Umm... Just Sayin'!

By: Embrocation Jul 26

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Some of you expressed interest; some of you scoffed. Some of your tried them and liked them and some of you shook your heads in disgust at our pushing of the rectangular-shaped Osymetric chainrings. We've stood by them as a product we really like and find a great deal of value in.

Last week Wiggins and Froome went one, two in the Tour de France, both using Osymetric chainrings. Now, does this mean the Osymetric rings were the reason for victory? Of course not, but it at least validates that there was possibly some performance value to them for the top two finishers in this year's tour.

As always, we're stocking and using the Osymetric rings ourselves and have just received another shipment of ring sets in last week. Feel free to view more information about the Osymetric product and as always, contact us if you have any questions on this or any of our products.

Osymetric Chainring Set - $299

Select Chainring Configuration -

 

FMB: Tubulars explained.

By: Embrocation Nov 18

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Our newest freelancer, Philip Gale, has been doing a fair bit of globetrotting in the interests of drumming up new and exciting content for our upcoming print journal. His travels included a trip to the workshop of our favorite craftsman, François Marie, of FMB fame. We hope you enjoy Philip’s images and a brief reminder of why it is that we are so religiously partial to these tyres—yes, tyres.

A tubular tyre is simply an innertube sewn into a casing. On the outside of that, the base tape and tread are glued, and yet such a simple thing can have such a huge effect on your performance. Traction and ride quality are two of the top features that have to be considered for any tubular. Both of these are key elements to riding fast in cyclocross. If you do not have traction in the varied conditions found on any circuit, you can have all of the power in the world, but your dreams of a bike race will turn into a nightmare of a running event.


For those of us who are not fans of taking their cyclocross bikes for a run, we stock FMB’s SSC and Supermud tubulars. Handmade by France’s last tubular tyre company, these tubulars really give you an edge. The natural materials used—cotton for the casing, natural latex for the inner tube, and natural rubber for the tread—is the secret. Constructed by one of only 4 workers at FMB, likely even François himself, the end result of meticulously sourcing these materials is a tubular which has higher puncture resistance and is more flexible than other tyres on the market.


Why are these two qualities so important? It’s pretty straight forward. Added puncture protection from the closer weave of the cotton means fewer flats, while the more flexible carcass allows the tread to form to what it is in contact with, having a larger foot print on the ground, which gives the rider more grip. A knock-on bonus of this is that FMB tubulars have the same (or greater) level of flex as other tubulars, but at higher air pressures.


Another bonus to FMB artisan-crafted tubulars is their sharper tread. The other well-known European handmade tubular maker does not use the same tread patterns, and this means that FMB’s treads can cut into the dirt, mud, or snow more deeply, which will see you flying over the off-camber and carving turns like a fighter jet.

Text and images by Philip Gale

 

Giro Shoes

By: Nathaniel Ward Nov 10

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A new season should bring new shoes, and this year, for several of us around here, those new shoes have been Giros. As a longtime top-of-the-heap helmet and sunglasses company, Giro have recently branched out into both road and mountain bike shoes, and the results are pretty fantastic. Anyway, we like ‘em.




If you look closely at Jeremy Powers’ feet these days, you’ll notice he is one of the few top pros who isn’t wearing the magic yellow slippers. Instead, he’s wearing a traditional looking black shoe with a red liner. That shoe is the Giro “Code”, and it is awesome. It has a super light and stiff Easton EC 90 carbon sole, Giro’s extra comfy velcro and ratchet buckle combo, and comes with the “SuperNatural Fit Kit”, which consists of two different sets of exchangeable arch supports to meet most fit needs right out of the box. I have been riding and racing in these shoes for a few weeks now, myself, and I have to say I have been really impressed. It’s a light shoe with a fairly aggressive and grippy tread, which is great for running in ‘cross races, and the EC 90 carbon sole definitely feels firm on the pedals. Being fussy about my footwear, pressed for time, and generally kind of neurotic about changing anything having to do with my riding position, the thing I like most about these shoes is that they fit well right out of the box and felt good on the first ride.




Sometimes it’s nice to change things up, equipment-wise, when said equipment isn’t going to be raced any time soon, and you can therefore take a long time to get used to the new stuff. This, and a wife with a knack for just the right birthday present, had me setting up a new pair of road shoes in mid-September, just in time to not road race for six months. My new pair of Giro “Trans” are my favorite pair of shoes, ever, and my training rides and trainer rides have been remarkably more comfortable and efficient these days. Despite the allegedly somewhat less stiff EC 70 carbon sole from Easton, (as opposed to the EC 90 of the Code) the Trans is incredibly stiff, and also light. Once again, as with the Code, the shoes fit well out of the box, and they manage to provide a feeling of comfort and security at the same time: the shoe doesn’t wiggle around on your foot and the power transfer feels efficient, yet the toe box is roomy and your feet don’t feel pinched.




Now that we have been riding and racing on these for awhile and we’ve convinced ourselves they’re up to our standards, we’re ready to pass them along to our readers and customers, so look for a selection of Giro shoes here in the web store soon.

 

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