Archive for the ‘Bikes & Gear’ Category


You may have already read the Velo News article about the failure of a Mavic R-Sys front wheel during a recent race.  Yes, the same R-Sys wheel that was recalled recently.  If not, here is the link:


Now here is Mavic’s response:


Give me a break.  Why is there no damage to the fork?  Maybe because the rider was on a turn and went down on his side, with his body taking the damage.   To be fair, let’s say that the rider went down, and that is what caused the catastrophic failure of the wheel.  Is that acceptable to you?  It isn’t to me.  I personally do not want to ride a product that could disintegrate when I go down in a turn during a race.  Which is something that happens to crit riders all the time.  However, I still don’t believe that is what happened.  I know that I wasn’t there, and I am not an expert, but this is silly.  They start with rider error, and now they seem to be blaming every other part on the bike.  This should be interesting.  Mavic makes some good products, the Open Pro rim being one of them, but it may be time to pull the plug on this one.


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I just did my first ride with my new Hudz, and so far they are very nice.  The fit is good, and they are very comfortable.  Not quite as comfortable as the Campy covers, but nice nonetheless.  Maybe I should have gone with yellow, but I like the green.



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You may have recently read about Torelli’s Montefalco road bike in the last issue of ROAD.  Well the short story is that it is an all carbon road frame weighing in around 900 grams, depending on size.  The review said it is stiff, comfortable, climbs well and descends well.  I read this and became interested knowing that Newhall Bicycle Company carries Torelli, however a new frameset was not in my plans, especially considering the current economic climate. 

Fast forward to a week ago when I called Roger at Newhall Bicycle Company.  I wanted to say hey, and was curious about a frameset made by another manufacturer that he carries.  I know, a new frameset was not in my plans.  It was at that point that he said that I needed to come by and see something he just got in.  I stopped by that evening after work and Roger showed me the Torelli Montefalco-Newhall Bicycle Company Edition.    It looked great with the NBC colors (green, yellow and some red) and graphics, and it weighed next to nothing.  Again I was not planning on this purchase, but this was too unique to pass up.  After shuffling some things around, and consulting the wife, I called Roger to confirm my purchase.

After reviewing the geometry on Torelli’s site, I saw that the large had a 57cm virtual top tube, and 57cm seat tube, just like my Pinella.  I even called Torelli, to discuss the sizing, because I was concerned for some reason.  I tend to be a little obsessive.  I know, an obsessive roadie, big surprise.  Anyway, after several consultations and reviews, I decided on the large and I was on my way.  I built it up on a Saturday morning, and had it over to Roger’s for cabling the following Monday.  However, when I had it built up it seemed really big.  I must have measured it 3 different ways, 5 times against the Pinella.  Each time it was right on, however something still seemed wrong. I finally realized that it is just the larger tubes, and that massive headtube.  The headtube is not only tall, it is thick.  While the top diameter is 1-1/8″, and the bottom is 1-1/2″, ultimately providing some sort of super stiffness/control.  I don’t know, what it is exactly supposed to do, but it is supposed to be good.

Still being a little concerned about the sizing, Roger wanted me to take it for a test ride in the morning and see how everything felt.  That night I dropped the stem down, which I was thankful for the following morning, and got her ready for the trial run. 

That morning I awoke to pouring rain.  Yes, pouring rain in Southern California, it happens.  However nothing was going to stop me, I had to take this mother out for a trial run.  I have got to say this is the nicest riding bike I have ever owned.  I like steel, but this thing is smooth.  It is the nicest combination of smoothness and stiffness I have ever experienced, and is really a pleasure to ride.  As it turns out the sizing is perfect, and the tall headtube allows me to run the stem without any spacers.  I’ve always wanted to do that.    Performance-wise this baby purrs.  On downhills and flats, it just motors.  Every pedal turn is efficient and creates speed as it eats up the road.  Other carbon bikes I have ridden seemed “dead”, in other words, not lively like a metal bike.  This ride is very comforable, but is still lively.  On the hills, it makes climbing seem easier.  I am sure this is because of the combination of weight and stiffness.  The total build with Campy Chorus and Centaur weighs in at 15.5 pounds (with pedals, cages, computer), which is not too shabby, at least by my standards.  My only issue is that I haven’t had a lot of time to ride it.  I am hoping for some quality saddle time this weekend to really feel this thing out.

