Road Bikes: Rim Brakes Vs. Disc Brakes

 

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The last decade or so has seen some massive changes for road bikes. The mainstream shift from aluminum to carbon fiber in the 2000’s marked the beginning of a new era in bike design, while the introduction of electronic drivetrains in the last 5 years or so has seen a fundamental rethinking of how bikes shift. But what about how bikes stop?

It started slowly. Very slowly, in fact. But in the last year or two, disc brakes on road bikes have really caught on, and are set to create yet another revolution. As always, there are fits and starts, and not everybody is on board (we’re looking at you, UCI), but like most changes, this one is gaining momentum.

Over the last year we’ve had a chance to test ride quite a few disc brake road bikes. Here’s how we thought they fared versus standard rim brakes.

STOPPING POWER

Disc brakes. There is no question about this. Disc brakes deliver incredible stopping power in pretty much all weather conditions. What’s more, that power is easily modulated, which means it’s easier to control how much brake you need at any given time. Often times no more than one-finger  is needed to stop the bike in a reasonable distance.

Rim brakes, especially with carbon wheels, can sometimes take a little bit to really bite into the rim and slow the bike. This is doubly true if your pads are worn or dirty.

The upward slant of the chainstay helps to minimize hits from bad roads, and helps perfectly position the disc caliper

Disc brakes provide superior stopping power and modulation over rim brakes

Shop for disc brake road bikes

COMPATIBILITY

Rim brakes—for now. Disc brakes are still going through growing pains, and in an industry where the term “standard” is pretty much meaningless, that can mean some headaches for consumers. Some disc brake bikes come with standard quick release wheels, some use thru axle. There are all different kinds of rotor sizes out there, and aftermarket wheel options are still fairly limited.

But these are actually fairly minor problems.

This year will pretty much guarantee a bumper crop of disc brake wheel options, and most of those will be interchangeable between QR and thru axle, making them more versatile for consumers.

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For the moment, rim brakes have fewer compatibility issues than disc brakes

Shop for road bikes

WET WEATHER

Disc brakes. This is a no brainer. No matter what is falling from the sky or laying on the roads, disc brakes don’t care. Snow, ice, and rain don’t have much of an effect on disc brakes—regardless of rim material.

Wet weather conditions can severely limit the effectiveness of rim brakes, especially carbon wheels.

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If you’re riding in wet weather, there’s only one way to go when it comes to brakes

Shop for disc brake road bikes

EASE OF INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE

Rim brakes. Frankly, these are pretty easy. Make sure they’re facing the right way, bolt them on, make sure they’re roughly centered and go. Every other year or so you change the pads.

Disc brakes…not so much. Mechanical disc brakes can be notoriously frustrating to install and get centered so they aren’t rubbing the disc rotor. Hydraulic disc brakes are easier to install, but maintenance can be an involved and time consuming, since you have to bleed the lines, replace hydraulic fluid, etc…

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For all their benefits, disc brakes aren’t always as easy to maintain as rim brakes

Shop for road bikes

WEIGHT AND AERODYNAMICS

Rim brakes. Because of the simple design, rim brakes are currently much, much lighter than any available disc brake system.

And, because of where the brake is placed, disc brakes are also much less aerodynamic than rim brakes.

Bear in mind though that this is  likely to change in the next couple of years. As disc brakes become more widely adopted and pressure builds to use them in racing, the industry is likely to begin refining the designs to be lighter, and better incorporated into frames for improved aerodynamics.

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What they lack in stopping power, rim brakes make up for in weight savings and aerodynamics

Shop for road bikes

THE VERDICT

More than any other decision, this is going to be a very personal choice. Disc brakes offer unquestionably better and more consistent stopping power than rim brakes, but at a cost of weight and aerodynamics, and they are still not yet race-legal.

It’s all a matter of what’s most important to you—and we don’t mean stopping power (that’s important to everyone).

What we mean is that if you love racing, fast road riding, and having plenty of wheel options, then it might be best to stick with rim brakes for the time being.

