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Off The Beaten Path

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11.01.2016
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Favicon Off The Beaten Path 16. Januar, 12:26 Uhr

To celebrate 15 years of Bicycle Quarterly, we are looking at ‘12 Myths in Cycling’ – things that aren’t quite what we (and most other cyclists) used to believe. Part 3 of the series is about fenders. Many cyclists here in Seattle install fenders when the rainy season starts, and remove them for the dry summer months. British time trialists even had quick-release fenders that they used on the...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 29. Dezember, 12:30 Uhr

“What? I have to wait three months for another Bicycle Quarterly?” In various forms, we hear this comment quite often. New subscribers enjoy their first issue, and they want more. Yet as a quarterly publication, BQ appears only every three months. That is how long it takes to put together another issue – with a more frequent schedule, it would simply be impossible to maintain the high quality...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 09. Januar, 09:36 Uhr

In part 2 of our series ’12 Myths in Cycling,’ we’ll look at why titanium isn’t always lighter than steel. I can hear you saying, “What? Everybody knows that titanium has half the density of steel.” That much is true: The same part made from titanium will weigh half as much as the equivalent from steel. But titanium has only half the stiffness, so the part will be half as stiff. To make the...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 03. Januar, 12:17 Uhr

When we started to publish Bicycle Quarterly 15 years ago, it seemed that most of the technical aspects of bicycles were well-established. And yet, as we tested many different bikes, we started to question many of the things we had accepted as ‘facts.’ To celebrate our 15th anniversary, we’ll look at some of these myths. We’ll explain why we (and everybody else) used to believe them, and how...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 10. Januar, 12:18 Uhr

Gilles Berthoud’s are my favorite under-seat bags: lightweight, beautiful and functional. Since using one on a tandem in the 2003 Paris-Brest-Paris, I’ve found them useful whenever my handlebar bag doesn’t have enough capacity, or as the only bag on bikes without a front rack. Berthoud now offers a version that attaches neatly to their saddles with the KlickFix system. We’ve added these bags to...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 06. Januar, 00:35 Uhr

Lyli Herse would have turned 90 years old today (January 6) – and this post was written to celebrate her life that has inspired so many of us. But alas, I have to report instead that Lyli died on Thursday after a very short illness. Despite the great sadness of losing her, let’s celebrate her anyway, because that is what she would have wanted. Until just a few days ago, she remained healthy and...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 25. Dezember, 07:57 Uhr

The top of Bealach na Ba Pass This autumn, Andrew Mathias rode around the entire coastline of Britain in one setting. Many of us followed his beautiful journey on Instagram. Now I had the opportunity to interview Andrew about his epic journey. JH: Congratulations on riding around the coastline of Britain. It was fun to follow you on Instagram. You rode 5000 miles (8000 km) in 64 days? AM:...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 14. Juli, 15:47 Uhr

Allways pedal At Compass Cycles, we sell only parts that we want to ride on our own bikes. It’s important that we can rely on the components we use to carry us through all conditions, problem-free. This is why we offer the top-of-the-line pedals from MKS. Each of the MKS pedals we offer features silky smooth cartridge bearings, beautifully finished bodies and elegant design. Our most recent...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 11. Juli, 11:45 Uhr

In past decades, there was little doubt about what made a “road” bike: narrow tires, drop handlebars, no fenders. Then randonneur bikes were re-introduced into cycling’s mainstream, leading to some confusion. “That is a touring bike,” said many. “It has a rack and fenders.” But the performance of the randonneur bike is the same as that of a racing bike, and far from a touring bike. Basically,...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 01. Januar, 08:10 Uhr

All of us at Compass Cycles and Bicycle Quarterly wish you a Happy New Year and many great rides for 2018.

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 05. Juli, 11:19 Uhr

The 2017 Concours de Machines in Ambert (France) was a great success for everybody involved. The bikes were amazing – and much-improved over last year’s machines – the routes were truly challenging, and most of all, the spirit among all participants was wonderful. The goal was to find the best “light randonneur bike”, with 24 builders bringing their interpretations of this theme. Most...

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 25. Dezember, 08:01 Uhr

All of us at Compass Cycles and Bicycle Quarterly wish you Happy Holidays!

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 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 30. Juni, 17:36 Uhr

In this year’s Concours de Machines technical trials, I am riding J. P. Weigle’s entry (above). The Concours is a competition for the best “light randonneur bicycle”. The rules stress light weight, reliability and innovation. Bikes must be fully equipped with lights and the ability to carry luggage, plus a pump and a bell. There are bonus points for fenders. Bikes are examined at the beginning,...

Favicon Off The Beaten Path 29. Juni, 10:54 Uhr

Compass is now offering two new leather handlebar tapes: one from Gilles Berthoud in France (above) and another from Maware in Japan. We’ve also restocked several popular items. Berthoud’s leather handlebar tape is made from a luxurious cowhide in seamless strips dyed to match their high-quality saddles (except cork). Riders who appreciate a bit of padding will prefer this tape. For riders who...

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 27. Juni, 05:26 Uhr

Next weekend, the Concours de Machines (Technical Trials) will be held in Ambert, France. The Concours is a competition between bikes, not riders, with the goal to find the best “light randonneur bike”. Bikes will be weighed, judged on their features, and then sent on a challenging course over three days to see how they hold up in real-world riding. It’s an exciting event with an illustrious...

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 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 21. Juni, 11:35 Uhr

We’ve experienced a profound revolution in road bikes in recent years: It used to be that to go fast, you rode narrow tires and pumped them up to the maximum pressure. If you wanted more comfort, you used wider tires and (maybe) lower pressures, but you knew that you’d be slower. Now we know that comfort and speed aren’t opposed, but inextricably linked: A bike that absorbs shocks better rolls...

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 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 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 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....

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