Posts Tagged sports

Speedhounds Are Chameleons

The ChameleonMs. Speedhound recently announced that she had offered the use of her bike to a friend who is training for a triathalon.  Ms. Speedhound rides a 54 cm frame, which, it turned out, would be too tall for her friend.  We did have a 51 cm Nut Green ONLY ONE that we had shown at NAHBS 2012 and the MIA Bike Night.  It was set up as a fixed-gear with antique track components, including wooden rims, tubular tires, a one-inch pitch chain and no brakes.  A thing of beauty, worthy of much gazing, but a disaster as a trainer.  So what to do?  Switch it over to a road bike, pronto, ready to ride the next day.

I started at 11:00 a.m., stripping the bike of all the retro parts and removing the track-style dropouts.  The split in the drive-side receiver, which allows the use of a belt, is also a great shortcut for removing a chain.  There’s no need to pop the master link or break the chain with a tool.  The next step was to install the vertical derailleur dropouts.  Now the frame was ready to accept all of the racy bits Susan needed to whip herself into shape for the triathlon.  Other than the seatpost, I would be using new components, so there was some prep time to mount the tires and install the cassette, cut cables and housing, set up the brake levers and wrap the bars.  I took a lunch break (chicken and broccoli) and got back to business.  By 5:00 p.m., the transformation from show bike to go bike was complete, and I went out for a test ride.  The wheels felt fast and the bike had that “riding on rails” all-day stability that we designed into the ONLY ONE.  Ms. Speedhound’s friend is going to love it.

Check out the complete image album on Facebook.

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Just Ride: A Review of Grant Petersen’s New Book

There’s a high likelihood that you’ve heard of Grant Petersen and Rivendell Bicycle Works.  (Speedhound tends to attract riders who dig steel bikes, and nobody has done more than Grant Petersen to praise the many virtues of steel.)  If G.P. and Riv mean nothing to you, though, it’s your lucky day.  G.P.’s new book, Just Ride (subtitled “A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike”), might just change your life.  As the author says in the Introduction, “my main goal with this book is to point out what I see as bike racing’s bad influence on bicycles, equipment, and attitudes, and then undo it.”

I’d subscribed to G.P.’s Rivendell Reader for years, and whether I agreed or disagreed with his many opinions, the Reader was always entertaining and useful.  G.P. challenged conventional biking wisdom and rejected the racer as a role model.  He gave us permission to raise our handlebars, lower our tire pressure, and leave the Lycra at home.  In large doses, his writing could come off as judgmental and cranky, or sometimes painfully wordy and confessional.  It pulled you in anyway, with a vaguely cult-like vibe you wanted to be a part of, even if it just meant ordering a Rivendell handlebar bag.

The last print edition of the Reader was published in February 2009, and I hadn’t gotten around to reading the two later, on-line volumes until recently.  (Available to download free at www.rivbike.com/product-p/rr.htm.)  So when I started reading Just Ride, it was like a visit from an old friend.  All of the familiar themes were there, including G.P.’s pet equipment likes: steel frames, lugs, wheels with lots of spokes, puffy tires, flat pedals (not clipless), friction shifters, threaded forks, quill stems, fenders, saddle bags, kickstands, leather saddles, cotton bar tape, shellac, hemp twine, and wool.  Practical, durable stuff, not for racing.

So what’s new?  Part 4 of Just Ride is titled “Health and Fitness,” and G.P. says it’s his second-favorite chapter in the book.  It’s my favorite.  Here are some of the section headings:

  • Riding is lousy all-around exercise.
  • Riding burns calories and makes you eat more.
  • Carbohydrates make you fat.
  • Branch out and buff up.
  • Stretching is overrated.

Wow, G.P. has gone all low carb and paleo!  (He doesn’t use the term.)  It’s offered as his own advice, but it’s really a distillation of, among others, Gary Taubes (Why We Get Fat) www.garytaubes.com and Mark Sisson (The Primal Blueprint) www.marksdailyapple.com. These books, two favorites in my library, are offered for sale on the Rivendell site.  G.P. says “My education will be questioned.  Some will accuse me of making irresponsible, even dangerous claims, and will want to see the studies.  The studies are out there; look them up.  I’ve been careful.  I’ve read everything, seen through the BS, seen the results in others and in myself.  Do what I recommend here, and you will get healthier.”

Believe it.  I’ve followed my own primal lifestyle experiment for almost three years and it works.  You’ll disagree with much of G.P.’s advice when it comes to bikes and riding, but you owe it to yourself to read Just Ride, and when you’re done, Why We Get Fat (even if you’re not) and The Primal Blueprint.  This is life changing stuff.  Now go out and just ride!

