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the new Catlike concept Continuously evolving Since being the first company to introduce Graphene into the world of helmets, Catlike has continued to innovate with technology and styling. With the new Olula, Catlike combines EPS and PPE. EPS is long known for its low weight, durability, and thermal regulation. The unique addition of PPE allows the helmet to absorb the energy of multiple impacts in a crash, and best of all, it is 100% recyclable. Worn by the Movistar team during the Paris-Nice and Vuelta a CataluĂąa in 2016, and now available to the market, The Olula is lighter (234g) and has more vents (27) than anything else at the same price.

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CONTENTS SUMMER FEATURES CHRIS FROOME VS CP

114

Just how fit is Chris Froome? And how does the fitness of our own everyman cyclist John Whitney compare? We go to a laboratory to separate fact from fiction, and the man from the boy…

RIDE YOUR HEART HEALTHY

122 

We all guessed as much, but cycling really can keep your heart

healthy, helping to reduce the chances of strokes, heart disease and more – so yet another reason to ride!

TEAM CYCLING PLUS

154

Two of our Team Cycling Plus guinea pigs, Rachel and Reuben, tackle the Mallorca 312 – 312km in the Mediterranean sunshine (or maybe not). Plus nutrition advice from the Etixx expert.

We ventured to the vertiginous Mont Ventoux and didn’t even climb it! (p164)

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 11


136

Sitting comfortably? No? Then read this saddles test

50

10 pro-quality Tour de France bikes to whet our Tour appetites...

GEAR & BIKE REVIEWS FIRST RIDES

18 

The Terra Gravel Road from Orro, Merlin’s sub£2K Di2-equipped carbon Cordite, the Niner RLT 9, AllCity’s Macho Man Disc and Scott takes on Giant in a high-street head to head

BIKE TEST

50 

Ten pro-quality bikes that you can buy are put to the test. Each of them will feature prominently in the Tour de France peloton come July. From Canyon and Cannondale to Scott, Trek, Specialized and more, we

VIB Orbea’s Ordu M20i-Ltd is that rare beast – a triathlon bike that’s also legal for UCI-sanctioned time trials. It’s a blue Basque countrydesigned blade-like beauty 120

12 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

separate the maillot jaune from the lanterne rouge…

KIT TEST

96 

The same shoes Chris Froome rides in, highend wheels from Mavic and DT Swiss, Parlee’s superhigh-end carbon cockpit and seatpost, FSA’s K-Force Light brakes, road shoes and more

TEST — SADDLES

136 

As one of your few contact points with your bike, the saddle is one of the most important components of all…

SUNGLASSES Wearing sunnies is more than just a case of looking cool and keeping the sun out. A good pair will make your cycling both more enjoyable and safer 128

106

Vittoria’s retro-tastic shoes take us back to 1976! NED BOULTING! Exclusive column p186

EVERY MONTH 30

Tim Krabbé’s novel The Rider rides again; we return to the north for a trio of rides based in Lancashire’s Trough of Bowland; Rob Ainsley asks whether we’re ‘cyclists’ or ‘people who ride’, a crucial distinction; and deaf rider Shane Prendergast trains for a ride across the USA.

145

Why racing is good for you and how to go about it. Milk, what is it good for? Absolutely everything, it would seem – whey to go! We also have essential advice on how to train for your first charity ride and how to avoid sunburn. Plus how Ross Serdet shed eight stone through cycling.

163

The ‘Giant of Provence’ has achieved a near-mythical status. We voyage to the Moon-like Mont Ventoux for a pain-free ride around its beautiful surroundings. Further east and Italy’s wine country hosts the Eroica event – which has spawned a number of similar rides.


THE ALL-NEW DOMANE

A

M O N U M E N TA L A DVA N TAG E


WELCOME FREE

TIFOSI VENTUS GLASSES WORTH £35

FROM THE EDITOR...

when you subscribe to Cycling Plus See p112

England goalkeeper, F1 driver, Olympic 10,000m champion, Tour de France contender… In my head during younger, more idle moments I often imagined the untold adulation and riches that would be mine as I achieved sporting greatness. The reality, of course, is that the closest I’ve come to any of this is riding a sportive on a Tour stage, watching a penalty shootout in the pub and holding a clean driving licence. I know that I’m, at best, an average cyclist and runner, a bloody awful footballer and can drive a car... When it comes to cycling John Whitney also knows that he’s ‘average’, especially when compared to Tour champ Chris Froome. And lucky John has scientific evidence to back up his ‘averageness’. Turn to page 114 to find out more.

Rob Spedding, Editor-in-chief ANY OTHER BUSINESS? Ticking over… Recently I took myself to my GP for a check-up after ignoring the mild ache I’d been feeling in my chest for a while. One ECG later and I had the all clear but I did start to think a little more about my middle-aged heart’s health. So, I asked our cycling GP Andy Ward to take a closer look at cyclists’ hearts. See p122

Superbike shootout! Forget the racing! The best bit of the Tour de France is drooling over the saucy new bike tech the pros are rocking during July. And, of course, we don’t just have to stare wistfully at Bert’s Specialized or Chris’s Pinarello – we can, if our pockets are deep enough, own those bikes too. We take 10 for a spin from p50

Get in touch… Don’t forget that if you’ve anything you want to say you can chat with us via @cyclingplus on Twitter, CyclingPlusMagazine on Facebook and cyclingplus on Instagram. And, of course, you can always email us at cyclingplus@immediate. co.uk. It’s good to talk!


Look out for our Best On Test award. We only give this to gear that really deserves your attention

THE UK’S BEST TESTS BUYING ADVICE YOU CAN TRUST

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Here at Cycling Plus we take our testing seriously and have been putting road cycling products through their paces for 23 years. Our test team, led by senior technical editor Warren Rossiter, is the best in the business. They’ve got decades of cycling experience between them and know what makes a good – and bad – bike, accessory, gadget or garment. That means you can trust us to bring you honest assessments of every product we feature. If it gets our seal of approval then you can be sure that you’ll be bagging a great buy!

First Ride sees our test team bring you their first impressions of the most exciting new bikes available. As soon as they’re out, we’re riding!

Before you buy a bike, you want to know how it stacks up against its rivals and that’s where Road Test comes in. Each month we compare six bikes

There’s a plethora of new gadgets and gear tempting you to part with your cash. New Kit is where we’ll tell you what’s worth splashing out on

To make the best buying decision you need products tested in context. Our Gear Guide is where we put the gear you need through its paces

THIS MONTH’S TESTERS PREVIEW THEIR ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS

We don’t just test bikes and send them back – some are here for the long haul. Find out what our favourite rides are like to live with in Our Bikes

RATINGS EXPLAINED +++++

EXCEPTIONAL A genuine class leader

++++

VERY GOOD One of the best you can buy

+++

BIKE TESTS

BIKE TEST

BIKE AND KIT TESTS...

The Tour de France bikes (p50) have the features we can expect to see on bikes in 2017, while Orro’s Terra Gravel (p18) and All-City’s Macho Man Disc (p24) show today’s trends Warren Rossiter, Technical editor

As a bike tester it’s alltoo-easy to get blasé about bike gizmos, but what happens when I get the chance to ride a bike with electronic shifters? Turn to p22 to find out… Simon Withers, Production editor

It was a treat to test some of the bikes that will be ridden in the Tour (p50) and I also clocked up miles on Niner’s quirky RLT 9 (p25) and some classy clincher wheels (p98) Matthew Allen, Senior technical writer

16 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

GOOD It’ll do the job very well

++

BELOW AVERAGE Flawed in some way

+

POOR Simply put, don’t bother


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¿]LNFRPPDNLQJRIFKDPSLRQV GERAINT THOMAS MBE, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST. CHOOSES R1B UOMO.


T S R FI RIDE

18 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS


ORRO TERRA GRAVEL ROAD

Images: Robert Smith

£999.99 › Brit boys’ take on the adventure/‘all-road’ bike Sussex-based Orro has made quite a splash with its expanding bike range since its launch less than three years ago. All of the company’s bikes are not only designed in the UK, they’re also assembled in Britain, not far from Orro’s Ditchling Beacon testing grounds. Orro is the house bike brand of i-ride, the UK distributor for Prologo, 3T, Fulcrum and De Rosa among many major marques, which allows it to offer kit specifications on its bikes up there with online outfits such as Rose and Canyon. The 1000-quid Terra, for example, comes with classy components such as a 3T cockpit SPECIFICATION Weight 9.55kg (XL) and seatpost, a Frame 6061 Prologo saddle and aluminium Fulcrum wheels – Fork Carbon Gears Shimano 105, most of which are 50/34, 11-28 rare sights on bikes Brakes TRP Spyre costing a grand. Wheels Fulcrum Racing Sport Disc The Terra Gravel Finishing kit 3T Road, as its name Arx II Pro stem, 3T suggests, is aimed Ergonova Pro bar and Stilo 25 Pro squarely at the setback seatpost, booming ‘all-road’/ Prologo Kappa gravel bike sector. But Evo saddle, 28mm this is more than Vittoria Zaffiro tyres

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 19


FIRST RIDE

Below The brushed and polished aluminium is triple butted to keep the weight down. It looks good too Bottom The Spyre mechanically actuated disc brakes proved to be very effective

As the late Lemmy used to sing, “I’ve got a silver machine… and I’m still feeling mean!”

HIGHS

just a reworked cyclo-cross bike, Orro’s designers having put a lot of effort into creating the Terra. The frame angles – 73-degree head, 72.6-degree seat – resemble those of a road bike, and it’s also quite long and not that tall at the front, much like a road bike. So hit the tarmac and this feels every inch the road-going machine. But the bottom bracket has been lowered and the near-105cm wheelbase is longer than a road bike’s for greater stability. In spite of this, though, the Terra never feels ponderous, even when you’re threading your way through twisty country lanes. The brushed and polished triplebutted aluminium frame adds an old-school air of class, but the ride quality it offers is thoroughly modern. The slender seatpost, skinny seatstays and full-carbon fork combine to offer a cushioned feel on the road that translates into bump-nulling smoothness when you venture onto more variable

20 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

Very accomplished chassis with impeccable handling

LOWS Vittoria’s tyres are road friendly but limit its adventure appeal

BUY IF You’re looking for a well-equipped, very capable commuter with potential for much, much more

surfaces. And i-ride’s brands also mean quality contact points, with the saddle, handlebar and bar tape contributing to its accomplished manner. Front and rear mudguard fittings and rear rack mounts make the Terra a very capable fast commuter or day-to-day allrounder, though you will need to switch to more capable tyres for bigger adventures. The wire-beaded Vittoria Zaffiro tyres feel quick enough on the road, but that’s partly because they do come up quite narrow in spite of their nominal 28mm width, even on the wider Fulcrum rims. But go off road and hit the bumps and you will quickly find their limits. That said, the frame can take rubber up to 42mm wide, so if you’re

THE VERDICT Value-packed machine that’s suitable for dayto-day riding and much bigger adventures

looking to venture off the tarmac and on to the gravel you can. We appreciate the Zaffiros help with the Terra’s all-round appeal, but considering the bike’s name we would have liked something a bit more gravel friendly. The kit is on the upper end of what you can expect for £1000 (a price that means it hits the Cycle to Work scheme’s tax breaks). Shimano’s 105 groupset is at the heart of things, performing as efficiently and with as little fuss as usual. The Fulcrum Racing Sport Disc wheels are stiff and secure, the TRP Spyre cable disc brakes are excellent as are the contact points. However, it’s the frame that remains the star. It delivers a smooth and comfortable ride with the stability to give you confidence to really push it when the conditions become more challenging. Its fixtures and fittings add to its versatility, so you can ride it to work, to the shops, to the Continent, or pretty much anywhere you want…


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FIRST RIDE

THREE THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT THE...

MERLIN CORDITE ULTEGRA Di2 £1899 The frame At this price, and considering the quality kit, you’d expect an off-theshelf frame. But the made-by-Ridley Cordite is a cut above, looks the part and UCI approval confirms its raceready status. The geometry is racy, with a slightly taller head-tube about the only concession to less aggressive riding. Unlike most similarly equipped bikes at this price you can also buy it from a ‘real’ shop as well as online.

The kit It’s easy to get blasé about Shimano’s Di2 electronic shifting (here in its Ultegra guise with the battery neatly housed in the seat-tube). But if you’ve not used it before you will find it a revelation – it’s fantastic and works perfectly. Necessary? Maybe not. Want it? Yes. Fulcrum’s smooth-running Racing Quattros are also a great sight on a sub-£2000 bike. Light for the price, a modern, slightly wider rim for 25mm tyres and hardwearing. The subtly flattened handlebar tops and padded bar tape are also fine choices.

The ride

ONE THING WE’D CHANGE It’s no softie If you like a soft, super-plush ride then this may not be your best option. It’s not uncomfortable, but its firmness is always to the fore, and it bounces over bumpy roads rather than soaking up ruts. The right saddle and tyres will help, but this is still more for the racer or sportive rider looking for speed.

22 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

SPECIFICATION WEIGHT 8.1kg (L) FRAME 24-ton high-modulus carbon FORK Carbon GEARS Shimano Ultegra Di2, 52/36, 11-28 BRAKES Shimano Ultegra WHEELS Fulcrum Racing Quattro FINISHING KIT 4ZA Cirrus stem, bar and 31.6 mm carbon seatpost, 25mm Continental Ultra Sport II tyres

Image Robert Smith

It lives up to its name. Merlin’s Cordite handles as niftily as a bird of prey with an acceleration as explosive as cordite. It’s flighty, fast and fun and made for getting from A to B with the minimum of fuss. The 52x11 top gear will power you along the flat and down descents that it tackles with verve, venom and control, and it climbs pretty well too. This is not a bike for dawdling on…


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FIRST RIDE

ALL-CITY MACHO MAN DISC

SPECIFICATION

Following on from pop culture-inspired names such as Mr Pink, Thunderdome and Log Lady, US steel specialist All-City has created the Macho Man – named after a song by the Village People (or the ring name of wrestler Randy Savage). It’s a cyclo-cross-derived “everyday mount for ripping trails, bombing alleys, commuting, riding in the wet and generally getting rad”. CX-flavoured gravel bikes like this give you bags of clearance for large diameter tyres. The Macho Man comes with 38mm rubber or you can go smaller and fit full mudguards – the bike has fittings for front and rear ’guards (but no rear rack mounts). The chromoly steel frame and matching fork display All-City’s usual attention to detail, some of which are rare on a frameset costing just £525. These include a cast logo-embossed seat binder

24 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

cluster, reinforced bottle bosses, investment-cast stainless steel vertical rear dropouts and a custom bottom bracket shell. The frame should prove durable, thanks to its ED – electrophoretic deposition – coating. It is dipped in a paint bath and subjected to an electric charge, leaving a thin internal and external coating that’s resistant to corrosion even before primer is applied. This bike rides as it sounds – stiff and powerful where it needs to be, especially for such a skinny-tubed frame. The response to your pedalling is impressive, as is the frame’s rigidity at the dropouts, especially under braking. The steel tubes have a bit of life to them too, resulting in a well-balanced ride, while the straight-bladed steel fork does a good job of softening big, sharp bumps. Comfort is enhanced by the Schwalbe Smart Sams, their square block pattern tread shedding dirt well and gripping tenaciously on hard-

packed tracks. Though when you’re cornering on tarmac you do get a bit of disconcerting squirm. The Macho Man is at its best on gravel and rough stuff. The ’crossderived drivetrain –46/36 chainset, 11-28 cassette – is also best suited to gravel. On steep road climbs it suffers because of its fat, treaded tyres, an all-up weight of 11kg and a slightly high 36x28 bottom gear. Get further afield and away from the inclines where weight isn’t an issue, and the ride is smooth and the handling sharp and tight. This Macho Man is a dream to get dirty with, just don’t expect to get to the dirty stuff at the same speed you would on a more road-focused machine.

THE VERDICT Stylish and accomplished off-road/ on-road machine

Image Robert Smith

£1425 › Minneapolis’s finest’s tough all-road, all-rounder

Weight 11kg (58cm) Frame 612 select double-butted chromoly steel Fork Lugged crown chromoly steel Gears Shimano 105, (Shimano CX50 11-28), 46/36 Brakes Avid BB7, Gusset GRS 160mm rotors Wheels Halo Vapour Disc Finishing kit Genetic stem, Flare bar and seatpost, Gusset Black Jack saddle, 35mm Schwalbe Smart Sam tyres


Tarmac, bridleways, fire roads? Niner’s RLT 9 will cope with the lot…

Slimline tubes and a superskinny steel fork but the Macho Man lives up to its name and is a surprisingly tough cookie

The All-City head-tube badge features the Hennepin Avenue Bridge, a major landmark in Minneapolis

Great finish quality and the Macho Man also comes with fittings – and clearance – for front and rear mudguards

NINER RLT 9 HIGHS Superb offroad manners, accomplished frameset, fun

LOWS Weighty and ponderous on tarmac

BUY IF You want a stylish all-roader that’s very capable on dirt

£999 (frameset) > Is it a drop bar 29er or a fat-tyred road bike? You decide Niner, the 29er mountain bike specialist, conceived the RLT 9 (that’s ‘Road Less Travelled’) as a do-everything cyclo-crosscum-gravel-cum-commuter-cum-winter-bike, one based on an aluminium frame that will take big tyres and proper mudguards. We built ours up with SRAM’s Rival hydraulic disc groupset, carbon tubeless wheels, and a mishmash of finishing kit. (Niner now offers a similar build for £2299 with rather more modest clinchers.) The paintjob on our build is now out of date incidentally, but the current bike is otherwise identical apart from the welcome addition of thru-axles. Despite a long wheelbase (1025mm on our 53cm bike) and comparatively slack head angle of 71 degrees, which offer sure-footed handling in the rough stuff (think bridleways and fire roads), the RLT 9’s ride is in some ways more like that of a mid-range aluminium race bike than your typical all-road bike. It’s stiff, direct, and rather firm. Your comfort levels will depend a great deal on your choice of SPECIFICATION Weight 8.4kg spec, but we’d recommend taking (53cm) advantage of the tyre clearance on Frame RLT 9 offer (up to around 1.75in/45mm) aluminium to get the most out of the bike, and Fork Niner carbon Gears SRAM Rival we weren’t sorry we’d fitted ours HRD 52/36, 11-32 with a posh vibration-absorbing Brakes SRAM Rival carbon bar as there’s not a great hydraulic disc Wheels Reynolds deal of give in the substantial fork. ATR The RLT 9’s appeal is that it Finishing kit offers versatility in a reasonably Bontrager bar, Deda stem, Merida light package, with boutique brand seatpost, Bontrager cachet. It’s not cheap though and Paradigm RL its uncompromising ride makes it saddle, Hutchinson Sector 28mm tyres something of a niche product.

THE VERDICT A fun and versatile machine, but firm ride and price tag won’t suit all

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 25


FIR ST RI DE

! T U O T O SHO Two £900 big brand 11-speeds available on your high street

SCOTT SPEEDSTER 20 £899 The same truncated teardrop tube profiling as the Scott Foil race bike gives the Speedster an aero advantage in a wide range of conditions. It combines this with the same geometry as Scott’s Solace endurance bike and a wide gear range to make it an an efficient long-haul cruiser.

The alloy frame might be low drag but considering its price and componentry the whole bike is pretty heavy – nearly a kilo more than the Giant is a difference you can notice. Steel-beaded – rather than folding beaded – Kenda tyres don’t help the Speedster’s responsiveness or do its comfort any favours.

Vs

GIANT DEFY 1 £899

What’s this bike designed for?

The Defy has been Giant’s smooth-riding benchmark for several years – the new carbon D-Fuse seatpost makes it smoother still. Its long wheelbase, tall head-tube and stable handling make it a friendly ride but the frame and tyre quality mean it’s still enjoyably responsive.

What are its downsides?

The Giant own-brand wheels are relatively light for a bike at this price but their soft ride dulls the full dynamic potential of the excellent frame. The Tektro brakes are also noticeably less powerful and communicative than the Shimano equivalents, particularly the latest 105 5800 SLR-EV designs.

26 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

Shifters and mechs are Shimano 105, but the chainset is the less glamorous RS500 with its solid crank arms. The well-considered gear range is ideal for the less experienced or improving rider.

As with many machines around this price, lighter, more supple rubber would make a massive difference to its ride quality and responsiveness – tyres such as Continental Grand Sports or Vredestein’s Fortezzas.

Is it full Shimano 105?

The same price gets you exactly the same drivetrain, mainly 105 with a KMC chain and a step down to the RS500 chainset. But the 50/34 rings and 11-32 cassette pairing provide a versatile ranges of gears.

How could you improve it?

It’s a very good all-rounder and much less weighty than the Scott, but a tighter, lighter set of wheels would help to release its potential. Check out our wheels test in issue 313 for suitable contenders.

Weight 8.72kg (M) Frame ALUXX-SL alloy Fork Composite blades, Overdrive aluminium steerer Gears Shimano 105 (Shimano RS500 50/34), 11-32 Brakes Tektro R540 Giant WHEELS Giant P-R2 Finishing Kit Giant Sport stem, Connect bar and D-Fuse composite seatpost, Giant Performance Road saddle, 25mm Giant P-SL 1 tyres

Image Robert Smith

SPECIFICATION

SPECIFICATION Weight 9.61kg (54cm) Frame Doublebutted 6061 alloy Fork Carbon, aluminium steerer Gears Shimano 105 (Shimano RS500 50/34), 11-32 Brakes Shimano R561 dual pivot Wheels Syncros Race 27 aero rims, Formula hubs Finishing Kit Syncros FL2.0 stem, RR2.0 bar, saddle and carbon seatpost, 25mm Kenda Kontender tyres

BEST ON TEST


THE BIG PICTURE

Working alone can be a testing experience but for Steven Kruijswijk stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia proved to be the shift from hell. The Dutchman had gone into the day with a three-minute lead over Esteban Chaves, but after crashing into a bank of snow on the Colle dell’Agnello descent he was left with a desperate, and ultimately futile, chase to keep the pink jersey, with Vincenzo Nibali crowned the victor.

Image Tim de Waele

THE LONELY LEADER


OPINION

PEDAL-O-METER

Sometimes the wind’s at your back, sometimes it’s all uphill

DOULL DEAL

THE RIDER RIDES AGAIN Trevor Ward contemplates Tim Krabbé’s essential 1978 novel after it was republished this month

F

celebration of suffering, but it’s more ormer Dutch pro and fivenuanced than that. Yes, Krabbé describes times Tour veteran Maarten shifting gear as “a kind of painkiller, and Ducrot once confessed: therefore the same as giving up”, but “Whenever I hit absolute rock elsewhere he’s more ambivalent, especially bottom I always think of when he finds himself talking about those immortal words – Battoowoo climbing with Dutch pro Gerrie Knetemann. Greekgreek – and everything seems just fine Krabbé tells him, “You should arrive at the again.” The words are from the novel, The top in a casket, that’s what we pay you for”, Rider, by Dutch author Tim Krabbé, which only for Knetemann to reply: “No, you guys has acquired cult status since its original need to describe it more compellingly.” publication in 1978, but was The book must have been a republished by Bloomsbury on 16 I’ve read it revelation to riders and nonJune, giving a new generation of several times since riders alike when it was originally readers/riders the chance to enter the world – and mind – of it was translated into published, as much for its lean style as its insight into a racing the suffering cyclist. English. It feels like cyclist’s psyche. It’s not always an easy read – reaffirming my The Tour de Mont Aigoual the fictional narrative of an faith as a rider itself, though a fictional event, is amateur road race in France is based on a real route that Krabbé rode peppered with fragments of regularly while enjoying a period of “cycloautobiography, cycling history and literary hermitry” in the Cevennes region of existential rumination – but is consistently France. I’ve read the book several times since thought-provoking. The narrator – Krabbé it was first translated into English in 2002, himself, who took up road racing at the age of and it always feels like reaffirming my faith 29 – contemplates life, death and whether as a rider. I may not have experienced the he’s using the right gear ratios during the rough and tumble of racing, but I can identify 137km ‘Tour de Mont Aigoual.’ with the solitude and single-mindedness Passages such as how he attempts to required of even a non-competitive cyclist. measure the precise distance of his training Even when we’re in a bunch, we’re alone. ride by counting his pedal strokes - but loses During one ride, in between contemplating count “somewhere around three thousand” his own “incredibly beautiful” wrists, Krabbé - will appear quaint to today’s generation of sets himself the task of “inventing a Garmin-cossetted riders, while his completely random word”. Don’t be philosophical ramblings on whether it’s surprised if you hear the occasional rider better to carry your bidon on your body or on reciting it through gritted teeth next time your bike when tackling a climb will bemuse you’re on a particularly tough climb... others. The book has been described as a

30 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

MICK PICKED Despite a heart problem causing his retirement, Michael Rogers wasn’t out of work long. Old mucker Bjarne Riis has appointed him CEO of his new project, which may result in a WorldTour team in 2017.

ON THE MOVE? Rider transfer rumours often don’t kick in until the Tour de France but the mill was in full swing at the Giro. Sagan to Astana? Nibali to Trek? We’ll find out for sure in August when the window opens.

THIBAUT ON FINHAUT The TdF stage 17 finish at Émosson-Finhaut in Switerland is a brute, says Thibaut Pinot after a May recce. “I was surprised, I didn’t think it was so hard. It’s one of the race’s most difficult finishes along with the Ventoux,” he said.

NET CAST WIDE The former head coach of the England rugby team, Stuart Lancaster, has been appointed to the review looking into allegations of sexism and bullying at British Cycling. It’ll publish its finding after the summer.

OFF THE RAILS Beware of taking your bike onto a Great Western Railway train. For services between London and the West, commuters must now book their bikes by 6pm the day before.

Illustrations: Mick Marston; Simon Spilsbury Images: Tim de Waele

THE SPIN

Welsh cyclist Owain Doull will head into the Olympics on a high. The WIGGINS and team pursuit rider has inked a two-year deal with Sky, with his team boss Wiggo letting slip the news in characteristic fashion.


The Saetta Radical Plus makes a statement without needing to shout about it.

Find out more at chickencyclekit.co.uk


NEW GEAR

WHY YOU WANT

SIDI WIRE CHRIS FROOME LIMITED EDITION £299.99 › Replica of Froomey’s Tour-winning shoes

1  

They’re stiff

Sidi’s proprietary carbon ‘Vent’ sole features a ribbed and reinforced shape that resists twisting. Measuring just 6mm deep at its thickest, the stiffness is paired with a very connected feel.

2  

They’re light

The Wires weigh just 660g per pair (size 45). Features include replaceable heel bumpers, a slide-cover toe vent, twin dials and an adjustable heel reinforcement. The perforated upper, vented tongue and airflow-channelling vents keep them cool.

3  

They’re adjustable

The Techno dials allow you to adjust fitting, and you can tighten the heel retention bar and adjust the size and shape of the top foot strap. Sidi’s big USP is that every part, from the dials to the heel-retention assembly, is available as a replacement part.

4

...and rare as hen’s teeth

The Wires are available in Team Sky blue only, and come boxed with a limited-edition shoe bag and Chris Froome poster.

PEDRO’S CRANK ADJUSTING CAP DRIVER £11.99 Got Shimano Hollowtech II cranks? Want to swap your bottom bracket? This pre-load cap tool offers a more secure grip than Shimano’s standard option.

32 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

You may not have his Tour-winning legs but you can ride a mile in Froome’s shoes


O I C A A UD200

Performance has never been so accessible! The Audacio is the symbol of Lapierre versatility. This light, efficient and accessible bike will enable you to ride more often and progress faster than you imagined possible. The road range’s entry-level model will help you get further than you ever dreamed imaginable.

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ROUTES

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

FOREST OF BOWLAND

T

he geographical centre of Britain, the Forest of Bowland Area Of Natural Beauty in North East Lancashire has everything for magic riding: quiet lanes, beautiful villages and supernatural legends. The climbs are rewarded with stunning views, and although a quiet part of Lancashire, it feels like almost every village has a tea shop or cafe, so there are cake opportunities aplenty. ROUTE ONE

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ROUTE TWO

ROUTE THREE

Witches Circular 38 miles Devilish climbs and spellbinding views The Nick o’ Pendle may be the more famous local hillclimb, but the haul from Barley up to Newchurch, home to the Demdike Pendle Witches, will have you scrambling for bottom gear (or your broomstick). Halfway around is the imposing ride up to Stoneyhurst, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s college. Get the route tinyurl.com/cplus-bowlandwitch

Best of the Fells 65 miles Unsung, challenging scenery Experience the climbs of Longridge Fell and the western Bowland Fells with stunning views before you descend the iconic Trough of Bowland, heading for Dunsop Bridge. More pain up Waddington Fell – this route has 6000ft of ascent – is worth it for one of the best descents in the area. Get the route tinyurl.com/cplus-bowlandfells

INSIDER TIPS HAVE BREAKFAST The Green Jersey Grab a snack and pick up spares for your bike at Clitheroe’s friendly bike shop and cafe. Where Old Shawbridge Sawmill, Taylor Street, Clitheroe, BB7 1LY

STOP FOR CAKES The Country Kitchen cafe Run by Tim for 25 years, this local cyclists’ haunt has quality food and free locks to secure your bikes. Where Assembly Rooms/Clitheroe Rd, Waddington BB7 3HP

CENTRE GROUND? Dunsop Bridge Trivia fans: the pleasant little village is the nearest to Britain’s geographical centre, at Brennand Farm four miles north. Where Dunsop Bridge, BB7 3BB

FANCY A PINT? Swan With Two Necks Beer o’clock? Head to the picturesque village of Pendleton to this time warp gem, CAMRA’s 2014 pub of the year. Where Pendleton, Clitheroe, BB7 1PT

THE FAMILY? Bowland Wild Boar Park Wild boar, longhorn cows, deer, meerkats and raccoons to feed – children will be happy for hours. Where Bowland Wild Boar Park, Chipping, PR3 2QT

Illustration: Tonwen Jones

Lanes and villages 35 miles Rolling hills in quiet country Wind your way out of Clitheroe along quiet lanes before picking up a delightful section of Watling Street, an old Roman road, which provides an exhilarating roller coaster experience. Watch out for the surprise hairpin bend as you leave the beautiful village of Slaidburn at the head of the Hodder Valley. Get the route tinyurl.com/cplus-bowlandlanes

Share your local knowledge – email cyclingplus@ immediate.co.uk


Q-Rings work with your body´s biomechanics to yield maximum eďŹƒciency in tune with your distinct pedaling style. Take advantage of your most productive zone to go farther and faster without increasing fatigue.

