Posts in the category Feature

Home Workshop Series – Part 5 – The “Non-Standard” Tools


Having been a mechanic in other industries, it is a bit strange that cyclists are so attached to only purchasing and using tools made by bicycle tool companies. There are lots of great tools out there that may do the job better, cheaper, or different than the more specialized tools available from Park, Pedros, Lezyne or other cycling-specific tool companies.

One thing we all agree on, everyone should get a simple ratchet and socket set. Available for insanely low prices at places like Harbor Freight or other discounters, they are a great tool to have around, and most bicycle-specific fitments such as bottom bracket tools will have a fitment to be driven by a standard 3/8″ ratchet.

Take a look inside to see what other things we have adopted from outside the cycling industry to get our bikes on the trail…


Divo Bikes Blend Aggressive Styling with Italian Made Custom Options

Divo custom carbon bike (11)

It isn’t often that we find a high end brand of carbon bikes without so much as a website, but that is exactly the case with Divo Bikes. The pet project of Ale Bike Wear president Pietro Caucchioli, Divo is a relative newcomer to the custom bike scene. As the story goes, the parent company of Ale Bike Wear is also involved with Cipollini bikes but Pietro wanted his own brand. After gaining permission to start out on this new venture, Pietro created his first bike with the help of Italian craftsmen who specialize in carbon.

Hand made with a tube to tube construction method rather than a monocoque, this build allows Divo frames to be easily built to measure with full custom builds available. The Divo ST is certainly not a frame that you will be seeing very often in your local peloton, but when you’re spending this kind of money that’s probably the point…


Swagman Mounts Up New Roof Rack Mounts, Truck Bed Options, and Thru Axle Adapters

Swagman racks hitch roof mount truck pad thru axle adapter 2015 (7)

When you think of bike racks, Swagman probably isn’t one of the first brands that comes to mind. That’s not because the company doesn’t have a history however, as Swagman claims to have brought the first hitch mounted bicycle rack to North America. Originally from Australia where everything in nature is out to kill you and you have to drive burly vehicles to survive the outback, the founders got the idea and brought it back to North America in 1989. After a good run the company was sold to Perry Grago in 2008 which started the process of refining their product and returning to a competitive place in the market.

Now with 17 new products, 2015 is their biggest launch of new models yet hinting towards great things to come. Based in Penticton BC, Canada, Swagman is expanding heavily with a new line of what they consider class leading roof mounts, truck accessories, and more…


Ridley Unveils Thru Axle Disc Brake Oryx Cyclocross Cork, Plus 2016 Noah SL, X-Night SL & More

Ridley Oryx thru axle disc brake cyclocross fork Noah SL x-Night 4za carbon wheels (5)

If you’re going by what is most popular on the European cross scene, cantilever brakes still look like the way to go. But times, they are a changing. As more an more pros make the jump to disc brakes (for personal or sponsorship reasons), it’s getting harder and harder to find new cross bikes equipped with cantis here in the U.S. After moving largely to disc brakes for U.S. cross bikes in 2013, Ridley is making their next disc related move with their new Oryx fork for 2016. To be found on all of their cyclocross race bikes (X-Fire, X-night, and new X-Night SL), the Oryx fork adds a 15mm thru axle plus few smart little features that will make CX racing with discs a bit easier.

Along with the fork, Ridley showed a number of small changes and improvements plus new paint jobs, and of course the new X-Night SL and Noah SL…


Raleigh STEPS Into Premium Ebikes with Shimano Equipped Misceo Commuter

Raleigh misceo e bike shimano steps ebike motor commuter (2)

As part of the Accell Group, the team behind Raleigh has access to a lot of electric bikes. Siblings to Currie Technologies, Haibike, IZIP, and eFlow as well as Raleigh all fall under the same roof. Because of that relationship Raleigh has been able to easily slip in a few e-bikes to test the waters with U.S. dealers. After exceeding their expectations with their entry level hybrids, it was time to step it up.

