W E L C OM E
On 29 November 2016, a very special milestone arrives in our calendar – the 10-year anniversary of when Saddleback’s distribution relationship with Castelli commenced. Given the amazing success story it has been, we couldn’t let the opportunity to talk about what we have achieved together during that time pass us by. Consequently, we are dedicating this issue of incycle to this truly unique brand. Given the importance of this relationship to our business, it’s with great anticipation that we look forward to Castelli’s new partnership with cycling’s biggest WorldTour outfit – Team Sky. The opportunities that this union will bring are tremendously exciting for us as the home of the brand here in the UK and Ireland, as you will see detailed throughout the pages of this magazine. In addition, we would also like to take this opportunity to thank the record numbers of guests who came to our 2016 House Show back in September. We were truly grateful to have the support of many of our long-term brand partners, as well as welcoming new ones such as Troy Lee Designs and Intense. It was a relief to finally be able to unveil our new home to all, and although it was a long time in the making we are confident that we now have the right facility to take our business and its brands forward in the manner that we expect of ourselves. Despite all this excitement 2016 was a mixed year for many – a year of acquisitions and mergers, and a time of change. As this industry continues to mature, we are expecting to see more of these developments and consolidation will be inevitable. With that in mind, we see lots of opportunities to increase our market share of the performance road and mountain bike sectors – and as a result will continue to invest heavily in enhancing our infrastructure and adding high-quality personnel. With the strong foundation that we now have in place and a brand portfolio that is the envy of all, we have every reason to be confident – though not arrogant – about the future. We greatly value the relationship we have with like-minded retailers, who see the importance of investing in their businesses and anticipating and reacting to ongoing change in consumer expectation. As such, we want to explore every opportunity to work more closely together. There is no doubt 2017 will prove to be another year of change, but it’s one that we’re looking forward to with great anticipation. Thank you as always for your continued support of our business and its brands.
ANDY WIGMORE MANAGING DIRECTOR
Luke Rowe unveiling the new Castelli Team Sky jersey at our stand at the Rouleur Classic
ON THE COVER
CELEBRATING THE TEN-YEAR RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SADDLEBACK AND CASTELLI. ‘DIECI ANNI’ IS THE ITALIAN FOR TEN YEARS. PHOTOGRAPHER: JERED GRUBER
CONTENTS THE FRONT
T H E F E AT U R E S
T H E BAC K
06 THE GALLERY
52 TEN YEARS WITH CASTELLI
82 MEDIA COVERAGE
60 THE 2016 HOUSE SHOW
84 TEN QUESTIONS
26 SADDLEBACK SODBURY SPORTIVE
66 2016 REVIEW
86 STAFF RIDES
70 TROY LEE DESIGNS COVER
FROM THE HEAT OF THE RAMPAGE TO QUIET AUTUMNAL ROADS, OUR TOP CYCLING IMAGES
TWO OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN CYCLING HOOK UP, CUSTOM CLOTHING SUCCESS AND MORE
TOM BALLARD ENJOYS A LITTLE LOCAL ACTION
28 ARD MOORS ENDURO
ROSS GRIMMETT TAKES IN SOME CLASSIC 90S TRAILS AT A RIP-ROARING NORTHERN EVENT
30 THE ROULEUR CLASSIC
DANIEL OAKSHOTT CHECKS OUT GORGEOUS HIGHEND GEAR AT AN EXCLUSIVE LONDON SHINDIG
34 FRESH PRODUCE
HOT, NEW AND BEAUTIFUL BIKES AND KIT
42 THE OFFICE
SADDLEBACK STAFFERS GET ALL EXCITED ABOUT THEIR LATEST GEAR AND FAVOURITE PLACES
50 BEST SELLERS
TOM BALLARD MARKS OUR DECADE-LONG RELATIONSHIP WITH AN ITALIAN LEGEND
BEHIND THE SCENES OF SADDLEBACK’S RECENT SHOWCASE, THE FIRST IN OUR NEW HOME
LOOKING BACK ON A LANDMARK YEAR OF CHANGE AND EVOLUTION
THE MAKING OF LAST ISSUE’S STUNNING ARTWORK
72 BEYOND THE NUMBERS
INTENSE CYCLES FOUNDER JEFF STEBER GETS DEEP ON THE SUBJECT OF GEOMETRY
76 INTENSE RECLUSE
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE SPIDER 275’S DEADLIER BIG BROTHER
78 STAGES DASH AND LINK
A TASTE OF SOME OF THE MAGAZINES OUR PRODUCTS HAVE APPEARED IN
JENNIFER GABRIELLI ON SHOTGUNNING BEERS AND PREGNANCY-THREATENING CRASHES
TOM BALLARD WAXES LYRICAL ABOUT HIS WELL-MODDED CANNONDALE SLICE
A SELECTION OF FINE SQUARE PHOTOS COURTESY OF SADDLEBACK’S BRAND PARTNERS
89 FINAL THOUGHT
STEVE SMITH SHARES HIS THOUGHTS ON A CHANGING WORLD FOR CYCLING RETAIL
90 NEXT ISSUE
LOOKING AHEAD: BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE FASTEST PARTNERSHIP IN THE PELOTON
HOW STAGES ARE SHAKING UP THE CYCLING WORLD WITH THEIR NEW HEAD UNIT AND SOFTWARE
THE TOP PRODUCTS FROM OUR BRAND PARTNERS OVER THE PAST THREE MONTHS
SADDLEBACK LIMITED 12 APOLLO PARK, ARMSTRONG WAY, YATE, BRISTOL BS37 5AH ONLINE saddlebackb2b.co.uk | facebook.com/saddleback | twitter/Saddleback_Ltd | instagram.com/Saddleback_Ltd
DESIGN / EDITOR NICK.COX@SADDLEBACK.CO.UK FEATURES EDITOR TOM BALLARD CONTRIBUTORS MARTIN ASTLEY, SCOTT CHALMERS, CHARLES COLEMAN, DECLAN DEEHAN, MICHAEL FISH, JENNIFER GABRIELLI, ROSS GRIMMETT, RIC MCLAUGHLIN, EMILY MILLS, WILL POOLE, ALEX TURNER, JEFF STEBER, ANDY WIGMORE, ADRIAN YATE PHOTOGRAPHERS IAN COLLINS, NICK COX, JERED GRUBER, CARMEN HERRERO, NATHAN HUGHES, IAN MATTESON, JOBY SESSIONS, DAVE TRUMPORE PRINTED BY APPLE COLOUR, BRISTOL UK
BRANDON SEMENUK / TROY LEE DESIGNS ATHLETE SENDING IT AT THE 2016 RED BULL RAMPAGE PHOTOGRAPHER: IAN COLLINS
BRANDON SEMENUK / TROY LEE DESIGNS ATHLETE CORKED 360 STEP-UP AT THIS YEARâ€™S RED BULL RAMPAGE PHOTOGRAPHER: IAN COLLINS
ENVE TEAM RIDERS PUTTING THE 4.5 AR WHEELS THROUGH THEIR PACES IN UTAH PHOTOGRAPHER: IAN MATTESON
JACK MOIR / INTENSE FACTORY RACING JACK ON HIS WAY TO FINISHING 10TH AT THE WORLD CHAMPS PHOTOGRAPHER: NATHAN HUGHES
CASTELLI TEAM RIDER CLIMBING THROUGH THE LEAF LITTERED ROADS PHOTOGRAPHER: JERED GRUBER
STEVE PEAT / ENVE ATHLETE THE END OF THE GREATEST DH CAREER PHOTOGRAPHER: DAVE TRUMPORE
CHRIS KING TEAM RIDER MAKING THE MOST OF THE SUN BEFORE IT SETS PHOTOGRAPHER: CHRIS KING
CEDRIC GRACIA / ROTOR ATHLETE PUTTING THE NEW HAWK CRANK TO THE TEST PHOTOGRAPHER: ROTOR COMPONENTS
From left to right: David Brailsford, Luke Rowe, Michal Kwiatkowski and Steve Smith
PRO TOUR NEWS
TEAM SKY AND CASTELLI ANNOUNCE PERFORMANCE KIT PARTNERSHIP Team Sky, who have won four of the past five editions of the Tour de France, are set to be the only WorldTour team wearing clothing by Castelli. The Italian brand has over 40 years of being first to bring performance innovations to pro cycling, such as Lycra shorts, aero jerseys and the Gabba jersey that has become indispensable for every pro cyclist.
in a data pattern with each stripe on the jersey, short, mitts, socks and cap representing a Team Sky victory. The longest lines are the four Tour de France wins, with Chris Froome’s 2016 triumph just below the Sky logo on the chest. The short dashes represent one-day races, while the medium-length lines represent multi-day stage races, with the number of stages determining the length of the line. WorldTour races are blue lines, while non-WorldTour races are white. Perhaps most significantly, the gaps represent the ambition for future victories. The front of the jersey is made up of victories by 2017 team members, with the exception of Sir Bradley Wiggins’ 2012 Tour win, which has a special place in Team Sky history. “We spent a lot of time thinking about our new kit and what we wanted it to represent visually,” said Brailsford, who was instrumental in defining the data pattern. “We wanted to find a way of celebrating the success we have had as a team, but also to make sure we keep our minds firmly on the future. As a team we still have an enormous amount of goals we want to achieve and, through the design of our new kit, those will always be at the forefront of our thinking.” Beginning in January many of the same products used by Team Sky will be available at your local cycling retailer.
“We’re really excited to be able to announce this partnership between Team Sky and Castelli,” said team principal Sir Dave Brailsford. “They will be more than a kit supplier; they will be an innovation partner. Castelli has a long history of breaking new ground when it comes to kit and design. We will continue to push hard to make sure our riders have the best clothing and equipment, and we’re already excited about some of the ideas Castelli are working on with us.” For Castelli the performance goals of the team are a natural fit. “Castelli and Team Sky share the same drive for results-driven innovation in everything we do. Team Sky has a structure and the resources to help us to continuously give our athletes a performance advantage. Whether it’s aerodynamics, foul-weather protection or solutions that let the riders train more comfortably, we’re looking at every opportunity for an advantage,” said Andrea Peron, Castelli’s race performance director. “Team Sky’s relentless pursuit of results means that they expect the maximum from their technical partners. We’re looking forward to being pushed,” explained Steve Smith, Castelli brand manager. “But the Team Sky internal performance group will be an invaluable resource to help us make sure that every rider has an advantage every time he’s on the bike.”
Team Sky will have exclusive access to Castelli’s tried and true aerodynamic race clothing and the unrivalled Perfetto family of clothing for cold and wet conditions. The partnership will already see 15 innovative performance products at the beginning of the season, including the brand new Idro Pro ultra compact Gore-Tex jacket for racing and training in extreme conditions.
The 2017 jersey design brings a sort of British-Italian fusion. Designed by Richard Pearce, the graphic celebrates the victories in Team Sky’s first seven seasons. The classic Breton shirt served as inspiration but has been reimagined
Each athlete will receive 64 different on-bike products, as well as training in how to dress like a pro.
DASH AND LINK VOTED BEST IN SHOW Stages Cycling’s new Dash and Link power training ecosystem (Turn to page 78) has scooped the prestigious 'Best in Show – Road' award at Interbike, the USA’s biggest cycling show.
2016 HOUSE SHOW CAPTURED ON FILM
“Interbike 2016 was the first opportunity for our sales representatives, dealers, riders, and many in the media to put hands on Stages Dash and Stages Link in person,” said Stages CEO Jim Liggett. “Winning the Interbike Award for Best in Show – Road showed us that the cycling industry recognises the impressive potential of our holistic, power-based ecosystem.
The first House Show in our new HQ was a huge success, and we’ve created a video to celebrate the event and give a flavour of what you can look forward to in future editions. As well as giving a drones-eye view of the show and getting you salivating at the delicious food on offer, we’ve grabbed some great vox pops with Troy Lee, Steve Peat, Andrew Herrick and Steve Smith along with a selection of showgoers including Cycling Plus editor Rob Spedding. You can view the full edit at vimeo.com/saddleback. If the video gets you in the mood for a visit, you won’t have to wait until next September – we’re planning another show in early spring – look out for more details soon.
“Our goal was not to simply release a new head unit but to disrupt the market by truly delivering something new and unique,” added Liggett. “By integrating Stages Power with Stages Dash and Stages Link we feel we've created a totally new experience – one that will help cyclists improve, and deliver significant benefits to bike shops as well.”
TOUR OF BRITAIN
As we're sure you'll be aware by now, we have moved from our previous location to our new bespoke office and warehouse. For people who weren't able to attend our House Show, our new HQ comes with a permanent showroom, seminar rooms and training facilities. So be sure to drop by and come and see us at some point for a coffee, some product training and an advanced look at what will be coming in 2017.
There’s nothing else in sport like the buzz generated by cycling spectators’ ability to get within touching distance of their heroes. So we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spur on the Tour of Britain’s pro peloton as the UK’s biggest stage race passed through neighbouring Chipping Sodbury. Of course, the team we were cheering for loudest was NFTO. As the racing home to our own senior brand manager, Richard Mardle, and senior area sales manager, Justin Hoy, the UCI Continental squad is sponsored by no fewer than six Saddleback brands – Castelli, Sidi, Enve, Stages, Astute and Arundel.
Our new address is: 12 Apollo Park, Armstrong Way, Yate, Bristol, BS37 5AH. If you've tried to find us on Google Maps, please be patient – this is a completely new address and the Google car hasn't paid us a visit yet. Hope to see you soon.
FOR MORE NEWS HEAD OVER TO WWW.SADDLEBACK.CO.UK
Semenuk celebrates on the podium after his win at this year's Red Bull Rampage
THE CANADIAN KING OF FREERIDE TAKES WIN NUMBER TWO AT RED BULL RAMPAGE In the Utah desert there is nowhere to hide. Each year at Red Bull Rampage the sun bakes down and scorches the exposed flesh of the dig crews chipping, gouging and finessing its exposed flanks. They scuttle around its cliffs like ants hunting for potential landing spots and extra sandbags.
as a big pre-event favourite. But Rampage hasn’t always been kind to Semenuk (or anyone, for that matter). During a stellar career he’d only taken top honours in the desert once, in 2008, aged just 17. Entering the two-time Rampage winner club is notoriously difficult, even for someone of his imperious talents. Semenuk, a Troy Lee Designs Elite Team athlete since 2011, sat atop the ridgeline waiting for the starter’s nod to drop. What followed was a demonstration of the skill set that marks him out as truly special: an unerring ability to meld slopestyle trickery with big bike terrain. He opened with his own handcrafted double drop before sending a third linking drop via a nose bonk for some added flair. Big trick points came in the form of a huge flatspin 360, a backflip from his completely flat lilypad section and a backflip one-footed cancan to finish. With a score of 84.33 he only needed one of the two runs available to him to edge out Antoine Bizet in second and Carson Storch in third. The win was Semenuk’s second and Troy Lee Designs' third at Red Bull Rampage – a masterclass on staying cool amid the very hottest of heats.
Somehow, it seems impossible for Red Bull Rampage to exist anywhere else other than amid the scorpions, tarantulas and stifling arid heat of Utah. It’s an event with extremes at its very core. The event, this year in its eleventh time running, has played host to some of freeride mountain biking's biggest moments. It's been responsible for forcing the bar ever higher as to what is possible on a mountain bike. Even so, this year’s instalment felt like an important one. Faced with criticisms of the 2015 edition, the organisers had reacted to rider concerns – and a heavily tweaked format and judging process was introduced. One thing that hadn’t changed though was the Whistler native Brandon Semenuk’s status
RINNY ON THE PODIUM Three-time Ironman World Champion Mirinda Carfrae once again put Castelli on the podium at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. The pocket-rocket Aussie had a tough day out on the Big Island this year, starting the run 22 minutes down on defending champion Daniela Ryf, but managed to run right through a deep field of the sport’s strongest women to take second. Carfrae and Ryf were the only two athletes to run a sub-three-hour marathon on the day, on what proved to be a tough course. Carfrae said upon finishing, “I was just trying to put together a solid marathon after such a rough day. Honestly, Daniela was in a different league today. I’ll take the best of the rest today.” Carfrae was sporting a custom printed Castelli Free Tri twopiece suit; it’s lightweight, breathable and perfect for the conditions at the event. It’s safe to say that Carfrae has proved once again that she’s one of the sport’s finest athletes.