Push your Goals www.rotorbike.com


BIKES

BIKE CURIOUS

MATHER CYCLES BEAST onceived and built in just six weeks, the Beast, as some have dubbed it, was borne of Bristol custom builder Robin Mather’s desire to take a less subjective approach to bicycle geometry by creating a fully adjustable analogue data logger. Using a steampunk-esque mechanism of rods, cogs and chains, it records three separate parameters: lean angle, steering position and steering torque, plotting traces on a reel of paper to allow for side-to-side comparisons. We’re not expecting to see it in our local bike shop any time soon…

C

Four head-tubes allow the fork to be mounted at angles ranging from 64 to 90 degrees

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The data logger looks like an oldfashioned seismograph, and it works

Geoff Waugh

Trail can be altered by repositioning the custom adaptors


NEW GEAR

‘Topeak or not Topeak, that is the Prepstand,’ as Shakespeare didn’t write

JUST LANDED

TOPEAK PREPSTAND ZX T

opeak’s latest workstand is both elegant and simple. Instead of clamps to hold your bike, it uses twin rubber-padded jaws to support your bike by its seatpost. The design won’t damage paintwork, weighs just 3kg and folds down to an impressively small 88x11x11cm. But the £114.99 Prepstand ZX will also take bikes up to a massive 25kg, which takes in most electric bikes.

ON THE RADAR BIKE TECH OF THE NEAR FUTURE

AEROHEAD OF THE GAME

BOLIDE-ER OF THE PACK

SHINY SEATS OF LEATHER

Giro is releasing the lid worn by Rohan Dennis in 2015 in the fastest Tour prologue ever. The £499 Aerohead Ultimate MIPS prioritises aerodynamics, while the £229 Aerohead MIPS has more venting.

It might have a pair of world titles to its name, but that hasn’t stopped Pinarello tweaking its Bolide TT bike. The new frame is claimed to be both more aerodynamic and a considerable 350g lighter.

Plastic, carbon, titanium… now saddle maker Selle Italia is returning to the most venerable of oldschool materials: leather. It has launched three riveted leather saddles and a range of matching accessories.

FOR ALL THE LATEST BIKE & GEAR NEWS VISIT 38 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS


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RIDING

REAL RIDER Shane Prendergast’s deafness has helped him become a sharpereyed cyclist as he trains for a life-changing ride across America

BRITAIN’S BEST CLIMBS HILLS YOU NEED TO HAMMER

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KNOW THE CODE In addition to observation, deaf cyclists rely heavily on other road users following the Highway Code. Next time you go to beep at or overtake a cyclist, bear in mind that they may well be unaware you’re there. PHONE IN… Having cycled both with and without sound, I definitely prefer the latter. But ordering at a cafe is a nightmare. The easiest way is to type my order on my phone and present it to the staff. SAFE AND SOUND Some people might think that a deaf person cycling is dangerous, but what I lack in hearing, I make up for in other ways. I question whether a hearing person cycling with music is actually more dangerous as they will usually unconsciously rely on their hearing.

Share your favourite climbs – email cyclingplus@ immediate.co.uk

INJEBRECK This savage stretch of tarmac is to the Isle of Man Cyclefest Granfondo what Hardknott Pass is to the Fred Whitton Challenge. But unlike the busy Hardknott, set in a tourist hotspot, Injebreck, just north of Baldwin in the centre of the island, is solitude defined. It begins

in the village but doesn’t bite until you’ve passed Injebreck reservoir, where it ramps up sharply beyond 20 per cent, with a devilishly placed cattle grid that looks like a single strip of metal 40m up the road, such is the gradient it’s set in. Initially confined

by trees, the climb opens up but the gradients barely relent until the top, where a descent takes you down to the B10 main road. Take a right, then a left and head down Druidale Road, the island’s (and Cyclefest’s) other formidable challenge.

David Collister

A

starting university then nothing, until last life without sound is year when I decided to ride 3200 miles across something I’ve become America. I’ll be doing that in September – accustomed to. I’ve worn over 28 days – hoping to raise £10,000 for hearing aids since I was 12, Action on Hearing Loss and CLIC Sargent. and was profoundly deaf by I got a trainer and have focused on my 21. As they’re not waterproof, I don’t wear strength, core and flexibility. I have them while cycling so it’s vital to always some events in the pipeline ahead of be aware of my surroundings. I’m September’s departure (including heavily dependent on my It’s quite scary RideLondon in July). observation skills. being passed by It’s essential to hold a good I joined a club too and while it a vehicle that position on the road as I don’t was great being part of a group, you don’t hear know when someone is behind conversation was hard and it was coming me or about to pass. It’s quite impossible to hear instructions scary being passed by a vehicle that from the back. I figured it was easier to train on my own. I do that on a you don’t hear coming. Merida Ride 7000, donated by my sponsors – Cycling is in my blood. My father, who’s Homebuilder Ltd and Grip Cycles, with Azolt hearing, rode across America, Australia, Official sponsoring the ride – most days of Canada and around Britain, raising over the week near my home in the Peak District. I £52,000 for charity. It makes me very proud hope to prove that disability is just a word – and I’ve dreamt of following in his tyre tracks. forget the first three letters and focus on the For most of the past decade I’d barely ability to embrace your passions and dreams! ridden a bike. I did some time trials before


NEW GEAR

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HOW TO...

BEAT THE HEAT Don’t lose your cool this summer wherever your riding takes you

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SANTINI INTERACTIVE 3.0 JERSEY £99.99 With a close fit not unlike that of a skinsuit, the Interactive jersey is suited to the heat – you’ll hardly know you’re wearing it. The lightweight fabric is designed to be quick drying and soft, and the rear of this top uses ‘micromesh’ for maximum breathability.

MAVIC KSYRIUM ELITE HELMET £80 When the going gets hot, your head tends to suffer the most, and that’s where a comfortable helmet with decent ventilation is important. The 300g (L) Ksyrium Elite offers 22 vents, plenty of padding and straightforward adjustments.

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There’s even an optional sun visor if you don’t mind being mistaken for a mountain biker.

3  

VITTORIA V-SPIRIT SHOES £148.99 Keeping your feet chilled is a challenge on the bike, so how about some nicely vented shoes? The V-Spirits channel air underneath the insole via an intake at the toes, and make extensive use of mesh in their construction. With a carbon-reinforced sole, a pair weighs 632g (size 45).

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UVEX SPORTSTYLE 810 V GLASSES £119.99 Riding in the summer can mean dealing with extremes of light and dark as you

move in and out of the shade – the perfect time for adaptive lenses. The 810 v is almost fully clear at its lightest, but darkens significantly in sunlight, while vents in the corners of the lenses reduce the tendency to fog if you’re a sweaty Betty.

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CASTELLI UPF 50+ ARM SKINS £23 Something resembling an arm warmer might seem bizarre for warm weather, but these aren’t designed for warmth, they’re effectively heavyduty sun cream for your arms. The thin fabric has no insulating properties, and is designed to block UV rays even if the sun is beating down on you.


Direct Sales = Value for You. Vitus offers direct sales through Chain Reaction Cycles. There is no middleman which means you deal direct with us and we can keep our prices low. Vitus develop and deliver your bike without any wholesalers or retail outlets. This allows us to offer you the best bike at the best possible price.


RIDING

LIFE CYCLE

SNG’s suggestions extend to newspaper reporting. There’s a difference between saying ‘a cyclist involved in a collision with a Nissan Micra was taken to hospital’ (which sounds the car’s or the cyclist’s fault) and ‘a cyclist was taken to hospital after being knocked off by a driver’, which sounds more like what happened. My feeling is that news sources are gradually adopting this, possibly because all the editors have got into road cycling, or possibly because unpaid-intern reporters can’t afford cars. I’m not convinced about SNG’s disapproval of ‘disabled people’ in favour of ‘people with a disability’. Like ‘Ukraine’ versus ‘the Ukraine’, one might be offensive, but it’s not obvious which or why. Here’s an interesting stat: 85 per cent of non-disabled people can cycle, and 18 per cent regularly do, finds Transport for London. What about disabled people? The figures astonished me: 78 per cent and 15 per cent. Label someone ‘disabled’ and we don’t usually picture someone on a bike. That’s misleading. In debating possible new cycle facilities it’s common to see the requirements of ‘disabled’ set as opposite to ‘cyclists’. Campaigner Isabelle Clement, who gets around in a wheelchair that converts to a trike, points out the fallacy. She reckons the labelling business has a lot to answer for. I’m wary about language policing, particularly when used by offence tourists to catch out well-intentioned people. But examine any anti-cyclist rant in the mainstream media (well, it’s the same rant red lights? Why aren’t you carrying a bivvy every time, just rewritten by a different bag? They should be compulsory. If they hack) and you’ll see stereotyping all over save JUST ONE LIFE… My cousin was the place. mugged by a pedestrian once…’) The temptation is to reply in kind, but A West Coast US group, Seattle that’s a war of words that will only be won Neighborhood Greenways (SNG), recently by the ranter, because they’re paid to get published a list of suggested terms to avoid that reaction. SNG believes that its and rephrase, to stay clear of the kind language guidelines have helped of labelling that sees debate de-escalate group tensions in plummet into argument. We’re Examine any Seattle, and therefore enabled all familiar with the clickbait anti-cyclist rant better infrastructure for all to journo’s them-and-us tribal in the mainstream get through. (Maybe not rhetoric of ‘war on cars’ and media and you’ll prevented campaign groups ‘Lycra-clad cyclists’, as if we see stereotyping all splitting into irrelevant are a terrorist group that wants over the place factions, though.) to blow up taxis. It simply isn’t Labels can prejudice, shabbily true: most of our clothing is made so. An infuriated friend complains that of polyester, not Lycra. on her cycling videos, comments refer to The group advises, don’t say ‘cyclists’, her and her female colleagues as ‘models’, but instead, ‘people who cycle’. Similarly, but her male co-stars as ‘bike riders’. (I refer to ‘those going by car’, or ‘people was taken aback. Really? Three correctly walking’. Avoid ‘cycle paths’, which sound spelled words in a YouTube comment?) exclusive, and say ‘greenways’ which So here’s to non-tribal cycling sound inclusive: walking, cycling, skating, enjoyment for all, whatever your gender. wheelchairs, families, mobility aids…

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

I

was once part of a cyclecampaign group that did an internal online survey on bike use. The opening question – ‘Are you (a) male (b) female?’ – provoked criticism from one member. Too restrictive, they said. As there were only eight people in the group, none of whose gender was in doubt, this didn’t seem of primary relevance. Still, arguments raged. The survey collapsed. Four members resigned and set up a rival group. Ah, societies: the fewer people there are, the more there is to argue over. But it raised a point. Labels affect how we are perceived. Do you describe yourself as ‘a cyclist’? I suspect not. You’d say you cycle a lot. We all mix modes of transport. Walking when appropriate, for example, between car park and office, or up the stairs to the bathroom. But you wouldn’t call yourself a ‘pedestrian’. (‘Oh, you’re one of those? Why do you lot walk so slowly in the middle of the path oblivious with your headphones on? Why do you walk through

44 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

Illustration: Steve Scott

Cyclist, or person who cycles? In Seattle the difference matters, as Rob Ainsley explains


Take the rough with the smooth

FORCELLA From the NEW Gravel Road Range Forcella Lavardat, a high and dangerous mountain pass in the Dolomites inspired the Forcella Gravel Road Bike. Its unique blend of road racing and cyclo-cross features make it a perfect all-season bike, suitable for both tarmac and gravel. See it for yourself at your local dealer, or at tifosicycles.co.uk


INSIGHT

have two frames. The first was carbon fibre but I am so heavy the carbon flexed too much. I ended up using a metal frame instead. It’s not as light but it tolerates my mass better. The 100-mile RideLondon was a huge challenge for me. I work with the NSPCC and wanted to raise money, so that gave me the motivation I needed to train. I felt sick after my first training ride. I was violently ill. I cancelled my morning meetings and ended up lying in bed for half a day. It was my first exercise for a long time. Even though we all stopped for an hour because a cyclist had a heart attack, I finished the event in 8 hours 15 minutes.

Cycling towards the sunrise is an amazing way to start the day. It’s like having your brain illuminated

I measure everything on my bike. I’ve got an Apple Watch, a heart rate monitor and a Garmin. I like to see what I’ve done and check that my heart rate isn’t skyhigh. But I really want to get rid of that virtual person who races me on my Garmin. He is one of those little birds that I would like to go away, but I can’t find the setting to turn it off.

JOHN AMAECHI The 6ft 10in former NBA basketball star doesn’t let gravity ruin his morning spins around London’s Regent’s Park. But, yes, he does hate hills I like to ride first thing in the morning. I live by Regent’s Park in London and I get up at 4.45am a couple of times a week, ride round in circles and watch the sun rise. Some people enjoy seeing new scenery but I have no problem seeing London Zoo zip by five or six times. Cycling towards the sunrise is an amazing way to start the day. I love it when I turn a particular corner in Regent’s Park and face the sun. It’s like having your brain illuminated. I find that moment of meditation blissful. I’m the biggest cyclist anyone’s ever seen. Even when I’m not fat I carry a lot of weight because of my height and build (Amaechi weighed 19 stone as an athlete). Most cyclists are built like small birds, my right leg weighs more than them. Hills are my kryptonite. I weigh 25 stone so they are very difficult for me. At my

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weight you feel every increment up or down. I hope they never put speed bumps in Regent’s Park. My tyres are under enough pressure without extra bumps. NBA athletes were ahead of the cycling curve. I used to go on rides with my teammates (NBA team Utah Jazz) in 2002, way before the crazy popularity of cycling. That was in Utah so you can imagine the hills, but I was in better shape then so it was less painful. I got into cycling because of my broken body. After my professional career ended in 2003, basketball was a non-starter because of the pain. I haven’t played competitively for four or five years. Cycling isn’t load-bearing so it was a perfect fit. A carbon bike bends under my weight. I was very lucky to meet the Dolan people and they offered to make a bike for me. I

I hydrate like crazy. As an athlete my body responds instantly to exercise, even now I’m an old man, so I sweat a lot. The psychology of cycling is fascinating. I now work as a psychologist and a performance coach and (in 2014) I filmed a documentary for the BBC on the performance squad at the Manchester velodrome. I was amazed by the love-hate relationship cyclists had with their sport. Although they loved to win, they were deeply pained by the process. The British Cycling psychiatrist Steve Peters was not an accoutrement but an essential part of their mental health. Good psychologists don’t necessarily make good cyclists. Psychologists are often experts working on other people but less expert working on themselves. I like to challenge myself but I’ll never do another 100-mile ride. It nearly broke me.

QUICK FIRE Pet hate? Those people who travel in packs and take cycling more seriously than even the professionals do. I’ve had people shout at me. A lot of unfair criticism of cyclists is the product of their behaviour but the truth is this is an amazingly welcoming sport.

Best fuel? Because I ride for 20 miles and no more I just eat sensibly the night before then enjoy a coffee and some yoghurt and grain-type breakfast when I’m home. I get up at 4.45am anyway, so I’m not getting up 15 minutes earlier for food.

Words: Mark Bailey Illustration: David Despau

I’M A RIDER


C Y C L I N G

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PURE CYCLING

NO TWO ROADS ARE THE SAME EVERY SINGLE RIDE BRINGS NEW CHALLENGES. WHETHER IT’S THE ROADS WE TURN DOWN, THE CONDITIONS WE FACE OR THE COMPANIONS WE RIDE WITH, THE OUTCOME IS ALWAYS DIFFERENT. THIS IS THE ALL-NEW ENDURACE CF SLX. CHOOSE TO RIDE. CANYON.COM/CHOOSETORIDE


ROAD TEST

PELOTON DREAMS

We don’t have the legs, but we can have the pros’ bikes. We test 10 Tour de France-worthy machines Photography Robert Smith

50 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS


PELOTON DREAMS

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 51


ROAD TE ST

O

n 2 July, 198 riders will roll out from Mont-Saint-Michel on the first stage of the 2016 Tour de France. Those that survive three weeks of gruelling racing will cover 3519km, and they’ll do so atop an awe-inspiring selection of the finest machinery the bike industry has to offer. Once upon a time professional riders all rode steel frames which, paint and decals aside, were broadly similar to one another. Nowadays everything is off the peg, but no two manufacturers ever quite agree on what makes the perfect race bike, and we as consumers are all the better off for it. Our test covers a huge price range this month and not all of the bikes are kitted out with top-level groupsets; what they do have in common is that every single one is based around a pro peloton-level

52 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

Above Peloton dreams, but who’ll be in yellow at the end of the day?

frame. In the right hands, any one could be raced at the very highest level of the sport. When you’re spending this kind of money, there aren’t really any bad bikes, but there is an astonishing variety. At one extreme, machines such as the new Trek Domane SLR bring amazing technology to the table with something approaching a full-suspension road bike; Canyon’s Aeroad CF SLX looks to have come straight out of a Formula One team’s wind tunnel, and it’s equipped with groundbreaking wireless shifting; and then you’ve got stunning ultralight bikes from Focus, Cervélo, Cannondale, Ridley, Scott and Specialized – every one testing the limits of weight savings with cutting-edge carbon construction. None of these bikes come cheap, of course, but every one deserves to be here. Read on to find out which one rules the peloton...

RATINGS EXPLAINED +++++

EXCEPTIONAL A genuine class leader

++++

VERY GOOD One of the best you can buy

+++

GOOD It’ll do the job very well

++

BELOW AVERAGE Flawed in some way

+

POOR Simply put, don’t bother


ROAD TE ST

THE BIKES ON TEST

RIDLEY HELIUM SL20 £3599.99 Lotto-Soudal’s road weapon of choice is the Helium SL from Belgium’s Ridley. Our test model doesn’t quite have a pro-level build, but Shimano Ultegra, a Rotor chainset and Fulcrum Racing

Quattro wheels isn’t shabby kit, and the all-up weight of 7.4kg – thanks to the impressively light frameset – isn’t too bad either. This should give us a pretty good idea of what the Lotto-Soudal guys experience.

SPECIALIZED S-WORKS TARMAC DURA-ACE £5500 Up the ante to five-anda-half grand and you’re getting a full pro-level specification to match Specialized’s tried-and-trusted

Tarmac frame. It’s good enough for the Astana, Etixx-Quickstep and Tinkoff teams, so this 6.5kg Specialized ought to be enough bike for the rest of us.

CERVÉLO R5 DURA-ACE Di2 £6599 Mark Cavendish and his Dimension Data teammates will be strutting their stuff on Cervélo machines this year, with the lightweight R5 serving for climbing duties. Our test rig is kitted out with

54 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 with a Rotor 3D chainset and Ardennes Plus LT wheels from HED. We can’t guarantee that it’ll make you motor like the Manx Missile, but you’ll have no excuse for being at the back of the pack.

TREK DOMANE SLR 7 £4400 Trek’s newest Domane represents one of the most feature-filled frames of recent years. The US company’s unique IsoSpeed decoupler in the frame has now been joined by a similar comfort- and compliance-

boosting device in the headtube. Is this really a fullsuspension road bike? More typically, this comes with a full raft of Bontrager components, from a carbon handlebar to 28mm wide tyres.

FOCUS IZALCO MAX AG2R £5699 The French AG2R-La Mondiale team ride Focus Izalco Max machines with SRAM Red groupsets and Zipp wheels, whch is exactly what we’re riding here. SRAM breaks the Shimano hegemony, Zipp’s

hoops are proven at the highest level, and with a Fizik cockpit and saddle Focus isn’t exactly skimping on the finishing kit. Considering the quality of the components, that price looks almost like a bargain. But is it?

SCOTT ADDICT TEAM ISSUE £6699 The IAM Cycling team ride bikes from fellow Swiss company Scott, and though the Addict has been around for a while its 6.4kg overall weight is still extremely competitive. This model comes with a full

complement of Shimano DuraAce Di2 and Dura-Ace C24 wheels. Scott’s partner company Syncros is responsible for the stem, carbon bar and seatpost, and there’s a Prologo saddle and 23mm Continental tyres.


PELOTON DREAMS

THE BIKES ON TEST

CANYON AEROAD CF SLX £6700 The second appearance of SRAM in an otherwise allShimano parade – this time in the form of its wireless eTap shifting system, hence the aero road bike Aeroad’s ultra-clean lines. Zipp – part of the SRAM

empire – provides the Firecrest carbon clincher version of its highly rated 404 wheels, while Canyon’s name is on the seatpost and cockpit. A Fizik Arione saddle and Continental tyres round things off.

BMC SLR01 DURA-ACE DI2 £7499 Not surprisingly the Teammachine SLR01 is one of the two machines ridden by Switzerland’s BMC Racing team. Equally not too startling is the fact that our test bike is specced with a full complement

CANNONDALE SUPERSIX EVO HI-MOD TEAM £7499 You can guess that a Cannondale is going to be light, but just how light? In the case of the SuperSix Evo Hi Mod just 6.4kg – take that, UCI, with

of Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 with matching Dura-Ace wheels. The stem and bar are from 3T, with the seatpost a slimline carbon model. Fizik (sound familiar?) and Continental (ditto) round out the specs.

PINARELLO DOGMA F8 SKY DI2 £8499

your 6.8kg minimum weight limit! Dura-Ace Di2 is joined by Cannondale’s own SiSL2 chainset and Mavic’s Cosmic Carbone 40 wheels.

BMC and Canyon have tried hard, but Pinarello has delivered the most distinctive-looking bike here. Froome, Thomas and Co will

duke it out on Shimano DuraAce Di2-equipped Dogma F8s, a frame that already has a Tour de France victory under its belt. But will it nab this Cycling Plus test?

THIS MONTH’S TOUR BIKE TESTERS

WARREN ROSSITER TECHNICAL EDITOR

MATTHEW ALLEN SENIOR TECHNICAL WRITER

ROBIN WILMOTT TECHNICAL WRITER

Our ultra-experienced head honcho has tested more road bikes than just about anybody in the history of cycling. Ever. Probably. We think…

A former bike mechanic and wheelbuilder, Matthew supplies a keen eye, an acerbic wit and some of the skinniest legs ever seen at Cycling Plus…

Like Matthew, Robin has also spent time earning his cycling dues by working in a bike shop. He still races time trials and cyclo-cross as well as testing bikes

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 55


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PELOTON DREAMS

Below Shimano’s Ultegra brakes are very similar to Dura-Ace… Bottom … while Ridley has gone for a ‘pro-compact’ 50/36 Rotor chainset

The frame is the very same one the pros ride and hasn’t failed to impress

RIDLEY HELIUM SL20 £3599.99 › Has the Belgian climber still got what it takes?

T

he Ridley Helium SL has been around for four years, and with pictures of its successor emerging from the last Taipei International Cycle Show, it’s likely that the 2016 Tour de France will be its swansong. A lot has changed in those four years and you might wonder if the Helium SL could still be superbike material. We think it is. The recipe is a simple one: a svelte carbon frame with simple, angular lines, plus the usual modern trappings of a chunky press-fit bottom bracket, semi-internal cabling (not for the brakes) and

a tapered fork. It’s not just any frame, claimed average weight is sub-800g, with a frameset coming in at a feathery 1050g or so; these are still highly competitive numbers. There’s a pleasing restraint to the whole thing in a world where the drive for striking aesthetics sometimes seems to overwhelm engineering common sense. Granted, the chainstays are fat and asymmetric as on every other high-end racer, but the flattened top-tube is arrow straight, as are the dainty seatstays – there’s nothing you could accuse of being gimmickry. The ensemble is elegant and understated, this is not a bike

SPECIFICATION Weight 7.56kg (S) Frame Helium SL 60T-40T-30T HM unidirectional carbon Fork Helium SL carbon Gears Shimano Ultegra, Rotor 3DF 52/36, 11-28 Brakes Shimano Ultegra Wheels Fulcrum Racing Quattro Finishing kit 4ZA Cirrus bar, stem, seatpost, Cirrus Pro saddle, Continental Ultra Sport 25mm tyres

with something to prove. Our test subject isn’t in full WorldTour guise, with Shimano Ultegra and modest Fulcrum clinchers standing in for team Lotto-Soudal’s posh Campagnolo componentry. (The retail spec is slightly different again, losing the Rotor chainset and giving you Racing 5 wheels rather than Quattros.) The frame is the very same one the pros ride, however, and hasn’t failed to impress. Despite feeling almost delicate in the hand – one imagines a firm squeeze might crack its paper-thin tubing – the Helium is positively weapon-like on the move, with

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 57


ROAD TE ST A poised and delightfully balanced bike and one that’s truly a pleasure to ride

HIGHS Impressively low weight; engaging, exciting ride

road manners that reward and encourage aggressive riding. It’s easy to see why a professional would appreciate it; it���s not a floaty endurance machine, nor is it the stiffest bike we’ve tested. Rather, it’s a sublimely good compromise, with a hard edge to its ride quality that enhances the sensation of speed and connection to the road, without wearing you down. The Helium SL doesn’t have any roughroad pretensions. There isn’t room for tyres bigger than 25mm, and everything about its design is focused on going quickly on tarmac, preferably either up or down the biggest mountain you can find. Like many Ridleys, the sizing is a little weird: our small test bike had a 545mm top-tube (giving 385mm of reach), and a 145mm head-tube, numbers that would make it a medium in some brands. Ridley’s rider height recommendations

58 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

LOWS Tight clearances and focused personality won’t suit all

BUY IF You want a pro-level frame in a (slightly) more affordable package

seem pretty spot on however, with our 174cm-tall tester feeling right at home. In some ways the Helium SL feels quite old school. It’s a firm-riding racer beloved of the Lotto-Soudal pros, a machine that’s at home in a world of 120psi tubulars and cassettes that stop at a muscular 23 teeth. Yet despite this conservative streak, it’s a poised and delightfully balanced bike, one that’s truly a pleasure to ride. When its successor finally appears, it will have a lot to live up to. In the meantime, we’re bidding a fond farewell to this flyweight favourite.

FOR AERO FANS

RIDLEY NOAH SL 20 £5399 The latest SL is the lightest Noah yet and promises class-leading performance with touches such as the slotted, aerofoil-shaped fork.

THE VERDICT Still light, still noble. The Helium SL is a joyful speed machine that continues to delight

FOR A LITTLE LESS

RIDLEY HELIUM CLASSIC £1999 Two grand gets you an Ultegraequipped machine with a classic finish, 4ZA components and Fulcrum wheels.


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PELOTON DREAMS

Below The new and even more radical IsoSpeed decoupler Bottom The top-tube flares towards the seat-tube before parting like the Red Sea

We were expecting a soft, bouncy feel – what we get is a positive, rapid and responsive ride

TREK DOMANE SLR 7 £4400 › Radical front- and rear-cushioned race machine

O

kay, this isn’t the full WorldTour-spec model, which is in short supply. But as the new Domane promises to be one of the year’s most radical and compelling frames, we had to feature it. And it’s not like a 7.58kg Ultegra Di2-equipped model is exactly slumming it… Trek’s original Domane was groundbreaking, with its IsoSpeed decoupler effectively creating a pivot in front of the junction of the seattube and top-tube. It worked too, offering a soft-tail-feel that smoothed bumps and damped vibrations. The new incarnation

takes things a step further. IsoSpeed remains, but the pivot is now in line with the seat-tube with the seattube itself split, allowing the two halves to work independently. Even more radically, you can adjust the amount of flex the system offers using a slider that runs the whole length of the seat-tube. Trek claims that the new design delivers a 14 per cent increase in vertical compliance over the previous model. There are changes elsewhere too, with this Domane also featuring ‘Front IsoSpeed’. It’s a system that builds in float in the top section of the headset, which sounds, er, interesting, but Trek assures us that

SPECIFICATION Weight 7.58kg(58cm) Frame 600 series OCLV carbon Fork Carbon Gears Shimano Ultegra Di2, 50/34, 11-28 Brakes Bontrager Speed Stop Wheels Bontrager Paradigm comp Finishing kit Bontrager stem, carbon IsoCore bar, Affinity Elite saddle and Ride Tuned seatpost, 28mm Bontrager R3 tyres

this has no effect on steering, handling or strength. What it does deliver is a claimed 10 per cent increase in vertical compliance. The final touch is the new ‘IsoCore’ bar, which retains the earlier bar’s elastomer pads but with the addition of thermoplastic elastomer layers to damp high-frequency vibrations. We were expecting a soft and bouncy feel as a result of all these features, but what you actually get is a positive, rapid and responsive ride. At its shallowest setting the ride feels like the Madone’s, with just enough damping to keep road buzz at bay. At the other end of the scale we expected the difference to be

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 61


ROAD TE ST

The new Domane combines clever technology with an exciting ride

HIGHS Compliance, comfort, handling and speed

more marked, and the ride to be super-plush. When we hit cobbled roads and rutted, gravelly byways the system really does come into its own. Ramp up the speed and absolutely go for it over the worst surfaces and the SLR comes alive, easily matching speeds over the rough stuff that we’d only previously experienced on dedicated gravel machines. The Domane’s ability to cope with the worst surfaces you can throw at it, and at speed, is truly stunning. And any doubts we had about the Front IsoSpeed were unfounded, the steering feeling as direct as its Emonda stablemate. Bontrager’s tubeless-ready wheels have wide rims, and Trek has made the most of that by fitting fat 28mm tyres. They roll smoothly, are as fast as slimmer tyres and they grip superbly through corners. These contribute to limpet-like traction on descents, allowing you to

62 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

LOWS Very little – though you’ll find it hard to resist fiddling with and big tyres may put off purists

BUY IF You want a bike that goes quickly and takes care of you in equal measure

confidently attack even the roughest corners, the twin-IsoSpeed setup never getting unsettled like superstiff carbon frames can. The directfit Bontrager Speed Stop brakes are very effective in combination with the aluminium rims. We think Dura-Ace and SRAM Red have the edge in feel, but these look great and we can’t fault the performance. The new Domane sets another benchmark in comfort, combining clever technology with an exciting ride. And for added practicality it even comes with hidden mudguard mounts. Neat. Now we just need to get hold of that elusive pro version…

THE VERDICT Clever and very effective technology wrapped up in an exceptional riding machine

FOR A LOT MORE

TREK DOMANE SLR 9 ETAP £7600 This features SRAM’s wireless eTap and top-end Bontrager kit – XXX carbon stem, IsoCore bar and Aeolus TLR3 carbon wheels.

