10. dec. 2013

Safe Training

Being exposed to danger is part of a cyclist’s life. If it’s not the elements ,it’s the threat of a fall around the next corner or being hit by a car while obeying the rules of the road. So what can you do to minimize the risk?
 
Well you can and should always:

  • Wear a helmet , even if it is just for a quick ride to the corner shop , you don’t want to find out that damage occured because you were not wearing a helmet.
     
  • Keep your bike well maintained especially the brakes and chain system , not being able to stop when required or being able to get away when you should is something that can easily be avoided.
     
  • Wear bright clothes , Neon coloured clothing is the way to go as you don’t blend into the road or the horizon when wearing this and being visible to motorists is rather important.
     
  • Always remember which side of the road is the safe side, this rule applies to tourists especially.
     
  • While on a training ride it is safer to find cover and wait out the storm than to brave the weather. Lightning strikes and not being seen by motorists is a real danger here.
     
  • If you are out on a group ride , ride single file instead of an echelon formation, it gives cars the ability to pass without you running the risk of being clipped by a mirror or worse.
     
  • Make your intensions clear by using hand signals if you are about to turn.
     
  • Keep your ears open , no headphones while you are cycling on the road so you can hear oncoming traffic.
     
  • Avoid cycling at night but if you have to make sure that you are visible and if possible stick to well lit areas.
  •  
    The cardinal rule is use common sense, but stay safe out there.
     
    Written by Janneman

    Read more: http://www.cyclingtipsonline.com/news/training-safely/

    16. nov. 2013

    Cygolite Metro 500 Test

    I was never a fan of those big front lights. They looked big, heavy, and I thought the reason they were so bright was because they were alkaline battery powered. I never but battery powered lights, since they aren't USB rechargeable, and don't last as long. 

    That was until I discovered the Cygolite Metro 500: 




    It sure looked like it could knock someone unconscious. However, I did see that it was rechargeable. Assuming it had the same brightness as the alkaline battery operated lights, it should be somewhat useful. It was better than useful. It was perfect. 

    Before I started using the Metro 500, I used the compact lights. Lightweight, and bright enough to see where you're riding most of the time, these lights had one major issue. The rubber straps could break easily. That's were the Metro 500 comes into it. My front light could no longer attach to my handlebars, and I was riding blind. I wanted something stronger, something like a clamp. But I thought it would be heavy. It was worth the gamble, and boy was I mistaken. Weighing in at 110g, this light will barely make you realise it's there. The clamp is a little bit difficult to attach around the cables, but once it's there, it's not going anywhere. Cygolite includes non-slip padding with the mounts, however these didn't fit around my handle bar with the clamp, and quite frankly weren't needed. Once the screw was attached, and the clamp was on, the light wasn't going anywhere. The only way the light has ever moved unusually for me, is the screw holding the swivel plate attachment coming loose. Nothing a screwdriver can't fix.

    Moving onto the light, it is USB rechargeable, and will last anywhere from 1.5 hours, right through to 30 hours. The only reason why you would use the brightest setting, as Cygolite claims is possible, is for daylight riding. Yes, a light designed to make you move visible in the daylight. As this it is not a requirement, I use it on SteadyPulse setting when riding at night, which gives the brightness of a fixed beam of light, and the obscurity of a flashing light. Cars will not miss the brightness, and the light wont blend into the scenery by staying on. 

    The design of the light itself is very nifty. It has side illumination points, to increase the angle of the light, as well as custom optics which further maximise the beam angle, and distance. The shape is streamlined, and rather inconspicuous. Next to a Garmin, or other cycling computer, you will hardly be able to notice it. 
     


    The other features that I love about this light, are the Li-Ion battery, allowing extra run time by being rechargeable. Unlike other lights that use the Li-Ion battery for recharging, Cygolite have managed to up the brightness, even on such a battery. This is mostly due to the Cree XM-L LED, which allow 1040lm at 10W. These LED's are getting stronger and stronger. I also love the on/off button. It is large, and actually works unlike others that I have tried. It can easily be turned on by a gentle touch. As a matter of fact, press it too hard like other lights, and it will have already started its cycle through the functions. As for the functions, if you press and hold the light, it turns off. Most other lights automatically turn back onto the first function, however the Metro 500 remembers your last used function. 

    Verdict
    In summary, standard assembly is a little tricky; the light is very bright, but not over weighted; the battery is rechargeable; and the on/off button is very easy to use. Ticks all my boxes.

    My rating: 9.5/10
     



    Read more: http://www.cyclingtipsonline.com/news/cygolite-metro-500-review/

    29. okt. 2013

    Hands Become Feelingless When Riding The Bike?

    Everybody knows the feeling of their hands beginning to tickle and even get feelingless, when they are riding both small and longer distances. An annoying problem can make a great training end up being a dreadful training. The problem that makes it occur is that the Ulnar nerve is getting compressed when having your hands on the handlebars. No matter if you are in the drops, hoods, or tops of the handlebars, you will end up getting this very annoying feeling at some time, and 9 out of 10 reading this, have already experienced it before. There are a few ways to make this disappear though, and we have collected them below.

