Aerozine XOne crankset

Aerozine offers a range of multi-ring cranksets as well as this smart-looking, weight-saving and affordable single-ring XOne chainset. But be warned: it’s not the stiffest option if you’re a real pedal-strainer.

The forged arms are kinked for chainstay clearance with a big dimple in the centre near the axle and a broad, scooped-back, flared I-beam section that tapers towards the tips. But the really clever bits are the lozenge-shaped openings at either tip. These are the homes for a pair of eccentric ‘ALS’ pedal thread inserts with a steel-facing washer that lock into the crank arms as you tighten the pedals.

This idea was first used by Stronglight a few years ago and lets you choose 170 or 175mm effective crank length settings by flipping the eccentric inserts, or 172.5mm if you buy extra inserts.

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It makes removing and installing pedals a bit trickier, but it’s a potentially useful feature if you’re building a bike for a young racer whose legs are still growing, or you want to experiment with different leverages. They don’t squeak or creak even after a couple of months of mixed weather use and while the logos have scuffed, the anodising underneath is holding up okay.

The XOnes come with an updated direct-mount combined ring and spider with narrow/wide chain teeth that do a reasonable if not outstanding job of keeping the chain on. The scalloped, three-bolt fixing is the same as SRAM too, which opens up a whole world of aftermarket replacements.

You also get a decent quality bottom bracket included in the price although it only comes in a skinny 24mm axle option.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Focus Cayo Disc Donna Ultegra

The Focus Cayo Disc has already impressed our male test team this year with it’s feistily powerful ride and equally responsive all weather disc braking. But would our female testers enjoy the Donna as much as the blokes or would the lack of chassis alteration and direct ride impress them less?

Stiff competition

Compared with three other women-specific bikes we tested at the same time (Trek Silque SL, Cannondale SuperSix EVO and Giant Avail Advanced Pro) the Focus certainly had a distinctive fit and feel. The top tube measurement is only 5-10mm longer than the other bikes. However the seat tube is slightly slacker and combines with a significant rear offset of the CPX Plus seatpost and long carbon stem to make the saddle clamp to bar stretch 40-50mm longer.

The stiff, disc-specific fork holds the wheel with a 12mm thru-axle and plugs into a big tapered head tube with broad faceted ‘cheeks’ before connecting to a massive down tube. This all creates an aggressively stretched riding position that most of our test team needed to shove the saddle all the way forward on the rails to find a useable fit on.

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The beefy pipework hints at the Cayo’s no-nonsense character

What we’d recommend other riders to do though is to try out a smaller frame than you’d normally think of buying. That would not only reduce the stretch between bar and saddle; it would also give you a seat tube height that allowed more of the seatpost to stick above the frame and potentially decrease the significant amount of punishment that this bike passes from road to rider. (As the proportionally larger diameter and greater stiffness of the shorter tubes on the smaller sizes could be part of what makes the Cayo feel so rigid though there is a risk that it’ll compound the Cayo’s uncompromising feel rather than ease it.)

Devil is in the detail

Shrink and pink

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Complete guide to winter road cycling

Winter road cycling can be amazing, if you’re fully prepared. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets, quiet misty roads with barely another soul in sight – even riding in the rain is fun if you wear the right kit and have a steaming hot brew and a bath waiting for you at the other end. BikeRadar has pulled together all the help, advice, hints and tips you need to make the most of winter riding into article. 

With modern clothing, equipment and some forethought, you can ride happily all through the winter and you’ll emerge next spring a fitter and stronger rider. It’s all about attitude: if you anticipate that getting up early will be a miserable experience, and spend your whole ride dreaming of those extra hours in bed, it won’t be enjoyable.

Bad weather should be seen as a reason to get on your bike – negotiating your way through rain and mud will help you learn new skills, improve your balance and push your riding to a new level. Who needs sunshine?

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Get out and ride

1. Get motivated

One of the hardest aspects of winter training is getting out the door onto the bike: ‘from bed to shed’. Even the slightest distraction or reason not to ride, such as not having your favourite socks clean, can be enough to return to the warm embrace of your duvet. Counter this by making sure all your kit is ready. Make a deal with yourself that, if you don’t feel like riding, as long as you’ve given it a 10-minute go, you can ditch the session. Typically, once you’re out you’ll feel good and go on to ride a full session.

Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during winter. According to the SAD Association, seven percent of the UK population suffer from the full condition, with a further 17 percent suffering from milder but still significant ‘winter blues’. The condition, caused by a biochemical imbalance in the brain, can rob you of energy, motivation and enthusiasm. Physical exercise is one of the best ways to combat it, but often the motivation to exercise is low, creating a vicious circle.

2. Layer up

  • Shell: Softshell and waterproof jackets should provide wind stopping coverage to the belly, chest and groin – core areas you need to keep warm.
  • Base: A moisture-wicking baselayer that keeps the body dry is crucial. Wear an extra thin layer rather than one that’s too thick.
  • Mid: A thermal layer worn over your baselayer will keep the warmth in, but should work with the base and shell to let sweat vapour out.
  • Legs: Full-length bib tights are an essential.
  • Extremeties: Look after them: a fleece beanie that covers your ears; windproof gloves; and two pairs of socks or outer protection overshoes.

3. Ride safe

4. Try out new routes

Winter training

5. Plan to succeed

  • Reflect: Look back over your performances in key races, sportives or rides. What went right? And what went wrong? Did you perform as you expected, and if not, why not?
  • Focus: Identify two or three major rides, races or sportives for next season that’ll be your main focus. These, and your expected performances in them, are your long-term goals.
  • Train: Work out how much time you can dedicate to training each week. Don’t forget to include your commutes, and try to be realistic and honest with yourself – there’s no point in scheduling 5am rides if you know you won’t get up.
  • Plan: Work back from your long-term goals and construct a training plan based on your week’s training timetable. There are some excellent books available to help you, such as The Cyclist’s Training Bible by Joe Friel, Serious Cycling by Edmund Burke and Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan. There are also online packages such as www.trainingpeaks.com.
  • Goals: Include in the plan some medium-term goals, which can be less important rides or races or weight loss targets. These should provide stepping stones to your main goals. Set four or five short-term goals each week: completing all your training sessions, not having puddings during the week, cleaning your bike after each ride… anything that will contribute to your training moving forwards. Write them down and stick them up somewhere you’ll see them every day.

6. Go faster

7. Ride strong

8. Group hug

9. Turbo-boost

  •  Warm up with 10 minutes of easy spinning, increasing the intensity during the second five minutes
  •  Perform eight 20-second flat-out efforts with 10 seconds of recovery in between
  •  Cool down with 10 minutes of easy spinning

10. Take a break every fourth week

11. Get muddy!

Winter training and preparation off the bike

12. Time out

13. Eat well

14. Hit the gym

  • Lunges: As a single-legged movement, the crossover to cycling is obvious. To increase the load, work with a barbell across your shoulders or hold dumbbells.
  • Single arm rows: When climbing out of the saddle, one arm pushes and one arm pulls with every pedal stroke. This  exercise works those pulling muscles.
  • Dumbbell chest press: Works the pushing muscles of your upper body. Because of the range of movement and control needed, it’s more effective than barbells.
  • Deadlift: This strengthens and increases flexibility of the lower back and the hamstrings, both of which are typically weak and tight in cyclists.
  • Plank: This exercise works the deep stabiliser muscles of your trunk and is far more beneficial and relevant than sit-ups or crunches. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds.

15. Go for a run

  • 10 minutes easy jogging warm-up.
  • 10 x 30 seconds up as steep a hill as possible at 100 per cent effort with a jog-down recovery between uphill sprints.
  • 10 minutes easy jogging cool-down.
  • 10 minutes easy jogging warm-up.
  • 4-6 x 5 minutes up a moderate to steep hill at a pace best described as ‘sustainable discomfort’. This will translate as 85-95% of max heart rate, or only being able to speak in short, clipped sentences or single word replies, with a jog-down recovery after each.
  • 10 minutes easy jogging cool-down.

