Cycling UK » bikes Cycling info - advice and tips Tue, 17 Dec 2013 18:15:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bicycles as a thing of a beauty Sun, 24 Feb 2013 13:09:03 +0000 The great poet, John Keats said ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’ He might have added, that with regard to bicycles, simplicity = beauty.

Compare these two bikes:

Rob English’s time trial bike


Source: Bike Radar photo gallery


I advise checking out the Bike Radar photo gallery. There’s some very nice aerodynamic design elements. In an era of Taiwan mass produced bikes, it’s nice to see small scale designers coming up with something really beautiful. (and practical)

Compare this to this Pinarello

pinarello only the brave


Pinarello via pj with his assessment


Now which bike would you prefer to have sitting in your dining room?


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Hill Climb Bike Tue, 02 Oct 2012 05:26:35 +0000 hill climb trek

New Hill Climb bike is Trek Madone 6.9

For 2011 hill climb season, the weight of the bike was 6.7 Kgs. However, with some modifications this year, I’ve reduced it to 5.8 kgs (12.78 pounds)

  • Trek Madone SSL Frame
  • Shimano Dura Ace Groupset
  • Front wheel – AX Lightness rim – tune hub (350g)
  • Rear wheel – Zipp 202 (720g)
  • Tubulars – Corsa Evo (160g)
  • Saddle – Tune (85 g)
  • Stem: AX lightness (70g)
  • Handlebar Schmolke 26.0 (150g)
  • Pedals: Speedplay Titanium (164 g)

front wheel

front wheel



More weight saving?

  • Take off outer 53 ring (120grams)
  • Take off handlebar tape (50 grams)
  • Swap Dura Ace Brakes for AX Lightness brakes – (200 grams)


Ribble – Hill Climb Bike

Old hill climb bike was A ribble Scandium frame. The Trek Madone 6.9 is a similar weight, but the carbon fibre frame  has greater rigidity and feeling of power.

Frame and Forks

  • Frame – Scandium Ribble Dedacciai SC61.10A (average frame 1050g)
  • Forks -Look HSC4 SL Carbon – 350g


  • Track tubs Vittoria Corsa EV 135g
  • Wheels – Zipp 440 (pair 1290g)
  • Skewers – Spin sticks (44g)

Group Set – Mostly Shimano Dura Ace

  • Chain (<290g) have shortened chain to also stop jumping with no front mech
  • Cassette (158g) 12-23
  • Bottom Bracket (178g)
  • Chainset (<594g) minus one chainring
  • Rear Gear (195g)
  • 1* STI ergolevers (432/2 = (216g)
  • 1* cut down brake lever (120g?) (thanks Andy Sherwood)
  • Single Speed front mech. 45, or 39, T
  • Brakes front and back Dia Compe with Ti bolts (250g )


  • Pedals Speedplay X1 150g
  • Seat post – USE carbon (136g)
  • Saddle – Selle Italia SLR (135g)
  • Handle Bar – ITM The Bar (195g)
  • Handle Bar stem – ITM The Stem (95g)
  • Wires screws and miscellaneous (275g)


  • front mech (73g) and front STI changer (216g)
  • Using Single Chainring
  • Removed handlebar tape (35g)
  • Lost a nut for Chainring – this wasn’t intentional it fell out during the last race and haven’t got round to buying a new set of single ring chain bolts.

Total Bike weight 6.0 KG = 13.2 lbs

Possible Changes.

  • New Wheelset (1050g)
  • Cut down seat post
  • take off computer
  • Get a hair cut.
  • Have appendix removed e.t.c.
      • National Hill Climb Championship 7th
      • Brighton Mitre CC – Overall 1st
      • National Hill Climb Championship 7th
      • Bristol South CC 1st
      • National Hill Climb Championship 14th


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Specialized Allez Review Wed, 05 Sep 2012 09:55:58 +0000 specialized allez

I bought this Specialized Allez as my New York training bike. It replaced this older steel Trek. It’s a big step up and replicates the ride of my road bike back home. For the money, I’m very happy. It is an excellent value road bike.

