Classics Celebrate the Tour de France

During its last week, the Tour de France heads for a final showdown in the Alps. This year’s race is incredibly close, with less than 30 seconds separating the first three riders. The penultimate stage is a time trial, so we may even see an almost-repeat of 1989, when Greg LeMond won the big race on the last stage by just 8 seconds. Anything remains possible – a welcome change from previous Tours that often were all but decided by the half-way point.

Yesterday’s stage began in La Mure – a small town in the mountains above Grenoble that we visited a little over a week ago. Already, the town was preparing for the Tour.

The mairie (town hall) was decorated for the occasion, with a big count-down board over the entrance showing the time left until the start of the stage, down to the very second!

Many businesses in town were decorated for the Tour…

Dozens of yellow bicycle wheels were distributed around town, with the names of famous racers from the past and present. Local children and teenagers were engaged in a game of finding them all to win prizes. It was fun seeing the name of one of my heroes, the Eagle of Toledo, next to a Peugeot Demi-Course kid’s bike similar to the one I had when I was ten years old.

It seemed that every other resident had pulled an old bike out of their barn or basement to celebrate the Tour, creating a veritable museum of cycling history. Le Mure is in the mountains, so all the bikes were interesting machines with derailleurs and good brakes – to ride here at all, you need at least a decent bike.

Just like the local children had fun finding the yellow wheels, we enjoyed discovering bikes during our evening stroll around town. (Click on the photos for high-resolution images to see the details of the bikes.)

One display had a full complement of Mafac brakes, from the lowly Racer on this Liberia…

… via the Raid model on this lovely Peugeot 650B mixte…

… to the top-of-the-line Competition brakes on this neat Jeunet.

It was getting dark when we stumbled upon a real treasure: a 1940s women’s bike leaning inconspicuously against a wall.

I’d never heard of Belledonne, but this mixte was a very nice cyclotouring bike with quality components. A little more Internet research found that Belledonne was the brand of a cycling wholesaler in nearby Grenoble.

The fillet-brazed frame was nicely made, with the single main tube and extra set of well-braced stays that make for a much-better performing frame that the more common twin-lateral mixtes (as on the Peugeot above). The minimal fillet joining the seat and diagonal tubes may have been inspired by Jo Routens, who was also in Grenoble… Or perhaps both employed the same framebuilder?

Originally, this bike had front and rear derailleurs, with the popular Cyclo at the rear mounted on a brazed-on support made from two tubes. The front derailleur was missing, but otherwise, the bike seemed complete and original, with only a thorough overhaul required to get it back on the road.

The more I looked, the more I discovered neat parts: custom racks and powerful Jeay roller-cam brakes…

… and full generator lighting courtesy of the sought-after JOS components. Even in France, where bikes that we might revere as classics remain in daily use, the “Belledonne” stood out as a quality machine. It was sad to think that, some day, it may end up in a landfill.

In fact, most of the bikes on display looked like they should be ridden, rather than just
serve as display pieces. Let’s hope that some of their owners will be inspired by the Tour to get them on the road again!

Posted in Rides | 6 Comments

How to Make a Superlight Bike for the “Concours de Machines”

The official results of the 2017 Concours de Machines are in! Peter Weigle’s machine did even better than we thought:

  • Lightest bike: First place
  • Choice of the jury: First place
  • Technical points (bonus for features, penalties for problems): First place
  • Zero penalties for technical problems
  • Faster than required speed on each stage: zero penalties
  • Overall: Second place

We were especially excited to find that the jury appreciated Peter’s bike for its craftsmanship and functionality. Small things like the placement of the headlight make a difference on the road – you don’t ride into a shadow when you corner at night – but they are easy to overlook when evaluating a bike without riding it. The jury consisted of experienced randonneurs who understood the importance of these small details. It appears that they also were impressed by the ease of Rinko’ing the Weigle for travel by car, train or airplane.

