Category Archives: Testing and Tech

Why Buy an Expensive Bicycle?

The two “randonneur” bikes above look roughly similar. Both have a front rack and both have gears. Yet the one on the right would cost more than five times as much as the one on the left, if you ordered … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech | 116 Comments

Bike Tests

Good bike tests provide information that allow you to choose a bike that is right for you. Your bike need not look like the one that was tested, because it often can be customized to your personal tastes. When we … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech | 9 Comments

Why Bolts Come Loose

Fenders, racks and other attachments can remain maintenance-free for 10,000+ miles, yet other bikes require tightening bolts on a regular basis. Why do some bolts stay tight, while others loosen quickly? We have covered this in detail in Bicycle Quarterly’s … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech | 16 Comments

Farewell to a Dear Bike

Before packing up the Calfee “Adventure,” I took it out for one last ride. It was a lovely afternoon that did not feel like November. The sun was out, and it was 59 degrees F. The weather forecast was for … Continue reading

Posted in Rides, Testing and Tech | 22 Comments

Net-Shape Forging and Crank Length

Net-Shape Forging The new René Herse cranks will be offered in one length only, 171 mm, which allows us to have the cranks forged to their final shape. (The photo above shows the raw forging.) The process is called “net-shape … Continue reading

Posted in Product News, Rene Herse cranks, Testing and Tech | 52 Comments

Stem Length and Frame Size

We recently received our first shipment of 110 mm-long Grand Bois stems. The fillet-brazed stems are available in 10 mm increments from 60 to 110 mm. Now riders of all sizes can use these beautifully crafted, super-strong stems and decaleurs. … Continue reading

Posted in Product News, Stems, Testing and Tech | 12 Comments

Product Test: Velo-Orange Grand Cru Brakes

I mostly talk about our projects in this blog, including products we develop at Compass Bicycles, but rarely discuss those of other manufacturers. This might lead to the impression that Bicycle Quarterly does the same. However, the magazine is independent … Continue reading

Posted in Bicycle Quarterly Back Issues, Testing and Tech | 12 Comments

Science and Bicycles: Frame Stiffness

Lightweight frames, made from high-strength tubing, were thought to be stiffer than ordinary frames. They performed better for most cyclists, but the conclusion that stiffer frames were better was erroneous. Eventually, this led the makers of steel bicycles down the … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech | 26 Comments

Riding the Oregon Manifest

Two years after the inaugural event, the second Oregon Manifest design contest and technical trials were held last weekend. The Oregon Manifest crew put together a great event, even better than the first. I see the Oregon Manifest as an … Continue reading

Posted in Rides, Testing and Tech | 10 Comments

History of Aluminum Cranks

During the development of our new René Herse cranks over the last two years, I have been thinking a lot about crank design. Modern cranks are an interesting story of standards that evolved until nobody remembers why they were adopted … Continue reading

Posted in Product News, Rene Herse cranks, Testing and Tech | 42 Comments

The Dangers of Narrow Tires

It is unfortunate that most “road” and even “hybrid” bikes are sold with tires so narrow that you cannot cross streetcar tracks at an oblique angle without risking a fall. The Seattle Times reported recently about a rail line that … Continue reading

Posted in Cycling Safety, Rides, Testing and Tech, Tires | 27 Comments

The Big Picture

It’s amazing to me that  the big picture often gets overlooked. I am not talking about willful distortion, but about well-intentioned people looking at only one part of the equation in an attempt to arrive at a good but simple … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech, Uncategorized | 45 Comments

René Herse Crank Weight

In our original announcement of the new René Herse cranks, we wrote that they were lighter than Campagnolo Record Carbon cranks. A few readers asked us to substantiate this. We weighed the cranks on Bicycle Quarterly’s precision scale (above). We … Continue reading

Posted in Product News, Rene Herse cranks, Testing and Tech | 19 Comments

PBP Preparation: Reflective Vests and Rapha Jersey

Rapha recently introduced their “Paris-Brest-Paris Jersey.” It is designed specifically for randonneuring, and as a bonus, it comes with a reflective vest. The vest has generated considerable interest among randonneurs… Randonneuring requires riding at night. To improve rider safety, randonneuring … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech | 33 Comments

René Herse Cranks – Strong Enough?

When we presented the new René Herse cranks last week, a number of people wondered whether they would be strong enough. After all, most cranks have four or five spider arms, whereas the Herse cranks use only three. And what … Continue reading

Posted in Product News, Rene Herse cranks, Testing and Tech | 27 Comments

Fully Equipped Bikes – Follow-Up

A little while ago, we talked about how sports cars are equipped with lights and fenders, and nobody thinks they are less sporty for it. Performance bicycles don’t have lights and fenders, because most “weekend warriors” don’t think they need … Continue reading

Posted in A Journey of Discovery, Testing and Tech | 24 Comments

Fully Integrated Design

Car drivers are lucky: They can buy sports cars that are fully equipped to be driven in the rain and even at night. And their fenders rarely rattle loose, their lights don’t fall off, and most car owners think little … Continue reading

Posted in Our Bikes, Testing and Tech | 25 Comments

Preventing Flat Tires

Every cyclist knows the sensation: You ride along, feeling at one with your bike and the world. Suddenly you notice your tire going soft, often accompanied by a hissing sound. Like Icarus, who flew too high and got singed by … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech, Tires | 13 Comments

How Durable are Grand Bois Tires?

Tires are the most important component of your bike. Supple high-end tires roll faster and are more comfortable. A set of great tires transforms your bike’s feel. The down side is that high-end tires can be more fragile than sturdy … Continue reading

Posted in Our Bikes, Product News, Testing and Tech, Tires | 23 Comments

The Cover Photo

A number of readers have asked where the cover photo of our blog (above) was taken. Here is the story: An old road above Leschi in Seattle switchbacks though an Olmsted Park, with a set of  S-curves that we use … Continue reading

Posted in Testing and Tech | 17 Comments