If you’re just looking for a road bike to ride for the love of riding, like to explore gravel roads, bomb big descents, ride in an area that experiences frequent bad weather, or even for racers looking for a second road bike for training and base miles, then disc brakes are probably the better option.

Without question though, disc brakes are the way forward—so love them or hate them, odds are in the next 5 years, most road bikes will be equipped with them.

So tell us your thoughts. What do you think about using disc brakes on road bikes?

4 Articles To Get You Through The Holidays

Happy Holidays from Performance Bicycle! We hope you’re enjoying the time with friends and family.

But like you, we’re starting to crave some bike time. Realistically though, that’s not going to happen for a few more days. So we went back through the blog and found some of our favorite articles that got us pumped to start get out and ride…or at least some motivation to avoid the cookie tray next time.

1. 5 Tips for Cold Weather Riding

No matter how cold it is, follow these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy a ride outside.

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2. Cyclists Guide To Surviving the Holidays—2015

Family time, food, and booze. Follow these tips to ensure you start the new year in (close to) good shape.

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3. Build a Home Gym On A Budget

Not feeling the outside riding? You can still get in a good work out, by building a complete home gym for as little as $250.

The foam roller is one of the best recovery tools available to any athlete

The foam roller is one of the best recovery tools available to any athlete

4. Alternative Road Bikes

Didn’t get the bike you wanted? Maybe this is your chance to get the bike you need. Today’s alternative road bikes are tough, faster, and more capable than ever.

The GT Grade is one of the most exciting gravel bikes yet

The GT Grade is one of the most exciting gravel bikes yet

5 Things We Can’t Wait For In 2015

2015

1. SRAM Electronic, New Drivetrain Players

Making a return from last year’s list: SRAM electronic drivetrains. This year we made the switch to electronic drivetrains on our personal bikes—with Campagnolo Record EPS and Shimano Ultegra Di2, respectively. We couldn’t be happier, but are increasingly intrigued by SRAM’s near-mythical wireless electronic shifting system. It’s said to be introduced in 2015, and we’re definitely looking forward to see how it stacks up against the more traditional wired systems.

2015 is also rumored to see the introduction of an FSA electronic drivetrain, and some sort of drivetrain from Rotor (fabled Spanish maker of aluminum cranks, power meters, and Q-Rings oval-shaped chainrings), although whether it will be mechanical or electronic is still unknown. This will give the drivetrain market its first real shake up since 2006 when SRAM introduced their Force groupset.

 

2. New Helmets From Performance

2015 will see a raft of new helmet brands and models hitting our proverbial and literal shelves. We can’t tell you exactly what they are yet, but we can say that they grace the heads of some today’s best professional racers. Also coming soon will be the Smith Overtake—which we’re super pumped about.

 

Here's a small hint...

Here’s a small hint…

 

3. Shimano XTR M9050 Di2

Di2 on a mountain bike? Sure, why not. Electronic shifting systems have already more than proved themselves on the road, so it’s about time that they made the switch to the trails. We got to take a quick peak at it at some of the trade shows and it looked mighty impressive. Shimano XTR is already arguably one of the finest mountain bike components groupsets available, so Di2 should only make it that much better.

The new XTR 9050 Di2 looks pretty amazing

The new XTR 9050 Di2 looks pretty amazing

 

4. Performance Custom Wheels

A long time ago, in another building far, far away, Performance was known as a one-stop shop for custom wheels. But while the wheel building machine in our warehouse has long since been shut down, we’ve never stopped thinking about the perfect hoops. So over the course of the past year we got to working on how we could start making the wheels we really want to ride, and providing them to customers at a great value.

In 2015 we’re excited to announce that we’ll be returning to the custom-built wheel game. We’ve curated a carefully selected wheel collection, and carefully matched up what we think are some perfect rim/hub/spoke combinations. The result are some unique and exciting wheels from Stan’s, Shimano, and Reynolds, custom-built only for Performance Bicycle.

 

New custom-built wheels, like these Shimano Ultegra hubs to Mavic Open Pro rims, will be arriving throughout 2015

New custom-built wheels, like these Shimano Ultegra hubs to Mavic Open Pro rims, will be arriving throughout 2015

 

5. New Clothing Offerings

It’s not just wheels that we gave some serious thought to this year. Clothing was also high on our agenda—more specifically clothes for those rides that are more about the destination than the ride itself (think riding around town, touring, bike camping, etc…).

