1 I LLJ~




Writtl'n by the world's best- elling bicycle authors Richard Ballantine

and Richard Grant. the Ultimate Bicycle Book shows you how to get the best from your bike

and from yOUT body. They give tips on training

for competition, advise you on what to wear, whether you're touring or time-trailing, and guide you through Ute vast range of accessories available.

The Ultimate Bicycle Book i packed with professional. tip on repairing, cleaning and fineluning your bicycle. Annotated photographs and detailed text

explain Ute function of every moving part. from the headset-hearing arrangements common to all bicycles to hydraulic brakes.










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THE EsSENTIAL BIKE .6 Soft Surfaces 46
Bicycle Evolution 8 Racing 48
The Bicycle Today 10 Observed Trials 50
Bike Anammy 12 Ultra-endures 52
Frame Works 14
Frame Construction THE RACING BIKE .54
& Materials 16 Racing Bike Anatomy 56
The Human Engine 18 Frame Construction 58
Adjusting for Size 20 Wheels for Speed 60
Illegal Bikes 62
THE MOUNTAIN BIKE: -22 Race Clothing 64
Mountain Bike Anatomy 24 Bikes for the Tour de France 66
Gears & Brakes 26 Tour de France 68
Clothing 28 Criterium Racing 70
Sizing a Mountain Bike 30 Time-trial Bikes n
Touring Mountain Bikes JZ Riding a Time Trial 74
Expedition Planning 34 Triathlete Bikes 76
Open Trails 36 Ultra Marathon. 78
Kilirnanjaro 38 Track Racing 80
Off-road Racer 40 The Entertainers 82
Mountain Bike Suspension 42 Exercises for Cycling 84
Riding Techniques 44 Indoor Training 86 THE TOURl G BIKE .88 Family Cycling 118 CYCLE MAINTENANCE .146
Touring Bike Anatomy 90 Tandems 120 To Is & Equipment 148
The Open Road 92 Clas ic Bicycles In Thirty "Minute Service 1 150
Helmets & Touring Clothing 94 Carnival Bikes 124 Thirry Minute Service 11 152
Mass Rides 96 Wheel First Aid 154
Sports/Credit-card Touring 98 THE FUTURE BIKE .126 Fixing a Flat Tyre 156
Major Expeditions 100 HPV Anat my 128 Roadside Repairs I 158
Have Bike, Will Travel 102 Man & Machine 130 Roadside Repair II 160
The Ecocar 132 Adjustments for Comfort 1 162
THE EVERYDAY BIKE .104 The Aerodynamic Bean 134 Adjustments for Comfort II l64
The City Cyclist 106 Street Recurnhenrs 136 Brakes 166
Cycle Activism 108 Material Advances 138 Cable Changes 170
Lock & Lamps 110 Practical Vehicles 140 Removing & Fitting Chains 172
The Working Bike 112 Sunlight Racers 142 Transmission Maintenance 1 174
Learning to Ride 114 The Future 144 Transmission Maintenance II 178
Bikes for Children 116 Transmission Maintenance, III 180
Pedals 182
f Cleaning & Lubrication 184
Fine Tuning 186

Glossary 188

Index 190
Acknowledgements 192 The ESSENTIAL BIKE

The bicycle was a truly exciting machine when it was first invented over a cen tury ago-

1[1100" bike it has improved

with every passing year. A bike has many advantage - it is the most energy-efficient form of transport on Earth, it is healthy, non, polluting, economical, and safe - but it most unique, outstanding, and enjoyable quality is that a bike is totally personal, You ride a bicycle. It is the ultimate intimate machine.

The Experience

Anything that you encounter

while you are bicycling - Spanner'

swooping around comers,

the wind rushing against your face and through your hair, the smells of gras , of morning bakerie and evening dew - is literally ensational, because these imple

pleasures all happen to you. Moving

Brllke~ your legs steadily and evenly, you create and experience both rhythm and pace. \X!hen you bite hard into the pedals, the power and speed you create is totally yours. You experience the stimulating synthesis (hat come when mind, body, and machine all act as one. Just as the ideal of classic Greek culture was the rno [ perfect harmony of mind and body, so

a human and a bicycle are the


perfect synthesis of body and machine, of art, craft, and technology; the heer joy and vitality of life. Hand-in-hand with thi enjoyment is a constant quest bicycle design and engineering for the be t pas ible machines .•• IE~

New Developments

It is in the nature of the experience that cyclists have always wanted the best machines they could build or obtain. H wever, new advances in gears, brakes, tyres, and mas

of all, in lightweight materials; Omate l"gwork

have been huge. Compared to those of a decade ago, todav's bicycles are simply amazing, and the demand for quality, lightweight machines - for bicycles that are as precise and a good as people can make them - is gre a te r than eve r be fore. Improvements have bred diversity in bicycle use - p rt, touring, transport, a way back to nature,

a fitne s activity - and this

b ok focuses on the bike a the TDe dip

ultimate machine: the fastest self-propelled mechanism in all its splendour and diversity.

American bike

n 1966, Italian monks re toring the manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci discovered a sketch from about 1490 of a machine remarkably similar to a modern bicycle, complete with pedals and chain drive. However, a with da Vinci's aircraft and other visionary machines, his idea for a bicycle

1 I L f h d b d D¢ Vinci bk:rtle

a most certain y never e t t e tawing oar .

The practical genesis of the bicycle began 300 years later when de Sivrac, a Frenchman, invented the Celerifere, an unstable running machine with two in-line wheels connected by a beam

traddled by the rider and propelled by pushing the feet against the ground. In 1817 the German Baron Karl von Orais added steering to the front wheel, the discovery that such a machine would now stay upright was a fundamental breakthrough.

Hobby-horse riding became a craze among the upper classes in France, Germany, Brirain, and briefly in America. But as everyday transport the hobby-horse was not a success with roads too rutted to rid .

Early Innovations and Developments Around 1839, a Scotti h black mirh, Kirkpatrick Macmillan, built the first bicycle with pedals. Hi little-publicized machine was lever-driven and practical- Macmillan used it for a 226-km (140-mile) round trip to Gla gow in 1842, covering one 65-km

(40-mile) stretch at an average speed of 13 km/h (8 mph} But the manufacture

of bic ycles really began in France, Marmillan trendk ",de

in 1861, when coach builder Pierre Michaux fitted cranks and pedals to the front wheel of a hobby-horse and called it a velocipede. In 1866-67 he introduced a model with a larger front wheel, and other refinements. It was an immediate ucces and cycling began to spread. In 1869 came several crucial inventions including the ball-bearing hub metalspoked wheels, solid rubber tyre , a freewheel, mudguards, and a lever-operated four-speed gear. A year later France's leadership in cycle development was halted with its defeat in the

Franco-Pru sian War, and Britain became the new focus of cycle development. Becau e the pedals and crank of the velocipede were attached directly to the front wheel, the larger the wheel, the faster the machine could go. By the early 1870 the velocipede had evolved into the high bicycle, an imposing machine with a front wheel which rood almost a tall as a man. For pedalling efficiency and maximum performance, the high bicycle perched the rider almost directly above the from wheel, just behind the


Bicycle Evolution



- ..,_ .......... --.

'·Ofdman" bi'1cie

centre of graviry, if the front wheel struck a rut, the bike could cartwheel, arcing the rider head-first to the ground. Thi pr pensiry to pitch forward also meant that th machine could not u e effective brakes. Nonetheless, the high bicycle was internationally popular. By the early 1880 , lower bicycle prices as well as the growth of railways and

Ro!!" Saf.!) bic:'cic the demise of horse-drawn coaches set the stage for a major

development: the aferv bicycle. The chain-drive rear wheel used for the Rover Safety bicycle launched by John Kemp Srarley in 18 5 in England enabled the use of gearing and wheels of

a reasonable size. The result was a machine which could encounter obstacles without cartwbeeling and could be braked. Smaller wheels meant a rougher ride, but this was offset by pneumatic ryres, developed by John Boyd Dunlop in 1888. The airfilled inner tube provided h ck absorption and, by reducing rolling resistance, increased speed. The high bicycle wa eclipsed, and re-Labelled an "ordinary."

The safety bicycle, a machine that anyone could ride, spread rapidly throughout the industrialized world. In 1896 a bike might have cost.an average worker three month" wages, but by 1909, it was less than a month's wages. Private transport was at last in the hands of those who needed it most. Women were liberat d from the confinement of small village. Social development was tran formed and intellectual growth stimulated a' people found it easier to attend meetings and classes over greater distances.

In the inter-war year in Europe the bicycle flouri hed. Advancements in tube

technology, the development of alloy component, and the use of derailleur gears (first patented in 1895) saw the emergence of high-quality, lightweight bikes. But in America the bicycle declined in popularity until it was only a toy. In 1933 Schwinn introduced wide-tyre motor-bike look-alikes,

ingle-speed bike. that were heavy and impractical.

The Bicycle Boom

In the decade after World War II, the number of cars in Europe tripled, and bike sales plunged. In America cycling underwent a gradual leisure revival with growing imports of European lightweight derailleur-gear bikes. By the 1970s the bike boom was in full swing and returning to Europe.

Then in the mid-1970s, off-road riders in Marin County, California, combined the wide tyres and stable design of Schwinn's balloon-

eyre bomber with the lightweight technology generated by the boom in road- and BMX-bikes. The re tilt w s the m untain bike, the durable but lightweight machine that is transforming cycling worldwide. Today interest is beginning to be shown in recumbent that are setting new standards for speed, safety, and load-carrying. Just as the 1890s were the heyday of development of the safety bike, the 1990, promt to continue the evolution of the world' most important form of personal nan port ~ the bicycle.


T mnsjomwd lif<!j'JIe



The Bicycle Today

he only viable means of private transport in the world today is the bicycle. The main threat to this claim is the car, which has helped industriaiise the world in the twentieth century. But the car has already proved its limiratjons. It is running out of space and energy supplies, and is now responsible for both

erious envir nmental pollution and 250,000 deaths and 10 million injuries worldwide each year. A the truth dawns that the automobile's lia ilitie outweigh its benefit, indu trialised nations are beginning to seek alternatives to the car. One of the principal beneficiaries of th is re -a wake n ing is the disco very of the bicycle as an ecologically clean and efficient machine. As for its technological development, the bicycle appears to be at the dawn of a golden age in the Western World: encouraged by the upsurge of interest created by mountain bikes, manufacturers have a new impetu to make bikes as high-tech and as userfriendly as pos ible. Today's bike are lighter and more durable than ever. Brakes are more reliable, gears are easier to operate and new su pension systems make riding better cushioned. Ironically, the plain, simple onespeed roadster is still the standard form of personal transport in the Third World. With the bicycle much more affordable than a car, it continues to make a vital improvement to the quality of life there.








KEy; 1 ~ 110 PEOPLE 1 ~I 20 PEOPLE


Survey! of traffic lIolume show [hm in one hOt<-r, a lane of highway can carry twice as many people riding bikes as those rravelling by cal' With traffic at a 16 kmlh ( 10 mph) craw!

in cities such as London and New York, a car has no advanwge.


Bicycle campaigne'rS in Manrreal (abo~) staged this demonSlTa.tion to emphasile how bikes make more economic we of road. space dum cars. On average, one car II.IE.S up the same space as 8 bikes.