Specialized allez carbon fork

The carbon fork improves the ride, with great stiffness and comfort, the shop selling the bike said the carbon fork wouldn’t be on the next years model (2013), which will be a bit disappointing. I like the smooth lines and integration on this part of the bike. Specialized certainly do smooth well – I real bonus on a £500 bike. No internal cable routing, but you can’t expect that for this price. It looks good, it might pass for a much more expensive bike.

Specialized Allez Specificiations 2013

  • Frame: Specialized A1 Premium Aluminium
  • Fork: Specialized Aluminium fork, alloy steerer and crown, 1-1/8″ (2012 model I have was carbon fibre)
  • Groupset: Shimano 2300 – compact
  • Number of Gears: 16
  • Chainrings: 50/34
  • Bottom Bracket: Sealed cartridge, square taper, 68mm
  • Cassette: Shimano HG-50, 8-speed, 12-25
  • Chain: KMC Z51
  • Pedals :Nylon flat test ride, loose-ball, w/ reflectors
  • Brakes: Tektro dual-pivot
  • Handlebars: Specialized Comp, 6061 alloy, shallow bend
  • Stem: Cast alloy, 4-bolt, 31.8mm
  • Headset: 1-1/8″ sealed Cr-Mo cartridge bearings integrated w/ headset, 20mm alloy cone spacer, w/ 20mm of spacers
  • Tyres Specialized Espoir Sport, 60TPI, wire bead, double BlackBelt protection, 700x25c
  • Body Geometry Riva Road, Cr-Mo Rails, 143mm
  • Seatpost:Specialized Sport alloy, 27.2mm
  • Seat Binder:Alloy, 31.8mm
  • weight: 10.4Kg


Compact chainring 50*34 will be the best choice for most people buying an entry level road bike. I did have the indignity of getting dropped on a descent by a riding partner who weighed 30 KG more than me. At least, I had the excuse of spinning out on the 50*12. (though the real reason was I was saving myself to drop him on the hills)

Review of Bike

When I went into the shop, I was determined to buy the cheapest road bike. The cheapest road bike was $500, but I really didn’t like it. The Specialized Allez was standing out and looked like a proper road bike. That’s the one I wanted to get. I ended up spending $820 (in UK RRP is £550). If you’re lucky you may get for under £500.

I definitely I’m glad I spent that extra $300 (even if my  bank manager isn’t).

The main thing is that it holds up reasonably well in terms of riding feel, against my Trek Madone 6.9 which is the same price, but with just an extra zero at the end.

It is nice to ride, the steering is good and the bike accelerates reasonably well. It’s not the lightest at over 10Kg, but it’s good enough and I’m not too fussy for this bikes. In New York, I was doing lots of sprinting sessions around a velodrome which tested the flex and rigiidty. Again performance is reasonable. There is some flex in the aluminium components, but it was good enough to do what I wanted to.

New York roads are very bumpy, but the bike handled them well. I wasn’t too badly shaken up, given state of the road. On a ride out to Long Island, there were quite a few fast descents, and I felt reasonably confident at speed. Though I nearly had a bad scrape with some very wide SPD pedals touching the road. (I advise changing the pedals, the pedals they come with are there to be changed.)

The good thing about this road bike, is that the geometry is geared towards a road bike. The geometry is the same as the pro-level Tarmac SL3, so it was an easy fit for me. The only difference is that the front end felt higher than what I’m used to, when I get the chance I will try dropping the handlebars.

The tyres, Specialized Espoir Sport, are new to me. But, the salesman assured me they have a puncture resistant belt and they felt reasonably grippy.

Value for Money

The main selling point for this bike, is the value for money. For close to £500, you have a bike that will offer satisfactory performance in sportives and even 3rd cat road races. It will make a good training bike.

I felt there was almost a bigger difference between the Specialised Allez at £500 and the cheapest road bike £300, than the difference between the Trek Allez and my top of the range road bike (£5,000) – Do try and save that extra £200.

For 2013, they have reverted to the aluminium fork, this is a shame, but part of the philosophy of keeping the bike cheap at £500.



Bottom bracket


brakes and rear tyre

shimano 2300

Shimano 2300 is adequate. There is some delay between changing gears and moving sprocket, this may be partly due to cables stretching, but it’s not as good as Ultegra / Dura Ace shifting.


