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3T Exploro Speed

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 19:00

Now in its second generation, the Exploro certainly has made its mark on the gravel market. It’s a bike for racers and those wanting to reduce their stable (3 bikes in one). For those who ride in the Pacific Northwest, the Exploro is a choice for the variety of tire sizes. Mark V owns one and has run 32s to 47s on it, including mountain bike tires.

And, everyone that has a gravel bike knows they’re often used on pavement too. The Exploro is fast enough to line up at your local crit. You could even race CX if it wasn’t too muddy and you weren’t worried about carrying it on your hip instead of a shoulder.

Going Slow Faster

Shipping today, the Exploro speed, which as the name implies is more road than dirt. Distinguished by the build kit, what you need to know is all the pieces have come together for 3T and they’re expressing a point of view on the market with complete bikes.

Looking at their current line up, the Exploro Speed is the same flatmount frameset but with roadie-optimized kit.

You should get this bike for the crank. I have the Strada in on demo, with the same build. It’s remarkably advanced for those into going fast on the road.

Even if you’re happy riding 23s and rim brakes, 3T is releasing the most interesting products in road/gravel and this is an important milestone for them.

3T Exploro Speed Specs

You can build the 3T Exploro Speed several ways. I suggest the Torno Team and it costs $5500.

Frame Exploro LTD Frame sizes S-M-L-XL Frame colors Stealth Black Fork 3T FANGO LTD flatmount disk brake w/12mm thru axle Stem Arx II Team Stealth Handlebar Aeronova Team Stealth Headset 2 x 10mm & 2 x 5mm PC headset spacers Shifters SRAM Force 1 Hydraulic DoubleTap Rear Derailleur SRAM Force 1 Type 2.1 Medium Cage Crankset SRAM Quarq Prime Power Ready BB386 w/ 30mm 7050 AL spindle (optional upgrade to 3T Torno LTD) Chainring SRAM Force XSYNC, 46T (3T Torno crank ships with custom 44T chainring) Bottom Bracket Aluminum / Nylon Press fit cups for BB386EVO with 30mm i.d. sealed cartridge bearings Chain SRAM 11-speed XX1 Powerchain® II with PowerLock® connecting linkSRAM 11-speed XX1 Powerchain® II with PowerLock® connecting link Freewheel / Cassette SRAM 11-speed PowerGlide 11-36T Brake Levers SRAM Force CX1 Hydraulic DoubleTap Brakes SRAM Force Flat Mount Hydraulic Disc w/ SRAM CenterlineX 160mm Centerlock rotor Saddle Fizik Antares Versus Wheelset Discus C35 TEAM Stealth (700c) Tires Continental Grand Prix 4000 II S 700x28c

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Osprey Launched Bike Lumbar Packs

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 12:23

While I’m busy with Sony in San Diego, Osprey launched bike lumbar packs. The Seral and Savu feature Osprey’s new bike-specific, angled hipbelt and compression straps for stability when riding.

One carries a lumbar reservoir, the other water bottles—it looks like it’ll appeal to a minimalist looking for something other than a traditional over-the-shoulder pack or an alternative to Camelbak.

Specifications Osprey Seral | Savu

Shared Features Include:

  • Bike-specific angled hipbeltAirmesh wrap hipbelt with zippered fabric pockets provide stability and breathability
  • ErgoPull waist strap closure system allows for proper, snug and stable fit
  • Airscape Lumbar Backpanel with extra thick ridged foam with center air channel for excellent ventilation and stability
  • Easily accessible zippered main compartment
  • Internal tool organization
  • Dual zippered hipbelt pockets
  • Front panel bungee for extra clothing

SERAL | Features Integrated Hydraulics 1.5L Reservoir | $85

  • Direct access zip path to reservoir compartment
  • Magnetic hipbelt bite valve attachment
  • Hydraulics 1.5L Lumbar Reservoir included
  • Volume: 7 Liters

SAVU | Features Water Bottle Carry | $55

  • Dual tuckaway water bottle sleeves
  • Volume: 4 Liters

Read more about the new packs on Osprey’s site. I should have a pack into demo soon.

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Riding Through the Period of Maximum Constraint

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 16:22

If you haven’t already heard, our local Seattle news cycle is dominated with the permanent Closure of the Alaskan way viaduct; that’s the Period of Maximum Constraint I wrote about for Wired.

How to survive, plan, circumvent or outright avoid what will be a long three weeks followed with a new tunnel and loss of exits mid tunnel.

I stopped by Westside Bicycle in my neighborhood to see what commuters are considering to get around.

Demos Available

There, I spoke with Mitchell Morris. Mitchell stated there has been a significant increase for commuting by bicycle especially for this time of year.  He mentioned Westside Bicycles, Ride & Decide program that has added a small fleet of Specialized Vado 3.0 (electric assist) bicycles that gives the customer a 48-hour demo with a nominal fee applied towards their future purchase with or without assist.

Their other demos are Giant Trance & Pique. Specialized Tarmac, Enduro and Stumpjumper with 24- and 48-hour terms.

The Specialized Vado Demo comes well equipped with charger, pannier, lock & helmet. Mitch stated, if a customer picks it up Wednesday evening you can give it a try for two full commute days and drop off Saturday morning.

Pedal assist bikes have been pretty popular with new riders tending to be intimidated by pace of traffic, hills and a lack of fitness.

Not all electric bikes are the same and they have some different models from Giant and Flash to compare for a more traditional trail test.

If you’ve got cargo to carry, consider the Tern GSD too. The best part is getting to work sweat free, after a good workout. Also, the waterfront has probably never been quieter.

Taking photos of the #Viaduct from @smithtower and it's eerily quiet without the double-decker din of motors and tires on concrete. The black strip along the waterfall is where it still stands for 3 more weeks @wsdot @CityofSeattle

— byron@bikehugger (@bikehugger) January 13, 2019

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Tour Down Under Debuting Track Cycling

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 06:43

This year, the South Australian festival of cycling will include a night of track cycling featuring the world’s best. Tour Down Under debuting track cycling is great for the sport that could use a boost in good publicity.

Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur has finally realized his dream to bring track racing into the race. The move is a first step towards expanding the Tour Down Under to include all cycling disciplines.

Well, probably not CX.

Turtur, a former Olympic track cyclist, said the new event would give fans the chance to experience track cycling.

The Advertiser Track Down Under will challenge athletes in their best disciplines.

Exciting Racing

Tour Down Under debuting track cycling will be held at the Adelaide SuperDrome on Friday evening (January 11). It will feature eliminations, heartstarters and scratch races as well as a 1000m Madison Time Trial. Champion sprinters Matthew Glaetzer and Stephanie Morton will headline.

World Sprint Champion Matthew Glaetzer and Commonwealth Games Champion Stephanie Morton going head to head with the best competitors from around Australia.

Italy’s Elia Viviani and Denmark’s Michael Mørkøv have also signed up to race. Deceuninck-Quickstep Teammate Mørkøv won silver at Beijing 2008, and is looking ahead to Tokyo 2020 with the return of his preferred Madison event.

“Elia and I are going to participate and we both very look forward to it,” Morkov said. “We are both good track riders, we brought our own track bikes here and we are very happy that we get the opportunity to race against the Australian guys.”

The UCI sanctioned Women’s Tour Down kicked off today, with Stage 1 of the men’s event scheduled to take place on Tuesday, January 15. Watch highlights on YouTube and find the race from you cable operator or streaming online. The debut of track cycling is on the 11th.

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Northface Launched Futurelight

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 21:28

At CES, Northface launched Futurelight a new textile with bold claims like it’s the most advanced breathable-waterproof outerwear technology. Whether or not Futurelight will redefine the future of technical outerwear and change how we experience waterproof performance remains to be seen.


Breathable, waterproof fabrics are very hard to do. Just now, after years of working on it, Gore is making a stretch version of the Shakedry jacket that evolved from their active shell and it works exceptionally well.

Nanospun technology.

No matter the material or nanospinning technical approach, a manufacture still has to differentiate water molecule size and water vapor molecule size. One can pass through the membrane and the other can’t. Then it’s a determination of how light, durable, and flexible the material is.

I haven’t seen much detail on the Northface Futurelight besides the PR.

Maybe it’s awesome.

Unless they’re addressing for high-aerobic categories like bike/run/nordic ski, I’m very skeptical of any meaningful difference in performance.

That’s because mountaineering just doesn’t have the same sweat transport requirement as the more aerobic actives. And, especially in a proving ground like Pacific Northwest.

It could be applicable to fat biking in the snow. That The North Face is using completely recycled materials and non-PFC DWR (durable water repellent) coating as well is interesting. Because that’s the most eco-friendly material the company has produced.


LAS VEGAS, Jan. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — In Las Vegas today, The North Face unveiled FUTURELIGHT, a new breathable waterproof material set to revolutionize the future of technical fabrics. Developed using innovative Nanospinning technology and sustainable practices, it is the most advanced breathable-waterproof outerwear material available.

“Right now, the expectation from a waterproof product is something loud, crunchy, muggy and unpackable. With FUTURELIGHT we can theoretically use the technology to make anything breathable, waterproof and for the first time, comfortable,” Global General Manager of Mountain Sports at The North Face Scott Mellin said. “Imagine a waterproof t-shirt, sweater or even denim that you actually want to wear. Today we start with jackets, tents and gloves, but the possibilities could be endless.”
With FUTURELIGHT technology, The North Face is also setting a new standard in sustainability through new practices in the  fabric creation process. These advances have allowed the brand to responsibly create  three-layer garments through use of recycled fabrics and production that cuts chemical consumption, all while being produced in a cleaner, solar-powered factory.

Pioneering Technology

The Nanospinning process used to create FUTURELIGHT fabric, has allowed the brand’s designers to add unprecedented air permeability into the membrane of a fabric for the first time. The process creates Nano-level holes, allowing for incredible porosity while still maintaining total waterproofness, letting air move through the material and provide more venting than ever before.

Additionally, Nanospinning gives designers the ability to adjust weight, stretch, breathability, durability, construction (knit or woven), and texture to match athletes’ and consumers’ activity or environment. Designers can customize the fabric for specific usage, for example, by increasing breathability in garments for aerobic pursuits or increasing protection for harsh, wet climates. The ability to adjust these factors in fabric construction is unprecedented in apparel, equipment and accessories.