AumtAuA I,Gb
JAP,,"V 1d-6
UNITED KINI."i{)O .... Idtl
117fi.1"T G5RMANY I - ~ BrKE QWl><'ERSHrP

ew road· planning initiatives in [apa«, Germany, and the NetherlaTllis (where there i5 almost one bike per penon) aU ilIusmue how lome rol.nrrie~ with high percenUiges of bike ownership (left) ere

consciously making cycling 11 safe and convenienr_Il.ltenuuive to the car.


6() 70 so





















100 90





China, whh its enormous fleet of bicycles, II tile home of tk bicycle traffic jam. In urban areas half tk residen ts own bi,kes. and in one industrial dt~, Tianjin, 50,000 bikes passed

r11m ugh a traffic Cf!l'1.I us pain r in one houT - By .:r1._ contrast, i1'!dusmalised counmes with high ~ bicycle and car owners hip reLy mare on cars

and have u low bike usage. /n!:he UK, where

I pe'T$ort in 4 owns a bike, only I ,in 33 commtw'ngjoumeJ.l are made b:t bicycle.

o MlLtiONS





is ~ 8 ~ ~
c E
~ ~ z
,0;: 52
~ ).: '"' '"
~ ee " '" 0
-c ~ '" E ~ t t
$ -r ~
~ a ~ i:l 0 :5 2. ~
-c a 3: ;:[ :2- '" :J t:< FAR EAST Cm.·tMUTING (abolJl')

A cyc/i_1 I reclaim; hi,; bike from a Chinese parking 1m. So IIolccessjul is rhe poUe') of bike·w-mil commuting in Japan, dUll train lUlrWns need b,ke-parking towers.


• The world's 800 million bike, outnumber cars by two to one.

• Bike. production outnumbers car manufacture by three to one, .1 n Asia alone, bicycles transport more people than do all [he cart; worldwide.

• The bike is the most energyefficient mode of transport: one US study fo und t hat to cycle one mile bums 3S calories, to walk used 100 calories, while a car'sengine bums L,860 calories . • Each mile of mO[QTW3Y consumes about 25 acres of land. • The average motorist spends four hours a day either dri ving, maintaining, or earning the money for a car.

• If motor i s ts used bikes for journeys of under three miles they would save hundreds of pounds a year en fuel costs alone .. • .A rnericans spend a billion hours a year stuck in traffic, wasting two billion gallons of petrol at <l COSt of $10-30 billion.



Bike Anatomy

peciallzanon has led to different types of bikes, bur basically all bikes are the same, though components differ in quality, design, weight, and ease and method of use. In order of importance, a bicycle i made Lip of a frame, wheels, transmission, brakes, and finally, stem, handlebars, and saddle. The frame will always carry the maker' name, with the rest of the c rnponents, bought from other manufacturer, called the specification.

• addle

Quick-release seal-pOSt bolr.-

Scar Stay bridge

Cable yoke.

Straddle wire 0-

-Top tube

Canrllever brake


Down tube.


Rear derailleur cage.

.Cable anchor bolr

Rear derailleur. lTenslon pulley

J 2


The Cannondale SH600 is a hybrid hike ,hat blends the light ..,,'eight and speed of a span-rood bike with !he rugged durability and veTsatility of a mounurin bike, Ir is II generaluse bike, perfect for riding to the office one day and expl.oring a mudd~ track the next; it is flexible and enjoyable - Ihe essential bike,


Presta valve. .Valve cap




Bicycles have their own terminology nd language. Many bicycle parts have names that are descriptively elf-evident: a seat (lOSt holds a saddle, a chainring is a circular device for moving a chain, a crank is a lever, and a crank et is a pair of cranks. However, other parts have names that are less selfevident: boss, spider, traddle wire, bearing race.

Language of bikes

orne of the terms are borrowed from engineering, others are arcane survivor from the past. But all are important to the language of bikes, To the newcomer it's a language that C!;tn require decoding" What does it mean

if an enthusiastic salesperson, or magazine review, says of a bike, "It's gar a right rear end with short stays"! What is a stay, and how short is short] We've organized this book to answer these

que, ions <IS they arise - and to help the reader understand the answers. This ection gives the general guidelines: what bicycles are and how rhey are made, how your body works on a bike, lind how a bike should fit you.

Words explained

These pages explain key terms in bicycle design - wheelbase, trail, rake, angle, and the basics of framebuilding: they introduce words cha describe how you use your body (Q ride - cadence, ankling, and honking. ubsequent sections are devoted [Q pecific types of bicycles and, with the exception of The Everyday Bike, include information on anatomy, frame design, construction techniques, and the sizing requirements for each style of bike. Wherever you (Ire in the book, yo u should be able [0 find relevant information nearby.

Bicycle-speak comes narurallv enough" You don't need a lot of technical information in order

to enjoy riding a bicycle - or reading this book.



Frame Works

frame mu t support the rider, tum pedal force into forward motion, and steer. The contact points for the rider - pedals, saddle, and handlebar - and the pace needed for the wheels are fairly constant parameters, which is why road-racing and mountain-bike frames are

irnilar in hape. Frame geometry and materials involve many elements, each strongly relat d to each other, so slight de ign variations can produce very different characteristics and performance levels. The nuance are complex and delicate, making bicycle de ign more an art than a science While modern material and technologies aid the creation of revolutionary new designs, ultimately the feel and handling of a bicycle comes about through the framebuilder's touch, instincts, and experiment.


These are de5igned for strength and 5tabWc)' over rough ground. Overall,

the consrrucnon is ch~mky and whILSt t the general shape is low-slung to increase mal1l)e!Wfl.lbilit'l, and the geometry is relaxed for both J>Te.dicrable steering

mul a stable ride.