FOR A LITTLE MORE

TREK DOMANE SLR 7 DISC £4800 A choice of standard brakes, in-house Speed Stop brakes… or opt for the disc frameset and match Shimano R785 hydraulic discs to Ultegra Di2 kit.


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PELOTON DREAMS

Below Dura-Ace – the apogee of mechanical groupsets? Bottom …while the Specialized S-Works chainset adds a certain carbon swoopiness

The frame is a wonderful blend of glorious excess and some stylish, organic design

SPECIALIZED S-WORKS TARMAC DA £5500 › A pro-spec superbike from the big, red ‘S’

I

t’s easy to find reasons to dislike Specialized. It’s the Ford of the bicycle world with its utter ubiquity. Nonetheless, the brand has a history of producing mouthwatering fare for serious riders, and alongside the aero Venge, the top of the line S-Works Tarmac is a bike few roadies wouldn’t give a second glance. In a pro-worthy Dura-Ace and carbon clincher spec, with a stunning red, white and black paintjob, this is one eye-catching bike. It also has legitimate racing pedigree, as three WorldTour teams have the Tarmac in their arsenal,

and it’s the bike of choice for Spanish climber and multiple Grand Tour-winner Alberto Contador. The Tarmac’s frame is a wonderful blend of glorious excess and some stylish, organic design, with lines that bulge and blend beautifully. The down-tube is gigantic, and its muscularity extends through a bottom bracket area that deserves the clichéd description of being ‘beefy’ (ideal for Contador then..). The sense of super-sizing doesn’t end there. While it’s a given that a bike like this will have a tapered fork, the Tarmac goes bigger than most with a steerer that requires a huge 13/8in

SPECIFICATION Weight 6.54kg (54cm) Frame S-Works FACT 11r carbon Fork S-Works FACT carbon Gears Shimano Dura-Ace, FACT 52/36 cranks, 11-28 Brakes Shimano Dura-Ace Wheels Roval Rapide CLX 40 Finishing kit S-Works stem, bar and seatpost, Toupé saddle, 24mm Specialized Turbo Cotton tyres

lower bearing, all in aid of frontend stiffness, while the aero carbon bar’s massively wide tops are a bit of an acquired taste. There are some lovely details – a hidden seat clamp means ultra-clean lines where the post enters the frame, and as it’s accessed from the side, it’s no less convenient than a standard one. Shimano Dura-Ace continues to impress with its light yet precise shifting. Shimano’s lower groupsets are very nearly as good, but DuraAce has an expensive, metallic edge to its shift action that sets it apart. You get a full groupset, apart from the in-house cranks. We’re still not convinced the shifting they offer

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 65


ROAD TE ST

There’s a surgical precision to the handling, partly thanks to phenomenal chassis stiffness

HIGHS

is quite up to Dura-Ace level, but they’re fine looking and stiff. The Tarmac is one of those bikes that upsets your sense of how cycling should feel. Despite its immense tube profiles, it has a dainty, flickable feel that’s addictive, with the physical volume of bicycle beneath you seeming at odds with its character on the road. There’s a surgical precision to the handling, partly thanks to phenomenal chassis stiffness, but also because it’s just so light. Climbing is a delight as the stout rear triangle is rock solid during out-of-the-saddle efforts. We did wonder if the exceptionally stiff frame was overwhelming the averagely-stiff (but lovely) Roval wheels, as a little rear brake rub was evident when throwing the bike from side to side, but despite this, there was a sense of total power transfer. It helps that the wheels

66 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

World-class ride quality; no-holds-barred spec

LOWS Slight rear brake rub

BUY IF You want one of the world’s best race bikes in an absolutely glorious spec

are very light, their low moment of inertia offering a lively feel. They’re a useful middle-of-the-road depth too, and braking is very good for carbon, something we put to the test with some spirited wet descending and one chamois-soiling encounter with a delinquent sheep. The Turbo Cotton clinchers do a fair job of imitating tubs in both look and feel. The S-Works isn’t an endurance machine, but is a smooth and refined racer that deserves the ‘superbike’ label, thanks to a chassis that’s truly world class. With a delectable component spec, there’s very little not to love.

THE VERDICT The S-Works Tarmac is a ready-to-race stunner and an utter delight to ride

FOR AERO FANS

SPECIALIZED S-WORKS VENGE VIAS DI2 £9000 Developed in Specialized’s own wind tunnel, this is pricey and rare as hen’s teeth, but all the more awesome for it.

FOR COMFORT FANS

SPECIALIZED S-WORKS ROUBAIX SL4 DISC DI2 £6500 The most aggressive version of the Classics special still has the comfort to get you through the toughest rides.


ROAD TE ST

Below Doing the splits – the comfort-boosting seatpost Bottom The Zipp 303 wheels are here in their Firecrest incarnation

FOCUS IZALCO MAX AG2R

Its light chassis means it requires minimal steering input to get it to go where you want

£5699 › Germany’s biggest brand’s super-lightweight race rig

T

he Izalco Max is a firm favourite of ours, its predecessor the Izalco Pro picking up our bike of the year title back in 2011 – the Max version stiffening it, lightening it and making it more comfortable. This year’s Max features SSPS – or Stable Stiffness Per Size – which means regardless of the frame size it will feel exactly the same. Focus discovered that it could make a stronger, stiffer frame by limiting the tube diameters, which goes against most conventional thinking. The tubes themselves are mainly straight, with tube

68 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

thicknesses down to as little as 1mm in places. The result? We weighed a painted 54cm frame including bottle cage bolts at 720g – very, very light. The full-carbon PressFit 30 bottom bracket was chosen to reduce maintenance, which is the same reason for this model having traditional all external cable routing; if you want to go electronic Focus also makes the Izalco Max frame in a Di2/EPS-ready version. The head-tube features a vertical external rib while the 295g fork is made from a single piece of carbon fibre, which should prove to be exceptionally strong. The bearing seats for the 11/8-1¼in headset are

SPECIFICATION Weight 6.46kg (L) Frame Carbon Fork Carbon Gears SRAM Red, 52/36, 11-28 Brakes SRAM Red Wheels Zipp 303 Firecrest Finishing kit Fizik Cyrano stem and R3 bar, Concept carbon seatpost, Fizik Antares saddle, 25mm Continental GP 4000s II tyres

made from carbon fibre, as are the frame’s dropouts, all in the name of keeping weight down. So, light is good, but what of the ride? Well, the Izalco Max is an absolute joy. Its ultra-light chassis means that it requires minimal steering input to get it to go where you want. It may look slender, weedy even, compared with some of its rivals, but from the saddle it’s resolutely solid, unerring through the fastest bends and the steepest bumpy descents. Over rolling roads the Zipp 303 Firecrests – which we rated 5/5 – come into their own; they’re stiff, speedy, accelerate quickly and are unhindered by


PELOTON DREAMS

The Izalco Max is a genuinely great ride and we’d change nothing about the equipment

HIGHS

crosswinds. This Izalco also climbs superbly, its low weight helping you to get out of the saddle and attack. The position is long and low, but the bar’s compact drop means you’re not overly stretched when you’re ready to gun it. The smooth manner in which the Max copes with ragged road surfaces also makes this a genuine pro-level race bike that’s very easy to live with day by day. In a world dominated by Shimano, it’s good to be able to ride SRAM Red again. It’s easy to forget just how slick SRAM’s top-end groupset actually is. The Double Tap shifting snaps into gear superbly every time, and the speed with which you can ship across the block and the smoothness of the trim-free Yaw front mech are both marvels. Oh, and it’s also the lightest groupset out there. Impressive. The rest of the kit is equally convincing, from the Red brakes to

Sublime handling, smoothness, and equipped to perfection

LOWS The mechanicalonly frame

BUY IF You want one of the very, very best race frames wrapped in some of the best kit

the classy Fizik cockpit, the Cyrano stem and R3 bar giving just the right amount of compliance for rutted roads. The Concept split carbon seatpost offers a little give and is topped with a Fizik Antares saddle. And it’s back to Germany for the tyres, the 25mm Continental GP4000s IIs proving sticky, grippy and surprisingly hardwearing. There’s little we can fault about the Izalco Max. It’s a genuinely great ride and we’d change nothing about the equipment. True, £5699 isn’t exactly cheap, but other brands would probably charge another 500 quid for a similar spec.

THE VERDICT Mechanically operated race bike perfection

FOR A LOT MORE

FOCUS IZALCO MAX ZERO £7699 Better specced than the pro model, its THM brakes, Schmolke seatpost and DT Swiss RRC32 wheels put the Zero in the sub-5kg superbike category.

FOR DISC FANS

FOCUS IZALCO MAX DISC RED £4699 One of the first disc brake pro-level bikes that isn’t compromised by the added mass of discs, this one weighs just 6.8kg.

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 69


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PELOTON DREAMS

Below Dura-Ace is here in its whirring electric Di2 guise Bottom The Rotor chainset has 52/36 rings, a pairing that’s gaining popularity

CERVÉLO R5 DURA-ACE DI2

It’s a well-balanced and responsive ride and lightning quick to turn

£6599 › Just one of the Cervélos available to Mark Cavendish

C

ervélo’s range has always been split between its aerooptimised S-Series road machines and lightweight Grand Tour-proven R-Series bikes. This year the Dimension Data pros will be on board the R5 once the Tour de France hits the high passes and gruelling ascents of the Alps and Pyrenees. The R5 shares its design with Cervélo’s range-topping RCA, so you get the same blend of low weight and aerodynamics, even though it’s not technically an aero bike. On the road the R5 wows you straightaway, with the lightness of

the chassis immediately apparent as soon as you start to turn the pedals in anger. It’s a well-balanced and responsive ride; lightning quick to turn, you can also accurately weave it through crowds or navigate sharp descending corners without any drama. We tried our best to ride this bike hard to its limits, but the only thing holding it back was our nerve. Cervélo was a pioneer of oversized chainstays, and here the drivetrain stiffness is astonishing for such a lightweight bike. Cervélo’s patented BBright bottom bracket shell is solid and gives you the feeling that none of your pedalling efforts are lost. The company worked closely with

SPECIFICATION Weight 6.73kg (56cm) Frame Carbon Fork Carbon Gears Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (Rotor 3D+ 52/36) 11-25 Brakes Shimano Dura-Ace Wheels HED Ardennes Plus LT Finishing kit FSA carbon stem and bar, FSA K-Force carbon seatpost, Fizik Antares saddle, 25mm Continental Grand Prix tyres

Spain’s Rotor on BBright, so it’s no surprise to see its CNC’ed 3D+ chainset here, which worked seamlessly with Shimano Di2. The thin seatstays and slender 27.2mm seatpost help to reduce road buzz, and though we haven’t always been fans of Fizik’s flat, slim Antares saddle, on the R5 it didn’t give our testers any undue grief. The Dimension Data team riders may well get the new hydraulic Uno groupset from sponsor Rotor, whereas the rest of us will have to ‘make do’ with Shimano’s top-ofthe-range Dura-Ace electronic Di2, which was spot on every time. In its pro-ready 52/36 setup the Rotor

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 71


ROAD TE ST

The small jumps between sprockets, helped us to easily maintain a smooth cadence

HIGHS

rings are paired with a tight 11-25 cassette, and we really appreciated the small jumps between sprockets, which helped us to easily maintain a smooth cadence. The flipside is that on our test route’s steepest climbs we’d have liked an extra tooth or two on the largest sprockets. The Dura-Ace brakes are every bit as good as the gearing. With their progressive power and smoothness at the lever, they can only really be beaten by the best hydraulic setups. And when mated to the alloy braking surface of the HED Ardennes Plus LT wheels they offer secure stopping in all conditions. The build quality of the HED wheels is beyond reproach, the hubs are smooth and at 1564g they’re also reasonably light. Coupled with Continental’s classy Grand Prix 25mm tyres you’ll get comfort though not at the expense of speed. But the HEDs retail at around £800 a

72 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

Top quality handling, smoothness and comfort

LOWS Very good wheels – but do they really belong on a £6599 bike?

BUY IF You want a truly sublime bike that’s fit to race yet perfect to ride all-day, every day

pair on a machine that costs £6500. Focus’s 1000-quid cheaper Izalco Max has Zipp Firecrest 303s, which cost twice as much. As you’d expect on a £6599 bike, the finishing kit is all carbon, including an FSA Di2-specific seatpost and an FSA cockpit that we really appreciated. The ovalised tops and compact hooks both provide comfortable handholds, the carbon remaining stiff while also neutralising vibrations. But for a bike this rapid, we’d recommend forgetting the tops and the hoods – you’ll want to be riding in the drops as much as you can.

THE VERDICT The R5 is one of the all-time great race machines

FOR DISC FANS

CERVÉLO R3 DISC £3799 Cervélo’s lightweight R3 gets a disc brake makeover, but by keeping the wheelbase tight the handling remains as sharp and impressive as ever.

FOR A LITTLE LESS

CERVÉLO R5 ULTEGRA £3899 The same R5 chassis with mechanical Ultegra and Mavic Aksium wheels. If you can’t quite stretch to the full-fat version, here’s the next best thing.


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PELOTON DREAMS

Below A slimline post helps comfort on this pro-level ride Bottom Dura-Ace Di2 does its usual first rate job of shifting and braking

SCOTT ADDICT TEAM ISSUE

This Scott is a superb distillation of the state of the art of road racing bicycles

£6699 › Premium version of a climber’s favourite

T

he Scott Addict has never failed to impress. The original bike was a lightweight trendsetter, while the 2014 update tweaked the design to near perfection, adding comfort and refinement without sacrificing its racing pedigree. We’ve reviewed various versions of the bike, so it’s no hardship to climb aboard the 2016 Team Issue, the closest in spec to the bike the pros will race, apart from its relatively modest wheelset. Scott makes the Addict in two different grades of carbon: the slightly cheaper and heavier HMF,

and the high-end HMX that offers a claimed frame weight of 790g (plus 300g for the fork) and boasts a little more stiffness. The team bike gets the better stuff, and with a full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, matching carbon-laminate lowprofile clinchers, and a smattering of good quality in-house finishing kit, you get a bike that weighs in well under the UCI’s minimum weight for race bikes. The Addict doesn’t count as a new design any more, but it still looks and feels bang up-to-date, unless you demand disc brakes. Slightly dropped skinny seatstays and a slim seatpost promise comfort (and deliver), while

SPECIFICATION Weight 6.44kg (M) Frame Addict HMX/IMP Superlight carbon Fork HMX carbon Gears Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, 52/36, 11-28 Brakes Shimano Dura-Ace Wheels Shimano Dura-Ace C24 Finishing kit Syncros RR1.1 carbon bar, FL1.0 stem and seatpost, Prologo Zero II CPC carbon saddle, 23mm Continental GP4000S II tyres

an appropriately muscular bottom bracket junction unites suitably substantial tube sections for that other bike review cliché – lateral stiffness. It’s a recipe that’s become utterly predictable, but it’s popular because it works so well, especially in the case of this Addict. This Scott is a superb distillation of the state of the art of road racing bicycles. There’s no sense of waste in the engineering, no gimmickry or techno-rubbish – it’s just a great bike with ride quality to match its appearance. Black is the least original colour for a carbon machine but hey, it saves the weight of paint. Besides, the subtle green highlights and

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 75


ROAD TE ST

Few bikes can challenge the Addict’s blend of refinement and poise

HIGHS Amazing weight and fabulous ride quality

contrast of glossy decals and matt carbon look excellent. Dura-Ace’s spartan beauty complements the whole thing perfectly. While there are (slightly) stiffer bikes on the market, few can challenge the Addict’s blend of refinement and poise. It’s one of the great climber’s bikes of our times, but its abilities aren’t limited to heading uphill – it’s a true all-rounder that acquits itself well whether you’re carving down technical mountain descents or bumping over potholes on British lanes. Road vibration is exceptionally well damped despite the narrow-by-current-trends 23mm rubber, a trait that’s reinforced by the sublime Dura-Ace wheels. We’ve said it before, but their unique carbonlaminated alloy construction really does seem to offer something special. While the wheels are among the smoothest on the market and they roll on some of the best hubs, they are

76 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

LOWS Wheels won’t suit big powerful riders; expensive compared to some of the competition

BUY IF You want a climbing machine that’s also a brilliant allrounder

comparatively narrow at under 21mm and aren’t the stiffest laterally. We love them, but it’s worth noting that heavier riders may prefer something with more rigidity even if that means sacrificing a little comfort. In the pro world these would be training wheels, since the riders race on deep-section carbon tubulars. You do pay a premium for the prolevel frame, and the wheel spec isn’t generous for a bike at this price, but taken on its own merits the Addict Team Issue is a perfectly lovely thing. Ride quality, looks and a low weight make for a compelling package that cannot disappoint.

THE VERDICT It’s expensive in pro guise, but the Addict remains a favourite because it’s just so good

FOR A LITTLE MORE

SCOTT ADDICT SL £7499 One of the lightest frames around so add in SRAM Red, Syncros components and Zipp 202s and this sub-6kg machine puts the pro-bike to shame.

FOR A LOT LESS

SCOTT ADDICT 30 £1999 The same design, but using the slightly heavier HMF-grade carbon, built with 105, and Shimano RS11s. A taste of the pro peloton for two grand.


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R&D ULTRALIGHT

Photo: Pocis - Daniele Bennati

Designed to climb mountains...and podiums

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PELOTON DREAMS

Below The seat-tube hugs the rear wheel for aerodynamics Bottom SRAM’s eTap rear mech. Look, no metal wires or electric cable anywhere!

CANYON AEROAD CF SLX £6700 › Wireless shifting and team colours for the futuristic speedster

L

aunched a couple of years ago, Canyon’s Aeroad CF SLX has impressed us with its racy personality, and the value for money that the German direct-sales brand offers. As one of the bikes campaigned by Movistar and Katusha, it’s a prime pick for our Tour de France test, and by a stroke of luck Canyon had a test bike in the latter’s team colour built with a pro-level spec. This paintjob is now sold out and the SRAM eTap build isn’t one you could buy at the time of writing (we expect it will be in future), but we weren’t going to miss the opportunity to feature this

remarkable machine. Clinchers aside, this is the bike Norwegian sprinter Alexander Kristoff will race. The Aeroad shares many design cues with its time-trial stablemate the Speedmax. Virtually every part of the frameset seems to sport an aerodynamic cross-section, with truncated aerofoils throughout, and the different frame elements blend together beautifully. The fork flows cleanly into the frame; the seat clamp wedge sits flush with the toptube; and the seat-tube hugs the rear wheel all the way round to the seatstays, which are dropped in familiar fashion for rear end compliance. The seatpost is aero

SPECIFICATION Weight 7.0kg (S) Frame Aeroad CF SLX carbon Fork Aeroad CF Aeroblade SLX carbon Gears SRAM Red eTap, 52/36, 11-28 Brakes Shimano Dura-Ace Wheels Zipp 404 Firecrest clincher Finishing kit H11 Aerocockpit integrated bar and stem, Canyon S27 Aero VCLS seapost, Fizik Arione saddle, 25mm Continental GP4000S II tyres

The Aeroad shares many design cues with its time-trial stablemate the Speedmax

too, and the one-piece H11 carbon cockpit is beautiful, and claims to save 5.5 watts at 45km/h over a standard bar. Where other range-topping bikes from big names like Specialized and Trek are awash with proprietary technology (think concealed brakes and aero fairings), the Aeroad is refreshingly straightforward. While the callipers are direct-mount units rather than single-bolters, they’re mounted in the usual places rather than being tucked out of sight, making for easier adjustments and minimal hassle when swapping wheels. Despite the SRAM groupset, the brakes are from Shimano, as

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 79


ROAD TE ST SRAM’s wireless-shifting eTap groupset is fantastic, with an idiot-proof logic

HIGHS It’s slippery and gorgeous; eTap is fantastic

the American firm doesn’t currently make a direct-mount calliper. SRAM’s wireless-shifting eTap groupset is fantastic, with an idiotproof logic that should have Shimano and Campagnolo’s engineers kicking themselves for not thinking of it: left paddle for easier gears, right paddle for harder ones, both together to shift the front. It works very well, and the click from the paddles means you always know when you’ve shifted. The Aeroad is a focused racing weapon. It’s not uncomfortable by aero bike standards but it won’t cosset you, rewarding an aggressive riding style and an assertive approach to rougher roads. The aim is not to endure bumps, it’s to fly through them so quickly you don’t feel them, taking advantage of the bike’s ample rear-end stiffness to send watts through your back tyre. On really broken surfaces things can

80 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

LOWS Very focused ride; you can’t buy this exact bike

BUY IF You want to ride everywhere very, very quickly

get a bit chattery up front, but it was never excessive. The Zipp 404 Firecrest carbon clinchers on our test bike are two versions out of date, but still a tasty set of wheels. Crosswind behaviour is impressive for their depth, and at high speeds they cause the steering to weight up slightly, helping keep you on your line. Braking is a noisy affair, but this is one area that Zipp has since made radical changes with its Firestrike and NSW models. The Aeroad looks fast and it is. Point it down an incline and it becomes a missile, appearing to gather speed without impediment.

THE VERDICT The Aeroad is a bona fide superbike that’s surprisingly practical and blisteringly quick

FOR A LITTLE LESS

CANYON AEROAD CF SLX 8.0 DI2 £3499 Want Katusha-like colours without the price tag, then the Ultegra Di2equipped 8.0 is worth considering.

FOR A LOT LESS

CANYON AEROAD CF SLX 6.0 £2699 For the asking price of the 6.0 you get Ultegra and Mavic Cosmic Pro carbon wheels, so Canyon hasn’t been stingy on the equipment front.


LOOK WHAT WE BROUGHT TO THE RACE.

RACE

EVO 3www.panaracer.com

TUBELESS P R O T I T E PROBEAD ZSG DUAL The lightest puncture protection, advanced tubeless bead material and performance compound we’ve ever brought to a road tyre. For more info: www.panaracer.com/evo3


ROAD TE ST

Below BMC led the way when it comes to dropped seatstays Bottom Just as in the pro peloton, Shimano Dura-Ace dominates this test

BMC SLR01 DURA-ACE Di2

It craves speed. Pure, raw speed on any terrain brings the SLR01 alive

£7499 › Does BMC’s Teammachine show any signs of slowing down?

S

ome bikes shine brightly for a time, and after a honeymoon period, are superseded by the competition. Some bikes become ‘old’ when manufacturers replace or update their models. Few bikes in recent years have managed to maintain a consistently competitive edge, but the SLR01 is one seemingly omnipresent design. Since its launch three years ago, we’ve tested several SLR01 models, and defying the school of thought that suggests never going back for fear of repeating oneself, the bike that wowed us from the start

82 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

remains virtually unchanged. Does it still compete against the newer, younger upstarts? Undoubtedly. Proving the benefit of getting a design 100 per cent right, the SLR01 feels as taut, crisp and revelatory today as it did when we first sampled it in 2013. BMC’s ACE (Accelerated Composites Evolution) Technology software worked through 34,000 possible frame iterations before settling on this one, and the proof of the carbon is in the riding. Or something like that. From the first pedal stroke, the SLR01 just sings. Our model comes close to team spec with a complete Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, 3T cockpit,

SPECIFICATION Weight 6.58kg (56cm) Frame Teammachine SLR01 ACE carbon Fork Teammachine SLR01 ACE carbon Gears Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, 52/36, 11-28 Brakes Shimano Dura-Ace Wheels Shimano Dura-Ace C24 Finishing kit 3T stem, bar and seatpost, Fizik Arione R7 saddle, 23mm Continental GP4000s II tyres

and Dura-Ace wheels, but the Fizik Arione saddle has Kium, not carbon rails, and the wheels are an aluminium and carbon hybrid with clincher tyres. Considering Shimano’s belief in alloy rather than carbon, the 6.58kg weight is impressive. Race-worthy carbon tubulars and a lighter saddle would trim mass, but a diet isn’t what this bike is crying out for. It craves speed. Pure, raw speed on any terrain brings the SLR01 alive and begins to reveal just some of its epic potential. The professional team has raced it over everything from mountains to the Roubaix cobbles for the simple reason


PELOTON DREAMS

The SLR01 wrings every last gram of performance from the Dura-Ace wheels

HIGHS

that it matches extraordinary climbing ability to incredible bump smoothing and shock absorption. It’s a bike that excels on any road you point it at, and no matter how twisty the route, its positive braking and confidently stable cornering makes it easy to carry speed. We may never tire of the feeling the SLR01 gives when standing on the pedals, as little has come along to match it. Remember the feeling of pedalling your first tricycle, with cranks bolted to the front wheel? Well the SLR01 shares that directness (with rather more finesse). It’s as if your shoes are connected to the rear wheel. The groupset is classy and refined, but this bike doesn’t need electronic shifting to excel, it doesn’t even need the most modern wheelset. Shimano’s C24s are light, agile, urgent accelerators; ideal for the bike if not for the heavier rider.

Acceleration, refinement, confident handling, speed

LOWS It still rolls on 23mm rubber

BUY IF You want an exciting road bike that we think is a modern classic

These 21mm wide, 24mm tall rims give some width away to modern options, and wear their 23mm Continentals tall and light bulblike. Even so, the SLR01 wrings every last gram of performance from them, gripping tenaciously and producing balloon tyre ride quality. There’s room for 25mm rubber, and we can only imagine how plush and rapid that would be. Riding the SLR01 is never a chore, and as long as it exists, it will be one of our benchmarks. This is great news for the pro team, and any lucky owners. The only worry is how exactly can BMC make it any better?

FOR A LITTLE LESS

BMC TEAMMACHINE SLR01 ULTEGRA DI2 £4799 The same pro-level chassis but built with Shimano Ultegra Di2, DT Swiss Spline wheels and a Fizik saddle – the all-up weight is still just 7.1kg.

THE VERDICT One of the most accomplished point-to-point, all-round road bikes there is

FOR A LOT LESS

BMC TEAMMACHINE SLR02 £1899 Winner of our £1500-£2000 category in this year’s bike of the year, the SLR02 gives the same brilliant ride.

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 83


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PELOTON DREAMS

Below Cannondale’s new carbon seatpost is 25.4mm in diameter Bottom Mavic’s Cosmics are very good wheels but are susceptible to sidewinds

As you’d expect with a bike this light the SuperSix climbs spectacularly

CANNONDALE SUPERSIX EVO HI-MOD £7499 › An Evo-lution for the Team Edition SuperSix

T

he latest SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Team is the product of years of evolution of Cannondale’s WorldTour bikes, though somewhat unusually these days it doesn’t actually have a lighter frame than its predecessor. What it does have is a lower overall ‘system’ weight. And it is light too, our 58cm test bike being the lightest here. Take into account the frame, fork, headset, seatpost and chainset and you get to 1303g, lighter than any other bike here by a fair margin and a full 415g less than Specialized’s S-Works Tarmac. This has been

achieved by the introduction of a new 280g fork, 40g lighter than the outgoing model, with the new super-slim 25.4mm seatpost saving a further 30g. Cannondale’s distinctive SiSL2 chainset is also lighter than opposition offerings. But low weight is still only ever part of the equation. Fortunately Cannondale’s boffins have created a ride that backs it up in spades. The classic Cannondale geometry feels familiar and the shape is as we expected – but the feel is something else, the front end stiff and direct. Your steering inputs are met with a change in direction of such speed and stability that you know that the

SPECIFICATION Weight 6.43kg (58cm) Frame Hi-Mod BallisTec carbon Fork BallisTec carbon Gears Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (52/36 Cannondale SiSL2), 11-28 Brakes Shimano Dura-Ace Wheels Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40 Finishing kit FSA stem, FSA K-Force Light bar and seatpost, Fizik Arione R3 saddle, 25mm Mavic tyres

Evo is going to hit the mark every time, with the bike pretty much there before you even have a chance to think about it. As you’d expect with a bike this light the SuperSix climbs spectacularly, echoing the Focus Izalco Max in encouraging you to get out of the saddle and dance on the pedals like a slowmotion Marco Pantani. What is equally impressive is just how smooth the Evo feels. Pro-level bikes used to have the – deserved – reputation of being stiff and harsh, but the ability of bikes like this, the Cervélo, Focus and Trek’s Domane to cope with bad roads has put paid to that. Cannondale’s designers

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 85


ROAD TE ST The front end is stiff, but it is also composed over gravel-strewn tarmac

HIGHS

have combined the smoothness of the Synapse with the lightness of the previous Evo. Yes, the front end is stiff, but it is also composed over rutted roads and gravel-strewn tarmac. The 25.4mm seatpost and a seat-tube that increases in diameter down its length keep things equally smooth at the back. Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 is its usual impeccable self, while the FSA cockpit and Fizik’s Arione saddle are both choices that we would make. The only kit we’d really question is the Mavic Cosmic 40 wheelset. More than 90 per cent of the time the wheels are exactly what you’d want: light, very well put together and with an aerodynamic advantage. The non-Exalith braking track is consistent, if a little noisy under hard braking, but the Cosmics are nowhere near as good as the Zipp 303s on the Izalco. Being overtaken by a large truck can necessitate

86 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

The handling and road manners are stunning; a nailed-on future classic

LOWS Expensive, and the wheels can’t quite do justice to the chassis

BUY IF You want a bike that combines race geometry, impeccable handling and comfort beyond expectations

some sharp reactions on your part and strong crosswinds also require close attention and concentration. Great wheels in fine conditions, but the trade-off at other times is a little too much for our liking. The Evo’s finish is all you’d expect of a professional-level bike – the pictures really don’t do it justice; the SiSL2 chainset is impossibly stiff for its low weight and the SpideRing offers flawless shifting. And though the Evo verges on a masterpiece for its ride quality, it is £1800 dearer than Focus’s similarly specced Izalco Max, which offers a comparable cycling experience.

