Independant Cycle Related Product Reviews

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The industry and the Industry "not so" standards

We find ourselves at a time in cycling where the technologies are evolving at a pace far greater than we could have thought of 5 years ago.

Evolving technologies have us now at a point where cycling has become  like the automotive racing world where, now you can buy a off the shelf bike which is the equivalent to a Formula 1 car. This level of specialization leaves us now with the industry "not so" standard.

5 years ago, excluding items like drop out and seat post sizes,   things were pretty much standard. For example most frames used a 1 1/8 steerer tube, a threaded bb, normal quick release drop outs, 26' and 700c wheels and international standard disc brake mounts. Now with the new shift towards high end technologies we find new terms and terms like the tapered steerer, pressfit bbs, bb 30, 15mm thru axle, wider rear hubs and post mount frames.

The above shift in my humble opinion is needed, nothing on high end race vehicles is considered standard why should it be different in the cycling industry where some bike literally are worth more than everyday vehicles (Pinarello Dogma, Scott Scale RC, Specialized S-works Epic 29er to name a few) considering this, it is only fair that the high end manufacturers use only the best available of all the new standards and technologies.

The above does however present us with a problem, the knowledge base of both the rider and mechanic must expand to be able to understand what the bike needs in terms of maintenance, correct installation procedures and to source the correct replacement parts. This entails that shops now have a responsibility to ensure correct training for the staff, owning the right tools for the job and educating the customer to what exactly he has bought.

However in South Africa this expansion is slow to take off with, many consumers shops and mechanics still being uninformed as to all the new standards and procedures. Which is unfortunate but does open up opportunities for specialist workshops to pick up the slack capitalize on the lack of knowledge around the new technologies.

In closing I can summaries as follows, yes there are many new confusing technologies and terms being thrown around, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the industry to first educate itself as to all the new standard and then educate the consumer,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Maxxis Crossmark Tyres 2.1 Tubeless Version (LUST)

Many South Africans hail this tyre as the best they have ever ridden, I however would like to analytically look at the pros and cons.

In South Africa almost every single bike shop says that these tyres are the ultimate if you ride mountain bike in SA, offering low rolling resistance, good tire life and reliability but as always there is a catch of sorts.

These tyres are fine if you ridewhat is more endurance such as Cape Epic, or races which feature mostly jeep track, however beware if the going gets rough, unfortunately these aren't the best cornering tires available, the back end can slide out with out notice as I found out while nailing the local XC track which resulted in me going down hard.

Tire life and reliability is something we expect from Maxxis and the Crossmarks are no different, I have had great life from these tires and much the same from the Larsen TT (one of my personal favourites)

On to the technical bit, in the picture below the centre line of  + are great for rolling on hard pack, as I felt on the trip home, but when the shift is made off of this centre line to the side lugs is when you usually loose traction in hard cornering XC conditions.

It boils down to the correct tyre for the correct race, so maybe this review is more about the marketing behind this tyre than the tyre itself. Unfortunately the cycling shops do not enquire far enough into the riding  the customer wants to do instead blindly recommend a certain tyre.

In conclusion, great tire if used by the right person in the right conditions, I wouldn't recommend them for aggressive world cup style XC (Rather go for a Larsen or a Racing Ralph) but the enduro scene these are great.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Roger Mussons Professional Guide to Wheel Building

Many may consider Wheel Building to be some what of a Dark Art. All the odd spokes patterns and terms no normal man can understand like nipples, ERD, offset, 2 cross, 3 cross, flanges ect,

However all is not lost, there are some books out there explaining the process some are realy good others are just plain dumb.

One of the best I have found is by Roger Musson, a professional UK based wheel builder.

His book is an in expensive E book (Downloadable in PDF Format after paying a small fee) Please don't be put off by the price, which of about $14 and totally worth it,

Yes I do own a Copy and have read it cover to cover. one of the main perks is the payment is once off and when a new version is released you get it for free therfore you are always up to date.

The reasons I like this particular guide is: It is well set out, easy to read and inexpensive considering the amount of knowledge contained in it.

I would recommend it to anyone interested in Wheel Building and is available from http://www.wheelpro.co.uk/wheelbuilding/book.php

Buy it, Print it and Love it!!!!

What my Blog is All About

I literally grew up in cycling shops all over the world, from the humble beginning as a child playing in my dad's shop, Mr Bike, in Bloemfontein, South Africa to Georges Cycles and Fitness in Boise Idaho, USA.

Through the years I even worked in a few shops along the way and gained valuable experience and skill, I pride myself in being a good cycle mechanic, and I have further picked up expertise in suspension and brakes.

Now to the point, I feel confident to bring you, Non Bias, No Nonsense Product Reviews from my own personal experiences with the products I use or  try out.

While reading my reviews remember: I am currently studying law and am by not employed by any Cycling Shop, Magazine, Importer, Reseller Ect, and the products I test are usually bought my me, using my own hard earned cash.

So in short these reviews are based on my experiences with the products from the view point of an obsessive, perfectionist cyclist with a mechanical background.

Hope you find some value in my posts.