Thursday, 29 September 2016

Tech Talk: Cannondale Slate

Cannondale Slate

Once upon a time there were mountain bikes, road bikes and in between a little category called cyclo-cross bikes. If you wanted to ride on the road, you’d buy a road bike, if you fancied thrashing through the woods you’d pick an MTB and if you wanted to take your road bike off road, you were either very optimistic or a total idiot, depending on your point of view. But now, the spectrum is considerably fuller and the gaps between different bike genres have faded away. One of the most obvious examples of that is the Cannondale Slate.

Cannondale’s goal with the Slate was to create a bike that was fun to ride. Not fun to race, or shred, or tour but fun to ride almost anywhere. The idea was a fast-rolling, drop-bar bike that offered comfort and control over a variety of surfaces.

The Frame

Flattened chainstay

The frame is a 6069 Smartformed, TIG-welded aluminum tubing with Cannondale’s signature smooth-finish welds. The company makes use of a variety of mechanical processes and double-pass welding to create the Slate then it uses heat-treatment to maximise the strength and durability of the frame. The Slate frame makes use of Cannondale’s latest BB30A bottom bracket design, a 27.2mm seatpost diameter, and a 142 x 12mm rear thru-axle that threads into a replaceable rear derailleur hanger. Internal routing is provided for the brake and gear cables and is compatible with electronic groupsets. The tubes have flowing shapes with radically vertically flattened chain and seatstays allowing slight flex vertically, constituting the SAVE system for the rear end

Lefty Oliver

You need a few special parts with that fork

Most important to the Slate is the Lefty Oliver fork, a new road specific single sided 30mm travel dual crown suspension fork designed specifically for the Slate. It is air adjustable, with pressure recommendations on a chart printed on the fork leg in case you forget. There is essentially no sag, so that simplifies things as well. The fork has damping control and an easy lockout for climbing, with a blow off platform that will open the valve should you have a hard hit when locked out. The lockout is definitely firmer than the mountain bike Lefty when locked out and features a a carbon body with an aluminum stanchion.

Lefty Oliver Fork
The Oliver fork demands a variety of proprietary parts, starting with the front hub. The front axle is forged as part of the lower leg assembly and the front hub bearings are pressed into place each time the wheel is bolted on. There is no quick-release mechanism for the wheel, but then, there’s no need to remove the wheel to replace the tyre and/or tube.

The Oliver has a proprietary dual-crown and steerer design with a precise-fit that demands a specific head tube length, oversized headset bearings, and a unique stem diameter. The steerer is installed from the bottom-up like a giant pin and is secured by clamps in each crown. There is no adjustment for bearing pre-load so the stem simply slides on top of the upper crown with just 12.5mm of spacers for height adjustment. The unique diameter of the steerer means that the only stems that can be used with the Oliver are those made by Cannondale.


Fork: A bicycle fork is the part of a bicycle that holds the front wheel. A fork typically consists of two blades which are joined at the top by a fork crown. Above the crown, a steerer tube attaches the fork to the bicycle and the handlebars (via a stem) allowing the user to steer the bicycle. The steerer tube of the fork interfaces with the frame via bearings called a headset mounted in the head tube. At the bottom of the fork, dropouts hold the wheel. Usually, either the axle is bolted to the fork, or a skewer passes through a hollow axle, clamping the axle to the fork.

BB30BB30 is a new bottom bracket standard for bicycles. It requires a completely different shell than a standard bottom bracket, one that can fit a press in style bearing. BB30 stands for Bottom Bracket w/ a 30mm spindle. BB30 was originally developed by Cannondale, but left as "Open Source" so anyone could develop off of it.

Chainstay: The tube connect BB house with rear drop out

Seatstay: The tube connect seattube with rear drop out

Thru Axle: TA resemble large pins that pass through holes in the frame and forks tips to secure the wheels. There are no slots in the dropouts so a TA must be removed completely to release the wheel. TA typically thread into the frame or fork tip and have a quick-release lever to assist with tensioning the axle.

Stem: The stem is the component on a bicycle that connects the handlebars to the steerer tube of the bicycle fork. Sometimes called a goose neck,[1] a stem's design belongs to either a quill or threadless system, and each system is compatible with respective headset and fork designs.