    Wrong angle of your saddle is a pain in the.. hands
    Try looking on your saddle angle. As we already stated in the article of how to prevent damage and pain, if the saddle is pointing too much down, you will make a greater part of your bodyweight rely on your hands and handlebars, instead of your saddle. Many who are experiencing this problem, can actually get it fixed by this simple adjustment.

    Gloves is the answer
    However, if your saddle will kill your groin by pointing more upwards, try getting a pair of cycling gloves with gel pads. If you take a look on the picture below (Borrowed from the University of Wisconsin-Madison), you can see the red and yellow areas. These areas are where the problem starts, and as you can see, by fitting a pair of cycling gloves, you can make this area more or less disappear.







    The gel pads in the gloves simply makes the pressure even out on a larger area, making the Ulnar nerve less compressed. This is usually the best way to prevent the damage from happening, but if the saddle angle is pointing too much down, you will just face problems with your shoulders still. Therefore, I will recommend adjusting the angle of your saddle first.
    We have already tested the Sportful Bodyfit Pro racing gloves, which we loved. You can read about them by clicking here.

    Keep shifting
    Usually, the two fixes above should be enough, but if that does not help with the problem, there is another reason why this problem occur is. A potential problem is that you are probably placing your hands in the same position for half an hour without actually noticing it. For example if you have 20 kilometers of headwind, you are having your hands in the drops, and this will give you quite some time without shifting the placement of your hands. That makes the Ulnar nerve getting pinched for a long time, and therefore this problem can occur. So to cure this, try shifting from the hoods to the drops and the tops and back again, every 5th minute or so. It will actually make quite some difference.

    Do you have any other treatments for this problem? Please write about it in the comment section below.

    Written by René


    Read more: http://www.cyclingtipsonline.com/news/losing-the-feeling-in-the-hands-when-riding-the-bike-/

    23. okt. 2013

    Sportful Bodyfit Pro Gloves Test

    Sportful is a worldwide known Italian producer of some of the world’s best cycling clothes. They even sponsor big World Tour teams like Team Saxo Bank with tour-star Alberto Contador on the team. One of the items Sportful makes is cycling gloves, which is what I have been testing. The specific name of the gloves reviewed in this article is Sportful Bodyfit Pro Gloves, also pictured below. They are the top racing gloves from Sportful, and is made to secure as small a wind resistance as possible by being a tight fit.




    On the road
    The gloves only make a tight fit if you, of course, pick the right size. They are still very comfortable though, because the fabrics used can be stretched quite a bit. Even after 200 kilometers my hands feel rather fresh, and the Ulnar nerve, which usually can make you hand be feeling-less for a small amount of time, does not get affected when you have the Sportful Bodyfit Pro gloves on. So no wonder why the professionals at Team Saxo Bank likes these gloves.

    Since the gloves makes longer distances less hard for your hands, you will enjoy your workouts on your bike a bit more than before. There is just nothing better when man and machine is combined in the best way possible. I have personally tried several other gloves before these, but they did not feel as comfortable as the Sportful’s at all. These Sportful gloves are by far the best cycling gloves I have ever tried.

    Are they are more aerodynamic than other gloves? I have no idea. The aerodynamic drag on gloves is in general very small, but of course, if you can save half a Watt of drag in a race, they are worth the money. I never felt any difference at all, but it is always nice to have the knowledge, that the gloves you are wearing are the best of the best.

    The general quality of the gloves are top notch. Stitches and fabrics is not found any better than what’s being used, and even after taking a lot of beatings, like running them on the tires to get stones out of the tires while still riding in a high pace, hasn’t damaged them at all, even though those stones easily could cut them open. In addition to this, the areas that are getting worn the most, got a double layer to make sure the lifespan of the gloves is as long as possible.

    For hot days, they do not feel that warm compared to similar gloves, due to a good ventilation through the thin upper part of the gloves. The bottom part that is made with a bit thicker fabric got ventilation holes, as seen in the picture below. The gloves is definitely better than most gloves when it comes to hot summer days, but Sportful also makes some other gloves with even more ventilation. They are not “as aerodynamic as the Sportful Bodyfit Pro racing gloves” though.



    The gloves also got some furry fabric on the backside of the thumb, helpful to get rain or sweatdrops of the glasses without damaging the lenses. It also helps with keeping your thumb warm, but isn’t much use if it becomes wet. I have seen it on some other non-Sportful gloves too, so it is not very rare or special, but it is still a nice feature to have, if you hit rain on your route.
    Along with that, they also have a bit of fabric between the middle and the ring finger, making it easier to take the gloves off.

    The verdict
    I have several experiences with all kind of different cycling gloves, because I always had problems finding gloves I actually felt was great to wear. However, that was until I tried the Sportful Bodyfit Pro gloves. They are simply by far the best gloves I have ever tried, and at less than 35 Euro’s they are far from the most expensive gear you are going to spend money on for your bike anyway. I can only recommend these, as they made my hands less sore after a workout and therefore improved my motivation for the next workout.