Mirinda Carfrae on her way to another podium at the World Champs at Kona
TOM’S TRUNKS: HUNG UP Saddleback’s favourite triathlete Thomas Ballard has decided that a six-month sabbatical is in order following his fantastic performance at the 2016 Mallorca Ironman. Tom has ditched his tri bike in favour of one loaded up with racks and panniers, and has set off on a tour of New Zealand with his wife. We hope they have a fantastic trip and can’t wait to hear his stories when he returns. SADDLEBACK PHOTO STUDIO We now have our inhouse photo studio up and running, so if you need assistance with product imagery we’d be more than happy to help. Contact nick.cox@saddleback. co.uk for more information.
2017 TLD COLLECTION READY FOR DEALERS With Troy Lee Designs officially joining Saddleback from 1 November, our sales team are now on the road with the 2017 collection to give dealers the chance to pre-order the new range ahead of delivery in February next year. You’ll also have the chance to see the range at our next House Show, which is due to take place in early spring.
INTENSE DEALER DEMO DAYS Early November saw the first string of Saddleback dealer demo days take place which were a great success. Look out for more events soon and the full report in the next issue of incycle.
Head of creative Nick Cox will be creating some stylish new TLD POS to reflect the brand’s high-end MTB pedigree. This will be available to our biggest and best Troy Lee Designs dealers and is a fantastic way to improve in-store brand visibility and customer buying experience. If you’re a Troy Lee Designs dealer (or are interested in becoming one) and would like to chat about seeing the 2017 range or TLD POS, please contact your local area sales rep.
PRODUCT TRAINING Along with the new warehouse and office space that Saddleback’s move to unit 12 Apollo Park provided, we also made sure the workshop did not miss out on an upgrade! The purpose-built 48 square metre facility was designed to offer us the workshop our brands deserve, as well as offering a bright and open space suitable for running product training in. At our September House Show we ran Chris King training sessions each day, along with informal Q&A session for both long-time Chris King dealers and shops that are new to the brand. Going forward, we’re going to be utilising the workshop for more and more tech sessions, and to introduce new products.
FOR MORE NEWS HEAD OVER TO WWW.SADDLEBACK.CO.UK
INCYCLECMA We’re delighted to announce that incycle has been shortlisted for the annual Cycling Media Awards in the ‘Best Magazine’ category. “It’s fantastic to make the list of finalists,” said creator Nick Cox. “There are some big names missing from that line-up, so to be recognised as a leader in the industry is extremely gratifying. incycle really is a passion project for us – we work extremely hard to push ourselves creatively and make each issue better than the last. It’s as much an expression of our love of cycling as it is a useful brand communication tool.”
CUSTOMWINNER On a Tuesday in October 2015, Saddleback’s then-marketing manager, Martin Astley, revealed that we’d been offered the opportunity to take part in Cycling Weekly’s custom kit test – a chance for some great exposure for our rapidly expanding custom offering. Of course, that depends on doing well – such tests have the potential to be double-edged swords, so it was essential we fulfilled CW’s criteria to the letter. The brief involved recreating their jersey design exactly, designing a complementary bib short and advising on the most appropriate options based on information gleaned from just two telephone conversations. Ensuring the tester wore the correct size for their stature was key. The garments had to look, feel, perform and fit perfectly.
Custom clothing always evokes a multitude of feelings. Ask any club cyclist and they’ll be able to relate their own experience into this exclusive area of bike wear. For many riders, club kit provides a sense of belonging, a feeling of unity on the road. Clubs all over the world have their own distinct identity – some steeped in tradition, others fresh as a daisy, but usually carefully considered. Fulfilment is provided by the custom clothing suppliers, each with their USP, all trying to deliver the complete bespoke experience. Our choice, Castelli’s Servizio Corse is no exception, but it does have an advantage – the kit is true performance wear, as worn by pro teams in the peloton.
The Intense Primer, the SoCal brand’s aggressive new 29er trail monster, reached the final stage of the 2016 Singletrack Reader Awards. The bike, which has garnered incredible reviews from MTB media worldwide, was shortlisted for the ‘Best Bike Over £2,500’ category by Singletrack readers, showing just how much of an impact it’s made since launching in August.
Fast forward to March 2016, and the kit arrived promptly at Saddleback, well within our promised eight-week delivery window and looking the business. The Aero 4.1 jersey and Free Aero Race bib shorts were the right pieces to have recommended, we felt certain. That said, personal choice & opinion are always subjective. Although all the correct elements seemed to be in place, would the tester agree?
“I think we can take a lot of satisfaction from the results,” said Intense brand manager Martin Astley. “The fact that it’s a reader vote means the brand is finding its audience in the UK, and the Primer is the perfect reason for riders seeking a new high-end trail machine to take another look at Intense.”
The article was finally published in June and the ‘Best on Test’ review (see above) was fantastic, describing Castelli’s kit as “truly pro level – it looked good and felt even better”. While the three-month, nail-biting wait to see if we’d cracked it was a killer, finding out that we had indeed made it all worthwhile.
The new Sidi Shot, soon to be relased in a special edition for team Nibali
SIDI SPONSORS BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM Sidi has announced that the brand will be working side by side with the new Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team in 2017. The squad, headed by multiple Grand Tour victor Vincenzo Nibali, will be wearing the Italian company’s new high-end Shot shoes, which have already been proven at the Tour de France with Chris Froome’s victory this year.
level and in terms of image.” In 2010, when Nibali donned his first Maglia Rosa, he was wearing Sidi on his feet; since then he’s scored two successes at the Giro, one at the Tour and one at the Vuelta. These victories propelled him into the elite club of riders (Anquetil, Contador, Gimondi, Hinault, Merckx, Nibali) who have managed to capture all three major stage races at least once in their career.
“It is with great enthusiasm that we are starting to pedal with the new Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team, which has been creating a lot of buzz since its inception,” said Sidi founder and owner Dino Signori. “We are certain the team has what it takes to aim high and achieve prestigious goals, both on a sporting
“Meeting up with him; being able to pedal with him again is immensely pleasing and a source of great pride for us,” Signori added. Sidi will outfit the team with special edition Shot shoes, plus socks and shoe covers; the brand’s iconic logo will also be visible on the squad’s race kit. The new Sidi Shot is available now.
THE SADDLEBACK SODBURY SPORTIVE Tom Ballard gives a round-up of his 100-mile adventure in the lanes of South Gloucestershire
The Saddleback Sodbury Sportive has become a regular fixture in the South West’s thriving sportive scene thanks to its varied routes, steep climbs and technical descents. Given that it bears our name, it’s also the perfect opportunity for Saddleback staffers to have a fun day out on home turf. We had riders spread across the 30, 60 and 100-mile courses. Saddleback newbie Daniel Oakshott took on the 30-miler on his randonneuring CX machine. On the 60-mile route, it was Nick versus Nick as our head of creative Nick Cox saw off Saddleback’s head of finance Nick Mason. Also choosing the mid-distance option, Enve brand manager Ash Matthews joined warehouse staff Will Fussell and Steve Light to beast the course in 3:42. Being a first-timer at the event, I figured 100 miles would ensure I got a full flavour of the sportive with my regular riding buddy (the Mrs) along for a tow. Chipping Sodbury Rugby Club hosts the start and finish, and thanks to some planned tardiness the drizzly rain of the morning had cleared by the time we arrived on site. Unfortunately, this also meant that once we’d collected our bike numbers from the charming volunteers, there was barely time for nervous bladder emptying before the last wave of 100-mile riders was being called forward. Following our race briefing, we were off onto the fast-drying South Gloucestershire lanes. Before long, the climbs – and the notion that Nanoflex armwarmers were overkill – were upon us. With just under five miles in our legs, we hit the Hawkesbury Howler and the first sign detailing each climb’s vital statistics by the roadside. If the legs weren’t sufficiently warmed up before, half a mile at grades ramping up to 14 per cent certainly did the trick. Those warming muscles – and weather – also vindicated my go-to Castelli Mondiale bib shorts and Climber’s Jersey 2.0 combo. This first test was followed by a pair of leg sappers in quick succession. But once the granny gear had helped conquer the Alderley Grunt and Tresham Tester – both of which max out at around 20 per cent – the hills turned to rolling roads, and single-track lanes requiring careful navigation. After the 60 / 100-mile routes split at 11.4 miles, there weren’t any major worries for the legs until after the first feed stop at 35 miles, which offered the perfect opportunity to stock up on jelly babies and fig rolls. After the spectacular switchback descent down The Ladder into Nailsworth, the halfway mark was celebrated with the Nailsworth Nailer, an altogether nastier test for the legs than its five per cent average gradient would suggest. In typical fashion, this was where the svelte climbing machine who’d been sat on my wheel for the last fifty miles decided to show up her husband by distancing me on the steeper 14 per cent section. The next 10 miles were a lumpy but generally downhill affair until we rolled onto the foot of Frocester Hill. This 1.6mile, eight per cent test was my favourite climb of the event as we overtook plenty including someone who’d buzzed past us on the flats only to falter on the climb. The routes merged just before the 65-mile feed stop and after a drinks refill and a few too many fig rolls, it was on to the remainder of the rolling course. This gave a chance to find a rhythm and stick to it as the miles ticked by. There was only one hill of note, an unnamed rise coming in at about 88 miles – which was just after the heavens opened. We skipped the 91-mile food station in favour of staying warm and puddle-dodged our way on a marginally upwards trajectory towards Nibley, before kicking north for a slightly cruel, meandering detour around Yate and back to the rugby club. Here, a crowd of bell ringers saw us over the line in celebratory and cacophonous style. It was certainly a relief to unclip, receive our trophies and inhale a post-ride pasty! The atmosphere in the club was buzzing, with many a pint in hand and plateful being devoured as riders chatted about their adventures on the bike. All in all, the Saddleback Sodbury Sportive proved to be a great event. The excellent signage, a huge number of marshals and some of the best-stocked feed stations I’ve ever come across made the day stress-free and we really enjoyed the whole ride in spite of its rainy climax. The course also delivers a nice balance of climbing, technical, narrow-lane riding and faster sections to help get your average speed up. It’s not a savage, destroy-your-legs affair but a superb ride in some beautiful countryside.
ARD MOORS ENDURO Ross Grimmett visits an event brought to life with the promise of riding some 90s-vintage trails
Having ridden Joe and Al Rafferty’s signature Ard Rock Enduro challenge, when a chance conversation with them in summer 2015 turned to the idea of running another event, we jumped at the opportunity to get onboard. The Ard Moors ride came into being after the land that some historic riding trails – from the 1990s – had been built on became available to the Ard Rock guys again. They checked out the trails, and figured out how they could add to them, and bring them up to the levels required to run a 500-plus entrant multi-stage enduro event on them. Once this was determined realistic and feasible it was all systems go on the project! We decided to sponsor the event in its entirety – and to bring Enve to the party. At the events we sponsor, we always try to bring not only our products to the site but a true representation of who we are. To this end, another chance conversation with our friends at the Blazing Bikes shop led to them coming up to the event with us to help on the booth, and support one of their shop riders who was also lucky enough to have gained entry to the sell-out event. Friday 16 September arrived very quickly, and myself and Ash packed our Sprinter with our inflatable tents, and Enve kit – and sneaked our own rides into the van alongside the Intense show bikes. After a long day with many coffees drunk and motorways driven upon, we were finally tucked in at our B&B. Having arrived in the dark, driving our big van up the steep road to the event the following morning was amazing. The scenery of the North Yorkshire moors was very green and open, with the thin lines of the trails on hills above Lord Stones Country park just visible. We set up our inflatable home for the weekend and shared more coffee with the Blazing Bikes gang who had driven up that morning. Marshals’ briefings turned into competitor registration and lunchtime shot by. Everyone we spoke to was having a ball out on the trails, and Will and Michelle from Blazing Bikes offered to run the booth so Ash and I could sneak out for a couple of hours and ride the practice loop. The trails ran brilliantly under a stunning clear blue sky, with huddles of riders at the end of each section loudly discussing what they’d done wrong, and where seconds could be shaved. Sunday morning the bustle and atmosphere of excitement in the event village was infectious, with groups of 15 riders setting off every five minutes through the morning. Again Will and Michelle were able to help man our booth for us, and I was able to get out and do a full lap of the 39km race loop. The feel out on the trails was fantastic, with groups of long-time, and newly found friends loving racing each other. This to me is the best part of these events – of the nearly 600 competitors there were essentially 300 mini races going on throughout, with the prospect of bragging rates the trophy being chased. The event ran brilliantly, and the route and the stages Joe and Al had built and laid out were a rider’s dream in the golden and warming late summer sun. During and after packing down on the Sunday evening, plenty of hands were shaken and ‘Did you clean that dodgy right hander?!’-type stories regaled. See you at the next one!
ROULEUR CLASSIC From central London, Daniel Oakshott reports on high-end brand updates and exciting pro team news
From the brands in attendance to the memorabilia on display and the incredible food and drink available, everything about the Rouleur Classic oozes luxury. It is safe to say there is not another event in the cycle industry calendar that comes close to it in terms of class and prestige – so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend. The venue this year was the stunning Victoria House in Bloomsbury, offering both a cool, modern event space and the grand Rouleur Classic Theatre – a perfect setting for the finest the world of road cycling has to offer. In almost every corner of the venue you could find some piece of cycling heritage: from the modern bikes of Wiggins, Cavendish and Sagan, to the iconic time trial machines that graced the boards during Hour Records – and much more. The venue was packed with people from all corners of the cycling industry – professional riders, brands, dealers, the media and the public. There was an unmistakable electricity in the air – the result of so many people, so passionate about cycling, finding themselves surrounded by beautiful products and pieces of riding history. The theme of the opening night celebrated the biggest cycle race in the world: the Tour de France. It became obvious just how fitting this theme was, when arguably the most successful pro cycling team in recent history graced the main stage with a big announcement to make. From 2017, Castelli will be outfitting Team Sky, hooking up the most innovative and prestigious cycle clothing brand in the world, with one of the sport’s greatest teams. During the presentation in which the announcement was made and the kit design was unveiled, Sir Dave Brailsford sounded understandably enthused by the partnership between Team Sky and Castelli. “The right clothing is fundamental,” he said. “It’s not just about being aero – we need better solutions of clothing for a wider range of conditions, which will allow the team to perform better. Castelli offer the perfect mix of innovation and heritage, and it’s very exciting indeed.” Our next port of call was the Castelli stand, shortly after the news on the main stage, as Luke Rowe and Michal Kwiatkowski peeled back the veil on the brand-new jersey so guests could get up close and see every little detail. The new design, by Richard Pearce, celebrates of all the victories in Team Sky’s first seven seasons, portrayed by a use of three different-length lines in two different colours depending on the race. Alongside the Team Sky jersey on the Castelli stand was the David Millar collaboration Chpt. III clothing range, including the brand-new OneMoreLap series – which certainly sparked interest from anyone passing the stand. Chpt. III have found the sweet spot in terms of balance between gorgeous design and pro-level technology, and it’s clear that a lot of people are excited about the kit. From one prestigious Italian brand to another, the Sidi stand had a mixture of fresh products on show, as well as the shoes of three professional athletes. A particular highlight had to be the iconic yellow Sidi Wire Carbon Road shoes that Chris Froome wore to his 2013 Tour de France victory. It’s safe to say the brand new Sidi Shot road shoe and Tiger MTB shoe, with their central Tecno-3 dials, were the products guests wanted to get their hands on the most. The Tecno-3 dials, located on the tongue, offer aerodynamic benefits as well as an even better custom fit.