THE VERDICT Truly stunning but there are better Evo models available

FOR A LITTLE LESS

CANNONDALE SUPERSIX EVO HI-MOD BLACK INC £6999.99 With mechanical Dura-Ace matched to EE brakes and ENVE wheels, this is a genuine stealth superbike.

FOR A LOT LESS

CANNONDALE SUPERSIX EVO HI-MOD ULTEGRA £2999 At less than half the price of the team machine the Ultegra- and Ksyriumequipped version looks top value.


www.dare2b.com


PELOTON DREAMS

Below The Pinarello F8’s ‘FlatBack Profile’ seat-tube Bottom MOST’s Talon one-piece bar is stiffer than a bar and stem pairing

PINARELLO DOGMA F8 SKY DI2

The rear-end plushness is impressive and the comfort really shines through

£8499 › Reigning champ Chris Froome’s swoopy-looking flyer

P

inarello’s latest Dogma follows the philosophy of ‘if it ain’t broke…’, as the F8’s frame has stayed the same since its launch. This is no bad thing as far as we’re concerned, as the F8 featured marked improvements over its 65.1 predecessor. And as Froomedog claimed his second yellow jersey on this bike last year, it’s not like it’s slouching its way through France… As with many pro machines Team Sky’s bike has an aero-optimised frame, in this case featuring main tubes with what Pinarello calls a ‘FlatBack Profile’. It’s a profile

that’s usually referred to as Kamm tail, a truncated aerofoil that has an aerodynamic advantage but that doesn’t contravene the UCI’s 3:1 aspect ratio rule [the depth of the tube can’t be more than three times the width]. But for what is essentially an aero road bike, the design is clean and fuss free, even though it has some very neat touches. The bow-legged fork is designed to reduce turbulence from the rotating front wheel, while the fork crown is shaped to closely match the standard brake. The asymmetrical frame is typically Pinarello, and is claimed to equalise the drivetrain forces.

SPECIFICATION Weight 7.24kg (59.5cm) Frame Carbon Fork Carbon Gears Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, 50/34, 11-25 Brakes Shimano Dura-Ace Wheels Corima S+ 47mm Finishing kit MOST Talon onepiece bar and stem, Pinarello aero seatpost, 23mm Vittoria Corsa 4C G+ tyres

While the frame is essentially unchanged, the same isn’t true for the rest of the bike. MOST’s new one-piece Talon bar is designed to be as aerodynamic as the bike, complete with teardrop-shaped stem and spacers. But what truly impresses with the F8 is the comfort that the frame and fork deliver. A bike with oversized aerodynamic tubes could easily be rigid and uncompromising, but the F8’s rear end plushness, in particular, is impressive and the comfort really shines through. The front does feel stiffer than the last F8 we tested, which has to be down to the rocksolid-feeling one-piece wing bar,

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 89


ROAD TE ST

The F8 has the better of the Cannondale and the Focus when it comes to flatout speed

HIGHS

but the hooks have a great shape and the flats on the bar tops aren’t so wide that they’re uncomfortable on long climbs – something the F8 has seen plenty of. There’s little that we haven’t already said about Dura-Ace Di2 and we couldn’t fault Selle Italia’s SLR saddle either. Froome and Co will be riding Shimano wheels, while our bike has 47mm-deep rimmed Corima A+ clinchers with Vittoria’s graphene-infused Corsa tyres. These are among the best tyres we’ve tried recently, offering compliance, speed and grip. The wheels roll smoothly, at 1400g they’re pretty light and they’re fine performers in crosswinds. And, like the frame, Corima’s rims have pedigree, being ridden by Astana to victory in the 2014 Tour, the 2015 Giro and Vuelta and this year’s Giro. The carbon brake tracks did whistle occasionally under hard braking,

90 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

Impressive on-road manners and a great turn of speed

LOWS The one-piece bar/stem is very stiff; some rear brake rub; that price

BUY IF You want a Tourwinning machine that’s fast, aerodynamic and comfortable

though this lessened as the brake blocks wore in, and we could induce a little rear brake rub sprinting hard, though some fettling with a spoke key reduced this. We believe that Pinarello’s Dogma excels as an all-rounder with aero considerations rather than as an all-out aero road bike, with a balance of reactive handling and speed that closely matches the Bianchi Oltre we tested last month. Cannondale’s Evo and the Focus Izalco may be more nimble through the bends, but the F8 has the better of both when it comes to flat-out straight-line speed.

THE VERDICT Awesome Grand Tour machine with a spectacular price tag

FOR A LITTLE LESS

PINARELLO DOGMA 65.1 SUPER RECORD £5450 Go to Pinarello’s UK factory outlet and you’ll find deals like a 65.1 with Full Super Record at well under the RRP.

FOR A LOT LESS

PINARELLO GAN RS ULTEGRA £4050 Similar looks to the F8, but with a slightly more compliant carbon frame and less extreme geometry, the Gan is a bit more of an everyman’s road bike.


ROAD TE ST

WINNER Specialized S-Works Tarmac Dura-Ace › A very special Specialized

H

igh marks all around, yes, but then again these are all Grand Tour-ready bikes. Cervélo’s R5 can easily handle itself in this august company, but it does struggle on value against brands such as Focus, Canyon and Specialized. And the same is true of Pinarello. It has served up its best Dogma yet, a stunning and aggressive aeroish road bike, but at £8500 it is expensive (then again, if you have £8500…). Cannondale’s super-light and dynamic Evo is as responsive as anything we’ve ridden, but it’s overshadowed by better, and more

92 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

Above In third place at the moment, but is the Tarmac ready to pounce?

economically priced bikes elsewhere in the company’s own range. Trek has hit another high watermark with its radical Domane, while Canyon’s Aeroad is a fast and practical aero bike elevated by SRAM’s wireless eTap. Ridley’s Helium SL is light, aggressive and impressive, and is due to be superseded this year – its successor having a lot to live up to. The BMC and Scott have lightweight frames that deliver on the road, with Scott serving up a climber’s special and BMC its still exemplary smoothriding Teammachine SLR01. Which leaves just the Focus Izalco Max and the Specialized S-Works

The Tarmac has a smooth and refined ride with a super-rapid turn of speed and a great spec

Tarmac. They’re evenly matched on weight, devastatingly quick and handle sublimely. This Izalco can’t run Di2 or EPS, though you could fit eTap, while the Tarmac comes with Di2. And though we’d happily spend the rest of our days riding the Focus it’s the Tarmac that edges it. The S-Works Tarmac has a smooth and refined ride with a super-rapid turn of speed and a great all-round spec – and last year you’d have paid a grand more for it too. For the first time Specialized is beating the likes of Canyon and Focus on price, this Tarmac coming in 200-quid cheaper than Focus’s Izalco Max, for example.


For every nasty in the road, there’s the new Durano Double Defense. Advanced cut resistant SnakeSkin sidewalls and RaceGuard puncture protection. More than a match for your city’s streets.


ROAD TE ST RIDLEY HELIUM SL 20 £3599.99

TREK DOMANE SLR 7 £4400

SPECIALIZED S-WORKS TARMAC DA £5500

FOCUS IZALCO MAX AG2R £5699

CERVÉLO R5 DURA-ACE £6599

Size tested

S

58cm

54cm

L

56cm

Sizes available

XS, S, M, L

50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62cm

49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61cm

XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL

48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61cm

Weight

7.56kg

7.58kg

6.54kg

6.46kg

6.73kg

Frame

Ridley Helium SL 60T-40T-30T HM unidirectional carbon

600 Series OCLV Carbon

S-Works FACT 11r carbon

Izalco Max P2T 10 Carbon

Cervélo All-Carbon

Fork

Ridley Helium SL unidirectional carbon

Domane full carbon, E2 tapered steerer

Specialized FACT carbon

Izalco Max P2T 10 Carbon T4

Cervélo All-Carbon, tapered R5

Frame alignment

Head-tube, fork dropouts and rear dropouts perfect

Head-tube, fork dropouts and rear dropouts perfect

Head-tube, rear dropouts and fork dropouts good

Head-tube, rear dropouts and fork dropouts perfect

Head-tube and rear dropouts good, fork dropouts perfect

Chainset

Rotor 3D F 172.5mm 52/36

Shimano Ultegra 175mm 5o/34

S-Works FACT carbon 52/36

SRAM Red 22 172.5mm, 52/36

Rotor 3D+ 172.5mm 52/36

Bottom bracket

PF30

BB90

FACT

PF30

PF30

Cassette

Shimano CS-5800 11-28

Shimano CS-6800 11-28

Shimano CS-9000 11-28

SRAM 11-28

Shimano CS9000 11-28

Chain

KMC

Shimano

Shimano

Shimano

Shimano

Derailleurs

Shimano Ultegra

Shimano Ultegra Di2

Shimano Dura-Ace

SRAM Red 22

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2

Gear levers

Shimano Ultegra

Shimano Ultegra Di2

Shimano Dura-Ace

SRAM Red 22

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2

Front and rear

Fulcrum Racing Quattro, 35mm deep aluminium rims, 16 spokes front, 21 spokes rear

Bontrager Paradigm Comp TLR (tubeless ready) rims, 18 spokes front, 24 spokes rear

Roval Rapide CLX 40, 40mm deep carbon clincher rims, 18 spokes front, 24 spokes rear

Zipp 303 Firecrest carbon clincher, 45mm rims, , 18 spokes front, 24 spokes rear

HED Ardennes Plus LT, 24.5mm deep rim, 18 spokes front, 24 spokes rear

Tyres

Continental Ultra Sport 700x25mm

Bontrager R3 700x28mm

Specialized Turbo Cotton 700x24mm

Continental Grand Prix 4000S II 700x25mm

Continental Grand Prix 700x25mm

Wheel weight

F 1.18kg R 1.72kg

F 1.14kg R 1.62kg

F 1.06kg R 1.4kg

F 1.09kg R 1.46kg

F 1.07kg R 1.47kg

Stem

Forza Cirrus 100mm

Bontrager Pro 110mm

S-Works SL

Fizik aluminium 110mm

FSA OS-99 CSI 110mm

Handlebar

Forza Cirrus 42cm

Bontrager Pro Isocore VR CF 44cm

S-Works Aerofly

Fizik Cyrano R3 aluminium 43cm

FSA K-Force Compact 40cm

Headset

FSA

Cane Creek

Specialized

FSA

FSA

Saddle

Forza Cirrus Pro

Bontrager Affinity Elite Ti

S-Works Toupé

Fizik Antares

Fizik Antares

Seatpost

Forza Cirrus Pro 27.2mm

Bontrager Ride Tuned carbon mast cap

S-Works FACT carbon 27.2mm

Focus CPX Plus carbon 27.2mm

FSA K-Force

Brakes

Shimano Ultegra

Bontrager Speed Stop direct mount

Shimano Dura-Ace

SRAM Red

Shimano Dura-Ace

TRANSMISSION

WHEELS

COMPONENTS

Ridley Cockpit 69cm Standover 78cm BB height 28cm Fork offset 4.7cm Trail 5.1cm

Specialized

54cm 73.5˚

74˚ 47cm

73.5˚

73˚

48cm

40.5cm

50cm

Scott 56cm

Cockpit 73 Standover 81cm BB height 27.5cm Fork offset 4.3cm Trail 5.9cm 51.5cm

102.5cm

54cm 73˚

73˚

Cockpit 72cm Standover 78cm BB height 27.5cm Fork offset 4.25cm Trail 5.9cm

74.5˚ 48cm

40.5cm

42.5cm

50cm

98.5cm

Focus 72˚

73.5˚

73˚

40.5cm

56cm

73˚

55cm

98cm

Trek Cockpit 68cm Standover 76.5cm BB height 27cm Fork offset 4.8cm Trail 6cm

Cockpit 72cm Standover 82cm BB height 28.5cm Fork offset 4.3cm Trail 5.6cm

4o.5cm

98cm

94 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

Cervélo

55cm

Standover 77.5cm BB height 27.5cm Fork offset 4.5cm Trail 5.7cm

41cm

99cm

99cm

73˚


PELOTON DREAMS

SCOTT ADDICT TEAM ISSUE £6699

CANYON AEROAD CF SLX £6700

BMC TEAMMACHINE SLR 01 DURA-ACE £7499

CANNONDALE SUPERSIX EVO HI-MOD £7499

PINARELLO DOGMA F8 SKY Di2 £8499

Size tested

M (54cm)

S

56cm

58cm

59.5cm

Sizes available

XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL

XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL

48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61cm

48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 63cm

42, 44, 46.5, 47, 50, 51.5, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57.5, 59.5, 62cm

Weight

6.44kg

7.0kg

6.58kg

6.43kg

7.24kg

Frame

Addict HMX/IMP Superlight carbon

Canyon Aeroad carbon

Teammachine SLR01 Ace carbon

BallisTec Hi-Mod Carbon

Carbon

Fork

Addict HMX carbon, tapered steerer

Canyon Aeroblade carbon

Teammachine SLR01 Ace carbon

BallisTec carbon

Carbon

Frame alignment

Head-tube, fork dropouts and rear dropouts perfect

Head-tube, fork dropouts and rear dropouts perfect

Head-tube, fork dropouts and rear dropouts perfect

Head-tube, fork dropouts and rear dropouts perfect

Head-tube, fork dropouts and rear dropouts perfect

Chainset

Shimano Dura-Ace 172.5mm 52/36

SRAM Red 172.5mm 52/36

Shimano Dura-Ace 172.5mm 52/36

Cannondale SiSL2 175mm 52/36

Shimano Dura-Ace 175mm, 50/34

Bottom bracket

PF30

PF30

PF30

BB30

Italian

Cassette

Shimano CS-99000 11-28

SRAM XG-1190 11-28

Shimano CS-9000 11-28

Shimano CS-9000 11-28

Shimano CS-9000 11-25

Chain

Shimano

SRAM

Shimano

Shimano

Shimano

Derailleurs

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2

SRAM eTap

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2

Gear levers

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2

SRAM eTap

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2

Front and rear

Shimano Dura-Ace C24, 24mm deep rims, 16 spokes front, 24 spokes rear

Zipp 404 Firecrest carbon clinchers, 58mm deep rims, 18 spokes front, 24 spokes rear

Shimano Dura-Ace C24, 24mm deep rims, 16 spokes front, 24 spokes rear

Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40 clinchers, 400mm deep rims, 16 spokes front, 20 spokes rear

Corima 47 carbon clinchers, 47mm deep rims, 18 spokes front, 20 spokes rear

Tyres

Continental Grand Prix 4000S II 700x23mm

Continental Grand Prix 4000S II 700x25mm

Continental Grand Prix 4000S II 700x23mm

Mavic Yksion Pro SSC GripLink/PowerLink, 700x25mm

Vittoria Corsa 4C G+ 700x23mm

Wheel weight

F 0.95kg R 1.36kg

F 1.17kg R 1.49kg

F 0.95kg R 1.36kg

F 1.06kg R 1.44kg

F 1.05kg R 1.44kg

Stem

Syncros FL 1.0 carbon 110mm

Canyon H11 carbon Aerocockpit 110mm

3T Arx 2 Team 110mm

FSA Os 99 carbon 110mm

MOST Talon Aero 140mm

Handlebar

Syncros RR 1.1 carbon 41cm

Canyon H11 carbon Aerocockpit 45cm

3T Ergonova Team 42cm

FSA K-Force carbon 42cm

MOST Talon Aero 4ocm

Headset

Ritchey

Canyon A

BMC

Cannondale

MOST

Saddle

Prologo CPC Zero

Fizik Arione

Fizik Arione R7

Fizik Arione R3

Selle Italia SLR

Seatpost

Syncros FL10 carbon 27.2mm

Canyon S27 Aero

Teammachine SLR01 D01 carbon

FSA K-Force Aero

Pinarello Carbon

Brakes

Shimano Dura-Ace

Shimano Dura-Ace

Shimano Dura-Ace

Shimano Dura-Ace

Shimano Dura-Ace

TRANSMISSION

WHEELS

F 1.15kg R 1.6kg

COMPONENTS

Canyon Cockpit 69.5cm Standover 78.5cm BB height 27.5cm Fork offset 4cm Trail 5.9cm

Cannondale

57cm

74.5˚

73˚

50cm

Cockpit 73cm Standover 84cm BB height 28cm Fork offset 4.25cm Trail 6cm

NEXT MONTH

57.5cm 73.5˚

74˚ 55.5cm 40.5cm

41cm

100cm

98cm

BMC

Pinarello 57cm

Cockpit 73.5cm Standover 81cm BB height 28cm Fork offset 4.15cm Trail 6.4cm

73.5˚ 52.5cm

59cm 72.5˚

Cockpit 75cm Standover 84.5cm BB height 27.5cm Fork offset 4.3cm Trail 6.1cm

72.5˚

74˚ 54cm

41.5cm

41cm

99cm

RIDDEN AND RATED LIGHTWEIGHT ROAD BIKES Tune in for a round-up of six tasty carbon and alloy machines that won’t bother the scales.

99cm

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 95


NEW KIT MOST D WANTE

THULE PRORIDE 598 £100 › New benchmark roof bike carrier

hold at speed. Each strap has a little rubber cover AT FIRST GLANCE, THE THULE ProRide 598 is to protect against rim scratching. On the move, similar to the still-available 591 – one of our the 4.17kg carrier is sleek enough that it favourite roof-mounted bike carriers. The doesn’t add to noise without a bike single frame-grasping arm with its lowmounted, and rigid enough to go positioned tightening knob remains, unnoticed with a bike aboard. as do the two ratcheting wheel straps. The finest Bike removal is an easy oneCarrying lightweight aluminium person job. Click free the wheel and carbon bikes needed careful roof-mounted straps and then hit the quick-release attention on the 591, something the carrier we have lever to undo the spring-loaded jaws. 598 solves in two ways. Firstly, the ever used Locks are included to secure both frame jaws feature a grid-like rubber the rack to the crossbars, and for the bike structure designed to conform to tube attached to prevent the jaws from opening. shapes and compress around random bulges So what’s not to like? Well, such a durable (such as brake hoses and gear cables). Secondly, construction and a long list of technical features the knob that controls the jaws now features a doesn’t come cheap. torque limiter. Working like a pre-set torque wrench it takes the guesswork out of securing the bike. That said, a voice in our heads thought it was still clamping too tightly on the thinnest of carbon frames, and so we often hit the road before the retention click-out occurred. It seems Thule has similar concerns, as it now offers a ‘Carbon Frame Protector’ (#984) that straps over the clamping point of the frame and disperses the forces along a 10cm area. At £20, we recommend purchasing if your bike has a lightweight frame, though we feel a rack of this SARIS GRAN SEASUCKER MINI price should just include this important accessory. FONDO 2 £200 BOMBER £349.99 Installation is simple. Our sample made use of the ‘T-track’ standard (20x20mm), which slides The boot-mounted SeaSucker’s racks can into the slots of modern roof bars – Thule’s Gran Fondo supports be fitted to almost Wingbars in this case – to give a secure hold to the your bikes by the any car thanks to wheels only so a vacuum cup. The car. For those without slotted crossbars, adaptors it’s perfect if you pad sucks on to are available and there are very few rails the 598 really don’t want to the surface using a won’t fit. The ProRide 598 is built to last and is clamp your carbon pump, and a clear backed by a five-year warranty. frame. The front indicator shows when wheel fits into a maximum suction is Easing the process of size-adjustable cup reached. Two bikes putting on the bike is a raised and the rear wheel attach to fork mounts lip on the lower jaw to help sits in a channeland rear wheel HIGHS ‘hook it in’. It seemingly gives shaped section. supports, consisting Simple assembly Ratchet straps secure a snugger hold to the bike of another SeaSucker and operation, and both wheels. It’s a plus Velcro straps. safer on carbon once tight. Also new, the rack designed for The racks have a diagonal wheel fixing straps expensive road bikes hole in the base that LOWS help to align the wheels into and, as such, it’s one a lock cable can be Not a lot place and create a more stable of the best there is. passed through.

96 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

Image: Robert Smith

WE SAY


CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 97


NE W KIT WE SAY Their quality and versatility give the RR 21s the edge over the Ksyriums

HEAD D TO HEA

DT SWISS RR 21 DICUT

BEST ON TEST

MAVIC KSYRIUM PRO £675 (Pair)

£374.99 (R), £274.99 (F) In the box

Weights and measures

The RR 21 Dicut is a premium The 21mm-deep RR 21s weigh low-profile clincher. Blunt802g for the rear and 645g for profiled aluminium rims are the front, plus 106g for the laced with DT’s alloy nipples skewers. External width is a and straight-pull spokes (20 middling 21.6mm (nominally front, 24 rear) to a version of 22), but narrow hooks make its Grand Tour-proven 240s for a reasonably wide 18.1mm hub. The rear rim is offset for internal measurement – a a more even tension between 25mm Continental GP4000S II the right and left sides. tyre measures an impressive The wheels are supplied 27.5mm when mounted. with tubeless tape and valves, but are also happy On the road with standard clincher tyres. The RR 21s’ low weight makes DT includes its clever RWS them lively and responsive skewers that tighten with when you start to crank it up. a simple turn rather than a Coasting is rewarding, as DT’s cam lever. We’ve got on well signature star ratchet freehub with the system in purrs expensively. the past, but the Ride quality is on a curved levers on par with box-section HIGHS this version proved alloy rims, and the Quality tubelessawkward as they extra tyre volume ready wheels with fouled on the frame afforded by their wide rims and fork, slowing internal width lets LOWS wheel changes you drop the psi a tad Awkward skewer considerably. for extra comfort.

98 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

In the box Built with all in-house components including Mavic’s low-maintenance hubs and wide Zicral aluminium spokes (18 front, 20 rear with an offset for more even tensions), these wheels feature a wider rim than previous Ksyriums. Said rim uses the company’s ‘4D’ milling process to produce a beautifully sculpted profile. Despite the extra width (and undrilled rim), these aren’t approved for tubeless. Like most of its wheels, these come with Mavic’s own-brand tyres.

their nominal width on rims that are 21.8mm externally and 16.7 internally. The tubes are 128g each and our GP4000S II comes up at 26.5mm wide.

On the road

Mavic should be commended for finally offering a wider Ksyrium, but we wish it had gone even bigger. The familiar Ksyrium feel remains largely unchanged: these are slightly firm riding – likely in part because of the large cross-section aluminium spokes – but are very stiff and with a snappy feel. Heavier, Weights and measures more powerful riders will The Pros weigh 864g love them as they for the 26mm-deep offer an outstanding rear and 654g for the stiffness-to-weight HIGHS 24mm-deep front, ratio; lighter riders Stiff, racy and with plus 124g for the may prefer softerdecent tyres skewers. The 25mm riding options. For LOWS Yksion tyres average blasting up climbs Middling width; 213g each, and in style, these are firm ride not for all measure just over very fine wheels.


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NE W KIT

WE SAY A cockpit and post with the quality and performance to match Parlee’s bikes

DE UPGRA

PARLEE BAR, STEM AND SEATPOST £Various › US custom carbon builder’s components MASSACHUSETTS-BASED PARLEE has branched a similarly stiff performance, with none of the out from creating custom carbon frames to torsional twisting that afflicts some lightweight producing high-end composite components. Its stems we’ve tested. Titanium bolts keep the £320 bar comes in three sizes (40, 42 and 44cm), weight down, while threaded aluminium the £250 stem in four (90, 100, 110 and 120mm), inserts mean you won’t damage your valuable with the £260 350x31.6mm seatpost available in product. The two-part faceplate is also made zero and 25mm offset versions. from aluminium for durability. The stem’s But just what do you get for your – yikes, reverse fasteners are set at an angle away count it! – £800-plus? Well, for starters you get from the stem axis to allow you easier access a cockpit that delivers a great blend of stiffness for tools. and comfort. The 239g bar (44cm) is all about The lightweight 227g seatpost does an excellent ergonomics, featuring a short reach (70mm) job of keeping you comfortable, especially given and a shallow 128mm drop with long extensions its 31.6mm diameter, the split section below that you can cut to length. The oversize 35mm the clamp providing plenty of give and lots of diameter pioneered by Deda results in a surface area to dissipate vibrations before they reach your tender parts. But it is a shame that handlebar that’s superbly solid even during it’s only available in the diameter that Parlee full-on sprints, with the carbon successfully uses for its own bikes, especially taking the sting out of what would as more manufacturers are now otherwise be finger-numbing reverting to slimmer 27.2mm vibrations. If you leave the long drop HIGHS seat-tubes. section (we’ve got ours on test so will Great performance There’s no doubting that the eventually have to be returned) it’s and superb finish performance of Parlee’s beautifully perfect for keeping things comfortable crafted components matches that during head-down efforts over bumpy LOWS One-sizeof the company’s bikes. Equally, roads and cobbles. only seatpost; though, £830 is a huge investment The matching oversized carbon stem stratospheric price for a cockpit and seatpost. belies its 143g (110mm) weight to deliver

100 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

DEDA TRENTACINQUE SUPERLEGGERA £VARIOUS At just 178g for the bar (£219.99), 135g for the stem (£104.99) and 176g for the post (£145.99), Deda’s Superleggera 35 range is among the lightest that we have tested. The Italian company created the 35mm handlebar standard, which offers an incredibly stiff and strong structure – but the carbon bar also does a fantastic job of killing unwanted road buzz. The stem is a simpler aluminium affair, but light and cheaper than some of its competition.


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OUT SHOOT

PRE-SET TORQUE KEYS £10-£39.99 › Take the guesswork out of tightening your bike’s nuts and bolts

PARK TOOL PTD-6

FWE 5NM TORQUE WRENCH £15.99

£39.99 Also available in 4Nm or 5Nm options, Park Tool’s PTD-6 is a robust 6Nm tool with all-metal internals and great accuracy thanks to its cam-over design that prevents over-tightening. It weighs a hefty 221g and is 115mm long, with 3, 4 and 5mm hex plus T25 Torx bits retained by the magnetic 0.25in drive or stored within the chunky handle.

FWE’s Torque Wrench is identical to Lifeline’s offering, save for the graphics and price. Unsurprisingly, its performance is also identical, with reliable cam-over steel internals giving good results. The small dimensions and 124g mass are more travel- than hand-friendly, and you’ll need to keep the two loose spare bits somewhere safe.

BONTRAGER TORQKEY £15.99 Supplied free with some Trek bikes, or sold as a 5Nm key with 4mm or T25 Torx bits glued in place, the Torqkey’s large T-handle feels a bit square, but gives good purchase in use. Its 72mm length allows decent access, plus at only 84g it’s travelfriendly. Two tool options limit versatility, but it is possible to exchange bits.

BEST ON TEST

LIFELINE ESSENTIAL MINI TORQUE WRENCH £10 Sharing origins with the FWE, this is a bargain for the light user. Including the 4, 5 and 6mm hex bits, it’s a 124g 5Nm pre-set wrench, which is 100mm at its longest, but the relatively small handle has no spare bits storage. The cam-over steel internals should last, and provide a decent level of accuracy.

102 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

TOPEAK NANO TORQBAR £24.99 This is 98g of design cunning, offering an aluminium tube wrench and fold-out plastic case containing 3, 4 and 5mm hex plus T20 and T25 Torx bits alongside a 4, 5 or 6Nm Torq bit. A slide-out magnetic compartment within the handle can house two bits, plus the Torq bit, giving the most ride-friendly wrench ever.

RITCHEY TORQKEY £20 Somewhere between a Swiss Army knife and a rocket launcher, the Torqkey packs 3, 4 and 5mm hex, T20 and T25 Torx and a Phillips bit into the carousel surrounding the 4Nm or 5Nm pre-set holder. It’s accurate, versatile and portable at just 85g and 92mm long, but there’s only thumb and forefinger grip on the handle.


AIR

Aerodynamic advantage starting at ÂŁ2199.99. AIR Series includes 9.0, 9.2, 9.4, 9.8, 9.9, Signature & Womens Model shown AIR 9.9 at ÂŁ6499.99.

As a leading pioneer in the aerodynamic road bike sector we have meticulously refined this design over 5 years of research and testing. Olympic Gold and World titles are testament to this ongoing development process and as such the AIR frameset is one of the most complete packages available on the market today.

BOARDMAN SIGNATURE SERIES

ELITE SERIES

WWW.BOARDMANBIKES.COM


NEW KIT

BLUE IS THE COLOUR?