    Written by René


    Read more: http://www.cyclingtipsonline.com/news/sportful-bodyfit-pro-gloves-review/

    20. okt. 2013

    The Best Way To Recover Between Training Sessions

    Only the professional riders got masseurs to take care of their sore body after a hard race, so how do a normal rider get the maximum out of the rest between training sessions? A good recovery also means a more efficient training, and some of the best sporting athletes around the world sleeps up to 12 hours a day in order to recover the best way.

    Of course normal people with a normal job and life can’t even get close to that amount of sleeping, so we have gathered a few nice tips below here to get fresh legs as fast as possible:


    Eat after training
    The first 20 minutes after training is especially important, because there is a window where the nutrients have an easier path to get out to the muscles and make them recover easier. Especially food with proteins and carbohydrates are very important to get immediately after a long and hard training session. For example drink some hot chocolate, since it contains high numbers of both proteins and carbohydrates.

    Lift your legs
    If you can, place yourself in the couch for about an hour, with the legs lifted higher than your heart (same procedure to minimize swollen feet). It will help with oxygen to get to your muscles.

    Ride on your bike to the job
    The day after a long and/or hard training session a small and easy ride to and from work will actually help your legs become fresher. If you ride in low gears without pushing yourself, you will increase the blood circulation in the sore muscles, without making it worse. Actually, the increased blood circulation will make your muscles recover faster.

    Keep a log of your training and recovering
    If you really want to analyze everything, you can keep a log of how much you have trained, along with how much and how well you have been sleeping at the night. In addition, what your resting pulse is at the morning together with your morning weight. If you are tired, losing weight or have a higher pulse, it can be a sign of overtraining which will mean you should lower your amount of training sessions.

    If you have more tips, please share them in the commentsection below!

    Written by René


    Read more: http://www.cyclingtipsonline.com/news/the-best-way-to-recover-between-the-training-sessions/

    15. okt. 2013

    10 Ways To Stay Fit For Bikeriders

    Winter is coming closer and closer, and therefore it can be hard to get the training done if the weather isn’t as nice as it was back in the summertime. However, it is actually rather easy to stay somewhat fit with just 10 different and easy exercises listed below. But they can also be done during the season, because they will make your body more prepared for longer and faster rides.

    Cyclists’ squats
    Most bikeriders have pretty tight calves due to a lack of fitting exercises, which does make squats a bit tricky to do squats the right way. But there is a way to make this easier, and squats is a really great tool to get bigger legmuscles.
    But try to elevate the heels about 5 cm above ground. It can be done by placing some plates from the gym (if you are doing it at a gym) at your feet. Books and magazines can also be used if it is done at home. It will allow you to go deeper on the squats with an upright torso (very important to prevent backinjuries with weights on your shoulders). The deeper you can go, the better, but never go so deep that you will get problem to get yourself up again.
    Try to keep the feet parallel, and do three sets of 12 repetitions. The weight that should be used, would need to be no bigger or smaller than making the 12th repetition a very hard experience, but still not impossible. If you only can do 11, then there is too much weight being used.

    Core training
    Cycling is not always just legs. A strong core helps with a good posture, and will especially make you stronger when you are out of your saddle, putting some power in the pedals.
    Here a simple exercise called “plank” would be enough to do. All you have to do is to lie chest-down on the floor, pushing yourself up to your elbows (kept beneath your shoulders), and tuck your toes under. Try to hold this position for as long as possible, demanding your coremuscles to be activated for a longer period of time. It is actually a harder exercise than it sounds. The best thing about this, is that it can be done everywhere; outdoors, at home, and even under your working desk.

    Tricep dips
    When riding on rough surfaces like cobbles or in the forrest on your mountainbike, the back of your arm does take quite some hits. So keeping your triceps strong is a great way to prevent soreness and fatigue from happening and making your ride a better experience.
    To do this, try the tricep dips. Place your hands behind you, and make the fingers pointing forwards on a bench, step, or block. Keep the knees along with the tighs parallel to the ground meanwhile doing this. Then bend the elbows until your bottom almost touches the ground. Then extend the elbows and lift yourself back up again. Do the 12 times, rest for 60 seconds, and do it again.

    Lower back
    Lower backache is something several bikeriders experience, due to the position you are more or less stuck in, when riding a bike. Combine that with a trip for 2 hours+ and your back is not having the time of its life. But don’t worry, there is help!
    This is due to the back becoming tired. The muscles on your back cannot keep up with the watts your legs throw at them (Remember that the Watts you put in your pedals also goes into your back because of Newton’s 3rd law, Action = Reaction).
    To prevent this from happening, I will recommend you to perform so called weighting row movements with kettlebells or dumbbells. Try to stand with your feet a hip-distance between each other. Then bend down until your torso is close to be parallel with the floor. It can be difficult for not-so-bendy people to do this, so just try to get as close as possible if you cant. Just make sure that your back is straight, and the shoulder are pulled back into their sockets. From here, tilt the pelvis slightly forward so that the hips point upwards a little bit. Then hold the weights in either hand and bend the elbows, while the arm is being pulled up until the weights touches your chest. Then extend the arms and repeat this with three sets of 12 repetitions, with 60 seconds of rest in between. The weights should be heavy enough so the last repetition will be pretty hard to perform.

