Category Archives: Testing and Tech

“What’ll she do?”

When I was a kid, I loved cars. My first question to any owner of a sports car was: “What’ll she do?” I approach bikes similarly – I care about how they ride first and foremost. Some cyclists these days … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech | 39 Comments

How much faster are supple tires?

Improving your tires can make the biggest impact in the speed of your bike (apart from changing the motor!). The difference is especially pronounced for slower riders, whose wind resistance is less than that of faster riders. Most cyclists know … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech, Tires | 71 Comments

The 650B Ancestor: René Herse Randonneur

I had the opportunity to ride a favorite classic René Herse again recently. This is the bike that started the current trend of 650B bikes in North America. It’s the bike that made us re-evaluate front-end geometries and wide tires. … Continue reading

Posted in A Journey of Discovery, Rides, Testing and Tech | 65 Comments

Setting Our Own Trends

“You don’t want to give people what they want. Give them something they didn’t know that they wanted.” Ruth Reichl, former editor of Gourmet. This quote really resonated with me. When I pick up other cycling magazines, I am often … Continue reading

Posted in Bicycle Quarterly Back Issues, Testing and Tech | 28 Comments

Pro-Joy instead of Anti-Racing

These days, the “real-world” or “alternative” cycling world often seems to define itself by what it is not: It’s not racing. One company even made a patch that said: “Racing Sucks!” Perhaps this sentiment is understandable, considering how much racing … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech | 66 Comments

Handlebars with Generous Curves

Traditional handlebars have generous curves that support your hands well. They offer a multitude of hand positions for long-distance comfort. We are glad that today, Grand Bois offers three proven, useful drop handlebar shapes. As professional races have become shorter … Continue reading

Posted in Handlebars, Testing and Tech | 34 Comments

New Rims and Hammered Fenders

Grand Bois has re-designed their rims, so that they offer proper fit and support for tires. The new rims provide a great alternative for riders who don’t plan to run their tires tubeless, since they make tire installation easier and … Continue reading

Posted in hubs/rims, Testing and Tech | 31 Comments

Winter Clothing: Shell or No Shell?

Quite a few readers have asked about winter clothing. Most of all, they seem surprised that I don’t wear windbreakers or shells unless it is very cold (way below freezing) or raining very hard. What is the best clothing for … Continue reading

Posted in Rides, Testing and Tech | 52 Comments

Tires: How Wide is too Wide?

How wide a tire is too wide for optimum performance? Our research shows that wider tires don’t give up anything on smooth roads, and gain a significant advantage on rough roads. This has been shown for tires up to 31 … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech, Tires | 48 Comments

Experiencing Suspension Losses

Suspension losses cause a significant resistance when riding your bike. We knew this from our testing, but it was illustrated in a powerful way during a 300 km brevet a few years ago. My friend Ryan and I rode in … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech, Tires | 47 Comments

The Price of Performance

Why do high-end bikes and components cost so much more than budget offerings? Both racing bikes in the photo above are made from carbon fiber. Both are equipped with multi-speed drivetrains and Shimano STI shifters. Both have narrow 700C tires. … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech | 99 Comments

How to Brake on a Bicycle

Whether you ride fast or slow, being able to stop quickly is an important skill. Your ability to stop also depends on how well your brakes perform. In Bicycle Quarterly Vol. 10, No. 1, we tested brake performance to determine: … Continue reading

Posted in Bicycle Quarterly Back Issues, Cycling Safety, Testing and Tech | 84 Comments

Walking Your Bike

When the terrain is incredibly steep or rough, cyclists tend to crank it out instead of walking. Walking might feel like defeat – they didn’t “clear” that section. I have gotten to the point where I don’t mind walking when … Continue reading

Posted in Rides, Testing and Tech | 78 Comments

It’s Not Easy to Be Honest

I used to wonder why manufacturers offer things that are popular, even though they don’t work well. I recently read an interview with a BMW engineer, who complained about the huge wheels that the company now puts on their cars. … Continue reading

Posted in Rene Herse cranks, Testing and Tech | 89 Comments

Tire Width: how much difference do a few millimeters make?

At Compass Bicycles, we often get the question: “I am riding 23 mm tires right now, and I wonder whether a 25 mm-wide tire would make a noticeable difference.” The graph below, taken from the Spring 2013 issue of Bicycle … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech, Tires | 72 Comments

Chainring Choice or Shifting Ramps?

The chainring choices of our René Herse cranks are not limited by dedicated shifting ramps, so you can use any gear combinations you like. We have optimized the chainring tooth profile to shift well at all times, and not only … Continue reading

Posted in Product News, Testing and Tech | 24 Comments

Trouble with STI Triples

Triple cranks are a good choice for some riders. The most common shifting system for triple cranks, Shimano’s STI, only works with Shimano chainrings. Unfortunately, Shimano’s chainring combinations are of limited use to most riders. If you want to customize … Continue reading

Posted in Rene Herse cranks, Testing and Tech | 61 Comments

Laws of Physics

In the last issue of Bicycle Quarterly, we compared the performance of a 17-pound titanium racing bike and of a 26-pound steel randonneur bike. We were surprised when both bikes climbed at the same speed in a set of controlled experiments. … Continue reading

Posted in Bicycle Quarterly Back Issues, Testing and Tech | 70 Comments

No Mudflap: What a Mess!

Just one week of riding without a mudflap, and look at my bike! It’s a mess! I ride my Urban Bike year-round in rainy Seattle, but thanks to its generous fenders, it rarely gets dirty. I clean it only once … Continue reading

Posted in Our Bikes, Testing and Tech | 38 Comments

North American Handmade Bicycle Show

This year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show will take place in Denver, CO, on the weekend of February 22-24. NAHBS is a great place to see many builders showing their craft. The event is a showcase of the vibrant custom … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech | 2 Comments