Headset: The headset is the set of components on a bicycle that provides a rotatable interface between the bicycle fork and the head tube of the bicycle frame. The tube through which the steerer of the fork passes is called the head tube. A typical headset consists of two cups that are pressed into the top and bottom of the headtube. Inside the two cups are bearings which provide a low friction contact between the bearing cup and the steerer.

Dual Crown: The base of the fork steerer tube, in this case Lefty had a 2 crown like a sportbike fork suspension.


Ride On!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Tech Talk: Pole Evolink 140 29"

Pole's design style is functional. Straight, triangle shaped tubes creates a stiff and light bike. The rest of the geometry on the Pole is just as extreme as that wheelbase measurement. With a raked out 64.5 degree head angle, steep 75.5 degree seat angle and huge 456mm chain stays Pole is amongst the slackest of bikes out there and at the same time its compact front triangle allows for heaps of standover clearance. 

Pole Evolink 140 29" Frame

Four sizes are available from the XS through to the Large. It gets 140mm of rear wheel travel coupled with a 150mm travel fork up front. Some will be pleased to learn that this bike arrives with a 142x12mm rear end (although a Boost 148mm is an option) but plenty will be delighted with the lack of a press-fit bottom bracket. Also, if you’re into bottle cages then the Pole will certainly not disappoint, with multiple mounting points provided at either end of the down tube. Pole uses high quality ball bearings and titanium axles in all links for better value.

Two Bottle Cage Mount

Folding up!

A Folding bike?
If you’re worried about trying to fit some a behemoth into your house or car fear not. The Pole has a clever trick up its sleeve. By removing the front wheel and a shock bolt, the swing arm folds under the down tube and it’ll conveniently tuck into the cupboard under the stairs.

Evolink suspension system Pole’s 

Evolink suspension

Suspension is an obvious talking point, and the Pole is pretty interesting here too. Evolink suspension system uses a twin link design. The IC (instant centre) is close to the BB and it gives the flex to the area where it's needed the most. Degressive anti squat ratio gives the bike a firm pedalling platform without pedal kickback and bobbing feel. Pole's insight is that if the bike has a stiff rear axle and front triangle but can flex from the middle the bike rides better. Evolink's are built with oversize dropouts to make the hub/axle interface stiffer. To fine tune this system the suspension is specially designed for air shocks where the air volume can be fine tuned to support the riders needs. The overall chain growth is only 31mm which means that you can use a clutched derailleur with no worries that it would make a big difference in suspension dynamics.


Wheelbase: The wheelbase is the distance between the centers of the front and rear wheels.

Head Angle: Angle of headtube in bicycle frame

Seat Angle: Angle of seattube in bicycle frame

Chainstay: The tube connect BB house with rear drop out

Bottom Bracket: The bottom bracket on a bicycle connects the crankset (chainset) to the bicycle and allows the crankset to rotate freely. It contains a spindle that the crankset attaches to, and the bearings that allow the spindle and cranks to rotate. The chainrings and pedals attach to the cranks. The bottom bracket fits inside the bottom bracket shell, which connects the seat tube, down tube and chain stays as part of the bicycle frame.

Chain Growth: The term 'chain growth' refers to the distance between the bottom bracket and rear axle lengthening as the bike goes through its travel.


Ride On!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Tech Talk: Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0

Anyone who’s considering buying this bike probably already knows two things: Canyon has a reputation for cost-effective excellence, but it has struggled to fulfill delivery orders recently. As the name implies, this is a bike for endurance cyclists, those who want to ride long distances or in a more relaxed style outside competition. So it’s more for the gran fondo riders, sportive enthusiasts and weekend warriors among us rather than the race rig.  At the same time, though, the new model has gone a step forward compared to its predecessors and it’s presented as something more than a normal endurance bike: a bike that could go far, but also fast with a high level of responsiveness and control. By retaining some of the key features of the Aeroad and the Ultimate, the new Canyon Endurace CF SLX is trying to fill the gap between the 100 per cent sportive models and the race machines.

Aerodynamic frame 

Comparison Result

In order to make the Endurace CF SLX more aerodynamic than the former model, Canyon focused on the components that are more exposed to the wind, like the down tube. Compared to the 2014 version, the new tube looks ‘less fat’ on the top and has got a more oval shape to cut the wind. Tested in the wind tunnel, the difference between the Canyon Endurace CF SLX and the Ultimate CF SLX Disc Prototype are very tight, with the Endurace being just 1.4 watts slower than its racier cousin. Once more, if compared to the Ultimate, the Endurace features a 10mm higher stack and a 8mm shorter reach.

