Ride Zwift, help Trek give $40,000 to World Bicycle Relief

What if you could help young students in rural Africa simply by riding your turbo trainer? This Saturday, you can.

Zwift, the online training platform, is hosting a ride Dec. 5 for World Bicycle Relief, a global charity that supplies sturdy bicycles and mechanic training to communities in developing countries to support education and health care. If riders collectively log 100,000 miles during 24 hours, then Trek will donate $40,000 (£26,534) to WBR. If riders reach 50,000 miles, Trek will donate $20,000 (£13,270).

A few pros and former pros are joining the ride, including Jens Voigt, Evelyn Stevens, Fumiyuki Beppu, Laurens ten Dam and Ted King.

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All registered riders will have avatars that appear on screen in WBR cycling kits astride the sturdy Buffalo Bikes that WBR produces.

In lieu of a registration fee, each rider is encouraged to fundraise $147, the cost of providing one bicycle for a student. 

Zwift costs $10 / £8 a month, but can be tried for free for 50km. Also, Strava Premium members get two free months of Zwift.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Meredith Miller’s Focus Mares CX

Cycling team sponsors come from all walks of life, and often from outside the industry. But a yoghurt company? And in particular, one that’s so decadent that many would hardly consider it for anything other than a post-ride treat.

Nevertheless, Colorado company Noosa tossed its hat into the cyclocross scene last year and looks to be having a heck of time in the process. Meet here the equally decadent Focus Mares CX of team rider Meredith Miller.

The Noosa team comprises just two racers: Miller and fellow Coloradoan Allen Krughoff. Yet despite the very short roster, the pair is exceptionally well outfitted with bikes that even top-shelf teams would find droolworthy.

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There may just be two riders on Noosa’s cyclocross team but they sure aren’t hurting for equipment

Forming the backbone of the team’s bike is the latest Focus Mares CX, a carbon frameset that’s both exceptionally lightweight and remarkably comfortable and efficient. In addition, it’s also one of more progressive designs available with its disc-specific layout and quick-to-operate RAT thru-axles. Focus has even provided the team with full custom paint, featuring a striking red, black, and yellow scheme with custom artwork by local outfitter Victory Circle Graphix.

Complete bike specifications:

  • Frame:  Focus Mares CX P2T 10 Carbon Disc, size S/54cm
  • Fork: Focus Mares CX P2T 10 Carbon T4 Disc
  • Headset: CeramicSpeed 1 1/8-to-1 1/4in tapered
  • Stem: Enve Composites, 90mm x -6°
  • Handlebar: Enve Composites Compact Road, 44cm (c-c)
  • Tape: SRAM
  • Front brake: SRAM Force 1 hydraulic disc w/ 160mm Centerline rotor
  • Rear brake: SRAM Force 1 hydraulic disc w/ 160mm Centerline rotor
  • Brake levers: SRAM Force 1 DoubleTap
  • Front derailleur: n/a
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM Force 1
  • Shift levers: SRAM Force 1 DoubleTap
  • Cassette: SRAM PG-1170, 11-32T
  • Chain: SRAM Red 22
  • Crankset: SRAM Force 1, 172.5mm, w/ 38T SRAM X-Sync chainring
  • Bottom bracket: CeramicSpeed PF30
  • Pedals: Shimano XTR PD-M9000
  • Rims: Enve Composites 29XC tubular, 28h
  • Hubs: DT Swiss 240s Centerlock
  • Spokes: DT Swiss Aerolite
  • Front tire: Clement PDX tubular, 33mm
  • Rear tire: Clement MXP tubular, 33mm
  • Saddle: Fizik Kurve Chameleon
  • Seatpost: Enve Composites
  • Bottle cages: n/a
  • Other accessories: Enve Composites Garmin computer mount

Critical measurements:

  • Rider’s height: 1.73m (5ft 8in)
  • Rider’s weight: 68kg (150lb)
  • Saddle height from BB, c-t: 742mm
  • Saddle setback: 79mm
  • Seat tube length (c-t): 540mm
  • Seat tube length (c-c): 490mm
  • Tip of saddle nose to midpoint of bars (next to stem): 534mm
  • Saddle-to-bar drop: 84mm
  • Head tube length: 130mm
  • Top tube length (effective): 544mm
  • Weight: 7.46kg (16.45lb)

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Infocrank power meter pricing slashed 20%

Here’s some good news for anyone on the hunt for an Infocrank power meter. Verve Cycling, the company behind the Infocrank, has now shed the burden of acting as its own distributor and that, along with other structure changes, means the power meter has never been cheaper to buy.

Currently available in compact or mid-compact variations, the Infocrank arrives as part of a Praxis Works chainset and includes all you need to get running, including introductory subscriptions to leading analysis and data recording programs.

Related: The best power meters

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Effective from today, the new pricing means a saving of £261/US$351/€199/AU$249 on the previous retail price of an Infocrank system. Retail prices are now as follows: £1,149/US$1,399/€1,599/AU$1,949.

In other news from Verve, the company is aiming to get Infocrank compatible with more bike frames. The introduction of 24mm spindles and larger 130BCDspiders, along with an increased range of crank lengths is said to be close and should go a long way to get more frames running the system.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Speedplay Syzr mountain bike pedals

Like many others, I watched with eager anticipation as Speedplay developed its long awaited mountain bike pedal, the Syzr. More than eight years in the making with one concept fully developed (but ultimately scrapped), it’s finally on the market with no shortage of promised performance and a laundry list of novel technical features. As impressive as it is on paper, though, the Syzr sadly disappoints on the trail.

