Archive for the ‘bike’ Category

Road bike warranties

What warranty coverage do some of the big road bike manufacturers offer on their frames?

  • Condor – 2 years – read more
  • Wilier – 4 years (5 years if registered online 10 days from purchase) – read more
  • Look – 5 years
  • Canyon – 6 years – read more
  • Felt – lifetime
  • Trek – lifetime – read more
  • Parlee – lifetime – read more
  • Specialized – lifetime – read more

Naturally, the precise terms of all these will differ – but the list gives an idea of the range. By all accounts, Trek is the daddy of bike warranties. Joe is onto the fourth or fifth incarnation of his Madone 7.2 frame, which has persistently developed a crack in exactly the same place on the seat tube.

Busted chainring

Definitely one for the broken archives.

This happened back in February. It actually all started in December last year, when I needed to change the dinged chainring (I feel the irony too) on my hack bike, and discovered that the bolts were simply turning in their washers as opposed to unscrewing normally. Out came the drill – wired from my kitchen, out of the window, through my neighbour’s garden, to my work bench. Four hours of heavy hand-tooling later, I succeeded in dismantling the bastard.

The saga continued when I replaced the drilled-out bolts with fresh ones, but didn’t tighten them up properly. 3 days of commuting later, I was pulling away from the lights at the Atkins Road crossroads, and my pedal stroke turned to butter. Looking down, I could see that the force of my downstroke had warped the chainring into the shape of a crisp. Cue an emergency call to Jas, who drove out to rescue me.

I’m now on my third chainring, but so far so normal.

Bike Theft NYC

Filmmaker Casey Neistat conducted an experiment in New York City to see how easy it was to steal a bike. The answer? Check the video.

Via Kottke.

Girona training camp

Somewhere in Northern Spain.

Somewhere in Northern Spain.

I recently returned from a week’s training holiday in the countryside just north of Girona. Jonny, Millsy, Simmo and I were well looked after by our hosts Girona Cycling, and – despite getting a cold, and enduring epic quantities of rain in the first half of the week – we had a great trip.

Highlights included:

  • an awesome loop from Mas Pelegri over to Olot, taking in some snaking climbs and swooping descents through forests


View Serinya loop in a larger map

  • 3-course meals, every night, cooked up by long-time Rapha rider and chef Ben
  • Finally getting the chance to see A Sunday in Hell on DVD (twice in one day as it turned out)

Low-points included:

  • Monday – rain; Tuesday – rain; Wednesday – rain
  • Friday’s ride, when we headed out with Maarten de Jonge (a Dutch pro on the Endura Racing team) to climb Els Angels. I can’t remember feeling weaker on a bike – I wasn’t bonking, it must have been some sort of post-viral exhaustion. Considering my usual form on hills, it was pretty gutting to be dropped hard and often.

Cheat the week – GPS tracked route


View Larger Map

A nice little 3 hour loop this morning, tracked by the Motion X GPS iPhone app.

I have nowhere near the legs I had this time last year, for obvious reasons (blowing out winter training for one) – but today’s ride felt OK. 12 degrees, and a bit of sun too.

C2C route


View C2C 2011 – Bowland, Dales, Moors in a larger map

Tom, Andy, Max and I are riding an off-road coast-to-coast in late April. Check the route, a labour of logistical love by Tom Wood (aka ‘The Voice of Reason’).

We’re doing it Alpine-style, catching a train first thing on the morning of Friday 22 April, and returning late on Tuesday 26. We’ll be travelling light, and staying at a combination of hostels and BnBs (there was talk of staying in some leaky moorland barn but I got down on my knees and begged for warm bedding). According to the current plan the last day’s ride will be 65 miles – no mean achievement.

I’m going to get nostalgic about the other time I did the coast-to-coast in another post…

Retro bikes – Kona Muni-Mula

1998* Kona Muni-Mula.

1998* Kona Muni-Mula (August 2005).

I’ve been getting all misty-eyed about retro bikes lately – check out my homages to Ross’s Marin and Andy’s Klein. It seems only appropriate to look back at my old Kona Muni-Mula in her heyday.

The shot above was taken just before heading up to the Lake District for an ex-UYCC camping and bike trip in August 2005. By this point the spec was roughly as follows:

  • Mavic 719(?) rims
  • Hope hubs
  • Panaracer Trailblasters
  • Raceface XY seatpost (still the best seatpost ever made, full stop)
  • Raceface stem
  • WTB saddle
  • Gripshift (I always was a fan)
  • Carbon brake levers
  • XTR V-brakes
  • Marzocchi Bomber fork
  • XT drivetrain
  • Ringlé bottle cage

You have to admit it looks pretty goddamn fly. Probably a unique build as well, especially since the frame – which I got on insurance after my Lava Dome was bent on the flight back from Vancouver – had an experimental paint-job, and this particular colour was never distributed widely (check Bikepedia for the Muni-Mula’s off-the-peg contemporaries).