It was obvious, from even a quick glance at the stunning gear on show, that the Enve stand was going to be a popular one. Enve produce, unquestionably, the finest carbon composite components in the world and the number of Rouleur guests lusting after them was clear proof of this. The innovative ways Enve produce carbon wheelsets, making them stiffer and lighter than those of their competitors, underline the firm’s status at the pinnacle of the composites game. Speaking of droolworthy bike parts, the highlight of the Rotor stall had to be the Uno hydraulic groupset, which was fitted to a sleek Cervelo R3. The groupset doesn’t just look incredible on the bike though – it performs perfectly with effortless shifting, which once set up will need no routine adjustment. Alongside the Uno group was the new 2INpower MAS power meter. The 2INpower MAS offers incredibly accurate data from both sides of the cranks, with the added benefit of the aerodynamic Micro Adjust Spider (that’s the MAS in the name), which helps you get the perfect Q-Ring position to deliver optimal pedalling power. Over at the Stages stand, the Dash GPS head unit was the standout product – again, it’s clear that a lot of riders can’t wait to get their hands on one of these. Designed to work in harmony with with Stages’ power meters, the Dash is a highly customisable training tool. With that in mind, it was great to have Stages’ own Bernie Doering on hand to talk guests through the product on show and get an insight into just how good the Dash is as a training aid. The Alchemy stall, meanwhile, was kept incredibly simple – but that’s because the product really does speak for itself. Handmade in Colorado and draped with the finest Enve kit, the titanium Chiron CX bike looked mouthwatering. Across the four frames on show, the attention to detail the Alchemy team put into their work was much in evidence. One of the other highlights of the night was the Cielo Road Racer set up with a combination of Enve and Chris King componentry. Chris King may be a name almost all cyclists know, but its in-house Cielo artisan framesets are much less heralded. At the Rouleur Classic, however, those who didn’t already know Cielo were certainly keen to find out more. The framesets are hand built in Portland, Oregon and – as with any Chris King product – the level of precision, care and workmanship that has gone into building them is incredibly high. All in all the 2016 Rouleur Classic was an incredible night of the finest people, products and history that the world of road cycling had to offer. Whether it’s the latest tech, the most beautiful bike builds or the heritage in the form of pro riders’ bikes and kit, there’s something here for every enthusiast. To anyone who hasn’t been, but adores everything about cycling, we’d heartily recommend getting down there next year. To Rouleur, who put on an incredible event once again – we say, “Chapeau!”
ROTOR HAWK The new Hawk crankset has been developed specifically for enduro and all-mountain use, in partnership with French star Cedric Gracia. Eschewing the factory-assembled arm and axle, Rotor is launching Hawk in a modular format. Both crankarms can be removed from the axle, allowing compatibility with standard (164mm Q-factor), Boost (170mm Q-factor) and downhill (179mm Q-factor) bottom brackets via different axle lengths. The Hawk makes use of Rotorâ€™s new direct-mount chainrings, and the Spanish brand has also developed a selection of different coloured rubber bumpers to protect the 100 per cent CNC-machined 7055 aluminium crankarms from trail obstacles and debris. Also look out for the forged and CNC-machined Raptor crankset.
SILCA TREDICI AND NOVE MULTI-TOOLS We all know the Swiss Army Knife, but this is Silca’s Italian equivalent – fold-out cycling multi-tools packed with virtually everything you need for on-the-go bike tinkering. The Tredici boasts 13 stainless steel chrome-plated bits including hex keys, screwdrivers, Torx keys and a disc pad separator. The smaller Nove multi-tool has nine bits, keeping down the weight by dropping a couple of Torx keys and the pad separator. In Silca’s typically innovative fashion, both tools also feature small magnets on the inside of the forged and machined aluminium side plates, which securely hold spare master link-type chain links.
CASTELLI OMLOOP Once again showing a knack for ‘why hasn’t anyone done that before?’ thinking, Castelli’s new Omloop bib short is another perfect addition to your beat-theBritish-weather wardrobe. Simply an ultra-comfy bib short with soft, fleecy Thermoflex fabric to insulate against the cold, the Omloop’s genius is in its extra length – the legs go right down to the top of the knee. This not only keeps your quads cossetted, it means no more extreme measures of slicing the bottoms off knee warmers for cold races. Comfort and warmth are backed up by the pro-level Progetto X2 Air seat pad, to keep you happy in the saddle all day long.
SIDI SHOT Revealed by Sidi and Chris Froome just ahead of the 2016 Tour de France, the brand’s new high-end racing shoe has now arrived in the UK – and it’s a beauty. The design builds on the ever-popular Wire Carbon with a redesigned aerodynamic upper and central Tecno-3 dials that close the shoe symmetrically for an even better custom fit. There’s also increased ventilation, with mesh panels in addition to the Vent carbon sole – helping to keep feet cool in the heat of summer racing. The Shot also has increased visibility with new reflectors on the heel and even a glow in the dark colourway.
TROY LEE DESIGNS SPEED KNEE AND ELBOW SLEEVES The TLD Speed knee and elbow sleeves are every trail riderâ€™s friend. Light and comfy enough for all-day use, they still offer a decent level of abrasion protection thanks to D3O inserts in the outer section. The pads have a seamless construction, which again improves fit and comfort, and are highly breathable. The elbow sleeve uses a thinner mesh on the inside of the elbow and forearm, making it very easy to move in, while the front of the knee has an abrasion resistant cover with reflective accents. These are a must-have for any rider looking for a pad that offers real protection in a light, slim package.
ENVE M-SERIES 60 FORTY PLUS The 60 Forty Plus is perfectly designed and engineered for plus-size tyres and is currently the widest offering in Enve’s M Series range. It’s not as simple as ‘wider is better’ – the M60 Plus offers the great traction and comfort that comes from plus-sizing, but also has an intelligent carbon construction that allows for an incredibly light wheel with no compromise on stiffness. The rim weighs just 480g, yet offers strength on par with that of Enve’s M70 Enduro model. With the brand-new hookless bead rim, designed to reduce the chance of pinch flats, the M60 Plus mean you can ride further, faster – and have more fun.
ALCHEMY ARKTOS When it came to the Alchemy’s first full-suspension MTB, the US firm enlisted the help of industry stalwart David Earle in creating a fresh rear suspension platform. Earle’s Sine system (a nod to the shape of the leverage ratio curve) features variable response throughout its travel to absorb small bumps and maintain climbing traction, helping to prevent mid-stroke wallow while permitting full use of the Arktos’ 150mm travel. Sine is also designed to aid pedalling efficiency and to stay active under braking. The lightweight Arktos climbs like an XC bike, descends like a beast – and is sure to turn heads on the trails.
TOPFIVE ADRIAN YATE OFFERS UP HIS ALL-TIME FAVOURITE BIKE DESTINATIONS 1. THE LAKE DISTRICT It quite literally has everything: quiet country roads, flat coastal tarmac, epic hairpin climbs, massive natural MTB challenges, plus two trail centres and – best of all – cafes everywhere. 2. MALLORCA If ever there was a micro-capsule of condensed road goodness it’s this isle, which constantly surprises me. 3. SOUTH WEST SCOTLAND With three world-renowned trail centres, hundreds of miles of gravel biking-friendly forest trails and the least motor traffic, on generally well surfaced roads, of anywhere on the UK mainland, this has to be somewhere you visit. 4. THE DOLOMITES Every corner in the road leads to an even more stunning view – you can’t beat riding in proper mountains, and the roads are in better condition than ours. And at the end of the day, there’s the food. 5. THE ADELAIDE HILLS Where else can you see camels outside a Germanic village in 40C heat in January? Just in case that isn’t enough, the Tour Down Under plays here too…
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2017 IS GOING TO BE BIG! KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED SOME PRETTY BIG RACE NEWS FOR 2017…
Many of us working in the bicycle industry get to do some pretty exciting things from time to time, and I’ve certainly had my share over the last few months. Our recent House Show was something we had all been working very hard on for a long while, and it was great to finally unveil our new building and the latest ranges from all of our brands. For me, as I manage Intense and now Troy Lee Designs too, it was great to display these two brands side by side for the first time. I have a lot planned for both companies in 2017 – keep your eyes peeled as we will be launching a very big, very exciting new project early in 2017 as a flagship programme to promote Intense, Troy Lee, Enve and Chris King. Saddleback have always been very close to racing and we love to invest in the sport we love – I think that’s a big enough hint for now! I hope to be able to share more in the next issue of incycle – until then, happy guessing… Martin Astley
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SERVICE INTERVALS ROSS GRIMMETT SENIOR MECHANIC WORKSHOP’S BEST FRIEND DIFFICULTY LEVEL MEDIUM
This is not so much a tech tip, but more of a gentle reminder that all the components on a bike have differing but equally important service intervals. We thought we’d run through a few examples, some of which might surprise you. Rockshox recommend for their Pikes a lower service every 50 hours of riding, while Reverbs should have a bleed and seal change every 100 hours. Chris King recommend their headsets and bottom brackets are serviced every six months in the UK’s wet conditions (if you live somewhere dry it can be up to a five-year service interval!). For King’s road and MTB hubs, a ‘beginning guideline’ is maintenance every six to 12 months in normal/dry conditions; every three months in wet or muddy ones. Of equal importance is keeping on top of changing your brake and shifter cables and brake fluids. Cables are pretty cheap and make a great difference to a bike, especially when the outers are blown through with spray lubricant or an airline. As for brake fluid, I would change it once a year, but maybe more if you do long on- or off-road Alpine descents on your riding holidays!
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SO EXCITED RIGHT NOW
HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEW BRANDS WE'VE JUST LANDED? CAN I CAN GET PAID IN PRODUCT? ANDY? I'm pretty sure by now you all know about the new brands that we’ve acquired in the last few months. I joined Saddleback almost four years ago from a mountain biking background, and knew I had to embrace the ways of a roadie if I was going to be able to successfully do my job. All my MTB love was focused on Enve, but now with the arrival of Intense, Troy Lee and Chris King I don't know what to do with myself! I have already begun negotiations with my wife about how much I can buy each month and hopefully as you read this my 'allowance' will be sorted and being put to good use. Don't get me wrong – my fitness has reached new heights riding a road bike, but now with some of the best mountain bike brands in the world at hand it's time to fall back in love with all things muddy. Andy regularly asks me if I'm “happy now”, given that he’s well aware of my MTB longings. So what's going to be my first purchase? Troy Lee 2017 isn't available until February, and I'm still jumping between about four Intense bikes to work out which is the one for me. There are a few more new rides on the horizon from Intense, so I'm going to hang on for now. I'm not worried though – I'm just thinking about all the money I'm going to accrue while waiting for all this awesome kit to land. It would also be crazy for me not to mention the fact that I got to meet Troy Lee. Once I’d finished asking him to sign everything I own – including considering him writing on my baby's head – it was cool to just hang out with him and listen to all the stories about how he got started, and how his mum came up with the company name Troy Lee Designs, back when he was painting/ making helmets in her garage! It's been a good few months for sure… Nick Cox
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WINTERWARRIOR DANIEL OAKSHOTT ECOMMERCE CONTENT ASSISTANT CASTELLI GABBA 2 RRP £175
I'D OBVIOUSLY HEARD ALL THE STORIES ABOUT HOW GOOD Castelli’s Gabba jersey is for riding in the foulest conditions, but up until a month ago I hadn't had the opportunity to try one out for myself. I tend to commute by bike throughout the colder months, so having decent kit for all conditions has been a priority. Usually I would use a base layer, a heavier weight jersey and a jacket, but so far this year I've been riding in nothing more than the Gabba 2 and a set of arm warmers. Considering the early mornings have been marginally colder than the bottom end of the Gabba's recommended temperature range, I'm really impressed so far. On the homeward leg of my commute, it tends to be a little warmer – but the Gabba has performed perfectly in regulating my temperature and, thanks to the Windstopper X-Lite Fabric, even some moderate rain
hasn’t bothered me at all. With the temperature sure to start dipping lower as we head into winter, I fully intend to extend the temperature range of the Gabba with winter base layers. I’ll also be keeping a waterproof layer to hand for when the rain is heavier than the Gabba can handle – which will need to be a proper downpour, so it seems. My favourite feature from the Gabba 2 is its clever combination of fabrics, which make the jersey really breathable while still offering protection from the elements. That said, the storm flap at the back of the jersey is also a really nice touch to protect from wheel-spray. All in all the whole Perfetto range from Castelli looks excellent, but I think the Gabba 2 will remain a key item in my cycling wardrobe during the UK’s nastier months.
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WAYS OF THE MONK ROSS GRIMMETT SENIOR MECHANIC WORKSHOP’S BEST FRIEND DIFFICULTY LEVEL EASY
For my second tech tip I am going to share with you, courtesy of MBR magazine, the top eight tips from legendary mechanic Chris ‘Monk Dawg’ Vasquez. He spannered for some of the biggest legends in mountain biking over the last 20 years, including Brian Lopes and Aaron Gwin. Monk Dawg sadly passed away in August this year after a long battle with illness. Here’s some parting wisdom from one of the sport’s true characters. 1. ALWAYS KEEP YOUR BIKE CLEAN And inspect it for cracks. Don’t be afraid to use soap! Soap is your friend. In the States we use Dawn (a dishwashing soap), but basically anything that’s really lemony; something that will cut the grease. 2. ALWAYS CHECK ALL YOUR BOLTS Or any bolts you may have touched. When you check your bolt, don’t tighten it again unless it needs it. Don’t twist on it, just nudge it. You’ll see a lot of people tighten more and more. Either the bolt’s going to snap or they’re going to strip out something. 3. BE THRIFTY WITH YOUR CABLES If you have just replaced the cable housing, sometimes you can just get away with replacing the inner. Spray it through with a lube, then blow it through if you have a compressor. Spray into a cloth, if the lube doesn’t look too black when it comes out then it’s reusable. Take a sharp point and open the cut end of the housing. Make sure there are no obstructions in there. If you ride in really muddy areas, Shimano have little boots that go on between the cable and the housing. Use these anywhere where gravity is pulling dirt in, or where the front tyre can throw muck in. 4. CHECK OVER YOUR DISC BRAKES With disc brakes you want to make sure your pads are wearing nice and evenly, not clamming. The definition of clamming is wearing in a V-shape. They’ve got to be hitting the disc as flat as possible, although sometimes things can’t be perfect. Check your hydraulic lines; make sure there are no creases or shiny oil spots. If you see any oil leaks, suss it out, because if you lose too much oil and you hit that brake, there could be nothing there. 5. NEVER TOUCH YOUR ROTORS WITH YOUR HANDS Just the oils in your hands are enough to make your brakes lose power. So usually you grab the spider in the middle, but never touch the actual contact surface. 6. SANDPAPER YOUR ROTORS AND PADS If your brakes tend not to work as good as you would like, pull the pads and the rotor off the bike and crosshatch all of the surfaces with sandpaper. Roughen up the contact surfaces of the pads and the rotor in a diagonal, opposed orientation. What this does is introduce a rough edge on both surfaces – and pad material is deposited onto the rotor, increasing the stopping power of the disc brakes. The rough edges are fighting each other, biting, and material is collecting in the grooves. 7. AVOID AEROSOL LUBE Use a drip lube on the chain instead, so as to keep oil away from the brake system. 8. DON’T BE AFRAID TO BOTTOM OUT YOUR SUSPENSION Bottoming out isn’t bad. You can have the occasional two, three, five hard hits per ride at the most. If it’s a really big drop, it’s going to hit the bottom. But if you’re getting nice soft kisses, that’s beautiful. You can read Monk Dawg’s tips online at: www.mbr.co.uk/how-to-2/eight-essential-mechanicstips-late-great-monk-dawg-347392
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A RAINY IRONMAN MALLORCA YIELDS A NEW RACE PB Having booked Ironman Mallorca last September, the calendar had been ticking down steadily until ‘ages of time to train’ suddenly seemed to become a frantic drive to the airport. Still, I felt good as the nervous excitement built during race week.The sun had just about dawned over the bay of Alcudia as we began the 3.8km swim. We swam out for what seemed like forever, the monotony broken by the odd scrap around the turning buoys and the jelly-legged Australian exit run between each swim lap. I eventually stumbled happily from the water in 1:03. The bike route in Mallorca is stunning – closed roads for the full length and a single lap: 60 miles of rolling roads, then the long climb up to Lluc (cue a thunderstorm) before heading back to transition. Given that I’d developed stabbing knee pain on any ride over two hours since the Sodbury Sportive (see page 26), I was a little worried. When the knee began to pull at 16 miles in, I tried to put it out of my mind. I sat back, erred on the side of caution and managed to stay in the twinge rather than pain zone. I ended up clocking a 6:05 split with a not-too-bad average of 18.4mph for just 160W – thanks Enve! Holding back on the bike seemed to do wonders for the run (or maybe it was the cooler temperatures and rain reminding me of home). Right out of T2 I felt great. Sticking to my 9:1 run-walk strategy, I spent the first 25k stopping myself from going too hard, then settled in for the next 12km or so before picking it up in the last 5km to negative split the run and post a 3:45 marathon – and 11:06 overall. It’s my first complete performance in an Ironman, and the race that’s given me the most satisfaction. Now to work on that bike power! Tom Ballard
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ANYONE WANT TO GO RIDE WITH WILL?