WHEELBASE This is the di tance

between wheel fND axle , or where [he

~~~~n~~~~~e.ase CJ ~ J

(W) vanes from \

38)j in (98 em) for ""'-

road b i kes and up to ""':::""-!_'::;__.....rIW;__ _ ___':=-I:-=::""

45 in (114 ern) for mountain bikes. Trail (T) is [he d isrance a wheel axle follows behind the steering PI\'Q[ point, The pivot point is where a line de wn, the head rube intersects (he ground. Rake (R)] the

offset of [he ax le (fork

end) from the steering

pivot line. Increasing

rake decrease, Hail.

Less trail mean ea ier steering and more sensitive handling, More trail means heavier and less responsive steeri ng, I \ but greater stability.


rTopTuBE: Thls often slopes down frlOrn. [he head rube to the scar rube, parncularlvtn smaller m.me sizes. This pernuts a longer head rube, strengthens rhc frame, and creates spnce between [he rider and [he frame.

SEAT-ruSE ANGLES; These range from 68-74°, depending (]I) [he length of top tube relative ro wh ee lb. e.

MOUNTIKG BOSSES; A ngid platform for cantilever brakes is provided by mounting bosses

welded '"I

TAY : These vary from 16)1·1 1! in (434-47.1 em). The normal length for dimbing bikes is 16)'.·17 in (4J .1-43.6 em). Longer starS aid stability and provide better positioning for loads over rhe rear axle.

movement under the rider when on rough ground, and a low saddle on descent , the sear rube is 7.7·12.7 em (}- 5 in) lower than

On a road frame.


WHE LBA E: This can varv from 40-45 en ( em), WIth the fast models in regular sues being 40·42 in (10 I .6- 106.7 em).

SEAT-TUBE ANGLES: These are from 72-760 Steep angles are associated with fast bikes, but this dimension is primarily a function of top tube length.


On a road bike the length is from 40-42 em (J5Y.·16M in),

This gives nimble handling but lea v es ,~O space for mudguards or wide rvres,

ROAD-RACING FRAMES These are designed to be light, kiln, and compact, co fit !h~ n'der !i~ 11 sui, of dmhes_ The 3A1/2.5V titanium Ililoy (94.5% 'titanium, 3% aluminium, 2.5% vanadium) in thEse Merlin frame:; i_I lighter than !tee,I, extremely strong, Ilnd immune to corrosion, The

, tubing is produced for aircraf~ hydraulic SY,lte.11lS, and, in chemiCll.! and nuclear industries, [or plumbing corrosive fluids.

---BoTTOM BRACKET, Heigh! is lOYi-ll in (26~·l8 ern). The wheelbase frum JRM-39 in (98-99 em), gives quicker steering, better handling and extra weight over the from wheel, improving rraction and balance.

STEERING PERfORMANCE Trail is ~nerou.s, ranging from

J jI,-3 in (4Y1-711 em) OT mere, which helps pull the front wheel into L'ne. On mQ!{n(llin bikes rIlke is from Jr.-2X in (4<,:;-7 em), a!-lowin_g for rhe gre-mer frail cremed by II shallow head lube (lngle of abOl<r 70 degrees, A climbing fmme might ,reepenlhe head ,rube angle, and use Ie so rake. On racing bikes rake tends to be a

shaUow ~-l Y. in (i14Y.l em). Trail

~I 4~-7 in (J J ~-17J{ em), making the bike s table aL high speeds.


These are made

from solid, ultra-hard

6Al/4 V ri taniurn, cut with a 50,000 psi water jet,


HEAD-nJBE ANGLES: TI,esI' can be from 7).760, Steep angle-s move the front wheel back, shortening the wheelbase, and giving faster steerlng reaction.

FORKS: Maxlmum stress from rood shock is a t the

b a se of rh c blades, near the joint with the steerer

rube. The tips do move. but vert; Gal movement

is small, Forb are raked (or fine- run i ni: trail .and steeri ng, not suspension.


These are essen rial too ls

in modern. bicyde design and construcrion, S (Tess arUllysis progr.ammes running on powerful computers can mimic road shack, pedalling, and QtheT forces acting on a bicycle , enablfng quick testing

and measuring of a wide range of de,fgn wrimlOns, Compuw-QUled design (CAD) programmes are ILIad to produce blueprints, The find check is hU:man: a handmade prow type is res red far touch and ride_



Frame Construction and Materials

icycle frames are either made from metals refined from ores, such as teel, aluminium, and titanium, or from composites of combined structural fibres, such as carbon, glas , arsmid, or spectra, with a glue or plastic binder. Metals are isotropic - equally strong and stiff in all directions - and give the mo t trength for the lea t weight when used as tube arranged in the cia sic diamond-frame pattern. Compo ites are am tropic - strong and tiff along the axis of the fibres - and the fibre can be formed into almost any hape required, with the strength placed where needed. Consequently, composite materials are uniquely suited for creating moulded and one-piece monocoque frames (see p.IJ8).


To keep a11 even !emperaf!I1'~, I!(L' burners are carefuU ' p05l!ianed around the lug w hear it l.mifOlm!y. Once at the right tempermure, the puffy H,hire flux will melt, deaning the meml surfa e. The solder, a rod of alloy (brms or silver) is appUed, which meLrs and flews around the jvint b) capillal)' aaion,


Metal breaks either trom an impact which exceeds the strength of the me cal, or from the fatigue of sma II, repeated stresses. Steel and titanium borh have atiguc limits and will nor break 0 long as the uresses remain under limits. Alurrllnillm hi!' no fatigue limit,.n each and every stress auses wear and weakening, and eventual (,lilure. Aluminium frame de ig-nets take this f~rigue (acmr into account, over-building with enough strength for long-term


JOJ:-.fINO: Man)· hl~h-qll"H(y steel rame rubes w.LI tum hnrrle ,or diS[.,tr It" overheated, and

arc joined u,ang brass (copper-cine allov) or silver, which melr at lower ternperarures than steel, to form a rncralhc glue fur joints, Most builders u-e hrnss, which remain, serni-rnolren over a Wider he~( "'nge tlr a 11 silver. and bridges

-';;;;:;:::::=======~ ... _~garsmor~ readily,

Sear .tays_-~"

Campo.gtl"l" pattern rear drop OU1So-----:~-

Top tube


The Mrade of cubing used on the frame can be quickly identified by one of the makers' ticker; 011 the frame and forks.


B icvc le eu bmg is mad e in a range of difFe",m quality grades and \Vel~ht", am! sold ill matched frame'ers for building specific rvpes of bike" Frarnebuilders sometimes

mix tube of different rvpes ttl produce frame finely tuned for the ,wlghr

and riding tvle of individual riders,

Scat lube

Modern allox (eels are versatile, and can he brazed or TIG-we!Jcd!-ov machine, reducrng c , ts with no great los of quality. The finesr, lighrcsr ruoing rnusr he hand-joined, and rop-qualiry frames depend

111'\'11 rbe skill ,lOU care of the builder.

safcrv. If well-thrashed (hut not abused), ~ steel or uranium frame will stay almost as good as new, but not aluminium IT.Jme:;, which are thought to have ~ useful life of three to five year'. The life 'f 010 [steel and titanium frames IS measured in decades. While aluminium frame are extremely inexpensive for [heir weight, in the long run steel, or the very expensive uranium frames, may be better value. Many profe siona! racers cia i In that they exhaust steel

Immes in one season or less, hut it has been found that if rhese "dead frames" are re-aligned, they spring back to life in top condition. Composite fr;1me. arc still roo new til gauge long-term durability but

as with aluminium. the processes of internal friction may, (wally cause cumulative weakening, loss of vitality, and eventu I f<'lilure. How eventual rem ins to be seen, and riders of co rnposlre frames Me too excited, happy, and pleased co care.


The frame (righd is tailored, brazed, aligned, and painted with uruler-coat.land coloured enamels: lacquer is then applied . From fitting, mis frame COIJd be r>roouced in one week, ann t.he bike mane in afewhoun.

Luo : Lugs strengthen joinrs hy providing more surface area for brazing material. and for absorbing load stresses. The lug points taper in thickness as they travel a long the rube to distribute tI~S5 evenly, and ttl help reduce weight.o--..L.-'

foRK-BLADE TUBES: One type of fork-blade rube tap rs in wall thickness as rhe tube section narrow" whr h is

SIIid to increase spnngine and rhe ~hility to absorb road shock. Another type, [he ltal ian Or Continental blade. narrows in

section toward rhe lip but with constant wall rhickness, and LI said to have greater lateral rigidi[¥ and resistance to side-toside forces whrlsr cornerillg.o----------'I.\.

TIG-WELDED ALUMINIUM: Plain, complerelv visible

i/Ii; TIC "weld feathering harmonizes well with a bare metal, function a: 1 frame, wh ie h doc, n or

damage easil y and hence require minimal maintenance.

CARBON-FlBRE; The rubes arc glued with epoxy resins

into aluminium lugs. The tube ends have ~Ia>s-

fibre sleeves co help prevent anygalvanlc corrosion.

TlO-WELDED STEEL Techniques for TIC-welJing are nOW very preClSE"1

and ca n be safel y

used on lightweight, heat- created, burred chrome molybdenum steels.

Clueing frame [oints eliminates th e problem of hear damage. and the glues are usuallv

'tronge r rna n (he materials be i ng jomed,


TRANSFERS: These ore placed before the Lacquer i applied.


"Stiffness" is rhe resi stance a material has [Q structural hang!', independent of shape, Rigidiry

is a func no n of ht , th ti frness and sha pe, a nd for a tube, can

be increased by thickening [he walls or widening rhe rube. In theory, the tube diameter should not be greater than 50 time the wall thickness. Several highquality hicv le tubes exceed this limit by a wide margin. making hem vulnerable to impact

damage. To increase diameter without adding weight, a lighter, less dense ITI\HeriaL must be used, 50 [hat wall thickness is sufficiently strong. Thu while aluminium and titanium are not as stiff as steel, they are lighter and can form large diameter tubes to make rigid but light frames.

LUG LESS FILLET BRAZING: The braze is built up quite heavily and Is often required when frame tube, are

joined at odd angles (as on a custom machine) when lugs can't be used.


On lugless frames. the tubes can be cut perfectly te the prec ise lengths and angles required, so [hat each frame size is proponionally correct. Deep penetration marks (above) indicate how fur the metal has been fused. After being ground smooch with abrasives, the

curved welds help to distribure stress

away from the Joint, somewhat in the same manner as rraditional lugs,



The Human Engine

Deltoid Trapezius

he human body is similar to a combustion engine requiring a continuous supply of oxygen and fuel to maintain its efficiency.

It works most effectively when the power OUt{)llt and oxygen intake are balanced. Working your body too fast causes panting; running over-hard causes waste byproducts to accumulate in the muscles, which leads to pain and cramps. As an all-round form of exercise, cycling is excellent, particularly for the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, which are the key to good health.

",,:,,>,---0 Triceps--.,.--Brachiorndialis

I nfe rior extensor rerinaculuru

.Shoes need to be well-ventilared to prevent 0 ve rheat ing a nci fop, burn.


Eat often, but lightly if you ate cycling, Cyclists thrive on energy-rich carbohydrates such as pastas, cereal, and fruits. Proteins and fats are fine as pan of a balanced diet, but they take a long time to digest, and burn too slowly.

Food and Drink

Carbohydrates, stored in the body as glycogen, can be depleted in less than two hOUT' by hard riding, sometimes resulting in an overwhelmi.ng total loss of energy if care is not taken. Hence the need for frequent replenishment. Fat stores, by contrast, are almost unlimited; long, moderately intense rides burn the rna t fat and are the best for weight 10 . Sugary foods should be avoided, for although they give a brief surge of energy, they fool the body into lowering its metabolic rate, Drinking water frequently, before you feel thirsty, is also important. By the time you feel a thirst, the body has lost enough water to impair performance, so drink often.


Ann muscles both help to control the bike (Ind ro move your body position back and forth ouer rhO" handlebars, Avoid locking your elbows srraight - benDing them helps absorb an)' road shock.


Back and sWIl1lICh muscles are not directly emplo:,'ed in pedalling, bu.t operate in eqtdilrrill.m to keep )'OU'1" uppe-r body and head

positioned, and YOUT chest open, Lower back muscles are nor fully exercised, and should be protected from the cold.