The bike came with handlebars sellotaped to handlebar. I’m not too fussy, but it hardly makes it a classy build when you end up sellotape. The top tube, is pretty good though.

The Specialized Allez Comp comes with Shimano 105.


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Vintage 1981 Trek Road Bike Tue, 04 Sep 2012 13:25:08 +0000 1981 Trek

I’ve had this old Trek road bike in New York for 10 years. It was pretty old and battered, even when I bought it 10 years ago. I think it was originally made in the early 1980s. In its time, it would have been a top of the range model, used in road racing. But, in the past 30 years, technology has moved on substantially. Still it’s a decent bike, and it’s enabled me to do some important training.


well before the days of internal cable routing

It has classic Reynold 531 steel tubing.
The group set is an obsolete Shimano Sante
It has 7 speed on the back, the lowest is a 19 sprocket.

  • 42*19 as a lowest gear – riders were harder in them days. Though I’m very glad I didn’t have this bike when riding up Hardknott pass in the Lake District.
rear cassette

I haven’t oiled the chain for about 3 years

The gears still work, though there is a long delay between changing and actually getting into the right gear. I hardly ever used the 52 outer chainring. because 42*12 does everything I need and it’s too much effort to change.

Gears on the down tube, is a blast from the past. You definitely change less frequently when the levers are down there. STI levers have really spoiled us. I often use the Trek as a single speed.


1981 Trek, last cleaned 1997

Riding is OK, but it definitely feels slower to the bikes I’m used to. It’s not too heavy, but feels unresponsive when increasing the power. It may be the frame has weakend from the many dents which it is carrying. Acceleration from a standing start is always hard work. Perhaps because the gearing is more suited to a fixed gear bike. But, it feels noticeably slower than others.

The dents still show one advantage of steel, you can still ride even after crashes. If these dents were on a carbon fibre, you would have to look at getting new frame.


The handlebars are small and uncomfortable. Though it’s not helped by the disintegrating handlebar tape.


The suspension stem is a bit of a quirk. It was the only stem a local shop had which was long enough for my needs. I don’t enjoy riding a suspension stem, your height is changing and you lose power when pedalling. Combined with the steel frame, the bikes absorbs the (many) bumps pretty well, but who rides a road bike to enjoy comfort?

front brake

The best thing about the bike are the good old Armadillo tyres. I used to puncture like anything on the gravel strewn American roads. But, these Specialized Armadillos have done sterling service in avoiding punctures and wearing down very slowly. A really great investment. The bike is so slow anyway, some Armadillos don’t make much difference.

It’s been a good companion for several years, but the look pedals are permanently rusted to the cranks so I can’t change the  pedals. When I got to New York, I  could only find one cycling shoe (probably related to cycling with one leg due to blood clot back in April). Therefore, my first training session involved cycling with one shoe and cleat, and one ordinary trainers on a small uncomfortable look pedal.

Suffice to say that training session lasted about 10 minutes before I turned round and made the decision to go and buy a new road bike. I had to bite the bullet, extend the credit card and get yet another bike. But, whoever regrets buying a bike?  I don’t.

I went to the shop with the intention of buying the cheapest possible road bike in the right size. But, after testing a few, my budget suddenly increased from $500 to $800 – the difference in quality between the cheapest bike and the one I got was huge. God bless credit cards. I think without credit cards, we would spend all day training rather than buying the latest carbon fibre expensive add ons.

I think the cheapest $500 heavy weight bike would have been a step back from the 1981 trek   even though the Trek is the wrong size for me.

Top tip of the day. Don’t buy a road bike for less than £500.

I got a Specialized Allez – a very nice ride. Review coming up.

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Pashley Bicycles Sat, 25 Aug 2012 09:25:12 +0000  


Rather neat Pashleys parked outside New College, Oxford. It is alled New college because it was ‘new’ in 1143 and now claims to be the oldest ‘new’ college in the world.

red pashley

A Red Pashley – a very vivid red. Model Britannia



A pair of Pashley’s


Do not park on double yellow lines – unless it’s a bicycle


By the sounds of the conversation, it looks like the younger girl had arranged a ‘Tour by bicycle around Oxford’ She only had one customer, but they were cycling around the tour guide was talking about how hold New College was.