I’ll be interested to see how the new Kona Kula Deluxe handles by comparison…

Retro bikes – Marin Mount Vision

1999 Marin Mount Vision

1999 Marin Mount Vision.

Ross Peat sold off his Marin Mount Vision a couple of months ago. The former UYCC captain and recent energy-gel addict pleaded a ‘lack of space’ as the reason for sale in the ad – but clearly, the thing had to go.

Back in the day, Ross was the organisational lynchpin of the bike club. He was head honcho when I turned up in Goodricke carpark in October 1998 for my first ever ride, and was generally adept in and out of the saddle. To be honest, without him at the wheel, it’s hard to see how our motley crew would have gone riding at all. Always a calm head in a crisis, Ross was expert at weighing the benefits of riding versus, say, heading to the pub – faced with low-lying mist half a mile from the carpark, he knew when to bail.

When I first met him Ross was riding a burgundy-red Kona Explosif, a la this:

1995 Kona Explosif frame.

1995 Kona Explosif frame.

– a few models up from my old 1995 Lava Dome, and from the same classic Kona vintage. But the Explosif was stolen by some Tang Hall lowlife, and Ross was forced to purchase a new rig (after a suitable grieving period). Enter the Marin.

Clean lines: the Marin's pro flight-deck

Clean lines: the Marin's pro flight-deck.

At the time, the Marin Mount Vision was high-end cross-country full-suspension, and fairly eye-catching thanks to its M-shaped frame geometry and girder-like yellow swingarm. Furthermore it was XTR-equipped. The club was impressed.

Added value: take a second look at the Salsa seat clamp.

Added value: the Salsa quick-release seat clamp.

Over years of faifhful service, however, the once-sharp blade became dulled. 10 years after the Marin first hit the scene, I took it for a ride on an off-road social with Tom, Andy and Ross (who by then had of course upgraded to something else). From my experience riding hardtails and road bikes, riding the Marin uphill was like pedalling a canoe with a knackered drivetrain.

The bike went for £250, a ‘freakin’ bargain’ according to one happy Retrobike customer.

Retro bikes – Klein Attitude Comp

The Klein Attitude Comp, in its glory days.

My mate Andy Booth recently sold his Klein Attitude Comp 2000, and I feel the time is right to salute man and rig.

The details are hazy, but as I remember Andy bought the Klein in 2000 with some insurance money. He’d had his previous bike stolen on York University campus, but that wasn’t the source of the windfall – something to do with a traffic accident, a sore neck (I’m feeling in the dark here)?

Anyway, he bought the Klein. Andy’s a tall chap with a penchant for brightly coloured bikes – hence the crane geometry and lurid paint job. Yet the Klein was lean and fast, and over time, as is to be expected, the frame was adorned with all manner of trick upgrades, including Hope hubs in gun-metal grey, and – the jewel in the crown – a Chris King headset.

The Chris King headset, in silver - still as smooth as the day it was fitted, etc. etc.

This bike experienced a golden age in the early noughties, accompanying us on some memorable rides with the University of York Cycle Club (UYCC) in Yorkshire, the Lake District, and beyond.

Still going strong: riding the Klein in Borrowdale, August 2005.

Crag-top stunts - Helvellyn?

Crag-top stunts - Helvellyn?

Latterly though, the Klein fell from grace, and became rather a sad figure, its whale-like Serfas saddle in particular becoming the butt of many a trailside joke. In the end, the Klein was replaced by a younger, sleeker model, and its once glossy sheen became covered in the dust of neglect. That Andy eventually put it up for sale without even cleaning it was an indication of just how bad things had got.

End of an era.

Cycling around Lake Garda


View Around Lake Garda in a larger map>

On the Wednesday after the Maratona, Jonny and I rode around the whole of Lake Garda, where we were supposed to be having some R&R with our respective girlfriends (and Millsy).

Despite being told by a local rider at the hotel that the route was 90km, it was in fact 138km, i.e. as long as the Maratona. ‘We’ll see for you lunch’ became ‘See you for dinner’ as the planned 3-hour spin became a tough 4hr45 loop (albeit mostly flat) with 2hrs of time trial thrown in. Diving into the lake in full lycra back in Desenzano, after hammering it in the midday sun, was possibly the highlight of the trip.

Tunnels

I would warn anyone considering riding this loop to beware of the tunnels at the north end of the lake. At best, these are quite narrow but short, but others are much longer, and the worst has no lighting at all. Seriously, it was like riding into a black hole for 20 seconds, and that’s longer than it sounds when you literally can’t see anything. Take lights.