THIS ISSUE WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE 2016 SADDLEBACK HOUSE SHOW
SPOILT FOR CHOICE
Within a matter of days of joining Saddleback it became glaringly obvious I’d have no shortage of people to ride with. Clearly with a staff numbering close to 50, this was somewhat predictable, but the enthusiasm that flows among the majority of people here is infectious. From downhill racers with World Cup experience to guys who’ve competed at the highest level domestically on the road, I really am spoiled for choice when it comes to riding mates. There’s always the danger that when you’ve done something for long enough, you start to lose sight of why you started enjoying it in the first place, and it begins to become a bit stale. I’ve been guilty of letting my riding get to that point in the last couple of years, simply by falling into the trap of doing the same rides too regularly, not using enough imagination and definitely skimping on variety. All that now seems a distant memory though – I’m managing a couple of rides a week and have a decent-length commute to bookend the days well. I began riding bikes nearly two-thirds of my life ago, but I still remember how excited I was every time I got my bike out of the garage back then – even if I was only riding to school. Mere seconds of being on the Intense Spider for the first time took me right back to the days when I’d race home, drop my bag and go riding until way past sunset. Recently I’ve been fortunate enough to take the Spider demo bike out a couple of times, and that’s lit a firecracker under my mountain biking. One such ride was a trip to BikePark Wales, and that was a stark reminder of how much fun can be had when you expand your repertoire even just a little. It’s confirmed: riding bikes is (still) just plain awesome. Will Poole
317 Free copies of incycle magazine given out.
Brands on display in our permanent showroom.
303 Pizzas and pulled pork burgers served to staff and House Show attendees.
1014 Coffees given out over the three days of the show.
All I can show you at the moment of one my favourite D3s, coming in 2017
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713 247 9 Cakes given out during the course of the event.
Dealers and media attendees.
NICK COX HEAD OF CREATIVE TROY LEE DESIGNS D3 CARBON RRP £400
I'VE OWNED MY FAIR SHARE OF FULL-FACE HELMETS IN THE HISTORY OF MY mountain biking life, but the one that I've never owned and always wanted is the D3 from Troy Lee. My D2 has served me well over the last few years: it's light, strong and easy to clean, with removable pads. However, it's had a few scrapes, and the new exciting colourways for 2017 mean that I can no longer put off an upgrade. Lee himself visited the office for our House Show and was kind enough to give us some staff training. One thing that I never knew was that if the vents on the D3 were smaller, the protection it offers would be good enough for motorcycle use. The helmet doesn't just meet the cycling safety standard but far surpasses it, meaning that my head will be in the best hands it can be. Just one problem though... which colour? Story of my life!
Seminars conducted by staff and brand representatives over the three days.
MEET THE TEAM DECLAN DEEHAN MARKETING MANAGER SADDLEBACK'S NEWEST MEMBER SHARES AN INSIGHT INTO WHAT MAKES HIM TICK
WHO IS DEC? I AM A THIRTYSOMETHING GUY FROM A SMALL VILLAGE
IN DONEGAL IRELAND. I WOULD CONSIDER MYSELF A ‘GLASS HALF FULL’ KIND OF MAN, ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THE POSITIVES IN ANY SITUATION OR PERSON. COOKING IS MY BACKGROUND, AND I ACTUALLY FELL INTO THE CYCLING INDUSTRY BY ACCIDENT. SEVEN YEARS ON AND I AM HOOKED AND IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE? SUNNY BRISTOL. WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE? MARKETING MANAGER. WORST JOB YOU EVER HAD? DIGGING STONES FROM GOLF COURSE
FAVOURITE PLACE TO RIDE? I FIND MYSELF CROSSING THE SEVERN
MARTIN ASTLEY COUNTS DOWN FIVE OF THE FINEST, AND MOST BRUTAL, RACES HE’S RIDDEN IN
FAIRWAYS. TREAT YOURSELF.
BRIDGE MOST WEEKENDS TO SAMPLE THE DELIGHTS THAT SOUTH WALES HAS TO OFFER – EVERYTHING FROM NATURAL TECHNICAL TERRAIN TO SOME OF THE VERY BEST BUILT BIKE PARK TRAILS IN THE UK. THE TRAILS I ENJOY MOST ARE THOSE WHERE THE GRADIENT MAKES YOU WORK FOR YOUR SPEED, SPLICED WITH FEATURES TO KEEP THINGS INTERESTING.
1. RED BULL PSYCHOSIS, MOUNT SEVEN If you’ve ever seen the film Seasons then you’ll have seen the shots of Sam Hill, Stevie Smith and Tyler Morland racing the gnarly dust bowl that is the Psychosis DH race. It’s by far the steepest track I have ever ridden and the arm pump is horrific. Jumping a Humvee at the very bottom of the track when you can barely grip the bars is something else!
FAVOURITE BIKE INVENTION? IT HAS TO BE THE ONE-BY DRIVETRAIN. PLEASING ON THE EYE, LIGHTER, LESS FUSS AND LESS GEARS TO TUNE. WHATS NOT TO LIKE?
2. THE MEGAVALANCHE (PICTURED) I’ve raced the Mega three times now and I still have a lot of unfinished business there. I qualified for the front row of the main event last time – lining up against Nico Vouilloz, Remy Absalon and co at 5am on a frozen glacier at 3,300 metres was insane. Shame the race was over for me five seconds after the start due to a crash and a broken bike. Next time…
WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY? PEOPLE WITH NO MANNERS. WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
PEOPLE WITH MANNERS, AND GOOD GUACAMOLE.
WHAT’S THE #1 MOST PLAYED SONG ON YOUR IPOD?
3. EWS INNERLEITHEN I’ve raced this twice now and it is just epic. A true test of bike and body, this has it all – extremely technical and challenging trails as well as some brutal pedalling sections.
DISCLOSURE FEAT. LONDON GRAMMAR – HELP ME LOSE MY MIND.
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTES? GET TO THE CHOPPA!!!
WHAT CHORE DO YOU ABSOLUTELY HATE DOING? ACTUALLY
4. CRANKWORX GARBANZO DOWNHILL This beast of a downhill race includes some of the best technical riding out there, and at over 15 minutes long it is one of the longest true DH races in the world.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TIME OF THE YEAR? I KNOW IT WOULD
5. EPIC CYMRU Last summer I had my first taste of a multi-day stage race and I loved it! This event was a little more ‘XC’ than I’m used to, but I enjoyed every minute (well maybe not the 25 minute timed climb), and in particular the camaraderie that these events create is great fun.
I DON’T MIND CHORES, BUT IF YOU HAD A REVOLVER TO MY HEAD IT WOULD BE HOOVERING. WE HAVE A HENRY AT HOME AND EVERYONE LOVES HIM AND I REALLY DON’T KNOW WHY. BE MOST PEOPLE’S ANSWER BUT IT HAS TO BE SUMMER. IT’S THE SEASON WHEN I SPEND MOST TIME OUTDOORS.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MODE OF TRAVEL? APART FROM BICYCLE IT WOULD BE BY CAR. I LIKE A GOOD OLD DRIVE.
WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE MODE OF TRAVEL? MAYBE TRAINS – NOT SURE WHY, BUT I THINK PERHAPS IT’S THE STATION EXPERIENCE THAT PUTS ME OFF.
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE TO STAY A CERTAIN AGE FOREVER, WHAT AGE WOULD IT BE? WHEN I WAS YOUNGER I HAD HAIR THAT
WAS COOL BUT I WASN’T QUITE AS SAVVY. SO IT WOULD BE NOW AT THE RIPE AGE OF 35 – AND TAKE KNOWLEDGE OVER VANITY.
IF YOU COULD LEARN TO DO ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE? LEARN THE SECRETS THAT THE SEA AND SPACE HAVE TO OFFER.
IF YOU HAD TO CHANGE YOUR FIRST NAME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE IT TO? THAT’S EASY – IT WOULD BE CARLITO.
STA F F P I CKS
IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE, LIVING OR DEAD, WHO WOULD IT BE? CAESAR. WHICH CELEBRITY DO YOU GET MISTAKEN FOR? NONE OF THE
MRRELIABLE NICK COX HEAD OF CREATIVE ENVE M60 ON CHRIS KING HUBS RRP £2900
WHEN RIDING THE TRAILS, I NEED A SET OF WHEELS I CAN RELY on for hitting the toughest obstacles on the roughest descents and the M60 wheelset offers me exactly that. Enve have an innovative method of building carbon wheels to ensure they are incredibly lightweight with no compromise on stiffness whatsoever and it’s this craftsmanship that make any Enve product a cut above the rest. Since fitting the M60s to my bike, I’ve thrown them down countless trails, including some of the roughest rock gardens and they’ve performed perfectly. If you’re looking for a set of wheels which are fast rolling, incredibly strong, super light and reliable mile after mile, I cannot recommend the M60s enough.
ONES I WOULD LIKE.
WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST GIFTS YOU’VE GIVEN/RECEIVED? A TRIP TO SAN FRANCISCO / THE INVOICE AFTER THAT TRIP.
WHAT’S THE BEST BIT OF ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE? THERE ARE ALWAYS TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY.
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED? HOPEFULLY AS AN ALL-ROUND GOOD GUY. I’M STILL WORKING ON IT.
STA FF COLUMN
THE ADVENTURES OF CHARLES
SICK OF HAVING TO CLEAN MY BIKE OVER THE WINTER I ESCAPED THE COLD WET DIRT AND HEADED FOR SOME DRY ROAD SUN
Back in April I was pretty confident that I couldn’t live through another British winter. I am not too concerned about the cold – we've got great clothing for that. It is more the rain and damp in the air that get me, along with the constant cleaning of bikes and getting ready for rides – which seem to take as long as the ride itself.
riding. After a day of beach life, we hit the roads hard and cruised around the island. It was the last opportunity to wear my Aero Race Castelli kit, and probably the last time I’ll be busting out my Sidi Wire Airs before my feet freeze from the fine British autumnal weather. For four days of riding, we aimed for a social 70 miles a day with stops and no time constraints to worry about. Cafés are plentiful and not very busy – it is surprisingly quiet compared with the spring. There are so many fantastic little out-and-back mountain roads, which go down to the coast to quiet boat ports that are missed by the majority of cyclists, who only ride to train – and train hard.
Only a few hours of sun (if it ever breaks through the cloud) blesses us each day – and this is my saving grace. So for this year, I thought I’d start the winter better than any other… by going abroad to Mallorca. The island is great for pre-season spring training camps, but I bucked the trend and headed over there for some post-season sun. It is such a fantastic place once you’ve headed away from the airport town. Deià (our home for the week) is on the west coast and nestled in the middle of the mountains, a perfect setting for
It was sad to leave, but it’s nice knowing that you'll be starting the winter with a decent tan for the velodrome! Charles Coleman
TOPFIVE EMILY MILLS SHARES HER FAVOURITE PLACES TO BE WITH A BIKE
STAFF COLU M N
DANIEL’S MTB ADVENTURES
1. MALLORCA Mountains, coastline, pristine tarmac, sunshine… perfection.
THE BUG HAS WELL AND TRULY BEEN CAUGHT
I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’d never been mountain biking until last month. I’d ridden exclusively road and CX for the last couple of years, and in that time I’ve taken the ’cross bike down some MTB trails, but I’d never been ‘proper’ mountain biking. I decided enough was enough, so I grabbed one of our Intense Cycles demo bikes for the weekend and headed out to Leigh Woods and Ashton Court for my first taste of some real trail riding. Having watched things like the DH World Champs, I was a little nervous of what to expect – but once I got going I realised that not only could I tackle everything the trails threw at me, it was stupidly good fun! It’s safe to say that the Intense Tracer 275C was far more bike than someone with my (lack of) skill deserved to be riding, but it looked awesome and felt even better. It was like the bike knew exactly what to do: attacking every berm, rock garden, drop-off and jump in its path, I was just along for the ride. After a good few loops of each trail, the heavens opened, which signalled the end of my day – but it would have taken more than torrential rain to shift the huge smile from my face. It’s safe to say my time that evening was split between two things: half-ogling the Tracer which I absolutely didn’t want to hand back, and the other half on the internet looking for an MTB to add to my stable! Daniel Oakshott
STAFF COLU M N
SCOTT IS A MAN ON A MISSION
The mountain biking season has come to an end and, after a small gap… the cyclocross season is here! A positive end to a summer of dirt-track racing took in a couple of fourth-place finishes (*so* close to podium) in the Southern XC races and then the last round of the National Points series, where I managed my best result so far since coming back to the XC scene with a thirteenth place at Cannock Chase. There was a late summer road trip to Glasgow for the National Championships too, which was a good, though full-on experience. With the race being held on the Commonwealth Games course it was pretty gnarly but great fun, and I finished just outside the top 20 in the Elite race. A trip out to Mallorca for a holiday/mini training camp (in my head) was perfect leading up to the ‘cross season. I managed to hit the ground running and won first time out in Bradford on Avon. The following week, I made it two out of two with a win in Gloucester, marking a perfect start to the season. Then, week three: The Three Peaks Cyclocross. A hard day in the saddle, with very changeable weather conditions made for a tough race, but after a good start I was in a decent position until, descending the second climb of Whernside, I came down pretty hard. Not quite the result I wanted, but a case of ‘one of those races’ and all good fun nonetheless. So, now for the rest of the season: National Trophy, Belgium… it’s going to be fun! Scott Chalmers
2. NORTH YORKSHIRE Not only a very beautiful county, but some of the hardest road riding I’ve ever done. Plus they make a proper brew. 3. SOUTH WALES Just over the bridge, but a great choice of trails and tarmac. 4. ANNECY (PICTURED) A bit of a triathlon geek’s paradise – superb mountain roads, a beautiful lake and some epic running climbs. 5. MENDOZA, ARGENTINA Where else can you ride empty, high altitude trails and then indulge in steak and red wine for the same price as a slice of cake? The dream is real…
MEET THE TEAM MICHAEL FISH NORTHERN AREA SALES MANAGER SADDLEBACK'S HAPPIEST MEMBER SHARES AN INSIGHT INTO WHAT MAKES HIM TICK
WHO IS MICHAEL FISH?