Cycling utilhes rhelargelL, most powerful muscles in the body, In the thigh, the quads and the hams work in harmony to drive the pedals amuna and the bike fOTUlClTd. As you push down with the quam ae Lhe

top of )"our thigh llnd extend the leg, rhe hams undernea[h contract to bring the leg back up to complete the circular pedalling motion, Strain can occur if unnecessary force is applied by having the

saddle too high and overstretching the quads, or too low and overcontTatting the hams.


In the lower /.eg, the gastrocnemius (calf muscle),

i.s cotmecred to tn" thigh bone behind Lhe knee cmcl the Achilles rendon above the ankle. Uppcrr and lower leg

muscles /.ever and pivot through the knee, Pedalling at an aerobic cadence of 80 rpm (rell(Jiurions per minute) bends and extends the knee 4, 800 times an hour, Strain occurs if a knee

is pulled Out of its vertical plane or if the peMl twists the foO! Out of its muural alignment with the knee.


Knee Flexion.

Unlike most joints, knees are held together on Iy by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The bones slide easily over the cartilage, lubricated by an oily fluid within [he vnovial capsule. The soft tissues swell when damaged.

Foot Tension

While pedalling, the plantar fascia (the major ligament membrane in the arch of the foor), i placed under repeated tension and muse be upported by a stiff-soled cycling shoe to prevent damage by over-flexing.



Adjusting for Size

he rna t important fea ure of a bike is how it tit the rider. Performance, comfort, and the risk of injury can be affected by variations, sometimes as little as 5 mm (Y; in), in your riding position, so be meticulous about establishing your bike size and your cycling position. The methods for doing thi are well-founded, although n t infallible. Physically we are each unique, 0 make any adjustments that will work best for your own physique and type of riding. Once you do work out your bike size and riding position, stick with it, even

if initially it may feel inefficient and uncomfortable. Body muscles aIL need time to adjust to new patterns

of movement, and your reward

will be riding a bicycle

that move when you do.


The combined top rube and stem length should ideally posi rion the handlebar so that in a normal riding pcsition, the front huh axle is blocked rom view

by the handlebars,

'I " q

'I ,.


Far mountain biking and racing, II rider should use the smallest frame thaL fits, Small frames SCI,<t.'e weigh!. and ere snffer and more responsive, For [Ouring,a larger frame provides more stability an descent, and on comers" Using the fitting machine (below and right) w measure both a raller and a shorter rider illusl'mres rha! while angles will hardly change, l~e seat tube and wp tube length Willllal)' quite considerably.

SADDLE HEIGHT: Stand with your feet I O.lcm (4 in) apart with your back against a wall. Measure your inseam leg length from your crotch [0 me floor. Multiply this sum by 0.885, adding on 3 mm (0'] I I inch) if

you have large feet for your height" This is the distance that should be set between the top 0 the saddle and centre of the bottom bracket a~ le,

T Posr. Exposure should be 8" 9·12. 7 em (3 ~·5 in) for raci ng, 7,6-10,2 em (.1.4 in) for touring, and 15,2· 20.3 em (6·8 in) or

n1,O[.(: for mountain bikes.


should straddle rhe hike

with a learance between rh crotch and the top rube of 2.5· 6 m (i-Z in) on racers; 25 em (l in) on touring bikes. and 7.6 an (3 ill) or more on / mountain and bybrid blkes.s

ANGLE: The e range from 6 '·75', With 71'·74' most comm n. Smaller bike haw steeper car angles,

• HEAD A "!OLE: Th is re ulrs from me frame size, scat angle, top tube length, (ronr wheel clearance, and

the quickness <}f steering.

Condo,. ..

PEDAL POSITION, Wh"" riding a bike, make sure the wide" parr of your foot is over the pedal axle: _--~



SIZING FRAME: Adjustable for proportional rube le ngths .•


Machines such as the Elite (righc), the Fi. Kit, and Serorrc Size-Cycle, and specialised computer programme uch as ProBikeFit, assess every aspe r necessary for fitting a bike to a rider, The machines allow a custom frame builder [Q adjust all the related factors in bicycle sizing in order co measure up a bike that will complement the cyclist perfectly, The ProBikeFit programme includes data on practically every bicycle and component currently available, and can quickly m rch a rider's measurements with an off-rhe-shelf btevcle that will give the be t fit, The viral factors in sizing are: saddle height; the length of the top tube; [he amount of seat post exposed when the sadd Ie height is correct, and the clearance be tween your crotch and the cop rube. These factors will vary, depending n whether [he bike is for racing, touring, or mountain biking, and on your own physique. You should be able to ride with a straight back for easy breathing, a relaxed body, and arms slightly benr to ab orb shock.

HANOLEflAR TEMS: Handlebar stems extend your reach. Must rider>! use 6-10 em (2.4-3.9 in) extension. The longer the stem, the greater the risk of breakage. If you need longer than 12 cm (4.7 in), the cop tube is too short. •. ,

HANDLEaAR HEIGHT: For normal rid in!!, the [OP of the "tern should be 2·4 em (O.8-L6 in)

be low "he top of the saddle, and for racing, as low as 7.6 ern (3 Ill' .• -----.o'!i.,.-


shou ld be as wide as the s hou Ide rs: 38·40 em (15-15.7 in) for women, 40-42 em (15.7-16.5 Ill) for men .•

PROPORTIONS; Well-sized frame fit me proporticns

of ind i vidual nders,

Determined by length of femur (thigh),


Relative to height, women gennall luwe shorter eorsos and arms lhan do men. Sizing a woman's bike &y inseam length and ,>em Lube size can oftrn result in lOO long a top tube, The best bet i.s to have a longer sear pasl and a smaller bike frame,

.SADDLE POSITION; The saddle should be level; rihed lip risks disco m fort a nd ne rye damage; tilted down pitches the rider forward, placing

«]O much weight on

dee arms, Women have wider pelvic bone. and s hou Id use broader-based sa d dles,

Dsos BAR DEPTH; This is related to the size of yours hands: 14 em

(5.5 in) i shallow, 14·15 em (5 S· II

5.9 in) is medium, and 15 em (5.9

in) or more i deep,.~------' 0 ,.

KNEES: With hands on. the drop bars and forearms hOrtZOO1<11 ro [he road, your knees should overlap yo~r elbow, at the rop of me pedal stroke.




The mountain bike represents the most exciting development in cycling this century, a revolutionary bike that has revolutionized an industry. It gives cyclists access to places that were once thought impossible to ride,

and makes cycling accessible to millions who once thought they would never enjoy riding a bike. Now the affluent world' rna t

Popular bicycle, the $adtJle

mountain bike, with fat

rvres, low gears, heavv-dutv brakes, and beefedup frame, has turned a century of cycling technology on its head. Like all good simple inventions, it came from somewhere least expected - not from a de igner's drawing board, but from a couple of really dedicated bike bums in Marin County, California, during the mid-Seventies.

Ugly Duckling

When co-inventors Charlie Kelly and Gary Fi her first paraded the mountain bike to the cycle industry it was like the debut of the ugly duckling: a fat and heavy bike in a

Pedal world dominated by sleek racing

machines. Instantly rejected by blinkered manufacturers, their mountain bicycle instead fostered its own gras root industry in California. The word pread, sales began to take off, and once-reluctant manufacturers

ate humble pie as the mountain bike

made the USA a pioneering force in

the worldwide cycle business. The mountain bike caught on because it an wered a need. It appeal because it offers easy balance, certain stopping power, fewer jolts, and low that allow even a beginner

to climb the steepest of hills; best of all, it allow you to ride off-road away from traffic.

Rapid Development

The drawbacks of the

early bikes have been ironed out. The 45-1b (20A- kg) bike Kelt y and Fisher first introduced has limmed down to 25 Ibs (11 A kg) with tyres that are still fat but weigh less. Cantilevers and hydraulics have replaced the heavy hub brakes, and development continues apace. Derailleur gear operations have been dernvstified by simple one-touch click-up, click-down levers. New su pension systems have dramatically improved comfort, performance, and ride, turning the once-ugly duckling into one of the ultimate riderfriendly bikes.



Cyclist and mountain bike


Caged A bearll1~' V

Adjustable .

bearing '0' cupo--- )


Mountain Bike Anatomy

ith its rugged. bu light frame, fat tvres, powerful brakes, and widerange gear ratios, the mountain bike has opened up off-road riding to millions. ULtralightweight bikes, such as this dismantled Trel< 8900, incorporate a su pen ion system and many advance in material technology. The tubes of the 1.95-kg (4X-lb) frame are joined with cast-aluminium lugs and aircraft adhe ives, The main tubes are carb n-fibre and the stays aluminium alloy. Thi material to work with when fitting derailleur brake mounting points.

Cable housings»


O_"W~sher ·Cmni-arm bolt

oQuick- relea c hub skewer

Alumiruum alloy eat stay.

• Aluminium alloy cham stol)'

• Derailleur hanger

Cast aluminium alloy lug.

Fb,,,d bearing cup •

Sealed bearing peJaI.,

o Sprocket

• Toe cllp 10 Pedal reflector Sc bolrs





The Tl·ek 900 is a top-of-the-range race bike with shock-absorbing forks for increased comfort and speed.

aged ball beanngs

~CageJ ball bearings

O ·0 u st seal nng steel

Fork brace ~ .C"mll"" brake arm

__ ----llt-M--' 00


-When the first mOll. main bike was

displayed at the 1981 New York

Bike how, its inventors were told

It would never carch on. In the US today, close to 80% of all bike old are mountain bikes.

.A mountain bike 1"3.'; [he first bicycle to be nddeo up Kilimanjaro. Africa's highest peak at 5,895 m (19,340 ft).

• Quick-release hub skewer

Kevlar reinforced 26 x 2-in [\Tn:.--_



Gears and Brakes

ff-road riding i often a dynamic mixture of continuous bike handling, rapid gear changing, and frequent braking. Mountain bikes use straight handlebars for maximum hike control, and the gear and brake levers are grouped together to be operated without rernovi ng the hands from the bars. Brake levers can be adjusted to the size of your hands, and po itioned 0 that two finger can curl over the lever and operate the brakes at any time, while the other two fingers stay curled around the

GEARING SYSTEM; Rapid Fire shifters are mechanically complex with a profusion of mall parts, and reliability

loWER LEVER: One push shifts

up a chainwheel at a time. An extended push rake. you hom the smallest to the largest chainwheel. 0--


Operated 'ulith a twiSt of the wrist, the Grip hift gear changer is simple and reliable. Its key advantage is that your hands keep a Jiml grip on the ban. A bouncing bike can induce il1~ptuntal')' shifts, /w~ver, and to amid this, devotees are nopl'ng for a modelthar dOllJl1.lhifls with a twist, bUl upshifts with a bUfwn .


handlebar to maintain bike control. The gear levers are po iticned so they can be operated by a push of the thumb or by twisting the wrist. Strong, easily-controlled brakes are vital for mountain bikes, and this has stimulated many variations on the simple but powerful cantilever brake design, as well as new designs in brake block and rims. Developments such as ultra-strong hydraulic brakes and all-weather hub drum brake , have further enhanced bike performance and control.

of the first models has been very poor. IT the shifter breaks down there is no manual Option, '0 the cyclist is [nciy sruck.e

• UPPER LEVER: One of the two from derailleur shifters, the uprer lever takes )'C1U down a chainwheel ar a time

Top,mounted thumb5hifrers are reliable, liglu-weight, and are the preferred gearing system far competition b,kes. If the semi, autOtlUItic indexed geQT-shifcing system goes OUt of Qdjustmenr, rile lever can instantly be changed to open:u<! tlUInt4ll1iy in a conlientional {riaion mode.


Hyd"culic brakes (lefc) are fiuid-operated (like car brakes) and ha~'e ~n'mendoU5 po,wer - enough m cmsh a weak rim - and yet opercze easily and smoochly. They tire P£lHicHwrb' effective in tot'et, muddy. OT ICy C!)ndiri{)fls.


