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Category Archives: Gear and Tools

Growing an Unfortunate Collection

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Photograph courtesy of tuskstore.com

The photograph above, minus the tri-spoke carbon number, could be of my collection of mismatched wheels. It is not a collection I prefer to have. But I have three odd wheels, courtesy of lumps of stone on the roads and “wheel catcher” drain gratings.

By lumps of stone on the roads, I mean stones like this, dropped from lorries transporting crushed rock from quarries or concrete ready-mix trucks. An all too common occurrence in Malaysia, as car owners with windscreens chipped or broken by stones thrown by vehicles ahead, can attest.

You could argue that I should see stones like this and avoid them. Many times this has been true. All it takes though is just a glance at say your bike computer, and “bang.”

Photograph courtesy of penally.com

The first rim I cracked by riding over a stone was a Boyd Cycling Vitesse.

Boyd Cycling has a crash replacement policy, as do many other wheel manufacturers. Terms and conditions vary, and some are more onerous than others. I bought the Vitesses direct from Boyd Cycling, and so was able to replace the damaged wheel at a discount. The only problem was that Boyd Cycling had discontinued the Vitesse and replaced it with the Altamont. Now my very first road bike has a Vitesse rear wheel and an Altamont front wheel. Read on for the story why.

I don’t think anyone has noticed the mismatched wheels. I must admit the Boyd name does stand out more than the Vitesse and Altamont labels.

The next victim of a loose stone on the road was a one-month old Fulcrum Racing Zero Competizione. The Racing Zeros were an upgrade to the bike I bought in 2015.

Replacing the damaged Fulcrum wheel was tedious, to say the least. The local Fulcrum distributor initially said I would have to buy a full wheelset. It took some persuading by Jeff at The Bike Artisans to convince the distributor to sell just a rear wheel. Jeff did ask if it was possible to buy a replacement rim. No chance.

Lim, a mechanic at The Bike Artisans, said that he would try to source a replacement rim. It would be a shame for the barely used spokes and hub to go to waste.

That was in June 2018. A combination of the difficulty in buying just a replacement rear rim and Lim’s lack of time to rebuild the wheel using the spokes and hub from the damaged wheel meant that I picked up the repaired wheel yesterday.

Interestingly, the replacement rim does not have any decals. I like the stealth look.

Another hazard on our roads is gratings over drains like these.

These are on Jalan Tiara Kemensah 3. There are gratings on the edges of the road that are aligned in the non-wheel grabbing direction, but I didn’t notice those the first time I came down this road. I was able to bunny hop over the gratings. I’ve seen accidents where front wheels got caught in gratings like these, with damage to both bike and rider.

Gratings like these cover the drain in front of The Bike Artisans.

I have ridden diagonally over them countless times. But all it takes is one moment of distraction.

I was on the first road bike I owned. As I was riding off the pavement someone called out my name. I looked around and of course, I rode my front wheel into the gap in a grating. I was going slowly enough that I didn’t hurt myself when I tipped onto the ground, but the front rim was kinked beyond repair.

So now I have just the rear wheel from the set of eleven-year-old Easton EA90 SLX’s that came with that bike.

This wheel is hanging in my bike store. Like the Racing Zero is. Both ready in case of emergency.

This one collection which I hope doesn’t grow anymore.

Photograph courtesy of Magda Ehlers from Pexels

Medal Designs

I fill my travel-restricted days by reading online newsletters and watching online documentaries and other programs. One of those shows is called Saved and Remade. People bring treasured but unused belongings to the Saved and Remade team, who reimagine and transform them into functional items.

In one segment a pile of swimming medals was transformed into fish-shaped wall display.

Wall Art courtesy of Elizabeth Knowles at bbc.com

Some of these swimming medals are plain, while others look interesting. Seeing those medals made me look at the designs of the cycling medals in my collection.

Most are simple designs. The medals display the name of the event and incorporate a cyclist or a bicycle component in the design.

The 2015 Kedah Century medal mimics a bicycle chain ring.

The medal from the 2015 Janamanjung Fellowship Ride includes a cyclist and a bicycle chain ring.

A bit more thought went into the design of the medal from the 2019 Bentong-Raub Golden Ride. Like many others, this one features a cyclist. But it also stands out because of the Eddy Merckx quote.

