tic-cc hc short-sleeve jersey

tic-cc hc short sleeve jersey

in what seems like the latter years of prehistory, i suggested to the producers of islay's local newspaper, that they might like to approach future sustainability by printing on recycled paper. in one of those 'right back atcha' moments, they said that, if i could find suitable paper stock at an economical price, they would be happy to discuss the matter further. of course, this was pre-millennium, when recycled papers often closely resembled amateur attempts to make paper, and few of which resembled what you and i would describe as 'white'.

tic-cc hc short sleeve jersey

for those of us endeared of the rustic look, this hardly seemed much of a problem, and possibly even a badge of honour. but, as a result of attempting to be in the vanguard of a sustainable effort, the prices were somewhat excessive. so, despite my enthusiasm for what i thought might have been a unique selling point, those in charge of the purse strings declined to explore the matter further. following the last year of economic challenge, i doubt they'd be any keener to resurrect the idea, though i believe recycled stock is now more economically priced.

tic-cc hc short sleeve jersey

the other, perhaps more pertinent reason for such a refusal at the time, paralleled that of calmac, when defending the decision to build the current ferry plying the islay route. the boat is not as economical to operate as present day perspectives demand, but at the time it was conceived and built, such matters were not considered to be pressing. likewise the possibility of printing on recycled paper; it was seen to be an eccentric choice which there was no pressing requirement to fulfil.

nowadays, however, the realities of climate change have made many revise their thoughts on the subject. the world's petrol and diesel cars are likely to become obsolete within the next ten years, while the extraction and consumption of fossil fuels has become the pariah of the energy world. which brings us to the staple of present day velocipedinal sartorial excellence: the polyester jersey. even the various sportwool variations rely on a percentage of polyester to give 'body' to the merino wool component. the downside to this is that polyester is derived from oil which, as mentioned above is beginning to lose its flavour (so to speak).

tic-cc hc short sleeve jersey

thus, in order to minimise use of these oil-derived yarns, the cycle clothing industry has begun to explore the use of recycled polyester. always keen to do 'the right thing', daphne and andrew at tic-cc have adopted just such an environmental stance with their range of hc jerseys, of which i have had the pleasure of not only wearing, but getting thoroughly wet in the process. according to daphne, 90% of the polyester used in the production of this remarkably diaphanous jersey (the medium -size weighs in at a scant 102g) is recycled. using italian performance fabrics, the body and side panels employ a great deal of perforation, keeping the rider cool while achieving such a remarkably light weight.

tic-cc hc short sleeve jersey

i'd say that tic-cc's medium size is a smidgeon smaller than many others; if you inhabit the upper regions of medium, i'd recommend moving up a size. the jersey is cut shorter at the front to provide an optimum on the bike fit, a task it performs very well. however, being somewhat long of torso, i found frequently when off the bike, that the hem struggled to cover the lowered front of a pair of tic-cc bibshorts. combine that with the shortness of a tic-cc baselayer, and one had to be somewhat careful not to expose more than is seemly in public places.

tic-cc hc short sleeve jersey

it is, what i believe would be termed a race-fit, a fit that it embodies remarkably well, offering comfort that almost suggested it wasn't there. due to intermittent rain, i partially covered its extreme lightness of being with a bright pink tic-cc gilet, a choice that was at least partially vindicated by a monumental downpour between debbie's and foreland road end. fortunately, though rain featured throughout that particular ride, the ambient temperature matched the jersey's minimalism almost perfectly.

the hc jersey features no collar to speak of, offering ideal ventilation on warm days, with a a ykk zip that, despite the thin-ness of the fabric, was easy to pull up or down, depending on necessity. the three rear pockets are not only remarkably robust, but capacious enough to contain a compact digital camera, a mini-pump and tyre-jack and a compact backpack. however, the right side pocket features a small internal waterproof pocket for coffee money, keys or card, which i found interfered with trying to fit stuff in or out of the main pocket. granted, once aware of the inner pocket, it was a tad easier to negotiate.