“Disruption is one of the key elements in the DNA of The North Face brand. It is what our company was founded on and, to this day, we still believe that disruption is the key to future growth,” Mellin said. “Our teams are constantly thinking about the future of our product technology portfolio and how we can push the limits to create the next best innovation for our athletes and consumers, which is how FUTURELIGHT came to life and why it will forever change what consumers expect from their product.”

Athlete Tested

FUTURELIGHT fabric was born in the mountains, inspired by The North Face global team of athletes looking for increased performance and breathability in their waterproof gear. The material has since been tested extensively by the brand’s global athlete team and is expedition proven through use in the highest peaks and harshest environments, including the Himalayas’ Lhotse and Everest.

While testing FUTURELIGHT fabric The North Face team alpinist, Jim Morrison climbed, and skied three 8000 Meter peaks 2018, including Everest, Cho Oyu and the world’s first descent of Lhotse Couilor with his partner Hilaree Nelson.

“During the past two years, our world class team of climbers, skiers, alpinists, snowboarders and trail runners has been rigorously testing FUTURELIGHT across every discipline to prove this technology in varying weather conditions and climates all over the world,” Nelson, The North Face athlete team captain, said. “In all my years in the mountains, I’ve never experienced a product that moved and performed as well as FUTURELIGHT. It is creating a new paradigm for what I expect out of a waterproof material.”

Beyond The North Face athletes internal testing labs, the brand worked with third-party independent experts including UL (Underwriters Laboratories) a world-renowned safety certification testing organization, to push the limit of the FUTURELIGHT fabric. UL predominately tests waterproofing for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an organization that certifies first responder gear for firefighters, EMS and hazmat responders. The test methods developed were 50 percent more stringent than the current standard for the Outdoor Industry.

“The liquid integrity test for FUTURELIGHT is even more extreme compared to the NFPA testing that UL conducts, proving FUTURELIGHT is not only totally waterproof, but also fit for the harshest expeditions the outdoors has to offer,” Michael Seward of Underwriters Laboratories said.

The FUTURELIGHT Experience: Las Vegas 2019

Unveiled at the world’s largest technology show, The North Face partnered with world-renowned design agency Designworks, a BMW Group Company, to create physical and virtual reality experiences to demonstrate the array of FUTURELIGHT fabric’s technical capabilities, and potential to change how humans are protected from the elements. FUTURELIGHT fabric will first become available to consumers in The North Face’s Fall 2019 product line and will be featured across the brand’s pinnacle performance collections.

To learn more, visit


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PDW Full Metal Fenders: Road Plus Size

Wed, 01/02/2019 - 11:39


It’s January, and if you don’t think full fenders are sexy then you must not live in the Pacific Northwest. Portland Design Works feeds your fetish with two additions to their excellent Full Metal line of alloy fenders, the “Road Plus” and “650 Beast”. Both models use stout, rolled aluminium fenders and durable mounting hardware, but they cater to new tyre and/or wheel sizes different from the previous two Full Metal fenders.

The older “City Size” and “Road Size” fenders ostensibly fit 700C x 35mm and 700C x 23mm tyres respectively. I have installed scores of the City size fenders, which have an actual width of 45mm, on a variety of disc and cantilever brake bikes. The City fenders are actually wide enough to work with upwards of 40mm wide tyres, but the stiff aluminium extrusion is too wide to fit under medium reach sidepull brakes. And before road disc brakes were a thing, medium reach sidepull brakes were defining feature of all-weather road bikes for decades.

The new “Road Plus” fender’s 37mm width splits the difference between the original Full Metal sizes. It should easily slip under medium reach brakes with tyres perhaps as big as 28mm. With enough frame clearance (most likely on disc brake equipped bikes), the Road Plus should probably handle the spray off 32mm tyres without issue.

I do have issue with PDW calling the 37mm fender “Road Plus”. The bike industry already kinda coined that term to describe the recently revived 650B standard as a basis for high-volume road tyres, typically in a 650B x 47-48mm size. But I suppose that PDW couldn’t help but relish the name “650 Beast” for just such a fender. The Beast fenders are a generous 55mm width with a curvature tailored to the 650B standard, relatively smaller in radius than 700C. The Beast doubles up the rear stays to give more support. Like the Road Plus fender, it replaces the rubber fender flaps with longer, lighter, flexible plastic flaps.

Both the Road Plus and 650 Beast come in a matte black finish, for $120 and $125 respectively.

There are of course other aluminium full fenders on the market, all of which are unapologetic copies of mid-20th century fashion. PDW’s modern style arguably provides a much better aesthetic compliment to today’s high-tech, disc brake bikes. If you want to pretend that your fender fetish is above such superficiality, I assure you that PDW Full Metal fenders are the sturdiest and easiest to install. But perhaps as a concession to the market segment compulsively attracted to shiny things, PDW now makes a polished silver version of the City Size Full Metal fender in addition to the established matte black and gunmetal gray options.

The Road Plus model designed for 700x30mm tyres


The Full Metal 650 Beast fenders for 650B x 46mm tyres.


The Road Plus fenders fit under medium reach sidepull brakes.