3

2

1

SCREEN SHOT

1  

The screen tilts slightly, so that it points towards you rather than straight up when you’re in your riding position. Clever stuff

FEELING BLUE

Polar remains faithful to Bluetooth, which potentially limits its compatibility with other training devices like heart rate monitors

FLOW RIDER

3  

Data can be uploaded via Bluetooth to Polar’s Flow app, which now syncs with Strava to help build a personal training database

EDGE G N I T T CU

POLAR M450 GPS COMPUTER £149.50 › Value-packed GPS with one key caveat to jump to a new protocol. Enough to render the POLAR’S LATEST SMALL-SCALE GPS unit potential savings of the M450 redundant. offers a great deal for a relatively modest outlay, The GPS-enabled unit tracks speed, distance so where’s the catch? and route (although it sometimes took a while to At first look, there isn’t one, and as an pick up a signal, especially when we impatiently on-bike computer there is much to like about set off before waiting for it to do so while the way the M450 works in a fuss-free manner. stationary). It features a pretty accurate If you’ve used Polar’s products before, barometer to measure altitude and is particularly its recent sports watches, a similar in size (though thinner) to the lot will be familiar, such as setting Garmin 510. your personal profiles, transferring If you favour With a compatible heart rate workouts and pairing with sensors. Bluetooth, the M450 strap (if yours is ANT+ the M450 Ah yes, pairing with sensors… offers a lot to tempt bundle adds only £5 and comes with Polar continues to ignore ANT+ you into the Polar a Polar strap) you get access to heart compatibility and this could be a landscape rate read outs, training zones, and deal-breaker for many cyclists. Polar info on training load and status. is presumably playing the long game, On the bike the unit does suffer from hoping that as more people begin monitoring not having touchscreen technology, especially their performance with smartphones before as it was still full-finger glove weather moving on to specific devices, when we were testing it on early Bluetooth will emerge as the data morning commutes. The red ‘select’ transfer protocol of choice. HIGHS button on top of the device is easy to In ignoring the Garmin-owned Intuitive, lots access, as is the ‘on’ button on the ANT+ it is currently dissuading of features for unit’s left-hand side, but those at potential switchers who already have the money the bottom of the unit (a ‘back’ their sensors. More third party LOWS button to the left and a navigation products are featuring Bluetooth Not ANT+ button to the right) were awkward, compatibility, but if you’ve already got compatible, buttons particularly with the unit mounted a heart rate monitor, cadence sensor are fiddly on the stem. and even power meter it’s asking a lot

For a long time now, Garmin’s ANT+ has been the protocol of choice for getting your cycling computer talking to your heart rate monitor, cadence sensor and power meter. During this time, the once mighty Polar has been a resolute refusenik, often seemingly to its own cost. While the Finnish company has put together an excellent ecosystem of computers and gadgets, it has felt as though users were locked into that ecosystem in the same way as Apple users, while the rest of the world interacted with each other over ANT+. Have smartphones changed the picture though? They have certainly led a revival in Bluetooth as a protocol (for listening to music, for example), and with many new cyclists first dabbling with measuring their performance and interacting with Strava via their phones, could it be that Bluetooth’s time is upon us?

WE SAY

104 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

GARMIN EDGE 510 £249 The 510 records your distance, speed, ascent/descents, grade and more, and if you want to show off about your stats it connects simply to your smartphone to share info on social media via Garmin Connect. The waterproof, easy to operate computer has a 20-hour battery life.


Our goal at Felt Bicycles is not to become the biggest bike company of all time, just the best. For more than 20 years we‘ve been doing everything we can to reach that goal by spending countless hours in the wind tunnel and obsessing over carbon layups.

More Informations: feltbicycles.com

The design of our bikes was always centered around the demands of athletes through a process we call FRD (Felt Racing Development). Through continuous testing and feedback we can provide our athletes with the best material – our FRD bikes. But there’s a constant trickle-down effect so even our more affordable bikes share a lot of the technology features of the FRD line. We’re very proud of our products – and the fact that Team NFTO chooses to use them!


NE W KIT

GIRO EMPIRE SLX £249.99

WE SAY

DE UPGRA

VITTORIA 1976 EVO

Great fitting comfortable retrostyled shoes with performance to match

£179.99 › Classy-looking retro-modern mash-up

the ‘bowling shoe’-like shape narrow, Vittoria TECHNOLOGY MAY BE EVOLVING APACE, but offers a wider option. events like L’Eroica (see page 172) and the At 596g for our size 45s they’re reasonably continuing popularity of steel bikes show that light, while the sole – just 3.8mm thick – is ‘retro’ is still very much in vogue. Giro’s techremarkably stiff, which creates a great laden Empires have led the way when it comes connection to the pedals and an equally positive to shoes, but Vittoria is celebrating its 40th power transfer. The sole has mesh vents for birthday by updating its classic 1976s. breathability and cooling, but if it’s raining The 1976 Evo features the same stitched water can – and does – get in. toe-box and punch-holed style upper as the The cleat bolts are set into horizontal sliders, original, but now in manmade microfibre rather so you get more in-out adjustment over a than leather, and accompanied by an up-todate carbon sole inherited from standard sole. Vittoria’s flagship Ikon shoe. The 1976s are a bit weightier than Microfibre is hardwearing and Giro’s Empires, but they’re also a HIGHS compliant, though to cope with its good deal cheaper, the fit is superb, Good fit, tendency to stretch when it gets the comfort high and the sole offers comfortable warm, the upper is bonded to a all the performance you’ll ever need. and supportive nylon base. The result is very They’re very well finished too. Our only real niggles are that the supportive with the laces offering LOWS Laces are a little old-style super-thin laces can be a excellent adjustability (who needs short and tricky fiddle to tie and they come up BOAs?). The shape is on the generous to tie a little short. side of slender, though if you find

106 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

If you can live with laces, then these are some of the best shoes around. And in spite of a return to old-school technology they’re also some of the lightest cycling footwear you’ll find, weighing just 209g each. The Empire’s super-thin lightweight upper is married to Easton’s stiff and slender EC90 SLXII sole. They feature adaptable ‘Supernatural’ footbeds with interchangeable arch supports that allow you to tune the height of the instep.

Rapha merino socks £15 Classic-looking shoes need complementary socks, of course, and Rapha’s simple, plainly styled merino versions fit the bill superbly. They’re available in regular and short versions in white, black, sky blue or grey. One of those options should do the job…

AERO STYLE SPECIALIZED S-WORKS SUB 6 £250

RETRO CLASSIC DROMARTI RACE LEATHER CLASSIC £223.70

CLASS ACT BONTRAGER CLASSIQUE £199

The Sub-6 comes with what Specialized calls a ‘warp sleeve’ that slips over the laces making them the most aerodynamic shoes in the Specialized range. We will be testing them soon.

The sumptuous upper is finely stitched and lined with soft, supple leather. The Classics aren’t as tech-laden as some of the rivals, but great quality nevertheless.

With their fold-over flap tongue, retro styling and superbly stiff carbon sole the Classiques hit all the marks for highperformance retro style shoes. At 520g a pair they’re light too.


South Tyrol seeks explorers who like to discover new terrain. South Tyrol seeks you.

ther Discover the o side of Italy. l.info/ www.suedtiro summer

Discover this insider tip among cyclists between Mediterranean landscapes and the impressive Dolomite Alps – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Look forward to Italy’s unparalleled cycling paradise with more than 4,600 km of beautiful cycling tracks, and enjoy the delicious food and wine from South Tyrol. www.suedtirol.info/summer


NE W KIT

RED RIMS SRAM RED 22 HYDRO R £386

WE SAY Out on the road, the K-Force has power in spades; easily a match for Dura-Ace

SRAM doesn’t just have hydraulics in its disc brakes, it also has this awesome rim brake version. At 400g they are a bit weightier than standard brakes but the power and modulation are as close to discs as you’ll get from a non-disc setup.

DE UPGRA

FSA K–FORCE DUAL PIVOT £299.95 › New wide–mouth, low profile brake

and carriers, and hardware), so that’s right WE’VE ALWAYS BEEN fans of FSA’s brakes; the previous generation’s rock-solid build up there with the best (Shimano Dura -Ace is quality meant a positive experience at the 300g a pair, SRAM Red 254g). lever. The new design follows Shimano’s cues The wide jaws make short work of setting for a new style of lower profile dual-pivot them up with a wide carbon rim (26.4mm) and design, but with one significant difference. a 25mm tyre, with bags of clearance to spare. Shimano’s brakes as standard accept up to a We would recommend using quality Allen keys 24mm-wide rim, and with the slightly lower (you need a 2.5, 4, and 5mm) as the lightweight profile optional brake shoe up to a 28mm. The hardware – a mix of aluminium and titanium – K-Force can handle 28mm straight out of the won’t take kindly to ham-fisted attention with box, it’s a small difference but one that might rough tools. be telling should you try to fit a wide alloy Out on the road the K-Force has power in brake surface/carbon hybrid like HED’s spades; easily a match for Dura-Ace, and popular Jet 6. like Dura-Ace that power is tempered by The low profile shape of the K-Force means great levels of feel. In situations where you need to scrub speed quickly the it sits within the fork crown of our K-Force simply does the job with Cannondale Synapse test mule, resolute stiffness and no play or which means with less width sitting HIGHS judder, which isn’t surprising outside the frame’s parameters Compact design, when you see the box section you could make a case for improved great finish, easy setup, and great construction of the individual aerodynamics too. FSA has even performance brake arms, not to mention the moved the cable quick-release within massively oversized pivots. the confines of the brake, making LOWS The K-Force is a high-performing, them look even more compact No direct-mount light and great-looking option. If than both Shimano and SRAM’s option, only comes with you’re looking to step away from rival options. alloy-compatible groupset monopoly on your bike Weight-wise our test pair tips the pads, pricey you could do a lot worse. scales at a scant 296g (including pads

108 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

ACE SHIMANO DURA-ACE £240 Shimano really knows how to engineer a brake, with stiff design, buttery smooth pivots and an upper arm that moves as smooth as you like across a roller guide. The power and control is impressive and the finishing is worthy of the Dura-Ace legend.

PRIME MICHE PRIMATO £60 If your budget doesn’t stretch to the three-figures of top of the line brakes, these are a fine alternative. The design is solid, with decent feel at the lever. The downside is the maximum 25mm rim width, though we have used them on wider rims by leaving the cable quick release in the open position.


©Tim De Waele

CAMPAGNOLO POTENZA 11: RIDE ANYTHING, RIDE ANYWHERE. POTENZA: (italian) noun – power, intensity, strength, the newest groupset in the Campagnolo Revolution 11+ family. Fantastic Campagnolo top range performance available to all with the added benefit of more versatile 11-32 gearing. With Potenza 11 no climb is too severe and no competition too fierce. Build the power, intensity and strength of Campagnolo on your next bike: ride Potenza 11!

CAMPAGNOLO.COM

#THOSEINTHEKNOW


TYLE TECH S

BONTRAGER XXX LE SHOES £229.99

Pricey, but feather-light, and visible from space

SANTINI PHOTON SPEED SUIT £179.99 This pro-level speed suit combines the Photon jersey and bibs into a garment with nowhere to hide. There’s barely room for a base layer, and when zipped up the taut top with carbon-infused side panels feels better when riding than standing. The shorts are mildly compressive, and have slim raw-cut grippers, but they could be longer. The pliable C3 pad is comfortable without being bulky, and the three narrow drop pockets are fine for race food and keys.

BIANCHI CAFÉ & CYCLES GLASSES £24.99 These are aimed more at leisurely riding pursuits than performance. The Matt Celeste frames (like the Specialissima superbike) are made from high-grade Grilamid TR90 and the smoke tinted lenses have a mirrored sky blue Revo coating. The fit is good with the sculpted arms gripping your head firmly. They come with a hard case and soft cleaning bag. Top quality and great value shades for not-so-serious cycling days.

110 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

perfect for dull days or when the light’s running out on evening rides. These aren’t wet weather shoes, as large sole vents designed to channel air under your feet and mesh on the upper will let rain right in, but for hot conditions they’re fantastic. The fit is on the larger side for cycling slippers, and they’re shaped for a good deal of arch support.

CHAPEAU SUMMER KIT CHAPEAU TEMPO JERSEY £49.99 / PAVÉ BIBS £119.99 Chapeau’s Tempo jersey has elegant looks and a relaxed, but flap-free fit. It features a tall collar, non-elasticated sleeves, full-length zip and three pockets. The Pavé bibs are made from tough and supportive Topazio fabric, and have a snug fit. Mesh bibs keep things cool, and the multi-density Elastic Interface pad is comfortable for long rides over rough roads.



Images Russell Burton, Jonny Ashelford

At just 432g a pair (size 43), Bontrager’s premium summer shoes are amazingly light thanks to a simple ratchet-free design and minimalist construction that includes a stiff full carbon sole. The upper is designed for maximum visibility, with hi-vis yellow on the outside, and reflective material facing inwards, useful for catching car headlights. They’re


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Words John Whitney Photography Simon Lees & Getty

C H R I S

F R O O M E


C Y C L I N G

P L U S

AS THE TWO-TIME WINNER PREPARES TO DEFEND HIS TOUR DE FRANCE TITLE ONCE AGAIN, WE VISIT ST. MARY’S UNIVERSITY’S LAB TO SEE HOW WE MEASURE UP TO THE WORLD’S BEST...


CP vs CF

CHRIS FROOME onsidering all the physical characteristics I could share with Chris Froome, I’d much rather it was his huge VO2 max than the high hairline. Ever since the results of his aerobic profiling at the GlaxoSmithKline lab became known, we’ve been able to pore over a Tour champion’s physical capabilities. Froome’s visit to the lab was brought about by doubts about the legitimacy of his performances. The results confirmed what we knew – yes, he’s got exceptional aerobic capabilities – but did little to appease the sceptics. What the results gave us cycling mortals was the chance to compare our own physiologies to the reigning Tour de France champ’s. So when an invite came from Pinarello distributor The Bike Rooms to visit St Mary’s University in Twickenham to undergo the same tests, I was on to it faster than the man himself during the first mountain stage of the Tour de France.

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REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS I knew my test results weren’t going to end in a call from Dave Brailsford. There’s nothing’s special about my engine, a single-cylinder compared to Froome’s V8, and I’ve never had Right Put all your money on Cycling anybody question my performances, Plus. He can’t lose the odd tailwind-assisted Strava KOM notwithstanding. While it appeases Below Chris curiosity to compare your results with Froome finally realises who he’s a Grand Tour winner’s, no matter what up against… the chasm between the figures they give you an insight into what you’re capable of and form a basis for improvement. Lab testing is held in mixed regard among cyclists. Many hate it, believing it to be the antithesis of cycling, too far removed from the reason they love it and perhaps not a fair reflection of their ability.

Height (cm) 185.7 Body mass (kg) 70.8 Body fat (%) 9.8 Body Mass index (kg/m2) 20.1 Lactate Landmark Absolute/relative power (watts, watts/ kg) 1 mMol/L > 382/5.4 2mMol/L fixed (watts) 379/5.7 4mMol/l 419/5.9 Absolute/relative power (watts/watts/ kg) Power at VO2 peak 525/7.5 Absolute VO2 (L/min)/ Relative VO2 (ml/kg/ min) VO2 peak 5.9/84.6 To access Chris Froome’s full report, visit http:// www.gskhpl.com/news/ partnerships/chrisfroome-visits-hpl/

For these people it’s an unnatural environment, where the absence of the carrot of chasing a rider on the road fails to gee them up enough to produce their best. If the Tour was all about who had the highest physiological numbers, then why not load up the buses and have Christian Prudhomme conduct an en-masse lab test. Mark Cavendish is a famous example of someone who hates the lab. Prior to his selection to the GB academy his numbers alone would never have suggested he’d turn into the rider he’s become, but such is his economy on a bike, unmatched ability to read a race and appetite for winning, he’s become one of the best sprinters ever. At the other end of the spectrum is domestic TT star Michael Hutchinson, who, in his very readable book Faster (Bloomsbury, £12.99), refers to himself as a “terrific lab rat. I love it in there. I get as big a thrill from posting big numbers in the lab as I do from winning races”. Froome was something of the anti-Cav, certainly prior to his breakthrough at the 2011 Vuelta; his coaches couldn’t understand why his lab results weren’t

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CF VS CP CP vs CF

CYCLING PLUS Height (cm) 180.8 Body mass (kg) 76.6 Body fat (%) 19.7 Body Mass index (kg/m2) 23.4 Lactate Landmark Absolute/relative power (watts, watts/ kg) 1mMol/L > 193/2.5 2mMol/L fixed (watts) 192/2.5 4mMol/l 240/3.1 Absolute/relative power (watts/watts/ kg) Power at VO2 peak 428/5.6 Absolute VO2 (L/min)/ Relative VO2 (ml/kg/ min) VO2 peak 4.1/54

THERE’S NOTHING’S SPECIAL ABOUT MY ENGINE, A SINGLE-CYLINDER COMPARED TO FROOME’S V8 transferring to success on the road. These days such tests are more unusual for Froome, and while his primary reason for his visit to the GSK lab was as a nod to the naysayers, he admitted to being curious about what the results would tell him. One certainty is that lab numbers alone are far from the be-all and end-all. Cycling is a game of aerobic physiology, yes, but it’s mixed into a melting pot of technique, tactics and psychology; something that the critics of Froome who didn’t believe his Vuelta breakthrough often fail to consider. Personally, while I prefer being out on my bike I don’t mind indoor training and get a weird enjoyment out of such tests, watching the numbers tick over and suffering like hell. While I understand where Hutchinson is coming from, I could never go as far as him when he says that hitting 90ml/m/kg in a VO2 max test – higher than Froome’s – ranks as one of his best moments in bike riding. “I am well aware of the contempt in which most sane bike racers will hold me for this, and they are quite right to do so,” he admits. “It’s the missing-the-point equivalent of a hi-fi buff who stands you on a cross on his carpet to enjoy a perfect beautifully stereo-imaged rendition of Steps’ greatest hits.”

PINCH POINT

Above John Whitney auditions for the role of Hannibal Lecter Left “Don’t look over your shoulder, John!”

Like Froome, in the lab I underwent a body mass examination. Unlike the sophisticated, DEXA scan method used on Froome, I underwent the older but still popular skinfold calliper test, where you stand exposed and red-faced as the tester pincers you with sharp, cold tongs on various areas of your body. This was a mere precursor to the main course – two tests that put my aerobic capabilities under the microscope. The first was at submaximal intensities, looking at body responses such as heart rate and lactate levels during efforts short of maximum. It’s a longish test, with the required power rising by 25 watts every four minutes. A mask measured what I was breathing out, while a pinprick

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CF VS CP

of blood was taken from my right ear lobe towards the end of every interval, which did likewise for my blood’s lactate concentration. The test was over after around 25 minutes. It’s not overly taxing, but you’ll still work up a sweat. The maximal test is a rapidly rising ramp test that assesses your physiological responses at the highest aerobic intensity you can maintain (and which gives your VO2 max figure), coming to an end when you can no longer hold that power. It hurts but is over usually in a quarter of the time. You can see the comparisons in the previous two pages, but what does it tell us? Our closest physical characteristic was height (he’s 2.8 per cent taller) – while our least similar characteristic is body fat (I’m a full 100 per cent fatter. Ouch!). I’m 5.8kg heavier, despite being 4.9cm shorter. This is both good news and bad – height I can’t do anything about, but I’ve plenty of scope to shed fat, which would improve both my

VO2 max relative to weight (currently 54ml/kg/min) and power-to-weight (w/kg) – crucial when it comes to climbing. After Froome’s victory last July armchair scientists were hungry to know his stats, particularly power-to-weight numbers on climbs and his VO2 max. The former is tricky to work out, given the variables (wind direction, fatigue from before the climb, his weight, equipment, drafting…), though it hasn’t stopped many guessing. The latter, despite being one of the most well known physiological terms, doesn’t really tell us that much in isolation. Many teams don’t test their riders in such a way because it isn’t a figure you can really use in day-to-day training, and it’s not all that trainable once at a certain level. It’s useful for talent identification, but at elite level there are so many other factors that go into making a winner. What’s more important is how big a percentage of your maximum power you can operate at, and how long you can hold that for. For the purposes of ‘sustainable power’, we’re looking at the power a rider can maintain for an hour (referred to as functional threshold power or FTP: see box, right). Froome’s V02 max recorded at GSL was 84.6ml/kg/min relative to weight and, at his predicted race weight, was 88.2ml/kg/ min. It’s a big number, but Tour winner Greg LeMond’s was 92.5, while Norwegian cyclist Oskar Svendsen recorded 97.5 in

OUR LEAST SIMILAR CHARACTERISTIC IS BODY FAT (I’M A FULL 100 PER CENT FATTER. OUCH!)

2012 at the age of 18 (showing that V02 max isn’t a panacea for success, he retired in 2014, aged 20, citing lack of motivation).

MAINTAINING POWER Despite having a higher VO2 max than Froome, Hutchinson believes that the reason he isn’t operating at that level is partly down to the fact he can’t maintain a high percentage of VO2 max power. “It was average by any measure,” he writes in Faster. “Top riders can hold 85 per cent, occasionally 90 per cent of their VO2 max power. I was doing only 74, about what you’d expect from an average club rider.” My profile shows the same issue as Hutchinson, only more profound. Froome’s power at VO2 max is 525 watts,

EXPLAINER VO2 max: It tells us how much oxygen the body can use during a maximal aerobic effort– the more oxygen your body can absorb, the more power it can generate. It is largely genetic, defined by, among other traits, lung/heart size and mitochondrial function; the organelles that generate energy within cells. It can also be affected by training, altitude, age, gender and drugs such as EPO. Lactate threshold: This refers to the point in exercise where lactate

production exceeds the body’s ability to clear it. It’s split into two phases: LT1 signals the first sustained increases of blood lactate from resting levels; LT2 marks the start of a rapid rise of lactate and a greater reliance on anaerobic energy supply, up to 4mMol/l. Despite many different interpretations of lactate threshold, the upper limit of LT2 is the most widely used and the one used to describe what’s sustainable in one hour. It roughly approximates to Functional Threshold Power (FTP).


compared to my 428 watts. The 18 per cent difference on the face of it isn’t too bad. My sustainable power, however, is lower, calculated to be 240 watts, or just 56 per cent of my VO2 max power. Which makes me a very, very average club rider. Froome’s, on the other hand, was 419 watts, which, as a percentage of VO2 max power (80) is higher than Hutchinson, but not as high as you might expect, and again shows the limitations of lab tests. Looking at my relative VO2 max figure (54), it’s that of a decent club cyclist, sandwiched in between the untrained general population (30-35) and a pro (70 upwards). In terms of being something that’s trainable and something that’s genetically determined, VO2 max is about a 20:80 split, so while I could hope to raise it with good, prescribed training, it’s not going to get that much higher. While I did the test in January after months of sporadic riding, my recorded VO2 max was just 2ml/ kg/min lower than it was in 2013, the last time I did the same test, when I was much more highly trained. But the percentage of sustainable VO2 max power was much higher then, and it’s that I should focus on improving, as it is much more trainable. I picked the brains of coach Mark Walker (markwalkercoaching.co.uk), present during my test and Alex Dowsett’s coach through his Hour Record last year, and the solution is pretty simple: “Building your volume of riding is the first thing – lots of base training, club runs, riding to work. Really it’s just riding lots and lots, below LT1 [the first increase in blood lactate]. Research shows that you don’t have to do that at a particularly high intensity. What it does is build your resistance to recover from training, especially when you then start to add high intensity intervals.”

Froome apparently hadn’t had a VO2 max test done in a lab since 2007, so the results are likely to be more for curiosity than anything essential to his future progress. As it happens, the results of the 2007 test and 2015 are unerringly similar, with body fat the biggest change. More important to him, and us, are the values gained from the submaximal test. “What it gives you is objective data in a controlled environment,” insists Walker. “For cyclists [doing the same tests], it’s useful for setting training zones, but the reality of coaching is that we need to know what they can do out on the road. If I’m working with someone for the first time, we always do a lab test, get some numbers and look at how they’ve been training previously. Then we do some field tests and triangulate it with the lab data. We can then come back to the lab [following a spell of training] and quantify improvement. It’s about using everything in your armoury and understanding limitations, of lab and field data.”

MIND OVER MATTER Exploring the boundaries of your ability to work at higher proportions of your VO2 max might not be purely physical. Even at

BEING CHRIS FROOME Coach Mark Walker on how we likely to stimulate the change. can become more like Chris… “VO2 max sets the upper limit of performance so it is always good to see “Performance isn’t this develop as it is a good determined by any single indication of a rider’s aerobic factor. The difficulty is conditioning, but it is only deciding upon the correct part of the story. High volume mix of training to maximise low-intensity training is returns. There is a great deal a good way of improving of cross-over in training so aerobic conditioning and a given interval is unlikely to thus increasing VO2 max. But just increase VO2 max, but also have an impact upon beyond a point, in order to other qualities like sustainable continue to see improvements power, anaerobic capacity in aerobic condition it needs and peak aerobic power. So to be supplemented with think about the aspect of higher intensity training. performance you would Research shows that intervals like to improve and then of 3-5 minutes at 85-95 choose an interval most per cent of VO2 max, with

recovery intervals of 2-3 minutes, increase your VO2 max and peak aerobic power. “Sustainable power will improve as the aerobic characteristics develop, but I would recommend making training event specific. For example, in training for TTs, riding close to race pace is key to becoming a better performer so I design sessions that replicate race conditions to help a rider develop the ability to hold pace for longer. Think about what the races you compete in involve, and then design intervals ridden in your usual TT position of 7-10 minutes at target pace.”

the elite level, certain athletes appear to be able go that bit deeper. But are they fitter or can mental resilience come into play? Can a lab test tell us all we need to know about a cyclist? Absolutely not, as the case studies mentioned show. “There are different arguments over how fatigue develops,” says Walker. “Physiologists once had a reductionist approach but now there are models for fatigue that involve the brain. There’s this recognition of psychology, where you’ve probably got some sort of reserve you can tap into. Under normal circumstances there’s a limit but if you’re really strongly motivated you can go much deeper. It’s whether you can go that bit deeper on the day. The experience I’ve had with elite athletes is that they will really explore this area.” A study from Northumbria University had young male participants running on a treadmill until they felt exhausted, at which point an attractive female or an athletic male was introduced and interacted with them. They reported changes in the levels of sensation of fatigue – with the attractive female, they reported reductions in fatigue levels; the opposite was true with the male. So, the sensation of fatigue can be disassociated from what is happening in the body. We learnt a little about Chris Froome’s physiology when he visited the GSK lab last summer, but as far as our own cycling goes, is it the things you can’t measure in a lab where we can learn most from Froome to make ourselves better cyclists? “It’s not just a sport, it’s a lifestyle,” Froome told Richard Moore of The Cycling Podcast following the tests, who was invited to the lab to report on them. “From the moment I wake up, it’s thinking about how I do things; what do I eat, what do I drink. It’s living the sport. Doing everything so I can do the training, then after the training, it’s how do I best recover. It’s not walking to the shops or out for dinners, it’s early nights, it’s food that’s probably not that appetising.” Okay, for you and I, maybe not to that degree but professionalising your hobby will take you a very long way.

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VERY IMPORTANT BIKE

ORBEA ORDU M20i-LTD £5599 › Basque country’s UCI-legal time trial-cum-triathlon rig in the rear wheel cutout. Other subtle design WE DON’T OFTEN FEATURE BIKES features include triple bottle bosses on the for our triathlon-competing down-tube to allow different bottle options brethren, but this striking blue and Shimano Di2 [2] is at the heart of the kit black blade-like design from the line-up, providing the derailleurs and cassette, Basque country’s Orbea can also be used in UCIwith gear changes coming courtesy of Shimano sanctioned time trials. The Cofidis team will be R671 shifters on the Vision Trimax tribars. using it in this year’s Tour, albeit with slightly Wheels are Vision Metron carbon clinchers with different kit, while Andrew Starykowicz rode an a 55mm-deep front rim and 81mm rear, which Ordu to world record Ironman bike splits in 2012. have notched up over 100 podium places in The Ordu – Basque for ‘moment’ – has recent years. Vision also supplies its wind-cheating features throughout, Aero Alloy brake levers and the Trimax Orbea even reducing the taper of the chainset with its hollow carbon crank head-tube and fork steerer tube to SPECIFICATION arms and aluminium rings, a pairing lessen the frontal area by 10 per cent, Weight 8.72kg (L) designed to minimise weight while and trim a few grams. The frame has Frame Ordu carbon Fork Carbon, maximising performance. been developed in conjunction with aluminium steerer The final time trial- and triathlonspecialists at the Basque Country’s Wheels Vision specific piece of kit is the Prologo Mondragon University, with the carbon clinchers Gears Shimano Tgale Tirox saddle [3]. Its truncated aim of being ‘faster at lower speeds Ultegra Di2, Vision nose allows you to get down more and faster at higher yaw angles Carbon 53/39 comfortably into an aero tuck and sits [basically the angle of the wind]’. This chainset, 11-28 on top of an oval-shaped aero seatpost results in profiles with a bullet-like Brakes Tri-Rig Omega X that lets you shift the saddle position leading edge, flattened sides and Finishing kit through a 90mm range. Its quicka shortened tail [1]. The frame is FSA stem, Vision to-adjust clamping mechanism was optimised for TriRig Omega X brakes, Trimax bar, Ordu OMP seatpost, developed in conjunction with FSA. the front having a snap-on magnetic Prologo Tgale All this technology works too, the aerodynamic front plate. It’s also ready Tirox saddle, Ordu excelling in a test against a Look for electronic or mechanical systems, 25mm Vittoria Open CX tyres 795 Light road bike in our last issue. with the battery housed very neatly

1

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2

3


The Di2 battery is housed very neatly in the Ordu’s rear wheel cutout

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GP and cyclist Andy Ward talks us through the threats of heart disease, the precautions to take and how cycling boosts your health... Words Andy Ward Illustrations Dale Edwin Murray ill cycling give me a heart attack? It’s a question that many cyclists of a certain age ponder, particularly when chugging uphill with your Garmin showing an alarming pulse rate. While headlines about athletes collapsing invariably raise alarm, the good news is that these events are reassuringly rare. Rather than increasing your risk of succumbing to cardiac arrest, cycling regularly is actually helping to prevent it. Combined with other lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking and reducing alcohol, getting out on your bike not only looks after your heart but also has direct benefits on blood pressure, cholesterol, stroke risk and other circulation-related diseases. While prevention is always better than cure, cycling also works for patients who already have problems – improving symptoms, slowing progression and increasing effectiveness of medical treatments. So, what are the biggest risks, and how can cycling help?

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It is important to follow medical advice when starting cycling with a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, but a few sensible precautions can keep you safe on the bike. Listen to your body, don’t take any risks and check with a health professional if you are not sure.


Coronary artery disease hest pain caused by an insufficient blood supply to the heart muscle is known as angina, and is usually caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the beating heart. This narrowing is caused by a build-up of fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis. During exercise, when the heart beats faster, the heart muscle is unable to get enough oxygen from the reduced blood supply, causing pain. The typical symptoms of an angina attack are an ache or tightness across the front of the chest, occasionally going into the jaw, neck or arms. Angina can also cause shortness of breath. An angina attack should not last more than 10 minutes. More prolonged bouts of chest pain, or symptoms on minimal exertion, may suggest unstable angina or a heart attack. Both are medical emergencies and require urgent medical attention. Less commonly, angina may be caused by a problem with the heart valves or muscle. Over a million people between the ages of 35 and 75 suffer from angina, while around 100,000 people have a heart attack in the UK each year – over 60 per cent of them male.