Can tilever brake5 (right) are light, StT(l11g, and po'verjil!. Mounting a brake dose w the rim help, w keep it )·jgid and prevent juddeTIng. De~ig)l II(lriarion, such as Ihe roller-cam brake offer ellen greater power and precisi n, but (all require frequem maintenance and often clog up with mud on off-road runs. BRAKE LEVERS, These are mounted JlI'! below,

rather than horizoura l with, [he handlebars, for

opt i mum reac h wi rh [\\'0- fi nge r ope fa t lon.

.--- ... REAR DERAILLEUR HIFTERS: The upper lever shifts clown a cog M a time, [he lower lever reverse the process,

GEARS AND GEAR RATIOS A gear, like a lever, is a means of changing [he rate at which work i done, The nul' of change i called (he ratio. On 11 bicycle (he ratio is determined hy relative sizes of the crankser chainrings and he freewheel sprockets or cogs. Wkh a 52-tooth (T) chainring, one complete rum of he cranks will rotate a wheel with a 13T sprocket four rimes, a ratio of 4:1, while a 2ST chalnring will turn a wheel with a 2ST sprocket once, a ratio of 1:1. A 52/l3T gear is big, and gives speed, while a lS/28T gear is low, and gives the power to climb hills, albelt.slowlv.

The average cyclist produces ~ horsepower on a steady basis, with maXlmUI11 efficiency when pedalling at cadences of 5S tel 85 rpm, The purpose of gears is to maintain an efficient cadence, and the key to



The imerruui(lJluL convention /vr geo.l' is UUl[ IIII' left lever opevaie: the from changer on the chainwheel, me right lewr operatES the rear derailleur. Wilh brakes, conoennon vaTies from COUl1lry to country. In rhe

US, ferr example, where the mountain bike originated, the leil lever operates the fwlU brake, rhe right lever

me rear brake. In the UK, me position.. 'Ire reversed. Before you ride an unfamiliar bike, always check which way che levers operate,

using gears ts anticipation: slvift early, before a new gear is needed, 0 cadence remains smooth and ready .. Anticipation is particularly important when down~hifting to lower gears

for climbing, Although modern rransrnissions shift quickly and

po itivelv, it helps to ease

pedal p ressure for JUSt a moment - half a stroke

is enough - when shifting through [he gears.

Never ern s the chain

by running it from the smallest chainrmg co smallest cog, or largest chainring to largest cog. These combinations will cause the chain [0 cut across at too severe

an angle, [hereby

reduc ing efficiency

and increasing wear.

With the chain on a small chalnring and large sprocket (below), the bicycle moves a shorter di. ranee for each [urn of the cranks; the bicycle tra vels further when the

chain is on a large chainring

and small sprocket.




you cycle you generate ten time more

heat than when at rest, and feel about 11°C (20°F) warmer. The key to comfort is to dress lightly, in lavers that can easily be added or removed to suit conditions and pace. You're likely to need only a few well-cho en garments. It i always essential, however, even in summer, to pack extra clothes for protection in ca e you have to stop, or if the weather worsens. If venturing into unfamiliar territory, include a survival kit ( ee p.34) for any unforeseen emergency.


Even in "'!arm weather, a good weamerproof jacke t is 0 priority.

Many of Ihe lightweight modelS can be folded up smail cnol<gh to fil into a Pocket-5ize pouch when nor beingwom.

GLOVES; These insulate against shock and vibration, and

HEAT toss: Prevent. neat loss through the head by wearing a Gore-Tex helmer cOV'"

or insulated cap.-----



Wind and rain Can chill a rider far below me outside temperature. A full-length weamerproof sui! (11ghL) in GoreTex (]T anomer bremhable marerial, tvith room underneath for addiriona! insl&u:lng clothes, is a good defence. Ankle-length boots wit! also give maximum suppa r; ! and protection for me feet.


The rider beloU! i Ilus ['rates the protection needed in s ub- zero rempera ttl res. You need rhree layers of dOrhes. an inner layer of a qllick-dl)'ing fabric, a middle layer of wool or pile falme fOT warmth, and an ower urindbreakeT ideally made of Gore- T ex, Enrrauc, or Thintech. In mil.dcr weach.er the middle .layer can be omitted, {llit keep i ~ in your pock incase YOll need i r late,·

A down-filled nylDl1 vm is one option, Ugh! and emit, packed mto a small bag, it quickly rums mm a good inslllator.

BoDY: Try wearing a thermal layer under a windbreaker to help you sr;ay much .. varrncr in cold wear her.

HEAD: M rOUT head loses the most heat in cold weather, protect it with a headband


Easy leg movement and warmth are gained by wearing Ly("m tighrs .• ----


[he cleats are recessed !n to r h c sol es, these ca n also be used for walking.



LightweighL ,hin and shores, as worn below, are al! you need, bur pack. add.irional clothes cs insurance against dull or roo much sun. Add-on garment,.s such as .leg warmers, ny.lon vesu;, and 1000g--sleeve jerseys are Iighrweighr and can be folded i" to ati"y space. Be aware of exposed ,kin: use moi_ltufizer and waterproof sanscreen if necessary w prmecL it from SUJ]

and wind _ A cycling cap underne.ru.h the helmet, with the peak -rever.scd, tUiIl snielt:l the back of the neck from the sun.

......,J!I"---.LIPS: Coarmg your lip' with a special rnolsturirer prevents wind chapping.

-----SHun: We"r a shirt made of a fabric that dralns away perspiration, rhus h<,'lping you to" ta y cool.



Sizing a Mountain Bike

ountain bikes are made for vigorous riding. A fLt that distributes the rider's weight and gives good balance is essential. With the saddle at the correct height and the cranks parallel with the ground, the bony protrusion Just below the knee should be directly above the pedal axle. The back should have a forward lean

of at least 45 degrees, so that the stronger gluteus muscles in the buttocks and lower back can be used for pedalling. Positioning in this way will shift more weight onto the anTIS, which should

be slightly bent at the elbows to allow for shock absorption, with th e wrists kept straight.

SEAT POST; The Seat post shou ld be exposed by 6·8 in (15 to 20 em). For maximum pedalling efficiency, saddle heighr (we p.lO) should be the same 0 n and (liT [he road, For steep descents, lower the saddle 50 you can hang off the back. _--.Joj

~ eRA N KS: These are us uall \' abo u t

S rnm longer OR mountain bike. than

on standard road bikes, This extra length gives more leverage.



You need to be able to move the bike around underneath you without bruising your thighs, and to have [he confidence to mke a fall wilhOitt any senous injury.


For off-road riding. have at least 3-4

in (8 to to em) clearance from the


Many Jim-rime mountain-bike riders feel more camfoTmbk on a frame that

is acrually larger tha.n they need, Smaller frames are mIlch more manuel< mable, lighter, and safer Select the smallest frame that gives you a good OVerall fit.




The standard advice on sialug a mountain bike recommends that the bike is 2 to 4 in

5 - 10 em) maller than your road frame size. However. mountain bikes are measured in several different ways, and many models have

sloping top tubes • so try out several different bikes first to get a feel for what suits you best. Important factors are general fit and reach. In good-quality mountain bikes, each frame size is proportional; ham angles and tube lengths are adj usted so that larger sizes have more reach, smaller sizes have less reach, With the saddle at the correct height, you want plenty of seat post and distance from the top tube. Your knee ihould be over the forward pedal with a level crank, and you should have a sufficiently comfortable reach down to the handlebars to incline your back at a 45-degree angle. with slightly bent arms,

Sizing for Women

Women u ually have a shorter reach, and need more eat post and a shorter top rube. A rough guide to measuring the size of a frame for a woman (in inches), is as follows:

FLOOR-TO-CROTCH DISfANCE x 0.52 ~ SIZE. This i only a rough estimate, but it should provide a basic guideline. Always rest-ride several bikes for size efore you final! y decide to go ahead and buy one,


A high top rube is fine for town riding and smooth road rouring, bu{ you will still need at least 1 in (2.5 em) of clearance, A rop wbe tiUlt fits too snugi)' might lead W (l painful. accident!


A very low rap rube meum that it i5 easier to perform stunts and trick; on the bike. H DWeller, unless you are

5 ITIllII , the reach wiU be tOO shOTt, and the ride 1IeT)' l<TIcomfor!able.



Touring Mountain Bikes

n terms of sheer versatility, mountain bikes are hard to beat for touring on- and off-road, At one end of the range there are sporty, ultralight mountain bikes, with a fast and agile performance. They have short wheelbases, sloping top tubes, and forks that have the minimum of rake. Touring on these bikes usually involves

carrying essentials in a backpack. A backpack is good discipline when you are trying to regulate the weight you bring - Its limited capacity forces you to leave the junk behind. At the other end of the spectrum are heavy-duty, longdistance load carriers with long wheelbases, that are easily capa hie of carrying 30- kg (66-lb)

flACK StJPPORT: .For any short

d ista nee touring off-road. carry the load on your hack. nh way the bike remains more manoeuvrable over changing terrain.


The Klein Atrirude is a racing bike. wh.ich is aLso excellent for lightly-laden, jQ!Jc IOtlring. The c<)mplere blk2 lVe.lgits J 0 kg (22 tb). making if quhe a fearnerweigh( among mounm,n bikes, lind lmtch lighter titan miJdIe-mnge wllring am! mad bikes.

.GEARS; A corupctidon

bike like the I<]~in AlIi,u&e has close-rano gc~rs. E~ch change of gear, a, you ~hif! up or down rhrough ilO 2!-

~_~LJ speed rransrnlsslon, ls

".. small so thar \"OU maintain maximum pedalling effie ienc,.

IN STAYS; The lack (lfbosse~ for" P"1111,cr rack is deli berate. The relarivelv short chain stays provide speed, £0 there b. no room rOF panniers.


loads - potentially all the equipment you should need for a two-week camping holiday. Stability and balanc are vital, so check that front and rear panniers are evenly weighted as you load them. Place heavy items at the b tram of the panniers, keeping the bike's centre of gravity low to maintain table handling.

SPARE ELASTIC: For riding off. road in rou ~h country, ra kc an elasticarecl webbl n~ srrap, The elastic cord, that secure bags to racks arc seldom strong enough to wuhsrand bumpy journeys.

STEERING: The generous fork. rake [educe rhe shock from humps and potholes, and makes for lin

all-round smoother ride.



Tile F.W. Evans (below) is a modem mmmwin bike designed for carnfoTl, 5u:Wility, arui load.carrylng. This bike comes urith br(lted-on bosses 10 rake panllier racks both froY!( tina rear. Nrhough no march ferr the Klein (oPPo ire) in terms of ~peed and weighr, this wurer's frame gco1l1e!ry is carefully cab,lmed to minim; ze the effect of carrying heat')' loads over very Imlg distances. The long chain 5tay5 ar~ typical of thLI sumdard of wwing bike, alloWIng panniers to be l<5ea wilh01Jt any chnnce of fOllling lhe rider's heels. Bikes like this are ideal for off-'rO!.lli tOuring holidnys where you l~'fJm La carry slIfficient equipmell£ to e~tabli.sh a ba5e camp Oil! in (he counrry, then unlood. aM lise the bike a.1 a ligr1t'l.veigfu off-road lOuring machinff .

WHHLBASE: The long

whee I ha! e makes for stable handling when carrying pannier •.

• PANNIERS: Standard hag.

I hook 01' r the tOP of (he rack and have a second hook, held hI' elastic. which (a. tern the horrorn of the bag to an eye Ie_, or drop out.

CHAIN TAYS: These ore long. to allow rea r eh e pann ier bags to be posit ioned eve r the bac k ax I e for or [I mum we igb t distri bution, j,



Expedition Planning

iding off-road means you must be able to cope in the outdoor on your own. Any

udden change in the weather conditions, a mechanical breakdown, an injury, or simply becoming 10 t, can transform what may start off as a plea urable ride, into a situation where your urvival might be at stake. If you panic, or give up, you may well come to harm. However, if you have a realistic plan of action, then you will almost certainly be all right. People who survi ve life, threatening situations tend to be

MINIMUM SURVIVAL KIT On <I[lY planned off-road excursion, however brief or near to the rest of civilization, take along a minimum kit. 'Be Prepared!' may sound dull. but it is a fundamental lesson of outdoor urvival, Don't be caught our by over-confidence and ignore basic procedures It is unbel ievabl y easy to become lost in a sudden white-out, be chilled to the bone by an unexpected downpour, or

do sometlung unexpecredlv foolish, such as fall into a freezing stream

in bad weather. A minimum kit has three groups: clorhing, map, water and food. personal survival kit; and basic hike repair kit.

You should always have a jacket; trousers and a hat are good idea. The aim is (0 protect your body from wet and cold, or [he sun, a

the case may be. If [he climate is mild, the clothes you wear can

be llgh weight; in cold condition , have enough clothes [Q keep y u comfortable if you have to stand around for several hours. Water

is essential. You can get along without food if you wish, bur

carry a keep-going snack. A map uf a familiar area may eern like

an excessive addition, but have

it as a contingency. Never ride

an unfamiliar area without a map. Have your 0\'1'1 personal survival kit and adjust it as necessary for different conditions. Ready-made survival kit. can be purchased in stores. but i r i much better to make up your own.


deci ive and adaptable. They enjoy going solo, and coping on their own in the outdoor i part of the fun. If thi does not appeal, then you should ride off-road in company with a friend. The buddy-svstern is common to many sports, and while it can create a rni leading sense of safety, if you do era h and break your back, then having a partner to go and find help will make the crucial difference between life and death. A cardinal rule i to always tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return.

Water filter-straw


Map in warerproo sleeve



''1;"-''_' .-1

' u



Foil blanker

Hip pouch

Pump Warer borde Dehydrated food


. ...



bite kit . Four-inch

adjustable spanner

Tyre lever




To,,1 poucb

"mer rube Wbi de and cord

puncture kit


Saddle bag


if, )'



Gear Cable

Headset spanner


Cable cutter

Signal mirror (heliograph )

Chain [001

Folding solid-fuel stove


You should know the function for each item in your minimum kit The basic. are: whistle and cord, water fitter rra IV (0 r PU1-iwb5), su rvi v al b lanke t (prefe rab I y tIVO), waterproof matches, flashlight, COU1paSS, pocket knife, sticking plaster, and mint cake or trail food. These hould be kept in a pouch small enough to slip inro your pocket. In addition, a minimum tool box hould fonn part of your survival kit. A et of spare cables take up little room and weight. Trim the cables

to size at home and glue or solder the end to prevent fraying (see p l86), men you can leave rhe cable cutters. behind. Add further tool and parts according ro journey distance, Extra spokes" a spoke key, a chain tool, headset and bottom bracket tools - all. can be important if you are far afield, but avoid excess weight whenever possible. An excellent multi-purpose tool is the Cool Tool (see p.149) .. If you are riding with friends, share one set of tools among the group. The arne logic CRn be applied to a portable rove and pal for hot drinks, and a large, comprehensive first aid kit.

An indication of the general area where you will be riding is useful if you fail to re-appear on schedule, and rescue services have to search. for you. A follow-on rule is: look for help before you need it. If you start getting into trouble, get out of it quickly - most critical ituations are the compounded effects of a cumulative series of smaller problems and errors. If help from someone else would be useful, then ask for lt. If you hould ever become lost and separated from your companions and then find your way back to civilization, you must 'report your arrival, There is nothing quite so galling as spending a rainy night looking for someone who turns out to have been home safe. in bed. Panic can make


you do tupid things. Inertia often follows an accident, and the antidote is action. Review your priorities, and start on the most immediate problem. If a serious injury prevents you travelling to a safe destination, and night is falling, you may well die without shelter and warmth. However, if no one knows you are there, you will probably have to travel on regardless. If you are travelling and are lost, determine the mo t promising direction and r fer any landmarks you notice back to your map, to maintain your course. Stop and rest regularly. If you are staying overnight, organize a shelter, build a fire, and prepare signals. If you decide to travel on in the morning, leave a message with your name and destination at your camp ite. There are many books and courses on first aid and survival skills, and the more you can learn, the better equipped you will be to ride off-road solo.



Crank Freewheel extractor remover


Boerom bracket/headset lockring pin tool

Elastic bandage


Six. inch adjustable spanner

Mcdi at Kit

Bouorn bracket adjustable cup pin tool


You are riding alone when a branch snags the front wheel, the bike cartwheels, and you are thrown headfirst into a tree. What do you do! Your first step alter an accident is a simple mechanical check of yourself for major cuts and broken bones, as an accident can cause an adrenalin rush which snaps you into hyperdrive, and make you unaware of any injury. Equally, shock may mask pain, so that you may not feel a thing. Administer first aid if necessary, and once you are OK, the next step is to check me bike. It is easy [0 crash, automatically jump back onto rhe bike, and then crash again because the bike malfunctions. If either you or he hike are damaged, there are seven' I things (( do:

I. Protect yourself immediately from panic or inertia, cold, heat. and dehvdrarion.

2. Evaluate your resources and situation, and decide on whether to stay pur or travel on.

3 _ Organue sufficient water and food.



Open Trails

f (he mountain bike has expanded the potential for off-road cycling, it has alga increased the number of people making greater use of the countryside. Early on, mountain-bike riding received a hostile reception. The bikes were con idered little better than motorbikes without engines, ready to plough up trails and di turb the peace. In some area the sudden influx of riders so alarmed traditional users,

uch as hikers and horse rider, that mountain bike .. "ere banned from trails, ince then, mountain-hike riding has grown enormously in popularity, and cyclists have proved that offroad riding is a valid, environmentally sound outdoor activity. Part of this about-turn has occurred because mountain bikers are taking a more active rather than reactive role, and promoting a positive image of environmental con c iou ness. Another increa ingly popular method is to et up local" Adopt-a- Tea i l'' programmes, with bikers maintaining a specific trail, Developing trail access and discovering new trail in co-operation wi h conservationists has become a minor industry in its own right, In wilder area 1 rediscovering lost trails across public land can he as much fun as riding them.


Taking a tent on an overnight cxpediu m can give you the freedom (0 he self- sufficient. but the tent itself needs to be extremely light and compact. Specialtsr tent, uch as the one below use the hike

a a support, Guvlines attached to the searposr arid hand lebar stem mean that no poles are required, thus saving weight, (At[aching the tent co the bike gives you increased security, 3' you are instantlv alerted to

anyone rrying to steal the hike). Ligh(Weigh[ freestanding tent suitable. or bikepacktng will usually require poles. They often have a well-ventilated inner tent and waterproof outer Hysheec chat

keeps rain off the inner tent

and reduces conden-auon.



You can maximilie your pleasure in trail riding b)' exploring quiet and undiscOllered TOmes (left) that lead you away froln

Ute busier tTaCks. If you study a detailed large-scale map of the area you propo,e to ride, you can often locate roices over public land. Old maps and aerial photographs also give an indicariml of overgroUJn paliu and dislLSed rail [.Tacks: all that may survive of an overgrown path i.1 a gap in the trees. Single tracks may bI.! fOllnd by exploring dTied-up Tillers and streams, or Iry following the paths worn by cattle and sheep grlljng on public land. If yOIl need to cross prilJate land, it is imperative !lun you seek

the owner's permission fint. Respecring the coumry.lide is always something ro bear in mind - plOllghing up the land

,with violem bike manoeuvres will cause hann 10 both the envil'omnent and to the goodWill of other trail users and

farmers whose land "IOU cross.


Reaching the most unusual and specmr11lar countryside and sightS can involve long cross-counrry journeys las tfng );eq.-eml days or weeks. Make sure 1M r y 01< are fit enough to- enJoy a long ride and plan every 115 !><,Cl of your jm.irney careful! y - roures, supplies, shelter and contingency plans. Ensure that your bike is in good canJilion and make SIiTe that someone knows where you are going, what your pr()posed routes are, and where yOI< expecr to amve and rerum to.



Mountain bikes will finally become accepted when [hey cca e to be an issue and can be regarded a ju t another means of legittrnare travel. Yet became mountain bikes are srill comparatively new, they are viewed with suspicion. Help co change people's minds by displaying courtesy and common sense every time you ride. Try to follow [he International Mountain Bike Association's Rules of the Trail at ell times.

The main points of these rules are:

.Plan ahead and ride on open trails only. -Leave no trace - take your litter home . • Control your bicycle.

.Alway yield the trail.

• ever frighten animals.

You should. in addition:

.Guard against all risk of fire. .Help to keep all water clean.

• Protect wi ldlife, plants, and trees. .Make no unnecessary noise .

• Keep to rights-of-way across farmland.

.Leave livestock, crops, and machinery alone. -Use gaces and stiles OH'T fences, hedges, and wall . • Leave all gates as you find them.




The Cranes (abolle) rode fh~ 80-km (50-mile) l,otwd (,Tip in jLlS! OI't'T eighr days. The~ c(!1'Tied :;mall day po.Ck.1 of extra dOlheS, WOLI, f!lod, allt! an alriltule acdnnatitanDll dnlg.



Nick Crane (below). equipped for the ride up Kilimanjaro, The standatd production aracen moumain bikes were used W'IDOIfl any mudificarions or extras.

he moun ram bik ha been aptly named - used by adventurers to climb peaks worldwide. The conquest of Africa's highest mountain, Kilirnanjaro, by cousins Nick and Dick Crane, was the climax of years of climbing and cycling experienc , Riding at alti ude made unu ual demands. Approaching the 5,900-m (19,340-ft) summit, they could only ride a few yards before collapsing for lack of oxygen. But the payoff was tremendous a de cent that was the freewheel of a lifetime.

----0 HEADWEAR~ A thermal b. lac! ava was under the hood. IT could also he folded so that it> lIap acted as a sun

Snow goggles were

essential to protect against UV rays and re flee r [ems. He. dmou nred torches

were 1'1[" I for nigh, ridmg,

Their clorhing was based on a laver system. msularcd ,"I"I'"ue, and T -sh rrts were topped by a jacket with a Thil1tl'ch inner am]

a Gore- Tex outer Layer.

• T\RES: These are Z.125-in (64-,m) "~ndard knobbl ies rhar gnp well on mud,

rock, and 'now. Inflated to 35 psi, they required flu further attention.




S roves, sleeping bags, dehydrated food, equipment, and tents

( above) WeTe calTied by a support team of porters and friends , who aLlo guaranteed thm phowgTaphs and reports were. sent to media sponsors for Pllblication as the trip progressed.


Some 9 J 4 m (3,000 ft) below the crater Tim, fhe snow and ice ascent became unTideable, and the Cranes had to carry their bikes and packs (rigIH). Later, as they approached the summit, the'] could ride for only two minutes at a time before taking ten min utes to res t an.d brea.me in 0);,), gen ,


\ ', Kale)

\.. ---"_:-.....A . F[~

~'\.._ ~~';-~~- '\

~ H"!~DDLE ( 1


__ _ .!'fA WENZl -



r ,.'\

- • Mond.n- .. 0


18,[).V 16,00.' I~,(IO() 11,000 ro,(JOO B,OOO ,-<lnrud< 11M)


Kilimanjaro (Ief!) Was chasen becawe although it is Africa's nighe:sr mountOin, ir is unique for the gentleness of its lower slol)e.l. Maps indicated rlllu the Cranes wf.ntld be able to pedal th.rough several climate <01ll'S, s tarrin!; with an equawrial rain. forest, before reaching 4,700 m

( 15,500 N, Then the)' would have

ta carry me;. bikes 914 m (3,000 it)

