With the Autumn issue, we celebrate 15 years of Bicycle Quarterly! Fifteen years is a long time, and much has changed in the bike world since 2003. Most of those changes – wider tires, compact cranks, Allroad bikes – have been for the better, and BQ has played at least a small part in that. So we decided to celebrate not just 15 years of the magazine, but also the industry’s shift toward bikes that are more fun to ride in the real world.
What better way to celebrate than to team up with Peter Weigle, one of today’s best constructeurs, and enter a bike in this year’s Concours de Machines technical trials? The idea was to take everything we’ve learned in those 15 years and test it against the best bicycles on the toughest roads.
The Concours was a great adventure, with more than enough stories and images to fill an entire issue. Peter Weigle talks about how he built the lightest bike to finish the Concours, an amazing machine that weighs just 20 pounds (9.1 kg) fully equipped with wide tires, fenders, lights, rack, bottle cages, pump and even a bell. Making a bike this light is difficult enough, but the real challenge was doing so without compromising performance or reliability.
You’ll read the exciting story about how the bike completed the challenging rides of the Concours without penalties and won the vote of the jury, as well as the silver medal.
No fewer than 24 bikes were entered in the Concours. Builders came from France, Sweden, the UK, the U.S., Slovakia and even Japan. The variety and ingenuity of the bikes were truly amazing. We feature them all in Nicolas Joly’s beautiful studio photos – above, the winning PechTregon – and we tell you how they performed on the road.
To put the Concours in perspective, we bring you the history of these amazing events. Discover how the “Technical Trials” pioneered aluminum cranks, cantilever brakes, low-rider racks and cartridge bearings – things we now take for granted. Above, Lyli Herse signs in at a secret control during the 1947 Concours. You’ll be amazed at the light weight of the bikes 70 years ago (Lyli’s bike weighed less than 8 kg/17.6 lb) and the speeds at which they were ridden.
You don’t have to be a fan of classic bikes to be mesmerized by the amazing Pitard bike that competed in the 1949 Concours. More than half a century ago, it already featured an aluminum frame and many interesting details.
Another way to celebrate our anniversary was to make this the biggest Bicycle Quarterly yet, with 25% more pages. That way, we could also bring you the story of Paul Component Engineering. We take you right into the factory in California where the famous brakes, stems and other parts are made…
… and we talk with Paul himself to discover the story behind his company and what makes it special.
BQ would not be complete without bike tests. For our “First Ride”, we took a Steve Rex monstercross bike to the limit. Is it a ‘cross bike with bigger tires, or a mountain bike with drop bars?
We also rode a Chapman “light tourer” with generator-powered electronic shifting. How did this amazing machine fare on a challenging 300 km randonneur ride that included everything from smooth asphalt to gravel roads?
To top off this action-packed issue, we take you across one of the most awesome mountain passes anywhere. Kurakake Pass in Japan is a mountain road like I had envisioned in many daydreams. Imagine my surprise when I found that this imaginary road actually exists! Traversing the pass was an true adventure: When you venture this far off the beaten path, you never know what you will encounter!
These are just a few of the features in the Autumn 2017 Bicycle Quarterly. When we started BQ, our dream was a quarterly book, rather than just a magazine. This 124-page issue comes closer than ever: It’ll provide many hours of reading enjoyment.
The magazine is at the printer and will be mailed in early September. Subscribe or renew today to get your copy without delay.
Photo credits: Nicolas Joly (Photo 1, 3, 4, 6), Rob van Driel (Photo 2), Natsuko Hirose (Photos 8. 9. 11), Duncan Smith (Photo 10).