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Speedhounds love gravel!

Riding and racing on gravel roads have become extremely popular in the last few years.  Road and cyclocross bikes on skinny tires share the country lanes and forest service roads happily with MTBs.  Gravel events are springing up all over the country.  The Speedhound geometry is perfect for off-road adventures where farm dogs outnumber motor vehicles.

Gravel riders face a variety of conditions from dusty hard-packed roads to muddy, rutted lanes that barely qualify as “roads”.  That diversity of terrain requires a different set of skills and a greater attention to the road surface.  Wise gravel riders take corners at much less than criterium speeds to avoid laying the bike down in a spray of pebbles.  Safe drafting distances increase, also.  It’s particularly important to use the brakes lightly – that keeps skidding and slipping to a minimum.  Of course, staying on the right side of the road is absolutely critical, especially on country hills.  Farm vehicles don’t expect cyclists to occupy their lane as they come over the top of those rolling hills and won’t be able to stop or swerve in time to avoid you.  Remember that the speed limit on unpaved roads can be as high as 55 mph.

Accessories can make a major difference in gravel bike performance.  Most gravel riders run at least 28 mm tires with some tread.  Many opt for cyclocross tires if the surface is particularly rough or muddy.  A set of flared drop bars can create a stable ride with multiple handholds.  The shorter drop these bars offer means the height difference between the saddle and your hands is minimized.  Cantilever or V-brakes allow more clearance when mud and dirt collect on your tires.

There’s a world of gravel riding adventure out there.  The Speedhound Only One frameset makes a perfect partner for off-road trekking.  If you’re interested in learning more about gravel riding and racing check out these resources:

Events

Barry-Roubaix – MI

Almonzo 100 – MN

Trans Iowa – IA

Dirty Kanza 200 – KS

 

Websites

Guitar Ted Productions

Gravel Grinder News

 

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ACE Red!

Recently, we built a beautiful ACE Red Speedhound with a Nuvinci internally-geared hub.  it’s a sweet commuter with some beautiful lines and curves.  Pictures of this beauty are up on our flickr stream.

See all the glamour shots here.

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Road Sportif Concept Bike photos

We’ve posted several photos of the Road Sportif concept bike featured here last week on our Flickr stream. See it in it’s full glory here.

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The Road Sportif Concept Bike

The Speedhound Road SportifDo you dream of a long ride on the open road?  This well-rounded road bike features all-day comfort geometry and durable,  ride-smoothing steel.  Whatever comes down the road, the ONLY ONE frameset can handle it.

Add some lightweight climbing wheels like the DT-Swiss RR 1450s and smooth shifting SRAM Rival derailleurs and the ONLY ONE frameset makes a road machine that rewards your efforts (19.0 lbs as shown, less pedals).

Road Sportif Specs

  • Speedhound ONLY ONE 51 cm frameset in Nut Green
  • SDS aluminum road dropout insert with derailleur hanger
  • SRAM Rival 10-speed derailleurs and shfters
  • Race Face Cadence crankset 53-39t
  • SRAM 12-25 10-speed cassette
  • DT-Swiss RR 1450 mon Chasseral wheels
  • Vittoria Open Corsa EVO 700X25 tires
  • Tektro medium-reach caliper brakes
  • Race Face Cadence bars
  • Thomson X-2 stem
  • Thomson Elite seatpost
  • Selle Italia Diva saddle

Visit an authorized Speedhound Dealer to create your own Road Sportif.

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Ice Cream Racer Bike Concept

Ice Cream Racer Cyclocross Concept BikeA cyclocross racer’s dream, this speedy concept bike is built for the wildest CX course you can imagine. The only thing missing is a bottle cage for beer hand-ups! The Speedhound Only One geometry is optimized for CX. It’s responsive without being twitchy and stiff without all the jarring. It tackles big climbs confidently and takes the little bumps in stride.

The sporty Campy Centaur drivetrain and unique Campy G3-spoked wheels make a perfect match to this high-performance ‘cross racer.

Ice Cream Racer Specs

  • Speedhound ONLY ONE 56 cm. frameset in Ice Cream
  • SDS aluminum road dropout insert with derailleur hanger
  • Campagnolo Centaur 10-speed derailleurs and shifters
  • Campagnolo Centaur CT carbon crankset 48-34t
  • Campagnolo 10 speed cassette 12-25t
  • Campagnolo G3 wheels
  • Challenge Grifo XS 700X32 cyclocross tires
  • Kore cantilever brakes
  • Ritchey WCS Classic bars
  • Ritchey WCS stem
  • Ritchey WCS seatpost
  • San Marco Caymano saddle

Visit your authorized Speedhound Dealer to create your own concept bike.

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