Panasonic makes Panaracer tires in Japan and they offer three models in their Race range of road tires: the Type A, Type D and Type L, which are defined by their weight and durability. The Race Type L is the lightest model in the range and features Panaracer’s AX casing that is claimed to be both supple and resistant to sidewall nicks, while a layer of material (PT shield) is added to provide puncture protection for the full width of the tire. At the other end of the spectrum is the Race Type D, which was designed with an emphasis on durability rather than weight. The Type D lacks AX casing but includes full width protection with Panaracer’s PT shield. In contrast, the Race Type A combines AX casing with a puncture resistant belt for the tread only, so as to save some weight over the Type D. All Race Type tires have a dual compound tread (called ZSG) and aramid folding beads.
Weight: Race Type L, 185g; Race Type A, 210g; Race Type D, 230g ( all weights are for 700 x 23c).
My benchmark for road tires is Continental’s GP4000, which achieves what might be the ideal mix of weight, durability, and grip. I was able to test ride the Type L and Type D tires and they compared well, though they were lacking some of the extra grip that characterises the fine performance of GP4000s. The tread of the Type D is noticeably thicker than the Type L, however the extra weight wasn’t apparent on the bike. Both tires gripped well and rolled very nicely. In fact, while the Type D test tires were 700x25c and the Type L 700x23c, I couldn’t find much to separate the performance of the two other than a slightly firmer ride on the narrower tire. Given the thicker tread of the Type D tires, I’d anticipate a longer road life than the Type A tires, and therefore, a better buy.
Selle San Marco Concor Saddle
The Concor was first introduced to road cyclists a little over three decades ago and in that time, it has been ridden to world titles, grand tour victories, and classics glory. At the time, the Concor was designed with a pronounced dip and generous wings to conceal the rails. The latest iteration is now sleeker, a lot lighter, and the shell has been carved away to reveal the rails. The Concor still features a dip, but it is very mild compared to the original shape. You have a choice of carbon or hollow steel rails, and a there is a range of colours and graphics, though black and white predominates amongst the choices. All models are built on the same sturdy shell without any channels or cut-outs. The only variation in the range is the Concor Sprint, which has a shorter nose and more compact appearance.
Weight: Carbon rails, 160g; hollow steel rails, 190g; Sprint, 186g.
Find out more on the Selle San Marco website.
In general, saddles can be broadly classified as either flat or dipped, and most riders prefer one type to the other. The Concor once belonged firmly in the dipped category, but with this new design, it now falls somewhere in between by offering a long flat nose with a mild scoop. The shape of the Concor looks quite generous from above, however it has very steep sides that narrow the saddle considerably. If you are a rider that prefers a dip to anchor your hips (as I do), then you might find the Concor is too shallow to be effective. It has a very firm shell that refuses to yield under load; the Concor also transfers more road shock than other saddles. The surface of the saddle was perfect, it provided enough texture to stop my shorts from sliding around, but I was still able to make minor adjustments to my position without any effort. The rails provided a generous range for setback adjustment, but I found the shortened wings near the nose left the mounting hardware of my seatpost exposed, so there were a few instances where my shorts were momentarily snagged as I was getting out of the saddle. Regardless, I like the presentation of the Concor, there are both bold and conservative options, and a few nation’s flag colours too.
BBB Select Sunglasses
BBB make a huge range of parts and accessories ranging from tools to brake pads, pumps and helmets. They also sponsor various teams including two ProTour teams, Vacansoleil-DCM and Cofidis. A large range of sunglasses (a dozen models are available) can be found in the BBB catalogue. The Select glasses have a Grilamid frame, an adjustable nosepiece, and an interchangeable one-piece polycarbonate lens. The Select comes with three lenses (clear, yellow, and smoke) while the Select PH is fitted with a photochromic lens. Select frames can be customised with different coloured temple fittings (black, blue, red, green, grey, yellow, white) and a variety of other lenses (smoke flash mirror; smoke blue multi-layer coating (MLC); smoke red MLC; smoke green MLC).
Price: $130 for Select, which includes 3 lenses and a case; $240 for Select PH, also includes a case.
See more on BBB’s Website.
The Select frame fit my face very nicely, I never had to fuss to keep them on or relieve a pressure point. The lenses provided generous protection, and while they were close enough to my face that they fogged quickly when coming to a halt on a cool morning, my vision always cleared quickly (almost instantaneously) once I was riding again. The lenses also provided a very crisp view of the world without any detectable distortion. The photochromic lens was effective against all but the brightest of sunlight then I found myself squinting. However, the rapid adjustment to shady conditions meant I kept them on for longer than regular lenses, and they were my lens of choice for this time of year when my afternoon ride home takes me into the setting sun and ends in darkness. The only thing missing here with BBB is the appeal/reputation (and the hefty asking price) of a renowned sunglasses brand.
Velocio is an iPhone application that uses the phone’s location services to deliver many of the features found on a GPS-driven bike computer such as Garmin’s Edge 800 for a fraction of the price. In fact, Velocio is now available to download for free from the iTunes store. Once installed, Velocio provides data on current speed, travel time, average speed, altitude gained and maximum speed that can be viewed via a live dashboard and mapping, or collected while running in the background. By using the latter strategy, riders can expect at least six hours of run time on an iPhone 4S compared to around 4 hours when running the live dashboard. Other features include ghost-racing your best time over a favoured route and Strava connectivity.
Price: Free from the iTunes app store. Visit veloc.io for more information.
An iPhone application will never replace a bike computer for a lot of riders, but for those that carry their iPhone everywhere and don’t want the expense, then Velocio serves as an effective recording device. Indeed, once installed, Velocio looks and operates a lot like a Garmin Edge 800 with the benefit of the iPhone’s superior screen size and resolution. I haven’t tested similar applications from other vendors, but I appreciate the emphasis the developer has placed on minimising power consumption. Such considerations make the most of the iPhone’s run time, however it’s still too short for a long ride in the hills, so while Velocio is beautiful in its execution, it’s only suited for recording shorter rides and weekday commutes.
Bailint Hamvas’ CycloCross 2011/2012
“I had a dream. Ever since I stumbled upon the phenomenon called cyclocross, I knew it was what I wanted to do. I got immersed in it, I love every aspect of, I love the intensity, I love the atmosphere, I love the racing, I love the buildup, all of it. Those of you who know me know well enough that I act like an overexcited puppy when I talk about cyclocross.
After doing my first season two years ago, I know so little about cyclocross. I thought the World Cups were the backbone of the season and I had many other misconcepts. That being said, it was a great season and the book, the ‘UCI Cyclocross season 2009/10? nicely bookended the whole project, if you forgive me the horrible pun.
The book itself broke even but it didn’t generate enough revenue to fund the trips for the next season, so I skipped the 2010/2011 season and salivated over the sporza videos week in week out. Then a sudden family death meant that a smaller inheritance landed on my bank account and I decided to use that money to cover another season – this time in it’s (almost) entirety: World Cups, GVAs, Superprestige s, World Championships, the whole lot. And so I did.
As I started to talk to people about this season, they often asked: are you going to do another book? It made me think about it and I decided I should go ahead and do it. But I knew if I was going to do it, it has to better in every possible way. Plans were made and scrapped, calculations were sent backwards and forwards and finally I finalised the details: 270mm x 230mm, 220 pages, hardcover. It will be bigger, better, nicer than the previous book and I will tell you why.
The book covers 33 races, almost all the big races of the season and to make that work, one race will be covered on six pages – which means that only the very best photos of each race will make it into the book. My best photos on thick, high-quality paper, hardcover, a proper coffee table book. All my passion, all my love of cyclocross is distilled into 220 pages – if you like my work you know what to expect. ”
I got to know Balint a few months ago when he began offering his cyclocross photos for use here during our 2011/12 season coverage. I always love an inspiring story like Balint’s where he follows his dream to do what he’s passionate about. This book is a labour of love and the quality is as high as I’d expect from a major publisher. It takes a deep knowledge and feel for the sport to capture it in photographs and Balint does an outstanding job at telling the story of the full CX season. This is a magnificant book which conveys the essence of the weather, the fans and the competition of cyclocross and Bailint doesn’t miss a single moment.