to the rim of the volcanic crater before riding the reSl of the 'way 10 the summit. Dill' of rhe prices of being a pioneer is thar rJ,er e ere insuificienc accurate guidebooks, Despi te consulting maps

and mountaineers who had been up Kilimanjam, the Cremes had little idea

of haw much of the mOl<l1tain could be ridden and how frequently the)' would /uwe 10 carry their bikes, Conrour lines on a map WI1 only rewaj so mlUil abou. rhe incline, nor about the terrain. The whole evenl was organized to raise money for the Third World charity

In rermwill.te T echnolollY .



Off-road Racer


Th.~ Fat Chance "Yo-Eddy" is a radngbike dUH ~ a tribute to [he aTt of 5 teel- fmme making, The frame i'.s

TIC (tun~ten irum gru) w~lded - a process where 1M lubes are actually fu.s ed wgether. The tubing is made from chrome molybdenum, a ltee! alloy. The combined frame and fark; llIeight is 2.15 kg (4~ lb) and !he whole bike weijZh.\ w-.der 12 kg (261&).

acing mountain bikes are built for speed and, of course, to survive rough handling.

An SO-kilometre (50-mile) race, with fast descents down one-in-three rock screes, fording streams, and traversing ankle-deep mud, is as wearing on the bike as on the rider. Unlike wad racers, the bike that off-road competitors starr on is the one rhey finish on. This is a big challenge for frame builders, At mass-production level, large-diameter aluminium tubing is taking over from chromemoly because it is light and stiff. With more expensive hand-built bikes, a skilled frame builder can make chrome-moly compete with aluminium for weight and strength.

~ ..... --~'f--+--4:_" CA BLE RUNS: Exposed

ru ns deli vet more precise brak ing and gear sh ifting by eliminating the inherent slack of IOl1j:( cable, housings',

CLEARANCE: The bottom-bracket heigh t and the space be tween the chain stays is greater rhan usual,

!O ~ How (or c he '" ide [yres.

STAYS: The relauvely short J 7 in (43 em) chain stays give powerful J irect drive

from the pedals.



GEAR SHIFTERS; For serious racing, ge ,shifr levers rnounred on top of rhe bars are preferred [Q one-piece shifters mounted

u ndernea tho They are eas i er to reac h when standing up, and easier to repair under race conditions __ ---"


The Klein Attitude has a lighr aluminium frame and fork. with a one-piece bar and stem that weigh. under 500 g (1 11:»). The complete bike weighs 10 kg (22 lb) - a great advantage when climbing.

WHEELBASE: The long, 41' [sin (lOS-em) wheelbase provides the bike with exrra stability.

T TYRES: The 2X ill-wide Specializfl1 ryres are among the farrest lyres available and provide superb grip in all conditions.



Mountain Bike Suspension

ountain bikes have given fresh impetus to the development of suspension ystems.

Shock-absorbing mechanisms may add weight, but can greatly increase comfort, performance, and control. Anyone who has experienced the hammering of a rough track or a potholed road will appreciate [he benefit df a smoother ride; what i urprising is that hock ab orption also gives better handling and greater speed; in fact, de cent are 20 per cent faster on average.

u pension gives enhanced traction, and this re u l ts in much quicker cornering as well as better climbing. Front suspension offers reduced vibration, because legs can absorb shock at the rear, but a bike with front and rear su pension will perform be t of all.

c;;.r",;~· •

r I I ~ , ,f'

A SMOOTHER RLDE The Girvin O/froad Flexsrem is a simple wav of smooth lug a

ride without changing frame geometry. The Flexsrem pivots on bolt, which cornpre: es an elastomer ring at the stem. It can only move down, so that the bars

will remain rigid during climbing. If the from wheel hits a bump. the Flexstem deflects downward, which cushions the shock. The rings come in different sizes.


The Fisher RS-l. wirh e~'en!y balanced ii-ant and rear sus j)<'nsion, gi'lles 11 brilliant ride_ The forks are Fisher-calibrated Rock Shalf Wl'th pre.s5lire-adjuswble air springs and hydraulic damping. The real- unit

is a floaring parallelogram with fOltT pnJ()( poims, dampened by a pair of duromerers and complemented by a powerful Phil Wood hub brake.




The annondale E T (Elevated Suspension T I'chnology) , above, has a real' .swing-arm acwched 10 the bOIW111- &racker axle u.nir an the seat tube. The shock absorber has 1.5 em (I in) af rravel and use, hydraulic fluid damping, Th e tens ion is adj'us table, and the spring i, r.waila&le .'11 thue different $[Te:ngrhs w sui! the ",.'eigh[ oj inaividual riders. Froru suspension is an Off TOad Flex tern (see left). Tile devared EST chain swys ore a raut 42.5 em (16% in) far improved rrscnon when climbing.


The Offroad Pro- Flex (abo,'e) u. es del!ared, swing-ann chain '>[.flYS "'"'Ith the Pil'Ol boll held on {l bracing rube above rhe botwm bracker (right). Shock absorpnon and damping are provided b connening the sea t 5 rays co the &rue of the seat duster, via an elastomer bushing witn 1.5 em (I in) oj rravel. A Iillriety of different bH..lhings are available w suit the

full range of rider weights, This simple

de ign is imilar to the front of the "-.....

Flex rem, The .Iuspemion only warks ~

when it is needed. On a smooth road, the

Pro-Flex feels like a narmoJ rigid bike; off-road, the ride c; ,of I , 'Vet Jast. One admmage of thiS fXtrricular model is that because of the simple design, Pro-Flex bikes are of Len quill' a ,to! cheaper thall r'tJal suspension-fitted bikes.



Riding Techniques

ountain-bike riding is a total experience, concentrating both your mind and your body completely. Unlike riding a POrts bike, where body and bike move predominantly as a ingle smooth unit, riding a mountain bike

require you to use both your arms and

boulders actively, and to move all your body weight around for the be t control over the bike when surfaces and gradients change. Good mountain-bike riding is vigorou and dynamic.

a matter how highly you rate your initial level of fitness, trail riding will soon improve your flexibility, strength, and endurance, a well as increase your bike-handling skills.


Check l/tar all of your conrrois ere {"(meetly posmoned (see

pp. 162-165). While you ride, make .lllre ),011 Sta)' tig/ttl~ semed, u,ith your hands r~sting on the bars, and )'01.41' midale and index fingers covering the brake levers. Your arms hould s!<ppon same uf YOltY body weighr. This position allows you 10 be read} to come (JUt of the addle in case of a change in cerrain, or to bWlTIyhop over a smail log. The mounzun bike is lu hI mOSL manoeuvrable aelow speed wim Ute rider standing on th2 pedals, ant! the arms farmIng a rriangle wirh the bars. \'Vhen you sra1Ul and pedaJ, try to avoid pitching Y01<T weIgh! forward,



The /rum rider (above) is leaning roo faT forward over the ban, an d is abo til mime back -wheel traction. Th e secant! rider luIS all his wei/{huhifted back, and (he from wheel is about to rear up, tWlh a loss of steering. Both ways .spell an ineviwbJe losl of conrroi. To climb a 'lope atcurme1y, Stand up for the ea.sier sections and steep I lopes , and sir datlln aver difficult pam. Crollch jockey-style wir.h )lOIn centre of I"lTQt'ity U1'er the pedal$, your head over the handlebars, and keeping your arms pressed dawn. If an incline seems imunnoumable, )'01.4 may. till be able to ascend by rra~'ersing Ute slope diagonally.


The only rime ~'ou ilia)' need w grip jirm/y on your handle baTS is an bumpy downhill slopes. The slope incline and terrain can change rapidl in [he space of a Jew yards. Don' r tTy to steer

by pwhing and pulling [he bars. The movement of YOUT body weight, led by che way you inclinE ),our head and $houldeTs, is sufficient!O steer [he bike. Whatever ?lOUT manoeuvre, you Can avoid a difficulr sit1U!tion quite easily. Remember rne basic cssemia!s in anticipation of any change; learn w read the terrain uhead, change gear in advance, adjUSt yOIlT pedaWng cadence, and be read)· to move yo.u r body arOlmd (he bike.


OBSTACLE Mo1ituain-bike l-iding is abO!<l bemg able to deal wilh all the changing condiciom you encounter as yOIl £Tavel. Approach

and amicipation are everything when you are riding up and down hills. One of £he trickie.sl problems on a downhill ride

is de<lr1ng obstacles such dl a log or a large rQck. The most dangerous approach is ro rry and hit £he log head-on, (<lith )'ot,r full weight behind the bike. At any speed this wi!! damage )'om body as well as your bike. Anticipation, "unweighting", and most

of all, timing, will keep you on course, as [he naer in the timelapse phoro above demonsrmres. Although travelling downhill

(i( high speed, he has released his fmru brake long enough to pull back an the bars and lift the front wheel onto the log. Nattlral dmvnhill momennrm carries him forward, and, by crouching jockey-sryle, .he ul1weighred rear wheel Tolls over the tog. Thi.s wi[! ensure ,hat the downhW position is resumed, and on/)' then is it safe- to use the front brake again, if necessary ,


The essential elemenr.s of mOllnUlin biking ose main wi>ning momemum and (Taction to keep a sready grip, while the back and from wheel.l SUI"J pinned 10 the ground. Going downhill at speed. )'014 must keep your body we.ight as far back as possibl£ and ihe pedals horizon wi , so that when you need to turn a comer, the bike can be sreered by leaning smoothly imo (he curve. One advanced technique is to enter the bend with the imide pedal dtw.m and era ding. Tn i.s action slopes YOUT weight more mzo the curlle, leal~ng Lhe OUt5 ide pedal cocked and ready 10 pedal Out. Always travel al a speed that still leaves you in conrrol. and brake to counter the inellillible acceleration as the hill becomes steeper_Squeeze both brakes genciy, mu remember wapply more power to the rear brake, balancing che front brake. which has more StOPping power on a descent. jamming the front brake suddenly as YOll comer will fliP

up the back whed and tip you over the bars, 01· wiU cause the bike to jackknife.



Soft Surfaces

art of the thrill of riding off-road is dealing with sudden changes in terrain. Loo e, soft surfaces such as sand, snow, mud, loose gravel, and rocky scree are among the hardest and most challenging to ride. Climbing, braking, and descending on these surfaces requires a positive approach, a properly set-up bike, and the lise of a few imple but effective techniques. Assume that everything is rideable until proven otherwise. The key to surviving any I 0 e surface is to maintain momentum and traction by keeping the back wheel turning. If it is a long section Df soft ground make sure that tyre pressures are low


On loose Tock)' sUlfaces (righ.) the /ron t wheel is easily deflected and can jump disastrously if i. is no! controlled well. Try to avoid tum/11K chi' baTs co steer lnscead shift your bod)', especiaUy )'our shoulders, co incline !he bike co .he direction YOIt want co travel.


Riding in snow (below) is a challenge. Ir is like riding in sand, except yotl rend to sink deeper and further. Eoen keepmg chi' bike i11 a scraigh[ line requiTes a consernr series of correcnons as you try to monoevvre from finn spa 1 W firm spar.



Do,,' 1 a!way~ expect to be able to freewheel dou'nhill. You will find soft sand (arnwe) irlCTeases rolling resiswnce, and ofren II i~ neCe.l$aT)' to pedal on descents to keep going. Remember co keep [he ryre pre5Sl<r~ low [Q prevenr digging in.

enough. On a soft surface fully inflated rvres dig in, creating unnecessary rolling resistance. Lower tyre pressures mean less digging in and more tyre area in contact with the surface to generate greater traction. How far tvre pressures can be lowered is a matter of degree. On a really soft surface, a lightweight rider using a wide tvre can go as low as 20 to 25 psi, whereas a heavier rider on narrow rims might need 30 to 40 psi to avoid a puncture from the rim pinching. Before reaching a loose surface, change down to a gear which will give you enough traction without spinning out. Pick the straightest line through. Shift your weight back, keep pedalling, and keep the front wheel up so that it lightly skims the surface, preventing it from its natural inclination to dig deep into sand, snow, or mud.


BefCITe emeTJng a stTeam (below), make sur!' ),01< ("(In see the borrom. If you can't, don'l 1"1')' ir. Before )'OU hll the 'Ulmer. switch to a tower gear, shifr )'{)l1r weigh. back mw ecce lera re so that YOI< have enough :speed to can., )·ou LhHlUgh_



