How to Make a Superlight Bike for the “Concours de Machines”

Off The Beaten Path

The official results of the 2017 Concours de Machines are in! Peter Weigle’s machine did even better than we thought:

  • Lightest bike: First place
  • Choice of the jury: First place
  • Technical points (bonus for features, penalties for problems): First place
  • Zero penalties for technical problems
  • Faster than required speed on each stage: zero penalties
  • Overall: Second place

We were especially excited to find that the jury appreciated Peter’s bike for its craftsmanship and functionality. Small things like the placement of the headlight make a difference on the road – you don’t ride into a shadow when you corner at night – but they are easy to overlook when evaluating a bike without riding it. The jury consisted of experienced randonneurs who understood the importance of these small details. It appears that they also were impressed by the ease of Rinko’ing the Weigle for travel by car, train or airplane.

You…

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MKS Allways Pedals

Off The Beaten Path

Allways pedal

At Compass Cycles, we sell only parts that we want to ride on our own bikes. It’s important that we can rely on the components we use to carry us through all conditions, problem-free. This is why we offer the top-of-the-line pedals from MKS.

Each of the MKS pedals we offer features silky smooth cartridge bearings, beautifully finished bodies and elegant design. Our most recent addition, the Allways platform pedal, is a great choice for urban riding, when you don’t necessarily want to wear cycling-specific shoes.

When I saw the prototypes of the Allways pedals this spring in Tokyo, I was impressed by their light weight and silky-smooth bearing. When I spun the pedals, they seemed to rotate forever. Then the engineers from MKS explained the other features behind the pedals: The large platform has a slightly concave surface so that your foot doesn’t slip. Removable pins provide further…

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What Is a Road Bike?

Off The Beaten Path

In past decades, there was little doubt about what made a “road” bike: narrow tires, drop handlebars, no fenders.

Then randonneur bikes were re-introduced into cycling’s mainstream, leading to some confusion. “That is a touring bike,” said many. “It has a rack and fenders.” But the performance of the randonneur bike is the same as that of a racing bike, and far from a touring bike. Basically, the randonneur bike is a racing bike with integrated fenders, lights and a small rack. (The geometry also has been tweaked to carry the load.) If you take the meaning of “road bike” literally, a randonneur bike fits it at least as well as any other bike.

And then along came wide tires, and suddenly you have a bike like the Open U.P. (above) or my Firefly. “It has 26″/ 27.5″ wheels and fat tires. It’s a rigid mountain bike with drop bars,” 

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Concours de Machines: Results

Off The Beaten Path

The 2017 Concours de Machines in Ambert (France) was a great success for everybody involved. The bikes were amazing – and much-improved over last year’s machines – the routes were truly challenging, and most of all, the spirit among all participants was wonderful.

The goal was to find the best “light randonneur bike”, with 24 builders bringing their interpretations of this theme. Most participants were French builders, but others came all the way from Sweden, Slovakia, Great Britain, the USA and even Japan. Builders from Germany and Spain had entered the Concours, too, but weren’t able to finish their bikes before the start of the event.

After two days of challenging rides, 18 bikes made it to the finish. The course was very hard: The first day, we covered 230 km (140 miles) on backroads and mountain bike trails with more than 4600 m (15,000 ft) of climbing and…

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Compass 700C x 35 mm and 38 mm Back in Stock

Off The Beaten Path

The long days of summer see us heading far into the mountains. Often, our ambitious plans push the limits of even the longest days… Above, Natsuko descends the incredible chain of passes in the Cevennes mountains of France. This amazing tour is featured in the latest Bicycle Quarterly.

Just in time for the adventures of the summer, our latest shipment of Compass Barlow Pass 700C x 38 and Bon Jon Pass 700C x 35 mm tires has arrived. We appreciate your patience while demand outpaced supply during the last few weeks. All of us at Compass Cycles work hard to keep all our products in stock at all times. Because for us, excellent tires are essential supplies for great rides.

Click on the links below for more information about:

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Frame stiffness

Flex, elasticity, minimum loss of stored energy, controlling the axes of distortion and return to equilibrium.

Pole vaulters now using composite poles take a one-dimensional object (pole) distort it into two dimensions and slightly off to the side (third dimension) storing their horizontal kinetic energy and translate it to the vertical. There lies a simple beginning point to study the storage and return of energy in a slightly flexible frame.

https://janheine.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/expert-discussion-on-frame-stiffness/

Berthoud Saddles and Spare Parts

Off The Beaten Path

Berthoud saddles are among the most comfortable in the world. What’s even better, they are fully and easily rebuildable. Every part for the saddles is available from Compass Cycles, and you can replace all parts using standard tools. Berthoud saddles are designed to be easy to work on, even though it is rarely necessary:  The 10-year-old prototype saddle I am using on my Urban Bike shows no sign of wearing out.

The most important spare parts are probably the leather tops (above). After a few decades of hard riding, you may need a new one. Or if you want to change the color of your saddle, it’s easy enough to do. Simply unbolt the top and install a new one.

All the other parts are available as well. If you want a lighter saddle, you can replace your stainless steel rails for titanium ones. A friend once lost one of…

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