Reader Feedback on the Autumn Issue

The Autumn Bicycle Quarterly marks the 15th anniversary of the magazine. To celebrate, we assembled a very special selection of articles into our largest issue yet. Many readers have written to voice their excitement about the latest edition. Here are a few examples:

“Issue no. 61 is absolutely the greatest I have seen: so packed with well-written and interesting feature articles, pictures and data, that I doubt if I will have absorbed it by the next issue. The coverage of the Concours de Machines is superb; but at the same time, the balance between the technical and the spiritual–which, after all, is the essence of randonneur cycling–is pitch-perfect.”

“I just received my Autumn issue of BQ and am floored! I opened it and just flipped through the magazine and was blown away by the photos of the Concours de Machines. The one thing that filled my mind was what an absolutely amazing film documentary this would make. I’m just blown away!”

“The grandiose solitude of Kurakake Pass, the latest Concours de Machines and its history, and, perhaps even more moving, J.P. Weigle and Olivier Csuka assembling the bike at Cycles Alex Singer. It brings together past and present in the most beautiful images. Magnificent!”

It wasn’t just these two features that got our readers excited. One wrote: “Great review of the Brian Chapman!” The reader above was even more succinct: “Woof!” We take it as a compliment.

Readers enjoyed touring the factory of Paul Component Engineering. One reader even suggested: “I hope you keep this issue in print and continue to offer it as a stand-alone in your catalog.” Unfortunately, that isn’t feasible.

Subscribe now to enjoy the 15th Anniversay Bicycle Quarterly, as well as future magazines that will be equally rich and varied in content. If you already have the Autumn Bicycle Quarterly, which was your favorite feature?

Photo credits: Natsuko Hirose (Photo 1), Nicolas Joly (Photo 2), Rob van Driel (Photo 3), Brian Chapman (Photo 5).

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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17 Responses to Reader Feedback on the Autumn Issue

  1. PJ520 says:

    Why not have a caption competition for these pics like Punch and NewYorker do for some cartoons? e.g. the one with your friend in the snow could be: “These Adventure Cycling routes sure avoid busy streets” The one with you at a shed door could be “Actually this is the ladies rest room.” The machine shop “Seems a lot of trouble for a lost stem nut” (I’m sure your readers can improve on these.)

  2. sisyphus says:

    The Autumn issue is a profound document of real world cycling. I have purposefully attempted not to plow through it in one sitting. I am afraid I failed.

  3. DavidM says:

    I’m still looking forward to receiving mine here in Ireland, and hope it’s on its way…

  4. redrockmtb says:

    I’m still reading and rereading and enjoying my first ever BQ. Don’t tell me that this is the best one ever! I want to be continuously be wowed and amazed!

    • marmotte27 says:

      Get the back issues, while they last. Each and every one great reading.

      As for your question, Jan, for me it’s the mixture of old and new that has alsways been the main attraction of BQ, so it’s both the articles on your Weigle for this year’s concours and the Pitard from 1949, your story about your adventure in Ambert and the feature on the history of Technical Trials.
      The ‘centrefolds’ of the Weigle and the Chapman are just marvellous.

      • marmotte27 says:

        Something I wanted to ask: are the shoes Mark’s wearing on the Chapman the same or similar Giros than the ones Stépahne Klein is wearing during the concours?

  5. jon h says:

    Polly rocks! (thanks for a great issue – they are all great but the bar is pretty high on this one)

  6. Jim Jenkins says:

    Such a great read that i went back to the previous three quarters to reread them, with the thought that I may have missed some things the first time through. Your magazine, like your bicycles, and your bicycle products; is continuously improving. Thank you for sharing the cycling life.