The Pinella is not dead.  I am building her up with Shimano components I already have, so she’ll still be around and cruising the mean streets of Santa Clarita.  Here are a few more pictures:




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As the picture shows, I have been a loyal Giro customer for many years.


So after a recent crash, I went to Roger at Newhall Bicycle Company to order a replacement Atmos.  He was more than happy to get one for me, but first wanted me to try out the LAS helmets.  First I tried out the Squalo.  This was a great helmet, but I ran into the same problem I have had for years.  With a 58-59cm head, I am kind of between sizes.  The medium always looks like I am wearing a kids helmet, and the large leaves a little too much space between the helmet and my head.

 Then I tried on the Istrion.  The Istrion comes in one size (I think), and offers a back strap that is both vertically and horizontally adjustable (very easily adjustable).  The other great feature is the removable liner.  Being follically challenged, I always feel like the inside of helmets sit a little hard on the top of my head if I am not wearing a skullcap of some sort.  The Istrion’s liner allows me to wear the helmet comfortably with or without a cap on.  There are also plenty of vents, and the weight is very light. 



Anyway this helmet is definitely the best (most comfortable) I have ever used, and I highly recommend it. 


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I love my Pinella.

It is an outstanding steel bike that handles well and rides really nice.  I really believed that the new Pinella would have no effect on me, and I would stick with my trusty steed.  I was wrong.

I really need to find a way to buy one of these.  I know it is mostly cosmetic, but the all Celeste color and straight fork have sold me.  Wow.

I have seen people referring to the Pinella as a sub 3 pound frame, it is not.  A 57cm frame runs about 3.5 pounds, and can easily be built to a 16-17 pound bike using Centaur and Chorus components.

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Bianchi 2009

Well the word on the street is that Bianchi is coming to their senses and bringing back some steel bikes in 2009.  No offense to anyone that owns one, but hopefully they drop the c2c line while they are at it.  I am sure they ride well and everything, but they look like a bad ripoff of a Specialized Tarmac or something.  Again, sorry for the tens of people whose bike I have just insulted.

Anyway, I don’t have any hard evidence at this point, but it looks as though the Imola will be back along with at least two other steel models.  The one I am most excited about its the “Boron”, formally know as the Pinella.  Being an owner of one, a slightly bent one at that, I can attest that the Pinella, uh I mean Boron,  is a sweet ride.  Very comfortable while still being surprisingly stiff for a steel bike.  I can’t wait to get more details and pictures, hopefully in the near future.  Who knows, it might be time to replace my frame, but then again the bent seatstay kind of adds character.  If anyone at Bianchi wants me to test a 57cm Boron frame out, just let me know.  It will be a sacrifice, but I am more than willing to work towards a good cause.  Considering that I have extensive experience with the original Pinella, I am probably a great choice to do some hands on testing of the new Boron.  Get back to me when you can.  If needed, I can pick it up at Interbike.  Thanks!

I found this image on Bianchi’s site.  Apparently the new/old steel bikes are going to be part of a Classica line, and will use this logo.  In principle this seems okay, but I hope they don’t make it cheesy.  We’ll see, I just want some photos.

Bianchi Dolomiti:

Chrome lugs and classic styling, I am anxious to see it in person

Chrome lugs and classic styling, I am anxious to see it in person

Steel frame (what kind of steel I don’t know), and Campy Veloce 10-speed.  Cool bike, but I want to see a more performance/race bike like the Pinella.  My understanding is that the new Pinella/Boron will be all Celeste, which should have a nice classic look.  We’ll see. 

The new carbon lugged D2 Cross Concept looks awesome, although I suspect it will be pricey.  CX Magazine has a preview here:


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Does anyone have an idea why Michelin no longer makes their green cyclocross (or any green tires for that matter) tires?  You occasionally find them on Ebay selling for outrageous amounts of scratch (used tires in the 60-80 dollar range), but for some reason Michelin doesn’t choose to make them any longer.  There is obviously a market for these gems, so if anyone has some insight, I’d love to hear about it.

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