    Do intervals
    Intervals is everything when it comes to training. You can increase your cardiovascular fitness extremely fast by adding intervals to the training. Just start with basic repetitions of 60 seconds where you are going about 80% of your maximum effort. Then do 60 seconds with around 40% of your maximum effort. This should then be repeated.
    It is very efficiently done during spinning on a stationary bike or a hometrainer, at home or the gym. Spinning classes usually have intervals in their training sessions. It can also be added to your normal training, by making hill-sprints, or pushing/sprinting from a certain distance before a citysign.

    Add power
    Professional ironman coach Pat Leahy is stating that at least one trainingsession every week should be a very hard power session. This is preferably done on a stationary bike or on the hometrainer, where you know you can push as hard as possible, without the thought of being 10 km from home when you have pushed yourself to the max.
    It can be done in many ways, but try to do 4 to 6 minutes on high resistance. Then take one to two minutes of recovery. Try to repeat this about 4 times, and build it up each week, in order to get stronger.
    For riders whom does races, this will help a lot to keep up in the parts where the race is being hectic and everyone seems to go at max. If you can withstand this part of a race, you will be more likely to win a sprint or go into a successful break away.

    Hillclimb
    This was already mentioned at the intervals, but it is a pretty neat and incredibly effective way of training. Find a hill in your area that is both long and hard enough to keep you challenged when sprinting from the bottom to the top. Set yourself a goal to do this a number of times (for example 5), and then do it. When you have done it, just roll down the hill until you hit the bottom and repeat it. This way your pulse should be lowered enough to do it a few more times without maxing the pulse out for 5 minutes in a row. It will make you a much better sprinter on the long run, and it can be added to your everyday training easily.

    Become flexible
    Just like your calves probably are a bit tight due to the cycling, your hamstrings also get tight if this is the only type of exercise you do, unless you stretch out for 5 minutes after every training, which 99,99% of people reading this article, aren’t doing. A great and easy way to stay flexible is to do a few yoga sessions every week. In warm temperatures it will be better, so your muscles aren’t cold when performing it. Warm muscles prevents injuries and makes the stretching a lot safer.

    Resting is just as important as training(!)
    Just face it, resting is very important in order to get anything out of your training. Take at least one to two days off every week. When you train, you break down the mitochondria-fibers (aka microfibers) in your muscles. When you body rebuilds them, they become stronger, and you will experience it as increased strength (Isn’t evolution just great?). But the mitochondria’s demand rest in order to be rebuild efficiently and quickly. So if you train too hard, too long, and too much every week, you will not experience any improvements, compared to taking a few days a week off from training. This also helps you to stay positive on the training, instead of going dead due to a trainingsession every single day.

    You are what you eat
    As well as resting, eating is very important. The mitochondria-fibers will also rebuild a lot faster, if you eat the right stuff. Eat regular meals and healthy snacks, consuming something every 3 to 4 hours, in order to keep an intake of energy flowing all the time. Vegetables, fruit, and meals consisting of proteins, along with slow-release carbohydrates is the ultimate things you can eat.

    Written by René


    Read more: http://www.cyclingtipsonline.com/news/a10-ways-to-stay-fit-for-bikeriders/

    11. okt. 2013

    26 VS 29 Inch Mountainbikes

    26 versus 29 inch wheels is a common discussion amongst mountainbikeriders. For many years, the pros and amateurs have preferred the 26 inch wheels, however, in the past few years, the 29 inch wheels have won more and more ground. But why is the 3 inches bigger wheels getting a bigger and bigger audience compared the standard 26 inch wheels?

    Well, the 29 inch wheels may be bigger and heavier (due to both a bigger wheel but also a bigger fork), which means a harder acceleration, but they do have some pretty significant advantages. They roll a lot better on rough surfaces than the smaller 26 inch tires. That is due to the attacking angles becomes lower and lower the bigger the wheels are. Below here, we have an illustration with oversized obstacles and wheels to make the understanding easier:



    On the picture it’s easy to see that the 26 inches wheels will bump into the rough surface all the time, slowing down the bike. Imagine every time the bike hits one of these bumps it’s like a little parachute activates and slows you down, forcing you to accelerate a bit to get the speed up again.
    Meanwhile the 29 inch wheel will roll over these bumps a lot easier, making the ride a lot more stable. That means the rider will gain a greater speed over this section, along with saving energy compared to the 26 inch wheels. Even though the difference is a lot smaller in the real world, this is really what makes the 29 inches wheels great. It will simply make you faster on rough surfaces, along with making the ride more comfortable and less bumpy.
    But as mentioned before, the wheel inertia will get bigger with the bigger diameter of the wheel, so the accelerations and weight on the bike will become harder and worse. Combine that with the 26 inch wheels having a better maneuverability it will make the choice harder than it seems.

