors
6. Jim's Tech Talk: Product Review: TruVelo 24 and 33 Wheelsets
7. No Problem: Tips for Hard-as-You-Can Intervals
8. Quick Tips: Use Your Phone’s Screen Protector for Your Computer
9. Cadence: Gaining Just a Few Pounds Can Increase Blood Pressure
10. RBR eBookstore: The Best Cycling Bookstore on the Internet!
Editor’s Notes: Apologies again for the late delivery of last week’s email. Our email service provider had a glitch they didn’t get resolved till late Thursday morning. In case you missed it, Issue No. 638 was packed with quick takes on some cool new products we saw at Interbike and included a product review of the new Fly6 combination tail light and HD camera.
And just a note that the email you receive each Thursday is really not the Newsletter but rather just a “friendly reminder” that the Newsletter has been posted to the website and is waiting for you there. So unless you hear otherwise from us (we do take a week off from time to time around holidays and such!) – even if, for some reason, you don’t receive an email on a Thursday morning – you can just go straight to the website and click Newsletter to read the current issue.
OK, enough housekeeping. Let’s talk about what’s going on this week, and into the fall.
We have a bunch of terrific product reviews lined up, for one thing, including three today! Last week’s Question of the Week asked: What Kinds of Bike Products Are Most Important to You? Maybe it should come as no surprise that you answered, in effect, “everything, to a degree – with a focus on safety.”
Here’s the breakdown of how you voted:
Your answers to the poll are good news, because we always try to highlight a diverse array of products in our reviews. Today is the perfect example. Coach Fred Matheny starts us off with a review, below in this space, of the Compass Stampede Pass 700x32 tires. We discussed the virtues of wider tires in-depth recently, and they sure seem to represent a trend in road cycling. Fred wrote what I call a more “narrative” review, skipping the Hot!-Not! bullets and star rating and providing more background and personal insight than a typical review.
In News & Reviews, Paul Smith checks out Rotor’s QXL Rings, and in Tech Talk, Jim Langley reviews the TruVelo 24 and 33 wheelsets.
Next week, we’ll feature a review of the Nalini Storica Ti Short-Sleeve Jersey and the Settanta Bib Short, by Rick Schultz. We also have a review of the Co-Motion Carrera Tandem, by Coach Fred, lined up. And there are many more in the pipeline, as we start to review some of the products that caught our eye at Interbike. Look for plenty more reviews throughout the fall and into winter and 2015.
By Coach Fred Matheny
Weight: 284 grams
Sidewalls: tan (tested), black
Tread design: traditional file/rib tread
Other options: Extra-light Model, 256 grams, tan or black sidewalls, $76
Miles tested: 600+
How Acquired: Purchased
Have you noticed how many cyclists have adopted wider tires? Because of their increased air volume, even the pros use 25s and even 28s for rough courses like Paris-Roubaix. Where racers and recreational riders alike formerly equated narrow tires with speed, we now know, thanks to studies by Jan Heine at Bicycle Quarterly and others, that wider tires mean more comfort, less chance of pinch flats and more cornering grip with no loss of speed.
But there’s a caveat — wider tires need to have supple, lightweight casings to be fast, and up to now most wider choices have been heavy-duty touring models with puncture-resistant belts and rugged sidewalls, great for gravel roads and hauling loads but slow and harsh for performance riding.
To remedy this situation, Heine launched a line of light-casing tires through his web business, Compass Bicycles. Available in 700C, 650B and 26-inch models, these tires are in the tradition of the legendary tires of old like the Clement Del Mundo tubular or the wide randonneuring clinchers of 70 years ago. In 700C, these tires are available as wide as 38mm.
I wondered how wide a tire I could use to get the advantages without feeling like I was piloting a monster truck. Of course, maximum tire width is limited by frame clearance. One reason wider rubber hasn’t caught on rapidly is that most race and performance bikes have been designed for 23mm tires. On many frames and forks, a 25 is a squeeze. Forget 28s. However, that’s changing as bike designers realize that customers are moving toward wider tires.
I have a Rivendell Roadeo, a light steel bike with plenty of clearance. I wasn’t quite ready for those 38s so I opted for the Stampede Pass 32mm model. (Jan Heine is located in Seattle and his tires are named for passes in the Pacific Northwest.) After putting over 600 miles on a set, I’m sold on the advantages.