You may wonder why the J. P. Weigle didn’t win first prize. The bike scored lower in three areas that were less about the quality of the bike, but were an important part of the Concours:

  • People’s Vote: 6th (out of 24). Most of the visitors were amateur racers participating in that weekend’s cyclosportive, and they probably voted for other, more “modern” bikes.
  • Builders’ Vote: 7th. I don’t think it’s fair to ask the builders to vote, since it’s in their interest to vote “strategically” to give their own bike the best chance at winning.
  • Paperwork: 15th place. Each builder had to submit a presentation that documented the construction of the bike and explained its features. Peter Weigle was so busy building the bike that he didn’t take photos during its construction, and the bike was finished only the evening before the event. We put together the presentation on the train ride to Ambert…

We are honored by the recognition the bike received, and the second place seems entirely fair – the rules were known beforehand. For us, the goal was not to win the event, but to show our vision of the best randonneur bike available today.

Many observers were astonished by how little the bike weighed: 9.1 kg (20.0 lb) is remarkably light for a bike with full fenders, generator-powered lighting, rack, bell, pump, bottle cages and even a mudflap. The Weigle weighs exactly the same as the lightest carbon bike we’ve tested recently, the Open U.P., without fenders, racks or lights. How can a fully equipped steel bike be so light?

Peter Weigle is a master of trimming unnecessary weight from his frames. He went to the limit on this bike, and he also built a superlight stem and rack. For our report in the next Bicycle Quarterly, we will disassemble the bike and weigh each component to show in detail how the light weight was achieved.

We already can tell you that most of the components are standard parts that either are already available, or will be available soon. At Compass, we used the Concours de Machines as an opportunity to work with our suppliers and partners to reduce the weight of our parts even further. Here are some of the components we used on the Weigle:

  • SON Widebody hub: We used the Widebody version of the SON Delux generator hub even though it weighs a few grams more, because wider flange spacing makes for a stronger wheel – useful on the rough course of the bike test. We asked SON to make this hub for 28 spokes – plenty on a bike with wide tires.
  • Pacenti Brevet 650B rims: Finally, 28-hole 650B rims are easily available. Peter Weigle drilled a few extra holes in the rim beds to save a few grams, but otherwise, the rims were standard.
  • Compass Maes Parallel handlebars: We worked with Nitto to make our handlebars even lighter. The latest Compass bars are made to our new, exclusive Superlight specifications. (Only for bars up to 42 cm wide – wider handlebars require extra strength to resist the longer leverage.)
  • Titanium brake pad eyebolts: The Weigle is equipped with prototypes of the Compass René Herse cantilever brakes. The eyebolts for the pad holders are made from titanium. Usually, replacing steel bolts with titanium is not a good idea, because titanium has only half the strength. However, the eyebolts are big to fit over the posts of the pad holders, not because they need to be super-strong – a perfect application for titanium. A limited quantity of these titanium eyebolts is available right now. They fit Compass and Mafac centerpull brakes, as well as classic René Herse cantilevers.
  • Compass Loup Loup Pass Extralight 650B x 38 mm tires: As hand-made tires, the weight of Compass tires varies a bit from batch to batch. The latest 650B x 38 mm tires happen to be especially light.
  • Compass René Herse cranks. A little material was removed from the arms, and the chainring bolts were replaced with aluminum, but the standard cranks are only a few grams heavier. Peter Weigle drilled the chainrings mostly for aesthetic reasons – to emphasize that this bike was special.
  • Gilles Berthoud Galibier saddle: remarkably light for a leather saddle, yet supremely comfortable. We removed the stiffening bracket – needed only with seatposts that don’t clamp the rails securely – to reduce the weight further.
  • Nitto 80 bottle cages: As light as many carbon cages, but removing and replacing bottles is much easier with these cages. Plus, they gripped the bottles securely even on the rough mountain bike trails that made up much of the bike test of this year’s Concours.
  • Maware handlebar tape: Made from pigskin, this leather tape is beautiful and comfortable, yet remarkably light.