A PROUD DAD, FAMILY MAN AND EX-RACER WHO APPRECIATES THE SIMPLE (AND FINER) THINGS IN LIFE: GOOD FRIENDS, FOOD AND WINE, AND TRAVELLING. I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT MANY SPORTS – CYCLING, MOTO GP, SUPERBIKES AND UFC TO NAME A FEW. I’M ALSO A LOVER OF STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIERS, AM TOLD I’M ‘DIRECT’ ON OCCASION – AND AM SOMETIMES THE TEACHER, BUT ALWAYS THE STUDENT.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
NORTHERN AREA SALES MANAGER.
WORST JOB YOU EVER HAD?
NOT SURE ABOUT WORST, BUT THE CRAZIEST JOB I HAD WAS WORKING IN TENERIFE IN 1987 – SOME OF THOSE DAYS WERE LIKE BEING ON THE SET OF A QUENTIN TARANTINO MOVIE.
FAVOURITE BIKE INVENTION? THE POWER METER.
WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY?
ARROGANCE, BULLIES, LITTER THROWERS, RUDENESS, CRUELTY TO KIDS AND ANIMALS… I COULD GO ON.
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
HEARING MY SON LAUGH, MY FAMILY AND DOG, SEEING SPORTING SUCCESS, MUSIC, MY CLOSEST MATES, TRAVELLING.
WHAT’S THE #1 MOST PLAYED SONG ON YOUR IPOD?
THUNDERSTRUCK BY AC/DC AND A COUNTRY BOY CAN SURVIVE BY HANK WILLIAMS JR.
CAN YOU TELL US ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTES?
“YOU NEVER KNOW HOW STRONG YOU ARE, UNTIL BEING STRONG IS YOUR ONLY CHOICE” – BOB MARLEY.
WHAT CHORE DO YOU ABSOLUTELY HATE DOING?
GETTING IN A VEHICLE WITH DARREN GUMM. CAN I SAY THAT?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TIME OF THE YEAR? SPRING TIME (WHEN IT’S NOT CHUCKING IT DOWN).
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MODE OF TRAVEL?
A BICYCLE, WHEN YOU HAVE GREAT LEGS AND FITNESS.
WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE MODE OF TRAVEL? A BICYCLE, WHEN YOU HAVE THE HUNGER KNOCK.
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE TO STAY A CERTAIN AGE FOREVER, WHAT AGE WOULD IT BE? 23. IF YOU COULD LEARN TO DO ANYTHING WHAT WOULD IT BE? LEARN TO SPEAK FRENCH, ITALIAN AND SPANISH.
IF YOU HAD TO CHANGE YOUR FIRST NAME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE IT TO?
STA FF P ICKS
IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE, LIVING OR DEAD, WHO WOULD YOU MEET? MY DAD (HE DIED IN 1994).
DANIEL OAKSHOTT ECOMMERCE CONTENT ASSISTANT CASTELLI MONDIALE RRP £175
WHICH CELEBRITY DO YOU GET MISTAKEN FOR?
KRYTEN FROM RED DWARF (I HAVE CHISELED FEATURES AND A FUNNY SHAPED HEAD).
Over the last few years of cycling, I’ve ridden in more pairs of bib shorts than I care to remember. Various models, price points and brands have graced (if that’s the right word) my backside, all with varying levels of comfort and performance. Some I immediately knew I wasn’t going to get on with; others took a fair bit of riding to find the flaws. The Castelli Mondiale bibs, however, are in a league of their own. Having put a good few hundred miles into them already, I’m not sure I’ll be able to go back to wearing anything else. They are supportive in all the right places and combined with the lack of seams and no-sew bonded straps, they are so comfortable it’s easy to forget you’re wearing them at all! I cannot recommend these enough.
BEST/WORST GIFT YOU’VE EVER GIVEN/RECEIVED?
THERE’S NOTHING WORSE THAN REALLY CHEAP BOTTLE OF WINE.
WHAT’S THE BEST BIT OF ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE? KEEP ROLLING THE DICE, NOTHING HAPPENS OTHERWISE.
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED?
AS A GOOD FRIEND AND WORK COLLEAGUE, SOMEONE WHO TRIED IN ALL ASPECTS OF LIFE AND WAS CARING, DECENT AND PASSIONATE.
STAFF P ICKS
THE TOP PRODUCTS FROM OUR BRAND PARTNERS OVER THE PAST THREE MONTHS
SIDI GENIUS 5 FIT CARBON RRP £150 ARUNDEL MANDIBLE MATT CARBON RRP £175
STAGES ULTEGRA 6800 RRP £649 ROTOR BB30 STEEL BEARINGS RRP £16
ENVE BOTTLE CAGE RRP £70
CASTELLI NANOFLEX+ ARMWARMER RRP £35
ASTUTE STARLITE CARBON RRP £150 CHRIS KING INSET7 HEADSET RRP £180
TEN YEARS WITH CASTELLI
D I E C I
A N N I
AS SADDLE B ACK AND CAST E LLI C E L E B R AT E 10 YE ARS TO G E T H E R, WE S I T DOWN WIT H B RAND MANAG E R ST E V E S MIT H TO DIS CU SS TH E CO MPANY’ S INCRE DIB LE DE CADE O F GR OW T H AND SADDLE BACK’ S PART I N T H E ITALIAN B RAND’ S S U CCE SS
PICTURES CASTELLI / NICK COX WORDS TOM BALLARD
TEN YEARS WITH CASTELLI
Castelli’s long history of innovation in cycling has seen the brand repeatedly redefine what the pro peloton wears. By the mid-90s, it could lay claim to a trove of firsts such as Lycra and coloured shorts, sublimated printed and windproof jerseys, thermal clothing, a women’s collection, wicking fabric and anatomic seatpads.
TestTeam, the brand got those designs in front of the cameras at cycling’s biggest races and created a demand for high-performance gear. “2007 to 2008 was about the brand coming back, then 2009 was a big, big year with Cervélo TestTeam,” Smith goes on. “It was a fresh team vibe and look, and it was like this brand kind of exploded onto the market. It was the same for Cervélo – both were brands that were known, then all of sudden they take on a totally different atmosphere.
While all this industry-leading design helped reinforce the brand’s pro credentials, following the untimely death of founder Maurizio Castelli in 1995 the company began to struggle, and in the early 2000s things looked bleak.
“On that team were a number of British riders, so I think that helped to make the brand more well known in the UK, and the replica product sales were huge that year. We were selling the exact thing that the pros were using, so more and more people had contact with pro-level kit for the first time. It was a good way into our brand for lots of people.
“We bought Castelli out of near-bankruptcy back in 2003,” says brand manager Steve Smith, who’d moved to Italy at the turn of the millennium to work for Manifattura Valcismon – Sportful. “From ’99 to 2005, Castelli lost its focus on performance and there was a while where the strategy was to create a lifestyle brand – like the Patagonia of cycling. There could be a spot for that, but why would you take a race brand and try to transform it into that? It was trying to jam a round peg into a square hole.
“Then in 2010, we followed up with the Gabba, which is the perfect thing for the UK. We first put it on the pros in spring of 2010, but it wasn’t until 2011 that it actually got into some shops. It started out pretty slow. During the first year, it was winter season but we only sold 278 of them in the entire world. Then it started to get some notice in 2012 and of course Milan-San Remo in 2013 – we call that the day when everything changed. It was when everyone saw the entire peloton in these black jackets. Thomas Voeckler bought 30 jackets at a retail store, paying his own money to outfit all of his team.
“We tried to run the brand along with a lot of the former staff. The company continued to struggle, so in 2005 we shuttered the facility in Milan and moved it to our offices in northeastern Italy. We took a step back and asked, ‘What do people want from Castelli?’ They want performance, cutting edge, cool Italian design. That was really the start of a relaunch – getting the brand back to its roots of trying to make the most innovative clothing for cyclists seeking maximum performance, something they’d lost track of a bit.
“People who were attentive to clothing might’ve noticed what we’d done with the flat leg grippers, aero jerseys, the Nanoflex stuff, so there was some rumbling of people noticing that here’s a brand pushing the envelope. But the Gabba might’ve been the first time people realised that this is the brand that pros will go and buy – and take a black marker to. People saw that it’s the mark of a serious cyclist, getting that red badge on your butt.
“It was pretty easy knowing where we wanted Castelli to go – you just have to get the pieces together to make it work. When you look at it from that standpoint and you start to take a look at places like the UK, it’s pretty clear what partner you need to have. “During the hard years, back in the late 90s and early 2000s, Castelli bounced around a few distributors in the UK – basically, the UK market was zero for us. So we made the new collection for summer 2007 – the first made with the new organisation – and at Eurobike that year, Camilla Bonomi, our export manager, had some contact at the show with Andy [Wigmore] and also a couple of other companies.
“So with sales reps out working hard to get Castelli into shops and some of the internet players – who were exploding as well – giving us a chance, there were a number of years where we were chasing demand the entire time because you don’t really believe it can grow that fast and that there can be that much demand for it.” Throughout the last 10 years, Castelli UK brand manager Richard Mardle and Saddleback founder Andy Wigmore have continued to contribute to the brand’s development through collaboration with the team in Italy – a close relationship that’s been instrumental to both Saddleback and Castelli’s success.
“Camilla and I made our trip to the UK, drove mostly on the wrong side of the road and went to see a couple of companies. The last stop was Saddleback – it was pretty small back then. It was a funny meeting because we didn’t really have much to offer them. We were starting out with some strange products. The first aero jersey came up to the bottom of the rib cage and we’re trying to explain to Anthony and Oli – these rugby players – why this is the jersey for them!
“It’d be interesting to take a representative day and see how many emails and phone calls and messages there are back and forth because we certainly don’t consider Saddleback as a customer and Saddleback doesn’t look at us as a supplier. We’re all in this together for the brand so the communication, the feedback, the coordination is at a high level.
“If you had the transcript, you’d have come away thinking it probably wasn’t the right fit. But the meeting went late, we lost track of time – when we came out, it was raining and dark, we got in the car but both of us immediately said that this was the right fit for us.
“Then there are the formal processes – the briefing, the design review, test samples and whatnot. Saddleback’s involved in that, but so many times we have an informal phone call or meeting or a sit down over a drink to talk about products and communicating this brand. Every three years we also do a brand strategy planning session, in which Richie and Andy participate, so there’s actually a formal process where Saddleback’s contributing to us creating our brand strategy in the medium-long term.
“So, we started up [with Saddleback] and I think almost from day one, it exceeded expectations. At that point, Assos was completely dominant in the UK. Every serious cyclist was dressed head to toe in Assos and they had a lock on all the stores – it didn’t really seem like there was that much space to get in there. Basically, we were coming off three or four years that Castelli had bounced around from distributor to distributor with very minimal success. We didn’t realise how quick the turnaround would be.
“We’re the longest standing supplier here [at Saddleback]. Looking back to 2007 when we first spoke, our collection was less than a quarter of what it is now. We were both starting from a pretty small level and growing up together.
“Saddleback got better and better at marketing it. Especially in the early days, all the marketing was contact with magazines, the journalists, just getting those guys in the product. Castelli’s one of those iconic brands of cycling and it’s a brand that so many of us feel that emotional tie to. As cyclists we cheer for it; we want the brand to do well. So part of Castelli is giving people what they want, which is performance race clothing with Italian style, something that’s cool, that really works, is innovative.”
“Back in 2009, Cervélo’s TestTeam was buying jackets from other brands to race in cold and wet but by 2011, other teams were coming to us to buy our cold and wet gear. We grew different components of what we are today and Saddleback did the same I think. “There wasn’t much of marketing office back then, now Saddleback’s a marketing powerhouse and as they go, they get more and more complete in their offer, in everything they do, including the brands, including the new facility with a way to show the brands. Saddleback’s gone through quite a remarkable transformation.”
With a plan for the brand and a committed UK partner in place, Smith and the Castelli team worked tirelessly on a new generation of products that would change the way the pro peloton would think about cyclewear. Through sponsorship of the Cervélo
OUR TRIP TO THE UK, WE DROVE MOSTLY ON THE WRONG
ROAD AND WENT TO SEE A COUPLE OF COMPANIES. THE
PRETTY THEN ”
TEN YEARS WITH CASTELLI
THEY GO, THEY GET MORE AND MORE COMPLETE IN EVERYTHING
TEN YEARS WITH CASTELLI
Saddleback’s close relationship with Castelli is something that has been crucial to our mutual success. Richard Mardle has been key in developing that integration: his racing background, detailed appreciation of aesthetics and penchant for espresso have made him the ideal brand manager for this prestigious Italian company.
“I’d say the big factor in our favour from a day to day working relationship is that we’re quite honest. We’re truthful in what we like, what we don’t like, ideas that we’ve seen and patterns – we share all that information, so it’s quite an open working group from a design point of view. Our input’s never too preachy, never too bullish.
“I joined Saddleback eight years ago and we soon realised that there was a missing link between the Castelli range planning and what we were selling and how we were bringing it to market,” says Mardle. “I took that on and nurtured it from a very small point – buying from a catalogue that was probably 30-pages thick with a lot of padding – to where it is now: a 100-page catalogue and a complete collection for top-to-toe cycling in all weather conditions.
“Steve and I have a good working relationship and understanding. If I have what I think’s a good idea and he doesn’t like it, he’ll say he doesn’t think it’d work. Then I'll put together the case for why I think it would and what resource we can put behind it to make it work. But most ideas are quite tangible and we can see them coming together. “So we’ve had a lot of input in product development. Then feeding those products into our market and them being accepted by cyclists has been really satisfying. Our market’s in a position where five, six years ago, I’d never have considered it would've grown to the size it is now.
“Part of that success has been in working through the market’s infancy here – trends were very old-school and the market was ripe for development. ProTour cycling was going through structural changes and Steve Smith, who I work with predominantly, was already looking outside the box for what the future of clothing in pro cycling really was.
“I didn’t think the market was that big; I didn’t think any one brand could be that big. We’ve developed that story of the brand’s integrity, innovation and performance and as long as we keep to that, then we’ve got a very tight brand for the future.
“For me personally, I think there are a couple of advantages – I have an appreciation for aesthetics, I have an appreciation for things that function well and I’ve spent my life in the UK riding bikes in all weathers. So there’s that performance-related element that I can feed back on, and the fashion side of it when it comes to fit, form and making it look pretty.
“We’ve got some great prospects coming up from the development of pro teams and that’s going to give us the resource or food pool for ideas, from which we can hopefully create new innovative products as we have in the past.
“From a partnership perspective, there was a small group of us clarifying and qualifying ideas, which made things quite easy from a development point of view. Over time, the development phase has evolved and we’ve been a crucial part of that. We’re involved right from the start, going through the designs and signing them off, which gives us a lot of insight into what’s happening and where it’s developing.
“We don’t want to rest and rely on doing what we do well and have done until now – we’ve got to keep innovating and developing as we tend to be the weathervane for the industry in apparel. If we get an idea and it’s a good one, hopefully it’ll steer the way that everyone dresses.”
