Summer 2016 Bicycle Quarterly

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

Chainline5spd3XOur 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…

Subscribe today to receive your copy of the Summer 2016 Bicycle Quarterly without delay.

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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15 Responses to Summer 2016 Bicycle Quarterly

  1. Frank B, says:

    Wow, a wonderful selection of themes. I’m excited (and sad, that I will have to stay excited for quite a while waiting for the issue to arrive in Europe …). The Firefly looks interesting. Without giving too much away: Is this a more “low trail” machine? It looks like it from the Firefly Flickr page.

  2. Bob C says:

    Really looking forward to this issue. The ride reports are always great, but you had me at Suntour….

  3. Nestor Czernysz says:

    I always anticipate your magazine with great interest.
    Since you bring chain line up, and you already sell some framebuilding supply’s,
    how about a cast bb and chain stays with a proper bend for 650b 42c tires?

    • A bottom bracket shell is definitely a product that is needed…

    • Guy Washburn says:

      Finding socketed bottom bracket/chainstays for 650B 42s are easy. Fitting 650B 48s or 26″ 54s is the real challenge

      • Even for 42s, you need to curve the chainstays, if you want to use round stays. Then the angles of the sockets need to be different. It’s something you can do – I did it with the Mule – but having a dedicated BB shell would have saved much time.

      • Guy Washburn says:

        Did you use round chainstays for aesthetic reasons or do you find a difference in the ride qualities between the round and oval stays?

      • I chose round chainstays for their ride qualities – we think that stiff chainstays are important for the “balance of frame stiffness”, and round chainstays are much stiffer than oval ones.

        However, I also think that round chainstays look a lot better – perhaps another case of “What looks right usually is right”.

      • Nestor Czernysz says:

        A cast b.b. shell would save a lot of labour, especially if you go all in, and make your own shell from scratch. Jan’s Rene Herse for example,the labour in that bike is overwhelming,
        skyrocketing costs. I own four 650b bikes, all have long straight chainstays. Only one
        of the builders has invested in the tooling to bend chainstays since (Map), and he fillet brazed the b.b. area.
        That said, the market may not be large enough to support a custom cast shell, but I am amazed buy some products made by small organizations like Compass, Grand Bois etc.
        so maybe there is a chance?

  4. Jack Whorton says:

    Just as I am building up my 650b conversion and was thinking about chainline… Looking forward to getting my hands on this one. Not to mention that Mexico trip looks amazing!

  5. Jonah Jones. says:

    50th Birthday is imminent. No sports car for me. A Firefly all-road and a subscription to bicycle quarterly:)
    I already own Firefly Road racer (FF422) which I adore, but with middle age announcing its arrival it is time to add a bike to the stable that can take on the road less travelled. Plans are afoot to tackle some rides in Europe, the Tro Bo Leon, The (new) “Resistance” gravel ride, and a journey through the Alps from Munich to Venice.
    My wife also plans to have Firefly build her a gravel/tourer, to join in the adventures.
    Thanks for the inspiration and information.

  6. Do you have a geo chart for the firefly?

  7. Tom Howard says:

    Can’t wait to read this issue. Climbed the volcanoes during my college years in the 1970s. It was an unforgettable experience. I managed to survive despite eating street tacos and drinking mezcal.

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