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Mark V reviews: ENVE Aero Road Stem

Fri, 12/28/2018 - 14:33


ENVE’s Aero Road Stem combines aerodynamics and superb composite design with precision positioning, but the price and quirks limit its mainstream rider appeal.

The Aero Road Stem relies on an interchangeable oblong cross-sectional shim that fits between the stem and the steerer. One shim allows the stem to be positioned at either -7 degrees OR -17 degrees. The other shim affixes the stem at -12 degrees but moves the clamp either 2.5mm forward OR aft. If millimeters here or there make a difference to you, the Aero Road Stem enables a rider to really dial in their position….as long as that position is somewhere between slammed and SLAMMED A.F. The stem’s design prevents it from being flipped upside down for a positive rise. And the stem really isn’t meant to have headset stack spacers above it due to the stem’s contoured cap.

The carbon stem’s $300 cost will stop more than a few potential consumers, especially when you consider that brands such as Fizik, Zipp, and FSA are delivering quality alloy stems for about a third of that cost. A lot of people fail to understand that carbon fibre stems almost never beat alloy stems on weight. The ENVE Aero Road Stem tips the scale at 172gr for the 110mm length (164gr for the 100mm version) plus 8.5gr for the proprietary stem cap and countersunk alloy bolt. A nice alloy stem can probably slide in around 20gr less than that. With such highly concentrated loads, carbon fibre design just can’t play to its strong suites when fashioned into a stem.

This isn’t saying that the Aero Road Stem is weak or noodle-like. Indeed the stem provides a solid connection between the bar and steerer. Yet beyond a certain level of stiffness, who cares? Ever since quill stems ceased being a thing for modern road bikes, I find the handlebar will contribute more to the overall front end flex than any decent threadless stem.  Maybe big riders who ride 140mm long stems need to worry about ultimate stiffness.  I do hear anecdotally that a carbon stem can add a measure of vibration damping to a bike. My own experiences lead me to be at best agnostic to that belief.

The Aero Road Stem’s bar clamp deserves mention. Instead of having a “face-plate”, let’s say that a “top-plate” affixes to the stem with three bolts. The aft bolt uses M6 threads but a 4mm Allen tool interface. The torque spec demands 10-Nm, which is an almost disturbing amount of force to deliver via 4mm Allen wrench. You must tighten the aft bolt first and then front titanium M5 bolts. And make sure you use a generous amount of friction assembly paste too, even if the bar is alloy. For as much adjustment as this stem allows, I would rather not make frequent adjustments at the bar’s tricky clamp.

In the end, ENVE never claimed that this stem is for every rider. ENVE put aerodynamics as the first priority. Without a windtunnel and testing protocol, I won’t refute ENVE’s claims, but common sense indicates that this stem fits under the “diminishing returns” category. The ENVE Aero Road Stem should be the cherry on top of an already clean machine, not the only aerodynamic concession on an otherwise conventional bike.  With the optional computer/GPS mount, the Aero Road Stem is a perfect compliment to the SES Aero Road Handlebar.

The stem is seen here with the $60 Aero Road Stem Computer mount, made by K-Edge for ENVE. It comes with Garmin and Wahoo interchangeable inserts.



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Pass & Stow 5-Rail Porteur Rack

Sun, 12/23/2018 - 12:19
Pass & Stow’s 5-Rail Rack. It is available in black or silver powdercoat.

Handmade in Oakland CA, Pass & Stow makes high-quality front racks that can carry big loads and internally route for dynamo lighting. The 5-Rail Rack ($280) you see here gives a full 11″ x 12.5″ porteur-style top deck while also providing a mid-height position for hanging side-panniers. Whether you building up a touring bike, commuter, or a light cargo bike, the 5-Rail Rack can accommodate your needs.

Brazed from 4130 aircraft chromoly, Pass & Stow racks feature a modular design that that can easily be disassembled into nearly flat pieces if you occasionally need to ship the bike. The deck and legs of the rack simply bolt together with stainless steel hardware. The rack’s legs have an eyelet for fenders in case the rack itself takes up the fork’s eyelet. A three-point yoke bridges from slots underneath the deck to the fork crown. The resulting structure is impressively stiff and strong, traits you really want when loading up a front rack.

Pass & Stow assigns a load limit of 25-lbs on the rack, but that’s mainly a recommendation due to concerns with how larger loads might affect bike handling. In static loads, the rack can easily support 190-lbs. I have ridden the bike pictured here with 40 to 50-lbs split between the deck and pannier mounts. Sidenote: I modified the Davidson with a new 70mm rake steel fork to create the low-trail geometry that classically favours heavy front loads. Of course, low-trail front end geometry won’t exactly make you feel nimble with a heavy load. But it will reduce the wobbly awkwardness that plagues typical frame geometries with front loads.

Pass & Stow also offer a 3-Rail Rack that uses the same legs and yoke as the 5-Rail. The 3-Rail deck is narrower than the 5-Rail but longer front-to-back (6.4″ x 13″). The rack legs are also available in 3 different heights to fit bikes with 26″, 27.5/650B, 29er, and fatbikes.