Aerodynamic Cockpit

As on the Aeroad CF SLX, the Canyon Endurace CF SLX features an integrated carbon stem and handlebars. This is the new H31 Ergocockpit, which is claimed to be 24g lighter and 10 per cent more vertically compliant than the H11 Aerocockpit. The increased surface area created by the aero-style bars actually spreads the load on your palms, and road shocks felt better dissipated as a result.The clamp system has been completely redesigned, the stem is pressed into the shaft with two screws and a transition plate for a more balanced distribution of the force.

Disc brakes and wide tyres 

Canyon opted to equip the Endurace with the standard Shimano, flat mount hydraulic disc brakes. All the bikes’ sizes (except for the XXS which mounts 140 mm rotors) will mount 160 mm rotors on the front and on the back.  To match and reap the benefits of the disc brakes, the Canyon Endurace CF SLX is equipped with 28mm tyres, but both frame and forks have clearance to take up to 33mm tyres. Even though this tyre proved its comfort and performance even over unpaved roads, its rolling resistance on the flat will never be the same as a tyre conceived for pure speed. The forks had to be reinforced in order to sustain the higher brakes loads due to the disc brakes As the Endurace has disc brakes, the fork has had to be reinforced so it is able to deal with heavier braking loads (especially on the left side). The new fork is consequently heavier than the former one, and it comes in at 325g, 30g more than the fork used for the Ultimate CF SLX. 

Flexible seatpost

Flexible seatpost with seat clamp 110mm lower
Seat clamp bolt location (the black dot)

Another feature Canyon developed on the Endurace to make the bike more comfortable is a flexible seatpost. The VCLS 2.0 seatpost that Canyon used for the new Endurace CF SLX is claimed to have more flex compared to the first version, but at the same time a kink halfway up the seat tube designed to keep the rider positioned over the bottom bracket and not behind it. The seat clamp is also a new feature in the Endurace conceived for giving you more flex and comfort. First appearing on the Ultimate CF SLX, the clamp is moved from its position at the top of the seat tube to a place 110mm lower down inside the seat tube. Above this point the seatpost sits in a rubber sleeve to seal it off from dirt and water ingress and prevent it from rattling, while crucially giving the post room to bend rearwards.


Gran Fondo: The Gran Fondo is Italian mean "big ride". Is a type of long-distance road bicycle race, in which riders are individually chip timed and have the right of way at all intersections. 

Sportive: A cyclosportive is characterised by being a mass participation cycling event. In several countries, including the UK and Australia and parts of the USA, they're billed as non-competitive events. However in Europe in particular, there is more of a competitive element with categories and prizes awarded to the fastest finishers. Most, if not all, sportives use timing chips ensuring a healthy level of competitiveness is always present no matter what. Results are usually published in detail on the event website and often have gold, silver or bronze time standards.

Stack: Stack is the vertical distance, in centimeters, from the center of the frame’s bottom bracket/crank to the top middle point of the head tube (where the fork passes through the frame).


Ride On!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Tech Talk: Ventum One

Radical Design Radical Result

After a year of research and development, including cutting up several top brand frames to study them and “playing with a number of interesting designs”, Ventum settled on this radical ‘Z-frame’ and took a rough prototype to a wind tunnel, where the project leap forward “The first test showed phenomenal results,” says James Seear, Ventum co founder. “The wind tunnel technician ended up re-running tests because he thought the instrumentation was playing up. In fact, our bike was so much faster than anything they’d seen.” 

The removal of the down tube addresses the most serious inconsistency between a wind tunnel and the road: the angle of the front wheel. In a tunnel the front wheel is clamped in place whereas on the road you make continuous tiny adjustments which means that the airflow from the front wheel to the down tube, the single most critical transition, is inconsistent. With only triathlon in mind, Ventum ditched the down tube altogether, removing the air transition and also that tube’s own drag. “The higher the wind speed or the larger the yaw angle the bigger the advantage our design has over frames with down tubes,” adds James. The seatstays were just two more tubes in the wind, and also a hotspot where forward rotating spokes meet rearward airflow in a tight space, so they went, too.