For the Concours, the bikes were weighed with bags and tools. Fully equipped for the road, the Weigle came in at just 9.7 kg (21.4 lb). We chose not to bring any tools, because we had total confidence in the bike. That saved valuable grams. Other bikes carried ultralight tools, but we’ve found that a well-built and well-assembled bike rarely needs work on the road.

Back to the bags, Compass worked with Gilles Berthoud to make a superlight prototype handlebar bag that weighs just 266 g (left). It uses the same materials as standard Gilles Berthoud bags (right). The weight savings are the result of leaving off all side pockets and reducing the size of the leather trim to a minimum.

Our goal was not to make a crazily-light machine that would last only one weekend, but to show what can be done with functional and durable components, if every part is optimized for light weight and performance. Some parts, like the SON Edelux II headlight, were chosen for their function more than their light weight. There were a few superlight parts, like the titanium bottom bracket, the Campagnolo Record titanium cassette, and the titanium Crank Brothers pedals, but they are all proven components that should work well under a smooth rider. Apart from the superlight frame, there isn’t much magic in the bike, just a careful choice of components. When spec’ing the bike, we avoided anything that could compromise reliability or performance. And since this will be my own bike, I look forward to riding it for many years to come.

Click on the links in the text to find out more about the components. Click here to read more about the 2017 Concours de Machines. A full report of this amazing event will be in the Autumn 2017 Bicycle Quarterly.

Posted in Testing and Tech | 72 Comments

MKS Allways Pedals

Allways pedal

At Compass Cycles, we sell only parts that we want to ride on our own bikes. It’s important that we can rely on the components we use to carry us through all conditions, problem-free. This is why we offer the top-of-the-line pedals from MKS.

Each of the MKS pedals we offer features silky smooth cartridge bearings, beautifully finished bodies and elegant design. Our most recent addition, the Allways platform pedal, is a great choice for urban riding, when you don’t necessarily want to wear cycling-specific shoes.

When I saw the prototypes of the Allways pedals this spring in Tokyo, I was impressed by their light weight and silky-smooth bearing. When I spun the pedals, they seemed to rotate forever. Then the engineers from MKS explained the other features behind the pedals: The large platform has a slightly concave surface so that your foot doesn’t slip. Removable pins provide further retention of your shoe. They told me that the name  “Allways” is a play on the fact that these pedals are intended to be used “always” and on “all ways and roads”.

 

Allways Rinko pedal

The Rinko version of the Allways pedals allows removing the pedal without tools in just seconds with the EZY-Superior quick-release system. It’s convenient for travel, to store your bike in tight spaces, or if you want to ride with platform pedals one day and with clipless pedals the next.

Click here to learn more about the Allways and our other MKS pedals.

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What Is a Road Bike?

In past decades, there was little doubt about what made a “road” bike: narrow tires, drop handlebars, no fenders.

Then randonneur bikes were re-introduced into cycling’s mainstream, leading to some confusion. “That is a touring bike,” said many. “It has a rack and fenders.” But the performance of the randonneur bike is the same as that of a racing bike, and far from a touring bike. Basically, the randonneur bike is a racing bike with integrated fenders, lights and a small rack. (The geometry also has been tweaked to carry the load.) If you take the meaning of “road bike” literally, a randonneur bike fits it at least as well as any other bike.

And then along came wide tires, and suddenly you have a bike like the Open U.P. (above) or my Firefly. “It has 26″/ 27.5″ wheels and fat tires. It’s a rigid mountain bike with drop bars,” opined some when they saw me on one of these bikes. But it isn’t.

Imagine replacing the wheels on these bikes with 700C and installing 28 mm tires – easy enough with disc brakes. Now everybody would accept them as “road” bikes, yet the riding position, handling and even the performance would be unchanged. In fact, I would go one step further, and call them “racing bikes”, not just “road bikes”. Let me explain what I mean by “racing bike.”