A few designers incorporated in their medals an element unique to the event. A simple motif is the logo of the event host. Here the Avillion logo provides shape and colour to the 2017 Avillion Coastal Ride medal.

The designer of the medal for the 2016 Perak Century Ride must have been a soccer fan. That medal includes a Gaur or Seladang. The mascot of the Perak F.C. semi-professional soccer team. The design also has an outline of the state of Perak.

Another medal showing a geographical outline was handed out after the 2018 Campaign for a Lane ride. This medal has a map of Penang island that includes locations along the ride route.

Two medal designs that incorporate cultural motifs come from the Melaka Century rides. The 2014 medal contains a depiction of the A’Famosa Fort. The Portuguese fort is a historical landmark in Melaka. It dates to 1512.

The 2015 Melaka Century Ride medal is in the shape of a Tengkolok. A tengkolok is the traditional Malay headgear that forms part of the formal regalia of the Agung (King) of Malaysia. The tengkolok is also part of the formal attire of Sultans and the Yang DiPertuan Besar, the monarchical state rulers.

A more recent landmark to appear on a cycling medal is the Sri Wawasan Bridge. Putrajaya is the Federal administrative centre of Malaysia. It is a planned city built around a man-made lake. Eight bridges of different architecture cross Putrajaya Lake. The Sri Wawasan Bridge is a longitudinally asymmetric cable‐stayed box-girder bridge with an inverted-Y shape concrete/steel pylon 96 metres / 315 feet high. The main span is 165 metres / 541 feet long.

Sponsor logos rarely feature on the cycling medals I have collected. The same is true of this medal, despite it being from the 2012 Amstel Gold Race sportive. Dutch beer brewer Amstel has served as the race’s title sponsor since its creation in 1966. This medal naturally carries the Amstel name. It also includes a group of cyclists crossing a finish line together. In a clever nod to the sponsor, this medal doubles as a bottle opener.

These rather plain medals display the logo of the Audax Club Parisien and part of a bicycle wheel. The Audax Club Parisien is the governing body for randonneuring worldwide. 

The key differentiators are the colour of the medals and stripes. As well as the numerals. These medals were awarded to cyclists who had successfully completed an Audax ride of the stated distance. I earned 200km, 400km, 300km and one more 200km medals between 2016 and 2019.

Photograph courtesy of audax.ph

I included these medals because they reflect conscious design choices that are updated every four years. The design above was for 2015 to 2019. The 2020 to 2023 medals are below.

Photograph courtesy of wizbiker.com

Some design elements – the Audax Club Parisien logo, the colours of the medal and stripes and the text denoting the distance, and a bicycle wheel – have been kept. New elements are the round shape, a loop to hang the medal on a chain and the partial map of the world. I assume the inclusion of the map is recognition that randonneuring has become a global sport.

I have a 200km and a 300km medal from the latest series. I don’t see another 400km or a 600km or 1,000km medal in my future.

Cycling events in Malaysia became much less prevalent after one organiser absconded with the registration fees he had collected for a century ride in 2016. I picked up a few more participation medals in the following three years. And nothing since the COVID-19 restrictions on mass-participation events. It will be some time before I can look at new cycling medal designs.

Bicycle Designs

I came across a Time Magazine issue devoted to the best inventions of 2020.

Magazine cover courtesy of time.com

Two cycling accessories were among the 100 innovations featured. The Bontrager WaveCel helmet and the add-on CLIP friction-drive motor.

One complete bicycle was on the Time Magazine list. The Gocycle GXi folding electric bicycle.

Photograph courtesy of time.com

The bicycle has come a long way in the 150 years since it was invented.

The forerunner of the bicycle is widely accepted to be the Laufmaschine (running machine) invented by Baron Karl von Drais in 1817. As the name suggests, this two-wheeled device was propelled by either walking or running. This style was known as a velocipede in most of Europe, a Draisine or Draisienne in France, and more generally a Dandy Horse.

Illustration courtesy of bicyclinghistory.net

The most important moment in bicycle history came in 1867 when Pierre Michaux and Pierre Lallement added a mechanical crank drive with pedals to the Dandy Horse design.

Photograph courtesy of bikecitizens.net

The bicycle has been fertile ground for inventors ever since.

Graphic courtesy of businessfirstfamily.com

Here are some patented ideas that didn’t gain widespread acceptance.

This single-wheeled cycle patented in 1885 by J.O. Lose was not a winner. Despite the integrated umbrella to keep your cigarette (or is that a joint?) dry.

Illustration from US Patent No 325,548 courtesy of patent images.storage.googleapis.com

In 1900, C.H. Bemenderfer invented “…a simple, inexpensive, and light attachment readily applicable to an ordinary bicycle without entailing changes in the construction thereof and calculated to carry a considerable burden without greatly increasing the labor of the bicycle rider.”

Racks or panniers turned out to be a more practical way to carry cargo on a bike.

Illustration from US Patent No 646,791 courtesy of patent images.storage.googleapis.com

In 1901 W. Eastman and W.H. Sayer adapted Bemenderfer’s third wheel design to run on rails. Given that full-sized bicycles are not allowed on some trains in Malaysia, it might be worth reviving this idea. If you can’t beat them, join them 🤣.

Illustration from US Patent No 674,082 courtesy of patent images.storage.googleapis.com

Another invention that didn’t float is this water bicycle, patented by D.H. Mosteller in 1913. Both the arms and legs provided the power to turn the propeller shaft. The legs were underwater, which would have made pedalling difficult. Note that the water bicycle was steered by the chin, which sat in a chinrest connected to the rudder at the front of the water bicycle.

Illustration from US Patent No 1,072,027 courtesy of patent images.storage.googleapis.com

L.S. Burbank patented this arm-powered machine in 1900. You might have thought that this idea was not a winner either.

Illustration from US Patent No 642,544 courtesy of patent images.storage.googleapis.com

You would be wrong. You can buy a very similar machine, the Rowbike, today.

Photograph courtesy of startup selfie.net

Other early ideas continue to attract innovation. G.H. Williams patented this spring-cushioning device in 1902. I have something like it, the Redshift ShockStop, on my bike now.

Illustration from US Patent No 714,121 courtesy of patent images.storage.googleapis.com

The compact bicycle has gone through many iterations since this version was patented by C.H. Clark in 1921. This design was easy to carry “…through revolving doors or conveniently into trains, street cars, or any place where the room is restricted or where there are a considerable number of people moving about.”

It was not easy to pedal. Look at the size of that chainring compared to the rear sprocket.

Illustration from US Patent No 1,381,281 courtesy of patent images.storage.googleapis.com

Clark’s design is one of many that fell by the wayside. New transportable / folding bike designs continue to surface. A quick search on kickstarter.com revealed the Halfbike, which is not far removed from Clark’s patent.

Photograph courtesy of kickstarter.com

Other folding bikes on Kickstarter of course include a number of e-variants. The differentiator is usually the ‘revolutionary’ folding mechanism.

There are full-size bikes on Kickstarter. One intriguing design is the 8bar MITTE. Sliding dropouts and two different forks allow the frame to switch from a road-oriented geometry to a cross-oriented geometry.

We will see if these designs survive or fail the test of time. Whatever the case, we are sure to see new ideas in bicycle frame design, some wild and wacky, for many years to come.

Watts Next?

Graphic courtesy of outsideonline.com

When you buy a complete road bicycle, including pedals, it is ready to ride. Sort of. To ride safely, you need front and rear lights and a bell. To ride for more than thirty minutes, you need bottle cages and some bottles. If you don’t want to fill your jersey pockets, you need a saddle bag to carry a spare inner tube, a multi-tool, etc. And if you want to keep track of how far and how fast you rode, you need a cycling computer.

Thus equipped, you are ready to tackle most rides. You will be tempted to upgrade various components, but you don’t need to add anything else to your bike. But when did “need” get in the way of “want?”

You may want a power meter. A valid reason to add a power meter to your bike is you are a competitive cyclist who wants to train using power. Most of us want to add power meters because they are cool pieces of technology. And we like cool technology.

Power meters came into being in 1989 when Ulrich Schoberer started selling crank spider-based power meters. At the time Schoberer Rad Messtechnik (SRM) was the only power meter game in town. And the prices were eye-wateringly high.

Since then the power meter market has grown to include hub-based, crank arm-based, bottom-bracket based and pedal-based power meters.

Graphic courtesy of dcrainmaker.com

Examples of the various types of power meter are pictured below.