The Ventum frameset incorporates a fork with a standard steerer tube so that any traditional front end can be used on the bike. However, it does come with a proprietary stem and bar combo that makes for a very clean leading edge. The basebar bolts to the stem with 4 vertical bolts, and the stem attaches to the steerer in the traditional way. The fork incorporates a faring that covers the TRP V-brake and runs upward to the stem to hide the brake cabling. This also provides a place to stash the Di2 Junction box. The stem has a hole in it to pass the brake cables and Di2 E-tube wires through. The stem also has a carbon cover which serves as the steerer cap as well. Once cut, you will be hard-pressed to fit a standard stem to it. The top tube of the frame has a single hole behind the stem for derailleur and rear brake cabling, and the basebar has a port in the center trailing edge for cables/wire entry. All in all it was a fairly straight forward and clean build as far as super-bikes go. Bottom bracket is BB30 meaning it can be adapted to just about any crankset and bb system out there. 

Integrated Hydration Tank

Integrated hydration tank
The frame itself is a true monocoque, made from top-grade Toray T800, T1000 and T1200 carbon fibre but, the big innovation for Ventum, however, is the integrated hydration system—1,4L a plastic tank of liquid, refillable on the fly, sitting on the top tube and completing the aero shape. This system is elegantly simple in that the tank plugs into a hole in the frame “seat tube” and attaches with an adjustable thumbscrew mount in the front. It blends in seamlessly and does not rattle or move. The straw exits just behind the stem and has a magnet retention system that can be attached to virtually anywhere on the bike you’d like, and will hold securely. If you simply dropped it forward after drinking, it would return to the magnet on its own. That’s a lot of drag that just got saved from not having to attach a front hydration system and some kind of rear bottle cage to your bike.


Downtube: The tube link between the headtube and bottom bracket.

Toptube: The tube link between headtube and seattube

Crankset: The crankset is the component of a bicycle drivetrain that converts the reciprocating motion of the rider's legs into rotational motion used to drive the chain or belt, which in turn drives the rear wheel. It consists of one or more sprockets, also called chainrings or chainwheels attached to the cranks, arms, or crankarms to which the pedals attach. It is connected to the rider by the pedals, to the bicycle frame by the bottom bracket, and to the rear sprocket, cassette or freewheel via the chain.

Bottom Bracket: The bottom bracket on a bicycle connects the crankset (chainset) to the bicycle and allows the crankset to rotate freely. It contains a spindle that the crankset attaches to, and the bearings that allow the spindle and cranks to rotate. The chainrings and pedals attach to the cranks. The bottom bracket fits inside the bottom bracket shell, which connects the seat tube, down tube and chain stays as part of the bicycle frame.

Monocoque: Also called structural skin, is a structural system where loads are supported through an object's external skin, similar to an egg shell. The word monocoque is a French term for "single shell" or "single hull".

220 Triathlon UK 2016/10

Ride On!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Carbon Frame Life Span

Almost three decades have passed since the emergence of carbon fibre and while the material dominates all but the low end of the road bike market, the reputation of carbon fibre still seems marred by the industry’s early efforts. The first carbon bikes (such as Look’s KG86) were far from robust or reliable. Carbon tubing was bonded to aluminium lugs and while the frames were significantly lighter than their steel counterparts, it was a devastating mismatch of materials. Galvanic corrosion (and to a lesser extent, UV exposure) would defeat the epoxies in use at the time and the frames would fall apart.

How about today? Do carbon frames have a shelf life? Should you be worried about your carbon frame wearing out? Scott Nielson has worked with carbon fibre for over a decade, starting with Trek, and is now the vice president of research and development and engineering at Enve. “If you look at carbon materials in general,” he said, “they’re very good in fatigue, much better than any aluminium or steel would be. If done properly, a frame could last you forever.” The reason for such confidence is the extraordinary durability of carbon fibre. “Composites do not behave like metals,” explained Chuck Texiera. “In fact, they don’t actually fatigue like metals in the same classic sense of the word. The fatigue life of the fibre itself is just about infinite.

Carbon bike frame is a matrix of two different materials: the carbon fibres which give the frame its structural strength, and the resin which binds the carbon together. They each have different properties, both physically and chemically, which determine the frame’s structural integrity. “It is truly a matrix,” said Grelier (Scott Bicycle). “The resin is the material that joins all the fibres together. They have to match each other really well, then you will have a better material.” It is an understanding of the interplay between the two components of the composite that has developed in recent years, improving the quality of the reliability of carbon composites.