“I’D SAY THE BIG FACTOR IN OUR FAVOUR FROM A DAY
WE’RE WHAT WE
THAT WE’VE SEEN AND PATTERNS – WE SHARE ALL THAT INFORMATION, SO IT’S QUITE AN OPEN WORKING GROUP FROM A DESIGN POINT OF VIEW”
T H E 2 0 1 6 H O U S E S H O W WORDS DANIEL OAKSHOTT PICTURES JOBY SESSIONS
eld at the brand-new Saddleback offices, our 2016 House Show was the most impressive yet. From the legends of the sport in attendance to the finest food and drink we could offer our guests, it’s safe to say that the event was an absolute success. It was a pleasure to be able to welcome our dealers and brands to the new Saddleback offices for the first time. Once guests had a goody bag of treats and a coffee in hand, they could take their time perusing the products in the purpose-built showroom, before heading upstairs into the office to enjoy one of the many excellent seminars put on by our brand representatives. Top of the bill was the chance for guests to get a first look at the full, top-secret 2017 Troy Lee Designs range – displayed alongside some of the classic Steve Peat full-face helmets designed by Troy. While Peaty’s headgear and his Spitfire-inspired Santa Cruz V10cc were great to see on display at the show, the best part was having both Steve and Troy there in person – after all, who better to walk you through the range than the man himself? Indeed, Troy was a big draw for our busiest ever House Show day and appeared thrilled to be part of the Saddleback family – during the Q&A session with Andy Wigmore and Steve Peat, he said that before making the decision to join the Saddleback family, he called up a number of friends in the industry who’d had dealings with us. “Everyone I spoke to that has ever dealt with Saddleback said they really are great – I am incredibly happy with my decision,” he said. With the addition of Intense Cycles to the Saddleback family earlier this year, it was a pleasure to have the company’s CEO Andrew Herrick at the show to take us through the brand and the bikes, to give everyone in attendance an idea of where the firm has come from, and where it is heading. During Herrick’s brand seminar, he touched on the relationship between Saddleback and Intense. “We wanted to find someone who shared
“EVERYONE I SPOKE TO THAT HAS EVER DEALT WITH SADDLEBACK SAID THEY REALLY ARE GREAT, AND I AM INCREDIBLY HAPPY WITH MY DECISION” TROY LEE
the vision,” he said. “Being at Saddleback is refreshing, as many distributors around the world are all just brown box movers. Saddleback are not like that. They share the Intense ambition and passion, which is exactly what we wanted.” Meanwhile Stages Cycling’s power education specialist, Benjamin Sharp, took us through training with a power meter – and as a former USA Cycling coach there’s no one better to learn from! It was great to get hands-on with the new additions to the range – Stages Dash and Stages Link (turn to page 78 for more). Dash is a head unit designed to work perfectly with Stages power meters, while Link is the Colorado brand’s cloud-based software, which will allow you to manage all aspects of your training plan. Together, Stages power meters, Dash and Link have been optimised to allow users to get the best out of their power training. With a number of beautiful Alchemy bikes on show, it was great to have founder Ryan Cannizzaro and designer Matt Maczuzak in attendance to educate guests on the brand.
One of the bikes on display that definitely turned heads was the Alchemy Arktos (see page 40) – a full-carbon, 150mm trail machine with the new Sine rear suspension system. It’s safe to say that everyone wanted to get their hands on it! The droolworthy black-on-black colourway is a Saddleback exclusive design. Our brand-new workshop was the venue for Chris King seminars, hosted by our technical product specialist Ross Grimmett, who demonstrated how easy it is to service the hubs. On display were a number of hubs with cutaway sections to show the beautifully simple inner workings. We were also lucky enough to have Boris Hrusovsky of Rotor with us, who was keen to show off the world’s first hydraulic groupset: Rotor Uno. The groupset is extremely light at around 1,600g, and features hydraulic shifting and braking. The indexing has been built into the derailleur mechanisms, which means once you’ve set the lowest position, no further routine adjustment is required and you won’t have to put up with any ghost shifting. Combined
“MANY DISTRIBUTORS ARE ALL JUST BROWN BOX MOVERS. SADDLEBACK ARE NOT LIKE THAT. THEY SHARE THE INTENSE AMBITION AND PASSION, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT WE WANTED” ANDREW HERRICK with a Rotor power meter and Q-Rings, the Spanish brand is offering a complete package for your new, high-performance machine. Elsewhere, the impressive range of Sidi shoes we had on show oozed Italian style, with this year’s standout pieces being the Shot road shoe and the Tiger MTB kicks. With the Double Tecno-3 Push System sitting on the tongue, rather than along the side, the Shot and Tiger are Sidi’s most aerodynamic shoes ever. They’ve also already proven their worth in the biggest races, with Chris Froome riding – not to mention running – to TdF victory in the Shot. Speaking of innovation, Castelli has announced a number of new lines for 2017, including the Vela vest and the Premio bib short. Both lines were on show on the Saddleback stand. The Vela vest’s utilisation of Dyneema fabric, seen in sail-making, means it’s ultra-light, strong and packable, while the Premio bibs have been designed to offer ultimate comfort and support for the longest days spent in the saddle. Last but not least, a number of fresh products
graced the Silca stand, including the Premio Seat Roll – a stylish, innovative seat roll that features a Boa closure for quick and easy access to your tools and fast attachment to your saddle. The cross-stitching looks great and also serves the purpose of being reflective. The Premio is available in standard or ‘Loaded’ versions, the latter of which comes with the new Silca Tredici multitool and a Silca EOLO inflator. Once guests had had their fill of products and seminars, it was time to invite them outside to fill their bellies! With a selection of artisan pizzas, pulled pork burgers, ice cream, coffee and cake, it’s safe to say that no one left hungry. It was great to see everyone who came along to the event, and we look forward to seeing you again in February 2017 for our spring show! For the full show house gallery, head over to flickr.com/people/saddleback_ltd
JANUA RYFEBR RUARY MARCH APRILM
R H M
SADDLEBACK'S LANDMARK YEAR
S A D D L E B A C K A
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Y E A R
WORDS TOM BALLARD
As we near the end of 2016, the Saddleback team can look back over a spectacular year of brand building, events and company growth. We’ve gone from a distributor of high-end road cycling products to the UK’s leading power in both road and MTB distribution, while our long-awaited move to our new headquarters signals the next chapter for the company. The year started with a pair of new brands. Our distribution agreement with Rotor Bike Components began on 1 January, and the Spanish innovators have quickly become one of our most sought-after marques. Rotor have really ramped up their product cycle this year with the new 2INpower meter and enduro Hawk crankset, not to mention Qarbon chainrings and the company’s new super-lightweight cassette. By the time Core Bike rolled around at the end of the month – another massive success for us – we were ready to announce that Alchemy Bicycle Co. would be our newest partner. Joining Enve, Chris King, Silca and Arundel in our portfolio of US companies, Alchemy are already a multiple-award winning brand at the prestigious North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS). With a wide selection of beautifully made metal and carbon frames – including the new full-suspension Arktos – Alchemy are a perfect fit for our elite performance ethos. While Saddleback has enjoyed a close association with the finest road cycling products for more than a decade, we’ve always been keen to incorporate more high-end MTB brands to the portfolio to join the likes of Enve and Chris King. With BikePark Wales founder Martin Astley having joined the company, the Saddleback brand team set out in early 2016 to create a more balanced portfolio that would establish our dominance across both sectors. In April, we could reveal the first result of that hard work – the addition of Intense Cycles to the Saddleback family. The epitome of the premium mountain-biking brand, Southern California-based Intense had recently transitioned to full-carbon production, a move that successfully paired the firm’s peerless prestige with cutting-edge fabrication. The resulting new crop of JS Tuned bikes – including the Spider, ACV, Primer and Recluse – have rolled out to incredible critical acclaim. In turn, Martin’s work as brand manager has seen us start to build a network of quality Intense dealers – offering the Saddleback difference to true MTB specialists. The annual Bespoked handmade bike show also took place in April. This year, we created a stir at the Bristol-based event through our first ever Enve Build-off. Builders speccing their gorgeous creations with Enve components were eligible for the competition, which saw showgoers voting for their favourite, the winners vying for a custom – and weighty – Enve trophy. Being a bespoke bike show, there was also plenty of Chris King to see – something we’re sure to generate even more buzz about next year as before the month was out, the Saddleback team could celebrate the full Chris King line-up being added to our portfolio. With Mark Pearce at Evolution Imports deciding to step away from the brand, King came straight to Saddleback, the iconic US brand reinforcing our burgeoning reputation in the mountain bike sector with its legendary performance.
SADDLEBACK'S LANDMARK YEAR
Our busy spring also continued with the first ever Enve dealer demo day, hosted at BikePark Wales. This initiative – which we’re looking forward to repeating soon – saw dealers from all over the country head to South Wales for the chance to try the brand’s wheels on some of the UK’s best trails. It was also an opportunity for dealers to experience the same demo treatment that everyday riders can enjoy at this Enve European Demo Centre and find out more about the demo rebate programme. May arrived and with it, our annual pilgrimage to Saddleback’s namesake – Blencathra – for the Fred Whitton Challenge. Always one of our most important and enjoyable events, this year’s edition allowed riders the rare opportunity to experience the Lake District’s incomparable beauty under a warm sun rather than driving rain. It was another hugely successful year for the event and for Saddleback, the team helping hundreds of riders get to the finish of this gruelling ride. With the construction of our new offices having begun in late 2015, June was a pivotal month towards moving. We were finally handed the keys to the new shell after long, careful planning and the foundation-up build. From there, it took a huge leap of imagination to visualise the dusty, industrial mezzanine’s transition to an ultra-high-end working environment – especially with just three months to completion. As summer appeared, July offered us the perfect opportunity to sit back and enjoy the success of our brands on the sport’s biggest stage. With Castelli, Sidi, Enve, Rotor and Stages all featured in the Tour de France, Saddleback could bask in the reflected glory of incredible results across our brands including 10 stage wins, the Yellow and White jerseys, and first, second, fourth, fifth and seventh places overall. We could also celebrate the end of another hugely successful financial year. Our marketleading strategy saw Saddleback grow by 15 per cent over the preceding 12 months while the company has more than doubled in the last three years – all signs that Saddleback’s cultivation of an extraordinarily strong portfolio, savvy brand management and strong leadership continues to keep the company in rude health. With the Tour over, the Sodbury Sportive in August (see page 26) gave Saddleback staffers the chance to ride out on local roads and enjoy the beautiful South Gloucestershire scenery that we so often take for granted on daily commutes. Being our local event, plenty of the Saddleback team lined up to take on the various routes – the downpour that the 100-miler riders faced only making the post-event food all the tastier! September was simply a huge month for Saddleback. We’d been working for some time on a distribution agreement with Troy Lee Designs, so we were incredibly excited to make the announcement formal. Adding TLD to our portfolio was a coup that cannot be overstated. Simply the sport’s must-have apparel and protection brand – there’s no marque that’s more respected or more desirable in all of mountain biking. With that industry prestige added to the off-road side of the business, we end 2016 as the UK’s most reputable and dominant high-end MTB distributor. While all the excitement about Troy Lee Designs buoyed us up, we were kept busy with our House Show preparations – the first event to take place at our new premises. Time was ticking by at frightening speed, the pressure on for the new offices to be complete before the end of the month and the influx of brand representatives, dealers and members of the press. Thankfully – and through lots of hard work – it all came together beautifully. The immaculate new HQ offered the perfect environment to showcase our brands and this new phase of Saddleback’s growth. We officially moved into the new offices on 5 October and what was previously an enormous blank canvas has instantly developed a homely atmosphere. Whether chatting in the buzzing break room, showing dealers around the showroom, tinkering with bikes in the staff workshop or making the most of the big-screen projector in the office while we work, it’s an incredibly special – and uniquely cycle-friendly – environment. We’re also thrilled to be able to offer enhanced dealer technical training thanks to our permanent showroom and workshop facilities. Following such a stellar year, we’ve got plenty to look forward to. Our new base of operations not only reinforces our position as the UK’s premier cycling distributor but also gives us the warehousing and office space needed to continue our expansion. The news of Castelli working with Team Sky will be huge for us in 2017 while we’ll also have some other exciting cross-brand promotions to shout about on the MTB side. You can also rest assured that our brand team is always up to something, so watch this space for what looks set to be an even more successful year.
J U T O N
JULYAU USTSEP TEMBER OCTOBE NOVEM
THE TLD COVER
THE TLD COVER INCYCLE 21 With Troy Lee Designs joining Saddleback, incycle creator Nick Cox couldn’t help but go all out for the brand that had been so much a part of his formative years on a bike. But with the need for a truly special front cover, a top-secret range that couldn’t be pictured and time running short ahead of the House Show deadline, getting a fitting vision on the page represented a real challenge.
“I was flicking through the Troy Lee Designs manual for ideas and came across a schematic drawing of the D3 – the iconic full-face helmet that’s synonymous with the brand. That provided the inspiration – a way to display something instantly recognisable as TLD without showing 2017’s colours. On the other hand, it was also a gamble because TLD is known so much for its out-there paint schemes.
“Troy Lee Designs is a big, important brand for Saddleback and one that I’ve personally felt really close to throughout my time riding bikes,” says Nick. “It’s the fact my heroes were riding in it, the designs are just super cool looking and it’s got that history and prestige. With all that in mind, I felt we needed to do something really special for the next cover, but there was a big constraint – we couldn’t use any imagery from the 2017 range.
“Just putting that blueprint image on the cover wasn’t enough. I wanted this to be something different from anything we’d tried before. It had to be high-end, something tactile and tangible. It was a real challenge, but the solution emerged when I found out that embossing was possible at three different levels, which would help create a real sense of perspective.
THE TLD COVER
WORDS TOM BALLARD/NICK COX PICS NICK COX
“Then I thought we could go one step further and give it more depth by cutting out the air vents too. Given that everyone at Saddleback felt that getting Troy Lee Designs on board was a real win for us, pulling out the logos in gold foil would be the final finishing touch – a reflection of the brand’s prestige and TLD’s own experimentation with colour.
“Getting the first copy back was a big moment. I’m so happy that we could achieve what I’d visualised. I’m really proud of the results and so are the guys who helped make it happen. The feedback has been absolutely amazing. I think it really reflects both the brand and Saddleback. After Troy saw the finished magazine, he said he knew he’d made the right choice with Saddleback, and you can’t have higher praise than that!”
“The idea was fixed in my mind, but actually achieving it was another matter completely. It was an intensive three-week process to find out if it was even possible. To get the project up and running meant liaising with the printers, the company who’d do the embossing and foiling and a third company who would punch the holes. We all put our heads together and really pushed to get it perfect – it was a collaborative effort that took three or four prototypes before we hit on the formula for the final version.
TO REQUEST A COPY OF THE TROY LEE DESIGNS COVER ISSUE 21 OR ANY OTHER BACK ISSUES PLEASE, EMAIL: INCYCLE@SADDLEBACK.CO.UK OR VISIT: ISSUU.COM/SADDLEBACK.
INTENSIVE GEOMETRY L O O K I N G
B E Y O N D
T H E
N U M B E R S
WORDS JEFF STEBER PICS INTENSE CYCLES
t’s likely that anyone who has recently picked up a mountain bike magazine, or read an article online, has seen the term ‘modern trail geometry’. The geometry of mountain bikes has evolved significantly over the past decade – and unless you’re an avid follower of MTB tech, you might have missed some of the key changes.