Prepare your bike for winter

16. Safety checks

17. Get a dedicated training bike

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

The best smart trainers

It started with phones, moved to TVs and now it seems like everything has to be ‘smart’ these days, including turbo trainers.

Having something to distract, entertain or inspire you while you’re slogging your guts out on your own makes sense. And having accurate feedback on your speed, cadence, heart rate and power is invaluable for training.

But what companies mean by ‘smart’ can vary. Some units are ANT+, so need a dongle to connect to your phone, tablet or computer, but can link to most bike computers. Some are Bluetooth-only, so can connect to electronic devices without a dongle – but can’t connect to most cycle computers. The CycleOps comes in either ANT+ or Bluetooth. Others are smart enough to communicate in both protocols so you can marry up Bluetooth cranks with a dongle-equipped PC and ANT+ heart rate belt as well as your phone via Bluetooth, so you can see exactly what your heart rate and power output are while texting to fellow riders around you on the real-time online racing platform Zwift.

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So, just what are the realities of smart trainers? First things first. When it’s already a struggle just to drag yourself into a cold pain cave for a session on the trainer, any interruption is the last thing you need.

Set-up or mode-changing seems deliberately secretive or obstructive? Bluetooth won’t connect? Wattage out of whack, dongle gone dodgy? Your avatar keeps buffering, or your session won’t start because it’s waiting for Miguel in Madrid? All of this happened to us during testing.

And even when your smart trainer is working as it should, bike-mounted sensors and software can provide much of the same data and ‘enterpainment’ (to borrow a phrase from the excellent sufferfest.com video series) for less money. And because they’re bike-mounted they’ll do it whether you’re in your garage or on an actual ride.

Things to consider

The best smart trainers

Wahoo Kickr £950 / $1,099 / AU$1599

  • Wattage deviation: -5
  • Roll down from 200W: 12 secs
  • Noise level (200W): 79dB

Tacx Vortex Smart  £375 / $530 / AU$749

  • Wattage deviation: -5
  • Roll down from 200W: 11 secs
  • Noise level (200W): 85dB

Tacx Satori Smart  £260 / $400 / AU$569

  • Wattage deviation: -10
  • Roll down from 200W: 13 secs
  • Noise level (200W): 90dB

Tacx Neo Power £1,200 / $1,599 / AU$2,299

  • Wattage deviation: -5
  • Roll down from 200W: 11 secs
  • Noise level (200W): 78dB

Kinetic Rock & Roll 2 inRide £465 / $569 / AU$ TBC

  • Wattage deviation: +0-10
  • Roll down from 200W: 19 secs
  • Noise level (200W): 80dB

Wahoo Kickr Snap £650 / $700 / AU$949

  • Wattage deviation: -50
  • Roll down from 200W: 16 secs
  • Noise level (200W): 83dB

Elite Volano £350 /  $ NA / AU$ TBC

  • Wattage deviation: -5
  • Roll down from 200W: 7 secs
  • Noise level (200W): 85dB

Also tested

CycleOps PowerBeam Pro£825 / $1,000 / AU$ TBC

  • Wattage deviation: 0
  • Roll down from 200W: 18 secs
  • Noise level (200W): 82dB

Jetblack Whisper Drive £430 / $700 / AU$749

  • Wattage deviation: +/- 10
  • Roll down from 200W: 17 secs
  • Noise level (200W): 81dB

BKool Pro £450 / $700 / AU$750

  • Wattage deviation: 0
  • Roll down from 200W: 13 secs
  • Noise level (200W): 90dB

Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+: £300 / $500 / AU$ TBC

  • Wattage deviation: +/- 10
  • Roll down from 200W: 7 secs
  • Noise level (200W): 87dB

Tacx i-Genius Smart £750 / $1,100 / AU$1,499

  • Wattage deviation: +15-20
  • Roll down from 200W: 7 secs
  • Noise level (200W): 85d

Final verdict

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Bontrager Race Lite XXX Aero bar and XXX Carbon stem

Bontrager’s new Aero cockpit line has been designed to partner the low-drag Madone bike from its parent company Trek. Whereas Bontrager’s other stem and bar combos are built for reducing weight or increasing comfort, this time the focus is very much on maximising speed.