The carbon fibres used are very strong, but the resin needed to hold them together is potentially susceptible to degradation over time. Thomas Leschik, chief technology officer at Lightweight highlights this degradation as a factor which will alter the frame’s properties. Resins used in carbon-fibre composites are heat-sensitive and manufacturers recommend that bikes are not kept in hot environments such as inside cars. But again this is not likely to be an issue except in extreme cases: curing of carbon frames takes place at well over 100°C and it’s unlikely that this temperature would be reached once the frame leaves the factory.

UV radiation is another potential cause of degradation of the resin. But carbon frames are routinely painted with UV-resistant lacquers and paints and modern resins are designed to have intrinsic UV and temperature resistance too. Prolonged exposure to intense sunlight might lower the lifetime of your frame. “Somebody riding every day in the desert and having 12 hours’ full sun exposure and extreme heat would have a different effect than an average rider,” says Thomas Trapp, head of engineering at Focus Bikes.

The weakness of carbon composites 

While carbon fibre composites have a high strength to weight ratio, they are highly susceptible to high loads over a small area, such as an impact. Once the integrity of the composite is compromised, the matrix essentially starts to crumble and must be repaired or replaced. In the absence of any impact, the matrix can deteriorate with use, but it takes an extremely long time. “The epoxy matrix will at some point start to form little cracks,” explained Chuck Texiera, “and then over time it will just have the connectivity of the fibre. So really what’s happening, over really extended periods of time, you can expect the stiffness of the frame to change ever so slightly but it’s such a small number. We can measure it but I really wouldn’t think it would be perceivable. But it takes hundreds of thousands of cycles to even get to that. Two years would be far too short for that to occur with any kind of typical age group racer.”

Improving the impact resistance of carbon composities

The impact resistance of carbon composites has improved in recent years to the point where MTBers are now truly embracing the material. The advances are largely due to innovations in resin technology. “We have the materials that are stiff enough,” said Benoit Grelier, “but the goal is now to work with some materials that have strength in case of an impact. We have had some good results by playing with the resin and nano-components.” “Standard resin is like oil and nano-resin is like water,” explained Grelier. “If you throw oil onto a mesh, it won’t go inside because it is thicker, whereas the water will go directly inside the mesh. If I use a nano-resin, it will go deeper into the fibres and the final bonding will be better.” Chuck Texiera has seen the same kind of results. “The fibre is quite good and quite tough and it actually hasn’t changed much in thirty years,” he said. “It’s the resin systems that have continued to evolve, become tougher, to fill in voids and create better bridging. But there’s still room for improvement.” Scott Nielson agrees. “They’ve been working on nanomaterials for years and now we’re seeing new materials coming out that are taking advantage of some of those nano-enhancement or nano-tougheners. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. I think it’s a good start but there’s a long way to go for those materials to really truly yield a dramatic improvement.”


Composites: Composites is a material made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties that, when combined, produce a material with characteristics different from the individual components.

Resin: Resin is a hydrocarbon secretion that comes from many different types of plants. It also comes from many types of coniferous trees, like pine trees. Generally, resins are insoluble in water. Although resin is most often used in its natural form, synthetic resins are also popular, and make the base for things like epoxies, polyesters and silicone. Resin, whether natural or synthetic, usually dries to a hard, transparent or opaque consistency.

Cycling Weekly 2016/08/11

Ride On!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Running Shoes Anatomy


A running shoe is made up of three big parts: the upper, the midsole and the outsole.

1. Upper: Holds the foot in place, protects the foot from rocks and dirt, has synthetic leather for durability, washable mesh for breathability and reflective material for safety. Your running shoe should have a padded tongue to cushion against lace pressure and a padded ankle collar to cushion the ankle, help prevent Achilles tendinitis, and also stops debris getting into your shoes. If your shoe has laces, there may be a variety of lace holes so you can customize the width up the upper according to the breadth of your foot. Parts of the upper are often reinforced where wear is most likel. Further reinforcement is usually present to increase lateral stability. 

