Black Friday is here, which means the official kick-off of the holiday shopping season. There's no doubt many of you have bike parts, clothing and other upgrades on your holiday wish list. But really, which of those upgrades are going to give you the most performance for your dollar? Which one of those upgrades will actually help increase YOUR performance?
In today's podcast I'll explore all of the above and more, including:
Reasons to upgrade parts
What are most noticeable upgrades you can make
Which upgrades make a difference to your performance
Considerations for upgrading wheels, tires and components
How maintenance "upgrades" can be the biggest bang for the buck available
I'd also like to take a moment to welcome aboard two new sponsors of the Tailwind Coaching Podcast: RoadID and Competitive Cyclist. I've long been a user of RoadID and a proponent of carrying sufficient ID and contact information with you while riding or training. My partnership with RoadID will allow me to further advocate for the peace of mind that carrying ID allows for. Meanwhile, Competitive Cyclist is a leader in the high end online bike retail industry. While I'm always an advocate of shopping locally at your LBS, sometimes shopping online is necessary in order to get exactly what you need or to stretch your dollar further (an important concept in these tough economic times.) Check both links on my pages (off to the right hand side, underneath my contact/"follow Coach Rob" pane) periodically for great deals on all kinds of equipment and help support the Tailwind Coaching Podcast. (Proceeds from affiliate sales go to web hosting space and bandwidth.)
If you like what you hear, go over to the Tailwind Coaching Podcast on iTunes and rate it 5 stars. Don't forget to post any questions to the Tailwind Coaching Facebook page.
And don't forget: Tour of the Battenkill race and fondo are on April 5th and 6th. You can get my new, revised and improved 20 week Battenkill Training Plan in my online store, and be well on your way to the podium. Remember to save 20% with the coupon code in this week's podcast through MONDAY 12/2 ONLY!
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It's been well advertised that the SRAM Red Yaw front derailleur has revolutionized mechanical front shifting. Tom Boonen won a pair of monuments on it last year. One could arguably claim that the simple concept of an uneven parallelogram that pivots about the seat tube, negating the need for a trim function and packaged into a lightweight and (importantly) stiff front dérailleur is the crown jewel of the new Red group. But does this seemingly unsung piece of metal really live up to the hype?
After the jump I'll examine my experience with the Yaw unit over the past eight months and figure out if it lives up to the hype.
Continue reading “SRAM Yaw Front Derailleur Review” »
After managing to put paid to my third Cinqo power meter, Quarq went above and beyond the call of warranty service and upgraded me to a Red Exogram power meter to replace the problem child Cinqo. I detailed the warranty process in this post, so you can read about it in detail there. Suffice to say, Quarq was wonderful throughout the process and I feel confident recommending them and their power meter units to anyone.
As for the Red Exogram model, while it may look similar, in reality it is a radical departure from the (now discontinued) Cinqo model, both in terms of the power meter spider and the SRAM crank components themselves.
After the jump we'll take a look at the Exogram unit as a whole and as a sum of its parts.
Continue reading “SRAM Red Exogram Quarq Review” »
While we've already dealt with choosing crankset gearing, you may still be in the dark about choosing cassette gearing. Along with your crankset gearing, that cluster of cogs on your back wheel is what will determine if you're toddling happily up the next climb or walking (and cursing) on the way up.
So how do you assure that you're not plodding when you should be pedaling? What factors go into choosing a proper cassette to match your ability and terrain?
Let's look at how to choose the proper gearing for you.
Continue reading “Choosing Cassette Gearing” »
Since the weather became nice enough to start using tubular wheels again, the eternal frustration with valve extenders has become yet again apparent. Adding to the frustration is the fact that I'm a devout user of the Lezyne Alloy Floor Drive pump (which screws on to both presta and schrader valve stems) and that just doesn't work with a non-threaded valve extender.
And let's face it…that old Park floor pump I have in the garage is a piece of junk at best.
Enter the machined aluminum, laser etched beauty that is the Lezyne alloy 70mm valve extender. With a presta threaded top on it, wrench flats to ensure proper torque on the stock valve and a little baggie (I do mean little, it almost requires tweezers to open and I have fairly thin fingers) full of o-rings to make a perfect airtight seal, these things are more than worth the fifteen bucks that I paid for them.
As well as looking awesome, they function extremely well (at least as well as a piece as simple as a valve extender can.) They threaded presta cap means you can use the awesome screw on Lezyne pump or you can use any standard pump you want, making life infinitely easier.
The biggest downside to these extenders is that they screw onto the top of the existing valve stem and merely provide a conduit for air to get from the pump head to the valve. I'd prefer if the extender actually moved the valve parts out to the end of the valve extender, much like the ENVE extenders do. The issue with these extenders is simply that in order to access the valve (to open or close it, or to remove it to spray in Stans or anything similar) you have to remove the valve extender, and it may still be impossible to access the valve stem anyway (otherwise you wouldn't be using extenders.) That aside, I've had no issues with them, especially as they relate to the Lezyne Floor Drive pump.
The only other thing one could wish for was stealth black with the sweet laser etched "Lezyne" logo on it. But the polished silver certainly looks the part.