They certainly get attention. When PacTour’s Ridge of the Rockies tour came through my hometown of Montrose, Colorado, I tagged along part of the way on the day’s jaunt to Durango. At the start in the motel parking lot half a dozen riders immediately noticed the wider tires and asked about them. Because our eyes are so attuned to bikes with narrow tires, wider ones stick out like no other change you can make to your bike.
I noticed right away how the lower tire pressures made possible by wider tires cushion the ride on bad pavement. Here in western Colorado, we have miles of deteriorating chip seal road, punctuated by potholes, poorly patched sections and other stretches where the blacktop has vanished, leaving what amounts to a gravel road. If you have similar riding conditions, you’ll love the way the Stampede Pass tires smooth out the kind of road that only a Jeep could love.
The trick is to use lower air pressure. I weigh about 150 pounds and run 25s at 100 psi but inflated these 32s to only around 80 psi. I could probably go lower. The difference in comfort is remarkable, and I have had no pinch flats. On a recent ride I rounded a downhill corner when a deer ran across the road in front of me. I swerved to miss Bambi and hit a rock in the road with my front tire. I expected a pinch flat and maybe a damaged rim but the air volume of the larger tire protected me from both.
The wider tires increase cornering safety remarkably. I was eager to ride south with PacTour to Red Mountain Pass to try them out on the steep and curvy descent into Ouray. Highway 550, the “Million Dollar Highway,” over Red Mountain Pass is 13 miles and 3,400 vertical feet (1,036m) of adventure. It tops out a bit over 11,000 feet (3,353m) in elevation. Cut into the cliffs of the San Juan Mountains, it got its name because it supposedly cost a million dollars a mile to build in the late 1800s. Switchbacks and sheer drop-offs abound—it’s a serious climb and an even more serious bike-handling challenge to descend.
I was confident that the tires would work well on the sweeping switchbacks near the top but the real test was the tight curves between Ironton Park (a flatter respite in the middle of the climb) and the bottom on the main street of Ouray. After wishing the PacTour group a safe ride on to Durango, I turned around and headed into the curving, cliff-gouged section featuring the snow shed that protects the road from avalanches, the Bear Creek Falls tunnel and the final big sweeper at the turnoff for Yankee Boy Basin jeep road.
It was uncanny how much more confident the bike handled on the Stampede Pass tires compared to tires only 25mm wide. The pavement is rough due to gouges from the snowplow blades in the winter and rocks falling from the cliffs above in all seasons. But when I leaned the bike over in the bumpy corners, the tires clung to the road without chattering on the corrugations like a narrower tire inflated to a higher pressure would have done.
A rock in the road caused me to change my line in mid-corner, but the tires gripped tenaciously even as I leaned the bike over harder. An oncoming motor home driver, spooked by the sheer drop to his right, was hugging the middle of the road as I approached another tight corner. But I had no qualms about adjusting my line quickly and scooting between the vehicle and the cliff wall. I knew the tires firmly attached me to the road.
While the Stampede Pass tires were spectacular on treacherous descents, they were solidly workmanlike in everyday riding. On rough pavement they soaked up the bumps so long rides were less fatiguing. Even miles of bouncing on gruesome farm and ranch roads in the western Colorado outback didn’t faze them. I was confident riding them on gravel roads, too, and they have suffered no tread or sidewall damage from careening from rock to rock.
In light of the supple casings, what about puncture resistance? I was a bit concerned because I had previously tested an earlier incarnation of a similar tire, the Grand Bois, in 26mm. I had two flats in a couple of weeks, both from goat head thorns. So I worried that thorns, radial tire wires and other sharp objects might cause so many flats that the advantages of the Stampede Pass tires would be negated.
However I’ve had no punctures so far in spite of the rough roads, gravel and significant miles on highway shoulders with occasional truck tire carcasses lurking. Of course, flats are often just a case of bad luck. But at this point the Stampede Pass tires have proven remarkably tough.
I have also checked my average speed on my usual training routes using these tires versus the same rides on narrower tires over the years. While average speed on a given route can vary tremendously, over time a pattern develops.
So far, the wider tires seem at least as fast as narrow models and on rough pavement they appear to be faster. I attribute this to their extra cushion — they roll over small imperfections in the pavement rather than hitting them and bouncing up slightly, thus decreasing speed. The rougher the pavement, the greater the advantage over narrow tires.
It will take several thousand more miles to evaluate their long-term reliability, and I want more accurate data on whether they are in fact faster. Of course, Compass makes the Stampede Pass’s big brother, the Barlow Pass, in 38mm, and I think they’d fit in my frame. So the question of how wide we can go isn’t answered yet.
Coach Fred Matheny has decades of experience as a competitive racer and cycling coach. He is the author of 13 RBR eBooks and eArticles.
It's Fall and Temps are Cooler. SALE! 20% Off!
Premium Member Price: $17.00 / Non-Premium Price: $20.00
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By Paul Smith
How obtained: review sample
Availability: retail, online
RBR sponsor: no
Tested: 4 months, approximately 2,000 miles
Claimed weight: 210g
Material: Aluminum 7075 T6, steel shifting pins
Settings: 5 regulation OCP Points
Compatibility: 10- and 11-speed
The QXL rings are the latest product from Rotor, with increased ovalization over the standard Q-Rings -- 16% ovalized vs. 10% with regular Q-Rings. Rotor intends this design not to replace standard Q-Rings, but rather to complement them.
Each is optimized for different rider profiles and situations. Standard Q rings aim to boost performance by varying the resistance in the pedal stroke. QXL rings claim to be more suited to higher output riders. I have ridden them all day at lower power levels and would be comfortable recommending them for riders new to oval cranks.
The claim is that QXL chainrings are most noticeably beneficial when riding in conditions of high power delivery and consistent maximum effort, such as time trials, sprints and breakaways. The idea is that using Q-Rings will boost your performance by varying drivetrain resistance during pedaling to help deal with your legs’ natural strengths and weakness.
The aim is to reduce the muscle effort at the weakest part of the pedal stroke and increase the possible power output during the part of the stroke with maximum power potential. I tested the QXL rings in a 53t/38t size. The ovalization changes the effective gear size. For example, at the highest point on the pedal stroke in the big ring, it is the equivalent of a 57-tooth, and at the lowest point it shrinks to a 49-tooth.
Putting the rings on is a pretty straightforward operation for someone with moderate mechanical skills. It’s a matter of loosening five bolts (for Shimano), removing the existing rings and installing the new rings. There are five possible installation positions. Rotor recommends starting with position three and changing from there as needed after the adaptation period -- yes, there is a “burn in” time needed; more on that soon.
I was a little worried about the front derailleur adjustment, so I took it to my local bike shop to get it dialed in (thanks to Durham Cycles for the tweak). The key is to find the highest point on the big ring and, just like with round rings, place the derailleur about 1-2mm above that. I later adjusted it myself after switching back to smaller round rings for a trip to the mountains and was able to set it up again without issue.
It feels a little odd the first time you pedal with these rings installed. That said, it’s not as strange a feeling as you might expect from such a radically different shape. At the top of the pedal stroke there is less effort needed to push through, which is the position where you generate the least amount of power. The crank shape then allows the most power to be generated in the 2 o’clock position where the effort can be maximized.
I found myself watching the chain for the first few miles, almost hypnotized as the chain moved up and down through the stroke. Watching from the side is even more dramatic.
The first ride was about adaptation. I went out solo on my local rolling Orange County roads for 54 miles. Each pedal stroke felt subtly different than what I’d been used to. Toward the end of the ride I hooked up with a buddy for the last 15 miles. Sitting on his wheel I found I was able to hold the pace comfortably.
What became apparent was that my quads were on the edge of being sore. It feels like the muscles are activated in a different way, so that the larger and more powerful muscles get a chance to do more work. The soreness went away pretty quickly, though. I felt like I adapted to the QXL rings in around 200 miles, after which my stroke while riding them started to feel natural.
At the point in the testing process when my local group rides started to get faster, I noticed something telling. Within the group I’ve always had a reasonable sprint; however, I felt I was missing the top end of the power I normally can tap, that somehow the power was coming too late in the pedal stroke.
I asked Rotor about this and the suggestion was made to move from the starting position of three to position two, since I was now fully adapted to riding ovalized rings. The change I felt was immediate. Now the power came right where I was expecting it to, allowing me to get over the pedal stroke in a way that felt much more natural.
I found that the initial position is ideal for riders who prefer to spin in a reasonably high cadence in a time trial-like effort. But I tend to ride with a slightly lower cadence, so position two was more appropriate for me after the adaptation period. (The photo shows different positions available on the ring.)
Here’s what Rotor’s documentation states re: the “symptoms” I was having:
“you need to lower cadence to be comfortable”, “pedaling resistance comes too late” and even “acceleration and sprinting is easy but maintaining speed if difficult”. The solution is to reduce the current OCP number by one step.
As mentioned above, there are five different positions available to mount the rings to meet the optimum pedaling style of the rider. All are explained with similarly detailed descriptions in Rotor’s documentation of the “symptoms” the user might be experiencing – and the recommended adjustment solution.
In the middle of the testing period, I took a trip with my riding buddies to the North Georgia mountains. It’s a wonderful area to ride and has many long and difficult climbs. Since the Rotor QXL rings didn’t have the low gearing I needed for these climbs, I switched back to my Shimano Dura Ace 50/34 compact rings.
The first day of the trip went great. Although we didn’t do any of the big climbs that day, I rode strong and felt like I was on top of the gear. The second, and successive, days, when we hit the steep pitches, were very different. I felt that I was missing the easy comfort that I had with the QXL rings. My legs tired easily, I had more leg strain and slight knee discomfort.
Rotor specifically advises against switching back to round rings, so this was an issue of my own making. When the ride in the mountains got tough, I found myself wishing for the oval rings.
The trip to Georgia was the real turning point for me. Before the trip I had enjoyed the QXL rings and found them easy to start riding and adapt to. However, once I switched back to round rings for that trip, the advantage I had gained from them became apparent.
My pedal stroke felt choppy on the round rings, and I felt that I was probably wasting power. I can’t say if I was any faster, but I was certainly more comfortable on the QXL rings. After the trip, I switched back to the Rotor rings and felt the knee pain reduce and the pedal stroke get smoother. That, to me, is the real advantage of making the switch.
Yes, the front shifting is a little more hesitant than with my Shimano setup, but the advantages are a more natural pedaling style and increased comfort.
If you have been considering making the switch to oval, it’s not a bank-breaking investment to give it a try.
Paul Smith regularly reviews products for RBR. He’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Piedmont area of North Carolina. He commutes often, and his car is worth less than either of his bikes.
See all our Product Reviews (230+, in 30 categories, available to Premium Members) at http://www.roadbikerider.com/product-reviews/25
Our other recent Product Reviews include:
Fly6 Combination Tail Light & HD Camera, by John Marsh
LifeBEAM Heart Rate Sensor Helmet, by John Marsh
Safety Wing, by Jim Langley
Garneau CB Carbon Bib and Jersey, byJohn Marsh
Giro Attack Shield Helmet, by Jim Langley
HubBub Helmet Mirror, by Jim Langley
Foam Roller Primer and Product Review, by Rick Schultz
Niterider USB Stinger Tail Light, by Paul Smith
Niterider Lumina 700 Head Light, by Paul Smith
Niterider Lumina 220 Head Light, by Paul Smith
This installment of Our Favorite Rides comes to us from George Ferguson, an RBR Premium Member from Kansas City, Missouri (my hometown). For what it lacks in photos (he spent the day actively relishing the experience vs. snapping shots), George’s submission makes up for in his literary approach. I think you’ll find it a fun read. – John Marsh
I've been cycling for a lot of years, and this year decided there will be times when I'd rather drop from the pack and take in the surroundings vs. going fast and focusing on the wheel in front of me. Saturday, September 6, was one of those days.
I drove 3 hours from Kansas City up to Bellevue, Nebraska (just outside Omaha), to do my first of two Bike MS rides this year – Bike MS Nebraska. I took my time, soaked up the scenery, and enjoyed a BEAUTIFUL day perfect for cycling. Some of my random observations and thoughts from the day follow.
The ride started at Bellevue University. Oklahoma was playing in Nebraska that day...not the football teams, but the musical, at the Little Bellevue Theater. And yes, it was little. A great big round silo, with a little house on top, like a kid’s playhouse. Why? In don’t know.
After a few miles, the ride crossed the Missouri River into Iowa and spent the rest of the day in Iowa, until the last few miles when it went back across the state line. So why do they call it Bike MS Nebraska?
After crossing into Iowa, I hit unbelievably dense fog – so heavy that I thought I’d have to backstroke through it. Riders in front of me would disappear. It reminded me of Stephen King’s “The Mist.” (Do I really want to go in there? Where do those other riders go?)
Farther on, I hit a 10-mile stretch of road that was chip and seal – almost all chip and no seal. It was a fall and/or flat waiting to happen and made me wish I was on a mountain bike instead of my road bike.
At one point the ride rolled though Glenwood, Iowa, a neat little town. Main Street looked like the main street of a town in a B Western.
We rolled through another little town called Pacific Junction...not Petticoat Junction, but Pacific Junction. There was no Shady Rest Hotel, no Uncle Joe.
Why did I think about that old TV show? Now I can’t get the theme song out of my mind.
Coming up on a railroad crossing, I saw a freight train approaching and started pushing the pace. Unfortunately, I was about 30 seconds late, and I watched as the crossing arms came down as I got close to the tracks.
It took 15 minutes for the train to go by. Funny, on the front of all the cars was painted “Do Not Hump.” Don’t worry, I wasn’t even considering it. Wow, two freight trains, each about a decade long (couldn’t see the end), going opposite directions...stopped, nose to nose, on the same track. I just imagined hearing the two train engineers…”You back up.” “No YOU back up!” “No YOU back up, I was here first!” or "Houston, we have a problem." or "Stanley, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!"
And whenever someone asked if I was having fun, I channeled Dennis Quaid from "The Rookie": "You know what we get to do today? We get to ride our bikes!"
We’ve got a few new eArticles on the way soon from the prolific – and terrific! – Coach John Hughes.
In early November, look for a new edition in his Cycling Past 50, 60 and Beyond series on cross-training, just in time for the off-season.
Next up will be another Cycling Past 50, 60 and Beyond installment, in early January tentatively titled “Your Best Year Ever.” It will utilize the concept of periodization – from the off-season into base training, build (spring) training, and peaking – to show you how to achieve your best year ever on the bike.
And then, starting in February, we’ll bring you a new Touring series of eArticles that will provide loads of useful information on how best to plan, train for, and ride multi-day tours. It’s something that will benefit both old touring hands and touring neophytes alike.
Slowly but surely, we’re working to make available some of our best-selling titles in Kindle editions for those of you who use the popular reader. We will continue to work though our catalog, and as new titles go on sale we’ll work to get those up on Amazon as well. Because Kindle editions are sold exclusively through Amazon, and Amazon takes its cut, there is no Premium discount available on Kindle editions.
Here are the RBR titles currently available in Kindle editions:
I bought your Fred Matheny's Complete Book of Road Bike Training and use one of your suggested schedules. It calls for sprinting on Tuesdays, longer rides on Wednesdays and intervals on Thursdays. However, there's a group ride here on Wednesday evenings. It's an opportunity to practice pack skills with race intensity, but it's much harder than the prescribed longer ride. How should I fit it into your plan? -- Tom G.
First, think about your goals. If you want to get better at pack riding because you want to race better, going with the Wednesday group makes sense. But if you're aiming at centuries, tours or time trials, it would be better to do long solo rides on Wednesdays.
First rule: Make sure that training matches your goals.
Let's assume that racing is your objective. In this case, if you have access to a fast and responsible group ride on Wednesdays, go for it. You'll probably find it more fun than training by yourself. But you must be aware of how much such rides can take out of you. They often require race-like efforts.
Count the group ride as your interval training and move the endurance ride to Thursday. But you'll need to make other modifications, too.
Cut back on the Tuesday sprints. Do the Wednesday group ride, then evaluate how you feel on Thursday before actually going for a longer ride. Consider your general energy level and how much life is in your legs. If you're fatigued, ride shorter and spin easily.
Also consider what you're doing on the weekend. If you're racing or doing hard group or solo rides, they might be too much combined with the weekday hard efforts.
Second rule: Listen to your body and trust what it says.
(Fred Matheny's Complete Book of Road Bike Training includes the Coach's doable year-round workout schedules for three types of roadies -- fitness riders, fast recreational riders, and racers. Pick a program to take you where you want to go this season.)
Coach Fred Matheny has decades of experience as a competitive racer and cycling coach. He is the author of 13 RBR eBooks and eArticles.
For new, and renewing, Premium Members, we’ll kick in One Free eArticle of Your Choice. That’s a rebate, in effect, of $4.99 off the annual $24.99 membership. You can choose from among any of our 70 individual eArticles (bundles are excluded). Click to see the entire array: http://www.roadbikerider.com/all-earticles.
Of course, you’ll also get all the other great benefits we’ve pulled together for you, including discounts on all our eArticles and eBooks, great cycling product discounts, access to our full treasure trove of searchable content and, when you can’t find what you’re looking for, the Ask RBR a Question feature – which allows Premium Members to ask our experts directly; we’ll tap our network to find your answer.
Here’s how it works: Your receipt (emailed to you after purchasing your Premium Membership) is your coupon. Just hit Reply on that email and write in the title of the eArticle you’d like. I’ll drop it in your Downloads folder in your RBR account. (If you can’t find your receipt, just let me know. I’m happy to help you out.)
By Jim Langley
Price: $1,299 per pair (either model)
Source: TruVelo Design. Currently the wheels are available from Fuji and Kestrel bicycle retailers and carry their Oval Concepts branding plus TruVelo.
How obtained: Sample from company
RBR sponsor: No
Tested: 100 miles training and 150 miles racing
Size (rim diameter/ height/width): Model 24: 700c/24/22; Model 33: 700c/33/22
Spoke type: Sapim bladed stainless-steel with 14mm-long aluminum nipples
Spoke count (F/R): Model 24: 20/24; Model 33: 20/27
Weight (Pair): Model 24: 1,275 grams; Model 33: 1,440 grams
Compatibility: 8-, 9-, 10- 11-speed cassette (Shimano, SRAM, Campagnolo); tubeless-ready
Components made in: Taiwan (hubs/rims) and Belgium (spokes)
For a few Tech Talks I’ve been promising a review of TruVelo’s new clincher aluminum wheelsets that I first mentioned in my column on wider tires and rims (and on how these features improve road riding). My review then got held up when the manufacturer found out I was racing on his wheels and got me the higher-performance 33 model to try (I had been riding the lower-profile 24s).
Well, I’m now back from the final big races of the year in Ogden, Utah, at the Masters Nationals, where I had a chance to hammer TruVelo’s hoops some more. And I can finally give you the skinny on these remarkable and affordable wheels that outperform even big-name and carbon wheels costing twice as much or more.
Before I weigh in -- since I’m only an individual and not someone choosing which wheels to put on entire bicycle lines -- here’s what Pat Cunnane, CEO of Advanced Sports International (ASI), the parent company of Fuji, SE, Kestrel and Breezer Bikes, had to say about the wheels (the TruVelos first debuted on their 2014 Fuji and Kestrel bicycles and they are delighted with them and spec’ing them even more for 2015):
“Customers are very savvy about intelligent designs and TruVelo’s wheel technology sets new benchmarks for strength, weight, power transfer, precise cornering, and ride quality. We want to give our customers uniquely high-specification wheels, combining modern wider designs, superb weight, and great reliability.”
TruVelo CEO Antonio Salerno, who loaned me the wheelsets to test, elaborated on the company and their technology that Pat at ASI is so bullish on:
“Based in the Silicon Valley and established in 2003, TruVelo utilizes Finite Element Analysis software to test wheel designs, in addition to a supercomputer that analyzes 100 million cycles, evaluating alloy strength and longevity, hub dimensions for tension results of lacing geometry, rim shapes for tubeless compatibility, and air chamber effect on comfort. We then make adjustments and improvements through rapid prototyping.”
The result of TruVelo’s computer analysis, and the reason for these new wheels making it onto thousands of Kestrels and Fujis, is an amazing attention to detail. Every spec on these wheels has been optimized.
For example, the hubs utilize oversized ABEC 3 Japanese sealed bearings for superior performance and durability. (TruVelo claims that Japan makes the best bearings available today). The aluminum cassette body has an anti-gouge steel insert to prevent the cogs ruining the body over the years as happens on most of them sooner or later.
Moving outward, the wheels feature Sapim bladed spokes with J-bend heads for ease of repair with standard spokes should you ever break a spoke. And TruVelo spec’d 14mm long aluminum nipples versus the standard 12mm ones so that they could greatly increase the number of threads keeping the spokes tight. They also used Nylok thread adhesive.
To optimize power transfer, cornering and durability, the spokes are evenly tensioned on both sides front and rear. To achieve this, the rear wheel uses a clever 2-to-1 spoking pattern with 3-cross pairs of spokes on the drive side balanced by a heads-up radially laced spoke on the other side.
Then, there’s the rim, which boasts a proprietary aluminum extrusion (not the standard 6061 alloy used in most aluminum rims) for lighter weight and also to form a superior tire mount. For tubeless-ready setups it ensures that the tire stays locked on and seals easily. And for standard clinchers, it also locks the tires on with a reassuring “pop” when fully inflated.
Plus, the rims have deep wells (center sections), which makes it easy to install and remove the tires even without tools. And because they’re superlight, there’s no need for carbon, meaning you have top-notch braking performance (and don’t need carbon-compatible brake pads).
Great wheels make a difference anybody can feel right away, and that’s the case with these TruVelos. They feel light, lively and efficient. Plus, with their wider footprint and air chamber, they’re significantly more compliant than narrower wheels -- especially if you run wider rubber and lower pressures.
I pushed both pairs of test wheels as hard as I could in 3 races, the Northern California/Nevada District Championship road race (where I rode the 24s) and the USA Masters Nationals road race and criterium (I raced the 33s). Due to the low-profile 3T fork on my Cervelo Soloist Carbon, I ran a Vittoria Open Corsa CX 700 x 23c clincher in the front and a 25c in the rear (both with butyl tubes).
In the Districts we raced on a terribly rough course with pavement seams every 100 yards on one long stretch. I loved being on wheels that absorb a lot of the impact, making me feel like I had an advantage over the guys on their traditional wheels. At the end of that race, there was a quarter mile climb before a 90-degree left turn and 200 yards to the finish. There was still a tight group of racers at the bottom of that final hill.
I was in a good position there and felt strong. I jumped with everything I had halfway up the hill, had the lead and was caught right on the line by a fitter and faster guy. But I finished second, and my 24s were part of the reason, because I felt fresher at the end of the race due to not taking such a beating. I also felt explosive on the last climb with wheels so light, snappy and fast.
At the Districts, two racers in other age categories, a man and woman, did manage to win on their TruVelo 33s. She went on to win Nationals on the wheels, and he placed 5th on his.
At Nationals I didn’t perform as well; however, my TruVelo 33s were exceptional. The road race finished at the top of a 3-mile climb to Snow Basin Resort outside Ogden, Utah. It was one of those mountains that seems to go on forever. But every time I thought I couldn’t take another pedal stroke, I would catch my breath for a second in that thin air and then feel the speed in the wheels which would give me the confidence to redouble my effort.
Overall, I’m blown away by the performance, design and technology of both pairs of TruVelo wheels and highly recommend giving them a spin if you’re in the market for an upgrade. I know you won’t find anything that compares at almost any price point.
Final Note: Currently the wheels are available from Fuji and Kestrel bicycle retailers and carry their Oval Concepts branding plus TruVelo.
Last week we introduced Coach Dean Golich’s “as hard as you can” intervals approach. This concept in a nutshell: Forget heart monitors or power meters. Go flat out when riding intervals up to 5 minutes long. We’re finishing up this 2-parter today.
No HR Monitor Necessary
Some riders may hesitate to do Golich’s intervals because they’re afraid of going too far over their lactate thresholds. They’re tied to use heart rate training zones. Hard intervals, without feedback from a monitor, make them nervous.
“You don’t need a heart monitor for hard training,” Golich contends, “because there’s little correlation between heart rate and power output. When cyclists look at their heart rates during hard efforts and see low numbers, they’re supposed to stop the interval session and go home. But when I examine power meter data [watts] often they’re putting out more power than a day or two earlier when their heart rates were higher. Heart rate isn’t a reliable indicator of power.”
Three Training Zones
Golich recognizes only 3 training zones—easy, medium and hard—determined subjectively.
An easy pace is for recovery days. It’s really easy—no pressure on the pedals—great for riding with a spouse or slower friend. A medium pace is defined as the effort you can sustain for an hour. Golich often prescribes 15-minute intervals at medium effort as a way to increase time trialing ability.
Should You Try This?
Any program this hard has dangers. Don’t attempt “hard as you can” intervals without heeding the following warnings:
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Today’s QT comes to us from RBR product reviewer Rick Schultz, who writes:
Keep those Garmin / Magellan GPS units’ screens from getting scratched. All of us have cell phone, and many of us have invested in those press-on screen protectors (that are basically a scratch-proof plastic film of some sort).
Usually they come in packs of 3. You probably have used one, maybe two, so use the spare one to put on the screen of your cycling computer to keep the screen from getting scratched.
All functionality still works, including tapping and swiping to change menus.
We’d like to hear from our readers with any Quick Tips you might have. To contact me, just hit the reply button on any email from us, or use the Contact Us form on the website: http://www.roadbikerider.com/contact.