2. Midsole: The midsole is located between the outsole and the upper. Is the most important part of shoe. The mid-sole absorbs impact, flexes in the ball of the foot at toe off and determines the level of foot control. There are three materials that make up the midsole: EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate): Lightweight, foam-based cushioning. EVA is a foam that is light and has good cushioning, but breaks down fairly quickly. Dual-Density EVA: When you double the density of something it gets stronger, firmer and heavier (twice the mass in the same amount of space). The dual-density EVA is called a "medial post". 'Medial' because it is on the inside of the shoe and 'post' because it has a beginning and an end. The length of the post determines the amount of control. 

Polyurethane (polyurethane): Very durable cushioning. More durable/stable than EVA and weighs more than EVA. Most shoes are also cushioned with gel, air, foam or various manufacturer-specific technologies that are encapsulated in the midsole. This cushioning lasts longer than previous methods and often adds stability as well as shock absorption. Three factors determine how good a mid-sole is: 
  • Shock absorbency. This can be tested by pressing the material. If it's extremely spongy then it may not provide the shock absorbency required by heavier runners, and conversely, if it's too taut it may be inappropriate for lighter runners. When longitudinal creases develop - those parallel to the ground - the mid-sole will be losing its shock absorbency
  • Heel height/heel toe drop. Most people require a small heel to help reduce forces within the foot and stress on the Achilles' tendon. Heel height can be determined by taking the thickness of the sole at the ball of the foot from the thickness at the heel. An increased heel height is preferable for calf problems or rigid feet. 
  • Pronation control. Some trainers incorporate a wedge within the mid-sole - making the sole thicker on the inside than it is on the outside - to increase foot control. Other shoes use plastic inserts to achieve this. A more popular method is to use two densities of material within the sole. Typically, the material on the inside of the heel is harder than it is on the outside, so when a load is applied there is more compression on the outside of the foot forming an effective wedge.

3. Outsole: The outsole is the treaded layer glued to the bottom of the midsole. It resists wear, provides traction, and absorbs shock.. The outsole is made of two materials: Carbon Rubber: The most durable (same material as tires). Blown Rubber: Lighter, more flexible and more cushioned, but not as durable. There are several different types of outsole to choose from. Some are designed for road running and offer very little in the way of grip while off road shoes have molded lugs designed to provide lots of traction on loose surfaces. Stud or waffle outsoles are good for running on dirt or grass because they improve traction and stability. Ripple soles are better for running on asphalt or cement surfaces. The outsole is also the first part of a shoe to show wear and provides a good indicator of what part of your foot is most heavily loaded when you run.


Shoe manufacturers make shoe models in shapes from almost completely straight to curved and points in between. Shoe shape ties in with the shoe category: the straighter a shoe is the more stable it is. The shoe acts like a "steering wheel", guiding your foot in the direction of the curve of the shoe. 

1. Straight: Shape found in motion control shoes built for overpronators. 

2. Semi-Curved: Shape found in stability shoes and most neutral shoes. 

3. Curved: Shape found in lightweight neutral shoes for faster runners.

As you can see, the shape of the shoe actually helps it do what it does. Plus, these shapes generally match the shape of the feet in each of these shoe categories. And the fit will always be better when the shape of the shoe matches the shape of your foot. 

The Others Parts

Collar: The inside back portion of the shoe that provides comfort around the ankle

Eyelets: The holes that the shoe laces run through

Heel Counter: The heel counter is the inflexible material surrounding the heel. It must be rigid and durable to support and stabilize the heel. Because the internal heel counter material is thin and tends to lose its stiffness, an external counter is usually placed between the midsole and base of the heel counter. This ensures the shoe moves with your foot and that your foot does not move independently of your shoe which would cause a blister.

Heel Tab: The part of the shoe that surrounds the Achilles tendon and helps lock the shoe around the heel; also called Achilles tendon protector or Achilles tendon notch Heel tab. Ironically, stiff or high heel tabs can cause inflammation of the Achilles tendon so avoid shoes like this if you are prone to Achilles tendonitis. Some heel tabs are fitted with webbing or cord loops to make it easier to pull your shoe on and off. 

Insole/Sockliner: This sits on the foot bed, inside the bottom of the shoe. The insole is often removable and is the contoured layer of foam designed to support your arch and provide a small percentage of your shoes’ shock absorbing capability. Because the insole is removable, you can replace it with insoles of your choice. 