Of course, we are all familiar with the basics – the specific numbers and terminology that help us relate to the way a bike might handle. But beyond that there is a bit of voodoo involved, and room for even further tweaking. The notion of ‘perfect’ geometry might be an elusive one, but balanced geometry is obtainable. This always involves a lot of personal preference, and what one rider feels are perfect numbers might leave another either under- or overwhelmed. Getting the balance of numbers right is what makes the difference between a good bike and a great one. And while it can be incredibily hard to determine how a bike will ride simply by looking at a chart of numbers, most riders will make their initial decision or ‘shortlist’ based upon this, failing to factor in suspension kinematics, ergonomics, or spec (which can all have just as big an effect on the overall ride experience as the geo chart). Further, the type of riding, and its location, are both huge factors to consider. Now factor in two wheel sizes – 27.5in and 29in – and the three main MTB segments of cross-country / trail, all-mountain / enduro and park / downhill and everything can start to feel a bit daunting. DE F I N I NG M ODE R N G E OM E T RY
I am going to generalize on the term ‘modern geometry’ as it relates to our current crop of bikes. We hear terms such as ‘aggressive trail’, ‘downhill-inspired’, ‘enduro-class’ and so on. All relate to what we now consider modern geometry. The trend for bikes with long front centres, short chainstays, low bottom brackets, short stems and wide bars is pretty standard-issue these days. But there are also some new numbers to consider in navigating the all-important geo chart. Stack and reach are just as relevant these days (if not more so) than actual or effective top tube length – and how the factors relate is even more important. Since the market settled on the current two main wheel sizes, we now also see fork offset and trail numbers as very important factors in how a bike will handle, especially with 29ers. All this numbersjuggling comes down to a balancing act of all these points and how they effect each other. For the purpose of this article (partly to avoid boring the hell out of you), I decided to focus on specifically how the new modern geometry relates to our ‘JS Tuned’ suspension system – and specifically our take on where Intense is going with all this. The heart and soul of JS Tuned is understanding that each individual size and model of bike is a sum of its parts. By taking our system beyond just the suspension platform, we are able to dial in each model for ideal performance. Here comes that word ‘balance’ again: hopefully we have done your homework for you by using our years of experience riding, racing, crunching the numbers, testing and sweating the details to give the best balance of all these functions and one hell of a great ride. One last note before we dive into this, balanced does not mean boring – that is just not the Intense way.
BA L A NC I NG AC T
In starting any new bike project, and after determining basics such as the segment, travel and so on, I always analyse who the rider will be. ‘Who will buy this bike?’ is a question that plays a big part in the balancing act. Let’s look at the popular enduro segment. The first thing that comes to mind is racers, and as the Enduro World Series (EWS) has become more and more popular, that customer profile range also grows. In addition, enduro bikes also encompass trail and allmountain-style riding – all these things are considered. If I were designing a pure-bred bike for racers only, the numbers would look a bit different than something that will perform for us mere mortals, and in a variety of conditions. As you may have noticed, I like to use the word ‘balance’, preferring it to ‘compromise’ as I am a glass-half-full kind of guy. It’s a give-and-take relationship though, and we want to end up somewhere in the middle – not too spicy, not too bland. As with the law of cause and effect, each adjustment will undoubtedly affect another in a positive or negative way. Slack head angles will be more stable on downhills, but tend to wander more when climbing. Low bottom brackets handle well, but will more likely result in more pedal strikes when tackling technical terrain. You get the idea. Back to the earlier reference to voodoo now: there are tricks we can pull to help the balance, like using a fork with more offset to reduce trail on a bike with a slack head angle and in turn improve low-speed handling, which is effective with slack 29ers. Look at it as ‘more is less’: more offset means less trail. Reach is another important number; more so given how it relates to effective top tube length. Reach measures the perpendicular distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the centre of the head tube, and relates to when you are standing. Effective top tube measures from the centre of the seatpost to the centre of the head tube, and relates to when you are seated. This, along with chainstay length and bottom bracket height, is imperative to consider, to balance your weight bias on the bike. OK, this is really starting to get complicated – I did say I was going to keep this general and could go on and on about balancing the numbers – so let’s move on. E RG ONOM IC S
Now let’s look at how the hardware has changed to make modern geometry possible. This is where another factor of JS Tuned comes into effect, relating directly to specification or the parts that get hung on the frame. These must balance with geometry and kinematics to produce a bike that will inspire you to ride. Wide bars and short stem: function or fashion? Maybe a little of both. With longer reach dimensions, we can run shorter stems to help reposition our weight bias back centred on the bike; also, as the bars get wider we are pulling our weight forward a bit and increasing our leverage. Balancing this relationship is key, and will add stability when riding high-speed and technical sections of trail. Stems of 40 to 50mm combined with 760 to 780mm wide bars are the norm these days on trail / enduro bikes. The general rule of thumb is to maintain a 2:1 ratio of handlebar width to stem length, so for every 20mm increase in bar length you should reduce the stem by 10mm. If you run a 700mm bar with an 80mm stem, you’ll retain a relatively similar position on the bike with a 780mm bar with a 40mm stem. This is by no means an absolute rule, but a useful guideline. Now I think about it, I may have pulled it from the ‘Ricky Bobby’ tech manual on golden ratios – and here I go getting all technical again. Dropper posts also have a big part to play, and almost every spec level of high-end mountain bike now incorporates one. Getting the saddle out of the way on technical sections is key, and being able to keep your centre of gravity low in highspeed corners is a boon when railing berms. Another trend we’ve seen on enduro / trail bikes is for steeper actual seat angles: 74 to 75 degrees is common. This keeps body position forward while climbing, keeping weight over the pedals and the front end down. Shorter chainstays are also all the rage; when we use these with increased travel, we create a bit more room to keep large tyres from catching the seat tube. This helps balance a bike between climbing and descending. Chainstay length, in fact, has a key role in the whole relationship I’m discussing – especially these days with 27.5in and 29in wheels, and trying to keep numbers in check. The relationship between the front and rear wheels and bottom bracket is at the heart of the bike. We tend to like shorter stays on shorter-travel trail bikes – say up to 150mm travel – to preserve their playful nature and climbing capabilities, and increase the length as we go longer in travel. Ultimately, ergonomics are crucial to how well a particular bike and spec will perform for a given rider. So, here’s the voodoo: aside from all these complicated numbers, angles and relationships of cause-and-effect, there are simple adjustments that can be made to fine-tune your bike for your riding style. Trimming bars, or using a different stem length or type of saddle can have a big effect on your ride quality, and you can alter geometry numbers by using offset headsets or angle sets, different offset forks and so on. As I mentioned earlier, I like to think that we have done all the heavy lifting for you and worked our magic with the numbers. As you can see, all the geometry numbers are intertwined and the end goal is to balance all these factors to perform best for a bike’s designated segment. For us, geometry is one piece of the puzzle, one of the key factors of Intense Cycles’ JS Tuned system – and a little voodoo that sets us apart from the herd.
RECLUSE FACTORY THE SPIDER'S BIGGER, MEANER BROTHER HAS ARRIVED The Intense Recluse (pronounced wreck-loose) is named after a poisonous spider common in Southern California where Intense Cycles are based. Appropriately, the Recluse can be characterised as a bigger, meaner sibling to the Spider 275C. With 140mm of rear JS Tuned suspension travel and a 150mm fork, the Recluse is an ideal tough trail machine for conquering all of the mountain – Intense have yet again created a bike that rides with supreme confidence.
140MM JS TUNED SUSPENSION
FRONT MECH COMPLIANT
Travel is delivered via either a Fox Float X2 or a RockShox Monarch Plus shock, both with piggyback to stabilise performance on long rough descents.
Like all of the new JS Tuned Intense bikes the Recluse features both 148 Boost rear spacing and a Boost fork for confidenceinspiring stiffness and stronger wheels.
Although all Recluse complete builds come 1x11 equipped, a direct-mount front mech can be fitted to suit riders who prefer to run a double chainring.
“Intense certainly seem to have raised the bar again with this beautiful bike and its unique colour scheme. With them now having brought their own rims into the mix, we think they have a great looking and feeling bike here, and reckon Intense are back in the game when it comes to the boutique brands.” JIM BUCHANAN ENDURO-MTB.COM
66-DEGREE HEAD ANGLE
INTERNAL CABLE ROUTING
75-DEGREE SEAT ANGLE
Creating the perfect balance between downhill stability and all mountain agility, the Recluse sports an aggressive 66-degree head angle.
Extremely clean and simple internal routing means a sleek and silent ride with no excess cabling getting in the way while out on the trail.
An oft-overlooked but crucial figure, the Recluse features a steep 75-degree seat angle, enabling the rider to get over the pedals and climb more efficiently.
P O W E R P L AY
P O W E R P L AY
POWER PLAY A
N E W
E R A
F O R
T R A I N I N G
W I T H
P O W E R
WORDS TOM BALLARD PICS MICHAEL STOWE
or Stages, the reveal of Dash and Link at Eurobike 2016 is a statement of intent, signalling that the firm is once again looking to reshape the cycling landscape. With a Tour de France-winning power meter, user-friendly head unit and intelligent online training system, the Boulder, Colorado, brand has created a complete ecosystem to change the way we train with power.
Stages’ first project outside of power meter technology itself, Dash is a new high-end cycling head unit that’s designed to be the most powerful and personalised training tool on the market. When partnered with Stages’ new Link cloud-based software, Dash unlocks a simple-to-use but extraordinarily rich training solution. Coming to the UK exclusively from Saddleback in spring 2017, Dash is all about maximising your cycling performance – and that means focusing on the power data that matters. “When a rider buys a power meter, they’re looking for something more than a number – they have a goal,” says Pat Warner, senior vice president of Stages Cycling. “After three years providing power to Team Sky, we’ve realised that athletes from professional to recreational have similar aims: they all want to meet their goals and they need simple guidance and immediate feedback to succeed. “This new Stages ecosystem enables all riders to maximise their performance and meet their goals, with a simple and intuitive interface featuring unrivalled customisation, and training programs that learn and adapt from each rider’s unique characteristics and achievements.” Dash has been created with the power meter user in mind – from data junkies to those who just want the basics out the box. Through intelligent software design, Stages has created a user-friendly yet highly customisable set-up.
P O W E R P L AY
The US brand has created a serious coaching package for cyclists of all levels, wrapped up in an accessible, intuitive experience To keep the user interface simple, Stages has streamlined Dash’s operating system for an intuitive experience that doesn’t take a manual to fathom. A combination of minimal multi-level menus and context-sensitive data – selected automatically based on what sensors are picked up – lets you get on with your ride. If you want to go deeper, though, Dash and Link can offer a complete virtual coaching system to help you reach your goals in a structured yet adaptable way. Based on a training zone philosophy, Link is a one-stop training software platform that encompasses training plans, daily workout planning, activity upload, performance analysis, power meter management and Dash customisation. The real ace here is the training plan builder, a highly intelligent piece of software that, based on your goals and available training time, dynamically creates custom workouts to help you reach your goals. The system can create weekly, monthly and even yearly plans, with the workout for each day sent wirelessly to your Dash, ready for your next session. Back on the road, your Dash displays workouts with on-screen descriptions and prompts for each interval – or rest – to ensure the best possible quality in each and every training session. When you upload to Link, FTP and training zone settings are synced, your future workouts recalibrated and updated automatically based on your performance. It’s essentially like having your own coach planning your next session. Like Dash, Link has been designed with user-friendliness in mind. The tabbed layout gives instant access to each area of the software, yet has plenty of depth for those who want to drill down into their activity data, send workouts to their Dash or totally customise training screen settings. One of the coolest elements is the Performance Manager chart, which shows how past activities and future workouts affect predicted performance. With Stages’ Power, Dash and Link ecosystem, the US brand has created a serious coaching package that’s suitable for cyclists of all levels, and comes wrapped up in an accessible, intuitive experience. It’s the perfect way to demystify the complexities of training with power and guide riders through the process of working towards increased performance, nailing racing goals along the way.
DASH FEATURES 2.7in high-resolution, high-contrast display | Fully customisable â€“ up to 16 fields per screen | Split screen mode with separate static and scrolling data Landscape or portrait orientation | GPS course logging | Micro USB charging â€“ three hours to full | 25 to 30 hours of riding time per charge | Bluetooth and ANT+ protocols Connects with up to eight sensors | New enhanced .stages file format with Stages cranks | Strong, aerodynamic, multi-position mounting system.
MEDIA COVERAGE HERE’S A QUICK TASTE OF SOME OF THE MAGAZINES OUR PRODUCTS HAVE APPEARED IN OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS.
STRAI GH T OUT OF TH E BOX AN D ON TO TH E TRAI LS
Road shoes under £200
WHAT THEY SAY: The Kaos road shoes utilise many Sidi technologies to provide the best fitting and most comfortable shoe possible. Combined with Sidi’s Millennium 4 carbon composite sole means you get superb comfort alongside exceptional power transfer. WHAT WE SAY: Well regarded in the world of performance footwear, Sidi has produced some of the most race-orientated shoes ever and the Kaos are no exception. However, they don’t seem to pull off that racy feel with their ratchet system and their weight – they’re the heaviest shoes on test (700g in size 45). Other shoes like Shimano’s RP9 are similar in weight and retention systems but they don’t claim to be a race-ready shoe. That’s fine, though, as the Kaos are incredibly durable, comfortable and has the stiffest sole on test – just through the thickness you get a sense of the watts that these can transmit. Much like the Shimano RP9s, the Kaos miss out on decent ventilation, making summer riding a sweaty affair that could be improved upon. Having said all that, the shoe is real product of experience. A supple upper body is complimented by a ratchet system whose reach can be adjusted to fit most foot shapes combined with a self-styled wire system that clasps the foot snugly. On top of this, the heel cup, seems to be perfectly moulded so there is no heel movement at all when powering up or down the road. Overall, a great cycling slipper for the price but the Kaos just misses out on being a great race shoe.
Roval CLX 32 Disc wheels
Slowly but surely it seems that most manufacturers are adding at least one plus-size bike to their line-up. Intense are the latest to back the wide(r) tyre trend with their new ACV trail bike.
The frame Intense are keen to point out that the ACV (Air Cushioned Vehicle) has been built specifically around 650b+ tyres. Though you can slot a set of 29in wheels into the frame, it’s not something the American brand are pushing. The ACV delivers either 115mm or 130mm of travel (changed at the lowermost shock mount) via Intense’s own ‘JS Tuned’ twinlink suspension system (they no longer license the VPP design from Santa Cruz, though this is similar), complete with ‘i-BOX’ lower link, which attaches to the mainframe
oval’s CLX 40 carbon wheels were great, in all but one sense. Specialized’s wheel boffs developed them in conjunction with its new Tarmac Disc (see issue 49) so they were optimised for that bike but not directly compatible with any other. Recognising the £175 saddleback.co.uk limitations of only making wheels to suit your own bikes, Specialized has developed a fully industryOVERALL standard compatible version – and if the stats are 8 10 to be believed, made them both lighter and faster. The first obvious change is a shallower profile, down 8mm to 32mm in depth, yet Specialized claims they perform better aerodynamically than its deeper wheels at the most common yaw angles. ‘Our main aim was to make these wheels lighter, so we had to reduce rim depth but we didn’t want to sacrifice aerodynamics,’ says Specialized’s David Alexander. ‘We used a wider rim shape and in combination with our own Roval Aero Flange BIKES ETChubs and DT Swiss Aerolite spokes it actually resulted in improved aero performance over the CLX 40, despite being shallower and 135g lighter at 1,350g a pair.’ Tubeless compatibility and CeramicSpeed bearings as standard top off an enviable spec list.
Castelli Idro jacket
£230, saddleback.co.uk Castelli’s new Idro jacket is one of the first on the cycling market to use Gore’s latest waterproof material – GoreTex Active. It forgoes any face fabric, allowing it to be considerably thinner (we’re talking really thin), much lighter and more breathable too, despite still being fully waterproof. It won’t be as durable as multi-layered GoreTex fabrics, but at just 123g it’s roughly half the weight of your average packable waterproof jacket, so if light weight and stowability are your priorities the Idro will definitely appeal.
CV P RO
£5,399 Intense’s latest trail bike gets the plus-size treatment just above the bottom bracket. Intense say this new lower link – which still has a handy grease port – allows for shorter chainstays. They’ve sleeved the BB, upper pivot and head tube to ensure things fit more precisely and last longer, and the Boosted rear triangle gets a driveside bracing strut to improve stiffness further. The cable routing is all internal and doesn’t rattle about in the frame, plus there’s integrated chainstay protection to help quieten things down.
