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Off The Beaten Path

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11.01.2016
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Favicon Off The Beaten Path 18. Oktober, 07:02 Uhr

The Autumn Bicycle Quarterly marks the 15th anniversary of the magazine. To celebrate, we assembled a very special selection of articles into our largest issue yet. Many readers have written to voice their excitement about the latest edition. Here are a few examples: “Issue no. 61 is absolutely the greatest I have seen: so packed with well-written and interesting feature articles, pictures and...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 03. Oktober, 11:50 Uhr

Sometimes, we get questions about why our René Herse cranks aren’t anodized. Some even wondered if this was a cost-saving measure. Rest assured, Compass never will choose a cheaper process over a better one. There is a reason why our cranks aren’t anodized: When I was racing, I bought a beautiful used Campagnolo Croce d’Aune crankset (above). Named after the pass on which Tullio Campagnolo...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 11. Oktober, 12:15 Uhr

It’s been fun to see our Compass tires on some great trips recently. It’s one of the great things about social media – we can enjoy adventures from all over the world and be inspired by them.   Julien Verlyy seems to be riding all the time. His photos from the Pyrenees are especially inspirational. Steep climbs, small roads and verdant landscapes – a dream for cycling. You can follow him on...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 18. April, 11:54 Uhr

I really like our cyclotouring knickers. They are based on a design I discovered in Japan. The ones we offer are a development from that, a little lighter and even better for spirited riding. I’ve been wearing mine on almost every ride since we introduced them. So it’s no surprise that I like them – I developed them! That is why it’s important to get independent feedback. The ideal reviewer...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 27. September, 11:16 Uhr

Now that it’s officially autumn in the northern hemisphere, the temperatures are getting colder, the days are shorter, and there’s often a chance of rain in the forecast. For me, that makes riding my bike all the more important. I enjoy breathing fresh air, feeling the wind in my face, and seeing the landscape change with the season. I come home invigorated. Speaking to my riding companions,...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 13. April, 11:42 Uhr

Drew Wilson won the Ragnarok 105-mile gravel race on Compass tires recently, so we used the opportunity to ask him about his race and gravel riding in general. JH: Congratulations on your win at the Ragnarok 105. It’s a tough event – tell us a bit about it. DW:  The Ragnarok is a traditional midwest gravel race, now in its tenth year. It is free with postcard entry and is self-supported. Many...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 22. September, 07:06 Uhr

Quite a few people were surprised at the 2017 Concours de Machines when Peter Weigle’s bike was the lightest by a big margin. With a steel frame and mostly metal components, the Weigle weighed just 9.1 kg (20.0 lb) fully equipped with wide tires, fenders, lights, a rack, even a pump and a bell. To date, no carbon or titanium bike has been as light, while being similarly outfitted for real...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 10. April, 06:42 Uhr

Bicycle Quarterly took the Open U.P. to Odarumi, one of the highest passes in Japan. How does a carbon bike for wide tires handle the 2000 m (6600 ft) paved climb? And how does it do on the challenging gravel descent? We made a little video to take you right into the action. Join Bicycle Quarterly in this amazing adventure! Click on the image above or watch at this link. Make sure you watch it...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 18. September, 11:37 Uhr

The updated Compass Babyshoe Pass TC 650B x 42 mm tires are now in stock in all models. What’s new? We took our most popular 650B tire, and made it tubeless compatible. When you are riding fast on rough gravel, tubeless really makes sense – as I found out when I had dual pinch flats on a Bicycle Quarterly test bike on the original Babyshoe Pass tires (below). You may wonder how I pinch-flatted...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 07. April, 10:24 Uhr

Compass Cycles is proud to sponsor the Swift Campout for the second year. The Swift Campout is a global event, allowing riders to participate where and as they choose: On Saturday, June 24, cyclists will head out for camping trips to a destination they select, then return on Sunday. It’s fun to be part of this and knowing that, all over the world, riders are sharing similar experiences. For...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 06. April, 11:17 Uhr

First, I want to apologize that several Compass tire models are out of stock. Orders from our distributors in Europe and Japan have exceeded our expectations, and tire production has to be scheduled long in advance… The tires now are on a boat to Seattle. We should have all models back in stock toward the end of the month. Until then, we appreciate your patience. We’ll put up an announcement...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 15. September, 12:10 Uhr

Last weekend was the first cyclocross race in Seattle. Almost every year, the first race catches me by surprise. Summer is over? It’s ‘cross season already? Usually, I oil the chain on my trusty Alan ‘cross bike and head to the races. This year, the Alan’s tubular tires needed regluing. The glue must cure for 24 hours, and the race was too close for that. What to do? I looked at my Firefly,...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 04. April, 07:49 Uhr

Compass Cycles and Branford Bikes are excited to announce the Volcano High Pass Challenge as part of a Labor Day weekend filled with great rides. Part race, part scenic ride with friends, this unsanctioned event challenges riders of all abilities. The one-day route goes from Packwood, at the foot of Mount Rainier, to Carson, on the Columbia River. When: Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, 5 a.m. Where:...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 13. September, 11:39 Uhr

Open made a video to introduce their facelifted U.P. wide-tire racing bike. They went for a beautiful ride in the Alsace Mountains of France, coincidentally the same region where the first post-war Concours de Machines was held in 1946. A few months ago, we sent Open’s Andy Kessler a set of Compass 650B x 48 mm Switchback Hill tires for testing. He put them on the new bike and featured them in...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 11. September, 11:46 Uhr

It’s no secret that we love steel bikes. Steel allows us to build the bikes we need for our adventures – bikes where every detail is optimized to the nth degree. You can imagine our concern when True Temper, one of the most important suppliers of steel tubing, decided to leave the bicycle market. Without steel tubes, especially the superlight ones that True Temper was specializing in, there...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 01. April, 03:36 Uhr

The other rider passed us at great speed. Getting passed by “hobby racers” while cyclotouring with my Japanese friends isn’t unusual, especially on valley-bottom roads that see many cyclists. From behind, the rider looked odd. His position was very low. He was turning a large gear. All this sounds like a novice rider, but there was something about his cyclist that piqued my interest. I decided...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 27. März, 12:20 Uhr

“Don’t do this on knobby tires!” would be most cyclists’ advice when looking at the photo above. Everybody knows that cornering hard on pavement and knobby tires don’t go together. And yet, the photo shows me on Compass Steilacoom knobby tires. And I didn’t take any undue risks. It was a cold winter day, and the pavement was still moist from a recent snowfall, so I didn’t push the limits,...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 06. September, 18:50 Uhr

The results are coming in for the Volcano High Pass Challenge. As the name implies, it was a challenging ride with much elevation gain, much gravel, and much scenic beauty. Fifteen intrepid riders set out from the Packwood Library shortly after 5 a.m. on Saturday. The long gravel climb up to Walupt Lake – more than 3000 ft up – separated the pack into small groups. Even the race leaders...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 22. März, 11:43 Uhr

A highlight of my trips to Japan is visiting Cycle Store Hirose. It’s a truly special place. I enjoy talking about bikes with Mr. Hirose. His knowledge is deep, and his ideas and thoughts never cease to surprise me. This time, I was proud to show him the Compass decaleur that licenses Hirose’s locking mechanism. He had seen prototypes before, but this was the first time that he saw the final...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 30. August, 03:53 Uhr

Volcano High Pass Challenge (Saturday, 9/2) Part race, part scenic ride with friends, this unsanctioned event challenges riders of all abilities. The distance is 170 km (105 miles), with half on gravel and half on pavement, from Packwood, at the foot of Mount Rainier, to Carson, on the Columbia River. Anyone is welcome: Just ride the course and have fun. For the one-day ride/race, show up at...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 14. März, 11:54 Uhr

When building a bike, one important decision concerns the wheels. How do you get the best performance and still make your wheels strong enough to withstand 20,000+ miles of riding on rough roads without needing service? By now, most cyclists know that spokes don’t break from overloading, but from fatigue as the spoke is loaded and unloaded when the wheel rotates. The wheel flattens at the...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 21. August, 11:24 Uhr

With the Autumn issue, we celebrate 15 years of Bicycle Quarterly! Fifteen years is a long time, and much has changed in the bike world since 2003. Most of those changes – wider tires, compact cranks, Allroad bikes – have been for the better, and BQ has played at least a small part in that. So we decided to celebrate not just 15 years of the magazine, but also the industry’s shift toward bikes...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 09. März, 05:16 Uhr

A highlight of my visits to Japan is going to the Panaracer factory. It’s a magical place, where some of the world’s best tires are made largely by hand. It resembles a storybook factory: Huge machines emit hissing steam. Skilled hands assemble casing, beads and tread. Hot tires cool as they move along conveyors under the roof. The main reason for my visits to the factory is to discuss ideas...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 18. August, 11:16 Uhr

Sometimes, it feels as if cyclists are divided into two camps on many issues. One of these divisions concerns pedals. There are those who believe that if you don’t have clipless pedals, it’s hardly worth taking your bike outside. Others fervently believe that any foot retention will ruin your enjoyment of cycling. I’ve never understood this “either – or” attitude. On many of my bikes, I ride...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 05. März, 13:37 Uhr

Tokyo’s Mountain Cycling Club reminds me of the Groupe Montagnard Parisien: almost unknown, yet fascinating and influential far beyond their limited membership. The French riders brought us the Technical Trials and modern randonneur bikes, while their Japanese counterparts co-invented mountain bikes. The Mountain Cycling Club started exploring the mountain passes in the Japanese Alps decades...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 02. März, 08:15 Uhr

We’ve been fans of Gilles Berthoud saddles and bags for many years. Above is Theo’s bike with Berthoud GB28 bag and Aspin saddle. These parts have been incredibly durable: I still use the very first Berthoud handlebar bag that he bought 17 years ago, and the prototype Berthoud saddle on my Urban Bike is still going strong after a decade of hard use. There simply aren’t better-quality or...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 10. August, 11:30 Uhr

We just received our first shipment of Gilles Berthoud “Open” saddles. In the past, I’ve tried many saddles with cutouts, but none were comfortable. While they relieved pressure in the center, the sharp edges of the opening were uncomfortable. So I was skeptical when I received a sample of the Gilles Berthoud Aspin Open. I was surprised to find that I could not feel the edges of the cutout at...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 04. August, 06:36 Uhr

Jan’s comment: It’s always interesting to read others’ impressions of our work. Cyclodonia discussed several bikes from the Concours de Machines in detail. Translated and reposted with permission. The French original is available here. The views expressed are those of the original, not mine. Enjoy! J. P. Weigle (Lyme – USA) 2nd place,  Concours de Machines Prix de la Légèreté [Prize for the...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 23. Februar, 12:55 Uhr

We now offer Compass centerpull brakes with a backing plate for bolt-on mounting, in limited quantities. Many customers have asked for this: Wouldn’t it be nice to get the superlight weight and superior performance of these brakes on an existing bike? A backing plate connects the pivots with the fork crown, which makes it possible to bolt these brakes onto any bike with brake-mounting holes in...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 01. August, 11:50 Uhr

Many cyclists dream of a dual-purpose tire that rolls smoothly on paved roads, but has knobs that dig into the surface when it gets slippery. In the past, combining these two qualities in a single tire has been elusive. Usually, the knobs were too squirmy for good performance on pavement – especially when cornering hard – and yet the knobs were spaced too closely to shed mud when the going got...

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