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How can cycling help? A study of almost 10,000 male civil servants found that those who reported that they often did considerable amounts of cycling or other vigorous sports experienced less than half the coronary heart disease of men who didn’t. In established angina, the British Heart Foundation recommends lowering high blood pressure, weight, blood cholesterol and stress. Medication will usually be prescribed, but regular cycling also has a positive impact. Many people worry about straining the heart

and are reluctant to exercise, but physical activity helps to get the heart fitter and improves the blood supply to the heart muscle.

Sensible precautions If angina is caused by a problem with a heart valve, such as the aortic valve, exertion isn’t recommended until the valve has been treated. It is important that a medical professional establishes the cause of all new cases of angina and starts appropriate treatment. In stable angina it is often possible to predict the level of exertion that will bring on pain, so gradually increase the duration or difficulty of rides and ease off if necessary. If you’ve been prescribed medication to stop an attack (eg glyceryl trinitrate – GTN – spray) carry it with you. After a heart attack cycling can usually be commenced after six weeks, but check with a health professional or cardiac rehabilitation specialist first. Seek urgent medical advice if your exercise tolerance drops off, and chest pains come sooner than usual.

Physical activity helps get the heart fitter and improves blood supply CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 123


HEART HEALTH

High blood pressure igh blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Generally, the higher the blood pressure the greater the risk. Blood pressure is normally expressed as two figures, one over the other (eg 150/85) and measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). The higher figure refers to the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts (the systolic pressure), and the lower figure refers to pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (the diastolic pressure). High blood pressure is usually diagnosed when it is consistently measured as 140/90 or above in a GP surgery or 135/85 when measured at home. It isn’t always as simple as that and your doctor will take into account many other factors such as age, sex, preexisting conditions, other risk factors and lifestyle before making a firm diagnosis of hypertension. About 30 per cent of people 45–54 years of age have blood pressure that is at least 140/90mmHg, increasing to 70 per cent of people 75 years of age or older. High blood pressure does not usually cause any symptoms, but if left untreated it increases the risk of heart attack or stroke and can damage the circulation, heart and kidneys. Every patient is different and treatment options should be discussed with individuals, but medication and lifestyle changes will usually be prescribed.

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How can cycling help? Regular exercise is an important and effective way of managing blood pressure, and cycling is one of the best ways of achieving this. A previously inactive hypertensive patient who starts to exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week can expect to see a drop in systolic blood pressure of 2-10mmHg. This is independent of any other lifestyle changes. Cycling is excellent at preventing hypertension and this effect seems

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to be dose-dependent. Research has shown that the more cycling you do, the less likely you are to be diagnosed with hypertension.

Sensible precautions With blood pressures below 179/99 cycling is safe, but should be introduced or increased gradually. Bear in mind that blood pressure will briefly increase during intense exertion, so avoid sprinting or taking on anything too steep until readings have reached recommended safe levels. If medication is used to treat hypertension, be aware of any side effects such as dizziness or fatigue before riding and check with your doctor if you’re unsure.

Research has shown that the more cycling you do, the less likely you are to be diagnosed with hypertension

Stroke here are two types of stroke – ischaemic and haemorrhagic. In 70 per cent of cases the blood supply is cut off to an area of the brain, denying it oxygen – this is an ischaemic stroke. The affected brain cells die off and, depending on their function, cause symptoms such as weakness of a limb, visual disturbance or problems with speech. The arterial blockage normally occurs when a blood clot forms on a patch of atherosclerosis within the blood vessel. Strokes can also occur when a clot travels from another part of the body (such as the heart) before getting stuck. If the artery quickly becomes unblocked and symptoms resolve within 24 hours, this is known as a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) or mini-stroke. Suffering a TIA is a warning sign that a patient is at higher risk of a full stroke. In a haemorrhagic stroke, a damaged or weakened blood vessel bursts inside the brain damaging the surrounding cells.

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How can cycling help? Physical inactivity almost triples the risk of stroke. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends adults over 19 years of age should do at least 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise a week to help prevent strokes. A decent bike ride is a good way of achieving this, but any aerobic exercise can help. There is more evidence to support cycling in stroke rehabilitation, with research showing that it helps restore balance and movement. Exercise as part of an overall lifestyle change also helps prevent further strokes or TIAs. The CTC’s All Ability Project provides access to modified cycles for riders with disabilities, including stroke victims.

Sensible precautions Dr Suzanne Dawson, stroke consultant and a cyclist, gives this advice: “Cycling after a TIA is tricky. There is a mandatory one-month driving ban, but I tell patients that if


HEART HEALTH

Peripheral arterial disease aused by narrowing or blockage of the arteries in the limbs, peripheral arterial disease usually causes restriction of blood supply to the legs, with intermittent pain in the lower legs during exercise or walking the result. This is known as claudication and is due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients getting to the muscles. In extreme cases, known as acute limb ischaemia, the blood supply is completely blocked and amputation may be necessary. Around 20 per cent of people aged over 60 have some degree of peripheral arterial disease with about one in 12,000 developing acute limb ischaemia per year. Smoking is by far the biggest risk factor, with diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol also contributing.

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How can cycling help?

There is evidence to support cycling in stroke rehabilitation, helping restore balance and movement they have been seen in a TIA clinic, fall into a low risk group and are taking preventive medication, they can start back on the bike as soon as possible.” Higher risk patients (those with existing heart conditions or needing surgery on blocked carotid arteries) need a different approach. Suzanne explains: “I’d say wait until medical treatment such as blood-thinning and blood pressure control is optimised and any necessary surgery carried out. It would be better to wait for a month as recommended for drivers.”

The mainstay of treatment for PAD is medication to reduce cholesterol, thin the blood and control blood pressure. Regular exercise, including cycling, has a major supporting role. Mark McCarthy, keen cyclist and vascular surgeon, says: “The act of cycling improves blood flow to the legs, which can lead to increased walking distances in some groups of patients with intermittent claudication.” Research has shown that regular endurance exercise can actually increase the diameter of the femoral artery – the main blood supply to the legs. If surgical treatment is required, an angioplasty may be carried out. This involves opening up the blocked vessels with a special balloon, passed through the artery via a small cut in the groin. According to Mark, cycling can help in rehabilitation from this procedure and improve results. “Walking is recommended

immediately following angioplasty, but after about a week, cycling can be commenced. By improving the blood flow to the legs, this will help maintain the effectiveness of the angioplasty in the long term, and help to keep it open.”

Sensible precautions If you suffer from PAD and are thinking about taking up cycling, Mark has this advice: “If you are new to cycling I would recommend purchasing a hybrid bike with ordinary pedals, and an easy gear ratio to get you up occasional hills. Try short distances first, and build up the distance and time you spend on the bike. I would also recommend taking a phone with you in case you find yourself stranded. Keep well hydrated and take a snack with you.”

Regular endurance exercise can increase the diameter of the femoral artery CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 125


HEART HEALTH

Sudden cardiac death udden death in athletes is normally due to problems with the heart. It is most common in 45-75 year olds when it is associated with coronary artery disease, the risk increasing with age. In athletes under 35 it’s mainly due to inherited abnormalities such as thickening of the heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) and electrical abnormalities, which increase the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). The risk of sudden death due to coronary artery disease is highest when vigorous exercise is first taken up. The risk approximately doubles during physical activity and is two to three times more common in athletes than in non-athletes. The risk is low – 1-3 per 100,000 for young athletes, rising to one per 1000 in older age groups. Men are more commonly affected than women.

Living the life CYCLING IS JUST ONE PART OF THE HEALTH JIGSAW

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How can cycling help? More than 80 per cent of sudden cardiac deaths in older adults are due to coronary artery disease. In this group regular exercise reduces the early peak in risk due to its positive effect on the causes of coronary artery disease. In the long term, the more you cycle, the lower your risk of sudden cardiac death.

Sensible precautions In Italy it is mandatory to have an ECG (a test that looks at the electrical conduction pathways around the heart using electrodes placed on the chest) before taking part in any competitive sports. This test is most useful in younger athletes where it can pick up hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in 95-97 per cent of cases. The charity CRY (www.c-r-y.org.uk) offers subsidised ECG screening to

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In the long term, the more you cycle, the lower your risk of sudden cardiac death athletes between 14 and 35 years of age and is recommended if you’re considering participating in nonamateur level sports. In older adults, where coronary artery disease is the biggest cause, an ECG is less likely to be helpful. Age, family history of heart disease and presence of risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol will help decide whether screening tests are needed. Dr Ian Loke, consultant cardiologist, tells us: “A confirmed history of any immediate family member suffering a previous cardiac arrest, particularly in their youth, requires evaluation. “See your GP if there’s a history of chest discomfort, palpitations or dizziness associated with exertion, as well as a family history of sudden death. It may well require specialist assessment by a cardiologist.” Ian also recommends looking after yourself during a ride: “It’s always a good idea to be well hydrated during activity and you should be well prepared before strenuous and long rides, as severe dehydration can increase the risk of cardiac events.”

Although cycling can have a major positive impact on the risk of cardiovascular disease, it will be more effective if combined with other lifestyle changes. Smoking is the biggest modifiable risk factor, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease by up to four times. As well as improving cycling performance, stopping smoking leads to a dramatic reduction in the risk of mortality from both heart disease and stroke. In peripheral arterial disease, the risk of developing intermittent claudication returns to the same level as in non-smokers within a year of stopping. Drinking too much alcohol has an influence on cardiovascular disease – increasing blood pressure, LDL (lowdensity lipoprotein) cholesterol and triglycerides. Binge drinking increases the risk of heart rhythm problems. Drinking within the recommended safe limits of 2-3 units per day (with a couple of alcohol free days per week) can have a protective effect on the heart. This protection seems to be restricted to over 45-year-olds. Aim for a low fat, low sugar, low salt diet with at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. If you’re overweight then even modest weight loss (5-10 per cent of total body weight) lowers blood pressure and improves the balance of lipids in the blood. Cycling is an excellent way to achieve this, provided you don’t get carried away at the cake stop!

The female heart THERE ARE STEPS FEMALE RIDERS CAN TAKE TO BOOST THEIR CARDIO HEALTH Cardiovascular diseases are less common in women than men, and this is particularly true before the menopause. Whereas eight per cent of men between 55 and 64 have angina, only three per cent of women are affected. Despite this, cardiovascular diseases are still the leading cause of death in women. Regular exercise is an excellent way of preventing cardiovascular disease and stroke consultant Dr Suzanne

Dawson believes that cycling is particularly good after the menopause: “Postmenopause, cardiovascular risk goes up, yet your joints are less forgiving. Cycling is good aerobic exercise without putting too much pressure on knees and hips.” It is important that women include some weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises into their training to help prevent osteoporosis, which also becomes more common after the menopause.


GEARE GUID

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6

ADJUSTABILITY

LENS OPTIONS

No two heads are identical and our faces are rarely perfectly symmetrical, so some adjustment in the frame, nosepiece and lens shape will help them adapt to the shape of your head and face.

Many models come with spare lens options in various tints, while others allow you to buy additional sets. We’ve tested some models with photochromic lenses, which adapt to changing light.

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1

2

OPTICS

RIMLESS

Curved-profile lenses provide a clear, undistorted view both frontally and in the peripheral vision zones. Look for polycarbonate lenses with UV protection credentials. Alternative lens options are useful too.

Some brands make rimless models where the upper portion of the frame has been removed for a better field of vision. These are often lighter, although the lower weight and enhanced flexibility can mean less tenacious grip.


3

4

RUBBER GRIP

HELMET COMPATIBILITY

Glasses are useless if they don’t grip your face – and what seems snug on dry skin in the shop may not grip so well on a sweat-soaked face after 100 hard kilometres. Make sure the rubber arm socks and nosepieces are tacky/sticky, and not hard.

Take your helmet to the shop to check compatibility with its straps before you buy. While eyewear is for eyes, and not for sticking into your helmet vents, it’s handy to have a pair that fit there in case you need to stash them mid-ride.

Essential kit when the sun comes out, sunglasses can also give you added protection on the road

7

8

POLARISING

PHOTOCHROMIC

Glare can be caused by light reflected from smooth or wet surfaces, and can affect your vision. Polarised lenses block horizontally orientated light waves, increasing contrast while reducing glare and overall light levels.

Photochromic lenses react to changes in UV light levels – a clear lens automatically darkening when it’s brighter. These can be a great choice for commuters who ride at varying hours all-year round.

Sunglasses may seem like a bit of an extravagance, especially when you consider that premium brands can stretch way into three figure prices. While it’s a given that we want protection from the invisible dangers of UV rays, we also think that preventing potentially dangerous high-speed objects making contact with your eyes is of equal importance. With hazards like grit, bugs and overhanging branches you could seriously damage your eyesight. As costs have been continuously cut in these times of austerity we’ve noticed an increase in cheaper stone-chipped road surfaces, which means more flying grit thrown up.

Aside from eye protection we expect our glasses to feel comfortable, resist fogging and stay put when things start to get sweaty. As prices rise, you should expect your glasses to be more versatile, which can mean anything from multiple, changeable lenses to light-reactive photochromic lenses. These features will help you get year-round use from a decent investment set of shades. Some brands allow you to specify prescription lenses; we’ve highlighted which ones. After all, we all like to look good and it might save you money if you don’t need a separate set for non-cycling days. We’ve tested 16 types for all these criteria, so you can pick the perfect pair.

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GEAR GUIDE

BIANCHI SPARVIERO £34.99

Aptly named, featherweight sunnies WE SAY Weight 22g Lens Smoke with blue mirror coating Extras Hard case, soft cleaning bag Prescription option No

Sparviero, Italian for warbird, is apt as these are feathery, by far the lightest on test. The frameless lens has a grey tint, which works well in bright conditions without being too dark when the light fades. They’re well put together with screwed hinges, adjustable nosepiece and grippy inserts in the arms. With no frame to support the lens we worried they wouldn’t provide enough bite over bumpy ground, but the flex in the lens means they grip well. With a shallow depth (44mm) they are best suited to smaller faces.

DHB PRO TRIPLE £29.99

The Sparvieros are super-stylish glasses that perform and won’t break the bank

HIGHS Feathery light, great lens clarity

LOWS Single lens only, best suited to smaller faces

TIFOSI ELDER £59.99

BB SUMMIT 50PH £69.99

Weight 27g Lens Smoke mirror Extras Hard case, soft cleaning bag, clear lens, orange lens Prescription option No

Weight 32g Lens Clarion green Extras AC red lens, clear lens, hard case, soft cleaning bag Prescription option DirectFIT

Weight 32g Lens Smoke photochromic Extras Hard case, soft cleaning bag Prescription option No

First things first, these don’t feel like a £30 pair of glasses. The Pro Triples feature an excellent frame finish and neat touches such as the rubber arm gripper, bolted hinges and an adjustable nosepiece. Throw in a hard case, soft bag and three lenses and it’s a value-filled package. The lens, with its shallow 40mm depth and pointed sideways teardrop shape, suits smaller faces better but the wrap is good and lens clarity decent. We did get a little fogging at the nose bridge, and swapping the lens is a tense affair with plenty of flexing and bending to get the lens out and seat the new one, so take care!

The Elder’s half-rim, twin-lens design makes for solid-feeling shades, the substantial arms with screwed hinges offering a tight, grippy fit with the rubber tips providing more security. The adjustable nose bridge helps them stay in place, and these remained secure even when we ventured onto the gravel and singletrack. The vents in the lenses prevent fogging and we were impressed with the clarity of the Clarion lenses. Thanks to the pliable nature of the Grilamid TR-90 frames, changing lenses is easy. A great value pair of sunnies that look good and offer yearround protection whatever the conditions.

BB’s Summits are one of the cheapest pair of sunnies to offer a genuinely photochromic lens. Lens clarity is as good as in models that cost twice as much, while the speed with which they change from light to dark in sunlight is also impressive. They feel extremely well put together, with a quality nosepiece and bolted hinges. The soft, grippy temple tips are in contrast to the stiffness of the frame. You do get a little of the half-rim frame in your line of vision, but nothing distracting, and the vented lenses mean there’s little fogging even when you’ve stopped and are steaming with perspiration.

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GEAR GUIDE

SPIUK MAMBA £59.99

Go bright, bold and big for style and performance Weight 29g Lens Mirrored blue Extras Soft cleaning bag, orange lens, mirror smoke lens Prescription option No

The frame sits securely thanks to the adjustable nosepiece and long, rubber grips. The tapering from the 48mm-deep lens follows the shape of your cheek so you don’t suffer any light spill at the edges. In humid conditions we got a tiny amount of condensation around the nose bridge, but it clears easily and the anti-fog treatment makes wiping them clean simple. The AC lens is excellent in poor light, offering a bright, contrasting perspective, with the mirrored grey lens dealing with low light and the blue working well on bright days.

SCOTT LEAP £69.99

WE SAY The Mambas are boldly styled, highperformance shades at a very reasonable price

HIGHS Great clarity, fit and easy-to-change lenses

LOWS Some slight fogging, no hard case included

BZ OPTICS PHOTOCHROMIC £74.99

ENDURA BENITA £74.99

Weight 28g Lens Red chrome Extras Hard case, soft cleaning bag, clear lens Prescription option No

Weight 28g Lens Photochromic Extras Hard case, cleaning cloth Prescription option Bifocal optic insert version (£99.99)

Weight 30g Lens Photochromic smoke lens Extras Hard case, soft cleaning bag Prescription option No

Scott’s Leaps offer an understated, no-nonsense design whose metallic temple logos match the red chrome lens for a touch of style. The highly flexible rubbercoated arms conform to your head well and sit close, keeping them away from helmet straps. The second, clear lens has a slight tint so works well in changeable conditions with the bold red lens ideal for bright days. We found the thick, super-soft nosepiece very comfortable but you can see its edges when wearing them. The hydrophobic treatment on both sides of the lenses is very effective, as even without vents these didn’t fog. A great value package.

BZ’s photochromic lenses are sharp, clear and quick to change tint to both light and dark. These are set in a nicely understated frame with slender arms and a minimal half-frame. The rubber arm grippers feel a little waxy to the touch but grip well and hold the glasses in place effectively. The shallow 41mm-deep lenses suit smaller faces best and with the shape leaving a little space between your face and the lenses, enough airflow gets through to prevent fogging. For an extra £15 BZ does a bifocal version with lozenge-shaped reading glass sections built into the lens – handy for reading your computer or GPS.

With their sculpted half-rim frame and deep rubber nosepiece the Benitas have a very similar style to the Scott Leaps. The Enduras do have the advantage of a lightreactive lens, though in its ‘standard’ form this still has a reasonable smoke tint, so we wouldn’t recommend them for very low light conditions. Soft temple tips and the stiff frame keep them secure, though the non-adjustable nose bridge did mean the occasional bounce when riding over bumpy sections of road. While lens clarity is good, these can’t match the likes of Scott, Oakley and Rudy for sharpness. A decent robust set of light-reactive shades.

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GEAR GUIDE

WE SAY A splash of Italian style from these all-round, topperforming shades

SALICE ITA 012 £84.95 › A splash of Italian style Weight 31g Lens Infrared Extras Hard case, clear lens, cleaning cloth, key chain Prescription option No

The 012’s 46mm-deep angular lens sits well within the half-frame design, with plenty of curve to sit close against your face preventing light spill and offering plenty of protection. The nosepiece is made from Megol rubber and is soft and flexible enough to not need any adjustability. This material is also used to coat the stiffly sprung arms, ensuring a secure fit. Their infrared lens gives a warm orange tint to the world and the second, clear lens is ideal for rides at night and in HIGHS bad weather. Excellent lens Long ventilation clarity, great shape, slots on the lenses great fit ensure there’s no fogging, while their LOWS There’s a bit of a scratch-resistant knack to changing coating ensures the lenses durability; they’re

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also very, very clear. Salice also makes an Italian champion-themed helmet to match.

INSIDE INFO Prescription options If you’re shortsighted and don’t wear contact lenses there are a couple of options available to you: prescription Rx inserts and Direct Rx. Rx inserts have a separate frame containing the prescription lenses that sit between your eyes and the lenses of the sunglasses. They’re easy to remove and refit and offer the most economical way

of having prescription shades with different tints for various lighting conditions. Direct Rx accepts the prescription lens directly into the frame. It’s generally a more expensive option but often gives you better performance. If the lenses are interchangeable you can have several glazed to your personal requirements.

BRIKO CERBERUS €99.90 Weight 38g Lens Silver mirror, Extras Pink low-light lens, soft cleaning bag Prescription option No

The Cerberus lens is a massive 57mm deep and with its wrapped shield shape the Brikos offer the best coverage of any of the glasses here. Despite the deep 3D curvature – horizontal and vertical – the lens is clear and distortion free. The Sideblock lensswitching system has a spring-loaded slider in the centre of the frame – just slide it across and drop the lens out. It’s a clever, secure and non-damaging system that works well. The huge coverage means no glare, the anti-fog treatment keeps them clear, the arms grip well and the adjustable nosepiece is comfortable. If you’re okay with the ’80s look, these are a fine option.


GEAR GUIDE

OAKLEY FLAK 2.0 £140

Excellent lens clarity in a secure and stylish frame Weight 24g Lens Grey smoke Prizm Extras Hard case, soft cleaning bag Prescription option Yes

The Flak’s lenses are quite shallow at just 40mm and the soft nose bridge is fixed, so it’s definitely a case of trying these before you buy (Oakley offers an XL lens version). Despite those dimensions, the lenses are the stars. Oakley’s Prizm technology is similar to a polarised lens but with greater contrast, and looking through these lenses is like seeing a 4k cinema presentation for the first time, the crystal-clear clarity and the sharpness of colours make any day look like ideal riding conditions. The frame, meanwhile, manages to combine stiffness and superb pliability with fully rubber-coated arms that offer great security.

WE SAY A basic set of shades elevated by the superb clarity of the Prizm lenses

HIGHS Astonishingly good lens quality

LOWS Shallow lens

BEST ON TEST

LAZER M2 MAGNETO £119.99

RUDY PROJECT TRALYX £134.99

Weight 31g Lens Mirror grey Extras Spare nosepieces, clear lens, AC lens, soft bag, magnetic fittings Prescription option No

Weight 29g Lens Mulitlaser orange Extras Hard case, soft bag Prescription option Optical in-set

The full frame bolsters the 40mm-deep lens with the wrap following the contours of your face. The mirror-grey lens has superb optics courtesy of Carl Zeiss, with the clear and yellow AC lenses both top quality. The click-to-fit arms lock into place when open, resulting in great security. These also come with magnetic fittings that allow you to secure the halflength arms to your helmet straps. The result isn’t as secure as the standard arms, but if you like riding with headphones, it’s a welcome addition. Magnetic clips allow you to attach them to your helmet when you’re not wearing them.

The Tralyx frame’s web-like mix of ribs, holes and spars means that these are as close to riding without glasses as we’ve tried. The vented lens and vented frame do prevent fogging entirely, and the clarity through the curved, shield-like lens is a match for Oakley’s stunning Prizm optics, offering similar levels of high-contrast definition. This makes them perfect for judging road surfaces at speed, or just appreciating the scenery. The frame quality is excellent, with bolted metal hinges and soft rubber-coated, metal-cored arm tips that you can bend and shape to fit you. The nosepiece is similarly adaptable.

TIFOSI PRO ESCALATE HS £139.99 Weight 31g, 25g (shield lens) Lens Smoke Extras Hard case, half-frame smoke and clear lens, Shield smoke lens, red AC lens Prescription option No

Tifosi’s flagship Pro Escalate is effectively two designs in one: the first is a lightweight frameless full-shield design with impeccable lens clarity, but you can also switch to a half-frame system quickly. Despite the flexible feel these are secure too, thanks to the grippy soft rubber tips to the arms. While light and airy, these offer plenty of protection from the wind too. The lenses have effective anti-glare and antifogging properties, and the lens switches are the best around. The extra security of the stiffer frame makes this the option to use when riding off road.

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GEAR GUIDE

WE SAY The best-built glasses we’ve ever tested, with a performance – and price tag – to match

RUDY PROJECT SYNFORM

HIGHLY COMMENDED

£229.99

VERDICT

Top performance and build quality in a folding frame Weight 31g Lens Impact 2 Laser Black photochromic Extras Hard case, cleaning cloth Prescription option Direct Rx

The Synform is a radical departure for Rudy. Each pair is made of 33 separate components with the frame made from Rudy’s Kynetium, a ‘revolutionary aluminium alloy combining magnesium, silicone and titanium’. The build quality is stunning and is matched by the brilliant clarity of the photochromic lens and its fast transition from light to dark. The lens wraps close enough to prevent edge glare and well-placed vents eliminate fogging. But their real USP is that they fold at the HIGHS Impeccable build bridge and halfway quality, great along the arms performance and – packing into a compact design peanut-shape case, which is just 110mm LOWS The price puts in length and small these out of reach enough for a jersey of most of us pocket. Neat.

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POC DO HALF BLADE £200 Weight 30g Lens Cannon Green Extras Clear lens, hard case, soft cleaning bag Prescription option No

POC’s Dos manage to blend a retro shape with a clean, classy Scandinavian design and a superb 50mm-deep lens. The Carl Zeiss-manufactured Cannon Green main lens is the same one made for the Cannondale Pro team, and though it adds an odd green hue to your surroundings, glare reduction, clarity and protection from the wind are exceptional. The second, clear lens matches it for quality. Fit is secure in spite of the arms only having small grippy rubber sections. The Dos are stylish, beautifully made and perform impeccably, which is what you would expect for 200 quid.

Tifosi’s half-frame Elders take the budget category honours. If money is no object then you’d be hard pushed to find better than Rudy Project’s excellent Synforms. You might consider folding glasses a novelty, but these work as well as any standard design and the construction is second to none. Combine that with some of the toughest and best photochromic lenses we’ve tried and the result is an excellent set of shades that nabs the Highly Commended award. Rudy also takes best on test honours. Its new Tralyx glasses feature an industrial-looking frame design that’s about more than looks, as it results in eyewear that is airy and fog free. The orange Multilaser lens works well in all but late twilight conditions. You can buy extra lenses, and switching lenses is a doddle. There’s an optional inset prescription lens option too. These should work for pretty much all of us.


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@CASTLE DOUGLAS Sunday 4 September The Scottish Stage of the 2016 Tour of Britain finishes in the beautiful market town of Castle Douglas. Castle Douglas is serious about cycling. The 7stane trails at Mabie Forest, Dalbeattie Forest and Kirroughtree are within an easy 25 minute drive. The town has three excellent cycling shops and a cycling holiday business. It’s the perfect place for a Tour of Britain themed long weekend (you can also catch Stage 2 in nearby Cumbria on Monday 5 September!) Next Level Bikes www.nextlevelbikes.co.uk info@nextlevelbikes.co.uk Studio Velo www.studiovelo.co.uk info@studiovelo.co.uk

Galloway Cycling Holidays www.gallowayholidays.co.uk mail@gallowaycycling.co.uk Castle Douglas Cycles www.cdbikes.co.uk info@cdbikes.co.uk

Brand


GEARE GUID

1

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2

WIDTH

CUTAWAYS

Most saddles come in a number of widths to suit riders’ differing sit bone widths. Shops will be able to measure you for the correct width so you’re sitting on the bones rather than tissue.

The cutaways or channels are there to reduce any pressure build up on the nerves in the undercarriage and prevent that numb sensation that can occur on long rides.


3

4

RAIL MATERIALS

SHAPE

There are a number of rail material options from chromoly to full carbon. These changes influence the saddle’s weight, but also provide different damping characteristics.

The most important element and contributing factor to choosing the most comfortable saddle is its shape. It needs to match the shape of you.

6

5 RETURN POLICY

SETUP

Brands such as Fizik, Fabric, Specialized and Selle Italia offer an exchange program should the saddle not work for you, this can range from a 30- to 60-day period.

Try to locate the flattest section of the saddle; normally the middle third and run that flat. This allows for the shape to work with you as you move forward or back.

We’ve tested 16 saddles to find out which ones stay comfortable as you put the power down From the moment you swing a leg over the toptube of a bike, one of the first contact points you find, and arguably the most crucial, is the saddle. The saddle business has changed over the last 10 years, when choices were based more around having extra padding for touring and a leather top for racing. Given that everyone has a very different make-up, it’s no surprise that there is such variation in the shapes and sizes of available saddles. Flatter ones tend to be better suited to riders who are more locked into their position when they ride, whereas as a rounded saddle or one with a slightly dropped nose and raised back works best for riders who move more during rides or when changing hand positions on the handlebar. There are a few key things to consider before buying a saddle. Firstly, your riding

style - do you ride a lot in the drops or have a reasonable drop (the difference in height between your handlebar and saddle)? Secondly, the distance between your sit bones (anatomically part of your pelvis, sometimes referred to as the ischial tuberosity), as by supporting your weight on these bones you are removing pressure from the muscles and tissue that make up your bottom, and finally is there the need for a groove or cutaway within the saddle to remove pressure from your undercarriage? Everyone has squished a saddle with their thumb or finger as a guide to comfort but often the softest doesn’t mean the most comfortable, it comes more down to the shape of the saddle to provide comfort out on the road. All the saddles here were tested on a carbon seatpost, on bikes with 25mm tyres run at 85psi to remain consistent throughout the test.

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GEAR GUIDE

FABRIC SCOOP SHALLOW RACE

WE SAY One of the most comfortable and well made saddles at any price – a bargain!

£59.99

Ready to soak up the miles, whether training or racing Width 142mm Weight 254g Options Black

The Scoop is designed for endurance road use, where riders are looking for a balance between an aerodynamic position and a more comfortable upright one. It’s built around a flexible base with a vacuum-bonded upper so there’s no need to stretch the upper and staple it, providing a more even stretch to the fabric so padding can move more freely and cushion you. Its shallow shape design would suit any style of riding. Our white test model cleaned up to look as good as new.