The Misceo is not Raleigh’s first ebike, but it is certainly the most advanced. One of the very first bikes in U.S. to use the new Shimano STEPS electric bike drivetrain, the Misceo will slot into the product range as their top end model. However, thanks to the Shimano system the Misceo will end up less expensive than comparable Bosch equipped bikes. Technically a 2016 model year product, Raleigh is giving consumers a chance to buy the future with Misceos available soon…


Found: SRAM Electronic Grip Shift mountain bike shifter designs

sram electronic grip shift mountain bike shifter patent drawings

Sure, SRAM’s road-going wireless group might be polishing itself up for primetime, but there’s a pretty decent chance they’re secretly working on a mountain bike equivalent, too. What’s particularly interesting is just how long they’ve been thinking of it.

Almost 30 years ago, SRAM started with Grip Shift as an alternative to the trigger and index shifters available at the time. Then they rebooted the design in 2012 with modern 10- and 11-speed options. Surprisingly, they had considered an electronic version of it more than five years prior!

These patent drawings show two variants of a patent awarded to SRAM in 2007, one with a rotating “switch” set perpendicular to and offset below the bar (Fig. 5), and a version that puts the rotating switch around the bar (Fig. 6, handlebar marked as “12″). It’s a pretty forward thinking concept considering Shimano’s Di2 didn’t hit the market until 2009…except that it actually cites a 1997 patent application for electronic mountain bike shifters from Campagnolo!


Clif Introduces New Organic Energy Food Including Squeezable Pizza!

Clif organic energy food pizza sweet potato savory gel kits organic builder bar (2)

There are a lot of different approaches to exercise nutrition these days, but a lot of them have one thing in common – the trend towards more natural ingredients. Whether making your own bars or rice cakes, or buying ready made products from nutrition companies, ingredients are trending towards simpler recipes and things that would be found in your kitchen rather than a food science laboratory.

Clif is using this trend as an opportunity to launch their newest range of performance oriented products called the Athlete Series. Focusing on two different specific categories with sweet and savory, both options end up somewhere between a gel and real food. Describing them as more of a smoothie product, ingredients like coconut shreds and quinoa have been added to give them a slight chew. So while they are easier to digest than solid food thanks to a higher water content and squeezable texture, they provide more of a real food experience than a gel.

And there’s pizza.

Yes, Clif has invented a gluten free, vegan, certified organic pizza puree for your next long ride…


Why Isn’t Road Tubeless More Popular? Part Two – Current Options, Challenges & What’s Coming Down the Road


Part One of our Road Tubeless series seemed to spur a lot of discussion, especially around the statement that a Road Tubeless standard does not exist. Most of us believe if a product says “Road Tubeless” on the side, it will work with other items that say the same.

Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case, and a lot of this confusion has come from the companies themselves, using the common term -either with caps (Road Tubeless) or without (road tubeless)- to market dissimilar products. So we checked in with the producers of the most common products and asked them about the future of Road Tubeless. Do they see standardization coming? Is there any standard now?

Take a look inside for a comprehensive exploration of where Road Tubeless stands today…


Just In: Rocky Mountain’s Blizzard Busting Fat Bike

Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (3)

To get an idea of how quickly the RockShox Bluto has been adopted by the fat bike scene, the launch of the Rocky Mountain Blizzard was a pretty good indication. At the time, it was one of just two bikes announced that would use the fork which were launched the very same day. Introduced right before the Sea Otter Classic, it was like Rocky Mountain was waiting for the perfect bike to give new life to the Blizzard name – and what better bike than a fat bike?

For their very first attempt at a fat bike, Rocky took the approach of many larger companies with cautious optimism. Instead of going all out with high end carbon rigs, the Blizzard would be a simple yet well thought out aluminum bike with a solid spec and an affordable price. Because of that, the Blizzard is extremely intriguing. On paper, the Blizzard seems to have just about everything you would want in a trail oriented fat bike with enough money left over to buy some Winter riding gear.

Even though we aren’t dealing with the same blizzard on the East coast, our own Blizzard just blew in for a first look…