Related: New Trek Madone 9 Series gets radically aero for 2016

But just because Bontrager has optimised the bar for an aero advantage, does not mean it has skimped on comfort. The VR-CF bend – ‘Various Radius, Compact Flare’ – is shallow, but the shape of the curve, with its gradually opening transition, means it’s comfortable for even the largest hands to hold. On the road the bar does an impressive job of neutralising road buzz without becoming overly flexible.

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The slight flare to the drops also helps to improve wrist clearance, so when you’re down in the hooks sprinting there’s plenty of room without your wrists hitting the transition from drop to top.

Bontrager claims the KVF aero-profile top section is good for saving 23 seconds per hour over a traditional round bar. That’s hard to quantify without a wind tunnel, but it definitely provides a wide grip-friendly hold when you’re riding up on the tops when climbing.

The bar weighs just 239g (44cm), and despite its low weight the carbon top section is still safe to be used with clip-on time trial bars, with the clamp zone widened to allow for this. At just 142g the matching 110mm stem is also impressively light, with the wide rectangular shape delivering excellent torsional rigidity. Four titanium bolts and a dual-band save a few more grams, creating a cockpit that shouldn’t just be reserved for Trek owners. Though this low weight does mean a heavyweight price.

  • Bar: £249.99 / US$360 / AU$329
  • Stem: £149.99 / US$275 / AU$349

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Orbea Loki H-Ltd

Named after the Norse god of chaos and mischief, this long and low, custom configurable hardtail is a lot of bike. But is it too much in places?

A few clearance issues

The Loki frame has some neat touches, but also causes potential rear end clearance issues for rider and rubber. The tapered head tube is backed up by stout curved main tubes to hold the 15x110mm axle Boost fork on target. A conventional threaded bottom bracket (BB) shell with ISCG chain guide mount makes for a versatile, durable transmission point.

Related: Orbea Loki 27.5+ – first ride

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The side exit for the internally routed cables at the bottom of the down tube gives smooth-looking lines, the rear derailleur sits on a forged direct-mount arm and there are fixtures for a front derailleur in case you tick the 2×10 gearing option on the build menu. You can also select which of the three paint options (pale blue, yellow or black) is applied in Orbea’s in-house shop.

The teensy 28t chainring will winch you up some ridiculous climbs

Ready to get rowdy

Fair-weather friend

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Introducing Mountain Biking UK magazine's 2016 machines – Part 2

In the second part of our MBUK Machines blog (read part one here), we introduce the rest of the 2016 long term fleet of Mountain Biking UK, BikeRadar‘s muck-encrusted sister mag. Some of us are lucky enough to have more than one bike this year, so check out our initial opinions on the rest of the our rides for 2016.

Rob’s Cannondale Habit 2

I’ve ridden a few Cannondales over the years, some good and, well… some not so good. After a couple of rides on the Habit I’m relieved to say that it falls into the former category. In fact, it’s bloody ace fun! Coming with a dropper post, the bike bike is ready to help make trails even more flowy. I’m going to have to do some changes to the bike to make it even more grin-inducing than it already is, and I can’t wait…

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With a Lefty 2.0 up front, RockShox Monarch XX DebonAir with XLoc, Shimano Deore XT 2×11 and tubeless-ready Stan’s NoTubes Arch EX rims, the bike is trail ready. It weighs in at 12.88kg (28.4lb) with pedals and Maxxis Shorty tyres.

£3,499.99

Cannondale

Alex’s Nukeproof Mega 275 Pro

Jonny’s Transition Transam 27.5

JCW’s Whyte T-129 S SCR

Matt’s Specialized Fatboy Comp Carbon

Ben’s Scott Genius 720

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar