Saturday, February 5, 2011

Log Humping (while my wife spectates)

You'd be surprised by how many doods were dismounting and/or flailing over these low logs. BTW- This is from '09...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Challenge Fango Tubular review

Time to dust off this 'ol blog for a review.

Now, tubular cyclocross tires aren't as cool as cigarettes, but have many of the same associations: tradition, addiction, perceived nuances, and loss of brain cells. While reading about the woody earthiness in a Parliament light, I can only think to the countless poetic masturbations written about supple tubular casings. On to the review!

Challenge Fango Tubular - 32mm

This pair of tires was a complement to a set I already owned and love - The classic Challenge Grifo, also in 32mm. For those of you that don't know much about tubular cross tires, these are relatively inexpensive with a nice supple casing and classic latex-tube-sewn-in construction. This makes them more repairable than a tubeless (Tufo) type, but also more fragile. The sidewall is polyester instead of the more expensive Dugast's cotton...but don't take that as a bad thing. Cotton sidewalls rot if left wet, and need protective layers of aquaseal or other rubber to protect them, while polyester can be left bare without a problem. They're somewhat heavier than the other good cross tubulars, but honestly who cares. Yeah, I said it.

The tread pattern on these tires is a bit of a mystery to me. They have low central and transition knobs - great for rolling resistance on hardpack or pavement, and they clear mud really well, but don't offer much pedaling grip in mud, loose debris, or really anything else when compared to a tire with taller center knobs like the Grifo, or a Michelin Mud2. I agree with Matt Pacocha - the side knobs are solid, scoop shaped, and well supported - they hook up better at high lean angles than any cross tire I've ever used and really make this tire what it is. This combo - fast rolling center with great side knobs - makes this tire ride more like a mountain bike semi-slick than what I'd truly call a "mud tire". In serious slop, the side knobs really help in off-camber, but I find myself wishing for more paddles in the center of the tread to keep momentum forward. I'm curious to try a Grifo in the rear, with a Fango up front for really slick conditions.

That said, when the terra-firma turns into terra-caramel, these tires actually clear when others won't.

Best for:
High speed, mountain-bikey hardpack courses, super sticky mud, grass.

Worst for:
Seriously slippery mud, sharp/rocky courses due to fragile sidewall.

How it fits into your quiver:
This tire has turned into my favorite all-arounder. If you own a single pair of tubulars, this should be high on the list unless you're always racing on landfills (norcal), or in goatheads (CO) - in those places I'd probably opt for the more durable Tufo's - likely going with the non-flexus version to save some cash.

If you're looing for a dedicated mudder, look elsewhere. Don't buy this expecting to excel at Hamme-Zogge, or even Gloucester if it's been raining a lot. Suggestions for those conditions would probably be Tufo's Cubus (flexus or regular), Dugast's Rhino, or even Challenge's classic Grifo.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mavic R-sys Fuckup

Kimmel just pointed me to the VeloNews story of a post recall Mavic R-Sys wheel spontaneously imploding. Turns out that one of those wheels happened to fail on a VeloNews editor.

I have had a certain opinion of Mavic for a few years, that opinion is that Mavic makes mostly crap and the whole reputation of the company somehow still gets by on the quality of the Open Pro rim. Other than Open Pros, I no longer buy their stuff. But this R-sys debacle is just frigtening. Most damning to me was the following quote from the article.

Although Mavic representatives were careful not to draw conclusions — none of them saw the accident — it was suggested that perhaps rider error could have caused the wheel to fail through a loss of control.

The author appears to have done the due diligence to find third party accounts to determine that it was not rider error but I really don't care. It should be impossible to get a bicycle wheel to fail like this. There is always going to be rider error. I was in a P12 race last weekend where the rider on my inside hit his pedal in the final corner and kicked his back wheel up. We all kept sprinting like it never happened. Is that considered rider error? If his wheel had failed would Mavic have thought that was okay?

In my road racing career I've had my wheel kick out from hitting a pedal more times than I can count, I've had to hop curbs and sprint up sidewalks to avoid crashes, I've hit potholes head on, I've had peoples deraileurs in my spokes. During all that time I never crashed and none of my equipment ever failed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Japanese Pursuit Team

"If my sleeping in entertained them, they were in for an even better treat from the Japanese team pursuit squad. Pursuit events are not usually a Japanese forte, but the team was on the line and ready to give it their best. They shot off the line at sprint pace, sustained it as long as they could, which was about two laps, and then just got slower and slower. In the end their heads were bobbing up and down. When they finished they were so done that they just collapsed on their backs in front of my stand. The best was yet to come as one of the men managed a gasping request to their coach, who pulled out a pack of cigarettes and gave them one each."

- Graeme Obree, Flying Scotsman

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


There's something about identical twins that's just hot. These babies are gonna be sooo much lighter than the single speed commuter bike I was racing last year. Look! they even have derailleur hangers.

Oh, and they're the first blue Stigmatas eveeeerrr.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Track Fights Update

Thanks to all our loyal Track Fighters, but we're going to be calling off the rest of the spring series. We've had a lot of fun, and some great workouts, but they seem better fitted to be a fall-only series to get 'cross riders tuned up for the season.  Keep your eyes peeled for start dates....heck, post here or email us directly with your suggestions for start dates. 

Thanks again!