    Or does it?
    We have to remember, that the bigger wheel inertia also means that it keeps the speed better, so once up in speed, a heavier wheel is preferable. In addition, the bigger the wheel the better the grip it also gets, due to the bigger 29 inch wheel spinning slower at the same speeds as the 26 inch wheel. That result in the tires gets more time to “dig” into the ground, and get better traction, because they have a fraction of a second more connection to the ground at every rotation. A heavier bike also helps this.

    29 inch is the winner in test
    Aalborg University from Denmark has been testing a 26 inch mountainbike against a 29 inch mountainbike. Scott gave the university two identical mountainbikes, apart from one being a 29 inch MTB and the other being a 26 inch MTB. An article about can be found here and is readable in Danish, but to summarize it in English: They tried racing the mountainbikes on the same course, and all participants came to the same conclusion; the 29-inch bikes was simply better on almost all parts of the track. They all got a faster time on the same course on the 29 inch mountainbike. The advantages (and disadvantages) already mentioned above, was concluded too in the test. Along with it, they all said it was giving them a much greater downhill speed, because they were able to get more grip with the wheels, along with it not taking a big beating on bumpy surfaces as the 26 inch wheels. The 29 inch wheeled mountainbike was slightly harder to climb with due to the heavier weight, though.

    Advantages of the 29 inch wheels
    Therefore, as a conclusion we can say, that the 29 inch wheels have the following advantages:
     
    - The 29 inch wheels rolls better over bumps and rough surfaces due to a lower attacking angle the wheels hits the obstacles in. That makes them lose less speed, and therefore makes you faster on such surfaces. This also helps increasing the speeds downhilling.

    - The 29 inch wheels demands less work from the rider, compared to the 26 inch wheels, once they have gotten up in speed due to a bigger wheel inertia.

    - 29 inch wheels is more stable due to the bigger diameter of the wheel combined with the weight, so corners can be taken with a bigger confidence, and therefore also with greater speeds. The bigger wheels also helps with more stability during downhill riding.

    Disadvantages of the 29 inch wheels
    There are a few occasions where the 26 inch wheels are better. These are:

    - When the wheels diameter grows, the bikes weight also does. The fork has to be bigger, so does the frame, and of course also the wheels. It all adds up in weight.

    - It is harder to accelerate the 29 inch wheels due to the increased wheel inertia that has to be accelerated up. Combined with the weight, the accelerations can be up to 40% harder compared to 26 inch wheels.

    - The 29 inch wheels are poorer in breaking and maneuverability compared to the 26-inch wheels, due to the greater weight, making them a bit harder to change direction, and therefore entering corners, with.

    So if you are riding in places that constantly demands accelerations and a has a lot of technical corners and parts, the 26-inch wheels will be preferable. On the other hand, on longer straights and tracks with many bumps and downhilling, it will be done faster on 29-inch wheels.

    But what is your experience with the 26 vs 29 inch wheels discussion? You can write it below here, in the comment section.

    Written by René


    Read more: http://www.cyclingtipsonline.com/news/26-vs-29-inch-mountainbikes/

    30. sep. 2013

    Alfa Romeo Reveals The 4C Bike

    Italian carmanufacture Alfa Romeo has created a special type of bike to celebrate their new 4C sportscar. It got some neat details as any usual Italian car or bike, with the frame being a reversed "4" and a not so normal handlebar, being shaped as a "C", which makes it the Alfa Romeo 4C bike.



    The weight of the bike will be 6,8 kg withouth pedals, and prices starts at a little more than 3000 euro's.

    25. sep. 2013

    Merida Scultura Comp 905 Test

    When Merida makes a bike, they mass produce it for the riders who don't want to lose an arm and a leg before they get on their bike. The Scultura Comp 905 is no exception, and has become rather popular in the last twelve months, at least amongst the cyclists I ride with. This didn't happen by mistake, though, since it is a nice bike for its price. 




    On the road
    I've been riding the Scultura Comp 905 since July last year, after crashing my previous alloy Merida. I was already familiar with the brand, and even though I didn't have a lot to spend, I knew I wanted an upgrade from a heavier bike. For $2,599AUD, the Scultura Comp 905 offers an upgrade to an entry level carbon frame, as well as Shimano Ultegra gearing. Whilst Merida claims the RRP is $2,599, I have only ever seen this bike in stores with a price tag of $2,000 new, so I know that a bargain is available out there.

    The wheels are the same entry level Fulcrum wheels as are on the Merida Ride 93, just that they have matching decals as the bikes colour scheme. They are aluminium, shallow rims, and will quickly leave you wanting a new set of wheels, especially if you want deep dish rims. But hey, for an entry level carbon bike with Ultegra gearing, you'd be looking at a near entry level pro bike with new wheels. At that price, you can't get everything, but that is a lot you already get.
       