Pashley Sovereign – quite an experience to ride. Nice and sturdy..


Pashley sovereign in action.


An old Pashley – don’t know which model.

pashley - guvnor

Pashley Guvnor

Pashley’s was founded 80 years ago by  William ‘Rath’ Pashley.

original pashley

All bicycles are hand built in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. It aims to produce unique and stylish bicycles. In the bicycle boom of the past decade, they have done well appealing to the discerning commuter / leisure rider.


In the 1930s, they produced many ‘work bicycles’ including the iconic ‘Stop Me And Buy One’ tricycles supplied to Wall’s ice cream after the Great Depression. Pashley still make work bicycles, like this one used by G&D’s ice-cream parlour in Oxford.

By the 1990s, Pashley bicycles was in difficulty due to long term decline of cycling and increased popularity of mountain bikes. But in 1994, a management buyout led to Adrian Williams, former aeronautical engineer, becoming Pashley’s main shareholder and managing director.

Helped by a recent surge in demand for ‘traditional’ models the company has done well.

As you would expect, they are a bit more pricey compared to other models.

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Jamis Allegro X Sport Review Tue, 14 Aug 2012 09:48:27 +0000 Jamis is not a well known bicycle brand, but Jamis have a large range of bikes from road bikes to cyclo-cross. The Jamis Allegro X Sport is hybrid bike with front fork suspension. It will appeal to those looking for a good value hybrid which is suitable for the off the road as well as on it. It is similar to the ordinary Allegro range which doesn’t have the front suspension.


For under £400, Jamis have put the bike together with  components at the cheaper end of the spectrum. But, the lack of a very well known brand and using the popular Shimano MTB gearset helps this to be quite competitive. There are not many other similar hybrid bikes coming in cheaper than this.

Jamis Allegro X

The front suspension can be turned on or off quite easily. It definitely helps make the bike more interesting for those wanting to switch between getting to work on the roads and going off road for something a little different. For city riding it’s fine. Fairly nimble and gives you a lot of confidence whatever the road surface is like.

Jamis Allegro X

Good clearance

At 30lbs (13.7 Kg)  it’s not the lightest bikes, but with some quick gear changes, you can be away from lights pretty quick.  The position on the bike is fairly upright, but you have a clear sense of being in control as you weave out of traffic. The bike is quite stable, with the thick chunky tyres giving good grip whatever the weather. But, at road bike diameter of 700c, they aren’t too slow. However, as I’m mainly used to riding road bikes, I felt a little held back on long flat sections. But, the compromise is the much better performance off road.

Jamis Allegro X

comfortable grips and gears within easy reach.

Who Will This Bike Suit?

Jamis Allegro X

Shimano shifting is fairly reliable and handily placed on the handlebars.

The Jamis Allegro X Sport will suit a rider looking for a cheap all rounder bike. You can really take this bike anywhere. No where does it stand out, but at £400 it’s hard to find many other alternatives with this kind of spec.

Jamis Allegro X

Do you need front suspension for a canal path?

If you’re bike route involves a bit of canal path, don’t feel front suspension is essential. I ride an aluminium road bike and just put up with the bumps. However, if you want to ride old railways lines and potholes with more enjoyment, this bike starts to be an attractive option.

For those uninterested in more aggressive riding off-road, you’d be better off with a simpler model like the ordinary Jamis Allegro.

Tektro IO cable disc brakes help make the bike punch above it’s weight. It’s excellent stopping power for most circumstances. Disc Brakes excel in bad weather and on muddy terrain. This is a big improvement on the Tetro Brake levers often on this kind of hybrid bike. Though, if you can make the upgrade to the Comp model, the Hydraulic disc brakes are even better. If you don’t intend to be riding in muddy / wet conditions, the disc brakes are less important, and you would be better off saving your money and weight.

Jamis Allegro X

Specs of Jamis Allegro X Sport

  • Frame: 6061 aluminium triple butted main tubes.
  • Fork: SR/Suntour SF11-NVX-D MILO, aluminium lowers, hydraulic damping, mechanical lock out
  • Gears: Front Mech: Shimano M191 bottom pull front, Rear Mech: Shimano Altus RD-M310 SGS, Shifters: Shimano Acera Rapidfire Plus SL-M310, 24-Speed, Chainset: Shimano FC-M311,
  • Chainrings: 48/38/28
  • Cassette: Shimano 8-Speed 11-32T
  • Brakes:   Tektro IO cable disc.
  • Jamis Allegro X Sport at Evans Cycles

Jamis Allegro X Comp

  • Same 6061 Aluminium frame
  • Hydraulic rather than cable disc brakes.
  • Shimano Acera gearset throughout.
  • An extra £100 (£445)

Jamis Allegro X Elite

Jamis Allegro X Elite

  • With Shimano Shimano Deore groupset. 9 speed rather than 8 speed cassette.
  • Selle San Marco Elba saddle
  • 2 lbs lighter than Comp and Sport
  • Will be approx £670.

Bikes online


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KTM Strada 1000 Review Wed, 08 Aug 2012 08:29:29 +0000 ktm strada 1000

KTM are better known as a motorbike manufacturer. They have been producing cycles abroad for quite a few years, but are now trying to crack the competitive British market. I took this for a test ride and was impressed at the value for money (£899)for a sub £1,000 road bike.

The bike is based on a 6061 Aluminium frame and Carbon Fork. The aluminium frame is well built and takes corners well avoiding any under or over steer.  It is well balanced and a good build for a first time road biker. The compact groupset give a good gear range, and the bike overall gives a solid road bike feel. There will be no problem in using this for long sportives and even first road races. A carbon fork is these days a real must for a bike sub £1,000. Generally, they add a lot to the riding experience. This feels a good quality carbon fork, which helps absorb shocks in the road and give a more comfortable ride experience.

The mixture of Shimano Tiagra and Shimano 105 make very smooth gear changing. I always find Shimano Tiagra / 105 to be a big step up from the (Sora) level below.

I’m not a big fan of black, but the black and orange trimming is pretty distinctive and overall they’ve done a good job. To keep costs low, there is only one colour choice. To get a different colour you would need to buy a different model. The Strada 2000, with better groupset is just another £200.

  • Groupset – Shimano Tiagra, with 105 shifters
  • Tyres – Conti Ultra Sport 23-622 folding
  • Compact gears 50-34. Rear cassette 12-25. Triple chainring option available.
  • Weight – 9.1Kg
  • Sizes from 46 to 62cm

Not the lightest at 9.1Kg, but it still felt fairly nimble.

The Selle Italia X1 Man saddle is a good addition, and there are no really weak parts on the bike, which make you want to upgrade straightaway. The best thing about this bike is once you’ve bought, you’re pretty much up and away.

One downside of the bike is that it’s only for sale in limited places. It’s a good bike, but given level of competition at this price range, it’s not worth travelling a long way to buy. It holds its own in the important sub £1,000 price bracket, but more established names like the Focus Cayo or a Trek 1.2 are hard to beat.


KTM Strada

Smooth integration of carbon fork and aluminium frame.

KTM Strada

nice lines. Good job with paintwork

KTM Strada

Tiagra brakes excellent.

KTM Strada

KTM Strada

Ritchely stem and handlebar

KTM Strada

Selle Italia saddle

KTM Strada


KTM Strada

KTM Strada

neat lines

Don’t be put off my unknown name. The bike rides  well, and it comes equipped with a competitive groupset and nice features.

Thanks to J.D. Cycles of Ilkley for test ride.


Road bikes

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Trek 7.1 FX Hybrid Bike Review Mon, 06 Aug 2012 13:00:39 +0000 trek 7.1 FX

Trek 7.1 FX is one of Trek’s best selling models. For £350- £375, you get a lot of features for your money which will appeal to a broad spectrum of commuting cyclists.

It’s not surprising why it is so popular. For most commuters and newbie cyclists sticking to roads, this bike does pretty much everything you need. It is reliable, solid and gives a good riding experience without any expensive extravagances.
Trek FX 7.1
It comes with 21 gears, and a very low ratio for getting up steep hills. Some may find the top gear of 48*14 a little on the slow side. You have to maintain a pretty high cadence to get over 25mph.
Trek FX 7.1
But, I doubt most people buying this will be worried at a lack of high end speed. If you are, you’re probably buying the  wrong bike, and should look at a cheap road bike.

Trek FX 7.1

On the downside, the bike is a little heavy and rigid. If you’re riding over rough terrain like a canal path, your hands will certainly start to feel the vibrations on these minimal handlebar grips Despite the 35″ tyres, even riding around Leeds city centre I thought it a little tough.

If you can upgrade to the next FX model like the Trek 7.2 Fx – you get a lighter weight frame and more cushioning in the handlebars.
As I am used to riding stiff road bikes, this rigidity isn’t a big disadvantage to me, but, if real comfort is important, you may want to look at other hybrid bikes with suspension and a more forgiving set up.
Trek FX 7.1
On the plus side of comfort, I thought the Bontrager SSR saddle was excellent. Lovely shape and padding make it really quite comfortable.

Trek FX 7.1
Gears within easy reach.

The gears are easy to use. Not instantaneous, but good enough given it is based on the lower end of the Shimano scale. You need to think ahead to get a burst of speed from lights, but, I was quite happy with the Shimano gears clicking away.

Trek FX 7.1

The brakes are Tektro lever pull – quite a common option for this type of hybrid bike. They offer reasonable, if unspectacular performance. Again an upgrade to disc brakes offers a significant improvement.


Pretty good. The set up is closer to road bike than mountain bike. Though the position can be adjusted with the riser bar. It felt nimble enough riding around town. Again solid and reliable rather than cutting edge.


Trek FX 7.1
Comes with mudguard and pannier holes, that you can add onto if you want. For overall commuting, the Trek 7.1 FX is a good all rounder. Fast enough to outperform thicker mountain bike style bikes, but with a greater stability to more aggressive road bikes.

Puncture Protection

Bontrager tyres. Uncertain of how these compare over time. There are better puncture resistance tyres on the market, which can always be added to.


This best-selling hybrid bike is popular with good reason. Trek know what a typical hybrid bike buyer is looking for. It gives very solid performance, though as someone who has ridden many different bikes, it does leave you dreaming of upgrading to get better features.


Trek bikes come in a variety of sizing so will fit most riders. There is also a womens version with step through frame.

Who Would This  Bike suit?

It would suit someone on a very strict budget of keeping the price down to below £350. If you’re the kind of bike rider looking for something special and a bit of zip, you will have to save more money. But, if you want a solid hybrid bike with minimum of fuss, then you can’t go too wrong with the Trek 7.1 FX.

Note: it wouldn’t be a great buy for any substantial off-road riding because the rigidity make for an unforgiving ride.

Manufacturer Specifications

Frame: FX Alpha White Aluminium
Fork: – High-tensile steel w/lowrider mounts, straight blades
Front Derailleur: -High-tensile steel w/lowrider mounts, straight blades
Rear Derailleur: – Shimano Acera
Number of Gears: – 21
Shifters: – Shimano EF51, 7-speed trigger
Chainset: – Shimano M131
Chainrings: – 48/38/28 Tooth
Cassette: -Shimano 14-34, 7 speed
Pedals: -Nylon platform
Brakes -  Tektro linear pull brakes w/Shimano EF51 levers
Handlebars: – Bontrager Approved, steel, 30mm rise
Stem: -Bontrager Approved, alloy, 15 degree
Headset: – Slimstak, semi-cartridge bearings, sealed
Grips: -Bontrager Satellite, dual density
Rims: -Alloy hubs; Bontrager 750 32-hole double-wall alloy rims
Hubs: – Alloy hubs; Bontrager 750 32-hole double-wall alloy rims
Spokes: -Alloy hubs; Bontrager 750 32-hole double-wall alloy rims
Tyres: Bontrager H2, 700x35c
Saddle: – Bontrager SSR
Seatpost: – Bontrager SSR, alloy
Weight: 12.5Kg approx.
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Fabike Tue, 17 Jul 2012 05:53:50 +0000 fabike

I’m a bit of a glutton for admiring nice shiny new bikes, especially if sleek, lightweight and single speed. Fabio from Fabike contacted me about a new bike he is developing / promoting. Given his enthusiasm and the nice shiny look of the bike, I sent him a few questions about the bike, and have published answers here. Thanks to Fabio for answers.