Tongue: Soft elongated flap that fits over the top of the foot to protect the tendons and blood vessels from pressure caused by the laces


Designed to stiffen the middle of the shoe so that energy is effectively transferred from the front to the back of your foot, the shank is usually made of semi-flexible plastic although in older running shoes it was made of metal. Most shoes have shanks with the exception of ultra lightweight racing shoes. Some shanks are housed inside the midsole while other manufacturers build the shank into the outsole. 


Run On!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Tech Talk: Specialized Roubaix 2017

Specialized Roubaix 2017

The original Roubaix featured a longer wheelbase and slightly shallower geometry than what was typically being ridden at the time. It also had generous clearance for big tires, and most distinctively, had polymer bumpers (called Zertz) molded into the frame to damp the ride and take the sting out of the cobbles. The head tube was taller than most road race bikes, putting the rider in a slightly more “heads-up” position. This latest iteration of the Roubaix bike is all of those things and none of them at once. The frame is a radical departure from the original model.

They stripped Zerts inserts from their frame and replaced by a mix of clever carbon construction and an innovative piece of front-end suspension. Specialized’s design team, led by engineer Chris D’Aluisio and head of applied technologies Chris Yu, set out to discover whether ‘smoother equals faster’, knowing that one of the major selling points of the Roubaix has always been ride comfort. Chris D’Aluisio continues: “As we were gathering the data, taking the bike and rider as one system, we started to see that a benefit of compliance was also traction. If you can keep in contact with the ground more of the time then you’ll have more control and be able to go faster.”

The head angle now matches that of the Tarmac, and the rider position is lower. The frame weight is lighter than the outgoing Roubaix. The fork borrows heavily from that found on the Tarmac, too, albeit with a longer axle-to-crown distance to better clear the tires. The whole frame is structurally stiffer than the previous SL4 Roubaix, with a massive new down tube and stout bottom-bracket area. It will accept tires up to 32mm wide, and it’s disc-brake only. 

There are two distinct types of front suspension. Splay relies on the fork being able to move fore-and-aft, and axial where the fork moves vertically up and down below the head-tube. For all-out efficiency, neither is perfect. Splay can slow you down, and the traditional ‘axial’ mountain bike-like bob when climbing wouldn’t work here either. On the Roubaix the effective suspension position was on top of the head-tube to reduce any bobbing effect and suspend the rider, not the bike. The new tech its calls The FutureShock, it’s composed of a tube-within-a-tube rolling on four sets of needle bearings and supported by three coil springs: two for support and one for tuning. It sits in the steerer tube (much like a traditional seatpost slides into a seat tube) and is clamped in place at the top of the fork. A traditional stem clamps to the outside of the cartridge. 

Specialized Future Shock Cartridge

The FutureShock offers 17mm of downward travel and 3mm of upward travel, effectively isolating the rider and lending a smoother feel at the bars. The front end can be tuned to your terrain or personal preference using three interchangeable springs – long, medium, and short. Shorter offers more compliance, and the longer is stiffer.

Seattube bigger than seatpost to aid a movement

The neat back-end’s design, which drops the seat stays 3.5in below the top-tube junction and incorporates the seat clamp into the seatstays ends via twin bolts, allows for much more movement from the seatpost. A rubber seal covers the top of the seat-tube, and the tube is significantly bigger than the slender post to allow for plenty of room to move. With the radical-looking C-GR seatpost, with its huge offset and built-in Zertz head to the seatpost too, you’ve got a back end that balances out and complements the front.

Not too racy in the front end

Headtube: The head tube is the part of a tubular cycle's frame that the front fork steer tube is mounted within

Head angle: Also called caster angle, is the angle that the head tube and hence the steering axis makes with the horizontal or vertical, depending on convention. The steering axis is the axis about which the steering mechanism (fork, handlebars, front wheel, etc.) pivots. In bicycles the head angle is measured clock-wise from the horizontal when viewed from the right side.

Seatstays: The tubes that rise from the rear axle to the back of the seat-tube

Downtube: The tube link between the headtube and bottom bracket,


Ride On!

Prevent A Puncture

Nothing can quite ruin a ride like that psssstt sound or handlebar going all wobbly, indicating that you’ve sprung a puncture. This is a few tips on how to prevent and fix punctures. 