    The white handlebar tape that comes with the bike, is fancy, with the holes in the pattern. I admit, this was one of the reasons I originally liked the bike. Looks are everything for me. The handlebar tape is comfortable at first use, however, this handlebar tape does wear quickly, partly due to the design, and partly due to the colour. I recommend replacing it with a black handlebar tape of your choosing, since it doesn't wear anywhere near as fast as white.

    Moving on, the seat fits with the design of the bike, but from other users, I have heard that it isn't as comfortable as other seats on the market. Personally, I just suck it up because I can't afford much else, and any seat is comfortable than none, however seats with a hint of black in them do make the mostly white standard design appear to be a sleek, speed machine.

    The tyres are also matching to the colour scheme, with two red stripes running down the middle of the tyre. You will find that the standard tyres sold on the bike also wear quickly. I recommend replacing these with Schwalbe's. Schwalbe tyres last FOREVER, and whats more, they have a design very similar to the original tyres on the bike, just with slightly narrower red stripes, and different branding on the side. More on these Schwalbe tyres in another review.



    The Verdict
    In summary, the Scultura Comp 905 is a great entry level carbon bike, that also offers better gears than most other carbon bikes at the same price. It is very popular, having already seen at least a dozen of them on the road, not including my own. If you don't like fitting in with the bunch, you're looking at the wrong bike for you. But it's very popular, so maybe we're all onto something good by choosing this bike. It may be the Toyota compared to a Ferrari, but who is to say Toyota doesn't know how to make nice cars too? Merida has certainly made a nice bike that is available to us with shallower pockets.

    My rating: 8/10
    Specs: http://www.merida.com.au/2013-bikes/road/scultura-comp-905.htm

    Written by Kieren Barnett 

    11. sep. 2013

    Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Test

    If you are using a hometrainer in the winterseason or on a rainy day, you probably have experienced how a normal roadbike tire is destroyed in a matter of 1000 km on such one. This is due to the high temperatures and resistance the wheel is experiencing. Therefore, you will need a reartire meant for only to be used on a hometrainer. Vittoria Zaffiro Pro is one of these hometrainer-tires, and I have been testing it on my Elite Mag Speed Alu hometrainer. They have been equipped since 2011, so this is the second Scandinavian winter coming up for this tire.

    Vittoria Zaffiro Pro

    Testing
    Look wise, they are completely red, which is due to the rubber being extra good for a hometrainer, but if you take it on real roads; you will find yourself punctured within a few km. They have absolutely no punctureresistance at all, so only use them on the hometrainer. Therefore, it can be a bit of a trouble if you only have one pair of wheels, and have to switch from your rear roadtire to the hometrainer-tires and back again before hitting the roads. However, believe me, in the end that is the best thing you can do. Hometrainers just kills normal roadtires. Therefore, if your fronttire is black or anything other than red, don’t worry, nobody will ever see your different tire colors.

    I tried using my Continental Ultra Sport on the Elite Speed Mag Alu hometrainer, but that story did not last long, until the tire was close to been eaten up totally by the rollers. But the Vittoria’s are looking just as new as when I bought them. They are really taking the punches from the hometrainer great. The black/grey stuff on the tires on the picture below, is just powder from the cylinder of the hometrainer. A quick clean, and the tires looks good as new.

    Vittoria Zaffiro Pro

    On the hometrainer is does a great job. It is silent and the grip is fine. Only on the highest resistance on the hometrainer I can make it do wheelspin if I accelerate, so it is more or less not a problem at all. I really cannot find anything bad about the Vittoria’s, they are doing a great job all around.

    The verdict
    The Vittoria Zaffiro Pro is a great tire for use on a hometrainer. It has a good grip, endurance, and is silent, so it will only help giving you a better experience on the hometrainer. In addition, it does not wear on your rear wheel’s roadtire, which means, that the extra money you spend on the hometrainer-tires now, you will have “earned” back again later. I simply see no reason not to buy a pair of tires for your hometrainer, and the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro will definitely be a good choice.


    10. sep. 2013

    Elite Mag Speed Alu Hometrainer Test

    For many, winter is equal with snow and therefore it is not safe to go out riding on a road bike. Others just do not like the cold weather often combined with a lot of wind, which is far from unusual on that part of the season in a lot of places around the world. The answer for those who can agree with the things above will often be a hometrainer or joining a gym. In the long run though, a hometrainer will be the least expensive by a big margin, so why not go for that? Here you have several opportunities. Some are cheap and basic, others are expensive, giving you the opportunity to ride up a virtual Alpe d’Huez via your TV, or compete against other riders on their expensive hometrainers on a given course or mountain.
    The one I have been testing is the basic Elite Mag Speed Alu from Elite. It costs around 150 euro’s in the stores, and therefore does not have the possibility to plug it in your TV and ride up any mountains. No, it is just a standard hometrainer for those who does not need anything else. Along with it, you do get a training DVD with different exercises and a bottle, plus a sweatabsorber to install on your seatpost and handlebar. It is actually quite important since sweat is destructive for the paint, and you are gonna sweat A LOT more on a hometrainer than outdoor due to that there is no wind to cool you down.






