Have you ever wanted to have a mooch around the much-vaunted Team Sky bus? I know I did, and thanks to Jaguar, along with some lucky competition winners, we got that very chance whilst the Death Star sat awaiting its star charges during the final stage of the Tour of Britain.
For a race like the Tour of Britain, Team Sky send the team bus and a big service truck – the service truck has a kitchen and laundry at the front, and bike storage and a workshop at the back. The workshop is empty because the team are out on stage, safely shepherding Sir Brad’s run to the gold jersey.
Visiting the team bus while the riders were away was the cycling equivalent to stepping aboard the deserted Marie Celeste where the coffee pot on the stove was still hot. Bernie Eisel’s spare helmet waits patiently for the call to arms.
The bus was designed and built solely to transport nine riders from the hotel to the start line in as comfortable a fashion as possible. The first vehicle to be built so uncompromisingly, other teams have since followed suit.
Team Sky advise that their riders become attached to particular seats – this seat, the second row on the right hand side, is the one that Chris Froome favoured during his Tour de France triumph.
The seat behind the Froome chair is the one that David Lopez occupied during the Tour of Britain, and his newspaper, recovery bar and phones await his return. Team Sky were fantastically open-handed about allowing us access.
Wiggo’s seat, predictably enough, is in the front row, right behind the driver – some goon who really doesn’t like having his picture taken poses with the jersey that Sir Bradley picked up at the end of the Guildford stage the day before. The helmet weighs nothing.
Sir Bradley’s shades and his Guildford trophy. The seats are exquisitely comfortable.
The rules according to Team Sky.
At the back of the bus, past the showers, is a little meeting room where the world’s supply of energy bars, gels and powders are stored. We were invited to go and have a look around, but I felt too guilty intruding on someone’s workspace to go any further.
How much do you want to try a bottle of this?
Even from the outside, I’ve always been appreciative of what Team Sky have done for the sport in the UK, purely in terms of results and the associated boosting of the profile of racing. But it was a privilege to have a chance to have a look on the inside – even in the closing stages of a fairly important stage race in which they had a vested interest, they took the time to offer the chance to have a mosey around to four randoms that they didn’t know from Adam. And not just a faceless guided whizz around – we had a guide, of course, but Rob could not have been more open and friendly. It was remarkable – all their riders’ personal kit was there, any questions could be asked, photos were encouraged and nothing was off limits. British Cycling Head Coach Shane Sutton was on and off the bus doing his thing whilst we were there, and he was perfectly happy to answer questions as he worked.
It was a fantastic treat, for any cycling fan, and a real privilege to have had the chance – massive “thank you thank you thank you!” thanks to Fran Millar of Team Sky and Claire Boakes of Jaguar for allowing Cycling Shorts this window into such a fascinating world. #ToB2013 #ridelikeapro @TeamSky @JaguarUK @Sportbrake
Eurobike 2013 – Press & Industry Demo Day
Tuesday 27th August 2013 – 10.30 AM
The risks and sacrifices one makes for you, good readers of CyclingShorts. With aching joints, running nose and hacking cough – after a night of synchronised-snoring in a double bed with my esteemed PezCyclingNews colleague (our hosts, nice folk all, were confused as to the meaning of ‘friend’ when booking!) Somewhat optimistically I packed my cycling kit and drove to the demo day location. The decision was made to wander, get my bearings and a general feel of the place. Ten minutes later, looking like a giant pumpkin, I was, er, resplendent in X-Bionic bibshorts and jersey – biomimetic sports clothing no less, and more, much more, about them later – and about to leap aboard my first bike. Tern folding bikes captured my interest as the MD was great company and seemed to genuinely love his product and all things bike… just like us.
Mark Bickerton, MD Tern Folding Bikes with his top of the range Tern Verge X20. SRAM 20 speed. 8.6 kg. ©NickDey/CyclingShorts.cc
My chosen question of the Eurobike 2013, ‘Why should I buy …. Insert specific product?’ was met with a smile and good cheer by Mark Bickerton – whose father invented a folding bike about 45 years ago.