  7. Christian Bratina says:

    I was not impressed by the PechTregon.
    Requiring and waiting for a custom stem to change its height, or reach, is not very practical or desirable.
    Just how does the truss fork compare performance wise with a standard fork? Is it just a gimmick?
    It would have been nice to see a photo of how the chainstays hinge, I would think that the rear triangle would be a bit wobbly.
    The fenders appear to have virtually no wrap around the tire and the front does not extend very low, so they do not appear to be terribly effective.
    If it requires the tools shown in the bottom photo to Rinko, that is a lot of tools.
    The lack of course markers at turns and the organizers failure to test ride the circuits was unfair to the contestants, and hopefully will be corrected next time.

    Though I prefer the look of a horizontal top tube, I would have thought a sloping top tube would have saved weight on the Weigle. A masterful build job to get the Weigle problem free with virtually no test ride.

    • Christian, you raise some very good points. However, it’s important to remember that one goal of the Concours was to spur innovation.

      Without detracting from Peter Weigle’s excellent execution, the basic design of his bike wasn’t that difficult. We’ve known for decades how to make frames that performs well, how to design a fork with blades that absorb shock, and how to mount fenders securely. In fact, our goal in entering this bike was to show the status quo – the very best bike we can build today (within the framework of the rules), as we see it. You’d expect that bike to perform flawless, considering it’s the result of decades of R&D.

      The Pechtregon broke new ground in many ways. That is much, much more difficult. The fact that it worked so well – it completed the entire course without failures – is remarkable for a bike with so many novel, barely-tried ideas. As with all new ideas, it’s easy to criticize some details of the bike, but the overall concept takes the randonneur bike in a new direction, and that is why it merits its first prize.

      Criticizing the organizers is easy, too, but the very fact that they did organize this event makes me very grateful. It was a huge undertaking with no commercial gains behind it. It’s unavoidable that things don’t always go to plan, and when this happened, I felt the organizers applied the rules and made exceptions in a fair and balanced way.

      Lastly, I am not sure a sloping top tube would have saved weight on the Weigle. You’d save a few grams on the shorter seat tube, but the center section has walls that are just 0.4 mm thick. The weight of a frame like the Weigle’s is all at the ends, where the walls are almost twice as thick. Offsetting these minor savings, you would put far bigger stresses on the seatpost and the seatlug, so those would have to be strengthened. In the end, replacing triangulated structures with cantilevered ones rarely saves weight.

      Overall, I think it’s remarkable how well the Concours was run, how high the quality of the entrants was, and how the results really make sense. The latter point more than anything shows that the organizers did things right.

      • Christian Bratina says:

        I am also very happy the Coucours was run, but saddened that it was not pre-run by the organizers to ensure that most cyclist could find the route and complete it in the allotted time. Their concept of setting a fast enough time to challenge the bike but slow enough to not require a pro rider is excellent, but not achieved.

        I am very curious about whether the truss fork works? Does it absorb bumps while maintain the front wheel straight, especially while braking with a disc?

      • The organizer did pre-ride the course. Only a handful of GPS systems malfunctioned and led the riders off-course. That was hard to predict, and you could argue that having a good GPS is part of participating in the event. (As I found out!)

        Pechtregon fork: I rode the Pechtregon from last year’s Concours de Machines with the truss fork for a “First Ride” test. It’s very stiff, so it works well when braking with a disc, but that also means that it doesn’t absorb significant shock. The full ride report was published in Bicycle Quarterly 57.

  8. Eric Langley says:

    Congratulations on 15 years! I’ve recently come into a large stash of old BQ/VBQ issues and thoroughly enjoyed following the Quarterly’s journey over the past decade and a half, all crammed into one weekend of reading…

    One regular feature that seemed to drop off was the “My Favorite Bike” section, where readers shared their unique bikes and also shared a bit about their love of riding.

    Any reason why this was discontinued? I’d love to see it again.

    • Glad you enjoy the back issues! The “My Favorite Bike” feature was a favorite of mine, too. To do it right, we’d have to visit the riders, photograph them with their bikes and interview them. With our readership spread all over the world, this isn’t feasible. For a while, we worked with the submissions that people sent us, but there came a time when we had run all the stories we had. We replaced this with the “Icons” column. Many readers have told us that they enjoy learning about components that were ground-breaking in function, beauty or innovation.

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