    Testing
    I have been testing the Elite Mag Speed for 3 winters so far, with durations to maximum 1½ hours. It has been equipped with a Vittoria Zaffiro Pro reartire specially made for use on a hometrainer. It can give you 5 different resistance values, where 1 is equal to tailwind or downhill, and 5 is equal to either strong headwind or a tough climb. To simulate normal training speed (30 km/h +/-) I have been using the 2nd level. For intervals I went a bit higher on the resistance level. The roller and the tires had a great grip with each other’s, and only under heavy accelerations in the higher resistance levels, was I able to create any wheelspin.

    For me, the motivation of it is lacking. I find it “fun” in the first 5 minutes, and after that I try looking around in the room for something to think about. I started missing the fields passing by in the side along with the wind bursting at your face. A way to solve this for me though, was listening to music and/or watch a tv-program I like. I will not recommend programs which demands much attention, but just something where the pictures changes all the time so you have something different to look at all the time. I was actually missing a feature being able to achieve anything, like climbing Alpe d’Huez, or battleing against a 25-year-old Italian online on Mount Ventoux.
    A kinda fun thing to that though, is that the earlier mentioned lack of motivation for riding on longer periods on the hometrainer, actually makes me do a lot more interval training than on normal roads. Therefore, it does give a lot extra strength compared to spending the same amount of time just riding in a steady pace on 80-90% of max heartrate. So I wouldn’t say I don’t get just as much out of the training as doing 3 hours rides on the roads. I think it is equally as good.

    But all that depends on the kind of person and how motivated you are. When it is getting close to a new season start, and I know there won’t be long till the snow is away, I am logging a longer time on the hometrainer than I am doing in the early winter. Most people will probably do it the same way, because of a increased motication. But as a training tool, the Elite Mag Speed is great. You save a lot of money compared to a gym center, and you do not have to battle freezing temperatures. I have only been happy getting mine, because I am training a lot more in the wintertime than I would have been doing without it.

    A problem I have noticed though was that at higher speeds, would the rollers start to vibrate so much, that it creates a noticeable sound. Therefore, I did try to keep it below that speed to stop it from making the noise. It did not matter what tires I tried, the noise would still occur. It is more or less just a bad balance on the rollers that triggers the vibrations, which maybe won’t occur on all Mag Speed’s.


    Verdict
    The Elite Mag Speed is a great hometrainer for the person who is just looking for a basic method of training when the weather does not give the best opportunity for going outside doing that. For me though it got quite boring pretty fast, unless I had music to listen to, or a TV-show to watch. Therefore, I will highly recommend doing that if you are going to buy any of the cheaper hometrainers without any fancy features like climbing Alpe d’Huez. Nevertheless, it made my do a lot more trainingsessions than if I had to go out in snow or bad weather, so it has definitely helped me becoming a better rider.

    9. sep. 2013

    Rotor Q-rings Test

    Background
    If you have been following cycling the last few years you will have noticed that some riders use chainrings that are not round but oval. The general idea is to have a bigger gear where you can put the most power in the pedals and a lower gear when you have to pass the dead zone. It is not a new idea to make oval chainrings. In the 80'ies Shimano produced the oval Biopace rings. Lately Oval rings have been very successful with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome both winning the Tour de France on O-Symmetric chainrings. This test is about another brand of oval chainrings, namely Rotor who makes Q-Rings. I have tested the 53/40 Q-Rings version for Campagnolo for 2 months and in that time I have ridden around 2500km in all kinds of terrain.

    Rotor Q-rings

    Test
    Mounting the rings can be a bit tricky as the front derailleur has to be adjusted. The derailleur has to be moved up as the ring has a larger diameter than a normal round chainring. This caused some problems on my bike since it was not possible to get it high enough. It was solved by placing a small ring between the derailleur and the mount. This moved it a bit back so there was enough room for the chainring,
    My first impression of riding with the rings was that it felt like the chain broke every time when passing the dead zone. After a few kilometers that feeling subsided and I noticed that my acceleration had increased a lot. It still felt a bit weird and it took several rides before I got really familiar with the rings. Shifting between the rings is even better than on the Stronglight rings I used before. I have not experienced any problems with the chain jumping off the rings, not even when riding a race with very uneven dirt roads. Other than the improved acceleration I have also noticed that I am less tired the day after a hard ride. In my opinion this is the biggest advantage.

    The Verdict
    I have been very satisfied with the Q-Rings. I am sure I will also get them for my next bike. The price is comparable to that of other high-end chainrings. I think they are worth the money but you have to take your time to get used to them.

