Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Bell Helmets, next generation

 So the current rumour is that Bell will release a new higher end model to replace the Volt at the top of the tree. The thing is the Volt isn't a bad helmet, it's actually really fantastic and is my preferred go to melon saver. I like the comfort and the retention is so good with it's single handed on the fly adjustment. So if it's so good, what can be improved. Weight has to be top of the list as it's a little portly compared to the current crop of helmets that have come out over the last two years. Also compared to it's sister brand Giro, Bell helmets have always been lacking in the ventilation department. So these would be the obvious areas for improvement. Compared to other players in the market place like Specialized who have not just looked at weight, ventilation but the new Holy Grail is the arena of aerodynamics. As Bell make one of the best TT lids I hope that this is an avenue they explore as Bell deserves to be on more heads than it currently is, as the Grand Daddy of the cycling helmet business I am sure that they will be able to teach the young pups a thing or two.

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Sunday, 13 February 2011

Jack Bobridge World Record 4000m

This is a series of pictures with Jack talking about this race. Awesome that Chris Boardman's record has been beat, by God I hope for the future of the sport he's clean. Seems like a massive talent, where does JV find these riders. Congratulations, I hope you have an awesome year Mr Bobridge.

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Saturday, 12 February 2011

Contador and the real scandal, doping & clean athletes

It was July for Pete's sake (not sure which Pete) but to have a test confirmed by both A & B samples and then no verdict till February seems a long time. Would the verdict have been so long and drawn out if he'd been a domestic, no he'd have been thrown to the lions months ago.

I've never been a fan of Alberto, he lacks panache and some of his performances are just too unbelievable. Contador getting banned would be the best and worst thing for the sport, a bit like the 'Armstrong Affair'.

My question is, if we really want a clean sport and I mean REALLY CLEAN that bike racing will have to change as we know it. The races themselves will need to change so that performances go from 'unbelievable' to 'INCREDIBLE'.

How clean is a clean rider? Well that's a pretty deep spiralling question. I was listening to an old Velocast 'Regal in Roubaix' yesterday and almost the whole episode was covering doping. It is provoking and worth a (re)listen. If we say 50% of the Peloton is dirty & the other half not doping, what are the supposed 'clean' guys doing to keep up?

Does it mean that a clean athlete takes/uses everything under the Sun that isn't on the UCI/WADA/IOC lists, but they maybe drugs, processes, treatments which may raise an eyebrow or two. Omertà is observed by ALL Pro Cyclists, such is the fear of not being able to get a professional contract if they really spoke up, and out.

Many Pro's this week have been scathing of Ricardo Ricco, and in one hand I'd agree. He was offered a life line Vacansoleil and he's blown it. The pressures that the riders are under must immense, to risk everything, to risk your own life. But there has been little universal finger wagging at Mr Contador, Omertà is use, I think so.

So what is a dying shame that Pro Cycling had a chance of drawing a line in the sand and saying no more. But it looks like he WILL get off and be able to race again with no sanctions. The problem with drawing lines in the sand is that they are not permanent and if you read the story of 'The Three Little Pigs' you find it's only the clever little Pig who builds he house on solid ground with bricks that is able to keep the Wolf at bay; the question is will the UCI continue to be the one of the silly two other Pigs or is it going to wise up.

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Sunday, 6 February 2011

Mavic Altium Jacket

The Altium jacket from Mavic is a really clever piece of kit. Very thin, maybe 3-4mm but is a piece designed for Autumn/Winter riding. Using one of the crop of new fabrics allows more freedom of movement, so allowing more comfort on the bike.

The black detailing is the taping in the seams, which if you know your fabrics turns a soft-shell jacket into a very good waterproof piece. With the windchill it brought the riding temperature down to 0*c. Never once was I cold. The windproofing is excellent, riding into the headwind my upper body was protected from the elements.

Mavic might not be the first brand you'd think of when buying performance clothing, but if this jacket is anything to go by you should really add the brand to the 'check list'.

I'll come back with a fuller review once I've logged more kilometres, and in some variable conditions. But so far so good.

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Wednesday, 2 February 2011


Today I had a bookend of punctures, yes one on the way in and another on the way home. The one this morning hi-lighted that the tyre isn't tough enough for the South Coast. This evenings though would have beaten nearly all roads tyres except for maybe this one which I'm sorely tempted to try. It got me thinking about the Roubaix Sportive & what tyres to use, Tubs, clinchers or tubeless. I'll have to do some research but I'll use a 25mm for sure, although if I could get them to fit 27mm sure would add some comfort.

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