Prices have come down. SRM is still the price leader at about USD2,350 for the SRM Origin. Alternatively, a Quark DZero spider-based power meter costs USD399. At this price, you need to supply the chainrings and crank arms.

One downside of hub, spider, crank arm and bottom bracket-based power meters is that they cannot easily be switched between bicycles.

Pedal-based power meters are increasingly popular because they can be swapped from one bike to another with minimum fuss. However, power meter pedals are not available for all pedal interfaces. The Assioma Favero Duo, Garmin Vector, and SRM Look Exakt are Look pedal compatible only.

Lately, there has been a buzz around pedal-based power meters. In February, SRAM announced that it acquired Time, a French pedal manufacturer. SRAM owns Quark and Powertap. They have announced that the Powertap P2 power meter pedal will no longer be available. Will a Powertap P3 power meter pedal come soon, or even a Time pedal-based power meter?

Favero has hinted that it will launch a version of its Assioma Duo that will be compatible with Shimano SPD-SL pedal bodies.

Photograph courtesy of cyclingtips.com

Also, on the compatibility front, it seems Garmin is about to expand its range of power meter pedals to encompass the three most popular systems: Shimano SPD-SL road, Look Keo road, and Shimano SPD mountain bike interfaces. With a new name – Rally, instead of Vector.

Photograph courtesy of cyclingtips.com

Finally, Wahoo just announced the launch of its Speedplay pedal range. Wahoo acquired Speedplay two years ago, and there has been much speculation about the platform’s future. Along with four updated pedals, Wahoo announced the Powrlink Zero. Few details are available, apart from a Summer 2021 launch and the photograph below.

Graphic courtesy of dcrainmaker.com

If a SRAM Time-compatible power meter pedal hits the market, users of almost all pedal interface types – Shimano SPD-SL, Look Keo, SpeedPlay, and Time – will have a power meter pedal option.

Price remains a barrier to entry to the world of power meter pedals. A set of SRM Exakts cost USD1,699. Garmin Vector 3s go for USD1,000. There is no word yet on the pricing for the various Garmin Rally power meter pedals. A set of Favero Assioma Duo pedals costs about USD650. The expected retail price for the Wahoo Powrlink Zero is USD1,000.

Despite being a life-long SpeedPlay user, I don’t think a set of Wahoo Powrlink Zeros will be on my Watts Next list.

Something New at the Bicycle Shop

I recently read an online article in Bloomberg Pursuits about record growth over the past year in the market for musical equipment. And with it, a new affliction: gear acquisition syndrome (GAS).

GAS is defined as a tendency to purchase more equipment than justified by usage or price.

Music Radar states that guitarists are the most at-risk population for GAS. Middle-aged men are heavily represented.

It strikes me that cyclists can be added to the list of the GAS afflicted.

Graphic courtesy of pinterest.com

Cyclists, certainly the middle-aged ones, fit nicely into the 7 stages of Gear Acquisition Syndrome, as outlined in Music Radar.

Dissatisfaction

There was a time when you loved everything about your bicycle. But of late, every time you ride, you feel like every other cyclist is riding something better. Your bike isn’t as pretty as all those other bikes. The ones with custom paintwork and higher-range drivetrains. The grass is greener. . . .

Desire

You’ve seen the bicycle you want, and it is embedded in your brain. Only this bike can bring happiness. With it in your hands, your riding will improve.

You don’t just want it. You need it, to the point that you’re not entirely sure you’ll survive without it. It’s time to start edging towards making this new purchase a reality.

Research

A hallmark of the 21st-century shopping experience is the paralysing indecision that comes after a couple of hours spent reading reviews of a product you thought you wanted.

For cyclists, the problem is much, much worse. Everyone will have an opinion on your potential purchase. One minute you will be feeling positive having read a lengthy, seemingly well-informed review. The next minute you’ll see multiple comments below it that destroy every positive point.

But if the GAS is strong with you, no amount of negative press can change your plan of action.

Purchase

You know what you want, and you know what you’re willing to pay. You go to the shop that has the right bike in stock or can order one for you.

You begin the process of haggling with the guy behind the counter, but your heart isn’t really in it, and he knows it. He offers you an insignificant discount, and you take it because you are blinded by desire.

Plastic is waved. Your heart is close to bursting with joy. Inevitably, it won’t last…

Guilt

For a week after you take delivery, the guilt ruins your enjoyment of your lovely new purchase. You can barely even look at your bicycle for the shame, so you hide it. Or claim that you just had it repainted.

