Get fitter on every ride with Fartlek

Many mountain bikers have an awareness of how interval training can benefit fitness – but most of us would far rather concentrate on just hitting the trails.

Fartlek (stop sniggering, it means ‘speedplay’ in Swedish) is a less structured approach to interval training, based on gauging your effort on a scale of one to 10, where one is where you literally couldn’t pedal any slower, and 10 is the point where strain-induced vomiting isn’t far away.

As you’re riding, try setting mini-targets, like “I‘ll go 5/10 for the next five minutes, until I reach the next section of singletrack”, or “8/10 to the crossroads up ahead”. It’s good to do this with friends, racing one another to landmarks and setting the pace – basically it doesn’t get in the way of your ride being about getting on your bike and having fun.

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Related: Get ready to ride with the car park warm-up

It’s important to condition your body for high-intensity sections, by riding steadily for 15-20 minutess or by doing a warmup.

Also, be sensible and safe around where you do it – obviously that means not running red lights if you’re on roads, and being aware of other users on the trail. If you’re a newbie as far as intense exercise goes, take a few weeks to build up – this will enable you to make long-term progress while avoiding injury.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Shimano 105-level disc brake pricing confirmed

Remember Shimano’s 105-level disc brakes, announced back in April? They’re on sale now, priced at £399 for the set (US and Aus pricing to be confirmed). This includes front and rear brake calipers (flat mount), RS-505 shifter/brake levers and gear cables – but not the 140mm Ice-Tech rotors.

The system is also available in the older post mount format at a slightly dearer £425 for the complete set of front and rear. We expect both incarnations to be widely specced by bike manufacturers in 2016 – and if performance is anything like the existing RS-685 brakes then they’ll definitely be a popular upgrade choice for riders with mechanical 11-speed Shimano drivetrains.

Related: Shimano introduces new road disc brake standard

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For comparison, the existing RS-685 shifter/brake levers and levers cost £479 for the complete system, again not including rotors. That makes the new 105-level brakes around £80 cheaper than the lauded RS-685 brakes, which were Shimano’s first foray into mechanical shifting/hydraulic braking for road bikes. The top-end RS-785 system has also received acclaim if you want hydraulic braking with Di2 shifting.

Shimano’s new 105 ST-RS505 will use a flat-mount brake and Ice-Tech finned pads

Shimano says that the RS-505 brake levers are 11-speed compatible and weigh roughly the same as the non-series RS-685 brake levers. However, the new RS-505 levers have a different construction to reduce cost, hence why they have a slightly different and larger shape. The new 105-level RS-505 brakes are also supplied with a lower-spec gear cable.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

This Hubsmith freehub brings all the clicks to the yard

Hubsmith is one of those companies which you probably haven’t heard of, even if you’ve used its products before. The Taiwanese manufacturer churns out 50,000 hubs a year from its base in the Fenyuan District of Taichung, making products for all riding disciplines.

Some are more garish than others

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Only committed bike dorks will get excited about this sort of thing, but Hubsmith’s latest range of freehubs features faster pick-up courtesy of a little design trick. Pick-up is one of those things that doesn’t really matter in the greater scheme of things, but which affects how your bike feels.

Simply put, it’s the amount you need to turn your cassette via pedalling before the freehub ratchet engages and transmits torque to the rear wheel. The number of teeth in a ratchet determines how quickly the hub picks up, and while it’s easy enough for a hub designer to increase that number, doing so in isolation means making the teeth smaller, which of course makes them weaker too.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Christmas gift ideas: 12 presents for road cycling women

Looking for a Christmas gift for the woman who loves road cycling? We’re here to help, with a selection of 12 gifts that will make festive shopping a doddle. 

Whether you feel like splashing out big time (*cough cough* new bike?) or are looking for stocking fillers, we’ve got suggestions to suit all Christmas budgets. 

Don’t forget to check out our Christmas presents for road cyclists gift list too – there’s lots more gift inspiration there and it’s not a men-only selection. 

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Ride the Revolution: The Inside Stories from Women in Cycling

If you love women’s cycling, then this is a must-read. Diverse stories and inside perspectives on cycling from the women involved – from fans and riders to journalists and presenters. With support for women’s cycling growing in momentum, now’s the perfect time to read this inspiring book.

Bright and beautiful cycling jerseys

Jerseys from (L to R) Ten Speed Hero, Fondo and Morvelo

Alpha bike poster by Rebecca J Kaye

Queen of the Mountain cycling caps

Shimano Ultegra 6800 11-speed groupset

Shimano RS21 road wheelset

Liv Avail Advanced 2 women’s road bike

Svelte Arm Warmers

Cinelli Caleido bar tape

Primal Live, Love, Ride T-shirt

Rapha Women’s Rain Jacket

Specialized Amira SL4 Expert

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Cervélo S3 Ultegra

The S3 is one of Cervélo’s longest-standing bikes, introduced in 2008, and one of the Canadian company’s most successful racing designs, including a world championship – Thor Hushovd riding his to victory in 2010.

