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Nerd Alert Podcast
The CyclingTips Nerd Alert Podcast dives deep into the bikes and tech we all love. Road, gravel, mountain bikes, we cover it all. Hosted by James Huang, Dave Rome, and Caley Fretz.
Nov 9, 2022
A new lease on life for clothing and bags
Much of the attention on the Right to Repair movement in cycling has been concentrated on hard goods, like bikes, wheels, components, and so on. But it’s also important to remember that you can often fix clothing and bags at a nominal cost after a crash or even just due to wear and tear. Why throw it away when you can bring it back to life? In this week’s episode, we chat with two brands – Velocolour and Ortlieb – who are doing just that.
Nov 4, 2022
Advancing metal bikes with No.22
The Nerd Alert podcast had an unplanned week off, but rest assured we’re now back on schedule. In this episode, Senior tech editor Dave Rome chats with No.22’s co-founder Bryce Gracey. For those unfamiliar with No.22, let’s just say they’re often one of our first stops at the USA-based custom bike shows they attend. This episode has a varied chat: including a deep-dive on the updates that No.22 revealed at the Philly Bike Expo, geometry concepts, stealthy travel bikes, and more. Enjoy!
1 hr 2 min
Oct 20, 2022
Suspension on gravel bikes
One fun fact came out during our discussions with Specialized engineering mastermind Chris D’Aluisio: much of his testing of the company’s new Diverge STR fully suspended gravel bike has been on tarmac with a full complement of road components. In his words? “It’s awesome!” That got us thinking, especially given D’Aluisio’s background in Moto GP racing: if full suspension is good for gravel, then might it also make sense on the road, too? Give this one a listen before you pick up the pitchfork.
Oct 14, 2022
Dan Bigham explains how hour records are broken
This week's episode is all about aerodynamics, efficiency, Filippo Ganna, and how Dan Bigham engineered two hour records.
Oct 11, 2022
3D printing a stem with Dimitris Katsanis
With the news that Pinarello's new Bolide F HR 3D track bike is the first UCI-approved 3D printed bike, Ronan visited Metron Dimitris Katsanis and find out how a bike is 3D printed and why.
1 hr 6 min
Sep 29, 2022
Dropper posts for gravel bikes – yay or nay?
We’re back in the studio for a group show after a whirlwind of activity at the recent UCI world championships, and we’re wasting no time with the heated debates. Do dropper posts (or even suspension posts) have a place on gravel bikes? What about Meta’s tease that it’s entering the virtual reality world for indoor cycling? Do our opinions even matter?? Either way, the Nerds really did do their homework this time, sharing their thoughts on the ideal setup for hidden cable routing – frame designers, take note!
1 hr 16 min
Sep 23, 2022
On the ground at Road World’s
Welcome back to the Nerd Alert podcast! This week sees Dave Rome and Caley Fretz together in Wollongong, Australia for the 2022 Road World Championships. And along with VeloClub community manager Andy van Bergen, this episode circles the topic of the big event. Things start with a few new things in the world of tech. The talk then turns to those dropped chains plaguing the past week of racing. And then we wrap up this relatively brief episode with a chat about the logistics involved in racing on the opposite side of the world, something WorldTour mechanic Kevin Grove (supporting Team USA) offers insight on.
Sep 16, 2022
You can 3D print that
Welcome back to the CyclingTips Nerd Alert podcast! This week senior tech editor, Dave Rome, gets to cover something that has become a personal hobby of his – 3D printing. Joining Dave is Brian Park, the editor-in-chief at Pinkbike and Chris Heerschap, an engineer, bike mechanic, Veloclub member and 3D print extraordinaire. These two tinkerers have both created, designed and manufactured their own saleable 3D-printed products (such as a few covered on Pinkbike this week). From the basics of home 3D printing to some fun projects, and a chat about where the tech may be headed, there's plenty to take in.
1 hr 16 min
Sep 9, 2022
An extravaganza of new bikes
Do bike companies conspire to release a whole bunch of new bikes at once? It sure felt like it this week, as we saw the announcement of the new Trek Domane, the new Canyon Ultimate, and the new BMC Kaius all in the past few days. The Nerds discuss the salient features of each one — pros and cons — as well as a big industry indicator that the market really is cooling off big-time. Prices might finally be coming down for some stuff, but other items are still super hard to come by.
1 hr 11 min
Sep 1, 2022
How to beat a World Record with Dan Bigham
This week’s episode of the Nerd Alert podcast is certainly a special one. Dave Rome and Ronan Mc Laughlin chat with the newly crowned Hour World Record Holder, Dan Bigham. Prior to besting Victor Campanaerts' 2019 World Record, the British track cyclist was best known for his work in aerodynamic engineering. He’s worked with Mercedes F1, Canyon-SRAM, Team KGF/ HUUB-Wattbike, and Jumbo-Visma, and is currently a performance engineer with the Ineos Grenadiers. He also happens to be the brains behind the WattShop. With such a resume in tech backed by a world-beating engine, it was well overdue that Dan joined us as a special guest on the podcast. Here we chat about the things he’s allowed to discuss related to his Hour Record, we touch on the things he’s not allowed to discuss, and plenty more.
1 hr 9 min
Aug 25, 2022
The Superstrata doesn’t need your silly seat tube
Remember the Superstrata? That wacky looking 3D-printed custom carbon fiber bike that blew up Indiegogo a couple of years ago? Well, it turns out that the bike isn’t vaporware — and in fact, we now have one on hand to check out for ourselves. In this week’s episode, James also sits down with Superstrata CEO Sonny Vu for a chat on what makes the Superstrata different, why you may (or may not) care, and how the company’s ambitions extend far beyond cycling in general.
Aug 19, 2022
What’s up with this new Giant Propel?
The Nerds are back with another group episode, this time with Ronan doing his best Aussie impersonation since Dave is away on holiday. On tap this week is a detailed introduction of Giant’s new Propel aero road bike — and its wild Cadex 50 Ultra Disc carbon fiber wheels — along with a frank discussion of what’s going on with Wahoo’s revamped Speedplay pedals. And as always, we wrap up with a round of Ask a Mechanic, including a little incident Caley himself had with a little hydraulic fluid.
1 hr 7 min
Aug 12, 2022
Looking under the hood of Shimano Di2
Welcome back to the CyclingTips Nerd Alert podcast! This week tech editor Dave Rome chats about the things to know with Shimano’s new Di2 12-speed shifting and how it differs from previous generations. And what better guest to speak to about common issues, limitations, fun features, and things to look out for than the Di2 nerd himself, Terry Seidler of BetterShifting.com.
Aug 4, 2022
Should more people consider a custom bike instead of a production one?
We finally have our full crew of Nerds back on this week’s episode, and boy, was there a lot to discuss. There’s a new custom bike show in the works for 2023 called Made, which will be based in Portland, Oregon, and will be held outdoors. No one will ever complain about another opportunity to see beautiful custom bikes in person, but are they just eye candy, or should more people actually consider buying one instead of a stock machine? Upstart brand Aerosensor also has a new portable device that claims to deliver aerodynamic drag data in real time, and we wonder what LeBron James’s US$30m investment in Canyon Bicycles will mean moving forward. And seeing as how we finally have Caley back, all of our answers for this week’s Ask a Mechanic segment — naturally — involves a hammer.
1 hr 3 min
Jul 28, 2022
Does it matter where your bike is built?
The Nerds are back with a long overdue group show, and they’ve got a lot to talk about! James recaps some of the highlights from the recent Eurobike show in Frankfurt, Dave chats about the pitfalls of modern e-commerce with Silca’s Josh Poertner, we chat about two new road bikes — the Cervelo S5 and the Enve Melee — and debate how much it matters where a bike is manufactured. And finally, after a long hiatus, it’s another round of Ask a Mechanic!
1 hr 6 min
Jul 22, 2022
The future of aero wheel development might be a bit rocky
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and wind tunnels have long been the primary tools used by wheel engineers and aerodynamicists. However useful they are, though, they’re still based on laminar airflow — those picture-perfect parallel lines you see in illustrations — that doesn’t necessarily reflect real-world conditions. So what happens if you introduce a degree of turbulence to the R&D process? Do things change? Can the wheels get better? And what might this mean for bikes and other gear in general? Buckle up for this one; we’re about to get real nerdy here.
Jul 11, 2022
Tech from the Tour paddock
We’re a little late with this week’s Nerd Alert episode and for good reason – the Wi-Fi at the Tour de France is terrible. That’s right, Caley Fretz and Ronan Mc Laughlin are in France and chat about all things Tour de France tech. From prep for the cobbles to bikes with hidden motors (just kidding!), Ronan and Caley catch up with a number of pro riders to hear what they’re riding and why.
Jun 30, 2022
Rim brakes aren't dead yet
The bike industry may have shifted entirely to disc brakes, but there are millions of happy rim-brake users out there with bikes that still have years — or even decades — of life left in them. Mainstream brands have already stopped spending money on anything related to rim brakes, and while that’s a bummer in one sense, it’s also created an opportunity for smaller brands to fill the void.
Jun 23, 2022
Flat tires and sketchy brakes — it’s Field Test time again!
This week’s episode comes to you live from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where we’ve assembled four testers and a video team to evaluate ten different bikes. We’ve split them into six gravel and four road models this time around, with a focus on lower-priced options. The full reveal will come a bit later once we’re all done with testing, but let’s just say some of the bikes have already genuinely surprised us with how good they are, while others have made some unforgivable missteps.
Jun 16, 2022
Only a crazy person would think we need yet another bike brand, right?
If you’ve got a decent chunk of change and are looking for a higher-end carbon drop-bar bike, there’s certainly no shortage of good options -- and probably too many of them, in fact. So why on earth would someone think it’s a good idea to start yet another one given this hyper-competitive environment? Well, that’s just what the folks at Bridge Bike Works are doing in Toronto, Canada. The company’s first bike sounds interesting enough, but the story behind the brand is arguably more compelling.
1 hr 24 min
Jun 9, 2022
So. Many. New. Bikes.
June is turning out to be an exceptionally hot month in terms of new bike releases, and Ronan joins James and Dave as a special guest to help us talk through them all. Although we don't have official information just yet, we know a new Trek Madone, Giant Propel, Canyon Ultimate, and Scott Foil are all likely to be announced within the next few weeks -- and thanks to revamped UCI technical regulations, there's once again some legitimately unique thinking going on in terms of design features. We also dissect Pinarello's new Grevil F gravel race bike, chat about Dave's favorite bikes from the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia, and wrap up with another round of Ask a Mechanic.
1 hr 17 min
Jun 3, 2022
Things that shouldn’t break
Modern bikes are marvellous creations that continually push engineering boundaries with a continued focus on lighter, faster, and sleeker. However, that raises a big question, is the bicycle industry flying a little close to the sun when it comes to safety? It’s exactly this concern that this week’s Nerd Alert deep dive episode covers. Join James and Dave, as they speak with world-renowned carbon fibre repair, testing, and inspection expert Raoul Luescher of Melbourne-based Luescher Teknik. The conversation covers existing test standards related to forks, the perceived gaps in those standards, where the industry could (and should) do more, and some helpful hints for safety checking what's arguably the most critical part of your bike at home.
1 hr 10 min
May 25, 2022
Free the feet!
Riders commonly complain that they can’t find cycling shoes that are wide enough, but when was the last time you heard someone say their shoes are too wide? Maybe that’s a sign cycling footwear should be wider in general. We also chat about the utility of bike-mounted cameras (and radar), what Goodr still needs to do to really shake up the cycling sunglass market, and where to draw the line between buying tools and paying for labor.
1 hr 7 min
May 19, 2022
A little honesty goes a long way
Roval has finally cleared the air on why its earlier Rapide CLX and Alpinist CLX wheels weren’t tubeless-compatible when they launched in 2020, and while the final outcome is positive, it would’ve been nice if it hadn’t also come with a healthy dose of obfuscation for the past two years. We also give Wilco Kelderman a lesson in how bikes work, speculate about Campagnolo’s mysterious new wheels spotted at the Giro, discuss some new hardware developments at Zwift (or lack thereof, as the case may be), and reveal why you shouldn’t wash your bike like Peter Sagan.
1 hr 5 min
May 11, 2022
The future of helmet safety
Welcome back to the Nerd Alert podcast! This week we have a deep dive episode about something that’ll likely bring positive change to the helmets we all wear. Our guest is Peter Haldin, the Chief Science Officer and a Co-Founder of MIPS. However, in this interview, Peter is wearing another hat (helmet?) and speaks about his role as the Convener of the Working Group 11 (WG11). In short, WG11 is working to bring rotational-based testing to helmet safety standards, and the goal is to help reduce the number of brain injuries suffered from cycling crashes. Where things get a little confusing is that the likes of Rudy Project and Kask have already started promoting that their helmets meet WG11 test standards. This episode clarifies what this working group is, what the testing involves, and what the future of helmet safety may look like.
May 4, 2022
To lug or not to lug? That is the question
So much to talk about this week! Colnago's new C68 is more modern-looking than any C-model that came before it, but it's also lost much of what made its predecessors unique. Headset bearings are still a pain to service on modern bikes, though at least they're lasting longer. And what's going on at Wahoo? Caley unfortunately had to skip out for this week's Ask a Mechanic segment, but that's ok; none of the answers required hammers, anyway.
1 hr 12 min
Apr 28, 2022
Recycling carbon fiber is no longer a pipe dream
The topic of sustainability and carbon fiber has long been a black eye on the bike industry, but one company in Tennessee — called Carbon Fiber Recycling, of all things — is seemingly turning that around. Old broken frames? Random components? Scrap uncured pre-preg? It’s all good, according to CFR: just stick it all in its magic machine, and usable raw material comes out the other end. Best of all, the process is supposedly quite economical for everyone involved, there’s almost no waste product produced, and the company has plans to ramp things up big-time. Sounds too good to be true? Maybe it is. But maybe it isn’t.
Apr 21, 2022
Tubeless domination at Paris-Roubaix, and a look at the state of retail
This year’s Paris-Roubaix was all about tubeless tires and foam inserts — so much so that it’s easier to talk about who wasn’t on them than who was. But the best part of modern Paris-Roubaix tech? The fact that it’s all so normal. The Nerds also bring on the owner of a small brick-and-mortar shop to talk about the state of retail in the bike industry, and then he joins us as a guest wrench on a super fun segment of Ask a Mechanic.
1 hr 17 min
Apr 19, 2022
More fun new stuff from Sea Otter, and the future of traveling with your bike
Caley promised to be more prepared for our second Sea Otter episode, but his list of neat new stuff that he found at the show was a little… questionable. Luckily for him, we had a special guest on hand: Orucase co-founder Isaac Howe. Isaac gave us plenty of detail on the magical folding full-size travel case Orucase has in development, shared with us a bunch of tips on how to pack your bike for a trip, and described how he sees the future of traveling with your bike in general now that most of the US domestic carriers no longer charge oversized fees. TL;DR version: it’s time to go into weight weenie mode.
Apr 11, 2022
What were the coolest things we saw at Sea Otter today?
The Sea Otter Classic trade show is back for 2022, and the Nerds are on site with a special episode, recorded right on the expo floor! James, Dave, and Caley talk about the coolest things we saw at the show on day one — like lower-priced 3D-printed saddles and one seriously sweet garage door opener, of all things — and then we chat gravel tire trends with Vittoria’s VP of product development, Ken Avery.
Apr 6, 2022
Inside the mind of mad scientist custom builder Rob English
Rob English is one of the most highly coveted builders of high-performance steel bikes these days, and he’s also an elite athlete in his own right. His distinctive function-over-form style is very much rooted in his engineering background, but much of his vision and creativity comes from his eclectic experience in folding bikes, tandems, recumbents, unicycles, and even HPVs. What makes English tick, and where does he get his ideas from? How much skinnier does he think his seatstays can get, and what does he think of the UCI? It’s definitely an entertaining and enlightening conversation that you won’t want to miss.
1 hr 2 min
Mar 30, 2022
High-end aluminum bikes and dropper posts for everyone?
Things have been a little wacky in the road bike world lately, with Specialized launching a new Allez Sprint high-end aluminum race bike that’s both heavier and more expensive (but potentially better?) than the one it replaces, dropper seatposts in pro racing, and bikes that positively laugh in the fact of that 6.8 kg UCI weight limit (how about 3.3 kg instead?). Plus, ever wonder what word sets off Zach? Yeah, we were a little surprised, too. Add in another round of Ask a Mechanic, and you’ve got the makings of yet another fantastic episode of Nerd Alert.
1 hr 14 min
Mar 23, 2022
Confused about tubeless and tire pressures? You’re not alone.
This week’s Nerd Alert episode came about after consumer-direct wheel company Hunt released a 1,213 g ultralight disc brake road wheel with a hookless tubeless rim. Where some of the other more prominent hookless road wheels have 23 to 25 mm internal widths to supposedly support the tyre at lower pressures, Hunt’s have a marginally narrower 21 mm figure. And with that, some readers raised questions through our Mailbag column over whether the recommended 72.5 psi maximum pressure actually makes sense for riders of average weight and on popular road tyre widths of 25 and 28 millimetres. As a technical consultant to some winning WorldTour teams, Josh Poertner of Silca flicked us a message with some thoughts on the matter that only raised more questions. And that got us thinking, perhaps it was time to check-in again on where we’re at in the world of road tubeless, what’s new, what’s coming down the pipeline, and what still needs to be fixed. Join Dave Rome, James Huang and Josh…
1 hr 15 min
Mar 16, 2022
Finding the best chain lube for your needs
This week we’ve got a deep dive episode on a topic that’s applicable to everyone that rides a bike. Chain lube. As we’ve covered plenty before, the difference between running a good chain lube suited to your riding conditions versus a poor lube can come at an enormous financial cost to parts replacements, and that’s if you can find the parts to begin with. Unfortunately, there’s no doubt a load of BS floating around when it comes to chain lubes and what’s best. In August 2021 we had independent chain lube tester, Adam Kerin of Zero Friction Cycling, on the podcast to dive into the murky world of chain lube testing and why many claims just don’t stack up. This time Adam joins the pod again with a practical list of useful take-aways that your drivetrain will love and a few popular myth busters.
1 hr 11 min
Mar 9, 2022
LeMond is back in the road business, but is it for real?
We’re back with another group show this week, and taking a hard look at the new LeMond 8 carbon aero road bike that was announced last week. It sounds sweet, and includes a lot of intriguing features like structural foam filling, internal carbon truss reinforcements, size-specific chainstays, and — get this — carbon threads in the bottom bracket, bottle mounts, and derailleur hanger. There’s so much we want to love about the thing, but also a whole bunch of red flags. We also discuss the pros and cons of Wahoo’s new Kickr Rollr smart trainer, imagine a world with wireless e-bike chargers, and then finish off with a whole bunch of reader questions in our Ask a Mechanic segment.
1 hr 8 min
Feb 28, 2022
Custom options are great, but only if you’ve got the parts on hand
Lots of things have been hard to come by over the last year or two, and while it’s definitely been a big inconvenience for a lot of us, it’s potentially crippling if you’re trying to sell bikes — and maybe especially so if you’re a consumer-direct brand like Fezzari that has a full range of bike types and also prides itself on offering a huge list of custom options. Ever wonder what the logistics look like for such an operation? It’s as complicated as you might think, but thankfully, it turns out some people actually enjoy figuring that stuff out.
Feb 22, 2022
OldGrumpyH8ters gonna hate
Roval and Specialized appear to be returning to road tubeless after last year’s curious non-tubeless tubeless wheel launch, we question the merits of Ratio Technology’s latest 12-speed conversion kit, and — no surprise — Shimano made a heck of a lot of money last year. But we also now have more concrete proof that the Covid-fueled bike boom might finally be cooling off a bit. And what’s Dave Rome’s favorite chain checker? What’s on the Nerds’ wish list for internal cable routing? How do you graphics off of DT Swiss hubs? And do Cushcore gravel inserts work with all rims? We tackle all of that in this week’s Ask a Mechanic segment.
1 hr 6 min
Feb 14, 2022
Maybe slower is better when it comes to cycling clothing?
Apparel — apparel in general, not just cycling-specific stuff — is predominantly manufactured in bulk, with orders placed through contract factories well before anything will actually be offered for sale. It’s done this way because it’s cheap, but it also carries a lot of downsides, like the uncertainty of forecasting, long lead times, and literal mountains of waste. Maybe there’s a better way? US-based brand Kitsbow certainly thinks so, and while their sewn-on-demand business model has hurdles of its own, there certainly seems to be an awful lot of upsides.
Feb 7, 2022
Will all bikes eventually be sold consumer-direct?
Specialized rocked the industry last week with the announcement of its Rider Direct program, which allows buyers in select markets to have complete bikes delivered right to their door — either by a participating dealer or in a cardboard box. Dedicated consumer-direct brands like Canyon and YT bike brands already do this, of course, but Specialized is the first major traditional brand to go that route. Without question, the world has gotten used to buying anything and everything online, so this is clearly where things are going. But is it a good thing or a bad thing for consumers and bike shops? And when might other brands follow suit? We discuss this — and more — in this week’s episode.
1 hr 6 min
Jan 31, 2022
How do you know you’re not buying a used bike lemon?
Former MTB pro Nick Martin started The Pro’s Closet out of the back of his old VW van 16 years ago, and now it’s a multi-million dollar operation with nearly 200 employees, a monstrous warehouse, and roughly 2000 used bikes for sale on any given day. TPC’s ace-in-the-hole is its Certified Pro-Owned program, which promises you’re getting a used bike that’s been fully inspected, serviced, safe, and ready to go — and it even comes with a 30-day return policy. The CPO thing has worked wonders for the used car industry, but does this it sense for used bikes? In this uncertain world we’re living in these days, maybe a little certainty is what we need.
Jan 24, 2022
Lights, camera… action?
The Nerds had quite a few new bikes to talk about this week, and a lot of details to debate, especially regarding Cannondale’s new Synapse. On the one hand, it’s strikingly normal now with no proprietary fittings whatsoever (even a threaded bottom bracket — from Cannondale!). But there’s now also a fully integrated onboard battery powering built-in lights and a custom rear-facing Garmin Varia radar. Is this a good thing, or is it a little half-baked? Meanwhile, Canyon has moved away from threaded to PF86 for its latest Endurace range, which seems nuts at first… but is it, or is there more nuance to it? We also discuss SRAM buying computer brand Hammerhead, the same end for Bowman Cycles, and we hammer through a small army of Ask a Mechanic questions. Don’t miss it!
1 hr 21 min
Jan 17, 2022
Gravel tech Q&A with Geoff Kabush
It turns out Canadian pro Geoff Kabush is pretty good at racing bikes — first in XC MTB and cyclocross, then more recently, gravel and enduro — and throughout it all, he’s never been afraid to speak his mind. But along with chasing podiums, Kabush has always also put his engineering degree and technical mindset to good use in a product development role, providing valuable feedback on what works, and what doesn’t. So what’s he think about gravel gear? James and Dave ask the questions, and Kabush provides the answers.
Jan 10, 2022
The 2021 CyclingTippies tech awards!
There are all sorts of awards handed out in the cycling industry. There’s the Arlo Pfeiffer award for most convoluted cable routing; the Emma Stouffy prize for the more pungent tire; and the David St. Hubbins trophy — the “Hubby” — for blackest paint. But when all is said and done, none of these matter as much as our annual CyclingTippies tech awards. What was the best bike we rode this year (and the worst)? Who shook up the industry the most? What new trend had us really scratching our heads? Go grab some popcorn and kick your feet up while you listen to this one.
1 hr 5 min
Jan 4, 2022
The CEO of SRAM gives us the lowdown on the supply chain
If you’ve tried to buy anything bike-related over the last couple of years, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that no one has anything in stock — like, ANYTHING. But why is that? Has the pandemic really disrupted global production that much on the supply side, or is it that so many more people are trying to buy stuff on the demand side? James and Dave sit down with the CEO of SRAM, Ken Lousberg, to get the inside story from one of the biggest players in the industry to get the full story. You won’t want to miss this one.
Dec 20, 2021
Is adjustable geometry a genuine feature or just another gimmick?
The Nerds are finally back with another group show! This week, one of the things we’re discussing is one of the hottest trends in gravel bikes: adjustable frame geometry. On paper, the idea of having multiple bike personalities in one sounds awfully appealing, but how much of a difference does it really make, and how many people are actually going to use it regularly? Is it a way to really make bikes better, or is it just a way bike brands can hedge their bets? And what happens if it’s done poorly? As always, we have opinions.
1 hr 3 min
Dec 13, 2021
The ins and outs of 3D-printed saddles
3D printing is the hottest new development in manufacturing, and as far as cycling goes, saddles have curiously emerged as an area that has seen the most widespread application with several models on offer from both Fizik and Specialized (and more to come, surely). Although they’re horribly expensive, 3D-printed saddles have also proven to be freakishly comfortable while still being extraordinarily light and highly supportive. But what makes them so comfortable? When might they become more affordable? And why do they have to look so weird? In this week’s episode, James sat down with folks from Fizik and Carbon — the 3D-printing development partner for both Fizik and Specialized — to get the nitty-gritty details on what 3D-printed saddles are all about, and where they’re heading from here.
Dec 2, 2021
Designing a cyclocross race bike that isn’t a gravel bike
This/next week’s episode of the Nerd Alert Podcast has dropped a little early. That’s because it’s a timely chat about the new Cervelo R5-CX cyclocross race bike that was just announced. Our guests for this episode are Cervelo’s director of product management, Maria Benson, and the company’s engineering manager, Scott Roy. Dave Rome fills in as host and chats about all the nerdy details of the new model (such as the new threaded bottom bracket!) that was designed specifically for Marianne Vos and Wout van Aert. It’s worth a quick note to say that while the regular CyclingTips podcast does occasionally do special sponsored episodes that take a deep dive on new bike releases, this isn’t one of those. Rather we just thought it would be interesting to have a candid chat about the discipline-specific design elements that some of the world’s best racers request.
Nov 29, 2021
Loved products that didn’t make our top 10s
This week’s episode of the CyclingTips Nerd Alert podcast sees tech editors Dave Rome and Ronan McLaughlin take control of the airwaves. They chat about new headset bearings that apparently can’t be killed, some big industry news, and a few new features you can expect to see on Zwift. Ronan and Dave then share a few of their most loved products for this year that didn’t make their respective Top 10s. And finally, the episode wraps up with a teaser of what they’re working on for CyclingTips now.
1 hr 1 min
Nov 22, 2021
Turns out some bikes are more sustainable than others
Trek released an inward-facing sustainability report a few months ago, and it’s eye-opening. The document doesn’t paint an especially rosy picture (e-bike haters will have a field day with this one), but it does provide some very useful information along with a solid roadmap for how to improve things. In this episode, The Nerds sit down with Trek’s director of brand marketing and public relations, Eric Bjorling, to discuss some of the details of the report, and also ask some hard questions about how to deal with some of its inconvenient truths.
1 hr 1 min
Nov 15, 2021
Are we finally getting turtle shells for indoor cycling?
The Nerds have been pining for some sort of Mario Bros and Zwift mashup that lets us toss turtle shells at our competitors, but Zwift still seems to be too serious for these kinds of shenanigans. However, a new indoor bike called Tiltbike from UK outfit Muoverti nevertheless gives us some hope that we’ll see something like that from someone because built into one of its levers is — for real — a joystick! Will our prayers ever be answered? We chat about some other tech news items in this week’s show — and answer a bunch of Ask a Mechanic questions, as usual — but really all we care about is the turtle shells.
1 hr 2 min
Nov 5, 2021
Aero gravel wheels are coming
Aero road wheels are everywhere these days, but it turns out the idea is much harder to execute when it comes to gravel. Why is that, you wonder? We ask the questions, and Hunt wheel engineer Luisa Grappone has the answers.
Oct 29, 2021
All of our bikes and parts should be repairable
The Right to Repair movement primarily targets the electronics industry, but the concepts behind it strike at the heart of cycling, too: Products should be designed to be repairable, all small parts should be made available — and stay available — manuals, tools, service procedures should be accessible to everyone, and it shouldn’t cost more to repair something than it costs to replace it. In fairness, it’s not all that bad in this respect as far as the bike industry is concerned, but it could be better.
1 hr 15 min
Oct 22, 2021
If we ran the bike industry…
The Nerds make a living nitpicking and critiquing, instead of designing and creating. So what would we change if we could? What products and features would we keep, and what would we get rid of? What would the bikes look like? Be warned: the crew might have gotten a little more animated than usual on this one.
1 hr 15 min
Oct 14, 2021
Risks vs. rewards of internal cable routing
After several weeks on the road, the Nerds are finally back in the studio! We’ve got a lot to talk about this week, too, like why the same kinds of fork recalls seem to be happening over and over again, what Pon’s recent takeover of Dorel Sports means for consumers and retail, and a recap of the cool stuff James saw at the recent Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. We also start digging through the giant pile of Ask a Mechanic questions we’ve accumulated, like if you can run road tubeless tires without sealant, what chain lube to use if you’re lazy, and whether you should grease your freehub body before installing a cassette. Make sure to have some popcorn handy!
1 hr 10 min
Sep 30, 2021
It turns out even pro teams can’t get bikes or parts, either
Sorry, folks, we know our usual Nerd Alert schedule has been a little off-kilter, but we figured it’d be better to shuffle things around to accommodate the World Championships — and next week, Paris-Roubaix! Thanks for your patience, and rest assured, there’s more Nerd Alert to come sooner than later! This week’s episode takes The Nerds to the UCI Road World Championships in Belgium! Caley, Ronan, and Shoddy scoured the team pit areas for all the shiny new bits, and they found what looks to be new hookless-compatible GP5000 tubeless tires from Continental and some interesting new rollers from Wahoo Fitness. Worlds is always a weird one for the mechanics given the mix of national and trade teams, and it’s even weirder this time around. We’ve all grown accustomed at this point to not being able to find bikes or parts, but if it makes you feel any better, it turns out that even top pro riders and teams can’t get them, either. A Roubaix win on Shimano 105??? Stranger thing…
Sep 17, 2021
3T’s homegrown Italian robots and the future of carbon fiber
3T recently wound down its carbon fiber frame production in Asia and brought it in-house to Italy. Manufacturing frames the same way would have prohibitory expensive with Italian labor costs, though, so 3T instead developed an entirely new, and highly automated, process that not only dramatically slashes the amount of manual labor required, but also supposedly makes the frames better. What’s the secret sauce in 3T’s new frame building technology, and what are the company’s plans for it moving forward? In this episode of the CyclingTips Nerd Alert podcast, we sit down — virtually, of course — with 3T co-owner Gerard Vroomen, who gives us the full scoop on what this technology is, how it’s different, and what its future might look like.
Sep 10, 2021
Clearing up the confusion about road tubeless wheels and tires
Are you confused about road tubeless? What works and what doesn’t? Is there an actual rim standard yet? What’s the deal with hookless rims? And why is the whole situation with road tubeless such a mess, anyway? Helping us answer all of these questions — and more — is Zipp product manager Bastien Donzé, who may be feeling a little sore after the flurry of questions the Nerds sent his way on this week’s show.
1 hr 10 min
Sep 2, 2021
Inside the mind of Dangerholm
This week’s Nerd Alert podcast is a deep dive into the mind of Gustav Gullholm, aka, Dangerholm. Dangerholm is best known for building crazily light and bling mountain bikes, whether they’re for cross country racing, enduro or even downhill. And in recent times some of his builds have included stealthy integrated electronic shifting, or hacked suspension lockouts and dropper posts that run off a single controller. Now the Jort-wearing Swede has turned his attention to the drop bar world and modified his first gravel bike. Senior tech editor Dave Rome chats to Gustav about the new build, the design process of such bikes, and DIY paint. If you haven’t already, then be sure to check out the full feature on Dangerholm’s Scott Addict Gravel.
Aug 26, 2021
Separating chain lube testing fact from fiction
Welcome back to the Nerd Alert podcast, in this week’s episode Dave Rome steps in as host and goes full nerd while diving into the murky waters of chain lube testing. The amount of mixed information related to chain lubes is staggering and it’s undoubtedly one of the more confusing product areas for consumers. That’s an issue because your choice of chain lube can make a substantial difference to the durability and efficiency of your drivetrain. To help unravel these issues we called up Adam Kerin of Zero Friction Cycling and the founder of FrictionFacts Jason Smith to talk all things within their domains. Here they reveal what makes a great chain lube, what tests work and why, and what tests you should be sceptical of. For related reading, stick your head down the rabbit hole of all things related to bicycle chains.
1 hr 19 min
Aug 20, 2021
Desperate times call for desperate measures
We all know there’s still a massive worldwide parts shortage going on. Need a chain? Cassette? A suspension fork??? Ha ha, good luck with that. Groupsets may be particularly hard to find, but it’s important to remember there are more options than just Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo. Are off-brands like Microshift truly diamonds in the rough, or is it yet another example of you-get-what-you-pay-for? The Nerds also chat about how the most recent Strava updates might help prevent bike thefts, an encouraging new way to buy refurbished cycling clothing, and the pros and cons of $30 socks. Last — but certainly not least! — we reveal the banging new jingle for our Ask a Mechanic segment.
1 hr 12 min
Aug 13, 2021
Thermoplastic carbon composites are back!
The world of carbon fibre composites is continually progressing, and yet, the way most carbon bicycle frames are made today doesn’t differ all that much from how it was done in the 90s. However, aeronautical and automotive industries are continually investing in improved methods and processes, and the cycling market serves to benefit from just that. One such example is the recent rebirth of thermoplastic composites which have the potential to reduce costs, offer superior impact resistance, and be recyclable. Our guest in this week’s deep dive episode is Ben Lloyd, a Research and Development specialist at Cygnet Texkimp Ltd, a leading carbon composite manufacturing machinery company. Lloyd is an expert in thermoplastic manufacturing and also in touch with the bicycle industry.
Aug 6, 2021
Just because you can 3D-print it doesn’t mean you should
3D-printing is an undeniably cool way to make things, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the best way. Is a printed titanium hammer better than a welded one? Do $2,000 printed cycling shoes move the bar enough to justify their existence? What’s the point of printing sunglass frames? And was that handlebar that failed so dramatically at the Olympics even 3D-printed at all? What is definitely very neat, however, is a new trend whereby companies like Muc-Off are starting to ship products in powder form whereby you add the water at home, instead of the company burning resources to ship mostly water around the globe. We also chat about Ibis’s move to local frame production, an insane alleged Ponzi scheme involving three well-known Italian cycling brands, and finally, we finish up this week’s episode with a bunch of reader questions for our always-entertaining Ask a Mechanic segment.
1 hr 13 min
Jul 29, 2021
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something red, white, and blue
Track events at the Tokyo Olympics are set to kick off next week with a full week of exciting racing around the 250-meter Izu velodrome. Felt is once again the official bike sponsor of the US team, and the company has supplied a brand-new bike — the TK FRD — for mass-start events that features a new aero shape and a new take on the frame geometry. But for the individual events, the American riders are on the same bike as they used in Rio five years ago. In an event where fractions of a second can have major impacts, and when several other federations have brought radically cutting-edge machines to Tokyo, how is it that the Americans are using bikes that are half a decade old? Then again, maybe all isn’t as it seems.
Jul 23, 2021
Oversized derailleur pulleys for everybody!
Oversized rear derailleur pulleys might be good for some marginal gains, but even the terrible watts-per-dollar ratio hasn’t stopped a growing number of brands from launching their own versions — and AbsoluteBlack’s HollowCage is now one of the most expensive ones out there (but also one of the blingiest). Speaking of looks, is a clean front end enough to justify all high-end road bikes going to fully internal routing in spite of the adjustability and serviceability headaches? And how much bigger are road tires going to get? We discuss all that and more in this week’s episode.
1 hr 14 min
Jul 16, 2021
So you say you want to build your own carbon frame…
It’s not uncommon for custom frame builders to change direction from time to time: from lugged to TIG, steel to titanium, maybe different bike styles. But it’s far more unusual for an established builder who specializes in metal to make the wholesale switch to carbon fibre — and not just tube-to-tube construction, but moulded frames like the major brands. Yet that’s just what Carl Strong has done with his new venture, Pursuit Cycles. What’s involved in starting something from scratch? Why embark on something so challenging? And what would those frames offer to people that you couldn’t get already, anyway? Strap in for this deep-dive episode.
Jul 9, 2021
On the roadification of gravel bikes and the return of molded carbon wheels
Gravel bikes were once the rebels of the drop-bar bike world, but now that they’ve gone increasingly mainstream, it’s perhaps inevitable that they’d adopt features from road racing: aero shapes, hidden cabling, similar claims about weight and stiffness, and so on. Is this a good thing? Also making a possible comeback are solid molded carbon fiber wheels — and they’re not just for fixies, kids. And what do we think you should bring with you on an unsupported 4,700 km ride? You’ll get all that and more in this week’s round of Ask a Mechanic.
1 hr 20 min
Jul 2, 2021
The scoop on that crazy single-sided Cervelo, and digging for details on Cannondale’s new TT bike
This week’s Nerd Alert episode takes a closer look at two recent events in this year’s Tour de France. In stage 1, Jumbo-Visma rider Steven Kruijswijk finished the stage missing an entire seatstay from his prototype Cervelo, and in stage 5, EF Education-Nippo riders tackled the stage 5 individual time trial on a new Cannondale TT bike. We chat with Cervelo to find out how that bike could have possibly survived — and apparently without Kruijswijk even knowing! — and get some tantalizing tech details from Cannondale on that new bike before its official release. Sorry, folks, this one’s pretty long, but we promise it’ll be worth your time.
1 hr 38 min
Jun 26, 2021
Wireless 12-speed Shimano Dura-Ace is real!
The full crew is finally reunited for this week’s Nerd Alert podcast! Now that Shimano’s new 12-speed Dura-Ace Di2 groupset has made an appearance in the wild, we dive into what we can confirm (it’s black), what we think (wiredless?), and what we hope to see (a mechanical version in polished silver!!) in the company’s new flagship road components. We then debate the pros and cons of hookless road wheels, the idea of a flat-proof tube, and finish with an extended Ask a Mechanic segment with questions fielded exclusively from our Veloclub members — and Zach mostly kept his promise to not be too salty this time around.
1 hr 19 min
Jun 17, 2021
Preventing mechanicals with pro wrench Brad Copeland
This week’s CyclingTips Nerd Alert episode is a deep dive into preventing ride or race-ending mechanicals and how to deal with them when things do go wrong. For this episode, tech editor Dave Rome rang up mechanic to the stars, Brad Copeland. As the personal mechanic for former cross country mountain bike world champion Kate Courtney, Brad is incredibly detailed in ensuring his riders are able to consistently get to the finish line. The lessons here are just as applicable to everyday road and gravel riders as they are to those racing mountain bike world cups.
1 hr 11 min
Jun 11, 2021
Digging through the tech at Unbound Gravel
It seems everything cycling-related is fetching inordinate amounts of money on the used market these days, and so we figured it was a good time to trade in Caley and Zach for a special guest host: Dan Cavallari, former tech editor for Velonews and now freelancer extraordinaire. Dan covered Unbound Gravel for CyclingTips this year, so it only seemed right for James and Dave to run through all the interesting gravel tech with him. Wondering about tire inserts? Tire sizes and pressure? Handlebar setups? Gearing? We go through it all, and bookend it with the usual round-up of tech news and Ask a Mechanic questions. And don’t worry, Caley and Zach will be back next week — probably. Maybe.
1 hr 18 min
Jun 4, 2021
Tubulars aren’t dead yet
We’ve chatted an awful lot lately about how tubeless and tube-type clinchers seem to be slowly replacing tubulars in pro road racing. Even though high-performance clinchers offer a big rolling efficiency advantage (as much as 12 W according to some figures), tubulars are still more popular for all the same reasons as usual: they’re lighter, they’re safer if you get a puncture, they handle impacts better, and they just have a distinctive feel that clinchers still can’t quite match. What if you could have a tubular that offered all of that, and yet was also just as fast as top-end clinchers? What might the landscape look like then? That’s just what Challenge claims to have developed with its latest experimental tubulars, and James gets the scoop from the company’s technical director, Morgan Nicol.
May 27, 2021
Expensive vs. budget carbon wheels, and why Wahoo should look down, not up
In this week’s episode, The Nerds chat about some cool parts and accessories Dave saw at the recent Handmade Bicycle Show Australia, including some hyper-expensive wheels from Partington that are trying to go head-to-head with Lightweight. Carbon wheels have gotten incredibly good at the opposite end of the price spectrum, and we make the argument that, unless you’re dripping with cash, it’s awfully tough to justify the price premium. Speaking of which, we also chat about Wahoo Fitness’s new Elemnt Bolt GPS cycling computer, which makes us wonder where the company might go from here. A new high-end model sort of makes sense, but a killer budget model even more so.
1 hr 14 min
May 21, 2021
How much mountain bike is too much when it comes to gravel bike geometry?
In this week’s Nerd Alert episode, tech editor Dave Rome has a chat with Australian custom builder extraordinaire Mark Hester of Prova Cycles. Hester was a very early adopter of MTB-style geometry on gravel bikes, incorporating things like long front centers and shorter stems when most other brands — especially mainstream labels — were still using dimensions mostly borrowed from road racing machines. Yet as with anything bike-related, if a little bit of something is good, lots more of it surely makes it even better, right? Hester has some interesting thoughts on the idea, and you won’t want to miss hearing where he thinks things are going from here.
May 14, 2021
How 3-D printing is revolutionizing the Australian custom bike industry
Australia’s entire population may only be roughly equivalent to Shanghai, but it has an outsized custom bike industry with astonishing levels of ingenuity and innovation. Tech editor Dave Rome recently visited the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia in Melbourne, where 3-D printing is playing a big part in setting a number of these builders apart from the rest of the world. Also in this week’s show, we chat about upcoming developments in gravel bike suspension, whether CeramicSpeed’s Driven shaft-drive drivetrain really will see the light of day now that the company has an extra million bucks on hand and the likelihood that Ineos-Grenadiers riders might race at the Tour de France on clinchers.
1 hr 6 min
May 7, 2021
Summer is coming, but don't put your trainer away yet...
Indoor training is not top of the list of things most of us look forward to in the summer, but should it be? When the summer sun consistently comes out, the turbo trainers usually go into hibernation. We investigate if maintaining some level of indoor milage might improve your fitness and if World Tour pros are moving indoors for sessions regardless of the weather. Ronan chats with David Bailey (head of performance at Bahrain Victorious), Stephen Barrett (coach and head of research and innovation at AG2R Citroen), and Jonathan Lee (TrainerRoad) about indoor training gains and losses.
1 hr 11 min
Apr 30, 2021
High fashion meets high tech: the science of cycling clothing
Cycling apparel may look similar between various brands, but when you dig a little deeper, there are often seemingly small variations that can make a world of difference in terms of how well they work out on the road. In other words, that tag may say “polyester” on it, but that only tells one tiny part of the story — and it’s time to learn a little more about the rest of it.
Apr 23, 2021
Electronic shifting is supposedly what people want — but is it what they should want?
The Nerds have an awful lot of tech news to talk about this week, such as SRAM’s recent decision to seemingly go all-in on electronic shifting, the ins and outs of two big high-end wheel introductions, the unmentioned pitfalls of fully internal cable routing for everyday enthusiasts, and some big changes for DT Swiss’s workhorse hubs. There’s also been yet another push in the drivetrain friction front from Silca that uses... diamonds? Finally, we debate the ideal gravel bike in a What Bike Should I Buy segment for a new gravel rider on a “flexible budget.”
1 hr 6 min
Apr 16, 2021
The science of Everesting
This week Caley and Ronan interrupt the regular schedule to bring you another deep dive episode. Deep diving into the science of Everesting, the Nerds discuss the training, wattages, equipment selection, marginal gains, and time left on the table from Ronan’s recent Everesting world record ride.
1 hr 26 min
Apr 8, 2021
Can computers make us faster cyclists?
TrainerRoad offers training plans and workouts for the individual rider and has always been focused on making us faster. They recently launched an Adaptive Training method that combines machine learning and science-based coaching to adjust training plans based on coaches feedback. The goal? "So you get the right workout, every time". This week Ronan chats with TrainerRoad co-founder and CEO Nate Pearson about the new Adaptive Training and explains just how it knows what it's doing. They also discuss what the future might hold and if Adaptive Training can replace coaching as we know it.
Apr 4, 2021
What worked — and what didn’t — on Ronan’s crazy-light Everesting bike
Ronan Mc Laughlin joins us this week to go over the details of the hyper-optimized bike he used to shatter the Everesting record. Canyon’s precious container of new bikes is finally free from the grips of the Suez Canal, Enve announced its new custom carbon fiber road bike program, we question if we’re all worrying a little too much about weight. Finally, does it make sense to build your own bike from scratch using open-mold frames and parts since new bikes are nowhere to be found?
1 hr 1 min
Mar 25, 2021
Designing bikes when there’s no stock
You’ve heard us talking about the supply issues currently facing the booming cycling industry, so this week we dive into what it’s like designing bikes when things are in such short supply. Our guest this week is Sydney-based materials engineer and bike designer Dave Musgrove, someone who’s deep in the industry and in touch with the industry’s Covid-related supply issues. From two year lead-times on certain components to slower and more expensive shipping, this conversation details why you may want to hold onto your existing bike for a little longer. Dave Musgrove is the brand manager for Polygon Bikes in North America and Oceania, a consumer-direct bicycle manufacturer sold through bikesonline.com.
Mar 18, 2021
MIPS, new Speedplay, and our sketchiest repairs
James, Dave, Caley, and Zach discuss a wide range of topics in this week’s episode, like how much Speedplay’s revamped pedal lineup matters relative to the changes to its dealer service, whether MIPS really is a must-have when it comes to helmets. And then in this week’s Ask a Mechanic segment, we tackle perhaps the most important repair and maintenance question of all: what’s the sketchiest repair job Caley has ever done?
Mar 11, 2021
Clinchers and inner tubes at Paris-Roubaix?
Team Deceuninck-QuickStep and Bora-Hansgrohe — together with sponsors Roval and Specialized — have been doing a fair bit of experimenting with their wheels and tires over the past couple of years, gradually moving away from traditional tubulars to tube-type clinchers for time trials and tubeless clinchers for road races. In an unusual move, both teams say they’re now wholly committed to clinchers and latex inner tubes for everything — even possibly (but not likely) Paris-Roubaix. To find out more about the surprising decision, James and Dave have a chat with Roval engineering manager Jeff Meyer, as well as three key players from the Deceuninck-QuickStep team: technical director Ricardo Scheidecker, team scientist and coach Koen Pelgrim, and head mechanic Nicolas Coosemans.
Mar 4, 2021
Broken handlebars, flexy seatposts, and power meter pedals to the (Shimano) people
Mathieu van der Poel didn’t let a little broken handlebar on his Canyon Aeroad keep him from finishing Le Samyn, a cobbled race in Belgium, but why did it break? And what’s up with the flexy seatposts on those bikes, anyway? The Nerds share their thoughts on those topics and then look into a Specialized patent for a wacky flexy seatpost design of its own. And is the wait finally over for power meter pedals for Shimano SPD-SL pedal fans? It sure looks that way. Last but not least in this week’s episode, The Nerds bring back the “What Bike Should I Buy?” segment to discuss the ultimate one-bike solution — or if it even exists.
Feb 25, 2021
Can cycling apparel brands cut back on plastic bag use?
With very few exceptions, every piece of cycling clothing you buy comes in its own individual bag — or “polybag” as it’s commonly called in the industry. When you take into account the size of the global cycling apparel industry, and the number of individual garments, that’s a lot of plastic bags. Has it always been this way? How did we get here? And what do we do about it? In this week’s episode, James chats with two apparel brands, Ornot and Pearl Izumi, to assess the current state of things, find out how things are already improving, and why we still have a long way to go.
Feb 18, 2021
Making sense of the latest tech chaos
Dropper seat posts for Super Tucking on road bikes? Mountain bikes with fully internal cable routing?? Road Boost hub spacing??? $6,000 aero bars???? Some of the recent developments in the bike world actually make a bit of sense, but there’s an awful lot of other stuff that’s so silly that, well, it’s pretty much guaranteed to happen. The Nerds dig into what’s going on and try to make sense of the madness.
1 hr 9 min
Feb 11, 2021
Nerding out on custom wheels
In this week’s Nerd Alert, James and Dave go deep into the rabbit hole of custom bicycle wheels with Adrian Emilsen of Melody Wheels in Perth, Australia. Why should you care about wheels? Are custom wheels really better than factory-built ones? How would you build a set of wheels for a light rider versus a heavier one? What are some strategies you can pursue at home if you want to get into the basics of truing, or maybe want to build a set of wheels for the first time yourself? Hope you’ve got some time set aside because we get real nerdy on this one.
1 hr 15 min
Feb 5, 2021
Wireless for everybody!
Recent filings with the US Federal Communications Commission reveal that Shimano’s next generation of Dura-Ace Di2 will be at least semi-wireless — and not only that, but SRAM looks to finally be bringing its AXS wireless system down to the Rival level. Both developments are very exciting, but what do they mean for wired drivetrains, and will both companies be able to deliver in the current environment? While drivetrains are trending toward wireless, indoor trainers might be moving in the other direction with hardwired connections for better signal reliability. Finally, we tackle a whole bunch of fresh questions in our Ask a Mechanic segment (and Caley actually has something meaningful to contribute this time around).
1 hr 10 min
Jan 28, 2021
Is it possible to have too many tools? No, it is not.
You might look at tools just as utilitarian items — cold lumps of lifeless steel. For the true believers, the difference between good tools and bad ones is like the difference between gas station sushi and the real thing: they both might get the job done, but one is certainly a lot more satisfying, while the other is more likely to leave you feeling more than a little bit of regret. But, what makes a good tool, why is designing one so hard to do, and why should you care? James and Dave get the lowdown with Jason Quade from Abbey Bike Tools.
1 hr 1 min
Jan 15, 2021
Outlandish safety claims, a better way to Zwift, and the merits of chain waxing
The Nerds gather for the first podcast of the new year and it does not take long for things to get spicy! We discuss the lawsuit filed against Trek and Bontrager for their allegedly outlandish claims regarding WaveCel helmet technology efficacy, the way ZwiftHub is out-Zwifting Zwift in a few key ways, and the pros and cons of Sea Otter’s recent announcement that they’re moving the show (at least for 2021) all the way back to October instead of April. Finally, in our Ask a Mechanic segment, Caley and Zach reaffirm their disapproval of chain waxing (Dave and James are still fans), we provide some ideas on how to keep your bike from corroding into nothingness in harsh winter conditions, and debate the wisdom of drilling holes in your frame and fork (spoiler: it’s a bad idea).
1 hr 31 min
Dec 18, 2020
It’s time for the 2020 CyclingTippy awards!
Yes, folks, it’s once again that time of year where we here at CyclingTips hand out the most prestigious, coveted, and occasionally dubious awards in all of cycling: the CyclingTippies! What was the most important bike launched this year? What was the biggest miss? What was just the flat-out most ridiculous, or most annoying? And what was the absolute biggest bummer of the year? We cover all of this, and more, in this week’s episode.
1 hr 1 min
Dec 4, 2020
The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round
James has locked the Nerds out of the recording studio for this episode, disregarding the traditional format to instead do a (very) deep dive into the world of bearings. What makes for a good bearing or a bad one? Are ceramics really all that? How are we supposed to take care of these things? And why does press-fit suck in the bicycle world, but is the norm in industrial settings? Hope you’re sitting somewhere comfy because we’re nerding out big time for this one.
1 hr 17 min
Nov 19, 2020
The fifth element - magnesium stages a comeback
We’ve said before that we’re in a “golden age” of chain lube these days, with big advancements in recent months that not only reduce drivetrain friction but dramatically extend the lifespan of your components, too. We discuss the latest releases from CeramicSpeed and Silca — one for wet conditions, the other for dry — and make the argument for why they’re actually better bargains than you might think. We’re also on the cusp of a potentially big revolution in frame materials, with magnesium finally emerging (after multiple attempts in the past) as a truly viable alternative to carbon fiber, aluminum, titanium, and steel. James chats with Bruno Maier, the president of “Super Magnesium” maker Allite Inc., to find out exactly why magnesium is so promising, and why this time around might be different than before. James has already reviewed the new Vaast gravel bike if you're interested in reading about that. Finally, we cap off this episode with another round of…
1 hr 18 min
Nov 6, 2020
Disposable bike economy with Erik Bronsvoort
Winter is coming, and so is new winter riding gear. Nerd Alert this week kicks off with a discussion about the new Assos winter jacket that retails at $725 USD (0:03:40) as well as Rapha's new Windproof Explore Pullover sweater (0:13:10). There are more and more companies adopting environmentally sustainable methods, like Trek's new packaging for their Marlin hardtail. (0:19:10). James chats with Erik Bronsvoort, author of "From Marginal Gains to a Circular Revolution: A practical guide to creating a circular cycling economy", about the environmental impact of bicycle production (0:23:35). The Nerds discuss the "platform model" of Bronsvoort's, and how the bike industry used to be before full bike build options were the norm (0:53:20). Would a leasing model work? Ending the podcast on an up-beat note Zach, and the rest of the Nerds, answer listener questions for the ongoing "Ask a Mechanic" segment (1:09:30). Remortgage the house: Assos launches new winter collection with a $725 j…
1 hr 26 min
Oct 23, 2020
12-speed for everyone!
In this episode of Nerd Alert, we discuss the merits of Ratio Technology’s new 12-speed conversion kit for SRAM 11-speed levers, as well as the pros and cons of wireless technology for Shimano’s next-generation Dura-Ace Di2 groupset. We then have a chat with the folks at Cadex and discuss the challenges of positioning a high-end “in-house” brand against established third-party aftermarket labels. Finally, we finish off with another round of “Ask a Mechanic”. Moral of the story: don’t take mechanical advice from Caley. Rome's tyre article can be found here: https://cyclingtips.com/2017/12/tips-for-installing-removing-impossibly-tight-tyres/
1 hr 21 min
Oct 8, 2020
Your next road bike might look like an airplane
The UCI has a lot of silly technical rules, but there’s one that isn’t on the books that could potentially keep a lot of riders from crashing. It doesn’t have anything to do with the bikes themselves, though; it would apply to bottles and cages. Existing rules for aero tube shapes are also about to change either way and how exactly that will affect the shape of future bikes is anything but certain. Will your next bike sprout a seatpost out of its top tube? Will road bikes look like triathlon bikes? Maybe, or maybe not.
1 hr 21 min
Sep 23, 2020
Tech of the Tour de France
With the Tour de France wrapped up, we take a look at the tech that popped up and discuss what it might mean for the rest of us.
1 hr 2 min
Sep 9, 2020
Bike tech that makes us go… no thanks.
What's the saying? Those who can't make something, podcast about it? With much adoration for the good people behind our favorite bike stuff, sometimes things just miss the mark. This episode is a celebration ... no, the opposite of that ... of bike tech that makes us want to pull our hair out.
1 hr 21 min
Aug 18, 2020
Are two-speed internal hubs the new front derailleur?
We kick off this week's episode with some tech news, including a discussion of the new Classified two-speed hub, which gives you a 2x without a front derailleur. James chats with Luke Musselman about tire width standards, and why the number on the sidewall often bears little resemblance to a tire's actual size.
1 hr 41 min
Aug 3, 2020
Garmin's hack, Mavic's future and a banker's take on the bike boom
This week's episode kicks off with a discussion of EvilCorp's ransomware attack on Garmin's systems, then we take a look at the future of Mavic now that it has new owners. James hops on the phone with an analyst from Bank of America who has been looking into the bike industry and has some good news. Finally, the tool nerds debate the merits of various brands of hex key.
1 hr 22 min
Jul 21, 2020
Inside the company that sells carbon to bike brands
This week's episode is a deep dive interview with Jason Gabriel of Toray Advanced Composites, the company that provides much of the raw material to carbon bike manufacturers all over the world.
1 hr 5 min
Jul 6, 2020
Should you tip your mechanic? And other important questions
This week's episode discusses new wheels from Reserve (Santa Cruz) and the return (again) of Spinergy. Then, we ask our resident pro mechanic your reader questions. Should you tip your mechanic? Should you bring a six pack of beer? What assembly compound will stop a press fit bottom bracket from creaking?
1 hr 13 min
Jun 22, 2020
Pretty paint and SRAM's wild front derailleur patent
We open this week's episode with a discussion of SRAM's wild patent for a front shifting system that puts three derailleurs on the chainrings themselves, plus a look at the company's new 52-tooth cassette. Then, James speaks with the head of graphics and design at Trek. Finally, we jump back into a What Bike Should I Buy. Who will take home a coveted Podcast Point?
1 hr 11 min
Jun 8, 2020
The future of road wheels
New wheels from Zipp and Roval have just hit the market, and both bring with them as many questions as answers. Roval is ditching tubeless and Zipp is requiring it. What's going on? Finally, we Ask a Mechanic about BB90, chain cleaning, and disc brakes that won't line up.
1 hr 15 min
May 25, 2020
How to spot a good mechanic
There's much tech news to dissect in this week's episode, from Strava's aggressive new paywall to the new Cannondale Scalpel to which podcast host did the dumbest weightweenie things to his XC bike back in the early 2000s. Plus, we bring back Ask a Mechanic, and Zach runs through how to fix a floppy SRAM hydro shifter, the best way to wrap bars, and more.
1 hr 9 min
May 12, 2020
Fixing broken carbon fiber
This week's episode is a deep dive on carbon repair. After Caley broke his mountain bike, he sent it off to be fixed. We speak with Shawn Small and Dan Steinle from Ruckus Composites about the process, what they'll fix, and what they won't. Then, James chats with Raoul Leuscher about why carbon bikes break in the first place.
1 hr 39 min
Apr 27, 2020
The golden age of helmets
This week's episode opens with the latest tech news, from new POC helmets to fast lube from Silca, and then dives into helmet safety with Kali Protective's Brad Waldron.
1 hr 9 min
Apr 13, 2020
Tires for Roubaix
This week's episode opens with the latest news from Pond Beaver 2020, CyclingTips' virtual trade show. We have new wheels from Fulcrum and Enve, new cranks from Rotor, and much more. Then, James calls up an engineer at Continental, who lets us in on what the company and some pro teams had planned for Paris-Roubaix. Hint: It wasn't tubular.
1 hr 32 min
Mar 30, 2020
Does bike weight really matter?
We all know that it’s easier to climb on a lighter bike. What isn’t as obvious is exactly how much it matters. And as it turns out, it doesn’t matter as much as you probably think it does. Dave Rome takes a deep dive into the hard science of how mass affects performance in relation to other factors like aerodynamic efficiency and friction. How much is too much? Fair warning: If you’ve always considered yourself a weight weenie, be prepared, because you might not love what you’re about to h
Mar 16, 2020
Peek behind the carbon manufacturing curtain
This is a coronavirus-free podcast. Just a bunch of nerds sitting around talking bikes. This week's episode kicks off with a look into the somewhat shadowy world of carbon manufacturing. We speak with someone who has built bikes for big brands and small, and who provides insight into the way the whole system works. Then, we Ask A Mechanic about corroded cables, proper brake bleed technique, and more.
1 hr 28 min
Mar 2, 2020
What's next for gravel bike geometry?
This week's episode comes to you from our Gravel Bike Field Test, and, unsurprisingly, we've got gravel bikes on the mind. James and Dave dig into gravel geometry, and specifically on the ways that gravel bikes are borrowing from mountain bikes. Sometimes that borrowing is a good thing, sometimes it's a bad thing. Then, a What Bike Should I Buy with everything* on the line. *Everything, in this case, is doing the dishes at the CT gravel house.
Feb 17, 2020
The nature of sponsorship and rim brakes with fat tires
Elite amateur bike racers deserve free stuff, right? Well, not so fast. This episode, James digs into the world of sponsorship, including dos and don'ts of requesting it. Then, we ask Zach some mechanic questions, and try to figure out which rim brake bike can fit 32mm tires.
1 hr 3 min
Feb 3, 2020
How to make the perfect disc brake
This week, James chats with brake engineer John Thomas about the difficulties in perfecting disc brakes, and how the very nature of the way we put bikes together these days makes it almost impossible to make them completely silent. Then, we pepper pro mechanic Zach with audience questions, and help Jakob pick a new bike in a contentious What Bike Should I Buy segment.
1 hr 5 min
Jan 20, 2020
Walking the pits at TDU and talking bike fit with Adam Hansen
This week your favorite Nerds are in Adelaide, Australia for the Tour Down Under, and the episode opens with a walk through the mechanic's pits. What's new in 2020 pro equipment? Then, we sit down with pro, and known geek, Adam Hansen to discuss his scientific and real-world exploration of bike fit.
1 hr 18 min
Jan 6, 2020
The tech of the decade and predicting the future
It's Awards season! James, Dave, and Caley sit down to award the best tech of the last decade and discuss where those developments are going next. Is the future of road disc brakes finally quiet? Will mechanical shifting stand the test of time? What will gravel bikes look like in ten years' time?
Dec 19, 2019
It's a gravel bike. It's a mountain bike. It's a grountain bike?
This week's episode opens with a few indoor riding topics - Zwift's new off-road courses and Rapha's indoor riding clothing. We then switch gears to gravel and discuss the new Evil Chamois Hagar, which looks (and will ride) like nothing else on the market.
Dec 5, 2019
An unhealthy obsession with chains
Welcome to the CyclingTips Nerd Alert podcast! In this episode, we discuss in detail the key findings in Dave Rome's most recent tech feature, which dives into Adam Kerin’s incredibly exhaustive research on chain efficiency and durability. Which chains last the longest, and which ones aren’t worth the extra money? What’s the most economical way to keep your expensive drivetrain running smoothly? And what are our hosts’ favorite chain lubes?
Nov 24, 2019
Coming soon: Nerd Alert Podcast
The world of bicycle tech is just too big to live exclusively within the confines of our regular podcast, so we’re now expanding Nerd Alert into its own regular pod, which will be released every other week. Subscribe now to make sure you never miss an episode.