Acceptance


You eventually stop feeling guilty. You rejoice! You finally own the bicycle of your dreams. The one you will take to your grave. Hooray! Except…

Relapse

If the purchase was relatively small, expect to experience GAS again quite quickly. You’ll be reading new product reviews without even realising it.

A high-end bicycle? Well, you’ve probably brought yourself a year or two. Eventually, though, the sense of glory diminishes. You swear the bike feels heavier.

You remember a friend telling you about a new bike shop. You’ll drop in to buy inner tubes.

After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

Disclosure

I have Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I own three bicycles and multiple cycling accessories and tools.

However, I didn’t buy a new bike during the writing of this post.

Chemical Soup

A few of the group on the 70km to 80km long ride last Sunday had not ridden in months. Everyone finished, but there were a few moans during and after the ride.

Graphic courtesy of cycling-passion.com

A long time off the saddle left some feeling a bit sore around the ischial tuberosities aka sit bones.

That led to a conversation about chamois creams. I religiously use chamois cream. The one time I didn’t, I developed a saddle sore. Since then, I ensure that I have a ready supply of Chamois Butt’r Original. My chosen brand of chamois cream. Unfortunately, Chamois Butt’r isn’t available locally.

I ordered some online a while ago. COVID-19 compromised logistics chains mean that I haven’t received my order yet. As I am running low, I recently bought some Assos Chamois Crème from my LBS. I have not used Assos Chamois Crème because it contains menthol. I didn’t want that “cooling” effect. But beggars can’t be choosers.

I looked at the Assos Chamois Crème jar to check if menthol is still on the list of ingredients. It is, along with a chemical soup of other ingredients.

I have been following a thread of comments on VeloNews about skin sensitivities. The conversation started with skin sensitivity to synthetic materials used in cycling bibs. The thread went on to include sensitivity to laundry detergents and chamois creams. That led me to research what each of the ingredients in a tub of Assos Chamois Crème does. Here is what I found.

Photograph courtesy of Assos of Switzerland
IngredientFunction
WaterSolvent
OctyldodecanolEmollient
Glyceryl Stearate SEEmollient
GlycerinEmollient
Propylene GlycolEmollient
Cetearyl AlcoholEmollient
Alcohol Sorbitan StearateEmulsifier
Polysorbate 60Emulsifier
CyclopentasiloxaneEmulsifier
OzokeriteEmulsifier
Viscosity Increasing Agent
Hydrogenated Vegetable OilEmollient
Menthyl LactateCooling agent
PhenoxyethanolPreservative
Stearyl StearateEmollient
PanthenolEmollient
Dimethicone/Vinyltrimethylsiloxysilicate CrosspolymerEmollient
Stearic AcidEmulsifier
MentholCooling agent
Hamamelis Virginiana Water (Witch Hazel)Anti-microbial
Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)Anti-oxidant
BHAAnti-oxidant
Denatured AlcoholSolvent
Citric AcidPreservative
Ingredient list courtesy of Assos of Switzerland

23 ingredients, presumably in decreasing percentage of total volume of the product. Which is 140ml / 4.73 fl. oz.

9 chemicals are emollients or moisturisers. 5 are emulsifiers. Emulsifiers are chemicals that stop fats and water from separating. 2 are anti-oxidants, which may preserve skin health. 2 are preservatives. 2 are cooling agents. We’ll see how well I get along with those. There are a couple of solvents. I imagine this product is mostly water. There is 1 anti-microbial.

Having put Assos Chamois Crème under the microscope, it was only fair that I did the same with Chamois Butt’r Original.

Photograph courtesy of Paceline Products Inc.
IngredientFunction
WaterSolvent
Mineral OilEmollient
Glyceryl StearateEmulsifier
Cetearyl AlcoholEmulsifier
Stearic AcidEmulsifier
GlycerinEmollient
LanolinEmollient
PEG-100 StearateEmulsifier
Diazolidinyl UreaAnti-microbial
Iodopropynyl ButylcarbamatePreservative
Cetyl Hydroxyethyl-CelluloseEmulsifier
Viscosity increasing agent
Potassium SorbatePreservative
Disodium EDTAStabilizer
Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf JuiceEmollient
Anti-Inflammatory
Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)Anti-oxidant
Retinyl PalmitateAnti-oxidant
Ingredient list courtesy of Paceline Products Inc.

The Chamois Butt’r Original has 16 ingredients. 4 emollients. 5 emulsifiers. 2 anti-oxidants. 2 preservatives. 1 stabilizer. 1 anti-microbial, and 1 solvent. Again, I assume water makes up the most of this 32oz pump bottle.

I am relieved to find that the Chamois Butt’r Original does not contain as many chemicals as the Assos Chamois Crème. Having said that, the Assos has more than twice as many emollients. Which I assume are the key ingredients in a product that is formulated to eliminate chafing. The 4 emollients in the Chamois Butt’r have been enough for me though.

I just hope that the menthol lactate and menthol in the Assos Chamois Crème aren’t too cooling.

Image courtesy of free vector.com

Product Review: Redshift ShockStop Suspension Seatpost

My first review of a Redshift product was for their ShockStop suspension stem. At the time the ShockStop suspension seatpost had just been launched on Kickstarter. I pre-ordered one and have been using it for a few months now. It was on my bike during the 280km IIUM Endu-ride at the end of last month.

Appearance

One knock against suspension seatposts is they are not particularly attractive. The Redshift ShockStop is fairly minimalist compared to, from left, the Cane Creek Thudbuster ST, the Kinekt-BodyFloat, the Suntour NCX and the Specialized CG-R suspension seatposts.

Construction

The ShockStop seatpost is made of 6060 T6 aluminium alloy. It is 350mm long and 27.2mm in diameter. Shims are available to fit 30.9mm or 31.6mm seat tubes. The saddle clamps are compatible with 7mm round and 7x9mm oval saddle rails.

This seatpost weighs 497gm.

Photograph courtesy of amazon.com

Mechanism

The 35mm of suspension travel is provided by a main spring. A second inner spring can be combined with the main spring to provide a stiffer spring rate, up to the rider weight limit of 110kg.

The spring stiffness can be fine-tuned by adjusting the preload plug at the bottom of the seatpost.

Diagram courtesy of Coldroket.com

Installation

Installation is straightforward. A comprehensive set of printed instructions comes with the seatpost. An installation video is also available on the redshiftsports.com website.

Graphic courtesy of redshiftsports.com

Ride Quality

The Redshift website says that the ShockStop suspension seatpost “lets you float over rough terrain – ride further, faster, and more comfortably on the bike you already own.”

This seatpost delivers on that promise. Saddle movement is fluid, without any jerkiness as it moves through the 35mm of available travel. This creates a plush feel that is effective at isolating the rider from vibrations and larger impacts.

The four-bar linkage keeps the saddle angle constant throughout the range of movement.

A nice touch is a fender or cover that attaches magnetically to the rear of the suspension linkage. This keeps the moving parts of the linkage and saddle clamp bolts clean when riding on wet roads.

Animation courtesy of redshiftsports.com

Conclusion

The Redshift ShockStop suspension seatpost is well-engineered, easy to adjust and has a smooth and impressive suspension action you can tune to your own personal preference.

I like this suspension seatpost so much that I bought a second one for my other bike.

Purchase online at Redshift.

Product Review: Redshift Shockstop Stem

Road cyclists dream of riding on smooth tarmac. The reality is bumps, ruts and potholes. The longer the ride the more shocks are transmitted through the handlebar to the hands, arms and shoulders. Which naturally leads to fatigue and discomfort.

Some manufacturers are building shock-absorbing features into the front ends of their frames, such as Specialized’s Future Shock and Trek’s Top Tube Isospeed.

But what are the options for the road cyclist who wants a more comfortable ride from their existing frame? Using thicker bar tape and/or padded gloves are one option. Switching from 23mm wide tires to softer-riding 25mm or even 28mm tires is another option.

What to do if you want more comfort but don’t like riding with thick bar tape and thickly padded gloves, or can only fit 23mm or 25mm tires on your bike? The Redshift Shockstop stem may be your answer.

The Redshift Shockstop stem pivots at the steerer tube clamp to provide shock absorption at the bar.

GIF courtesy of redshiftsports.com

The Shockstop has a 20mm range of travel for drop bar bikes and 10mm of travel for flat bar bikes. The degree of travel can be customised to suit your body weight and riding style by installing the appropriate elastomer blocks inside the stem. The stem uses two elastomer blocks.

Photograph courtesy of singletracks.com

The Shockstop comes with five different elastomer blocks, each with a different durometer or hardness rating. This allows the Shockstop stem to cater for a range of rider weights from less than 52kg / 115lbs up to more than 93kg / 205lbs.

Photograph courtesy of redshiftsports.com

Does the Shockstop stem work? Absolutely.

With my hands in any position, the ShockStop does an admirable job of removing road buzz and smaller shocks from potholes and broken tarmac.

Handling is not compromised by the addition of travel in the bar, even under braking and hard cornering. The Shockstop smooths out the road surface without being obtrusive.

The Shockstop stem is available with a +-6º tilt in 90mm (264g) , 100mm, 110mm and 120mm (298g) lengths. It is also available in a 100mm length with a +30º tilt.

This is not the lightest stem around but it is by far the most comfortable stem.

This stems fit a standard 1 1/8″ steerer clamp diameter and 31.8mm handlebar clamp diameter. Shims are available for 25.4mm and 26.0mm steerer tubes.

Redshift also makes computer and utility mounts that attach to the stem faceplate. The computer mounts cater for Garmin, Wahoo, Cateye, Joule, Mio, Magellan, and Polar units.

The current price for a Shockstop stem on the Redshift Sports website is USD149.99. This stem is definitely worth every cent.

I bought one and I like it so much that I bought a second one to put on bike number two. The Shockstop stem is that good.

Excellent Warranty Policy: Apidura

Click on the Warranty link at the bottom of the Apidura home page and this is what appears:

WARRANTY

Apidura covers defects in material and craftsmanship for the reasonable lifetime and intended usage of its products. Should any flaw appear due to defective materials or craftsmanship, we will gladly repair or replace the product. If we determine the damage to be the result of normal wear and tear, abuse or accident, or exceeding reasonable expectations of the products lifespan, repairs will be made at a reasonable cost. Please note that this warranty excludes zipper damage.

We proudly stand behind this guarantee as it offers us the chance to see the effects of real user wear on our gear.

I recently put this guarantee to the test.

The Apidura Saddle Pack has an adjustable bungee cord on the top of the pack which allows for storage and easy retrieval of small items.

Two of the bungee cord attachments points came unstuck from my Saddle Pack.

I emailed the photograph above to Apidura customer service. Jonathan from Customer Service emailed back within 24 hours apologising for this failure, asking for the serial number of the item, and expressing the hope to resolve this as quickly as possible.

Jonathan again responded the day he received the serial number, confirming that Apidura consider this a manufacturing defect and are happy to replace this pack as part of their warranty policy.

He asked me to make a cut through the lash tab upon which the serial number is printed and then send him a photo of this so that Apidura can identify the pack as one that has been replaced under warranty. He even sent a photograph showing where to make the cut.

Photograph courtesy of Apidura

I sent Jonathan a photograph of the cut lash tab and the next morning I received a Fedex International Priority Service tracking number for a replacement Saddle Pack. I will get my replacement pack tomorrow.

Apidura make high-quality packs and accessories, but their products are not the cheapest in the market. I prefer to pay more for a quality product that comes with a world-class warranty and responsive customer service.

Kudos to Apidura.

Graphic courtesy of Bitmoji

Kudos for Silca

I own a number of Silca products.

T-Ratchet + Ti-Torque Kit
Phone Wallet
Seat Roll Premio
Tire Levers Premio
EOLO III CO2 Regulator

The quality of the Silca items I own reflects the brand’s commitment to its customers:

Our commitment to you, our fellow cyclist, that we will continually strive to design and build the most perfect products possible.

https://silca.cc/pages/about

That commitment extends to customer support.

One of the reasons Silca calls their CO2 inflator head a regulator is because the spool valve seals the pierced canister.  No CO2 escapes until you depress the SilEOLO IIIspring-loaded valve.  Which means that any unused CO2 stays in the canister.

The spool valve on my EOLO III started leaking CO2.  I emailed Silca customer support to ask if there was a way I could stop the leak.  The response was perfect.

This showed up on my doorstep yesterday.

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A free replacement for my defective EOLO III.

Silca items are not the cheapest of their kind.  However the design and build quality of their products, coupled with outstanding customner support, make Silca products true value for money.