COSINE TI ENDURANCE £29.99

HIGHS Price, shape, quality of build, options

LOWS Could be a little lighter

MADISON SPORTIVE £34.99

RITCHEY COMP CONTRAIL £35

Width 145mm Weight 226g

Width 137mm Weight 260g

Width 142mm Weight 347g

The Ti Endurance is built around titanium rails connected to a nylon base with a layer of PVA padding, which is then rounded off with a waterproof microfibre cover. These features add up to something you’d expect to see on a much pricier saddle. The Endurance’s profile made it incredibly comfortable, and when riding along on the top of the bar the raised tail provided support. When on the hoods the cutaway took away any pressure. When we rolled onto the drops, the dropped nose and channel through the middle aided comfort as the pelvis moved forward. Cosine has pitched things just right with the Ti Endurance, the quality and level of spec for your money is hard to fault.

Madison has pitched the Sportive as the choice for day-long rides. It’s been built around a fairly generic-shaped base and uses single layer high-density foam for comfort. It’s not as well finished as some of the others here, you can see the fabric bunching up between the staples that hold it in place, but the weight is good given the level of padding and its chromoly rails. Set up the Sportive with the midsection of the saddle flat and it will give you a smooth transition along its length from the raised back through to the rounded dropped nose. If you want a wellpadded endurance-orientated saddle on a budget the Sportive is worth a look.

The Comp Contrail won’t appeal to weight weenies at nearly 100g more than any other saddle in our test. The Contrail has a very rounded shape and stylish looks. Despite never having ridden it before, it felt familiar once we were out on the road. The ‘vector wing’ design under the back allows the rails to move more independently as you pedal, plus the saddle’s slight boost in height helped to eliminate road vibration coming through the bike, adding to its comfort. Given the width and padding level it’s well suited to heavier rouleur-style riders who tend to stay seated a lot, don’t move around much and aren’t worried about weight.

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GEAR GUIDE

WE SAY The Flite 1990 is a classic saddle that will serve you well for many miles to come

SELLE ITALIA FLITE 1990 £79.99 › A legend refined Width 146mm Weight 220g

Flite saddles used to be the go-to option for most pro riders and amateur racers in the ’90s. With its unchanged shape and look, this classic saddle now has a modern twist being included in Selle Italia’s ID Match system – see inside info boxout. It’s classed as L1 in size, which denotes that it’s for riders with the furthest distance between their sit bones (L), and the lowest pelvis flexibility (1). With its classic silhouette the Flite still deserves its place in today’s market. Its seamless top makes moving around easy, while the leather provides grip even HIGHS when you’re riding in Classic looks, wet conditions, and supportive, durable it will look good after years of service. LOWS Not the lightest, During testing maybe too firm the Flite felt firmly for some supportive and the

rounded side profile means you don’t notice it when pedalling. The slightly raised rear offers support when you’re climbing and using the tops of the bar.

INSIDE INFO Got your measure For Selle Italia’s ID Match system hip width measurements are taken and fitters use an angle finder to look at your pelvis rotation when you’re on the bike. Throw in some questions about padding and pressure relief and ID Match will recommend a suitable saddle. For Specialized, a test involving sitting on a memory foam board determines the distance between your

sit bones to guide you to the correct width model. Fizik uses three animals to determine the categories of contact points a rider requires, depending on the level of flexibility. The Kurve tested is designed for the snake – the most flexible, so someone who can touch their toes. The other animals are chameleon for midrange flexibility and bull for those a bit more rigid.

FABRIC LINE

£59.99

Width 133mm Weight 230g Options Black, black/white

The Fabric Line is a flatter saddle than the company’s Scoop. It also has the addition of a cutout groove running down two thirds of the saddle, starting from the back. The stretched top and nylon base is built to last and will service the right rider for many miles. While a saddle is a personal thing, the groove seems to help remove some pressure, but it would have maybe felt better when in the drops if it ran all the way down the saddle to the tip. On paper the Line looked like it could be the one for us, but out on the road it never quite felt as comfortable as the Scoop.

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GEAR GUIDE

SAN MARCO CONCOR RACING

WE SAY If you like to stay planted on the saddle while riding the Concor could be for you

£120

Narrow shape allows you to pedal freely Width 134mm Weight 197g

The Concor has been used by so many great riders, such as Bernard Hinault. This version’s seen a change in its shape and the use of more minimal padding. At the back it has a rounded edge and tapers into the main ridge of the saddle. It doesn’t allow a lot of fore and aft movement, but the narrow tapering nose is a winner for riders with bigger thighs. Despite being badged as a wide version, at 134mm it doesn’t fall into the wide category of saddles considering other brands offer up to a 168mm width. The Concor will work for riders who like to stay planted in the saddle.

PRO FALCON £80 >

HIGHS Feels familiar from the off, suits riders with big thighs

LOWS Could do with a wider option

PROLOGO NAGO EVO 2 £104.99

PROLOGO SCRATCH PRO 2 £109.99

Width 134mm, 142mm (tested), 154mm Weight 205g Options Carbon railed version

Width 134mm (tested), 141mm Weight 220g Options Carbon railed version

Width 134mm (tested), 143mm Weight 220g Options Carbon railed version

PRO is the component branch of Shimano. It differs from others when matching designs to riding styles by focusing on how much a rider is likely to move in the saddle. This Falcon is recommended for those who don’t move much, so don’t require a saddle shaped to hold them in place. It’s recommended for ‘flyers’ – riders of slim build and stable riding styles. Build quality is exceptional with nice features such as rail measurement guides on both rails. Padding level and the cutout meant it felt supportive and didn’t create any pinching or pressure over different length rides. The tapered, flat shape aids the feeling of being in a stable position.

The Nago Evo 2 uses Active Density foam, (as your pelvis rolls forward, the foam density drops from high to mid to low). Triple-density EVA foam over the front two thirds aids pressure relief. Prologo characterises its saddles as round, semi-round or flat, the shape determined from its profile when viewed from the rear. The Nago is semi-round, so suitable for medium to long distance rides, where it felt comfortable and supportive. It’s one for riders who like to sit and put the power down and not move around much. When you’re in and out of the saddle during climbs it doesn’t provide any resistance but still gives a locked-in feel.

The saddle choice of world champion Peter Sagan, the Scratch has race pedigree simply oozing out of its Active Density triple-density formed top. With its more rounded profile compared to the Nago 2, it’s aimed at riders who like to move around and want the shape to support them throughout their range of movement. The microfibre upper is neatly glued to the carbon-injected nylon base, and provides a really good contact between itself and Lycra shorts. The Scratch keeps things comfortable over most distances and will take the knocks and scrapes of life on a bike.

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GEAR GUIDE

SPECIALIZED POWER PRO

WE SAY The Power Pro suits both aggressive riding riders and those who struggle to get on the drops

£150

Ultra-comfortable seat for aggressive riding positions Width 143mm (tested), 155mm, 168mm Weight 212g Options Expert and S-Works models

After years of offering gender specific saddles the Power is the first in the Specialized range that is unisex and combines traits from both designs. It’s questionable what you notice first, the short stubby look or the bigger than normal cut-out in the middle. The Power measures 30mm shorter than average models, so it will take a little fine-tuning to find its sweet spot on your seatpost. The short nose allows the pelvis to roll forward without any added pressure. It works best for riders who stay in one position, as there isn’t the space to creep forward during efforts.

SELLE ITALIA FLITE TEAM EDITION £109.99

HIGHS Supportive, carbon base, great pressure relief

HIGHLY COMMENDED

LOWS Quirky looks, takes time to dial in

ASTUTE SKYLINE SR £115

Width 145mm Weight 217g

Width 135mm Weight 200g

The Team Edition is a more modern addition to the family compared to the Flite 1990 also tested here. The nylon carbon-injected base provides a solid platform of support, and at 145mm wide, the Team Edition makes you feel like your sit bones are well supported. While the thin layer of padding, claimed to mould to your cheeks, is enough to take the edge of things, we didn’t notice the moulding part. The saddle’s flat nose has a little more width than others so you may feel it against your thighs through the pedal stroke, but not in a negative way, more in a reassuring way that helps stop you moving around.

The Skyline SR is eye-catching. The flatshaped saddle with its microfibre top and subtle but elegant graphics around the side has a handcrafted look. The height from the rails to the top is higher than the others on test, so when setting the SR up double-check the overall saddle height. Padding-wise, the SR is incredibly soft, and coupled with its shape, it’s comfortable from the start and for mile after mile. The titanium rails are supported by elastomers, which means the SR has a slight float to it as you move, which you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a race saddle. The SR will suit different shaped riders, just check that saddle height.

FIZIK ARIONE KIUM R3 £125.99 Width 132mm Weight 210g Options Braided carbon railed and a full carbon base version

The narrow width and flat profile of the Arione plus recommended flexibility levels mean it’s one for skinny racers with aggressively set up race bikes. It measures 300mm from nose to tail, making it the longest on test, allowing a lot of fore and aft movement. In true Italian style the Arione is beautifully made from its two-tone Microtex top, through to its fibreglass thermoplastic shell underneath, which allows it to move with the rider under efforts. If you don’t suit the profile, the added length and narrow nature of the Arione will mean a lot of fidgeting.

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 141


GEAR GUIDE

WE SAY A true Italian beauty, that will support and cushion your derriere over any distance

ASTUTE SKYLITE VT £190

A top blend of performance and comfort, but pricey

VERDICT

Width 135mm Weight 165g

The Skylite VT is the lightest saddle in the group but there’s more to it than its light weight. The dimensions and shape aren’t really anything out of the norm, but the build quality is. It seems a shame to clamp the beautiful carbon rails in a seatpost, and when you do make sure you use a torque wrench so that it’s held at no more than 6Nm. The carbon rails insert into elastomers at three contact points with the saddle’s nylon-injected shell to damp road vibration and eliminate any rail movement or creaking. This makes this one of the best saddles for providing a bit of give on a stiff frame or on the pothole-riddled lanes that seem to be everywhere in the UK. It’s probably at the top end of most people’s budgets but you do get the looks and weight of a race HIGHS Light, beautifully saddle. The three constructed, different densities comfortable and of memory foam supportive padding and the cutaway mean the LOWS Expensive, could do Skylite will serve up with another width comfort mile after offering mile too.

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FIZIK KURVE SNAKE

BEST ON TEST

£189.99 Width 135mm Weight 220g

The Kurve Snake is a bit of a contradiction. It looks heavy but feels light. It feels hard but is amazingly comfortable. It looks understated from the top but its shell is a thing of beauty. Fizik has chosen to run over-sized aluminium rails on the Kurves. The one-piece Mobius rail loop provides its rigidity, which in turn allows the flexible composite-constructed base to flex for comfort. Fizik has cleverly cut out three holes in the base to relieve pressure on the sit bones and on the front of the pelvis when riding aggressively in the drops. The most comfortable of the race-style saddles on test.

Whether it’s for sportives, racing or just generally riding with your mates, the right saddle can make or break a ride. Wiggle has done a great job with the Cosine Ti Endurance. It may be lacking in frills, but you can’t fault the comfort and its weight is comparable to saddles costing twice the price. The looks of the Specialized Power Pro may put some riders off but the company has definitely done its homework here. For aggressively set up bikes or riders who like to spend a lot of time in the drops, or even riders who have previously struggled to get into the drops due to pressure build up, this is the saddle for you. We think that Fizik needs to shout more about its Kurve range as the Snake tested here is without doubt one of the smoothest and most comfortable saddles that you will find on the market at the moment.


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START RACING According to Team GB’s Joanna Rowsell Shand, to really test your cycling skill you need to be prepared to compete against others RECCE TO SEE THAT YOU’RE READY

 

I think the best way to know if you’re ready to race is to ride with club riders and ask for their advice. It isn’t all about having a high enough level of fitness, but also having the skills required to be competitive. Spending time riding with club mates will be the best way to prepare you.

GO FOR GOALS

 

Give yourself personal goals or targets. My first racing experience was in cyclo-cross – so to begin with my target may have been to not come last. Then it was to try not to get lapped and so on. These little targets felt like small victories. Always focus on your own improvement rather than everyone else.

GET INTO A RACE ROUTINE

 

I focus on the process for race day step-by-step – eating the food I’ve planned, pinning my number on, warming up and so on, rather than getting concerned about the outcome of the race. If I have any anxious thoughts it helps to talk them through with a coach, friend or fellow club mate.

CONTROL NERVES ON THE DAY My most important thing to remember on race day is to only focus on the things I can control. I cannot control if I win or lose, only how fast I personally ride. Once I eliminate the fear of losing and realise that I can’t affect the other riders, it always makes me feel less nervous.

Getty

Concentrate on your own race, not those around you

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 145


FITNESS

O… HOW T

GET THE MOST FROM A GLASS OF MILK

INSTANT EXPERT Fast-digesting carbohydrates will quickly convert to energy in the saddle

This month, grab a glass of milk after a ride to get you back on the road to recovery It might surprise you but milk is now considered a ‘superfood’ because it contains all the essential things you need to help recovery; it’s full of protein, carbohydrate and (depending on which one you get) fat. Nutritionist Will Girling gives us the lowdown.

THE BENEFIT

 

With its combination attack of the major nutrients we need, studies show an amazing array of benefits – increasing muscle growth and recovery, reducing the muscle aches you get the next day after a hard

ride, aiding rehydration and helping to restore carbohydrate stores to get you out again sooner and still train hard. Flavoured milk with its added sugar will further speed up recovery, making it perfect after a beasting on the turbo, a hilly route or if you’re training again within eight hours. Post training, milk has been found to rehydrate you more efficiently than water too.

the benefits mentioned. Whole milk contains a lot more calories and although these will be predominantly from fat, which isn’t a bad thing in this context, it could slow down digestion.

HOW MUCH/HOW OFTEN?

Ingredients 300ml skimmed milk 25g whey 1 frozen banana Handful frozen berries

 

Try to have between 250500ml post training to get the most out of all

TAKE IT ON BOARD

 

A great way to incorporate milk into your diet is by making this awesome post-workout shake in the blender, full of protein, carbs and micro-nutrients.

TION NUTRI

As feed stations go, you can’t get any fresher...

EAT YOURSELF FASTER! NUTRITIONIST DANNY WEBBER EXPLAINS THE FUEL FOR SMASHING OUT MILES

Getty

1

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GO HIGH OXIDE

Eating more foods that help the body produce nitric oxide will speed up the delivery of oxygen around the body. Spinach, beetroot juice, cranberries and pomegranate are especially good, and just raising your


Tim de Waele

KNOW YOUR BIKE Essential know-how from Martin Wallis, mechanic and owner of teamwallis.com NAME BLAME

Riccardo Guasco

 

leafy green vegetable intake will encourage the production of this vasodilator, which relaxes arteries and increases blood flow.

2

DO THE MILK RACE

As a rapid recovery drink you can’t get much better than milk (see opposite page). Whether you are mixing it with a post-ride shake, flavouring it with chocolate or just drinking it straight, low-fat milk speeds up muscle protein synthesis after a tough ride as good as any bespoke sports drink.

3

CRAVE QUICK CARBS

Fast-digesting carbohydrates will quickly convert to energy in the saddle and help you maintain a high pace. High glycaemic index sweets and gels will absorb fast and feed the muscles quickly, as will fruit sugars from bananas and those in honey snacks too.

4

WHEY TO GO

5

EXPRESS-GO

Many professional cyclists use protein shakes as part of their training nutrition plan and recovery meals. Look for shakes that use whey protein for the most rapid turnaround as this is a faster digesting form when compared to casein or soy and pea forms of protein.

There’s consistent research to show how caffeine impacts on sporting performance, due in the main to its ability to stimulate the central nervous system. Getting the correct amount is the chief issue as for some people it can cause some intestinal distress. On average around 2-3mg per kilo of body weight an hour before a ride is recommended (as a guide an espresso has approximately 64mg). Danny is a performance nutritionist at Informed Sport-approved sports nutrition brand www.nutritionx.co.uk

I always fit tyres with the makers name above the valve hole. This makes it easier to find the cause of a flat. Remove one side of the tyre, checking carefully with your fingers for the object that caused the misery. Remove the cause; a small pin or an Allen key on a multitool is best. When removing the rear wheel, select the smallest sprocket and chainring to make it easier to replace the wheel once the puncture’s been fixed.

CHAIN TRAINING

 

Always carry a chain tool and joining link. You can practise repairing a chain on an old one, remove the broken link and connect the chain up again, ensuring both ends are a hole, not a pin. Connect the link, then pull! If it won’t make the connection, put the brake on and pedal one side until it does. You can get home with two joining links, but I would replace the whole chain when you get home. Broken chains are usually due to wear or incorrect fitting.

SIMPLE SAFETY A pre-ride safety check could save you from a fall. Start at the back wheel by checking the tyre, rear quick release or nut. Check the condition of the gear cables and chain. Check your rear brake cable and blocks, and make sure the wheel spins true. Next, give your pedals and cranks the once over. Make sure the saddle is at the right level and height, and the saddle and seatpost clamps are tight. At the front check the handlebar and stem clamps, then take a look at the front brake cable, blocks and front wheel’s trueness and quick release or nut.


TRAINING

Work hard at your training and raising cash to get the most from your challenge

EDGE L W O KN

CONQUER YOUR FIRST CHARITY RIDE If you’ve signed up to do a long-haul fund-raiser our experts reveal how you can make training and sponsorship-seeking doubly-effective...

 

“I have just finished working with a group of guys preparing them to complete a 100-mile charity ride,” explains Rob Wakefield, ABCC (Association of British Cycling Coaches) Level 3 coach (www.propello.bike) “Some of them had ridden before but two of them had never even ridden a road bike. Over six weeks of training I set out a programme for them to ride three-four times per week.”

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COMMIT TO GET FIT

 

“The programme featured two time-efficient sessions (60 minutes max) on a turbo or gym bike focusing on building aerobic fitness with 5-15-minute intervals with effort levels of 6-7 out of 10,” explains Wakefield. “In your training, do one main road ride per week on similar types of road to the event. Ride as smoothly as possible, easy up the hills and no sudden accelerations to preserve energy.”

BUILD UP TO THE BIG ONE

 

“Aim to build up so that you complete two rides that are two thirds of the distance of the event in the last two weeks of training. Include one easy road ride for 60-90 minutes, concentrating on technique and smooth riding style,” suggests Wakefield. “In the week before the event exercise three-four times but cut the time down by 60 per cent. Have a full rest day the day before the ride.”

FOCUS YOUR FUNDRAISING

 

“Share your story,” says Lucy Garner, pro rider and ambassador for children’s charity Dreams Come True. “Set up online donation and social media pages, contact the local press and link to your donation page on every email you send. Organise other fundraising events from concerts to raffles, to help reach your target. If you have a name and logo for your challenge, get it on T-shirts and posters.”

Joe Branston

RIDE THROUGH THE WEEK


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Keep calm and pedal on to put your bad start behind you

TRAINING

Tim de Waele

FOLLOW THE TOUR AT WORK NG TRAINI

RECOVER FROM A BAD START...

A LA BUREAU

Bad starts can come in the form of a poor initial phase of the race or ride – when you don’t get into the pattern you want – or else it’s a crash or fault with the bike leaving you lagging behind. Whatever the cause, just remember ‘don’t panic’. Try to get back into your mental and physical zone.

REHEARSE REPAIRS to recover 2  Itandis possible it’s pretty obvious

what you’re going to need to do to get up to speed. Without a support team it’s often a different story if your start is a mechanical issue – ideally it’s something you can fix yourself. It pays to have a good knowledge and

150 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

experience of fixing common mechanicals like punctures or chain problems.

CHASE FOR YOUR PLACE hard to get back 3  Push into the ride and up

with your group, but don’t do it to the detriment of your safety or risk burning out completely. Focus on regaining your composure as you look to regain your position – this could end up being something you put down to experience. Just because you’ve had a bad start doesn’t mean those ahead of you won’t have problems further down the road either.

RACE YOURSELF you’re racing in an 4  Ifevent like a criterium or

one where you’re a new rider among other new riders, a bad start may not be the disaster you fear it could be. Think about your own race, as it’s possible that once the initial laps are through you’re going to be passing those who are struggling with the pace of the pack.

FIND THE FAULT post-ride debrief can 5  Ahelp identify areas

where you need to improve and faults that led to that bad start. Go through the causes in your mind, check your bike and examine if there were any regular pre-race checks you may have missed. Above all don’t get disheartened, we all experience them – the key thing is to learn from them and move on.

If you work in an office, you’re spoilt for choice – so long as you have an understanding or absentee boss! The best option is to visit the ITV website or get Eurosport Player on your computer, which will enable you to watch live at your desk. Probably best not to go full screen, though, and have a document or two open that you can hide the picture with should your boss emerge from their gilded office. If that’s not possible, keep an eye on cyclingnews.com.

A LA FABRIQUE Not everyone works in a cushy office like us though, so if you’re in a factory or workshop you won’t have a computer to hand. Except you do, in the shape of your phone! If you’re stuck on a production line it’s going to be tough, but BBC 5Live Xtra often has live commentary on key stages that you might be able to persuade your workmates to switch to from Heart FM if there is a digital radio around.

A L’EXTERIEUR If you work outside regularly you probably have one of those huge waterproof radios that entertain everyone in the street. Unless it’s DAB, though, it won’t be much help. Like a factory or workshop worker, you do have your phone – and if listening or watching is too costly to wallet and battery life, there will be live updates and stats available for every stage via the Cyclingnews Tour Tracker app. If there’s no signal where you are, well, there’s always the highlights…

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World, Commonwealth, National champ and Wattbike ambassador Lizzie Armitstead on getting back on track KEEP CALM

The Tour de France is the greatest race on the planet, but it takes place during the working day. What to do...


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TRAINING

Getty

I started seeing all the road bikes flying past me, which got me hooked

BE SUNBURN SAVVY ATION R I P S N I

What to do if the sun catches you unprepared

HOW CYCLING CHANGED MY LIFE... From cycle paths to 100-mile events, 34-year-old Ross Serdet has dropped over eight stone as he’s clocked up the miles

Heaviest: 140kg (22st 2lb) Now: 89kg (14st)

HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT LOSS START?

 

“At first, cycling was the only exercise that I could do that wouldn’t hurt my joints or muscles. I was 312lb – over 22 stone – when I decided I needed to make some changes. I researched what I should and shouldn’t be eating and started by restricting my calorie intake, then cutting out things like fatty foods and processed meats and sugars. The key, I found, was to change how I thought about food and realise how what I’m eating affects my body. Once I realised I could control my diet and started to drop a few pounds I looked at adding some exercise.”

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HOW HAS YOUR RIDING EVOLVED?

 

“When you’re at that sort of weight just doing a little bit of exercise really helps so I started off using my mountain bike and cycling up and down the paths along the Thames. I began to enjoy it and once I’d got a little more confident and fitter I started increasing the distance and doing laps of nearby Richmond Park. That was when I started seeing all the road bikes flying past me, which got me hooked!”

WHAT BIKES DO YOU RIDE?

 

“I went out and bought a second-hand Felt and after that you couldn’t get me off it. I have since built my own bike around a Scott Foil frame and I’m now out riding at least three times a

week when the weather is good and on the Wattbike at my local gym over the winter.”

WHAT HAS CYCLING HELPED YOU ACHIEVE?

 

“Currently I’m down to around 200lb (14st), which is close to where I want to be being 6ft 2in. It took me around 18 months to lose the bulk of the weight and now I’m just strengthening and toning. I have done a few events too – last year I rode London-Brighton (the night ride) but I decided to cycle there and back, so it was 125 miles through the night. I have a 105-mile ride in Wales coming up and I’m also cycling the London-Surrey 100 in August with a view to riding to Paris later in the year with some friends.”

CATCHING RAYS Sunburn results when the skin is exposed to ultra-violet radiation. For cyclists, the skin of the face and neck is particularly vulnerable. While the vast majority of cases are superficial, all sunburn is associated with increased risk of skin cancers and premature skin ageing. Prevention comes through regular application of high factor UVA and UVB sunscreens, protective clothing and avoiding peak exposure in the middle of the day.

ASSESSING SEVERITY Mild sunburn results in red, sore skin without blisters. In more severe cases, the sunburn extends below the superficial layer of the skin, resulting in blisters. If more than 10 per cent of the body surface area in adults or 5 per cent in children is affected by severe sunburn, seek a medical assessment. As a guide, each arm makes up about 9 per cent of the body’s surface area. Seek medical advice if there are coexisting medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, dehydration or symptoms such as fever, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

TREATMENT Mild sunburn settles on its own, but it is important to maintain hydration. Cool showers, cold compresses, moisturising cream and paracetamol or ibuprofen can help relieve symptoms. For areas of more severe sunburn, leave blisters intact to protect against infection. Don’t apply moisturisers and use a non-adhesive dressing if a blister has burst. Burns that are not settling should be seen by a doctor. Andy Ward, GP and cyclist @awkwardcyclist


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CYCLING PLUS ENDURANCE CLIMBING SPEED

POWERED BY

ISLAND PARADISE?

Two of our team – staffer Reuben and reader Rachel – took their Team Cycling Plus preparations up a notch at the Mallorca 312. How did it treat them? Words Reuben Bakker-Dyos, Rachel Connerney Photography Sportograf

W

ith Mallorca already a mecca for northern European cyclists looking for better weather, it is hardly a surprise that the Spanish island’s biggest organised event is proving quite a draw. Devised as a 312km loop around the island, the Mallorca 312 has recently seen its route change to accommodate closed roads but the

mountains and the challenge remain. This year the event saw 4400 participants, with 27 per cent of those travelling from the UK, but if they hoped to escape the British weather they were to be disappointed. Team Cycling Plus riders Rachel Connerney and Reuben Bakker-Dyos were among those Brits heading to the Med, and both shared their experiences of an increasingly popular event with us…

“This year the event saw 4400 participants, with 27 per cent of those travelling from the UK, but if they hoped to escape the British weather they were to be disappointed”


POWERED BY

Reuben Bakker-Dyos I’ve been averaging 250 miles a week over the last couple of months as I build towards my Lands End to John O’Groats ride, but the week of the Mallorca 312 was even bigger at 335 miles, with 200 miles in one event. I did the 312 two years ago and loved it, so I couldn’t resist the challenge again when the opportunity came up. It’s 193 miles, and I’m supposed to be doing about 170 for six days during LEJOG, so doing 11-and-a-half hours of riding gives a good indication of how tough it’s going to be. It’s good to get an early test in, especially regarding time on my brand new Cannondale Synapse. I’m lucky in that the two times I have done the 312 I’ve had clubmates to ride with. Two years ago they were slightly fitter than me, but this year I was quite a bit fitter than them. However, riding with four or five other guys that you know will be able to push when you can is really good for motivation. It’s 11 hours of riding with mates, effectively, which is very similar to what we’ll be doing at LEJOG. Eleven hours is a long time, so to have

156 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

“Instead of heading around the island to complete the loop, we now went directly back to Alcudia, before riding out and back to Arta to complete the 312” something and someone to distract you is really helpful. The hardest thing was the mental fatigue, which having teammates helps with, but the lowest point was going through the start/finish straight knowing that there were still another 50 miles to go because of the route change. You’re pretty tired by then, and 50 miles is a decent ride on its own. They advertised the ride as having 4500m of climbing, which is more than enough, but that’s only the categorised climbs. Coming back from Arta the roads continue to be rolling and we clocked up about 7000m of climbing in total. The weather was a challenge as well because we had some rain, although it

wasn’t cold. In the mountains even if it wasn’t raining the roads were very wet, which meant we got as wet as if it was raining. We also had to take the descents steady – although we had some people flying past us right on the limit. To do that in a noncompetitive event is crazy, and at

Below Heavy rain during the first half of the day dampened roads, riders and spirits


POWERED BY

“I did the 312 two years ago and loved it, so I couldn’t resist the challenge again when the opportunity came up”

Above The event advertises 4500m of climbing, but in reality it’s closer to 7000m

every feed stop we saw ripped clothes and road rash so there were definitely a few crashes. This event has proven that the decision to do LEJOG as part of a team is absolutely the right one, I don’t think I could do it solo – certainly not the distances we want to cover each day, you’d have to dial that back and add a few days on. The challenge for us is to do it fairly fast.

Rachel Connerney After nearly six months of training, it was exciting to think the Mallorca 312 had finally arrived! The trip had an interesting start as we were delayed flying out of Manchester due to snow. I was really looking forward to some of that Mallorcan sunshine… little did I know! On our first day we ticked off a

lovely 100km leg spin, which was just what I needed to find my rhythm and settle my nerves. However, the next few days the wind and rain didn’t let up and we started to worry that the big day might be hampered by the weather. Our fears were realised on the morning of the event, as we stepped out of the apartment and the rain started – it didn’t let up until halfway through the day. With the start at 7am, we were up and fed in the dark, and as we made our way to the start line it was clear we should have got there a bit earlier as there was no separation of people attempting the 167, 232 or 312km routes, so we had to set off from the back. Lesson learnt: if the start isn’t seeded then get out of bed earlier! I didn’t worry though, as I made good time on the first climb up to Luc Monastery, making myself some space with more than 4000 other people on the road. I remembered what Glenn at

Etixx (see nutrition advice, p160) had advised me, and made sure I started eating early in the day – a mini ham and cheese croissant to celebrate the first big climb. The time passed quickly and soon I was descending the Piug Major in the clouds; with the rain pouring and visibility bad it was a tough descent, but I really enjoyed it, making up some more time. It was onwards, and upwards, towards Valdemossa and Andrax. From the turn at Soller I was in uncharted territory, having never cycled the western part of Mallorca before. It was certainly beautiful, and I definitely would like to go back and ride there more, but sadly on the day I didn’t pay enough attention to the scenery. This section of the event was much tougher than I had thought it would be and with a series of 5km climbs to tick off, I wasn’t happy at this stage. After a brief stop at the feed zone, we carried on, looking out for the turn at Andrax which would take

CYCLING PLUS | Summer 2016 | 157


POWERED BY

“Coming back from Arta the roads continue to be rolling and we clocked up about 7000m of climbing in total”

us back towards the east of the island, but not before a few more climbs! All the advice I had been given in the run up to the Mallorca 312 was “get in a group”, so after the last climb, I descended as fast as I could and after a bit of chasing managed to get on the back of quite a large group, brilliant! I had time to eat and drink and generally get myself together for the next leg. It’s at this point that the route made a substantial change from previous years. Instead of heading around the island to complete the loop, we now went directly back to Alcudia, before riding out and back to Arta to complete the 312. After 20km of so of flying down fast main roads, and reaching speeds I never thought possible, we turned and headed for the lanes, which I would normally love. However, each time the road headed to a junction, or encountered a small rise, it blew the group apart and left everyone fighting for themselves, and I quickly found myself in no-man’s land.