The Syzr is unlike any other mountain bike pedal currently on the market and for the most part, that’s a good thing. Critically, Speedplay co-founder Richard Bryne designed it so that the rider power was directly transferred through metal-on-metal contact between the cleat and pedal with no rubber-on-pedal squishiness or vagueness. 

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Speedplay aimed to create an entirely different kind of mountain bike pedal and largely succeeded with the long awaited Syzr

As a result, the design boasts a rock-solid connection between the pedal body and cleat that doesn’t rely at all on a big cage for shoe stability. Whereas conventional mountain bike pedals incorporate free float by building slop into the cleat-pedal interface, the Syzr instead builds precisely adjustable rotation into the cleat itself, and like the company’s Zero series of road pedals, the inboard and outboard stops are independently tunable for a custom feel up to 10 degrees of total range.

The cleat is quite the marvel in and of itself with built-in extensions that naturally guide it on to the pedal plus ceramic ‘rollers’ that Bryne says produces a more consistent release in a wide range of weather conditions. Since there’s no movement between the pedal and cleat, the cleats also last a lot longer than usual.

Promises on paper vs the real world

No cigar

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Bend in the Road: Heart-health warning signs

Far too many of my riding buddies have diagnosed heart arrhythmias. And now it seems I’ve joined the ranks of the funky hearts, with a diagnosis of a right-side heart block and a ‘severely dilated’ left atrium, plus speculation of perhaps a hole between the left and right chambers or maybe something called chronotropic incompetence. Great. And I thought bike riding was a healthy thing. In talking to a few heart doctors, here are a few things I’ve learned that may be helpful if you’re wondering about your heart.

First, the bad news. ‘Extreme’ endurance athletes, such as those of us who ride a lot, may be at a greater risk for developing atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular, usually high, heart rate that interrupts the normal rhythm. Although this is a debated subject among the experts, cardiac electrophysiologists like Dr. John Mandrola and cardiologists like Dr Lisa Rosenbaum have argued that a number of studies show an association between excessive exercise and abnormal heart rhythms. The million-dollar question, of course, is how much is excessive? There is no clear answer.

What’s clear to me is that six guys I ride with or used to ride with have diagnosed heart issues, and I know of more through mutual friends. In most cases they have tachycardia, where sometimes their heart rate will rev up to 180, 190 or even 200bpm when it should be somewhere around 150. VeloNews managing editor Chris Case wrote an eye-opening story about some extreme cases of heart problems in cyclists, centering largely around our friend Lennard Zinn. In the past year I’ve been experiencing heart rate fluctuations in the other direction, where my heart rate will drop from 150 to 100 or below — while riding hard and steady at or just above threshold power. When I ease off on the pedals, my heart rate will jump back up to where it was.

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“Heart rhythm issues are a grab bag,” cardiologist Dr. Larry Creswell told me over the phone. “They almost always involve high rhythms, and they can come and go — with exertion in particular. For some it comes and goes. For others, like those with a fib, it can come and stay forever. You are more likely to get that as an endurance athlete than someone who is not.”

Seeing unexpected drops in heart rate (in red at right) while riding hard sent the author in for tests with a cardiologist 

In light of my friends’ experiences, my weird heart-rate drops, combined with chest pain when just hanging out at the house, prompted me to go see a doctor. The first doctor listened to my story, looked at some of my heart-rate and power data from previous rides, and said, “It’s probably nothing, but let’s do an EKG just in case.” When the EKG returned results for a first-degree heart block (which sounds much worse than it is!), he said, “Well, it’s probably nothing, but I want a cardiologist to tell you that.” So I went to a cardiologist, who effectively said, it’s probably nothing, but let’s do an ECHO and a treadmill test.   

Warning signs to watch for

  •  Pain in the chest — “particularly if it comes and goes with exertion”
  •  Shortness of breath — “that is unusual for you, not just normal gasping at the end of a hard effort”
  •  Lightheadedness or blacking out while riding – “not unusual after a race when you stop, but while exerting yourself, that is a serious problem”
  •  Unexplained fatigue
  •  Palpitations – “the feeling that your heartbeat is abnormally fast or hard or irregular”

Words of wisdom from cardiologists

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

The plus-sized Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert 6fattie is ready to rumble

It was just a few weeks ago that I was smitten by Specialized’s flagship S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 6fattie plus-sized trail bike – the copious grip, the cushy ride, the freakishly composed feel of those 3in-wide tyres… and a price tag well beyond reach of most riders.

The second-tier Stumpjumper FSR Expert 6fattie is still a lot of money but with so few performance compromises made in the process, it’s akin to hitting the trail packing only a teensy bit extra around the middle the day after Thanksgiving – while having a fair bit left over in your wallet.

The Stumpjumper FSR Expert 6fattie boasts the exact same carbon fibre front triangle, welded aluminium rear triangle, and 135mm/150mm front/rear suspension travel (albeit with a slightly downgraded Fox rear shock and fork) as its top-end sibling. Naturally, the build kit is also subtly toned down, most notably with the aluminium (instead of carbon) Roval Traverse wheelset, SRAM X1/XO1 transmission, and Shimano Deore XT disc brakes.

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The Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert 6fattie continues on with the company’s long-running four-bar suspension layout

As a result, you get essentially the same great handling, proven suspension design, and tyre traction features of the top model but with a bit of extra weight. Fully equipped with a bottle cage and Specialized’s neatly hidden SWAT chain tool and mini-tool, actual weight is just 12.92kg (28.48lb) – less than a pound heavier than the S-Works version and still remarkably light all things considered.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar