While we've been waiting for winter to arrive I've been working on my tan with sleeveless jerseys and doing different road and off-road routes closer to home...just in case it starts to rain. I don't really remember what rain looks or feels like, but I don't want to be caught out there unprepared or looking too pale.
Yea, I've been keeping a rain cape in my jersey and my phone in a waterproof container, because you just never know around here. As threatening as the forecasts have been lately, that first run-off could get so high that even 80mm carbons could be submerged and fill-up with water. Worse yet, it could be so swift of flow that the paraffin wax job on my chain and legs could be completely washed away!
I'm not taking any chances, I'm also carrying a can of aerosol white-lithium grease to make sure my drive train doesn't cease-up and leave me stranded too far from a coffee shop or bowling alley.
Okay, back to reality. It is going to rain at some point. Until it does, I'm really digging the warmth and the sunshine. Hope all of you are too. Truly amazing! The shot here is very near the summit of Loma Prieta looking northwest towards Mount Umunhum. An epic off-road ride. More on that one next week.
Speaking of rain, after many months of testing all kinds of brake pads for my hand-built carbon wheels back in 2012-2013, I settled on Zipp Tangente pads as the best performing in terms of modulation, noise, and heat build-up issues. The problems with the synthetic cork Tangente pads were that they just don't work well in any significant downpour, they are extremely expensive, and they do still overheat during extreme descents.
As I mentioned in my last weekly, I ran across a company called Hawk Racing and became a dealer. Since Hawk also produces carbon wheels, they had a brake pad offering that I thought I'd try out just for yucks. Their brake pads are very inexpensive so I ordered a couple sets to test with my my carbon wheels.
Boy, I sure wish I would have found these pads two years--and a couple of destroyed wheel sets--ago. Yea, I actually destroyed two sets of pre-production clincher carbons testing various pads from the usual suppliers. After pretty much testing every pad then available, I concluded that the Zipp Tangente was the best for my wheels. The typical brake problem with carbon wheels is damage or warpage to the braking surfaces under prolonged braking. Very similar to your automobile brakes over-heating. However, in the case of carbon rims, they don't dissipate heat nearly as well as alloy rims and the braking becomes grabby, very unpredictable, and ultimately damages or destroys the rim under prolonged braking.
So, if you have issues with braking or brake pads with your full carbon wheels, these Hawk Racing pads will amaze you. In fact, I installed and tested them with a very used and abused set of my Stewart FC50C 50mm carbon clinchers. They felt like they were brand-spanking new wheels! No grabbing, no vibration, very minimal squeal, just smooth, steady, and quiet braking. I was very impressed. The only complaint I have is that they wear about a third faster than most carbon pads. However, at just $17 retail for two pads, they're very well worth it.
Parts Express Progress
I finally got the Parts & Accessories section of my site more useful. You can now purchase parts & accessories on-line via PayPal or via invoice. Generally any product listed on my site is immediately available via mobile Parts Express. In the past, you just ordered manually and I invoiced you via email prior to or after delivery. Now you can just order and pay via PayPal or via invoice and your current discount is applied during the transaction. All MyTeamCar.net service customers receive 5% off of the retail price shown prior to login. If you create an account and login you'll see at least 5% off. My more active customers will see discounts up to 15% off. Please remember MyTeamCar.net before you spend all kinds of money elsewhere. And, when you need it quick and at the right price, I'm your best bet.
The site also now indicates if the item is available immediately via Parts Express or must be ordered. In-stock items are delivered within two business days, next day, or same day depending on when you order. Out-of-stock or non-inventory items will be ordered that day and delivered as soon as they arrive or the day after. Please try to remember me when you need tubes, tires, CO2 carts, or the usual supplies. I try to carry as much as I can so its available to you daily.
Please visit my site and while there create an account and update your profile with the following info:
- Tire pressure preferences
- Saddle height
- Rider weight
- Special notes/needs
Once you've created and account, I'll update your profile with your current discounts on products and services, which you'll see in your profile and applied to shopping cart items.
Announcing Hawk Racing Products
While in Colorado waiting in vain for warmer temps and a little road clearing, I managed to land a new dealer account with a pretty interesting cycling components company called Hawk Racing. I stumbled onto them while researching bottom bracket adapters for OSBB crank conversions.
Hawk's original claim to fame was in engineering bearing technology for bottom brackets and dérailleur pulleys for road and triathlon racing. Not only have they produced some revolutionary bottom bracket systems, they also make wheel systems and other components that dramatically increase rider performance. Interestingly, Hawk uses non-ceramic bearing technology and nearly all of their products are made in the USA. In fact, based on independent testing, Hawk's BB systems are nearly identical in terms of friction metrics to the leading ceramic-based products out there.
What does that all mean to you? It means that you can now get ceramic performance at a lower cost and with the same or better durability. In fact, durability of ceramics has been sort of a mixed bag in my opinion. Theoretically, ceramics are supposed to last two to three times chromium steel bearings. I have to say, I install a lot of ceramics and chromium steel bearings, and don't really go along with the theory. In fact, I have seen a whole lot less durability with ceramics. Yes, riders who choose ceramics tend to be a bit harsher on the equipment. But, in my view, ceramics seem to be just slightly better in terms of durability. And, very often, ceramics must be serviced well before chromium steel or stainless systems to ensure expected longevity.
Check out Hawk Racing products here. I'm going to purchase a few items for evaluation ASAP and will report on that soon. For now, if you see something interesting, please go through me for procurement. For a limited time, I'll beat any competitive offer out there for Hawk products. And, going forward, I'll at least match any competitive offers.
Okay, now let's all hope for some rain--on days we're not riding, of course. We could sure use some of it. Speaking of rain, I still have a brand-new (in the packaging) 2XL Bellwhether Screaming Meemie rain cape for $10. I don't think it'll ever fit me until after I give up cycling all together.
So, with the cold weather finally upon us, what changes? Well, clothing for sure. I've been wearing leg and arm warmers as well as booties for quite a while now. The biggest bang for your buck is warm hands and feet, but also a warm head is key. Another important factor is to wear a light base top layer and at least a wind or winter vest. When it's this cold, you can get cool quick by simply unzipping. You don't typically have to shed unless you're doing a long climb in the sun.
As for products, I use Pearl Izumi winter gear similar to those shown here, When it's really cold these will keep your extremities warm. You can also wear lighter shoe and glove liners under them and peel them off if they get too warm.
Here's some of the stuff I can get for you at competitively matched prices:
For gloves, it's more important to spend a bit extra to get the right feel and fit along with climate protection. Another consideration is Smartphone use. The Thermal Conductive gloves allow you to control your phone without taking the gloves off, sometimes a very nice benefit. Of course, I'll match any price you can find out there and shipping is free. I can get pretty much anything out there. These are just products I have used and know they work. Most are available in men's or women's versions.
The other thing I change in the cooler months is to lower tire pressure by about 10-psi. This provides a little better traction for turns and climbing, but also takes some of the harshness out of the terrain, which makes the ride a bit more comfortable. Comfort is key when you're already uncomfortable due to the cold.
Looking for or considering a "dropper" seatpost? I ordered the wrong size for a customer and now have a brand-new 2013 KS LEV dropper seatpost laying around taking up space. It's a 30.9 seat tube fit and the long version, which is 435mm fully extended with 150mm of travel (drop). Won't work for most unless your inseam is well over 76cm. However, if you have a very short seat tube or an exceptionally long seatpost now, it could very well work out. The KS LEV is one of the more popular out there and retails for roughly $450. If you're interested let me know and I'll give you a great deal. I installed it, but it was never used.
Several customers have asked me about off-road tire selection recently. I posted a short piece on MTB tires with some recommendations and characteristics to look for in off-road tires. Hope it's helpful.
I'm placing my usual supplier orders Wednesday afternoon. Please let me know if you need anything not currently available via Parts Express.
Believe it or not, the road racing season starts in earnest this weekend with all kinds of races. And, as always, the Early Birds Criterium Series finale.
Here's the NCNCA schedule. Good luck to all you racing or participating in the coming weekend's events.
Race Results: NCNCA, Blog Coverage
Wahoo!! Just a reminder that MyTeamCar.net is an authorized Wahoo Fitness dealer. Those of you looking for the latest in indoor trainer technology, the Wahoo KICKR is amazing.
Oh, and if you don't want the iPhone on your handlebar or stem, Wahoo offers a cool little computer called the "RFLKT" (Reflect), much smaller than the Garmin or iBike and displays all the pertinent info wireless from your iPhone.
Wahoo Fitness, located in Atlanta, GA., connects iOS devices and smartphones to your favorite fitness activities-running, biking, and gym going. Wahoo Fitness’ award winning products also include its Wahoo Run/Gym Pack, which adds heart rate training to your iPhone, and its Wahoo Bike Case, which simultaneously protects your phone and connects it to the sensors on your bike. For more information on Wahoo Fitness, please visit www.wahoofitness.com. The KICKR currently supports the iPhone4S and iPhone 5 using Bluetooth 4.0 or ANT+ protocols. Though, I'm told there are other options for the iPhone4.
I'll match or beat any reputable offer you can find out there. In addition, I'll stock parts and accessories to provide the industry's best local support for Wahoo products. And, no, you won't find the KICKR on Amazon or eBay.
Some of you have asked about my new monthly services. I've finally posted some details about these new service on my site. These services are intended for the serious "working" cyclist that needs their bike(s) ready for action, all the time.
Using this new service means you won't have to worry about the readiness or mechanical condition of your bike(s). I will keep everything in top working order; rotate tires, perform basic tuning and adjustments, and keep you abreast of the status of all preventative and remedial maintenance that may be required.
The main purpose of the service is to make sure that your bikes are always in good working order and all preventative maintenance occurs--regularly--before expensive remedial maintenance is necessary and you can't ride or fail to finish an important event.
Of course, the fee will only cover service and does not include items like tubes, tires, chains, brake pads, bar tape, etc. No, I don't just replace items at my whim, I replace stuff, if required, based on your service intervals and expected riding activity in between.
The way that I work this service now is with Strava. My current monthly customers log all their activity on Strava and I follow them to see what they are doing on the bike, etc. This allows me to better judge preventative maintenance needs and make sure the bike is always ready when you are.
There's a lot more to this new service than I've highlighted above. Please click here for pricing and details. More to come soon! If this type of service sounds interesting and seems like a good fit for you, please let me know and we'll get a service plan and schedule together for you.
Check out the new FC50T-2. A very versatile aero tubular configuration at a weight low enough to be quite effective even in more hilly events. If you can't afford a complete quiver of wheels, a 50mm set like the FC50T-2 is a great choice. The FC50T-2 provides an extremely lite wheelset (1380kg) with outstanding aerodynamic benefits. And, of course, they're tubular rims, which means comfort and maximum handling confidence.
I'm also in the process of building a couple of test wheels for some planned new products in 2014. I didn't get much interest in the new carbon/alloy rims that are now available. However, I intend to build a front 38mm wheel to evaluate. So look for that wheel on some of the local group rides in 2014. The second test wheel will be a new full carbon clincher rear utilizing Basalt braking surfaces. I'll likely build this test wheel in a 38mm configuration also and test the two together.
A reminder that I stock many items you all use everyday and every week. If you need tires, tubes, sealant, liners, bar tape, cleats, brake pads, etc., please let me know. I will deliver to you at home, workplace, or wherever you are while I'm out and about on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I also attend most of the road race events around here and can deliver product and accessories to you there.
Again, don't forget about my Spot Tune-up Service. This is a cheap and convenient way to keep your bike rolling smoothly and efficiently. I find you and dial-in brake and shift cables and take care of any minor issues that can be resolved onsite. Only $30 and extremely convenient.
REMEMBER: I have many items on-hand and I can deliver very quickly. I tend to carry tubes, tires, chains, cassettes, bar tape, bearings, brake pads, and other common consumable items in my vehicles. So that kind of stuff is always available extremely quickly. Just let me know what you need and I'll get it to you ASAP.
PLEASE NOTE: MyTeamCar.net customers enjoy competitive pricing from all my suppliers. The list prices are not necessarily what you'll pay. If you know that the price is higher than your local dealer or favorite online retailer, just shoot me the link or let me know. I will match any reputable price out there.
I can usually get just about anything. If you need things quickly, just mention the specifics. I can get most things in my hands overnight, next-day, or two-day, it just costs more for shipping. And, yes, you will receive tracking info as soon as I receive it.
Okay, shut-up and ride!