We’ve been hard at work designing, picking out fabrics, and testing and are pretty pleased with what we came up with. We can’t show them to you just yet, but keep an eye out around February.

We can't show you too much...but here's a sneak peak of some new clothes in the works

We can’t show you too much…but here’s a sneak peak of some new clothes in the works

2015 Holiday Gift Inspiration

Looking for a gift for the cyclist in your life? Maybe you’re a cyclist looking for a few goodies to add to your wishlist or a “Happy Holidays to Me” package. We’ve got you covered. Our website has thousands of bike parts, clothing, and bikes to choose from. But sifting through that stuff can be a little daunting. So we’ve picked out some of our favorite stuff.

Back again this year is the 2015 Holiday Inspiration list. We polled riders around our office for the stuff that they want for the holidays.

If you’re still wondering if there’s time to get that last minute gift, don’t worry! Orders placed by 12/22 with 2nd Business Day shipping, or order placed by 12/23 with Overnight shipping will still arrive in plenty of time.

And of course our retail stores will remain open until 12/24.

 

 

Sarah

Marketing department

Triathlete, aspiring mountain biker, weeknight concert goer

  1. Garmin Forerunner 910 XT GPS watch with Premium Heart Rate Monitor
  2. Giro Women’s Feather Mountain Bike Helmet
  3. Performance Women’s Thermal II Tights
  4. Performance Cabot Softshell Gloves
  5. Performance Women’s Tone Henley Long Sleeve Jersey

DREAM GIFT: Grand Canyon Connector Bike Trip– Cedar City, UT to Tempe, AZ. Hits Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon

sarah

Eddie 

Accessories Buyer

Mountain biker, CX up-and-comer, one-time pig owner

  1. Bell Super 2 MTB Helmet
  2. Giro Terraduro MTB Shoes
  3. CamelBak M.U.L.E. NV Hydration Pack
  4. Kuat NV 2-Bike Hitch Rack
  5. Schwalbe Hans Dampf Tires

DREAM GIFT: Week-long trip to Whistler, BC

Eddie

Brian

Social Media Team

Roadie, unrepentant Italophile, coffee enthusiast

  1. Castelli Gabba Convertible Jacket
  2. Bell Star Pro Helmet
  3. Smith Pivlock Overdrive Sunglasses
  4. Louis Garneau Course Thermal Bib Shorts
  5. Skratch Labs Apples and Cinnamon Hydration Mix

DREAM GIFT: Trip to the Pinarello Gran Fondo in Trentino, Italy

 Brian

2015 Exclusive Bike Preview

Just in time for the holidays, we’ve managed to get our hands on three new bikes that just showed up at our headquarters. Two road offerings from Ridley and Scattante, and a brand-new mountain bike from Charge. These bikes are all exclusive to Performance, so you won’t find them anywhere else.

 

RIDLEY ORION

First up we have the Ridley Orion. The Orion is one of Ridley’s most successful bikes ever, and was the foundation for what would become the pro-level Ridley Fenix. Built with 24-ton high modulus carbon fiber diamond-shaped tubing for incredible strength and rigidity while riding, the Orion is bike that’s been proven again and again on the cobbles of Flanders and Northern France (it even has a sticker that says “Tested On Pave”—and they really mean that).

The Ridley Orion—exclusively available from Performance Bicycle—is outfitted with 11-speed Shimano Ultegra 6800 shifters and rear derailleur, with a new 5800-series 105 front derailleur. FSA supplies the crank, and Ridley’s own 4Za brand supplies the stem, handlebars, seatpost and saddle.

This is a great bike for an aspiring racer, a club rider, or someone who wants one bike that can do it all. With a race-proven pedigree, high performance parts, and an all-day endurance geometry, the Orion is a bike that will provide a smooth, comfortable, and fast ride.

 

 

 SCATTANTE CFR ELITE

Next up we have the Scattante CFR Elite. Classic black and a touch of what we’ll call future-blue; the Scattante CFR Elite features a balanced Shimano 105 11-speed build on a gorgeous carbon frame set. The frame furnishes a tapered head tube for added control and stiffness and internally routed cables offer clean, modern style. A full carbon fork and steerer simultaneously lightens the front end and dampens road vibration.

Outfitted with Shimano’s new 5800 11-speed 105, you know you’ll get great, race-proven performance in your shifting. Descended from the pro-level Dura-Ace 9000 and Ultegra 6800 groupsets, 5800 brings updated ergonomics and functionality at an outstanding value. The ScMT CFR LE frame provides a stiff, stable, and lightweight ride platform that make the miles fly by while keeping you comfortable on those long rides.

The Scattante CFR Elite is perfect for the rider who’s looking for high performance at a great value.

 

CHARGE COOKER

Finally, the all-new Charge Cooker is one of the best aluminum 29er’s we’ve seen in a long time. Charge is always keeping classic and stylish, but the 2015 Cooker—exclusively from Performance—takes their signature flair to a whole new level.

The Cooker rocks a lightweight and durable 6061 Series butted aluminum frame with a tapered head tube that is rigid enough to withstand any trail, and the RockShox 30 GOLD TK fork assists by offering 100 mm of travel in the front to give you confidence during descent and features Solo Air technology that allows you to fill both the positive and negative air spring chambers of the suspension through a single Schrader valve, making fork adjustments a cinch.

The Cooker drivetrain also consists of handpicked Shimano components, including Shimano SLX shifters to filter through the 20 gearing options. A Shimano Deore front derailleur and Shimano XT Shadow Plus rear derailleur promote responsive shifting by sucking up slack and preserve the pivots for greater durability over the long-term. The Shimano BR-M355 hydraulic disc brake system is reliable in all weather conditions, provides control in the corners, and excellent stopping power when obstacles get a little too close for comfort.

Simplicity is the name of the game here, so you’re a seasoned pro looking for a durable, do-it-all aluminum 29er, or a newer rider looking for a bike that’s lightweight, stable, and can brush off a crash or two, the Cooker is the ride for you.

 

Fall/Winter Cycling Gloves

As colder weather descends upon most of the country, most of us starting thinking about cold weather gear like arm and leg warmers, vests, and jackets. Sometimes we overlook one of the most important cycling garments though: the humble glove.

Having a good, and varied assortment of gloves is essential for riding from October through April in most places.

Since the temperatures can vary so much as the seasons change, it’s almost impossible to find one glove that can keep you covered from the cool morning rides of October to the frozen depths of February.

One good way to maximize your investment though is to think of your gloves as a system that can be either worn alone or combined and layered to match the conditions.

 

LIGHTWEIGHT GLOVES

Lightweight gloves are the basis of the glove layering system. They can be worn on their own on cool, but not cold rides, or layered under thicker gloves for additional warmth.

1. Glover Liners

These thin wool or synthetic gloves are primarily designed to wick away sweat and provide some thermal warmth.

BEST FOR: Cool days; layered underneath midweight and heavyweight gloves

Glove liners wick away sweat and help trap in heat

Glove liners wick away sweat and help trap in heat

2. Long Fingered Glove

Long fingered gloves aren’t insulated, but provide coverage for the fingers on cooler days.

BEST FOR: Cool days

 

Long fingered gloves can be ideal when the day will be cool, but not cold

Long fingered gloves can be ideal when the day will be cool, but not cold

MIDWEIGHT

The midweight glove’s primary job is to provide thermal insulation on cold days. They can be worn by themselves, or layered with a glove liner for colder days.

1. Softshell Glove

Softshell gloves is made from a midweight material that are wind- and water-resistant. The usually have a brushed fleece backing that provides excellent thermal insulation.

Softshell gloves are usually wind- and water-resistant for protection from the elements

Softshell gloves are usually wind- and water-resistant for protection from the elements

BEST FOR: Cold, wet and windy conditions

2. Light Insulated Glove

Lightly insulated gloves are usually made with a thin layer of insulating material that does an excellent job of holding in heat on colder days.

BEST FOR: Cold, calm days

The Performance Tok glove is insulated for protection in cold weather

The Performance Tok glove is insulated for protection in cold weather

 

 

HEAVYWEIGHT

Heavyweight gloves are designed to keep your hands dry, warm and protected on the coldest of days. They can be worn by themselves, or layered with glove liners or even midweight gloves on the heaviest days. It is usually advisable to buy heavyweight gloves a size larger than you normally need them.

1. Heavy Insulated Glove

These gloves usually feature multiple layers of insulation, windproof membranes and water-resistant finishes to protect your hands on very cold days.

BEST FOR: Very cold, windy days

Heavyweight insulated gloves can keep your hands warm and dry on the coldest days

Heavyweight insulated gloves can keep your hands warm and dry on the coldest days

 

2. Split Finger Glove

These gloves are best for extremely cold days. They maximize warmth by putting your fingers closer to each other, feature heavy insulation, and have windproof and water-resistant membranes

BEST FOR: Extreme cold

 

Split finger gloves are ideal for extreme cold when maximum warmth is needed

Split finger gloves are ideal for extreme cold when maximum warmth is needed

3. Waterproof Overglove

The waterproof overglove is best for days when mother nature just refuses to cooperate. Layer them over mid- or heavyweight gloves to keep your hands dry and warm in the harshest conditions

BEST FOR: Extreme conditions

Waterproof overgloves are designed for the most extreme conditions

Waterproof overgloves are designed for the most extreme conditions

New Performance Exclusive Fall Cycling Clothing

The days are getting shorter, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to hang up the bike. Equip yourself with the right clothing, and you’ll be able to perform your best in any weather. Our latest lineup of exclusive Performance fall cycling clothing has everything you need to battle the elements in style and comfort. Check out some highlights from our new gear below, or download our 2014 Fall/Winter Clothing digital catalog to see everything in the collection.

The core of winter riding

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The Performance Krio Thermal Jersey gives you thermal protection that will keep you warm and comfortable. Wear it along or layered under your favorite jacket for season-long warmth.

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The Performance Women’s Neve Thermal Jersey is constructed from soft thermal fabric with a perfect fit, so you stay warm and comfortable in cooler weather. Pair it with your favorite jacket to ride all season long.

Essential Lightweight Warmth

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Perfect by themselves on milder days, or as baselayers when the temperature drops, these lightweight long sleeve jerseys are ideal for any season – Peformance Women’s Chill II Long Sleeve Jersey on the left; Performance Men’s Stratos II Long Sleeve Jersey on the right.

 Every Day Jerseys

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With contemporary styling and soft fabrics, our casual riding jerseys are comfortable enough to wear all day long, have the technical features to make riding in the city easy, and styling that looks good in the saddle or at the coffee shop – Performance Women’s Tone Henley Long Sleeve Jersey on the left; Performance Whisk Henley Long Sleeve Jersey on the right.

 Winter Essentials

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Perfect for variable temperatures, the Performance Ultra Bib Knickers feature a new physiodynamic construction and an ergo-panel design that hugs your muscles and provides the best fit without restricting movement. Italian chamois with Skyve technology eliminates all possible pressure points while enhancing breathable support, while reflective details on front and back keep you visible in low light.

Stay Dry On The Inside

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With a waterproof 2.5 layer shell, the Performance Impasse II Rain Jacket not only stops wind and water dead in their tracks, it keeps the elements outside, so you stay warm and dry and ride your best.

Keep Your Jersey Dry & Visible

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The clear membrane of the Performance Dewer Rain Jacket keeps you dry and puts your jersey on full display. Water-repellent and wind-resistant fabric protect you, and a streamlined fit increases aerodynamics, while reflective details keep you visible in overcast weather.

Summer Success Is Earned In Winter

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The Performance Zonal II Softshell Jacket is made from incredibly warm and weather-resistant bonded fleece. The highly breathable design lets body heat escape without letting cold air in, so you can stay warm without overheating. Integrated stretch lets you move freely while riding.

Ride Hard. Stay Warm. Look Great.

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Perfectly styled for comfort on cold rides, the Performance Women’s Flurry II Softshell Jacket is the ideal blend of warmth and weather protection. Made from incredibly warm, bonded fleece which holds in heat while repelling wind and water, it has tons of reflectivity for safety in low light. It’s highly breathable design releases hot air, so you won’t feel clammy, and integrated stretch lets you move freely while riding.

Our Best Gloves Yet

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Our updated line of cold weather gloves has new fabrics, new fits, and is hands-down the best value for your digits. The Performance Cabot Softshell Gloves feature Softshell Drytex fabric that is wind-resistant, water-repellent and highly breathable. Synthetic suede palm with gel pad dissipate vibrations and prevent hand fatigue.

The Performance Tok Weatherproof Full Finger Gloves are constructed for extreme weather protection and warmth, with a weatherproof shell to block the elements and brushed interior with fiber-filled insulation traps heat inside. Silicone finger/thumb details improve lever grip and are touch screen compatible. The Performance Tok Weatherproof Split Finger Gloves are perfect for those really cold days.

Check out the 2014 Fall/Winter Clothing digital catalog for more gear.

Alternative Road Bikes: The Only Bike You Need?

The Haanjo felt right at home anywhere we went

The Haanjo felt right at home anywhere we went

One of the coolest emerging categories from bike manufacturers these days are alternative road bikes. Descended from road bikes, alternative road bikes have evolved into a category of their own, and continue to be refined to help riders take road bikes to new places we could scarcely imagine a few years ago.
So what makes an alternative road bike?

  • Disc (or sometimes cantilever) brakes for better stopping performance
  • Higher bottom bracket for more ground clearance
  • Clearance for bigger tires
  • More upright riding position and longer wheel base
  • Frames tuned to be more flexible in the right places (like the seatstays) for improved comfort

 

Cyclocross Bikes

The OG alternative road bike. These bikes are designed for the discipline of cyclocross (read more about it here), but have since become some of the most popular bikes on the market. Why?

Because the ‘cross bike is basically a do everything bike. It might look like a road bike, but they have clearance for wider tires (usually up to a 38mm, versus a normal road bike’s 25mm max), a taller bottom bracket, and powerful cantilever or disc brakes These features allow CX bikes to go places most normal road bikes can’t, from off-road riding, to mountain bike trails, to fireroads. Additionally, ‘cross bikes have a geometry very similar to a racing road bike, so you can simply switch out the knobby tires for a pair of road tires, and you’ll have yourself a very capable road bike.

Examples: Fuji Altamira CX, Van Dessel AloominatorRidley X-Fire

Key Strength: Versatile race-ready platform

Best For: Cyclocross, road riding, limited trail riding

 

The Ridley X-Night is fine example of a cylcocross bike

The Ridley X-Night is fine example of a cylcocross bike

Gravel Bikes

This is a relatively new category, but a pretty exciting one. Similar to a cyclocross bike, gravel bikes are primarily designed to be ridden on gravel and fire roads. Like cyclocross bikes they usually feature disc brakes, a high bottom bracket and big tire clearance.

What sets a gravel bike apart though is the geometry. While most ‘cross bikes are pretty racey, Gravel Bikes usually have a more relaxed “endurance” type geometry with a taller head tube, sloping top tube, and longer wheel base for improved comfort over long distances. The head tube angle is also a little slacker, and the chainstays longer, to give you more stability on uneven surfaces.

Examples: GT Grade

Key Strength: Outstanding stability and handling on rough roads

Best For: Exploring off the beaten path, gravel racing

 

The GT Grade is one of the most exciting gravel bikes yet

The GT Grade is one of the most exciting gravel bikes yet

Adventure Bikes

This isn’t really a category…yet, but it’s one that includes some really exciting new bikes. These bikes aren’t really gravel bikes, nor cyclocross bikes, but they still incorporate a lot of the features we love, and are extremely capable.

Disc brakes, wide tire clearance, fender and rear rack mounts…these bikes aren’t really designed to do any one thing particularly brilliantly… but they are designed to do a lot of things pretty well. They’re at home on the MTB trail, on gravel roads, on the CX course, or even some light touring. They won’t do quite as well as a dedicated platform, but for the rider who dabbles in everything, it’s the perfect solution.