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“We had to take the descents steady – although we had some people flying past us. At every feed stop we saw ripped clothes and road rash so there were a few crashes” Luckily my second wind kicked in at this point and I put everything I had into flying down the country lanes – I have never gone so fast. I was feeling good, reeling a few small groups in, and then passing them as I got ever closer to Alcudia. The route became open to other vehicles again as I approached the end, and I lost a fair bit of time weaving through cars, but all the winter months spent commuting in and out of Manchester paid off at least. I was feeling brilliant, my average speed was up and I was ready for that last 80km to Arta

and back; however, it wasn’t to be, as I had missed the cut-off by just a few minutes. A small feeling of disappointment crept in, but was easily put aside by what I had achieved already, 232km and 5500m of climbing, what a fantastic day out. And then the cherry on the cake… my husband and parents were waiting on the finish line! What a surprise and a wonderful way to finish. Although the day didn’t quite go to plan, I still had an amazing time and got a fantastic result to boot. And for my first European event, I’ve learnt loads.

Above From the island of Majorca, Reuben’s next big challenge will be riding the length of the British Isles


T E A M CYCLING PLUS PRUDENTIAL RIDELONDON 100

POWERED BY

FUELLING TEAM CP

Etixx head of nutrition Glenn Kearney gives our riders the lowdown on getting their diet right as they build towards RideLondon Surrey 100 in August Words Glenn Kearney Photography Joby Sessions

General diet When preparing for a big event, it is important that you pay close attention to your nutrition and make necessary changes to complement your training programme and encourage adaptation. Firstly, it’s important to consider your carbohydrate intake and tailor it relative to your training intensity and duration. Carbohydrates will be your main source of fuel on the bike so ensuring you eat enough is essential. How much you should eat will depend upon your training volume each day: 1 hour: 3-6g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight

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1-3 hours: 5-10g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight per day On heavy training days try to eat a portion of carbohydrate with every meal alongside some carbohydratebased snacks, and on lighter training days have carbohydrate with a few meals alongside some high protein snacks such as a handful of nuts. Some good examples of carbohydrates to include in your diet are brown rice, sweet potato, oats, low fat yogurt and berries. Secondly, consider your protein intake. Protein is required for muscles to grow and repair as well as encouraging training adaptation. The recommended intake of protein for endurance athletes is 1.2-1.7g per

kg of body mass per day. In practice, try to eat a palm-sized portion of protein with every meal. The last main nutrient to consider is fat. Fats are often thought of as ‘bad’ nutrients so are avoided. However, some fats are actually essential in our diets and can provide energy for low intensity exercise. Healthy fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are found in foods such as nuts, olive oil and avocados. These have many important physiological roles in the body, so aim to consume two to three portions of healthy fats per day. Think about your fruit and vegetable intake too. These are important for providing your body with lots of essential vitamins and minerals to complement your

Top Advice on carb loading and when to take on fuel saw Rachel do well on the Mallorca 312 (see pages 154-158)

Update Rachel Connerney I mainly asked Glenn about carb loading before big events, and making sure I ate enough on the bike during the event. His advice was to ensure I started eating within the first two hours, as this is a critical time. I can report back that I did this and it worked well, I was well fuelled all day at Mallorca 312 and I finished strong.


POWERED BY

Update Paul Balfe One key piece of advice that Glenn gave me was to introduce beetroot juice into my diet to help out with my blood pressure, which will hopefully have some long-term benefits.

“Beetroot juice will help with my blood pressure ” Paul

“Make sure you are properly prepared for your training rides and take more fuel than you think you need” training. They will help to keep you healthy, boost your immune system and can help to ensure you aren’t deficient in any required minerals. Fill half your plate at meal times with vegetables and try to eat two to three portions of fruit per day.

Fuelling on the bike When you’re out on a ride for longer than 90 minutes, carbohydrate stores may become depleted so it can be beneficial to take on additional carbohydrate to maintain performance and avoid fatigue. Learning how much to eat will require some experimentation, but as a recommendation, aim to consume 60g of carbohydrate per hour of exercise. How you do this will be up to you and there are a variety of foods and products you can use. Energy products are great as part of a fuelling strategy as they’re designed specifically for athletes, which means they contain carbohydrate with no other added nutrients that might interfere with digestion. You can also use real food to fuel your way through your rides. Real food can be a great alternative to lots of sweet-tasting energy products, but it’s also likely to contain lots of other added nutrients that may

interfere with digestion. Get to know the carbohydrate content of the foods that you will be using and plan them into your strategy. Good examples of food that all add up to 30g of carbohydrate: 6 jelly babies 6 dates 1.5 bananas Another thing to consider when you’re on the bike is hydration. You need to be drinking 500-1000ml of fluid per hour depending on your sweat rate, the climate and conditions. Water should definitely be included in a hydration strategy, but it’s also good to include isotonic drinks as they contribute to fuelling too. Make sure you are properly prepared for your training rides and take more fuel than you think you need. That way, if you start to feel the dreaded bonk come on when you’re miles from home, you’ve got some fuel to see you through the distance.

Recovery

When you get off the bike, it’s important to consider your nutritional recovery and have a plan to encourage training adaptation and muscle repair. Try to get some Update Junaid Ibrahim nutrients in as Glenn was pleased with my diet but said I quickly as needed to switch the chocs and crisps for almonds possible, which and dates. I’ve eliminated the crisps, but I’m still should contain struggling with the chocolate! He also said I needed to drink a lot more water. The aim was to carbohydrates lose weight back to 68kg-ish. I’m still the same and protein. weight of 72kg, but I feel a lot stronger on the bike, so I don’t mind so much. A recovery

shake is ideal post exercise as it’s easy to drink and contains carbohydrates for muscle glycogen replenishment and protein for muscle growth and repair alongside lots of vitamins and minerals. This should be consumed within 30 minutes of finishing your session, and forms the first platform of recovery. Follow this with a full recovery meal around two hours after exercise, this should contain 1g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight and 20g of protein. A great example would be a baked sweet potato with grilled salmon and vegetables. Remember recovery should include hydration as well. Try to replace all lost fluids within four hours and monitor this by checking your urine colour. Urine should be a light straw colour for optimal hydration.

Above Swapping treats for healthier alternatives was Glenn’s advice for Junaid

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“Smile, you don’t have to ride up the big mountain this time...”

THE BIG RIDE TOUR DU VENTOUX p164 SPORTIVE REPORT L’EROICA p172 60-SECOND SPORTIVE TOUR RIDE WORCESTERSHIRE p178

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WORDS PAUL ROBSON PHOTOGRAPHY MANU MOLLE


When the Tour de France visits Mont Ventoux the riders will have no choice but to slog their way up it but there is stunning riding to be had in the bald mountain’s shadow

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s there a better place on earth to ride a bicycle than Provence in the summertime? If there is, please let us know, but for now we’ll assume the sun, rolling terrain, smooth tarmac, stunning scenery, great food stops and the presence of fellow cycling pilgrims in the Mont Ventoux base towns of Bedoin and Malaucene can’t be beaten. Ah, yes, the Mont Ventoux. The lunar landscape of the 1912m Giant of Provence is hallowed ground and undoubtedly the main draw for cyclists to this area. You should probably tackle the classic ascent from Bedoin while you’re here, but around the base of this lonesome mountain lies a cycling playground that demands exploration. We set off from our peaceful accommodation at Veloventoux in the charming Provençal village of Faucon armed with a route inspired by owners Craig and Vicky’s Tour du Ventoux route map – one of many laminated routes lying in a drawer

waiting to lead guests to new adventures – with a couple of twists of our own thrown in. Our aim is to ride to neighbouring Malaucene at the foot of the Ventoux, ignore the climb completely, and circumnavigate a lap of the lowlands at the foot of the mountain. It’s a big hill, so we’re looking at 120km or so out on the road to get all the way round it, but our hosts have furnished us with a couple of cafe recommendations for refreshment and the sun is already high in the sky despite the cool of the early morning. What more could anyone want from life?

Into the shadows How about a gentle, largely downhill start to get the legs turning effortlessly? That’s just what we get as we head away from Faucon for Entrechaux across the River Ouvèze via its ancient, very narrow, bridge (a great and popular swimming spot if you have the time). From the hilltop village of Entrechaux there is a stretch of

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main road before you hit Malaucene, but it’s not especially busy, the drivers throughout the region are generally courteous, and there’s the attraction of fields of sunflowers lining the road as you sail by. Those flowers are on our right. We are travelling anti-clockwise around Mont Ventoux, so a glance to our left offers a sighting of the mountain’s tree- and scree-lined slopes, the weather station peeping out at us from time to time, pretty much all day long. It’s a sight that inspires genuine awe, and a sense of satisfaction knowing we won’t have to climb it today. Malaucene is the first of the three towns we will encounter that sit at the foot of the main road routes to the summit of the Ventoux. In the summer these places are a hive of cyclist activity and already the masses are congregating, sipping preparatory coffees before an early

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The sight of Ventoux inspires awe, and a sense of satisfaction knowing we won’t have to climb it today

Above The Gorge de la Nesque provides an amazing backdrop to this route

ascent. It’s too early for us to stop so we ride on for Bedoin, at the bottom of the Tour’s route to the summit. To get there we tackle our first climb of the day, the Col de la Madeleine (not the big Alpine one, obviously), a 4km effort that gets the blood pumping without being unduly stressful. From here the route drops into Bedoin and there is no escaping that this is one of the centres of the cycling universe. Road bikes and bike shops line the streets, while

Lycra-clad cyclists of all ages and sizes fill the tables outside the cafes. We join them for a quick coffee and soak in the atmosphere of a place where it seems as if everyone is here for the same reasons: a love of the bike and a need to challenge themselves. Today is not our day for that challenge, and although we leave Bedoin by the road that leads to the Ventoux, we veer off before the village of Sainte-Colombe where the climb is really considered to begin in earnest. We are actually still heading up at this point, in search of the hidden gem that is the village of Les Baux – all terracotta buildings with blue paintwork, surrounded by vineyards and with views of the summit in the distance – lying quietly in the sun just a few hundred metres above the main route acting as a conveyer belt for cyclists aiming for that summit.


LOCAL KNOWLEDGE NEAREST AIRPORTS Avignon, Marseille WHERE TO STAY We stayed with Veloventoux in the beautiful village of Faucon, just 12km from the foot of the Ventoux. British hosts Craig and Vicky offer cyclist-orientated bed and breakfast with a huge garage/workshop for your bike and large, comfortable rooms in their spacious house for you. There’s a garden too. www.veloventoux.com

When the Tour stage comes past here the race will be on and no one will have time for anything but the tarmac in front of them, but on a relaxed day like this it seems like the very essence of cycling to take a detour and discover something new and beautiful.

Gorge yourself After passing back across the main route to the top we drop down through the vineyards to Flassan and on to Villes-sur-Auzon, from where a short climb takes us to the beginning of 16 breathtaking kilometres riding through the Gorge de la Nesque. Short stretches where this road has been blasted through the rocks to create tunnels prevent the Tour, and its huge publicity caravan, ever coming this way, but to visit Alpes Provence and not ride this road would be a huge mistake. The 2009 Tour stage took the main

FOOD & DRINK Craig and Vicky offer breakfast, and dinner can often be arranged, or a lift into neighbouring Vaison La Romaine. In the village of Faucon there is a restaurant and a bar that serves food. On our ride we ate at the Relais du Mont Ventoux in Aurel. BIKE SHOPS Maluacene and Bedoin at the foot of the Ventoux both offer plentiful bike shops

Top right A relaxed day on the bike calls for coffee in some of the numerous cafes along the route... Above ...but there’s no time for artistic pursuits, we’ve got a mountain to circumnavigate Right and far right The pretty village of Les Baux is the place if you want picturesque pit stops

D1 to the south of Ventoux because it had to, but you don’t. In our anti-clockwise direction the gorge is ostensibly a long climb, but the gradient is gentle and consistent enough that you can tackle it as hard (or otherwise) as you like. Do take it in though, as your height increases as you twist and turn along the gorge-face, past the isolated honey shop with the river eventually far below you. Stop at the viewpoint at the top to check out

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Inset: Mixing climbs with the tranquil roads through fields of lavender

Your height increases as you twist and turn along the gorge-face what’s been hiding behind you as you made your way up. The descent is much steeper and takes a fraction of the time it took us to reach the top, and after whizzing through pretty Monieux we find ourselves among the lavender fields. As the violet passes by on both sides, and that unique scent fills the air, you couldn’t be anywhere but Provence (okay, we have a lavender farm in Somerset, but you get the point). From here we can see the town of Sault sitting high on the hill to our right, and on another day it would be worth a visit – you’ll have to climb to it if you are attempting the Cinglès (climbing Ventoux by the three main road routes, in the same day!) to get your brevet card stamped – but we slip left and continue along quiet country lanes through the valley before climbing back up to the larger road to hit the picture postcard village of Aurel and lunch at the tables outside the Relais du Mont Ventoux. A stunning spot that lives up to the recommendation we were given and worth passing Sault for.

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Distance: 75 miles (120km) Grade: Moderate: you might not have to climb Mount Ventoux but the route is rarely flat Download: tinyurl.com/cplus-ventoux

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The north face Fuelled up on croque monsieurs we soon find ourselves turning left before the dramatic spa town of Montbrun-les-Bains, built into the hillside. We are riding along the road through more lavender fields to the north of the Ventoux back towards our Faucon base. The road we are on will take us much of the way, but there’s fun to be had off to our right with the twisting ascent of the Col des Aires where, if you time it right, you’ll find a shack selling fresh apricots at the summit, which you

From Faucon take the D205 south for just over 4km, before taking the Route de Faucon to the D13 just outside Entrechaux. Go right at the roundabout and when you reach the D938, take a left to Malaucene (cut through the town).

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Rejoin the D938 for about 3.5km, before taking the D19 over the Col de la Madeleine to Bedoin. Head out on the D974, as if climbing Ventoux, but take a left at the D208

to visit Les Baux. Follow that road through Les Constants until you take a right and are descending the D974. Turn left on the D19A in St Colombe and follow to join the D19 to Villessur-Auzon.

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From here the D942 will take you through the Nesque to Sault, then to Aurel and towards Montburn. Turn left onto the D72 before reaching the town.

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Just after 85km in total, take a right onto the D41, which after 93km becomes the D72 again. Follow to Cost and the D5, where you turn right, then left onto the D417. This will take you to the top of the Col du Propiac, from where you will see Faucon.


Faucon’s bountiful vineyards offer the promise of a post-ride tipple

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Below We may have been going around rather than up, but the Ventoux was still an impressive part of our ride

If the Col du Propiac existed in the UK it would be the stuff of legend, our biggest races would fight over it

Right Happy days in the saddle soaking up the sunshine and the scenery

can enjoy while soaking in spectacular views of the Giant of Provence. After Eygaliers we have a choice of going left or right on the major D5 road (don’t worry, there are bike paths) and while left is quicker we turn right in search of one last hidden gem. A left turn before the rock climbing paradise of Buis-lesBaronnies takes us up through the shaded forest and down again to the small village of Propiac, where our final and most atmospheric climb of the day begins. If the Col du Propiac existed in the UK it would be the stuff of legend, our biggest races and sportives would fight over it, and everyone would want to tick it off their cycling bucket list. Here in a shady corner of La Drôme it is just another hill, but

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since I first rode it back in 2009 it has retained a special place in my heart. Alone from the moment you leave Propiac, the road is virtually traffic free as it snakes up through the forest before opening onto a view across to a huge, abandoned hotel that looms on the hillside like something out of The Shining as you climb towards and then past it. The ascent concludes with a series of hairpins – we must be into double figures for the whole climb by the time we hit the summit – and a spectacular view down to Faucon, where we know a cold beer and good food await us. The drop through the vineyards is an amazing way to end a stunning ride that confirms once and for all that there is more, much more to the Ventoux than the Ventoux.

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WE RODE IT!

L’EROICA all L’Eroica what you like, just don’t call it fancy dress. That was the message from a speech given by founder Giancarlo Brocci ahead of the 19th edition of his baby, a vintage bike event that began in 1997 with just 92 riders in the quiet Tuscan town of Gaiole-in-Chianti. It has since grown into a globetrotting phenomenon spanning four continents – the third L’Eroica Britannia was held in Derbyshire this month – and rising (see opposite page). Last October we headed to Gaiole to experience the vintage bikes, the vino and a very tough day in the saddle. Riders may don wool jerseys, leather helmets and plus fours, ride vintage bikes that date back prior to the first Giro d’Italia, and grow

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luxuriant handlebar moustaches, but Brocci was at pains to insist this “is no costume event. This is a challenge of how champions used to be, of discovering the demands as they used to be. Our generation don’t have to suffer as much as they once did. We want people to rediscover the beauty of fatigue and the taste of accomplishment”.

Heroic efforts He has certainly got his wish. But as savage, brutal and demanding as L’Eroica (which translates to ‘the heroic’) is, everyone approaches the event in the spirit that it was created. In the race village the day before the ride, the atmosphere

This is no costume event, it’s a challenge of how champions used to be

Words John Whitney Photos Guido Rubino, Pier Maulini

4 October 2015 75km > 1900m climbing


As similar events pop up around the world, we experience where it all began

EROICA AROUND THE WORLD

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Paso Robles, California, USA (April) Sandwiched in between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso Robles is archetypal L’Eroica country, with its abundance of singletrack roads, rolling hills, gravel, vineyards and olive groves. The 127-mile long route would make even riders of the Tuscan event weep, with almost 10,000ft of climbing and almost a quarter of the distance on unpaved road. www.eroicacalifornia.com

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Montagu, South Africa (April) Last issue we took you on a tour of the tarmac of South Africa’s Western Cape and this event is based out of the very same town. Road traffic can make riding on these roads a stressful experience, so the abundance of gravel is a godsend, alongside some choice paved sections. Again, wine is at the forefront – this is exceptional vino country. www.eroicasouthafrica.com

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Tuscany, Italy (April) This is L’Eroica’s corresponding ‘Primavera’, or spring, event. Its home is the town of Buonconvento, situated south of Siena and some way from L’Eroica’s

Gaiole base, and the long 90-mile route barely touches any of its sister event’s route. With gravel roads and vineyards, however, it’ll feel very familiar. www.eroicaprimavera.com

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Mt. Fuji, Japan (May) The Japanese are a stylish bunch so you can imagine they’re in their element donning the vintage clobber for Eiyu, their translation for L’Eroica. Riding in the foothills of the magnificent Mount Fuji, it’s a particularly scenic ride in a calendar of scenic rides, with journeys around five volcanic lakes another highlight of a 60-mile route. www.eroicajapan.cc

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Rioja, Spain (June) Where better than this famous wine region for the Spanish edition, though it doesn’t stop with the red stuff; L’Eroica Hispania includes castles, fortresses, watchtowers and various gastronomic delights, as well as a 125-mile route that’s as tough as anything on this calendar. www.eroicahispania.com

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Bakewell, UK (June) Trust us Brits to turn L’Eroica up to 11; Eroica

Britannia is less a cycling festival, more an extravaganza. Once you have eaten the food, drunk the drink, enjoyed the live music and entertainment, danced at swing night on the Friday evening and popped into the bazaar, you might just about find some time for cycling. www.eroicabritannia.co.uk

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Valkenburg, Holland (July) Famous for hosting the road cycling world championships more times than anywhere else, there are few more appropriate places to stage a L’Eroica event. It’ll be doing just that for the first time on Sunday 3 July, with a route that extends into two other countries, Germany and Belgium, as well a rest stop in the famous Brand brewery! www.eroicalimburg.com

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Punta del Este, Uruguay (December) A new event based out of the Punta del Este peninsula east of capital Montevideo, it ticks all the boxes for a L’Eroica event with some fantastic ocean road stretches thrown in for good measure. www.eroicapuntadeleste.com

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was convivial. Chianti was quaffed and espressos sunk. At the pre-race meal on the Saturday night I watched the bow tie, flat cap-wearing man sitting next to me plead with the waitress for a second bottle of wine. His night would be a long one, but not quite as long as his day tomorrow, where he’d ride 135km on a bike with far more years on the clock than him. That red wine hangover will worsen as he clatters along every uneven inch of Tuscany’s white gravel roads, but he’ll always have a smile on his face. On the morning of the race we drove over from Montevarchi, 30km away. Gaiole is a small town, far smaller than is necessary to accommodate L’Eroica’s 5500-strong cavalry of riders. We opted for a hotel but camping and campervans are a popular way to get round the problem. My bike, hired from a shop in the town, was a five-speed Paletti of unknown vintage, that had clearly been

around the block. It proved to be a smooth ride, particularly on the climbs, though the brakes left much to be desired on steep gravel descents.

Way to go I had the option of four routes 46km, 75km, 135km and 209km – but given the end-of-season vibe I’d revelled in, 75 seemed like the sensible choice. Was it a cop-out after I’d made the effort to travel so far? Perhaps, but by the finish my body felt like it had done double that. The rickety bike, the 2000m of climbing and the heavy roads played a part. Oh, and the red wine, served up at the final two feed stations, which I knocked back more liberally than was perhaps sensible. The route headed clockwise in a loop, taking in the towns of Brolio, Radda and Panzano without ever getting far from Gaiole. The only rule in this event is the bike must be of steel construction in the

As demanding as L’Eroica is, everyone approaches the event in the spirit that it was created


Authenticity is taken seriously, even down to the facial hair...

Sleeping off on e too many feed statio n glasses of red?

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style they were in 1987 or earlier (down-tube shifters, toe straps…) which explains the huge array of bikes on show, from steeds with wooden wheels to one man on a Penny Farthing. The gravel roads begin in the first 10km and cover close to half the overall distance, with the toughest stretch by far coming out of Panzano and heading straight up and over a 2km hill. It also comes immediately after the first feed station serving wine.

Dress to impress It wasn’t just the bikes that were vintage. Lycra was out, wool was in and if you weren’t in your own jersey you could have bought something from Santini’s new official L’Eroica range. It looks the part and performs superbly well, keeping me warm in the surprisingly poor Tuscan weather. By the finish line back in Gaiole I was splattered from head to toe in white gravel and my already

pale skin had never looked paler. My recovery drink was, of course, another glass of Chianti’s finest. I’ve had heavy nights out at home where less booze was consumed. As fabulous as the Tuscan event is, there’s no need to travel so far to get your fix of this experience. As mentioned earlier, Bakewell hosted the third edition of Eroica Britannia in June and it will soon be even bigger, in terms of numbers, than the Gaiole showpiece. There are others in South Africa, Spain (in the Rioja region, naturally), Holland, California, Uruguay and Japan, as well as a spring ‘Primavera’ event in Gaiole in May. In future the L’Eroica bandwagon will continue to roll on further afield, with events mooted in Switzerland, Russia and Australia. In a sport where the pursuit of lighter, faster and stiffer is the future, looking back to the past can still deliver.

The only rule is the bike must be of steel construction in the style they were in 1987 or earlier

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SPORTIVE IN 60 SECONDS

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE NEAREST STATION Worcester Foregate Street WHERE TO STAY Premier Inns, in our experience, allow you to store bikes in rooms, so the Worcester City Centre hotel, just over the River Severn from the racecourse, is a good shout (premierinn.com). BIKE SHOPS Barbourne Bicycles (WR1 1SA) is in the servicing business if you have a lastminute crisis and is the closest shop to the racecourse. EVENT WEBSITE www.tourride.co.uk

TOUR RIDE WORCESTERSHIRE 9 October The official sportive of the Tour of Britain gallops into Worcester Racecourse WORCESTER SOURCE

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CUTTING YOUR CLOTH

Worcester is a regular Tour of Britain host, putting on starts in 2007, 2008 and 2014, so it’s the perfect choice for the race’s official sportive. This will be the second year it’s based out of Worcester, now at the Racecourse, and the eighth edition in all.

There will be something for all, with 40, 75 and 100-mile routes. The 40 is undulating, but the others take in serious climbs, like Wyche Cutting, used in the Tour of Britain, and feature spells in the Malvern Hills.

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COOKING ON GAS

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£35 ALL IN...

It might be your first-ever sportive, or it might not be your first time at the rodeo. Either way, there are training plans for you to get yourself ready, put together by nutrition firm High5 and coach Andy Cook. Find them in the website’s Rider Hub.

The early bird price for entry has ended, so it will cost you £35 to take on your chosen distance. For that you get more than your typical sportive fare, such as mechanical support, finishers’ t-shirt and post-ride grub.

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ABBEY DAYS

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CHOOSE YOUR DISTANCE

The other Tour Ride, which sits alongside the Aviva Women’s Tour, is being staged in Delapre Abbey, Northamptonshire on 17 July. The county played host to the very first stage of the race back in 2014, when it went from Oundle to Northampton.

It’s a new venue for the sportive, beginning just one mile north of Northampton town centre. 10, 40 and 80-mile routes are available, with the longer option mimicking much of stage 5 of this year’s Women’s Tour.

TRAINING TIP Build up to the distance, don’t cram as many miles in as you can in the run up to the event as you’ll turn up at the start feeling tired before you’ve ridden the first mile. Plan progressively longer training rides with increased ascents, don’t take the easy flat route - attempt those intimidating hills! Lewis Peacock, Tour Ride Sportive manager

Illustration: Tonwen Jones Photo: Theo Southee

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D E T A R e’s g r & a h C N ro, E e A D 3 8 D 8 RI rides of Ribble’sand more... PR7 First s ’ n i l r , Me Plug Ti

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CYCLING PLUS | March 2011 | 185


FINAL WORD

NED BOULTING

Too steep for a ‘false flat’, we think it’s a ‘drag’

UP, UP AND AWAY... A CLIMB CAN BE CALLED MANY THINGS, AS NED DISCOVERS

One day, watching the riders on a televised bike race make a meal of getting from A to B, we started to speculate on the nature of the uphill they were tackling. “What’s that, do you think, Ned?” Dan asked me. “A drag?” “I don’t really know,” I replied, live on air. “But it looks painful.” Over the next few days, and with the help of viewers, we compiled a list of sorts. Here’s what we came up with: The False Flat ��� A long, straight, tremendously irritating bit of road that looks flat but isn’t. Anything with a gradient of between 0% and 2%. Sometimes it is useful to describe a genuinely flat bit of road as a false flat to explain away the fact that you are useless. The Drag – The next step up from a false flat, featuring gradients of 2% to 4%. It’s like climbing, but without the glamour. There are no Alpine hairpins here. It’s like slowly being drained of blood by leeches. The Roller – A short hill whose gradient appears hideous from the approaching descent, but which miraculously melts away under your wheels if you carry enough momentum onto its slopes. If you get it wrong, it becomes… The Climb – Now we’re talking. Or rather, we’re not talking. This is

The UK is full of ‘ramps’, since our road builders never heard of a spirit level

186 | Summer 2016 | CYCLING PLUS

the point at which groups of riders fall apart and sweat, mixed with snot, starts to pitter-patter into Garmins. Oddly, some imagine this to be fun. A proper, sustained, test of anything between 4% and 15%, above which it becomes either… The Ramp – The UK is full of these, since our idiotic road builders have never heard of a spirit level. A stupid bit of road in the middle of a climb featuring ludicrous gradients, but soon flattening out. The Kicker – A stupid bit of road at the end of a climb featuring ludicrous gradients. Its only redeeming feature is the fact that, once the kicker has been ridden, the torture is over. The Wall – A stupid bit of road too long to be either a ramp or a kicker. Don’t ever attempt to ride up a wall. Life is too short. There are also a whole bunch of sophisticated foreign words, which, out of the mouths of Brits, make you sound neither well informed nor authentic, but merely pretentious and thus should be avoided. So, erase from your mind the following words: Cima, côte, montée, hellingen, berg, mur. And virage. Perhaps, given all this unnecessary nuance, it’s best to stick to what you know best. It’s simply ‘up’. And it’s both a bit better and a bit worse than ‘down’. Hope that helps.

Portrait David Norwich Image Tim De Waele

L

et us talk of uphill. Uphill, in case it had escaped your attention is the thing that makes cycling both wonderful and sickening. I remember well how, midway during the first Tour de France I was dispatched to cover in 2003, I turned to my colleague Matt Rendell, and asked him, incredulously, whether he had ever ridden up an Alp. “Yeah,” he said. “Of course.” “What, a whole one? Right to the top?” I couldn’t fathom such an endeavour. “There’s no way I could do that.” And in my mind I imagined with a choking nausea the slight rise of the road on which I lived in London, with its harmless gradient that made even a trip to the shops an arduous adventure. “Of course you could,” Matt naively assured me. “Besides, climbing is cycling,” he explained, before adding, mysteriously the single word, “Mountains”. I nodded sagely, as if I had the faintest idea what he was talking about. It’s true. Without the moment at which the pull of gravity begins to outweigh the dull pushback of air resistance, and the little climbers come into their own, cycling is just so much grunting into the wind. But that doesn’t make it any more pleasant to do. Climbing hurts. In fact, only the sensation of stopping climbing is pleasurable. The rest is horror. And that horror comes in many different forms. Recently, during a spell of commentary with Dan Lloyd, we decided to define the terms for the various different types of uphill more closely. We attempted to codify the various words commonly used by cyclists to describe the variations in the rush of tarmac away from planet earth in a skyward direction. Anyone who has ridden a personal battle against gravity will know that the agony takes different forms.


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