In short, there are some things, I really like about the new bike:

  • choice of tyres up to 35′ – saves getting a mountain bike for snowy conditions.
  • Choice of fixed / single or gears.
  • Very lightweight -  lightweight is good.
  • Looks impressive
  • A lot of care has gone into this.

The big disadvantage is that for a commuting bike, you also need high security. The lightest weight may be 5.4Kg, but you would want a pretty heavy lock to go with it.

  • But, overcome security and cost -  and it’s a dream commuting bike. And I like the ideal of aiming for the best – especially in bicycles.

1. What is special about this bike?

The Fabike introduces several technical and design innovations. I think that to synthesize we can say that the FABIKE is three bicycles in one: a race bike (fast and super lightweight), a track bike (very agile, compact and with the possibility to use it with single speed), and a city bike (safe and comfortable). We took the best from each of these bicycles and we put them together in one, obtaining what we think is a new category in the bicycle market: the Flexibly Adjustable Bike. Of course materials like carbon fibre, titanium and ergal make this bike a real high-end bike. (and quite light weight)

2. Who will the bike appeal to?

This is a bicycle meant to take the urban cycling to a new level. We want to speak to advanced urban cyclists, people that ride their bike almost everyday and want to have the best from it. People that probably already own a good race or mountain bike and realized that it’s not the best solution for an urban usage. People that ride a good fixed gear/single speed but wish to have the possibility to have a geared bike time to time. But at the same time people that wouldn’t see fulfilled their expectations with a “normal” city bike.

3. What was the motivation for designing this bike?

I come from an Italian family of cyclists, but I never got seriously into cycling until I moved to a big city and realized that a bicycle is the best transportation in this environment. I started looking at the bicycle market to see what was available to satisfy all the need of a demanding urban cyclist, but unfortunately I was not happy with any of the solutions I found. So I decided to start designing the bike I was wishing to have: super lightweight, comfortable, with the possibility to have gears or single speed and with a minimalistic design.

So, my motivations were my personal needs and wishes. It’s been now one year that I ride every day the prototype of the FABIKE, and I’m very happy about it. I think I made it.

4. What do you think are most important features for a commuting bike?

I think the most important feature that a commuting bike should have is to be practical and comfortable to use in ALL the situations that an urban cyclist might face daily, including the moments when he/she is not riding the bike.

Very often it happens that you have get off the bike and carry it, for example going up and down in the metro stations, taking the bike up to the office or once back home up to the flat. Many people underestimate the importance of lightweight bike, but I think it can really make a difference in the way you live and enjoy your urban transitions.

Also, in today’s cities the available place is more and more tight. We live in relatively small apartments, the space inside the offices is often very limited and in general our life is lacking square meters. I used to have three bicycles, one for each use (fixed gear, road, off road) and I used to keep them inside my flat. Now I reduced to only one (the FABIKE) that can be each of those I used to have. And now I have more space for my self.

The last but very important aspect in my opinion is that a commuting bike should be usable 365 days a year, which means with every kind of weather.
In that case the size of the tyres you can mount on your bike really matters. Being limited to a 700×25 (like with the road or track bikes) is not great, and that’s why we designed the FABIKE to be able to mount up to a 700×35 tyre, enough even those with spikes for the snow and ice!