Buy solid tyres

Since John Boyd Dunlop invented the air-filled (pneumatic) tyre way back in 1888, cyclists have been spared bone-jarringly rough rides over cobblestone roads. He also introduced, as an asied, the bane of the cycling existence – the puncture. Tyres and cycling technology have improved markedly over the past few decades, but there are still no 100% puncture-proof tyres out there unless you opt for a so-called solid tyre, which is basically just a solid chunk of rubber. A South-Korean company named Tannus has developed a solid tyre using a polymer resin that took them 10 years to develop. This particular tyre is solid only in the sense that the tyre is actually a bit like a beehive on the inside: it consists of tiny air bubbles of about 10 micrometres wide. When the tyre hits a nail or something, only a few bubbles are burst, but the damage is limited. The Tannus tyres are also as light as their pneumatic cousins. Despite all these advances, lab tests have shown that the same amount of physical effort that will get you 30km on a pair of pneumatic tyres will get you only 29km on a pair of Tannus tyres.

Tyre choice

Super lightweight tyres can be great for that race day performance boost when every second counts, but the small gains they give you has to be weighed up against the greater losses you could accumulate fixing flats. For day-to-day training on the road and sportives, there are plenty of tyres available with puncture protection technology, such as Kevlar reinforcement, that aren’t too heavy. Consider heavier duty tyres for winter training duties but be aware that cheaper ones will often have a very hard rubber compound that can be slippery. Urban commutes may require even more robust tyres to combat broken glass. Mountain bikers need to consider the trails they typically ride on. If they are rocky, especially with flints, you will need tougher sidewalls

Invlate your tyres regularly

Prevention is better than cure and to understand how to prevent punctures, you must know how they are caused in the first place. Punctures happen two ways. One is when you run over an object in the road that pierces your bike’s tyre and inner tube. Another is when you hit a sharp edge such as a pothole or sidewalk hard enough to pinch your inner tube against your rim to pierce the tube. This type of puncture is called a snakebite/pinch flats puncture because of the very distinctive twin puncture holes they make. (They are also called pinch flats.) To prevent snakebite punctures you should regularly inflate your tyres. 

Buy a new tyres

Most new bikes are sold with normal tyres to save on costs. If you keep on getting punctures, it might be a good idea to invest in a new pair of puncture resistant tyres. Such tyres might be slightly slower because they are thicker and heavier, but you’ll be buying yourself some peace of mind. If you’re getting a disproportionate number of punctures, it might a sign that the tyres are getting too old and it is time to buy new ones.

Get tubeless tyres

Some swear by them, others are not so convinced. Anecdotal evidence suggests that cyclists with tubeless tyres get fewer punctures than those with inner tubes. No inner tube means zero snakebite punctures, but converting to tubeless tyres can be expensive and time-who have tubeless tyres mostly use sealant, it also means higher maintenance since the tyre must be refilled with new sealant every few months. In addition, repairing major punctures out on the road can be quite complicated and take long. 

Fit tyre liners 

Tyre liners are an extra plastic strip that is inserted between the inner tube and the tyre. Tyre liners are fitted mostly on mountain bikes and are specifically designed to prevent thorn and similar punctures. Mountain bikers with deep pockets might rather opt for tubeless tyres with sealant, but we here at Ride believe that tyre liners are sort of the minimal precaution that the cost-conscious newbie can take. Have them fitted when you buy your bike.

Use Talcum Powder

Liberally dusting a new inner tube with talcum powder before installation makes the rubber’s surface slippery. This keeps the tire and tube from sticking to each other and reduces friction that can possibly wear a hole in the tube. “I have always had a quart-sized zip-lock bag with the talc in it and simply dropped the tube in and given it a good shaking,” says Matt Eames, an instructor at United Bicycle Institute in Oregon. “It seems to keep the mess to a minimum as well as not wasting unnecessary talc.”

Ride smart

Obviously, avoid any road hazards such as gravel, sharp rocks, glass shards, and metal debris. Don’t do so at the risk of your own life though. If you have to choose between being run over by cars and cycling over a shattered glass bottle, remember that it is easier to fix a puncture than it is to mend a broken collarbone. If you’re mountain biking, stick to dirt roads. That short-cut through the grass field might just be a landmine field of tough, oversized thorns. Avoid potholes, but if you have to go over them shift your body weight and bunny hop over them.

Ride SA 2016/09

Ride On!