The kit After testing a variety of different rim and tyre combos, Intense settled on 2.8in Maxxis Ikon+ tyres mounted on DT Swiss M 1600 40mm rims. Suspension duties are taken care of by a 150mm travel RockShox Pike RCT3 up front and a RockShox Monarch RT3 DebonAir at the rear. The brakes also come from the SRAM stable, in the shape of the mid-range Guide RS, while the transmission uses a mix of
SPEC Frame Carbon fibre, 115-130mm (4.5-5.1in) travel Fork RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air Boost, 150mm (5.9in) travel Shock RockShox Monarch RT3 DebonAir Drivetrain SRAM X01 rear mech, X1 shifter and Race Face Next SL cranks (1x11) Wheelset DT Swiss M1600 SPLINE TWO rims on 240 Boost hubs, Maxxis Ikon+ EXO 27.5x2.8in tyres Brakes SRAM Guide RS Bar/stem Renthal Fatbar, 760mm/ Thomson, 50mm Seatpost/saddle KS LEV Integra (dropper)/Fabric Scoop Radius Elite Weight 13.85kg (30.53lb), medium size, with pedals
GERNESS RIGHTLY EA FROM THE SP PEDAL STROKE, OF THE FIRST SED TO NOT ES RD PR YOU’D BE HA OARD THIS BIKE HAVE FUN AB
46 Mountain Biking UK
Mountain Biking UK 47
MOUNTAIN BIKING UK
September 2016 BikesEtc ■ 65
Rapha Medium Support bra £50, rapha.cc
The release of Rapha’s Support bra completes its range of women’s performance wear. A long time in development, Rapha tells us, ‘to get the details just so’, it is designed to deliver an anatomic fit with adequate support, wicking capabilities, anti-bacterial treatment and a light compression effect. For those that (quite rightly) believe matching kit is worth ENVE 4.5has AR DISC an extra 10 watts, the bra £2,900 ||| $3,200 also been designedIncreasingly to work disruptive, Enve have designed the first aero wheelset for specifically with Rapha’s 30mm tyres, with super-wide rims preserving the aerodynamics. The Souplesse range. AR was initially conceived for Paris-Roubaix, to solve the conflict between the need for a big tyre on the cobbles and an aero rim for the 80 per cent of the route that’s smooth tarmac, but it is equally applicable for gravel roads or as a comfort boost. The AR is for disc brakes and bolt-through axles only and offered as clincher or tubular tyre fit. This set weighs 1,570g. www.enve.com
108 Procycling / November 2016
ROTOR POWER LT hill reps at 50rpm and high effort caused it to under-read by 5% compared to riding at normal cadence. And it doesn’t catch sprints very well, often showing a maximum power figure that’s lower by as much as 100-200W. Weight +50g Left/right No Range 1 model, 110/130BCD, 170-175mm cranks That’s not all. It’s slower to respond to DIY battery swap Yes Battery/life CR2477B/approx 100hrs changes in effort, and gear shifts usually cause power to drop to zero for a second Rotor launched the left-sided Power to calibrate it before every ride. The meter or two, as if the clunk of the shift had LT to create a more affordable entry point wakes with the first light push on the upset it. That might not sound like a big below its dual-sided Power, though oddly pedal, so it won’t go to sleep on a long deal but when you’re used to training to it was only ever sold as a complete crankset coasted descent. power using one of the slicker meters so you couldn’t upgrade a Rotor crankset The CR2477 battery is rare and slightly here, it grates a bit. you already owned. more costly than most, but then it lasts As we finalised this test, Rotor The LT weighs just 50g more than a longer than any of the other replaceable announced that the Power LT left-sided regular 3D+ crankset, making it the second batteries in this test (it’s three times the crank meter is being discontinued and lightest here behind the Stages. The strain size) though we still recommend that it will focus on the newer gauges are built into the crank arm and the keeping a spare, especially if you’re INpower which is also left-sided electronic gubbins are housed in a unit on travelling as you won’t find them but measures at the axle, uses HIGHS the end. It has an accelerometer so doesn’t in many shops. an AA battery and costs from just Light, stiff, need a magnet, making both installation In normal, steady riding the £499 if you buy the left crank consistent, reliable and pairing a breeze. Power LT performed very well, to go with your existing Rotor LOWS Rotor proudly claims that the Power LT tracking closely with other meters crankset, or £599 for a complete Slow to respond, (and its siblings) is entirely unaffected by and remaining consistent. Certain crankset. We’ll be testing an poor at sprints temperature changes and so you don’t need efforts confused it, though. Doing INpower very soon.
£799 › Spanish company’s crank-based
WE SAY Light, reliable and consistent, the Power LT is good value but let down by some erratic data
CYCLING PLUS | March 2016 | 125
G EA R GUIDE
£8.99-£23.75 › Keep your repair essentials to hand with some little luggage
BEST ON TEST
WE SAY Subtly aristrocratic all-round performance with a price to match
ENVE SES 3.4 CHRIS KING
Weight 680 + 830 = 1510g Width 18.5/ 25.5mm (f), 16.5/23.5mm (r) Engagement 8°
These feature different depth rims – 30mm front, 40mm rear – but what you can’t see is that the front is 2mm wider internally and externally. Both have a similar bulged profile that gives an aerodynamic advantage and windproof handling. ENVE’s US-made rims are joined by high-quality Chris King hubs, though these will need adjusting on early rides. The rear gives a near-immediate pickup, and there’s a creamy glide from the bearings. Ride feel is a balance of smooth cruising and obedient stiffness that’s at home on hills, headwinds or corkscrew descents, where the HIGHS progressive braking Impeccably shines. The result of understated allall this technology is round performance a heavenly ride, LOWS accompanied by an Hubs need early unholy price. They’re TLC; crazy expensive not tubeless either.
AXIOM SIERRA LX
£2500 Beautifully made wheels but priced to match
EASTON EC90 SL £2399.98 Weight 640 + 830 = 1470g Width 18/25mm Engagement 6.6°
Easton’s Fantom design is blunt, accompanying a 28mm maximum width with a depth of just 38mm, but it handles superbly – crosswinds feeling as if they’re sucking the front wheel forward. The sealed bed rim is tubeless compatible but even fitted with tubes the ride is smooth, the 18mm internal width taking 30mm-plus tyres so securely that these wheels will even handle aggressive cyclo-cross. The virtually instant freehub – 6.6° engagement being the fastest here – means acceleration is excellent. Braking is assured and communicative even in heavy rain.
Its little extra height means the 30g Micro will take a pair of inner tubes at Carbon wheels have never been faster, safer and more a versatile. push.TheIt has a slightly more watereagle-eyed will notice that the highest-scoring wheels are clustered construction than some, resistant at the less expensive end of the test, but there are outstanding performers with an Aquaguard zip, complete if you’re determined to prove the a poor single hook-and-loop strap depth of your purse.and However, brake pads, dull ride quality, needy thatanddoes up securely. You do need bearings, sketchy handling a self-detaching freehub all crop up to remove the bag for full access, but at the more exalted end of the spectrum. For under a grand choose once again it’s hard to fault Wiggle’s from Prime’s stif, light racers or the easy speed and smoothness of brand for sheer value. house Fulcrum. But it’s Shimano Dura-Ace
B A S E L AY E R S
and with a heavier fabric where you need more protection. The material is hydrophilic so it spreads the moisture out over a wider area to help it evaporate quicker. It’s the perfect base layer for this time of year because it has that protection but is also breathable where you need it.’
that takes our value title, thanks to their bearing quality, sublime tubeless-ready ride and assured aluminium rim braking. The overall title goes to Hunt, for its latest 38 Carbon Wide Aero wheels. These combine every contemporary feature you could want, with a buoyant, sweet-handling ride that shames some wheels at three times the price.
The 72g Axiom is the biggest bag The 57g Uno is a simple and effective on test, easily holding a couple of way to transport one inner tube and inner tubes. The Sierra’s three-strap a few other small essentials. It’s a arrangement isn’t the most elegant tiny bit larger than it needs to be, CASTELLI MAVIC WIND RIDE or the easiest to install, but it avoids but very practical with a foolproof PROSECCO SS £45 TEE £52.50 interference with the zip, SS so access single-strap design and an offset zip on the‘The go key is straightforward. The that lets you open the bag without CHARLOTTE: feature CHARLOTTE: ‘This great base of the Prosecco is thatisitauses two idea, but layer uses Mavic’s 37.5 fabric, which light clip good not the removing it from the bike. It comes in different most weightsuseful of fabric,shape, with a and the is designed to absorb body heat and (with leather logo), or black with Sierra also black thinner layer where your shorts are wick away moisture – Mavic claims features reflective details.it’s five times quicker at wickingaaway choice of different coloured piping. going to cover it, so it’s not as heavy, moisture than a standard polyester base layer. It has set-in sleeves to match the riding position and a silicone hem to stop it riding up. The windproof membrane on the front also makes it great for windy days.’
122 | October 2016 | CYCLING PLUS
ENDURA SEAT PACK (with LED)
TOPEAK DYNAWEDGE MICRO
This 122g bag feels better made than most of its competitors, but
This slim, 70g bag will appeal to aero obsessives but its unusual shape
CASTELLI UNDERSADDLE MINI £23.75
WAT E R P R O O F J A C K E T
Castelli’s little bag is light at 37g and relatively stylish as saddle packs go
WHO IS JENN GABRIELLI?
Former pro-downhiller, current marketing manager at Intense Cycles, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Silverman fan. Pretty sure I was a Brit in past life, as whenever I have a few drinks I take on a British accent. Strange really.
HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR WAY INTO THE BIKE INDUSTRY?
I graduated college and was considering law school. I went to a bike race one weekend in Bend, Oregon, and totally fell in love with riding. I moved to SoCal to pursue sponsorships and more serious training. I wasn’t quick enough to make a living as pro racer, so I took an office job at a very new company – Intense Cycles – in 1996. They paid me mostly in bikes and took me racing. I never left…
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A RIDER?
I think I used to be a good rider but was always a terrible racer. I choked all the time. Even last year, I did the Legends of Kamikaze race in Mammoth, California. Zero pressure. Totally choked and crashed. I could just never get my mental game together. It takes a lot more than being a good rider to be a successful racer.
WHAT’S YOUR PROUDEST CYCLING MOMENT?
I think right now is. Seeing our Factory Team grow and move to the next level has been really great. I am super proud of our riders – Jack Moir, Dean Lucas, Nik Nestoroff. They all had ups and downs this season, but they’re all so talented and just stoked to be out racing. Growing the program for 2017 is really exciting – we have some new sponsors on board and lots of plans for an amazing year. Fort William is going to be insane. Can’t wait!
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WORLD TO RIDE AND WHY?
Ugh. Impossible question to answer! So many amazing places. I love the Pacific Northwest in the US. So many trees and amazing flow trails. We did some great riding in Italy a couple years back with [Shaun] Palmer and some of the Intense crew that ranks up there. Have ridden Forest of Dean a few times too, which reminds me a lot of the Pacific Northwest – loamy dirt and tall trees – all epic locations.
WHAT’S THE SCARIEST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO YOU ON A BIKE?
If you spend enough time on a bike, you’re going to have some spills – that goes for everyone. I’ve ended up in the hospital more than once, but I’m always more freaked out to see other people crash. Once I was riding my favourite local trail here (San Juan Trail) with my friend and former teammate, Amber Tinstman, who was five months pregnant at the time. We were riding way too fast (especially since she was pregnant) and she crashed. I jumped off my bike and ran to her as fast as I could, imagining the worst. I found her lying on the ground and laughing her ass off. The baby was fine and is now a 16-year old trophy truck and ski racer. Crazy.
WHO’S YOUR CYCLING HERO / HEROINE?
Every single privateer who sleeps in his / her car and spends all their pay on bikes or racing are my heroes. Those are the people who make our sport. We couldn’t do what we do without them. They are the heart of our sport.
WHAT CAN YOU DO BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE YOU KNOW?
I used to be able to shotgun a beer pretty well, but then I showed Kovarik how to do it and I think he holds the crown now. Seriously, though, I try not to compare myself to others – just try to run my own race.
WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE POST-RIDE MEAL? Mexican food. Hands down.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT ON YOUR BIKE, WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO BE?
Anywhere outside, in nature. I love Mammoth and go there every opportunity I get. I love to take my daughter Abbey, who's 12, up there and rip it up with her. So fun to to see her ride.
IF YOU WERE AN INTENSE BIKE, WHICH WOULD YOU BE AND WHY? Well, I would have to say I would be an M1 – old but classic! Ha ha.
S TA F F R I D E S
T O M ’ S S TA F F R I D E TRI-LOVING INCYCLE FEATURES EDITOR TOM TALKS THROUGH HIS WELL-MODDED CANNONDALE SLICE
Having tested my sanity against many a convoluted TT bike set-up, Cannondale’s prioritisation of practicality, comfort and low weight made the Slice a winner for me. The bike is everything I’d hoped it would be and more – especially with a touch of Saddleback magic. A 1,250g frame might be scoffed at in road circles, but it’s impressively light for a time-trial machine, especially considering its blunted aerofoil design makes it more aerodynamic than the bike’s more slippery looking Ironman World Championshipwinning predecessor. In fact, it’s as fast as anything else I’ve been lucky enough to ride – and the best in crosswinds, too. Plus, as a lightish rider heading into a race at 67kg, the lower weight is a bonus up climbs, where the bike feels surprisingly efficient. It also handles beautifully, aided by direct-mount brakes that actually work – I’ve upgraded to the excellent TriRig Omega X at the front. The comfy lay-up has also helped me run better than ever off the bike. As much as I love racing in retro high-vis Speedos, bright green isn’t my colour of choice, so I’m not ashamed to say that the model choice of mechanical Ultegra came down purely to the gorgeous matt-blue colourway. Of course, the bike’s
changed quite a bit since purchase, with Saddleback brands giving me plenty of aero gains. Before the first ride, I had a set of Enve’s Simon Smart-designed SES Aerobars installed, the uncompromisingly aero cockpit aiding not only speed but front-end stiffness as a whole. My Rotor INpower has been indispensable in pacing my low-and-long power strategy. It’s been completely fuss-free to use and utterly reliable in all conditions. Another benefit was the chance to hone my Q-Rings positioning though the brand’s User Software. Enve was called on again in the wheel department, Ironman Mallorca’s mountain ascent making the SES 4.5 wheelset with Enve carbon hubs the ideal combination of feathery lightness and speed-enhancing aerodynamics. I don’t like any frame-mounted bottles on my race set-up, so a sprinkling of Arundel would mean no race-compromising bottle ejections – and a perfect spares bag sitting under the saddle, which is a Cobb JOF55. The only other addition for race day is the middling-at-best engine (I worked out I’m worth little more than one of uber-biker Lionel Sanders’ legs) wrapped in a Castelli Free Sanremo Suit SS to help me shave a few seconds and stay totally comfy in the process.
S TA F F R I D E S
I N S TA G R A M S
@ A LC H E M Y B I C YC L E S
@ A S T U T E I TA L I A
@ C A S T E L L I C YC L I N G
@ I N T E N S E C YC L E S
@ S TA G E S C YC L I N G
F I NA L T HOU G H T “The cycling retail world has already gone through changes, and what’s going to be expected of a physical bike shop and an internet bike shop will both continue to change. We need to be that brand that can drive profitability and success for both of those channels, through continuing to make innovative, exciting products that people want to come and buy. “They’re going to want to come and try it on in a shop, where we’ll be able to bring that emotional aspect – where you can see it and touch it and you want to buy it there and then. We also want to improve that shopping experience. The old style of stuff hanging on a rack isn’t going to provide a successful shopping experience for the consumer of tomorrow. “Cycling retail needs to be up at the level of other areas, and we’re going work hard to provide the products that continue to drive customers into the store – and those that dealers can make profitable. A lot of that’s going to depend on us continuing to drive product innovation, which means that Saddleback is pretty key in translating that into this market.”
ST E VE SMIT H CAST ELLI B RA N D MA N AGER
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