tic-cc hc short sleeve jersey

daphne and andrew are to be commended on taking such major steps towards sustainability, and on producing such an effective and quality cycle jersey. and for those who wish to remain perfectly co-ordinated, there's a pair of socks that mirror the white front hoops and the polka dots on the left sleeve and shoulder (or the opposite way round if you prefer to be seen as a rebel).

the tic-cc hc short-sleeve jersey is available in neon fuschia, midnight blue, neon lime, neon mandarine and storm black (reviewed). sizes range from xs- xl. currently the neon mandarine storm black, and neon lime jerseys are on offer at £81.60, while the other colours retail at £102.

monday 9 august 2021

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going all jack thurston - it's a thing

lost lanes - jack thurston

continuing my perennial obsession with a clean, lubricated chain, i carried out my regular sequence of chain events on friday afternoon, mostly because it figured i'd be lazy and have a lie-in on saturday morning. that would inevitably lead to notions of lateness (for what, i know not), and i didn't want to be further delayed by the necessary chain ablutions prior to the grand départ. having recently discovered a long-lost bottle of chain cleaner in the bike shed, i am currently in the habit of dousing the chain with the blue liquid, drying it off with a former bath towel, before sparingly lubricating each and every link and again, taking off any excess with the same towel. valentino campagnolo would have been proud of me.

i don't actually care if you wish to pillory me for this level of obsession foisted upon a hapless twelve-speed chain; i've already heard it all from my fellow velo clubbists, but the result is a more than satisfying purr from the transmission when pursued by a complementary tailwind. like many a cyclist, i despair when there are noises emanating from the bicycle. aside from the fact that every noise you care to mention appears to be coming from the bottom bracket region (but rarely is), a cool, calm and collected attitude towards these noises can only result from knowledge of what is causing it. a bit like chinese water torture, to ride the second half of the saturday solo ride, beset by an unidentified noise, is something likely to drive me nuts.

and for two reasons; firstly, i've often no idea of its origin and secondly, it is very difficult to stop in the first available passing place and footer with the bicycle in order to pinpoint the culprit. for starters, many bike noises seem only to appear when the pressure's on, either ascending, or ploughing into a galeforce headwind. standing in a passing place, or on the grass verge, spinning the pedals in vain, is pretty much guaranteed not to provide any noise whatsoever, leading to even greater frustration until arriving home and popping the bicycle onto the workstand. sadly, that often results in no greater enlightenment.

however, for the present, the ritchey logic, with its campagnolo componentry, rolls smoothly and silently, uphill and down dale, barely even punctuating the average bike ride with sound even when changing gear. in short, it is the holy grail of cycling, encouraging less than frantic pedalling and an almost zen-like state of affairs along the island's singletrack roads. the hebrides is not renowned for its leafy lanes as described in jack thurston's excellent series of books, even though many are as lost as those he describes, but it doesn't overly tax the imagination to pretend that they are.

thus, on passing kilchoman distillery, and leaving behind the often persistent stream of cars that uisge beatha seems to promote, today matthew, i was jack thurston. granted, i may have been a tad more conspicuously dressed, with a bright pink gilet to fend off the frequent heavy showers and identify myself more prominently to holiday traffic, but my speed had been adjusted downwards and i revelled in the almost fluorescent green grass between coull and ballinaby, and the slight sea mist at saligo.

my bicycle may have twelve sprockets at the back, skinny tyres and bendy bars, but mentally, i had a basket on the front and a tweed jacket. at least until i arrived once more at the main road when matters became more about not being overtaken on blind corners by audi estates with kayaks and paddleboards on their roofs. i'd recommend being jack thurston every once in a while. it'll do you the world of good.

lost lanes - jack thurston

photo: lost lanes

sunday 8 august 2021

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what have electrons ever done for us?


the bicycle could conceivably be the key to the world's transport problems, even in places where they've yet to realise there actually is a transport problem. the hard part is going to be convincing the naysayers that this is the case. sales of electric cars are now on the increase, despite concerns that they might not be the solution the powers that be would have us believe. someone far more astute than yours truly has already pointed out that the ultimate solution is not e-cars or even hydrogen power, but fewer cars on the roads. though an electric motor might reduce pollution at point of use, it's notable how few are willing to discuss the obvious need for greater for electricity generation and a bolstering of the infrastructure required to deliver it to point of use. namely, the charging points of which we currently have far too few.

unfortunately, electric vehicles have entered the national psyche as the road to net-zero; buy an electric car and all our problems will be solved. end the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles and the world will be saved. sadly, both objectives are a gross oversimplification of the task ahead. however, remove the sword of damocles from the equation, and the bicycle is still very much an important solution for the majority of individuals, perhaps even more so, given the rise and rise of the almost ubiquitous e-bike.

though i was originally mystified by the thrust of the e-bike strategy, convinced that the marketing ought better be aimed at prospective moped purchasers, it seems i have been conclusively proved wrong. however, my error was in mistaking my own proclivities for those of the public at large. i have the physical ability, even at my age, to ride a bicycle over a distance of 100 miles, so riding the uk average car journey distance of 8.4 miles presents no problem whatsoever, and during which i will have used no external energy source. unfortunately, it seems that i am in a very small minority, based on the number of teenagers and twenty-somethings observed riding e-bikes.

however, when it's possible to switch on your washing machine over the internet, or have a small device order whatever seems to be missing from the fridge, perhaps i have grossly underestimated humanity's desperation to lessen or remove any physical undertaking whatsoever. so the fact that few members of generation x wish to take advantage of their much vaunted health and wellbeing by riding an analogue bicycle, really ought not to have come as a complete surprise.

and it seems there is no end in sight to the growth of the labour-saving bicycle. according to a survey by bosch e-bike systems, 55% of adults in the uk are currently considering the purchase of an e-bike. the results were gleaned form the polling of 2,000 individuals. the research also revealed that 32% indicated that they'd be inclined to use the car less frequently, should they eventually become e-bike owners, a statistic that will doubtless provide a warm glow to those in the department of the environment. this information is bolstered by the realisation that, following the purchase of an e-bike, the likelihood of leaving the car in the driveway rises sharply.

disappointingly, there would appear to be no brownie points available for those of us who have been riding bicycles for the majority of our livesand already commute and travel by bicycle. aside from the cycle to work scheme, there has been little public acknowledgment that so doing might already have made some inroads into the pollution and transport problem. that this is indeed the case would seem to be underlined by the propsect of a government-funded e-bike subsidy, the likelihood of which was first mentioned in november last year. apparently 66% of those polled indicated they'd be inclined to acquire an e-bike were the subsidy to become reality. those figures translate to a potential 34 million adults moving around on electric bicycles.

but once again, what about us? to cite my own situation as an example, i do not own a motor car, though i do hold a driver's licence. aside from the prohibitive cost of owning a motor car, i find the bicycle to be a far more environmentally sound and enjoyable means of transport; and bear in mind that i live on the west coast of scotland, where precipitation and gale force winds are my birthright. if i can survive on a bicycle, i tend to figure pretty much anyone can, particularly those younger and fitter than i. so why, might i ask, have those of us who have, to coin a well-worn phrase, been 'saving the planet' on our own intiative and at our own expense, never qualified for a government subsidy towards an analogue bicycle? given the subsidy that applies to purchasers of electric vehicles, and now the prospect of a similar subsidy provided to those buying an e-bike, are we in danger of being sidelined because we use no commercially generated energy whatsoever?

the vice-president of marketing at bosch e-systems, tamara winograd, said, "It's encouraging to see the rapid development of e-biking as a sustainable and enjoyable travel option and these findings confirm what we've been seeing over the past year, as more people discover the benefits of e-mobility." my main question would be why she thinks it to be sustainable?

and how will we ever win cycling medals at the olympics, if the younger generation are all riding e-bikes?

saturday 7 august 2021

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how was it for you?

mv finlaggan

i'm relating todays' monologue to yesterday's mention of my future travel plans, which necessitated making a telephone call to port ellen pier office to make a foot passenger booking on the ferry. this was due to the online booking facility failing to offer the opportunity for those in possession of an old-person's travel card to make a booking through the website. to a certain extent, this may have been slightly unnecessary, given that scotland's first minister has decreed that social-distancing' will be legally null and void as from monday 9 august. until now, the implementation of social-distancing has meant that the islay boats have been running at near one-third capacity. next monday, that changes.

however, having spoken to the customer-service agent at port ellen, she was easily and cheerfully able to not only make my outward and return bookings, but e-mail me details of the non-financial transaction. i'll pay for it when i get there.

and only a few hours following this booking, i received an e-mail from calmac surveys asking in bold capitals, 'how did we do?' by way of explanation, calmac stated in the e-mail, "We regularly gather feedback from our customers, and it is important we understand your booking experience. Customer service is our top priority - we will use your comments to better understand how to improve every aspect of the service we provide. Please can you spare five minutes to complete our survey?'

at the time of writing, i have yet to complete the survey, but having already queried calmac's press department concerning the unavailability of an opportunity to input my old-person's travel card details, i figure i'll give that a body-swerve when i do.

follow-up e-mails, such as that received from calmac surveys, are hardly unknown. i've received similar requests from my bank, apple computer, and a number of the cycle retailers from whom i have purchased components and accessories. however, i have been known to question the veracity of the latter, principally on the basis of both timing and content. on monday afternoon, i placed an order with chain reaction cycles for a cable with which to repair a friend's bicycle. as of the time of writing (late thursday afternoon), it has yet to arrive, scarcley an uncommon occurrence these days, and certainly not, considering the network of couriers to be negotiated prior to delivery, an overly outlandish delay for those of us living on the islands.

but probably prior to my having the opportunity to fit said cable and return the bicycle to its rightful owner, i will have received an e-mail from chain reaction, enquiring as to the performance of my recently purchased gear cable. i'm not regularly of the ilk who complete such surveys, but is there really someone in an office at chain reaction, checking through all the survey responses to ensure that their gear cables are fit for purpose, that chains do indeed move the bicycle forward and that bar-end plugs actually plug the ends of the handlebars? i sincerely hope there is, even if i can scarcely see the point in many cases.

but what of bicycles or wheels. ultimately, my return trip on the islay ferry is likely to cost me about £2.90, but has been deemed worthy of a survey request. so if i purchase (for instance) a new pinarello dogma f series, replete with a campagnolo super-record groupset and a pair of bora ultra wto wheels, having spent an eyewatering amount of money, am i likely to receive survey requests from fausto pinarello and valentino campagnolo, enquiring whether i am satisfied with my purchases? i'm going out on a limb here, since i've purchased none of the above, and say that i doubt it, but it strikes me that so doing would be an excellent idea for both italian companies, and many others besides.

i'm well aware that pretty much every cycle and component manufacturer regularly supplies review bicycles and groupsets, in order that the published reviews will help potential customers decide to hopefully purchase one or more of their products. but in terms of gauging what their customers actually think about the products on which they've quite probably spent serious amounts of money, it is surely not outwith the bounds of possibility to ask? though bicycles and components are purchased from authorised dealers, it shouldn't be too hard for said dealers to forward details to the manufacturers, allowing them to gauge just what was thought of a purchase for which they may have saved scrupulously for many a long month.

of course, the next stage in the process would be to actually listen to what's being said and act accordingly. and that, to put not too fine a point on it, is a whole 'nuther ball game.

friday 6 august 2021

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what about us?

enve road bike

later this month, i will be travelling to scotland to visit with my elderly mother, whom, due to covid restrictions, i've not seen for nigh on two years. as a non-car owner, my journey, as ever it was, means a ferry trip, followed by a couple of bus trips. the last part of the journey is undertaken by a service bus which, if i happen to arrive at buchanan bus station after one has departed, there will be another along in fifteen minutes. the bus journey from the ferry to glasgow, however, is considerably less frequent and requires pre-booking. as with pretty much everything nowadays, this can be accomplished on a website. even though i am in possession of an old-person's travel card, the website makes provision for its use, despite being not the most intuitive web experience i've come across. however, once you've got the hang of it, well...

however, despite personally having been able to use that particular old-person's card on citylink's website for the past four years, and having been aware of the facility for at least the last decade, scotland's premier ferry company, effectively owned and run by the scottish government, offers no means of making any type of passenger booking by those of us who possess an old-person's ferry card. so while residents of australia (for example) can book a (presumably rented) car onto the islay ferry, along with all its passengers of suitable age, yours truly, resident on islay, has to telephone the pier office in port ellen and make a reservation only. though i have a booking number, i will require to pay for the tickets on arrival at the ferry terminal.

i believe it is what's not known as progress.

websites of this kind, namely those which are required to collect and process user information, tend to favour the back-end process; deciding in what order the information should be input, which portion of the database in which it ought to be stored prior to processing, and what do do with the result. quite frequently (and i generalise just a tad), those charged with creating such websites look at matters from their point of view, rather than the end user. this at least partially explains why many a website creates its own set of nightmare conditions, usually ending in the laptop being thrown across the room.

just don't get me started on the royal mail website.

but there's evidence to suggest that this myopic view of the user experience is not solely applicable to the land of web design. it is perhaps also a feature of bicycle design. to cut immediately to the chase, consider the advent of internal cable routing, whether for electronic or mechanical shifting, or mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. i will not deny that a cable-free bicycle cockpit is not only tidy, but aesthetically pleasing, and even though we are to be convinced that this is in the quest for improved aerodynamics, don't be fooled; that sort of cable configuration looks highly impressive on the bike shop floor, particularly if surrounded by un-aesthetically cabled peers.

my ritchey logic features external cable routing: the rear brake cable is unsheathed as it travels between cable stops along one side of the top tube. both gear cables exist likewise, side-by-side along the underside of the down tube. these are not only easy to install, but clearly visible when conducting regular pre-flight checks. internal mechanical cables are, by definition, less visible; often the first sign of trouble is a sudden or gradual loss of function, followed by hours of chin-stroking, trying to figure out just what to do about matters. it seems highly likely that bike shops will have seen an upsurge in business of late, as home-mechanics frustratingly lose patience with finding the other end of that gear wire.

based on bona-fide information and contact with one of the uk's principal cycle training engineers, cycle shop mechanics are now trained to a standard that would probably impress nasa, no doubt a corollary of the engineering efforts to smooth out the lines of the modern day road bike. wireless gear systems, front hydraulic pipes that inhabit the inner recesses of a front fork leg, and bottom brackets installed by means of a deeply recessed and awkwardly-sized central bolt. not to mention the need for a bearing puller to remove the bottom bracket bearings from their respective crank arms. whatever happened to the days of simply replacing 1/4" bearings and smothering them with grease?

i am thoroughly convinced that, in common with many a roadie, had i the necessary engineering experience to design a road bicycle, it would be entirely from the stance of one who wished to carry out his own maintenance schedule. and no matter how much experienc you have with cycle mechanicals, when an electronic system fails, i doubt that there is any alternative but to sheepishly admit to the bike shop mechanic that "it's broken". when the revolution comes, bike designers will have to have had at least a decade of riding and servicing their own bicycles before being allowed anywhere near the design studio.

thursday 5 august 2021

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stating the glaringly obvious

toyota supra

the latest issue of rouleur magazine arrived at the beginning of the week, featuring, on the cover, an extraordinary image by sean conway, of switzerland's jungfrau. not uncommonly, the cover image is a presage, not only to an article on page 34, but an entire issue themed around the high points (quite literally) of cycling. and following a period of time when the magazine was often printed on a variety of paper stock, it seems to have happily rested on amadeus silk, amber graphic and upm fine papers, fully restoring the delightful aroma of ink on paper from the magazine's early days.

however, the contents, as with the majority of contemporary publications, contain more than just a wide range of quality writing and photography. namely, advertising.

in the latest, 161 page issue, 34 pages are given over to advertising, several for rouleur's own products or services. to be honest, that's a fairly good ratio, but considerably more than the 14 adverts in the current, 132 page copy of procycling magazine. it may simply be the case that rouleur attracts more advertising than does procycling, or perhaps the fact that, due to higher overheads (let's face it, amadeus silk and amber graphic are probably a tad more expensive than the paper stock employed by future publishing), they require a greater level of advertising to balance the books, while still keeping the readership happy.

in both magazines, much as you'd expect, the adverts are all cycling related in one way or another, ranging from bicycles, to wheels, to cycle insurance. but for readers of the current issue of 'the comic', a double-page spread has effectively upset the apple cart. those two pages feature a full-colour sales pitch for a custard yellow, toyota gr supra two-door coupé, offering a somewhat miserly 38.6 mile per gallon, but an acceleration figure of 0-60mph in 5.2 seconds, and a top speed of 155mph. prices commence £46,000 (and to think you moaned about rapha's prices). and i'm assuming that, if it has more than two seats, those in the back are capable of hosting only a small family of hamsters.

to put it bluntly, it doesn't strike me as the ideal cyclist's mode of transport. i seriously doubt halfords stock a suitable bicycle boot rack, and i doubt that any self-respecting lewis hamilton wannabe would dare affix a roof rack to something that looks as if it's winning a race even when sitting in the driveway. if you need more convincing, the slogan accompanying the cycling weekly advert reads: "you don't buy a sports car to blend in". however, my point is not that this may not be the ideal vehicle in the toyota range to aim at cycling enthusiasts (the hilux pickup or proace van range might seem more applicable to the needs of the average velocipedinist, especially at around half the price of the sports car), but the fact that toyota had the gumption and cojones to advertise in a cycling magazine in the first place.

and that, once again, beggars the question as to why cycling manufacturers do not advertise in motor magazines (or any other type of magazine for that matter)?

if you'll bear with me for a moment, let's examine the premise of advertising bicycles to cyclists. the issue of rouleur discussed above advertises cannondale, fara, cervelo, passoni and hummingbird. assuming that non-cyclists are very unlikely to purchase or read a cycling magazine in the first place, the above advertisers are essentially preaching to the converted. that would be you and me. if i might take myself as an example, i currently own seven bicycles; if, for instance, the passoni advert referred to above, were one that took my fancy and i had sufficient funds to acquire just such a bicycle, i would still be only one cyclist, but with eight bicycles. extrapolate that across the readership of rouleur only and, prior to the arrival of issue 106, the cycling world would consist of an identical number of cyclists, but with a lot more bicycles in our collective bike sheds.

however, were the selfsame advertisers to take the wholly irrational step of advertising the same bicycles to an audience who are presumably more used to the idea of spending upwards of £46,000, and there's an outside possibility that they would still sell more bicycles (possibly even as many as they'd sell to those of us already well equipped in that department), but the world peloton would have grown, offering, ultimately, a larger audience for future products. after all, if i have seven bicycles, someone with the financial wherewithal to relieve themselves of over £40,000 at a time, might also feel the necessity for multiple purchases.

this is not the first time i have waxed lyrical about this particular state of affairs regarding the narrow-minded advertising proclivities of the world's cycling manufacturers. on a previous occasion i enquired of their marketing departments why this remained the state of play? specialized has an estimated annual income of almost $500 million, while cannondale's turnover is around half that figure. pinarello musters a more lowly $61 million, while trek is estimated to be worth a total of $1 billion.

attempting to find the cost of advertising in any of the national magazines in the uk or overseas, seems to be akin to asking the american miltary for the technical specs of their latest attack helicopter. but i think it safe to assume that if pinarello can afford to have team sky and subsequently team ineos ride their bicycles year after year, a single page, colour advert in autocar or top gear magazine could probably be paid from petty cash. and trek could probably afford to start their own car magazine.

or am i missing something?

wednesday 4 august 2021

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something to think about

campagnolo bora wto

thanks to the graciousness of campagnolo, the ritchey logic features not only a record twelve-speed groupset, but also a very fine pair of bora wto 45mm carbon wheels. granted, both bicycle and componentry are considerably better than the person responsible for riding them, but the principal reason for requesting them for review, was to gauge their strength in the face of hebridean crosswinds; deep carbon rims are designed to improve straightline speed, but according to vicenza, their wind tunnel optimisation (wto) was allegedly designed to cope with sideways draughts. as it transpired, they were quite correct.

i have ridden these wheels throughout two islay winters, though i confess, if the windspeed edged above 80kph, i deferred to my 'cross bike, offering the opportunity to ride offroad where necessary, to avoid being blown over on tarmac. however, even for a slowcoach such as myself, in a straight-line, the boras have frequently made me noticeably quicker than my compatriots, even into a sturdy headwind. and when it comes to freewheel descending, while others pedal to accelerate, i'm often able to maintain position, or even close the gap by simply letting the bicycle do what it does best. whether this is as a result of superior hub bearing efficiency, aerodynamics or a combination of both, i know not. i only know it happens.

i have a sort of baseline comparison available, following a brief dalliance with a pair of 60mm carbon rims which, in strong winds, scared the living daylights out of me. campagnolo also offer a 60mm version of the bora wto wheelset, but despite the wto designation, i fear that even those would act as a sail when hit by crosswinds. whether that is the case or not, i was quite unwilling to repeat the experiment, not matter the lettering around the carbon rim.

campagnolo's recent release of their bora ultra wto wheelset is currently disc compatible only, and there's every likelihood it will remain so, but the original bora wto range can be purchased in both rim and disc versions. as one not overly convinced of the need for discs on a road bike, the ritchey features a set of black, record, dual-pivot calipers. this state of affairs requires a braking track around the outer cicumference of the rim. according to campagnolo, safety is guaranteed via their all conditions carbon control technology, ensuring 'safe, modular braking in all weather conditions.'

these wheels, in common with similar offerings from many other wheel manufacturers, are not overly cheap (£1700 rrp), a price for which you'd hope to be riding them well into your dotage. but is that actually the case?

many aluminium wheel rims feature either a circumferential groove or small holes around the braking surface, incorporated as wear indicators. when the groove or holes disappear, it's time to consider replacing either the wheels, or the rims. campagnolo's non-disc bora wheelesets feature decals warning the owner that the braking surface can wear out and that it's best to keep an eye on the wear rate. obviously enough, this is not a problem that troubles the disc-compatible versions. however, as far as i'm aware, there are no wear indicators built-in to campagnolo's carbon braking surfaces.

this past weekend, prior to participating in the ride of the falling rain, i opted to replace the brake shoes, when i noted greater wear on the braking surface of the non-drive side of the rear wheel, than on the drive-side. the brake pad on that side also displayed greater wear than the drive side version. on checking with campagnolo's uk service department, the glaringly obvious, which i'd previously failed to recognise, was pointed out. namely, that dual-pivot brakes do not apply equal pressure to both sides of the rim. according to graeme freestone king, "I lay a straight edge across the braking surface and look at the gap under it, at the deepest point - when you get to 0.5 mm or so, start looking for new wheels (or saving, as the case may be). when you are up to a millimetre, you are heading into the danger zone."

thankfully, mine appear not to have reached the danger zone, but like many owners of expensive carbon wheels, i confess i've rarely spared a thought for brake wear, having never worn out any wheels of any flavour across my entire career. though this is probably something of which we're all aware, if only peripherally, it's also something that we tend to ignore, very much to our peril it would appear. considering how many cyclists i know who simply continue to lube their chains, without ever cleaning off the accumulated crud, and others who never replace their chains at all until the gears start slipping all over the place, i should imagine that the thought that carbon fibre might wear out scarcely enters the arena.

so, just in case you own non-disc, carbon wheels, and this is something that hadn't crossed your horizon, now might be a good time to pop out to the bike shed and check.

you're welcome.

thanks once again to velotech cycling's graeme freestone king for his invaluable technical assistance.

tuesday 3 august 2021

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