15-lbs of rice plus about 20- to 25-lbs in the panniers

The deck of the Pass & Stow 5-Rail Rack is great for heavy and/or bulky loads, thus the rando bag pictured here on top the rack is nowhere the rack’s limit. The Pass & Stow rack easily disassembles into 4 large pieces: legs, yoke, and deck. The dynamo light’s wiring runs through the right leg. Note the additional eyelet as a fender strut hardpoint. The wiring exits right below the right leg’s light mount. The mount has threads to accept M6 bolts to fit most European dynamo lights.

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Svein Rides Gravel in Andorra

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 08:21

Sharing this because I remember racing with Svein when he was coming up. By that I mean, he dropped everyone and lapped the field at a local crit. A short time later he went on to fame and fortune as a pro and now Svein rides gravel in Andorra.

The story from Scott is lovely. I’d much rather stay in a nice Airbnb and explore the same paths on a European adventure, but hey…I get it.

For where we ride, you’d want larger volume tires than the Scott is spec’d with. That’s not saying it isn’t capable, just that the forest service roads in the Seattle area have deep gravel sections.

Not Retired Yet

I rode the Addict CX, very similar to the Gravel 10 Disc, and told a story about it a couple years ago in our magazine.

I’d always dreamt of this gravel ride of the 3 countries, wondering if it was even possible and now we’re going to have an attempt. I had just flown into Toulouse from battling it out in the crosswinds of the Dutch and Belgium roads of the Bink Bank tour, still feeling the fatigue in my legs and wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into. I waited for my friend Sam (the engine) Flanagan, loaded up the car and made our way to the Pyrenees for the 3-hour drive to Andorra.

Svein photographed his favorite 3-day adventure loop, and in the video explains how much he enjoys riding it. What I learned from the story is he found his passion for cycling during an adventure bike trip in his mid-twenties. The crit I mentioned above, he rode to it from Vancouver Canada and back again.

Putting that kind of mileage in takes me back to my youth when I rode everywhere and it’s great Svein is still pedaling. The story sort of sounds like he’s retired, but he signed on with Rally Cycling for another season.


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Diamond Brand Gear for Cold Beverages and Wet Days

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 15:49

I’m using Diamond Brand Gear for cold beverages and wet days. The Double Take fits inside the Swift boxy bike bag I have from Swift. It’s a bag-in-bag solution to keep my beverages cold AND my gear dry. The Swift is great, but not waterproof.

I stuffed this inside a boxy bag.

This week, to get a ride story done in the rain, I had a film camera with me protected by the inner Chilly bag. That’s an accessory for the Double Take. It’ll work just as well chilling a 6 pack as protecting a camera from the rain.

The upcycled version of the Double Take.

Outfitted for outdoor travel, the Double Take gear bag is built to carry essentials with versatility and ease. It’s a product that looks like a crossover from the fly fishing market to cyclists and that’s great. The durable construction, paired with durable fabrics means it’s a lifelong adventure bag that’ll develop a patina.

The chilling bag stuffs into the Double Take (or Swift Ozette) to keep a lunch cool and secure. The multiple attachment points allow you to throw the Double Take over your shoulder. You can hook it up to your bike rack easily. The color selections mean you’ll get a unique look.

My bag shipped made with 14 oz. Martexin Waxed Canvas. You can also choose a 1000D Nylon Cordura w/ Urethane coating and durable water repellent finish. They make an eco friendly Upcycled tent fabric versos too. There’s also a sunbrella acrylic with 50% recycled material.

Headquartered in the heart of the Carolina Mountains, Diamond Brand Gear has been manufacturing high-quality outdoor gear for outdoor and travel enthusiasts since 1881. Buy the Double Take with Chilly Bag direct for about $103.00 direct from Diamond or on Amazon.


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Assos Speed Club

Sun, 12/16/2018 - 07:55

One bright spot in a down year for road is Assos with new kit, an anniversary, and the Assos Speed Club.

The club is a global collective of riders, racers, and ambassadors. They all share a passion for cycling. A secured future and bringing people together is their goal.

Shortly following a ride in NYC, club members road in Los Angeles, Lugano, Frankfurt, and London. Assos Speed Club is currently free to join, offering members firsts looks at new products and special offers. Their goal is to connect you with other riders in your area or an event at your local Assos dealer.

Assos history runs deep in cycling —I have kit that’s 20-years old. From a start on the track and growing up in racing, their new club is committed to the sport of cycling.

While I ride purely for pleasure now, above all, I’m on board with Assos’s mission. It’s a good goal to inspire, connect and foster the next generation of cyclist. And, I hope to see you on a ride.

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Seattle’s UPS eCargo Bike in Wired

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 10:09

My latest for Wired just dropped. It’s about how UPS launched an electric cargo bike solution to address Seattle’s traffic and air quality problems. And, to deliver their customer’s packages on time despite armageddon-level traffic. What you need to know about the UPS eCargo bike in Wired is you can buy one too. Or one similar to it like the Tern GSD or Radpower Wagon.

When I attended the launch event at their Seattle SoDo Hub, I learned UPS is piloting their e-assist program for a year. They’re timing it for Seattle’s Period of Maximum Constraint.

