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Off The Beaten Path

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11.01.2016
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Off The Beaten Path
06. August, 10:50 Uhr

A recent hiking trip to Mount Rainier also provided an opportunity to revisit a favorite climb – and work on my form for the upcoming 1200 km (750 miles) of Paris-Brest-Paris. This time, we headed to Mount Rainier by car, loaded with four people, backpacks and associated gear. Fortunately, the J.P. Weigle from the Concours de Machines is a Rinko bike, which packs quite small. The extralight...

Off The Beaten Path
13. August, 10:32 Uhr

We’re looking forward to this year’s Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting – our annual get-together to share the joy of riding off the beaten path. It’s not an organized event – we just publish a date and time, and everybody is welcome to join. There are no fees, no registrations, and no services are provided. The photos here are from last year’s Un-Meeting, when we spent a great two days along the...

Off The Beaten Path
01. Juli, 10:29 Uhr

Small things can make a big difference, especially on long rides. With handlebar bags, it’s important that they don’t flop around as you ride. That is why they are supported by a rack at the bottom. At the top, keeping the bag from moving from side to side is helpful as well. Berthoud bags come with a sturdy (and quite heavy) cardboard stiffener. This makes sure they hold their shape, but it...

Off The Beaten Path
05. Juli, 19:14 Uhr

Square taper bottom brackets may seem like anachronisms dating from the last century, and yet they remain the best option for metal cranks. Here is why our Rene Herse cranks use square tapers and will continue to do so in the future. Modern bottom brackets have larger spindles, so they can use thinner walls. The result is a lighter bottom bracket – but the larger spindle requires more material...

Off The Beaten Path
10. Juli, 12:29 Uhr

During the summer solstice, Ryan Francesconi led a group of 14 friends on a truly amazing adventure: We took the train to Klamath Falls on the border between Oregon and California and then rode back to Portland on forest roads and trails traversing the Oregon Cascades. It was a 2-day, 640 km (400-mile) ride that challenged riders and bikes to the max. Not only was our route 90% gravel and...

Off The Beaten Path
16. Juli, 14:44 Uhr

For the Summer Bicycle Quarterly, we test the incredible Calfee Bamboo show bike from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Not only does this bike feature Calfee’s new bamboo tubes – lined with carbon for lighter weight and greater strength – it’s also equipped with Rotor’s brand-new hydraulic shifting. When I admire bikes at shows, I always wonder how they ride. Fortunately, Craig Calfee...

Off The Beaten Path
22. Juli, 16:51 Uhr

With the 750-mile Paris-Brest-Paris coming up, demand for generator hubs and lights has been high. We’ve just received another shipment, and now all products are back in stock, plus there are some new items as well. By far our most popular generator hub is the SONdelux Wide-Body. In addition to all the standard SON features of extremely low resistance and superior reliability, it features a...

Off The Beaten Path
25. Juli, 07:42 Uhr

We developed the Endurance casings for our Rene Herse tires based on requests from gravel racers like Ted King (above), who need tires for truly harsh conditions. A race like Dirty Kanza traverses 200 miles of sharp stones in the Flint Hills of Kansas. The lead racers travel at high speeds in densely packed pelotons, unable to see the road ahead – and thus unable to avoid hitting big and sharp...

Off The Beaten Path
30. Juli, 09:47 Uhr

Paris-Brest-Paris, the epic 1200 km randonnée in France, is coming up fast. More than 6000 riders are busy with their final training, setting up their bike, preparing their trip… To help PBP riders out a bit, we are offering a 15% discount on a set of tires for the big event. (Details at the end of the post.) Many randonneurs choose Rene Herse tires for their comfort and speed. We want to...

Off The Beaten Path
31. Juli, 14:18 Uhr

Tubeless tires have changed what we can do on a bike. When the terrain is really rough, not having to worry about pinch flats allows us to run lower tire pressure for more comfort, more traction and more speed. (The speed comes from the lower pressure on rough surfaces, not from the tubeless setup itself.) Setting up tires tubeless can be a hassle – and high-performance tires require more...

Off The Beaten Path
19. Februar, 14:39 Uhr

Tubeless tires have eliminated the risk of pinch flats. For riding in really rough terrain, they are a game changer. But like all new technologies, it’s taken some trial-and-error until we figured out how to run bicycle tires tubeless. Of course, tubeless tires are nothing new. Car tires have been tubeless for decades, but translating that technology to much more flexible and lighter bicycle...

Off The Beaten Path
26. Juni, 13:37 Uhr

Our series of ‘Myths in Cycling’ continues with a look at rim width. It seems to make sense that wider tires should run on wider rims. The idea is this: A wider rim makes a tire more U-shaped (left), rather than O-shaped (right) on a narrower rim. The sidewalls are more vertical, so they can better support the weight of the rider. This is said to make the tire flex less, so it corners more...

Off The Beaten Path
11. Februar, 08:04 Uhr

It’s official: Compass has become Rene Herse Cycles. It’s a big change, with a new name and new logo for a line of products that has a very strong following. Rest assured, our philosophy won’t change, and neither will our products. We’ll continue to make the high-performance components that we need for rides that mix gravel and pavement with plenty of adventure. This is the same style of...

Off The Beaten Path
06. Februar, 10:46 Uhr

SON generator hubs and other parts have been flying off the shelves lately. Some of it can be attributed to cyclists preparing their bikes for the upcoming Paris-Brest-Paris 1200 km brevet. More cyclists also realize that generator hubs provide peace of mind on long rides and commutes alike. As a result, some of the most popular hubs – especially the Wide-Body that makes for stronger wheels...

Off The Beaten Path
20. Juni, 12:41 Uhr

With wide tires, you can tune the ride of your bike to the terrain and to your personal preferences. This gives you options that simply did not exist in the past. Gone are the days when we inflated our narrow tires to the maximum pressure and rode on rock-hard rubber. Even with narrow tires, you can lower the pressure a bit to get a (slightly) more comfortable ride. Of course, there is only so...

Off The Beaten Path
02. Februar, 08:33 Uhr

The first rides of the new year are very special to me. Getting out of the city, breathing the cold mountain air, and feeling my body get in unison with the bike again – those are sensations that I’ve been missing during my annual early-winter rest. So I left just after 6 in the morning for an all-day ride. It was nice to just ride – no photoshoot for Bicycle Quarterly, no prototype components...

Off The Beaten Path
17. Juni, 10:40 Uhr

The Summer Bicycle Quarterly is back from the printer! In this edition, we test two bikes that wowed visitors at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. How do they ride? The Calfee’s latest bike uses carbon-lined bamboo tubes for an even lighter and stronger frame. The show bike is equipped with Rotor’s long-awaited hydraulic shifting. How does it perform at the limit, exploring...

Off The Beaten Path
13. Juni, 13:14 Uhr

Riding long distances – especially on rough roads – puts different demands on your body and your bike than short and fast-paced races. The contact points with the bike become more important the longer you ride. These days, you don’t hear much about them, especially the saddle and handlebars. If you compete in relatively short races, this makes sense: When you pedal at maximum effort, your...

Off The Beaten Path
29. Januar, 13:04 Uhr

BQ readers care about their magazine, and we get feedback each time a new edition comes out. And yet we were surprised by the sheer volume of comments, and by the enthusiasm they expressed. There is no doubt: The latest BQ is our readers’ favorite edition yet. Many readers love the cover art, showing Natsuko peering through the window of the almost-mythical Alps shop in Tokyo as she...

Off The Beaten Path
22. Januar, 08:28 Uhr

All-road bikes with wide tires are the hottest trend in cycling. There is a level of excitement that we haven’t seen since the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s: These new bikes bring new people into the sport, who are enticed by the idea of cycling on small roads, away from traffic. The new bikes combine what people love about road bikes – effortless speed – and mountain bikes – go-anywhere...

Off The Beaten Path
06. Juni, 08:36 Uhr

Last weekend was the 14th running of the Dirty Kanza, the famous 200-mile gravel race in Kansas. After the race, I was chatted with Ted King (TK), winner in 2016 and 2018, about what makes Dirty Kanza so special. JH: Congratulations to another great finish in Dirty Kanza! TK: This was my 4th go at DK, and it was the hardest edition that I’ve experienced. JH: Tell us about the race! TK: After...

Off The Beaten Path
19. Januar, 08:23 Uhr

The new Compass UD-1 front rack is a “universal” rack intended for bikes where our other racks don’t fit. It’s an especially good choice for bikes with disc brakes. Like all our racks, it is made by Nitto in Japan to Compass specifications. At 221 g, it’s remarkably light for an adjustable rack, yet it’s strong enough to pass Nitto’s most stringent testing. The UD-1 is so simple that you’ll...

Off The Beaten Path
17. Januar, 13:22 Uhr

“An exceptional tyre that will make you faster and happier.” That was the verdict when the British web site http://www.road.cc tested our Bon Jon Pass tires recently. When we hear positive feedback, whether it’s from a professional tester or a customer, it makes our day. I smiled when I read the calculation of the weight savings. It appears that, on average, spending a British pound ($1.28)...

Off The Beaten Path
03. Juni, 16:36 Uhr

The Summer 2019 Bicycle Quarterly is at the printer. It’s an another exciting edition, full of bike tests, adventures and great stories. As a preview, we made the little video clip above of Natsuko riding the Frances All-Road. Perhaps you admired this beautiful bike at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show – now you’ll find out how it rides! Natsuko took the Frances to Marin County, where...

Off The Beaten Path
10. Januar, 11:47 Uhr

How do you make an ultralight bag? That was the first question when the Concours de Machines announced that the weight of the bikes included the bag. Peter Weigle worked very hard to get his fully equipped bike down to just 20.0 lb (9.07 kg), and we wanted to make sure the bag was also as light as possible. Gilles Berthoud bags already are among the lightest bags available today. Even so, we...

Off The Beaten Path
31. Mai, 07:09 Uhr

Every BQ test bike that arrives at our office is greeted with enthusiasm. When OPEN hinted that they had a revolutionary, top secret, new bike they wanted us to try, we were even more excited than usual. Until now, we’ve had to keep the new bike under tight wraps, but it’s just been launched, so we can tell you about it. So what makes the new OPEN WI.DE. special? Officially, WI.DE. stands for...

Off The Beaten Path
06. Januar, 13:55 Uhr

Today would have been Lyli Herse’s 91st birthday. And last Friday has been a year from her passing… … and the 111th birthday of her father, René Herse. They continue to inspire us in so many ways. Today, we just want to remember their smiles and their passion for cycling in all its forms. Lyli was a friend for so long that it’s hard to believe she’s gone. Until the very end, she rode her home...

Off The Beaten Path
28. Mai, 15:03 Uhr

It’s hard to believe that the first Oregon Outback, that incredible 363-mile gravel race, was just five years ago. It’s almost like we live in a different world now, so much has changed… Back then, the idea of running a race that traversed the entire state of Oregon from south to north – on gravel roads! – seemed completely outrageous. So seemed the idea of riding the entire distance...

Off The Beaten Path
03. Januar, 09:05 Uhr

This used to be one of the first things you learned as a cyclist: If you want to go fast, make sure your tires are pumped up to the maximum pressure. The harder your tires are inflated, the faster they roll. We now know that this isn’t true. The realization that tire pressure does not affect performance is the key to the revolution that has swept through the cycling world in recent years....

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

We are looking forward to another great year! We wish all our readers joy, happiness and many great rides in 2019. See you on the road! —The BQ and Compass/Rene Herse team Photo credit: Ryan Francesconi

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