The photo above shows me during my racing days. You can’t even see the bike, but there is little doubt I am riding a racing bike, not a mountain or touring bike. You can see it from my riding position.

For me, the definition of a racing bike comes down to how the bikes feels when I ride it. This is determined by:

  • Riding position: A racing bike has a relatively low, stretched-out riding position.
  • No equipment: A racing bike doesn’t carry a load, nor does it have fenders. Why is this important? These parts actually do change how the bike feels. When you ride out of the saddle and rock the bike from side to side, extra weight makes a difference. With less weight, the bike rocks much more easily. Even lightweight fenders and an empty rack change that feel – more so when that load is placed higher.

When I conceptualized this post, I expected this list to be long, but these two points already define the racing bike for me. There are other factors that are important, but they aren’t unique to a racing bike:

  • Performance: A racing bike – in fact, any performance bike – should entice its rider to go faster. It either “planes” and gets in sync with its rider, or it’s stiff and ready to sprint forward as long as the rider stays on top of his or her pedal stroke.
  • Nimble handling: A good performance bike goes exactly where you point it. It’s stable and holds its line until you ask it to change direction. Then it assumes the new course with precision and without delay. On a racing bike, most of this is due to the rotational inertia of the wheels. Whether you use 650B wheels with ultralight carbon rims and tubeless tires (as on the Open) or 26″ wheels with a more traditional setup (like the Firefly), the rotational inertia is about the same as that of a traditional racing bike with 25 mm tires. And that, as much as anything, determines how an unloaded bike feels.

On the road, this is borne out. The Open feels like a racing bike. So does my Firefly. They sprint like racing bikes. They corner like racing bikes. The biggest difference to a racing bike with narrow tires is that these bikes feel great on all roads, not just smooth ones.

This doesn’t mean that every bike with wide tires, no fenders and drop handlebars feels like a racing bike. Even before I installed a handlebar bag, the Specialized Sequoia (above left) felt like a mountain bike. Seeing the Sequoia next to my Firefly illustrated the difference between a mountain and a road bike: a more rearward weight distribution, a (slightly) more upright riding position, and much wider handlebars. The front-end geometry is different, too, with a slacker head angle and much more trail.

Riding both bikes back-to-back on mountain bike trails drove home the point: The Firefly had to be guided rather than forced, whereas the Sequoia was easy to manhandle across the bumpy terrain. The rougher the trail got, the less the Firefly was in its element, and the more the Sequoia came into its own. On gravel and paved roads, the tables were turned, and the Firefly shone with its easy, intuitive handling. Despite being superficially similar, the two bikes couldn’t have felt more different.

If the Firefly is a road bike – despite it wide tires and 26″ wheels – then what is it when equipped with low-rider racks? And what about the Specialized Diverge, a 700C bike with medium-width tires, which we also equipped with low-rider racks (below)? 

Both bikes carried a camping load, but they didn’t feel like touring bikes. Of couse, the extra weight was noticeable, but all that weight is down low, so it doesn’t have a huge effect, even when riding out of the saddle. Even with a camping load, these bikes felt like performance road bikes.

If we try to categorize the Firefly or the Sequoia (above) in this form, what would they be? Should we make up a new category: Performance tourer? Gran Turismo? Loaded racer? It starts getting silly, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. The categories between my favorite bikes are blurring, but what they all have in common is that they are performance bikes. And that is the important thing, because it makes them great fun on the rides that I enjoy!

Posted in Testing and Tech | 46 Comments

Concours de Machines: Results

The 2017 Concours de Machines in Ambert (France) was a great success for everybody involved. The bikes were amazing – and much-improved over last year’s machines – the routes were truly challenging, and most of all, the spirit among all participants was wonderful.

The goal was to find the best “light randonneur bike”, with 24 builders bringing their interpretations of this theme. Most participants were French builders, but others came all the way from Sweden, Slovakia, Great Britain, the USA and even Japan. Builders from Germany and Spain had entered the Concours, too, but weren’t able to finish their bikes before the start of the event.

After two days of challenging rides, 18 bikes made it to the finish. The course was very hard: The first day, we covered 230 km (140 miles) on backroads and mountain bike trails with more than 4600 m (15,000 ft) of climbing and many sections that exceeded 15%.

The second day’s roads were smoother, but the route went over four mountain passes. It was a perfect test for the bikes: Some riders chose to go slow to reduce the risk that their bikes broke (above), but they were penalized for their low average speed. Others went faster, but their bikes suffered mechanical problems. To place well, you had to go fast and your bike had to hold together – just as it should be in a Technical Trial.

First place went to Pechtregon. The details of the results are not yet available, but it’s clear that the Pechtregon’s combination of relatively light weight (around 10.5 kg / 23.2 lb), flawless performance, high-enough speed and remarkable innovation put it in first place.

Apart from the girder fork which doubles as a rack, the Pechtregon featured a pump inside the steerer tube and a rear triangle that folds forward to transport the bike, Rinko-style. Builder Matthieu Chollet had even made a Rinko headset nut to facilitate disassembly. It was another amazing machine from this builder and a worthy winner.

Second place went to J. P. Weigle’s randonneur bike. At 9.7 kg (21.4 lb) fully equipped –including the handlebar bag, spare tubes and tools – it also received the prize for the lightest bike. (The bike alone weighs just 9.1 kg / 20.0 lb.)

I am proud to have been involved in this machine, both as a supplier of components and as the rider. The bike gained points for its light weight and many custom features. It completed the challenging course without any problems – I didn’t carry any tools except spare tubes, since everything counted in the weight. The Weigle also was among the first finishers each day, so it avoided penalties on both counts. What it lacked compared to the winner was “innovation” – most of its features, whether the ability to be disassembled for Rinko, the SON SL generator hub without wires, or the switch on the stem that operated the headlight, had been seen before.

The amazing Cyfac took third place. Ridden by a strong racer, it finished each stage with the fastest speed, yet there were no technical problems. Constructed mostly from carbon fiber (with some stainless steel), this machine also received the prize for the most innovative machine, as well as the vote of the public. The bike sported fenders that could be removed without tools, as well as indicators in the bar plugs that were operated by the left-hand shift lever. (The 1×11 drivetrain does not have a front derailleur.) Pushing the lever for a longer time turned the lights on (or off). It was a technical tour de force that showed what the dedicated team at Cyfac – the biggest maker of custom bikes in France – can do. The only thing that kept it from first place was its relatively heavy weight of 12 kg (26.5 lb).

When asked why their all-carbon bike was 33% heavier than the steel-and-aluminum Weigle, Cyfac’s design engineer explained: “Take our carbon rack, for example. A steel rack can flex, but with carbon, flexing leads to failure. So we overbuilt it, and it weighs 400 g. [The Weigle’s rack weighs 137 g.] And we used a relatively heavy Ortlieb bag.” It was a brave decision to bring a carbon bike that weighs more than steel, but it allowed Cyfac to showcase their specialty: custom-made carbon bikes.

The special prize of the jury went to the Vagabonde, an elegantly simple randonneur bike that was ridden well throughout the event.

The prize for the best presentation went to Grand Bois. At the start of the event, their bike was the lightest by a small margin, with many parts sporting cut-outs that left only a skeleton of material. While everybody appreciated the work that went into this bike, many questioned whether the parts would be strong enough to hold up on the road. On the first day, the rear derailleur developed a fatigue crack and broke, putting the Grand Bois out of the event.

There were other innovative machines. The Perrin (in back) not only featured a double-decker rack (a tent is intended to go on the bottom “shelf”), but more interestingly, its fenders were attached with strong magnets. I had doubts whether the magnets would stay in place on the rough course, but it appears that they did. Imagine a Rinko bike where the rear fender just snaps in place!

Others, like the Brevet Cycles of Sebastien Klein, were excellent machines that completed the challenging course without problems – not even a flat tire in his case – but didn’t have the light weight or innovation to place high in the final standings. These bikes are great machines even if they don’t figure in the results of the Concours.

This year, there were no “crazy-light” parts on the bikes, perhaps because the organizers had made it clear that the course would be more challenging. And yet overall, the bikes were lighter than before.

Whereas last year, hardly any bikes completed the course without mechanical problems (including the winner!), this year, failures were rare. Tires were wider than last year, ranging from 700C x 32 mm (Vagabonde) to 650B x 48 mm (Pechtregon). I was surprised that of the 24 starters, no fewer than 16 rode on Compass tires (including the first three places), even though there was no sponsorship, and builders had to pay for their tires. It appears that when high speeds on rough roads are required, French builders choose Compass tires.

The Concours de Machine 2017 was a rousing success. As intended, it has improved the real-world capabilities of the bikes riders can buy. It has shown interesting ideas for future innovation. And most of all, the participants (as well as the spectators) had a great time!

A full report will follow in Bicycle Quarterly.

Photo credit: Victor Découard (Photo 2), Natsuko Hirose (all other photos).

Posted in Rides, Testing and Tech | 68 Comments

J. P. Weigle for the Concours de Machines

In this year’s Concours de Machines technical trials, I am riding J. P. Weigle’s entry (above). The Concours is a competition for the best “light randonneur bicycle”. The rules stress light weight, reliability and innovation. Bikes must be fully equipped with lights and the ability to carry luggage, plus a pump and a bell. There are bonus points for fenders.

Bikes are examined at the beginning, with points for light weight and desirable features. Then they are ridden over an extremely challenging course to see how well they hold up, with penalties for anything that goes wrong. Click on the link for the complete rules of the Concours (also available in English).

Building a bike for the Concours is a major undertaking, because most parts have to modified for light weight and other features. It’s almost unavoidable that the bike is finished barely in time for the event. In our case, the bike arrived in France almost ready, so we took it to our friends at Cycles Alex Singer to finish it. Then Olivier Csuka hung it from the scale that already weighed the Singers that won in the 1940s Concours.

We were excited to see that the bike (with pump and pedals) weighed just 9.1 kg (20.0 lb). That is incredibly light for a fully equipped randonneur bike, especially since we didn’t want to make a “one-event” bike, but a bike that will be fun to ride for many years. So we built the bike with a generator hub instead of a superlight sidewall generator (which is noisy and can slip in the rain), with a comfortable Berthoud leather saddle and ergonomic Compass Maes Parallel handlebars. We avoided the temptation of “crazily light” components with limited lifespans.

How do you make a bike so light? You choose the very light components, and then modify them to make them even lighter. Peter Weigle even cut pieces out of the headset crown race. (The race only locates the cartridge bearings, so there are no balls that could fall into the cutouts).

The Compass René Herse cranks already are among the lightest in the world, but they were reprofiled to reduce their weight further. The holes drilled in the chainrings save another 10 g.

Prototypes for the new Compass René Herse brakes save even more weight. They are modeled on the classic originals, but adapted for current-style posts. With hardware made from titanium and aluminum, they probably are among the lightest brakes available today, yet they offer great stopping power.

Peter Weigle also made a superlight rack. It weighs just 137 g when a standard Compass rack tips the scales at 168 g, and most production racks weigh 200 g or more.

Peter even reprofiled the Compass taillight to save a few more grams.

We worked with Gilles Berthoud to make a superlight handlebar bag that weighs just 266 g. Made from the same canvas and leather as the standard Berthoud bags, it eliminates all outside pockets and reduces the leather reinforcements to a minimum. Even though it’s the lightest handlebar bag I’ve ever seen, it still incorporates a map case on top. Because without it, you risk getting lost!

When the bike was weighed at the Concours ready to go, loaded up with its bag, spare tube and tools, it weighed just 9.7 kg (21.4 lb).

Despite the focus on light weight, we wanted to include innovative features. The bike disassembles Rinko-style, so it’s easy to carry in cars, airplanes and trains. In fact, this came in very handy on the way to the Concours, when we had to fit five people, their luggage, and three bikes into a station wagon…

A switch on the stem operates both head- and taillights. When descending mountain roads, it’s easy to switch on the lights when a tunnel appears. At dusk, you can ride without lights to save a little resistance, but turn them on when a car appears in the distance. And if the bike is used in Paris-Brest-Paris, where you often ride in pelotons at night, you can turn the headlight off when it reflects off the calves of the riders in front of you. (The standlight still makes your position obvious to the riders around you.)

For reliability, Peter did all the standard things of directly mounting the fenders to the frame, etc. The generator hub uses Schmidt’s SL system, which eliminates the external wires that connect the hub to the lights. Instead, an insulated ring on the hub connects to a similarly insulated plate on the left dropout, with the axle and the frame forming the ground. The positive wire runs through the frame and rack to the headlight and taillight. Not having wires means there is one less thing to go wrong.

We didn’t take the weight savings to an extreme: We used a Delux Wide-Body hub, which is a few grams heavier, but makes for a lot stronger wheel. There are other places where we could have saved weight, but we opted for comfort, performance and reliability instead.

Today was the first stage of the bike test. With more than 4000 m (13,000 ft) of climbing, the test was more challenging for the rider than for the bike. The photo below shows the Weigle after the 230 km (140 mile) stage over mountain bike trails and muddy forest paths (above).

Tomorrow is another stage of the bike test, then comes the final reckoning. The jury, the builders and the public each also get to award some points. Together with the points for the features and penalties for any malfunction, this determines the final score. At the end, the bike with the most points will win the 2017 Concours de Machines.

Click here to read Natsuko’s post about the Concours de Machines (in Japanese).

Posted in Rides, Testing and Tech | 81 Comments

New Favorites from Compass; Others Back In Stock

Compass is now offering two new leather handlebar tapes: one from Gilles Berthoud in France (above) and another from Maware in Japan. We’ve also restocked several popular items.

Berthoud’s leather handlebar tape is made from a luxurious cowhide in seamless strips dyed to match their high-quality saddles (except cork). Riders who appreciate a bit of padding will prefer this tape.

For riders who prefer thinner bar tape, we have Maware of Japan’s durable and weather-resistant tape made from pigskin (above). This tape has plenty of stretch for a perfect wrap. Available in dark brown, black, and tan, Maware handlebar tape comes with lightweight plugs, covered in matching leather.

Click here to shop Berthoud and Maware handlebar tape.

In addition to bar tape, Maware makes a wide range of leather goods for bicycles. We’re also offering their frame cover, in colors that match the tape, to protect your frame from getting scratched by bike racks or posts.

Light mounts are back in stock, for threaded eyelets and for adjustable struts, to fit all Compass racks, as well as many others. These mounts make it easy to attach a standing or hanging generator light to your existing rack. Our carefully designed hardware lets you adjust tension perfectly to keep the light in place on rough roads, but still adjust the light angle by hand, without tools.

Click here to learn more or buy a light mount.

Knickers are back in stock for sizes 30 – 36 and 40. We’ve enlarged the pocket openings, so it’s now easier to get your hands in and out. Designed to fit over bike shorts or bibs, our knickers are light and durable, equally at home on or off the bike.

Click here to learn more and shop the Compass Knickers

Our very popular 700C x 38 mm Barlow Pass tires are back in stock in all casings and colors. They’re now tubeless-compatible and measure a true 38 mm wide. This is a great tire for pavement, gravel and mixed-terrain rides.

Click here to see the Barlow Pass and other 700C tires from Compass.

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