Winter 2013 Bicycle Quarterly


Looking at proofs of a new Bicycle Quarterly always is exciting. It’s the first time we see the results of months of testing, riding, writing, photographing, and editing on actual paper. The Winter issue is at the printer, and this afternoon, I rode my bike over to approve the final proofs.

The Winter Bicycle Quarterly is about pushing beyond what we usually do. We are not talking about taking crazy risks, but about going a bit outside your normal comfort zone.


Going outside your comfort zone can mean riding unknown roads, like Gerolf Meyer did when he explored the unpaved backroads of the Western U.S. What is it like for a European to embark on 50 miles of gravel without a house or even a water source?

Going one step further, Jeremy Scott gave up everything to cycle from London to Saigon, and then on to Australia. BQ contributor Alycia Kiley reports on his trip and what made it special and worthwhile.

Our editor (that’s me!) took another stab at the Raid Pyrénéen, only to find that the best-laid plans can go awry.


You don’t need to travel half-way around the world for adventure. Together with my son, I returned to cyclocross this autumn. He tested an affordable children’s bike both on the road and in ‘cross (see cover).


I dusted off my 1980s Alan to see whether both bike and rider still could make it through the mud and across the barriers. The result was a lot of fun and a wonderful bonding experience with my son.


Bicycle Quarterly’s product tests are renowned for their thoroughness. In the Winter issue, we test the latest LED headlights. Are they so awesome that we should consider replacing our existing great lights?


We also test tires from Challenge and FMB, new 650B rims that hopefully eliminate the tire seating woes that have plagued this wheel size, as well as clothing from Ibex and Rapha.


Our Icon feature brings you the story of Reynolds 531 tubing. For almost half a century, 531 was the material of choice for top-of-the-line frames all over the world. It was also used in Jaguar E-Types and even for land speed record cars!

Those are just some of the highlights of the Winter 2013 Bicycle Quarterly. Click here for more information, or here to subscribe.

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

Spirited rides that zig-zag across mountain ranges. Bicycle Quarterly magazine and its sister company, Compass Cycles, that turns our research into high-performance components for real-world riders.
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10 Responses to Winter 2013 Bicycle Quarterly

  1. David Pearce says:

    I will be buying an extra issue and giving it to a certain 10-year old nephew, who shall remain nameless at this time, so be sure to print an extra copy.

    The Nameless Nephew loves to read, and do karate, and of course, I love him dearly. But, while I was refurbishing his older brother’s Specialized 3×6 Rockhopper (a version of which I think you reviewed a few years ago) for him, NN was heard to shout to his mother, “I don’t know how to bicycle, and you can’t force me!”.

    Who knows but that the winter issue and some solid coaxing from mom will do the trick!

    Glad you’re reviewing kid’s bikes Jan, & thanks!

  2. Wow, I wish it was Bicycle Monthly 😉

  3. David Pearce says:

    I see that your article [Vol. 6, No. 2 (Winter 2007)] about a Specialized Hotrock kid’s bike deals with how a certain young man learned to ride a bicycle. Olé!

    I found a somewhat more modern Hotrock, with a 7-speed freewheel I think I recall, and a perfect petit-size kickstand, and a rear wheel that may have been backed into by the family car, set out for the trash.

    This bike, with a little refbishment wizardry by yours truly and a pair of new wheels, is now ready for a certain 7-year-old Nameless-Nephew, who ALSO has not yet learned how to ride a bicycle!


  4. James Chang says:

    I’ve got Rapha and Ibex and in my experience Ibex 100% Marino jersey is pretty darn good. Rapha’s quality is ok but it sure looks sharp. Sometimes a bit too sharp for my understated taste.

  5. Garth says:

    I too look forward to the kid’s bike review. I picked out a trek to buy my 8 year-old daughter, but will await your review. It’s difficult finding a decent kid’s bike that can fit fenders and a basket!

  6. Gerard says:

    We have two 20 inch Islabikes in our household (covering 4 – 8 year olds) and they are well-conceived bikes. Optimised components for young children, reasonably light compared to their competitors and incredible resale value too. If desired, mudguards, rack, kickstand, lights and bottle holder can be specced from the factory. I am pleased they are trying to open up the US market and sure they will enjoy decent success over the pond. Don’t forget the custom top-tube decal – great fun!

    Looking forward to the 650b rim review. Would you consider reviewing Enve’s range of carbon 650b rims too? XC has 18mm internal, AM has 24mm, DH 21m – which might be best with 42mm Hetres and what might be the implication for ride quality?

    There is an interesting page on their build technology here:

    5 year warranty (with some caveats) implies they may be tougher than I perhaps expected.

    Finally, following your experience with the Calfee Adventure in the last issue (epic ride!), it sounds like carbon disk-brake-ready forks are only going to become more popular. Some comparative BQ testing of carbon disc forks or carbon vs. steel would be interesting.

    • The Calfee 650B bike had Enve rims, and while we didn’t build them up, they seemed to perform fine on the road. Getting tires to seat was a little tricky, as I found out in the middle of the night after a flat. Most of all, they are very expensive and don’t offer any tangible benefits over aluminum rims…

      • Gerard says:

        OK. I thought perhaps the stiffer rims would benefit the ride somehow but clearly not, and as you point out, they are rather expensive.

        Going back to the forks if I may, if disc brakes in a randonneur-come-commuter bike were desired, would you tend to feel a steel or carbon fork would be best? And assuming either options means probably less rake than we’d prefer because of the need for stiffness, would you likely feel comfortable increasing head angle to achieve low trail? Or would you resign yourself to a higher trail geometry?

  7. Russ Paprocki says:

    Your son’s photos recalled memories of my own son. He completed his first tour when he was 8. Six days, 350 mi., and not coincidentally the last time he crashed. Many times he amazed himself with the extent of his abilities getting through “rough patches” on long days.

    He is turning 25 this week. Although he has chosen not to ride competitively he still averages over 2500 mi./yr. and is a happy, productive and educated member of society. The lessons learned on the open road are a big part of that.

    It’s saddening to think of all the cyclists I’ve known who have failed to pass the simple childlike joy of riding to their offspring. As a parent one of my greatest satisfactions is in knowing that no matter how old he is on the bike he can still reconnect with that part of life. It’s one gift a parent can give that truly keeps on giving. Plus it’s great to have your children as riding partners for a brevet.

    Thanks for putting forward this important part of the sport. Looking forward to the winter issue.

    Best holiday wishes to you and your family.

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