Examples: Diamondback Haanjo, Fuji Tread

Key Strength: Outright versatility

Best For: Someone who wants only one bike to do it all

Adventure awaits you aboard the Diamondback Haanjo

Adventure awaits you aboard the Diamondback Haanjo

New Bike Preview: 2015 GT Grade

One of the most exciting bikes of the year is the 2015 GT Grade gravel bike. This thing has been lighting up trade shows, magazine reviews, and “Best Of” lists since it was first announced. In fact, they’ve been in such high demand for test rides and reviews that even we hadn’t seen one in person until last week– and then it was a prototype demo model.

The 2015 GT Grade in it's element

The 2015 GT Grade in it’s element

For those of you who are seeing this bike for the first time, the Grade is a gravel bike that’s designed for going on-road, off-road, or anywhere in between. The carbon fiber frame has huge tire clearance and a super comfortable geometry, but also has some innovative features like Continuous Glass Fiber seatstays that almost like a suspension, and the triple triangle design for improved frame durability.

The first question we always get when we mention the Grade is “when does it come out?” We’ve even gotten that question on Facebook and Instagram apropos of nothing. So to vaguely answer your questions: soon, soon, terribly soon. Just be patient a little bit longer.

Until then, we took some tasty photos of the demo model Grade to whet your appetite for Enduroad adventures. And trust us, as soon as it’s in stock, we’ll let you all know.

*please note that this is a prototype demo model bike, and does not have the same equipment as the final retail model. Actually, it’s pretty close. But the retail model will have Shimano RS685 hydraulic mechanical levers, instead of the R785 Di2 hydraulic electronic system shown here.

CX ’15: Ridley Cyclocross Bikes

We all love Ridley road bikes. You’d be hardpressed to find a faster bike than the Noah, or a bike that climbs better than the Helium. But what Ridley– and Belgium– is really known for are their cyclocross bikes. The carbon fiber Ridley X-Fire and X-Night are some of the most sought after CX bikes in the world, and even the aluminum X-Ride is still one of the best performing cyclocross bikes around.

Ridley X-Night 30

The choice of most of the world’s best cyclocross teams, and even used by the Lotto-Belisol profession road team for cobbled races, the Ridley X-Night 30 is one of the most advanced and fastest CX bikes out there. With a stiff, responsive carbon fiber frame with internal cable routing, a massive carbon fiber fork with internal disc brake cable routing, disc brakes, Shimano Ultegra 6800 11-speed drivetrain, an FSA ‘cross crankset, and 4ZA Cirrus deep section wheels, this is a straight up race machine that’s meant to go fast and put you on the top of the podium.

Ridley X-Fire 10

With a fast and lively racing set up, the Ridley X-Fire 10 is a great option for the serious racer who wants a top-level competition bike, but doesn’t mind hauling a few extra grams to save some cash. The Ridley X-Fire uses a more compliant 24-ton carbon lay up than the X-Night, but is still more than equal to anything else you’ll meet on the course. Like the X-Night, it’s built up with an Shimano Ultegra 6800 11-speed drivetrain, FSA ‘cross crankset, disc brakes, and deep section 4ZA Cirrus wheels. If you demand top performance from one of the most respected brands in the sport…and are look for a great value, it’s tough beat the Ridley X-Fire.

Ridley X-Ride 20

The Ridley X-Ride is the aluminum cousin of the X-Fire, but is still a serious, race-worthy bike in itself. The 7005 aluminum frame is super stiff, and much more durable than carbon fiber, and the 4ZA Oryx full carbon fork really helps to stiffen up the front end. Disc brakes, an all-new SRAM Rival 22 11-speed drivetrain, FSA ‘cross crankset, 4ZA Cirrus deep section wheels, and Clement Crusade PDX tires make the X-Ride one of the best values in a high-performance racing package around. If you’re looking for a first ‘cross bike, an value-orient upgrade, or an all-around bike for year round riding, the X-Ride is the way to go.

Check out our other CX ’15 articles

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