Mark told me a delightful story of riding his father’s prototype at the age of eight. He’s now in his fifties and has been around folding bikes for pretty much his entire life – a true devote of the genre.
Anyway, back to my question. Mark’s response of ‘A Tern fulfils all requirements, allowing you to use it in places where a full size is not possible” seemed fair but also hinted at the demonic hand of the marketing exec’! Mark then offered a mid-conversation quote that, coupled with the benefit of post-test ride hindsight, is spot on. I asked, with charming twinkle in my eye, why a Tern and not a Brompton?
“Brompton’s are good for storage, Tern’s are great for riding.”
Folding: The Tern folds quickly, in my hands quicker than the Brompton, but not as a compact. It does seem though to be small enough to hop on and off public transport though and it will sit unobtrusively in your office or home when not in use.
TEST RIDES: I tested two of their models as I wanted to try and get a relative feel for the difference over a price and specification range. My first ride was to be a low price Tern Link D17 (D for deluxe) with 16 gears and a mass of approximately 12 kg. It is coming to the UK soon and will be retailing for around £600.
The D17 proved very manoeuvrable and confidently stable as I stuttered my way through the crowds. The Link D17 traversed the short, steep cobbled ramp smoothly. On the road I found the stem to flex a little but not so much as to cause me any worry. I took it up to speed, both on and off road and found myself smiling… yes me… on a folder… smiling!
I wanted more…
The next bike. Tern’s top of the range Verge X20 (X for extreme) will not be available in the UK for a few months, possibly not until the New Year. It comes equipped with SRAM 20 speed as standard and with a mass of approximately 8.5 kg is incredibly light and comfortable to carry when folded or not…
Tern Verge X20. Price tbc. ©Nick Dey (also the, ahem, model!) / CyclingShorts.cc
The VergeX20 is fast, very fast. Smooth, balanced and stops on a sixpence. I loved it. No flex, no judder, just confidence and the largest smile of the day.
Should you be on the lookout for a folding bike – and who these days isn’t – then Tern will almost definitely have a model for you.
August 27-31, Friedrichshafen, Germany.
Dispatches from Day 1… entry #1 Wednesday 28th August 2013, 9.15 AM
The intrepid Cycling Shorts correspondent.., ‘Our man in Germany’ sallied forth with sharp mind, keen focus and targeted questions designed to cut the cycling industry to the quick. Several minutes into the Euro Bike Show this highly trained, most hard-bitten of hacks became the very epitome of a small child entering Hamley’s on a ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Christmas eve!
Swamped in Dreamland… The Italian Pavilion – a taste of things to come? a doffing of the cap to the tradition of the sport?
EuroBike2013 – The Italian Pavilion – Tommasini 002- ©NickDey/CyclingShorts.cc
With eyes narrowed I entered the fray determined to discover the ‘truth’ about this myth-shrouded business. What myths and legends have emerged from Italy. Such icons. In the minds of many Italian bikes demand all pretenders measured against their history; their aesthetics and their beauty. My eyes met stand 505 and Tommasini, they widened, the inner child took over, and all was lost (but in a good way).
Feasting upon the designs laid out in montage before me, guided by Mz Tommasini herself and trying not to become too lost in the sheer beauty of these still-made-in-Italy frames. The beauty of the paintwork and the balance of the designs owed more to fine art than to a gritty road race. yet they ride well, very well. Enough. Let the photographs tell all…
The invisible cycling helmet… possible?
It Sounds like an April Fool, but design students Anna and Terese say they are, ‘Going to save the World’. A bold claim indeed, but these two young designers don’t seem to be phased by the male dominated product design sector and took on a seemingly impossible challenge as an exam project. Something no one had done before. It could be revolutionary if they can pull it off. They see the bicycle as a tool to change the world; the future they say, ‘Cars are yesterday’. The duo believes if we use bikes AND travel safe: Life will be better for all. They have worked on the project for seven years so far so this isn’t just a gimmick to turn heads at their final degree show.
Can you ever have too many bikes?
Well I suppose it depends who you ask the question of! In our household I would naturally answer No of course you can never have too many, however my wife might just answer rather differently posing a question of her own. How many bikes can you ride at any one time!
Seriously though you do need a bike for each discipline you ride, don’t you. Who in their right mind would use a track bike to ride a BMX course and like wise who would ride downhill on a CX (cyclocross) bike! OK so I have chosen some extremes but I still recon that you need more then one bike.
Unlike some I am not totally mad with the number bikes I have and I have a sensible mix, a road bike (actually two if I am honest), an full suspension XC MTB, a track bike and a BMX.
Over the years the type of riding I have been doing has changed a little and the Full Suspension XC seems a bit of an over kill for riding things like Preston’s Guild Wheel and some of the disused railway lines locally, however a full carbon road bike does not quite fit the bill either! Leaving me with a bit of a conundrum, what to get to fill the gap? A hard tail MTB to replace the Full Sus or a CX bike?
Hmm tricky coz I really do not want to get rid of the Full Sus because it is really useful for those days out in the hills and trail centres. I know I could do these on a hardtail but then just maybe this would be over kill for the local trails.
Yes you guessed it I plumped for a CX bike, as I said you can never have too many bikes!! But I set myself a challenge I had to do this on a budget no more then £300 could be spent. I had a donor bike for most of the drive train and bars etc, so all I needed would be a frame, brakes, wheels and tyres.
My natural port of call for these parts was going to be ebay or discount online stores. First things first find out what is needed for a CX bike and which parts are the most robust for a bit of a hack bike and how much parts typically are. This is key to avoid over spending on eBay. It always amazes me that many buyers on ebay get carried away. The worst I have seen is a set of wheels go for £30 more then the buy now option for the same set from the same seller who had one set on open bid and another set available as buy now!
The donor bike was a Specialized Allez Sport with Shimano Tiagra triple chainset. I pondered long and hard over the triple chainset as my gut instinct was to go for a double CX specific or a double compact until I read this article http://bikehugger.com/post/view/the-rise-of-the-compact-crank which clearly defined the pit falls of a compact and the benefits of the triple. The decision to stick with the triple also meant I had less to buy with my budget, meaning more to spend on the frame.
Kinesis Crosslight Evo4 Cyclocross Frame 2010spend on the frame.spend on the frame.
Step 1 Frameset.
Having trawled eBay and the internet it seemed that the choices boiled down to a selection from:
- Graham Weigh frame and forks £199.99
- Forme Hiver (Paul Milnes) £274.99
- Paul Mines CT Wing £295
- Dolan Multicross £249.99
From these the best value for money seemed to be the Dolan as it included a seat post, headset and front cable hanger. However this did not leave me with much in the budget for wheels. So back to the drawing board and review the second hand options via eBay. Patience and timing had to be the watch word now. As I write there are very few frames on open bid. I missed out on a couple by a few pounds but I had set my target and was sticking to it.
Finally I hit the jackpot with a rather good Kenesis Crosslight EVO4 and BikeRadar’s review seemed to rate the frame
so in for a penny in for a few quid!
Step 2 Brakes
The frameset was set up for cantilevers only but which set to get? Shimano CX50’s, Avid Shorty, Tektro V brakes, Empella Froglegs or Tektro CR 520?
Cash had to be king here and simplicity had to rule so a big thanks to Paul Milnes eBay store Tektro Colorado’s at £21.99 a full set it was
Step 3 Wheelset.
I struck gold here as a friend who had switched from a CX bike to a 29er still had a set of Shimano wheels that came off his Cannondale CX bike so £40 landed me 5 tyres and tubes and a set of Shimano WH-RS10’s. Not the most amazing wheelset in the world but functional.
Step 4 cable set.
Having used a mix of manufacturers in the past decided to try a new manufacturer for me and bought a set of low friction PTFE-coated stainless steel Goodridge cables from Chainreaction (user reviews 4.1/5).
The first thing to do was to strip down the donor bike a Specialized Allez Sport running a triple Shimano Tigra groupset. I would be using everything from this bike except the caliper brakes and saddle, or at least that was the plan.
As soon as the frame arrived from its original Coleford Gloucestershie home it was time for close inspection. The frame was pretty much as described on eBay except for a very small dent on the downtube and a small gouge hidden under a sticker on the headtube. If I am being really picky the packing of the frameset could have been better and I was rather disappointed that the seller had not used fork and rear end frame spacers to avoid crushing during shipping as I had requested. The good news was the frame was in full alignment and ready to build.
A quick clean down and removal of old cable protectors and it was time to apply helicopter tape to areas which might suffer from scuffing, cable wear or chain slap.
This done it was in with the bottom bracket, crankset and front mech, quickly followed by rear mech, handlebar stem, seat post, handlebars and finally cantilever brakes and wheels. Time to check the fit. First hop on and it was immediately obvious that the handlebar stem was going to be a tad too short. So out with the tape measure and size up the fit vs my road bike. It was very obvious that the 100mm stem going to be too short. 110 mm might just work but even this might leave me a little hunched up, so it would need to be 115 or 120mm. I plumped for the longer of the two a quick trawl on the internet and a 120mm Deda Zero 1 was acquired and fitted. Perfect sizing and hey presto one bike ready for setting up with cables.
The Goodridge cables where new to me and I was itching to find out how good they really where. Unlike normal brake cables which have flat spiral wound metal the Goodridge set are the same set up as a gear cable outer, with steel strands in the sheath orientated in the same direction as the cable (along the length of the outer). For gear cables this reduces compression of the outer and improves reliability of indexing.
Kinesis Pure CX Cyclocross Fork
I will be interested to see the effect on braking. I suspect that it will improve modulation and feel reducing any sponginess caused by the outer compressing during braking. The brake cables certainly proved to be very stiff and somewhat tricky to cut.
With careful measuring and cutting (measure twice cut once) all was well with both gear cables and brake cables. A really nice touch with the Goodridge set is the long leadin tails on the cable ferrules allowing for improved
water and grit protection. With careful fitting of the blue plastic outer it is possible to run the cables fully water and grit proof.
All finished time to ride.
WOW this is a quick bike. From the first turn of the pedals it is clear that this is a race bike with a real eagerness to move forwards quickly. To quote What Mountain Bike’s review
“The Kinesis Crosslight Evo is a highly evolved racer that proves even hardcore cyclo-crossers can be a fun and versatile trail/tarmac crossover option on non-race days.”
Very true and great fun was had on the first few rides proving that it was a very good choice to go CX and not Hardtail. However as time went on a couple of limitations started to show through and once again these confirmed the finding of Guy Kesteven
‘A major – but surprisingly common – technical terrain limitation soon becomes clear though. While the Tektro cantilever brakes on the Kinesis are usefully powerful – at least in the dry – the brake judder caused by fork flex on rough terrain makes the front wheel skip alarmingly.’
front wheel skip was the least of the problems the fact was that the amount of front brake judder, especially during descents, made the front brake totally redundant. Solution simples, fit a fork crown cable stop to replace the headset one. Cost £8.99 from Paul Milnes. Fitted cable recut and off we go again. Amazing the front brake is a different beast no judder at all even under the most powerful braking, bringing a high level of confidence to tackle technical descents with ease. Does make you think as to why Kenesis do not fit this simple device to the OEM bike in the first place. £8.99 is not a major cost to transform the ride.
MTB or CX well this being my first CX ride ever I am totally sold. This has to be the perfect tool for riding the local disused railway lines and simpler off road tracks, where to be honest even a hard tail MTB would be overkill.
What is even better is that I have managed to build a CX worth over £1000 for £300, result! Will I get rid of my Full Sus MTB? No it is horses for courses and to attack trails like Gisburn, Winlatter, Grizedale etc this will still be the machine to use but for a qucik blast along many of the SUSTRANS off road routes the CX EVO 4 will be perfect.
If you have never tried a CX bike and want to venture offroad but do not want to wreck your best road bike then find a frame on eBay and switch all your winter hardware onto a CX frame.