It has, though, evolved considerably during its long history. And according to Cervélo – maybe not the most unbiased observer – the 2016 S3 is ‘even better than before’. Well, to paraphrase a Sixties paramour, ‘they would say that, wouldn’t they’.

On the surface it doesn’t look radically different, but it has actually been pretty much redesigned from the ground up. Revisions have been made to the carbon layup, and it features a new fork and head tube, and a new back end derived from Cervélo’s exclusive RCA bike.

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Rigid road rocket

This means less weight and a claimed increase in compliance. It’s also ready for electronic shifting systems. Clearances also have been upped to meet the current trend for 25mm rubber. All these aspects have kept the bike desirable if you’re someone looking to get into the aero-road bike arena.

What’s immediately apparent when you get astride the S3 is just how planted it feels. The front end is solid with no lateral give – living up to the claimed 16 per cent increase in stiffness.

Dated rolling stock

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Halfords Rear High Mount 3 bike rack

Being a Halfords own-brand, the High Mount 3 aims to be a good-value bike rack. Unfortunately we also found it extremely fiddly to assemble.

With lots of separate parts and straps, it took us the best part of an hour to put together. Halfords will fit it for you though, if you have a spare £15, and its staff are well placed to advise you whether it will be a good fit for your car.

Related: SeaSucker Mini Bomber roof rack

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Using cylindrical toggles and wrap-around straps to secure the rack to the tailgate means less chance of scratching the car with metal hooks, and ours felt very secure once fitted. However, it did come slightly loose after the first drive as the lateral strap slipped down.

Bikes are held nice and high, making the number plate and lights clearly visible. The bike cradles are pretty fiddly to install out of the box and their straps are too short to fit the largest down tubes, but foam padding prevents damage and there’s room for three bikes.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Haibike Freed 7.1

While most trail riders are probably set on a full-suspension bike, if you’re more concerned about cross-country speed you can get some really great hardtails for around the £1,500 / $2,500 / AU$3,500 mark. You’ll potentially get a proper lightweight, high-control fork from Fox or a lightweight carbon frame for gradual upgrading.

In the case of Haibike’s Freed, you’ll get both – and will be laughing all the way to the finish line.

This isn’t just a generic carbon chassis that you could find being sold direct on the internet either. It’s a class act with a big down tube dropping away from an extended stiffening box behind the tapered head tube before swooping past the bottom bracket into deep chainstays.

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Futureproof frame

A curved tapered top tube flows into bridgeless seatstays for maximum mud clearance, while a 142x12mm rear axle keeps the rear wheel tight. It’s bang up to date in terms of futureproofing too with removable covers for Shimano Di2 electric shifting or the Japanese component giant’s new side-swing front derailleur standard.

Related: Best mountain bikes under £1,500 / $2,300

Haibike’s European designers clearly believe in traditional geometry rather than any of that newfangled slack head angle nonsense. Actually that’s a bit unfair, as they have eased the head angle out slightly to 70 degrees and the 70mm stem is stumpy by XC standards, while the bars are reasonably wide.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Santa take note – The Riprock is Specialized's awesome new junior fat bike

A few of us can probably still remember the excitement of getting our first proper bike at Christmas, a sleepless night awaiting Santa’s delivery. Imagine then, that your younger self would’ve been able to unwrap one of these beasts on Christmas day. We’re talking about the Riprock, a junior fat bike from Specialized, and one that we think will rinse the pockets of Santa worldwide.

Whether you plump for the 20-inch or 24inch wheeled version, the Riprock arrives with massive own-brand 2.8in tyres, meaning that, unless Daddy or Mummy is into fat bikes, then this lucky kid will end up having the biggest tyres in the household.

There’s good thinking behind those ultra-wide treads too, kids’ should be able to enjoy additional traction, comfort and stability over what regular tyres would deliver. The only disadvantage we can think of is when a child inevitably discovers the awesomeness of a rear brake, the little Riprock might take some serious commitment to skid!

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Why didn’t bikes like this exist when we were younger?

The Riprock is properly well equipped too. Its ultra-low standover alloy frame is paired to a Suntour suspension fork and there are even cable disc brakes at each wheel. A twist at the grip shifter of the flat bar cockpit will sift through either 7 or 8 cogs depending on the chosen wheelsize.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar