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Off The Beaten Path

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11.01.2016
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Favicon Off The Beaten Path 29. November, 12:03 Uhr

The new René Herse cantilever brakes are here! Prototypes of these brakes were one of the secrets that made Peter Weigle’s bike at this year’s Concours de Machines so light. They weigh just 75 g per wheel including bolts, springs and pad holders (without pads). How can the René Herse cantilever brakes be that light? After all, even carbon cantilevers like the TRP RevoX are 50% heavier at 113 g....

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 05. Dezember, 12:01 Uhr

Our new water bottles celebrate the Compass and René Herse logos with a bold new design. The bottles are based on Specialized’s popular 26 oz. Purist design, with our custom graphics. In addition to the iconic logos, the bottles feature a quote that describes our approach to bicycles. The new design is limited to 500 bottles, and we expect them to sell out fast. Get yours while you can! Click...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 15. Dezember, 07:33 Uhr

At Compass Cycles, we have taken much of our inspiration from René Herse and his legendary bikes. In the past, we’ve talked about the great performance and incredible reliability of Herse’s bikes, but what is even more striking is their beauty. You notice it immediately when you look at one of his bikes, or even a photo… but it took much study to unlock the secrets of the ‘magician of...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 11. Dezember, 09:05 Uhr

At Compass, we design our components over thousands of miles on the (often rough) roads we ride, so we have full confidence that others will enjoy them as much as we do. Still, we were pleasantly surprised when the world’s biggest cycling web site, BikeRadar, tested our handlebars and awarded them 4.5 out of 5 stars. That puts our bars somewhere between “one of the best you can buy” and “a...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 25. November, 11:23 Uhr

During the second day of our recent cyclotouring trip to the Aizu mountains in northern Japan, we embarked on a little adventure to discover the ‘Forgotten Pass.’ In the evening of the first day, we climbed a small mountain pass, but found to our surprise that a tunnel now traversed the ridge that we had intended to climb. It was getting dark, so we went through the bore, eager to reach our...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 13. Dezember, 07:21 Uhr

We are excited to announce the latest SON generator hubs. The biggest news is the connector-less SL system for thru-axle hubs: Now you can remove your front wheel and its generator hub without having to disconnect any wires, even with a thru axle. The system consists of three parts: The heart is the SONdelux 12 generator hub. The SONdelux is the lightest generator hub in Schmidt’s program, and...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 01. Dezember, 08:24 Uhr

The Winter Bicycle Quarterly features the story of a remarkable adventure: Touring unknown mountain roads in the French Alps on an unrestored, 70-year-old René Herse. To bring you right into the action, we made a little video about the ride. Click on the image above to watch, before reading the full story in BQ 62 (available soon). Subscribe today to get your issue in time for the...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 24. November, 04:50 Uhr

At Compass Cycles, we’ve been excited to see interest in our components grow all over the world. We now work with more than 500 bike shops, as well as a number of international distributors. However, some components are difficult for shops to stock. Our cranks are a typical example: They are available in three lengths, as singles, doubles or triples, with dozens of chainring combinations. And...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 07. Dezember, 10:36 Uhr

The new Bicycle Quarterly is shipping now – subscribers should have their copies in a few weeks. Many of our readers already have enjoyed the video of our tandem trip to the French Alps. Taking an unrestored 70-year-old bike on a challenging tour was full of adventure. Natsuko writes about her first tandem ride, and a companion article explains why this old tandem performed so well. Even...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 13. Juni, 11:47 Uhr

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

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 22. November, 02:43 Uhr

During a recent trip to Japan, we went on a short trip to the Aizu mountains in northern Honshu (Japan’s main island). It was a beautiful day, and the famous kouyou (‘autumn red leaves’) were at their best. Like most rides in Japan, we started by taking the train. A Shinkansen bullet train whisked us a few hundred kilometers northward, then we took a small train into the hills. We assembled...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 11. Juni, 06:13 Uhr

In recent months, I’ve been traveling and testing so many bikes for Bicycle Quarterly that I my “main” bike, the René Herse, hasn’t seen much use. But now the Summer BQ is out, and I am back on my favorite bike. We built it six years ago as a prototype to try new ideas – wide, supple tires; superlight tubing; centerpull brakes; low-trail geometry; and even some special 1940s derailleurs: the...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 16. November, 12:46 Uhr

Compass Cycles is introducing the first-ever 11-speed-compatible René Herse cranks and chainrings. And the first-ever René Herse chainrings with ramps and pins. These are not just any ramps and pins: They’re carefully engineered to shift as well as the best cranks from the big manufacturers. We are proud to offer this performance with useful chainring sizes – plus the beauty and light weight of...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 06. Juni, 15:47 Uhr

“I no longer believe that the ultimate rigidity defines the ultimate bike!” That revolutionary statement came from Damon Rinard, Road Engineering Manager at Cannondale, in a recent Cyclingtips.com podcast on frame stiffness and “planing”. For many decades, stiffer frames were thought to perform better. Frame flex was equated with wasted energy. And yet there were some who had doubts about this....

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 03. Juni, 16:30 Uhr

The long days of summer see us heading far into the mountains. Often, our ambitious plans push the limits of even the longest days… Above, Natsuko descends the incredible chain of passes in the Cevennes mountains of France. This amazing tour is featured in the latest Bicycle Quarterly. Just in time for the adventures of the summer, our latest shipment of Compass Barlow Pass 700C x 38 and Bon...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 01. Juni, 23:16 Uhr

Unpublished photos are fun, especially when they tell a different story from the one featured in Bicycle Quarterly. When I was cleaning out old photo files, I was reminded of our trip to Mexico City a little over a year ago. The main reason to visit Mexico with our bikes was to cycle across the Paso de Cortès (BQ 56) and around Cuernavaca (BQ 59). In between these trips, we were based in Mexico...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 09. November, 13:00 Uhr

In addition to individual Kaisei tubes, Compass Cycles offers three tubesets: Superlight, “Mule” and Oversize. Each tubeset is based on bikes that we have found to work extremely well. After describing the Superlight set, today we’ll look at the Mule. Named after my most versatile bike, it features an unusual configuration: an oversized down tube (31.8 mm diameter) for added stiffness, and a...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 29. Mai, 11:37 Uhr

It’s always interesting when bike industry people talk among each other, off-the-record. On the ride from the airport to Paul Camp a few weeks ago, one bike tester was still visibly shaken when he related: “My tubeless tire blew off the rim yesterday. I almost crashed.” Worried that this might have been one of our tires, I asked about the brand. He mentioned a big maker, known as a pioneer...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 25. Mai, 14:54 Uhr

A few weeks ago, the Bicycle Quarterly editors went to Paul Camp – a get-together for the media at Paul Components, the famous maker of brakes and other parts. The idea was simple: Instead of attending a big trade show, why not get the media together, bring them to Paul in Chico, CA, show them the company, and ride bikes? Even better, Paul partnered with eleven custom builders, who built...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 02. November, 08:31 Uhr

We aren’t models! Anybody who has looked at our photos will have noticed this… but what I really want to say is that every photo you see in Bicycle Quarterly, on this blog and on the Compass web site is totally authentic. It’s not a posed shot with – yes – a model gazing wistfully over a mountain landscape, where you instinctively feel that they’ve come up here in a van and there is a second...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 22. Mai, 10:55 Uhr

At Bicycle Quarterly, we’ve been testing quite a few titanium and carbon bikes lately, and even a bike made from bamboo. We really liked most of these bikes. And yet our own bikes continue to be made from steel. Why don’t we ride carbon or titanium (or bamboo) bikes? We choose steel because this material allows us to build custom bikes that are dialed in to the nth degree. High-end steel bikes...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 28. Oktober, 09:09 Uhr

During a recent visit to Kyoto, we rented bikes for a day. Cycling is a great way to get around this beautiful old city, and it also presented an opportunity to experience Japanese city bikes. Our guest house offered bike rentals for the equivalent of $ 5 per day. In Kyoto, bicycles are one of the main means of transportation. We saw them everywhere, ridden by everybody: men and women of all...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 16. Mai, 11:53 Uhr

The new Bicycle Quarterly is at the printer. It’s our biggest issue yet – well over 100 pages filled with exciting adventures. Here are a few of them: Renowned framebuilder and constructeur Peter Weigle joins us on a trip to Japan. Read his experiences with Rinko-ing his bike, riding the incredible Japanese mountain roads, and visiting the great constructeurs Toei and C.S. Hirose. Peter sees...

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 25. Oktober, 11:39 Uhr

In addition to individual Kaisei frame tubes, Compass Cycles offers three tubesets. Each tubeset is based on bikes that we have found to work extremely well. These bikes have distinct characters that I’ll describe in a series of blog posts. The Superlight tubeset is just that – the lightest, thinnest-wall tubeset you can buy today. In the unbutted center sections (“bellies”), the tube walls...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 11. Mai, 12:33 Uhr

The container with Compass tires has arrived, and all sizes are now available again. We thank you for your patience as we continue to work hard to keep all our products in stock. Enjoy the little video of our Elk Pass 26″ x 1.25″ Extralight tires in action! Click here for more information about our tires.

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 05. Mai, 11:49 Uhr

We try to keep our products in stock. For us, bicycles are necessities, and their parts should be available at all times. So we are really sorry that some of our tires have been out of stock. We simply hadn’t planned on demand in Europe taking off as it has. And making tires by hand takes time, so we couldn’t just ask Panaracer in Japan to make more at the drop of a hat. Fortunately, our most...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 03. Mai, 11:31 Uhr

7 Questions with Jan Heine, of Bicycle Quarterly We always enjoy to learn how others see Compass Cycles and Bicycle Quarterly. Paul Component Engineering has been making CNC-machined bike components in Chico, California for over 25 years. Like Compass, Paul focuses on quality, craftsmanship and making parts that last a lifetime. Paul’s monthly email newsletters show how their components are...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 30. April, 05:11 Uhr

Spacers with a flat surface on the inner diameter can help prevent your headset from loosening. Just to clarify: If your headset stays put as it is, then don’t change it! It’s just that my headsets kept loosening on two different bikes, and so I was looking for a solution. Classic headsets use a locknut at the top to maintain the headset’s adjustment. It’s essential to prevent the upper headset...

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