That ominous sounding constrained time hits on February 4, when the Alaskan Way Viaduct elevated highway along the waterfront is torn down and the 2-mile tunnel Seattle dug to replace it comes online. Crews are finishing the ramps that connect the tunnel to surface roads. For three weeks, the city won’t have a road to get through downtown on the city’s waterfront side. To dodge the traffic horrorshow, Seattleites are planning vacations. They’re renting Airbnbs to stay downtown and avoid driving, or planning to work from home.

They’re also riding bikes. Bike messengers have long known cycling is the fastest way to get around a traffic-choked city. More and more commuters are getting it.

UPS-spec’d Truck Trike Getting Around Town

The UPS trikes were designed and built by Truck Trike in Portland. A trike like UPS is using costs upwards of $10K, while the GSD is about 1/2 that, and the Radpower Wagon even less.

If you need to move your kids, packages, or just your laptop to work and back very soon, an electric cargo bike is gonna be the way to go. If not for the ease of moving around a gridlocked city, but finding parking.

As I shared in the Wired story, the execs at the event emphasized how important launching the e-assist trike in Seattle is because 111 years after their founding as a messenger company, UPS is going back to bicycles.

That’s how they got started in Seattle.

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Watershed Mckenzie Zipdry Bag for Rainy Season

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 12:29

The Watershed Mckenzie Zipdry Bag is a great example of a new product that came to market because of the gravel category. While the niche didn’t move the needle in bike sales as much as anticipated, it sure has inspired designers to make products cyclists can benefit from.

Inside Mckenzie Zipdry bag, I’m carrying cameras, lens, a shell, and some snacks. A drone on occasion too. You can stuff whatever you want in it, of course. The company was born in the Carolinas but their made-in-the USA bags are widely used all over the world.

Rainy Season

With rainy season upon us in Seattle, I need to keep my electronics dry and also move bags between bikes. I don’t like to carry stuff on my back. That’s the reason I use a fanny pack and for a compact camera use the ATM as seen on the Trek Boone I rode for a summer.

Watershed’s McKenzie Handlebar Bike Bag pairs their ZipDry patented technology for even the wettest ride. With its quick, easy and super secure bar mounting system, this 15oz bag that holds 900 CU.IN, prevents any unwanted movement to your items while keeping them 100% dry – even while on the trickiest singletrack. The bag also works in conjunction with their Ocoee padded liner and divider sets for cameras and lenses.

I have enough liners from other camera bags to stuff my own into the dry bag. Though, Drybag’s liners are made from a 200 denier nylon exterior and velcro receivable fleece interior surrounding 1/2″ closed-cell foam and with a handle to pull out of the drybag quickly.

It isn’t on Amazon at this time, but you can find other very nicely made bags from them like duffels. I have’t spent much time with the Mckenzie Zipdry bag yet but will even in the pouring rain.

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Tern is Making Bikes for Business

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 15:33

Tern just announced Bikes For Business. The program aims to help organizations integrate bicycles into their business operations.

Encouraging independent bicycle dealers, the program provides the materials needed to pitch the benefits of cargo bikes.

It sounds great.

Tern launched the program with a promo video. Similarly,  when I had a GSD demo in, I used it to zip around taking photos on assignment for Digital Photo Pro.

GSD for Business Details

Firstly, the program centers around the Tern GSD, a compact utility ebike that helps small businesses carry more and do more. Second, the GSD will carry bout 378 lbs. and stores small enough that a small fleet can fit into a van or food truck.

The flexible GSD adjusts to fit a wide range of riders and doesn’t require any insurance or license to operate. Avoiding traffic, the GSD will deliver faster and lower keeping costs.

Most noteworthy, the #BikesForBusiness program includes:

  • Pitch decks
  • Sample service/warranty contracts
  • Fleet management software and locking hardware.
  • GSD Customization options
  • Commercial accessory options

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Bike Thieves Suck 3T Robbed

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 13:55

Bike thieves suck and suck even more more when they drill into a manufacturing building like it was a bank heist. Today, I learned 3T was robbed.

The theft included an irreplaceable frame set painted by Dario Pegoretti.

This morning, November 26th at 6.00am, around 6-8 masked people entered our factory building and stole all our display & demo bikes.

If you have any information that might help us to catch the thieves and recover our bikes, please let us know!

Plea for Help

This is terrible news for a brand we’ve been affiliated with for years; including, the launch of the Exploro and Strada. The thieves drilled a hole through a 1-meter thick wall to enter our warehouse.

As Rene, one of their founders, said

If any of you see any of our bikes offered on the internet, at stores or in any other way, and it looks suspicious, please let us know.

And keep a particularly eye on the Pegoretti bike.  Your help is greatly appreciated!


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Snowball Special Fat Bike Race

Wed, 11/21/2018 - 12:06

Biking is now a year-round sport because of fat bikes. Rebecca Rusch and I rode together in Sun Valley in the snow just a few years ago. It’s great fun, quite cold, and if you’re into goals and performance I recommend the Snowball Special Fat Bike Race.

Also, for doing something different. If Sun Valley is too far, then I recommend the Methow Valley too. Anywhere really, where you can ride your bike on groomed trails.