By Gabe Mirkin, MD
Gaining just five percent of your body weight can raise your blood pressure. The people who are most likely to have a rise in blood pressure with a slight gain in weight are those who put that weight on in their bellies (American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions in San Francisco, September 10, 2014). People who gained the weight primarily in their thighs and hips were far less likely to have a rise in blood pressure.
Sixteen non-obese people, between ages 18 and 48, ate an extra 400 to 1,000 calories a day for eight weeks. They added ice cream, milk shakes, chocolate bars and energy drinks to their regular diets and gained an average of five percent of their body weight.
A 200-pound person, therefore, would have gained 10 pounds, the amount of weight a person could gain over a long holiday weekend or on a cruise. After eight weeks, their systolic blood pressure rose an average of 4 mm Hg, from 114 to 118 mm Hg. This is still normal blood pressure, but it is a significant rise.
If you store fat primarily in your belly, you also store fat in your liver. There is an association between high blood pressure and a fatty liver. When blood sugar levels rise too high, your pancreas releases insulin that drives sugar from the bloodstream into your liver. If you already have fat in your liver, your liver cannot do its job of accepting the sugar.
Instead, your liver releases sugar from its cells into your bloodstream to raise blood sugar levels even higher. People who store fat in their thighs and hips usually do not store much fat in their livers until they become very overweight.
Foods rich in sugar are more likely to raise blood pressure because they are more likely to put fat into your liver. The people in this study put on a lot of weight quickly because they ate a lot of high-sugar foods and drinks. Once sugar enters the liver, it must be immediately used for energy or a small amount will be stored in the liver and muscles.
All the rest will be immediately converted to a type of fat called triglycerides and increase the amount of fat stored in the liver. So people who store fat primarily in their livers are usually the ones who:
* have high blood triglyceride levels,
* eat too much of foods that causes a high rise in blood sugar (sugared drinks, sugar-added foods and other refined carbohydrates),
* are diabetic or pre-diabetic,
* are genetically susceptible to storing fat primarily in the belly and liver, and
* are most likely to develop high blood pressure when they gain weight.
If you can pinch more than two inches in the skin over your belly, and you have less fat underneath the skin in your thighs and hips, you are at increased risk for being pre-diabetic or already diabetic and are at high risk for high blood pressure and a heart attack. You should:
* lose weight if overweight
* restrict sugared drinks, including fruit juices, sugar-added foods, refined carbohydrates including all foods made from flour, fried foods and red meat
* make sure you have blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D above 75 nmol/L
Reprinted with permission from Dr. Gabe Mirkin’s Fitness and Health e-Zine. Gabe Mirkin, M.D., is a sports medicine doctor and fitness guru. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin has run more than 40 marathons and is now a serious tandem bike rider with his wife, Diana, often doing 30-60 miles in an outing. His website is http://drmirkin.com/.
Coach John Hughes' Cycling Past 60, Part 2: For Recreation builds on the foundation of information for 60+ riders in Cycling Past 60, Part 1: For Health and uses the concept of “Athletic Maturity” to design more rigorous programs for more athletically mature riders. Part 2 builds on Part 1 and assumes that you have read it and taken the test to determine your Athletic Maturity. latest is for both health-focused and recreational cyclists who ride with more intensity. This 23-page eArticle includes the six different health maintenance objectives for different components of your physiology, eight basic (and four advanced) training principles, types of rides, cross-training and recovery tips.
It includes six different structured workout programs, three each for Endurance and Performance cyclists, based on levels of athletic maturity.
Our other new titles include:
Dynamic Conditioning Monthly – Part 3: Power Development, by Coach Dan Kehlenbach. It’s the 3rd installment in Kehlenbach’s 5-month series, with each building on the previous installment. Part 3 focuses on power building, particularly functional power.
Coach Harvey Newton’s new 132-page Strength Training for Cyclists Manual, which can be purchased on its own or as part of the entire Strength Training for Cyclists System (eManual, DVD and 28-page hard copy Quick Start Guide). This is the strength training resource for cyclists.
Coach David Ertl’s eArticle Keeping Off The Pounds – a Strategy for Maintaining Body Weight in the Cycling Off-Season was written to complement his best-selling eBook, Pedal Off The Pounds. It contains both nutrition and workout tips for managing your off-season weight.
Coach John Hughes’ eArticle Cycling Past 60, Part 1: For Health describes how your whole body ages and gives you six different health maintenance objectives for different components of your physiology, including comprehensive fitness programs that address these objectives.
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