5. How much does it weigh?

The frame only would weight 1.05 Kg. The frameset (frame, fork, head set and seat clamp) would be 1.57 Kg.
The complete FABIKE can be configured in four different ways, and would have four different weights:

Fixed gear/single speed – brakeless: 5.4 Kg
Fixed gear/single speed – with only front brake: 5.6 Kg
Fixed gear/single speed – with front and rear brakes: 5.9 Kg
With 10 gears – with of course front and rear brakes: 6.4 Kg

6. How much will it cost in UK?

We are not yet declaring the retail price, but you can imagine that such a product can’t be for everybody. On the other hand we would like to see as many people as possible riding a FABIKE, that’s way we are trying to keep the price as affordable as possible.
Let’s say that if you take the price of a high-end road bike that weights 6.4 Kg (like the FABIKE does in 10 gears version) you would be paying around 5000 Pounds or more. Our bike would be somewhere between that and the price of a regular city bike.
Plus, if you consider that the FABIKE is three bicycles in one, I think you would be paying less than having three bikes.
Anyway the project will be soon on Kickstarter and people will be able to pledge for the bike at a discounted price and also take advantage of a free international delivery.

FABIKE dropouts from FABIKE on Vimeo.


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There is Always a Better Bicycle to Buy Tue, 10 Jul 2012 10:14:25 +0000 Have you noticed that as soon as you buy the best possible bicycle, quite shortly something even better comes along? This is not just true for bicycles, but any cycling related paraphernalia – except perhaps Brooks saddles, which were just as good in 1893, as they are now.

trek 2013

With this in mind, I don’t know what to make of the new Trek Madone 2013.

On the one hand, it’s great to know that the technology of bicycles continues to improve – offering an ever improved ride potential. Lighter weight, stronger, stiffer / more aerodynamic.  Or as Trek say:

330g less drag than the previous model. Their figures say that riding at 40kph/25mph (with a wind at 10° yaw) takes 25W less power than before. Or, for the same effort, a ride that would have taken 1hr now takes 57:56mins.

 It’s so good, even my paint work feels inadequate compared to this beast of a model.

The new Trek Madone 2013 is so much better than my existing model that I’m sure it could go up Wrynose pass as if it was merely an incline over a railway bridge. In fact, it’s so good I’m only surprised they haven’t put a perpetual motion motor in the bottom bracket.

On the other hand, I’m deeply disappointed they have made so much progress. (Not that I really want to admit this fact publicly) The bike is so much visibly better, it means my old 2010 model is now consigned to the dustbin of technological progress. It might still be OK for retro days out with my Faema wool cycling jersey; it’s perhaps acceptable for 3rd cat races – but how can it be fair to compete against other cyclists who may have a frame weighing a whole 183 grams less than mine?

The only saving grace is that I now have a ready excuse for not winning. = Compared to the 2013 model, I’m virtually riding a Victorian safety bicycle, little better than the speculative hobby horse without pedals.


To be honest, I’m not sure why the UCI didn’t stop all bike technology in 1976, the year Eddy Merckx was at his peak (they kind of did with the formerly prestigious world hour record). But, just think if all bike technology had been stopped at 1970s technology, then life for a cyclist would be much simpler.

  • We would be always able to compare ourselves to Eddy Merckx, thus proving the fundamental rule of cycling that indeed Eddy Merckx is the greatest ever cyclist.
  • We wouldn’t have to keep spending £5,000 to upgrade our bicycle to latest model, every time a major manufacturer finds a new way of weaving carbon fibre.
  • Without spending hours researching the latest developments in bike technology we would have time to train properly and maybe become as good as Eddy Merckx.
  • There would be no need to listen to the excuses of every cyclist from a sportive rider to 2nd Cat Road racers – that they really would have won, if they hadn’t been saddled with antiquated 2007 bike technology.

Cycling Info’s Formula for Length of time satisfied with current bicycle.

  • T = 360 days – C/10 – 4(B)
  • ( C = cost of bicycle)
  • ( B = the number of bicycles you already have)

The more you spend on a bicycle, the quicker you will realise you should have bought a better one. This is generally related to the fact that people happy with a £1,000 bikes are not obsessed with marginal gains, but can enjoy a bicycle so long as pretty much it goes in a straight line.

The more bicycles you have, the sooner you will be dissatisfied with your latest purchase. This is related to the fact that people with seven bicycles, usually feel that buying that elusive eighth bicycle will be the solution to all their cycling problems. The fewer bikes you have the more likely you are to be content with a bicycle as long as it goes in a straight line.

see also: Formula for optimal number of bicycles.

If you bought your bicycle 20 years ago, and are still completely satisfied with your purchase, congratulations, you have achieved cycling heaven.


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