When our readers receive the Summer 2016 Bicycle Quarterly, they’ll have a hard time putting it down. We embarked on our most ambitious adventure to date: A ride from Cholula to Mexico City via the 4000 m (13,100 ft)-high Paso de Cortés. We rode on rough gravel roads, past the majestic volcanoes of Popocatepetl and Iztacchihuatl, before testing our bikes’ handling on a super-steep and twisty paved descent. Then we took the old road to Mexico City, riding on century-old cobblestones.
A ride like that isn’t possible on ordinary bikes… We brought our latest test bike, a Firefly titanium Enduro Allroad bike that promises the performance of a modern racing bike with the wide tires we needed for the loose gravel on the actual pass. For comparison, we brought an old Bontrager Race Lite that Hahn had converted into an Enduro Allroad bike. In the best Bicycle Quarterly tradition, this ride was part adventure and part bike test. Both bikes are featured in this issue.
The ride took us deep into the history of Mexico: We retraced the steps of Hernan Cortés, who marched on the capital of the Aztec empire. But instead of bloody conquest, we came to celebrate how bicycles have played a major part in the rejuvenation of Mexico City. In a second story from this trip, join us as we explore this fascinating metropolis by bike.
Suntour: No other defunct component maker is missed as much as this iconic Japanese brand. Takayuki Nishiyama has researched Suntour’s history, with access to original archives and interviews with key players, including long-time Suntour president Junzo Kawai. Learn how Kawai’s dream of better sports bicycles led to the slant parallelogram derailleur and many other innovations.
There are many framebuilding classes all over the world, but the Tokyo College of Cycle Design is the only place we know that offers a 3-year degree in bicycle building. We visit this remarkable school and show you the students’ work.
Bike rides don’t have to push the limits to be memorable. Natsuko Hirose takes you on two rides to Hokkaido. She first went there as a student with a group of friends. With no experience and little money, every day was an adventure. More than a decade later, she returned for a more leisurely trip of onsen hot springs, good food, and riding up mountain passes.
Many of the latest trends are not as new as we think. We explore the origins of wide, supple tires with photos of a 1920s survivor. Now that suitable tires are available once more, this machine has been returned to the road. How does it ride?
Our technical feature looks at chainline. Chainlines have changed in recent years, with cranks moving further outward, and rear cassettes extending further inward. Why does it matter, and how does it affect your riding experience? We’ve measured and tested to bring you answers. This knowledge will help you set up your bike for optimum performance.
As always, there is much more in this issue of Bicycle Quarterly: Our Skill column talks about how to brake on all kinds of surfaces. Our Icon article features a superlight bell, and there is much, much more…
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