Snowball Special Background

Here’s the background: the “Snowball Special” was the name of the Union Pacific Railroad’s ski train. It carried skiers from stops in Southern California to beautiful Sun Valley, Idaho, from 1958 to 1972.

Sun Valley’s offered lodging-lift ticket-travel packages for the snow-bound commuters from LA.

The vacation party began once the wheels started rolling. A jazz band played and passengers danced from the departure to the arrival in Ketchum.

And even though this rail ended with mountain bound ski bunnies, silver mining initially brought it to the Wood River Valley in the 1880’s, with the tracks reaching Ketchum in 1883 to great celebration.

The local residents have welcomed the railroad with fireworks, baseball game, bands and horse and foot races.  This route was essential to the area economy. Millions of dollars of silver were transported.

The summer bike trail and winter Nordic ski tracks were created on the historic trail bed of this once extremely festive train. Every year, Nordic ski races are held on these tracks.

And for a third year, Rusch Relations, the Fat Bike Advocacy Group, and the Wood River Bike Coalition are excited to add to that tradition with the Snowball Special Fat Bike Race.

Race Details 

Snowball Special Fat Bike Race will be taking place on Saturday, February 23rd.

You’ll ride on the beautiful Sun Valley Nordic Trails, including the White Clouds and Boundary Creek trails. Bikes must be fat bikes with 3.5″ or wider tires.

Register here.

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Black Friday Bike Deals

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 20:00

You bet there are Black Friday Bike Deals online. They’ve probably already started. Here are a few that were shared with me.

Pure Cycles

Pure Cycles bikes are marked down, some up to 40%. The Ayer—an urban commuter with a belt drive is $599. It normally retails for $999. Their road bikes are $329. If there’s better deal on a steel road frame with Shimano gear, I wanna know about it.

Also see what Batch Bicycles is doing.

But more importantly, I suggest you visit a local shop and find a deal in person. Remember you can reasonably negotiate on the sales floor and for accessories. Dealers likely are not offering deep discounts, but you should find closeouts.

In the road category, you should buy a bike that’ll fit nothing less than 28s (preferably 32s) and with disc brakes. That’s really my only recommendation because all the bikes across genres are so good now. You want the tire volume for more traction, comfort, and wear.

For MTB, get one that’ll allow you to switch between 27.5 and 29s. I’m into the whatever hub width manufactures are making now. In MTB wider is better, even to the point of almost fat widths at 3.8. My MTB runs 3.3s.

On Amazon

Find the deals from Amazon on their cycling page. Bike Hugger has an Amazon storefront and I have a recommendations page with affiliate links.


I’ve already shared the camera sales from my photography site and two of them are the best deal I’ve seen. The $998 a7 II kit and the a9 for $1000 off.

Turkey Day Ride

We’re riding our annual route with friends on Thursday and then mountain biking the rest of the weekend. I hope you have good rides too and spend time with family. Maybe you’ll find a turkey dinner on the path like we did in 2012.

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Life Elements CBD Bath Bomb for the Rainy Season

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 18:13

Cyclists in Seattle have many ways to cope with the rainy season. Mine now includes taking a bath with a CBD bath bomb from Life Elements.

What I can say is the mixture pretty much sucks the aches and pains out of my body after a long ride in the wet cold. I asked one of the Life Elements founders, Martha Van Inwegen, how it worked and she told me

Your skin absorbs more when it’s warm, so by taking a warm bath, the CBD can access the CBD receptors below the skin, faster and easier. So it will work quickly and directly on pain and inflammation. Plus, it works in concert with all the other essential oils to relieve pain further.

The difference between the Life Elements CBD bomb and say 1/2 a bag of Epsom salts is smooth skin, also the CBDs are doing something special.

The other ways to cope with the rain getting out between squalls and for no more than 90 minutes if the downpour is steady. Spend the money on a jacket that works, like the stretchy Gore.

Also, treat yourself to something nice after all that hard work.

Life Elements CBD Bath Bomb are available direct and on sale now. Of course, they make a nice gift for the cyclist in your family.

Life Elements CBD Bath Bomb Ingredients

3 Strengths: 50 mg | 100 mg | 200 mg full spectrum, hemp-derived CBD oil.

Baking Soda, Citric Acid, Goat Milk, Colloidal Oatmeal, Honey, Maltodextrin, Grapeseed oil, Olive Oil, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp Seed) Oil, Goldenseal, Arnica, Balsam Copaiba, Eucalyptus, Calendula Flower Extract, Neem, Ylang Ylang, Hemp Cannabidiol (CBD), Witch Hazel

Considered a supplement, Life Elements doesn’t make any medical claims about their CBD, but do share this

The CBD used in our Life Elements CBD & Honey Collection is derived from industrial hemp, which has the same properties as cannabis-derived CBD, but contains less than 0.3% THC., making it available to anyone in any state, even those without medical marijuana laws.* Cannabidiol, or CBD, has a wide variety of medicinal and therapeutic effects and is a known anti-inflammatory, with antioxidant and anti-aging properties.

If you’re considering taking CBDs for your mental health, see what Floyds of Leadville is doing. Also know that the modern bike industry was built with a couple joints, coffee, and klunkerz. And,  rec cannabis, the kind that gets you high, is legal in Seattle

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Sony’s Black Friday Specials

Thu, 11/15/2018 - 19:53

Cross posting this news about Sony’s Black Friday Specials from my photography site because of how often I get asked about which camera to buy. Sony started Black Friday early with a $999 deal on an a7 II kit. That sale ended and today they announced their Black Friday specials that start on 11/18/18.

Because Sony continues to manufacture prior revs of their camera bodies, the discounts and deals can be substantial. The a7 II is back on sale on Black Friday and that’s the deal I’d recommend.

It’s a whopping 38% off. If you’re considering the a7 II, here’s what the difference between it and the a7 III is.

If all-in-one compacts are your thing and easy to stuff in a jersey pocket, then the Sony RX100 VA at $100 off with a 50% grip is a good deal too. The VA has upgraded sensors and buffer. It’s built with the shorter 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens instead of the monster zoom of the RX100 VI.

A complete list of Sony’s Black Friday Specials follows.

Alpha Cameras

Update:  For you sport shooters or camera geeks who want the latest and best tech, I thought $1K off the flagship a9 was a typo. It’s not… I double checked. The a9 sale is 22% off.

Alpha Cameras I had the a9 with me in Paris for street shooting. Sony a9

My daily shooter, the a9 is Sony’s flagship with a lists of first like a full-frame stacked CMOS, black-out free continuous shooting up to 20 fps, and 693 af points.

It’s the most, in-the moment camera I’ve shot with and the one I recommend for Pros and geeks who want the latest tech. It’s on sale nowfor 22% off, that’s 1,000 dollars.

Sony a7 II

The Sony a7 II kit(including 28-70mm lens) is $999.99—that’s the lowest priced full frame mirrorless kit. Really, the most bang for the buck. It’s on sale on 11/18/18 until 12/29/18.

Note the sale price will not show now, but will on the 18th.

Sony a7R III

The Sony a7R III bodyis on sale for $2799. (regular price is $3198). The sale dates: 11/18/18 -12/29/18 (6 weeks). The R is for resolution and maximum sensor performance is what this camera is about. For all out speed, that’s the a9which isn’t on sale.

The a9 body is what I’m shooting with the most.

If a Hollywood moviewas shot with an a7, just imagine what you could do with an updated body like the a7iii. On Amazon for $1998. Sony a7 III

The a7 III, the number one selling full frame mirrorless camera, is in stock now at all the major retailers, while supplies last, at its MSRP of $1999. That’s not on sale, but dollar for dollar the other camera brands can’t match it this holiday season.

The news is that it’s back in stock.

Compact Cameras Sony RX100 VA

The Sony RX100 VA is on sale for $100 and 50% off the grip (VCTSGR1) with purchase from 11/18/18 to 12/29/18.

4K Cinema

While not that into motion preferring stills, the deals on Sony 4k Cinema I couldn’t ignore.

The Sony FDR-AX33is  $150 and FDR-AX53 is  $200 off. Both feature BOSS and Fast AF.

The FDR-AX33 is on sale for 6 weeks and the FDR-AX53 is on sale for 5 weeks.

Sony Sale Recommendations

If you don’t need more advance tech, like what’s in the a7 III, but the a7 II kit for $998. You can save hundreds of dollars and put it toward another lens. I suggest the G Master 24I shot with in San Francisco.


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When Bikes Ruled Seattle

Sun, 11/11/2018 - 08:59

Seattle’s cycling past during boom times is fascinatingly similar to the current one. As I learned from When Bikes Ruled Seattle video, at the turn of the century bikes clogged the paths but not for long.

Miles of new bike paths, roving gangs of cyclists, bicycle polo at the University of Washington — there was a time when cyclists ruled the road in Seattle.

Knute Berger takes us back to Puget Sound at the turn of the century to answer a question: Is the battle between cyclists and drivers even older than the car? Who’s responsible for Seattle’s early road network? And what’s the deal with spandex bike wear?

The eyewear Knute wears in the video, find them in the inventions section of the book Roads Were Not Built for Cars. Also, how early wheelmen clubs built paths that cars eventually took over.

That includes popular routes along Lake Washington.

Here’s an excerpt from the book.


Roads belong to all and need to be shared by all. However, there’s a long history of some road users believing they have priority over others.

Social scientists theorise that humans believe in three kinds of territorial space. One is personal territory, like home. The second involves space that is only temporarily available, such as a gym locker. The third kind is public territory, such as roads.

“Territoriality is hard-wired into our ancestors,” believes Paul Bell, co-author of a study on road rage. “Animals are territorial because it had survival value. If you could keep others away from your hunting groups, you had more game to spear, it becomes part of the biology.”

When they are on the road, some motorists forget they are in public territory because the cues surrounding them – personal music, fluffy dice, protective shells – suggest they are in private space.

“If you are in a vehicle that you identify as primary territory, you would defend that against other people whom you perceive as being disrespectful of your space,” added Bell. “What you ignore is that you are on a public roadway – and you don’t own the road.”

A standard quip from bicycle advocates, aimed at a certain type of mine-all-mine motorist, is “You own a car, not the road.”

More About When Bikes Ruled Seattle

Knute’s written more than just When Bikes Ruled Seattle. Also see these stories

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