    8. sep. 2013

    Garmin Edge 500 Test

    Introduction
    This is a long term review of the Garmin Edge 500. I bought it in January 2010 and I have ridden around 35000km with it. The Edge 500 has most of the features of the Edge 800 but without the map and it is much smaller. Installation is just as easy. For more details see the Garmin Edge 800 Review. I bought the bundle version with a heart rate monitor and a speed/cadence sensor, which was installed on my time trial bike but I never used the speed sensor.





    The Test
    After you turn the Edge 500 on you have to wait a bit before it has connected with the satellites. This may take up to a few minutes. I experienced some problems after around three years of riding with it. It took longer time to connect to the satellites and even after it had connected it did not record any distance when I started riding. The problem was solved by deleting old rides from it. Deleting the rides also made uploading much faster.
    It has up to 5 pages where you can choose up to 8 different data fields. Even with 8 data fields on one page you can easily read the numbers. The data fields can easily be set to show anything you like. There are a wide range of data to put in these fields like distance, speed, gradient, altitude, and temperature. If you buy the bundle version you will also get a heart rate monitor and a speed/cadence sensor. The Edge 500 is also equipped with ANT+ which means you can connect a power meter.

    On open roads the GPS signal is pretty stable, but if you ride through a tunnel or a dense forest it might get a bit unstable. Therefore the speed might jump a bit. This could probably be solved by using the speed sensor. It does not seem like a big problem to me. It is normally over after a few seconds and it does not seem to affect the distance.
    The big question after so many hours of riding is: Does the battery still work? The answer is yes. Even after a 200km ride where it was turned on for 8 hours it was still half full. René experienced some problems with the heart rate monitor for his Edge 800. I have not had any problems with the heart rate monitor that a battery change could not fix.



    When you get home you want to analyze your ride. With a Garmin Edge 500 it is easy to upload your ride to a site like Endomondo or Garmin Connect. If you use Linux you have to be aware that Garmin does not provide an official communicator plugin. In linux Mint 15 there is a plugin available from the ”Software Manager” which can also be found here: Garmin plugin for Linux. This plugin works just like the official windows plugin.

    The Verdict
    If you do not need a map while riding but want a lot of data, the Edge 500 is perfect for you. It is cheaper than the 800 but has almost the same features. The 200 is even cheaper but it lacks a heart rate monitor. Is it worth the money? I would say definitely. It is very durable and stable. It is also easy to change from bike to bike if you have more than one bike and it does not require any settings to be change if you do not use the speed sensor. It is also pretty cool to say that your bike computer uses The Theory of Relativity.

    Written by Andreas

    Read more: http://www.cyclingtipsonline.com/news/garmin-edge-500-review/

    7. sep. 2013

    Shimano 105 5700 Test

    Shimano is probably the most famous bicycle parts manufacturer there is in. Shimano is one of the three main producers of bicycle parts, the other two brands are SRAM and Campagnolo.

    Brand: Shimano
    Type: 105 (5700)
    Weight: -
    Price: +/- € 450 (set of 8)
    Specs: Includes: Dual Control levers, crankset, cassette, derailleur (x2), brakes, chain and bottom bracket

    NOTE: There a different 105 groupsets available which might include other parts

    The Shimano 105 group is the 5th group of Shimano, only Ultegra and Dura Ace are considered as better Shimano groups. The Shimano 105 group is advised to people who rider over 3000-4000 kilometer a year since the groups below the 105 wear off faster and need to be replaced sooner.

    When buying a bike it’s important to know what group set is on the bike. Some shops choose to mount two different groups on one bike. For example a Tiagra crank and a Shimano 105 Group derailleur, why? Because it’s cheaper than to mount a fully 105 Group set. Tiagra isn’t a bad group, but it’s better to know straight away that you buy a bike that contains other group parts. Better than finding out later on, and get disappointed.


    Review
    After 10.000 kilometers the 105 Group is still working as it should be. The only part that has been replaced is the chain. If you replace the chain once a season you prevent wear on the cassette and crank who are more expensive to replace than a chain (€20). Most people don’t buy complete new groupsets, but just replace the parts that are wear. In my case the chain. My estimation is that I can go up to 20.000 kilometers before I have to replace the more expensive parts of the group as the derailleurs, crank and the cassette.

    The 105 Group has matched my expectations. It is a very good group compared to the price you have to pay and it doesn’t wear fast. All part besides the chain easily can do 20.000-25.000 kilometers before they need to be replaced. For a better durability it is advised to replace the chain once every 5.000 kilometer or once a season.

    The Verdict

    I would advise the Shimano 105 Group to everyone who rides up to 10.000 kilometers. If you ride more than 10.000 kilometers a year it might be cheaper to buy the Ultegra or Dura Ace since it has a better durability. Even if you only ride 1.000 kilometers a year I would advise the 105 Group over Sora or Tiagra because it would demand less maintenance and it’s likely you can keep using it during the completely life span of the bike.

    Performance 
    Durability 
    Product for value 
    Overall