Whew! The Autumn 2013 Bicycle Quarterly is at the printer. The team hears me complain about how much work it can take to publish a magazine, but they seem to cheer up when I have my moment of “This really is going to be the best issue ever!” Indeed, it really is an outstanding issue filled with the passion for the sport we love.
It will also be a surprise for many of our subscribers and readers, as you may have discerned from the cover image above. Our books (and this blog) will no longer be the only places you see our work in full color…
We tested two exciting, brand-new products. At this year’s Interbike, Calfee will present a new 650B Adventure model, fully equipped for randonneuring with lights, a front rack and wide tires. And SRAM introduces their new Red 22 with the long-awaited hydraulic disc brakes for road bikes. Before these new products headed to Interbike, we got to test them.
Bicycle Quarterly tests are much more demanding (and we think more fun) than the average magazine review. We took the Calfee on the most challenging ride we can think of, the Volcano High Pass 600 km Super Randonnée: Almost 400 miles, more than 35,000 feet of elevation gain (below), and almost 1/4 of it is on gravel roads, ridden non-stop!
This “test ride” was a true adventure that pushed both rider and bike to their limits. It was an amazing experience in every way. We bring you the full report, plus an in-depth evaluation of the bike and the new SRAM disc brakes.
Challenging and fun at the same time also applies to the French cyclotourists, who have inspired us in many ways. The Poly de Chanteloup (above) started as a test of gear changers, to determine which system worked best on a very hilly course. In later years, it became one of the most important professional races and randonneur events in France, as well as a great festival of cycling. Read the full history of this fascinating event.
During my research on the Poly de Chanteloup, I talked to many of the riders who had competed there. Lyli Herse was fastest in the tandem category no fewer than 10 times. She told me that she wanted a ride around the course to celebrate her 85th birthday. So we took a René Herse Chanteloup tandem and did a lap of this challenging course. It was a moving experience for all involved, and it gave me a new appreciation of that event, as well as of Lyli as a rider. Even at 85 years of age, her contribution toward moving the tandem over this challenging course was far from negligible.
Even the greatest photos cannot match the clarity of a great hand-drawn illustration. We commissioned noted artist George Retseck to draw the Simplex Retrofriction and Suntour Power Shift levers. We use his detailed drawings to explain how these shift levers compensate for the pull of the derailleur’s return spring, so that the shifting effort is the same during up- and downshifts. As so often, the real beauty of these components lies in parts you cannot see, but feel on every ride.
Bicycle Quarterly’s product tests are renowned in the industry for their thoroughness. In the Autumn issue, we test TRP’s HY/RD hydraulic disc brakes. Their hydraulics are in the brake calipers, so you can operate them with standard brake levers. Are these a good upgrade from the rather weak mechanical disc brakes that equip many recent road bikes?
Those are just some of the highlights. This issue also starts two new regular columns. In the “Skill” column, we explain how to look behind without wobbling. “Icon” brings a close look at the classic Cinelli fork crown. We also show you how to equip your bike with a more effective mudflap. All this and more is in the Autumn 2013 Bicycle Quarterly.