The differences between the bulk of rnountain-bike ryres is no wider than rhe average tread, with just a few basic types and tile sizes ihar count. The- most common size is 26 x 2. [ 2S in, but tyres are available in widths from 1.0 EO 2.6 in. The three basic types

of [read are slicks, knobblies, and rnulri-purpose. The cornpletelv bald slicks bring 3 mountain bike as close 1.0 a road bike as possible, knobblies are for off-road riding, and multi-purpose are for road and off-road.


The Matrix Road Warrior (lefr) is a treadlel'~ slick l)'rt" for oplimCli gl-ip on Clsphalt Clnd concre re. This helps give Cl comfor!Clble ride with minimClI roIling resiswnce (uW

low ryre n oi~e _


The Specialised Nimbus (righl)

is zm lllcra-ligh ltueigftl all-around pery()[llllmce lyre ritat is V<?T)' stable ill we! weather. If l.lSing il off-mad it " suiwble for hard-pClCked

s ItrfClce~, bl<t haleS mud.


The Matrix Cliffhanger (!eM is an all-arow1d cross and TOad rvre. /('5 SClr;i;;[<lCWTY an hard-pac~d >ury aces, bl( t irs side iMg> Clre 100 close!)' spClced to Ie t nuu!. escClpe .


The Orua Racing Porcupine (right) is me quinteSSentialso!t

I rubber wmpol<nd knobbly, with 1.J.Ie11-_lpllc~d, W/!1l-beOJelled lug>_ Traction is excel/em but Ihe life of the mbb.!.,- C-cJmpound is shon_


A Panaracer Smoke (!eft) .,-ear I)'re is desigr,ed to cover ClU offroad bet!. Well-separated lugs discharge mud eas i.l), ~l.Ihi1e !he central haritonml bands prc:w.ide !Taction 10 improtJe acce/e_ration.


The Specialised Hardpack (right) i_I IT PDpula.,- facing ryre whme tread design works weI! on rocky rerrain_ The large 2 2 -m size provide." a greatl'r volume of air to ride on and conseqlLl'mly cl more wmfonClble ride off-road-




'rom the start, mountain-bike racing has

been an informal high-energy sport, unhindered by petty restrictions about bikes and clothing. The first mountain-bike races, the pioneering 1976 Repacks, were impromptu downhill time trials on a fire road that dropped 396 m (1,300 fr) in under 3.2 km (2 miles). Since then this US-invented sport has now spread worldwide, with improved organisation, diverse events, and spectacular courses; but the gritty spirit of mountain-bike racing remains the same: a rider-plus-bike versus the elements and the rest of the field, without mechanical back-up. Race meetings can consist of a cross-

country event, a downhill, a hill-climb, a dual slalom, and observed trials (see p.SO) with riders competing according to skill, age, and sex. Internationally recognised ability classes are Pro-Elite, Expert, and Sport. Age groups are Youth 12-15, Junior 16-18, Senior 19-39, Vets 40-49, Masters 50+. Courses vary accordingly. A Senior mass-start cross-country course is from 39 to 58 km (24 to 36 miles), the circuit i.s at least 6.5 km (4 miles), with 90 per cent offroad and no more than 10 per cent where the hike may have to be carried. Downhill races cover about 8 km (5 miles) and must descend at least 80 per cent of the course.

• GRUNn[Q t~jRSE

_ , _ _t{_o\MI};;A}:E CCX .. ,'R5E .-Gt:lt-;!!X."Il.A.

•••••••• CH."Rl.lf- ...

___ W"lCrJl~n Aw

• 9,400 AmTL'Df IN fEU



THE LEGENDARY RAeI'! COURSE Mammorh LaJm.s (left). in California's SierraNetladt) mouma,ns, is III the flYrefronr of ski resorts [hm have mmed me.ir facilities over w muunrain-bike racing in ,pring and summer. Mammom is a legend among off-roan. racers. The cro,,-wunD)' coum. ridden fOT the /991 World CliP Sf:)"U>s, is olonll: 19 4-km

( 12-mile) loop lhat (he racers ride three time>. IIO dTCI1n4tic "Kamikaze" oou!llhi!l (rail drops over 6 JO m (2 ,000 fl) in

6.3 km (39 miles) - the Pro record is

5 mmures, 25 seconds, an average

speed 0169.4 kmph (43 mph)!


The one race (/uu deltmnine.\ lhe be,. overall moun cain biker is r he crosscoumry cwm (right). With the C(mrs('s re stricred ro rw OtTa/ obs cades onl)·. designing r:hem has become anaH. SI<lT! and finis h areas have ro be wide ~1Qllgh w aHQw riders io scart en lIllIOSC., dun ofren IllIITOW qHj~kl Y to Single track. This meam that riders of len -,print far pOli cion early on. only w find rhemsel ves OUt of breath as rhey hit an uxygensapping incline.



Before mountain- bike racing there w~, cycle-cross (left), 1\ gruelling sport used by road racers for mid-winter training, on bikes fined with narrow llff-road rvres and cantilever brakes, Cycle-cross courses are dey ised w ith sections

that are faster if the rider dismounts and carries his bike, whereas mountain bikers prefer to ride the impossible, \Vl,ile mountain bikers may nor receive mechanical help in a race, cvclo-cross riders can switch bikes, There the differences end. Cross-over between the two sports is common, with several cyclo-cross graduates becoming rnountain-bike champions.

A Sport Evolved

Today, rnountam-bike racing has branched OUl to incorporate different styles of racing. Apart from the cross-country races, then> are other events. In observed tria Is, riders compete agai nsr the clock and incur penal t)' points whenever they dab (put 3 foot down). In dual .~da!"m events, a field of riders compete head-to-head in pairs in sudden death races until all but the last two are el i m i narec], Races are over a short, downh ill course of about half a mile. The hill climb event i" 3 mas, start, firsr-pasc-rhe-posr race rhar climbs steeply, wirh competitors riding up most of the downhill course and barely managing to average 11 J km/h (7 mph).




Observed Trials

bserved trials demand the very best in bike-handling kill. The aim is to ride through a short "section" of difficult, obstaclerich terrain: a talented rider can climb a nearvertical cliff, see-sawing from tyrehold to tyrehold as if climbing a ladder. A rypical course consists of ten linked ecrions, with riders completing the COUf e three times for a 0 al of 30 itage . If a rider accidentally dabs by touching the ground, a tree, or a spe tater, a m ximum of five penalty points can be imposed per

ection ride Crashing or riding outside the section boundaries also gains you five points. For riding the full course, the best po sible score i zero, the worst as much as 150 points.

There are two distinct types of trial bike' and riders, Most top-level international riders use specially designed bikes with 20-inch wheels, bashplates, and a single low gear. It is incredibly impressive to watch these riders work their bikes, which are just about a esoteric and spec.ial ized a you can get, but' are useless for ordinary riding. Most cycli ts ride purely for

fun, and to improve their bikehandling skills. They use either stock mountain bikes or 26-in wheel trials bikes which have short chainstays, steep frame angles, and a high bottom bracket.


The Rocky Mountain Experience jrom Canada (righd has a I05-em (41-in) ,wheelbase and elevared, sub-41-cm (j 6·rn) duumtays,

making ita renaeiotls dimhCT,

TOE Cups:

Po u ",r Grip toe cl ip gi ve [he Iccr maximum power and control but can easily be di: engaged.



The bottom bracket " JUSt under J I em ( 12 in) h,gh to ~'vc plenty of clearance for obsta, les. A I<ock-Ring Chainwheel Prorerror ji.Uard5 agllin r any damage.



When )'OU are two feel away from the lug, put! 0 wlteelie by /)Tessing down on the cranks as )'D!' pull up em the ban (Iefr). Accelerare slightl~, ,inJ<ing down on y01<T legs ro jump as yOI< m ave your bod)' weight forward. and wien mmk.l level place che fron! wheel on the Ing_

• BRAKES- SWH.our XC 9000 ""If-energi,m,~

I cantll_ewr brakes, with three-finger lew" and hand leh~r Grip Shirl rwisr gear changers, gi ve complete control without ever needing II

ch ~ age in hand posi lion.

A, you leap up ove-r the log. /)HSn forward on 1M bar£ (below leN. In tnis way, Il:l you crest .rhe log cit e reel r ,,-,heel should ,kim up and .oMeh [h~ log ill rh e same point as

(he /rom wheel_ By eM, ri III e rile bike ShOMid now he mo~'ing om in front of

you, Go with dIe motion () f the bike. ~inking 1mck down so r!wt the from whee1lands .Iightly (below), and Ihen nxk forward so the impact of rhe rear wheel on 1M ground is aLlo lOfwUidThe effw 5h"lIki be hopping the bike over the log !i ke a pogo 5 rrck r rmher than rolling on the wheel.l_


Trials ridmg is one 0/ the qllickest

and ,UTeS! wa~s w irnprQl!e yo .. " bike-handling .,kiILI. ! t ,I aLso a highly aCCfSS tbte ,port - you can ride 1.l,!mv5!

an ~ where there is a tricky bit uf graM rul , or an open space to fay )'OUT own course. Find (1 5uiwbte obswde on which yOIl can del'" lop your ~kil!s. or learn by

ju mping oeer old lyres, T yres 17l4ke g.-~al obstacle jump, os they won't damage cMinring'i . Try and obtain the tyres in I!,,,-:i() us ,i zes and half-bury thern in the grou11d, Aiternmively. brace severa! LyreS ,ide"by-side co simulate a log jump. 1/ YOII lIS e olh~r ob5 tacb, fie a chainring !<UIIrd to prorecr your bicycle, and lower )'0 Ill' sacld1e in case of un expecred 1m mp5 . Log jumping willr.ake pien!)' of practice to develop til e righ! rechn ique" but can be grear/un

FORKS: The uncapcrcd,

la r~e" rad ius T on_ge "Bi g forks" are inrernall y butted ror exira strength at points of maximum &~CSS when rid ing.




l tra-e nduro mountain-bike events represent the extreme of what is possible on a bike. Ever since the bicycle was invented, cyclists have been using it as a tool for testing the limits of human endurance. In 1875 in Birmingham, England, bewhiskered pioneers pedalled "ordinaries" around a track non-stop for 12 hours, to see how far and how fast they could travel. These days their Lycru-clad equivalents on mountain bikes keep up the tradition outdoors on an even more epic scale - such as discovering how many peaks can be ascended in 24 hours, racing snowbound over 322 km (200 miles) in Alaska in deepest winter, crossing the Sahara in the Paris-Dakar marathon, or taking on the challenge of beating a racehorse in the Welsh mountains. The off-The-wall element in these endurance events is more immediate, going back to the mid-1970s when the mountain bike was still evolving and pioneers enjoyed seeing how fast they could hurl their clunkers down the Repack, a steep hairpin track that dropped 397 m (1,300 ft) in less than 3.2 km (2 miles). Today's ultra racers have a similar thirst for crazed adventure as they apply their skills in the plethora of hair-raising races that are forever springing up, offering [ow prize money, considerable notoriety, and the chance to discover how long you can survive on a bike.



Almka'l 110)1"WP Idicabike ccnresr (~lxJVe) each February makes ullu.lual demands on both the competitors Ilnd their machinery. One of its innOllariom is double-width wheeLl. made by lacing twO rims r.o a hub. Their dual ryres ~I.iller exlrll.lracl~on in weather condition5 thar can lIary flom 4.4°C (40° F) and ~ep slush, to bl.izzards at -40°C (_400P ). The course, based on. me 1 dilaroo dog:; led race. is 338 kill (2 10 miles) of IIWW-packed !Tail and: frozen ,.k·ers rhrOMgh. the Almkan tundra Conresta.nts need expeditionary skUts to

keep an course at night a.nd have to pay an evaalluion depasir rn case mey require airlifting OUI. Condmons were so bad in

J 990 !hat WB mce WIll stopped after compenrors hat! anI)' b~en able w pus h for (he firs I 84 km (52 miles).


In th~ hope. of finding snow compact enough ro Tide, a conreste IT! (left! in Alaskll' s I di wbih moe (OW5 his bike di SllS.lembkd 0'Il a sled.



The ·world's fiTSc man-e-horse race

(left) tuas run in 1980 when a fielei of runners wok on local harse in the Welsh mountains near Hay-on-W)'e afte" a healed PLIO di5culsian over tuherher a man 1»ils fas rer than a haT'S e. Two feet were slo,ver than four, but in 1985 mountain bikes en tered the race wi Ih peda.1 power nmningciose ro horsepoo.uer. In /988

ule man finally o,Jer!.ook the narse with Tim Gould, a mOlmrain-bike champion, coming home ahead of the hor.le by rltree mmuzes , in / hour, 51 mimttes.


The 35 .1-km (22 -mile) course in the Brecon Beacuns involves fen'ding streams (below) and climbing o~'er J ,220 m (4,000 itl _ The best times for moumaln bikes hall<' been an hot days when rhe /l{Jggy hillsitks have d,-jed <JU! as humans are beuer lhan horses al coping with heaL_



erious bike racing is one of the toughe t sports a s [range cu It u ra 1 g he tto, in the world. If you take up racing in any of its whose inhabitants worship many form, you will face the can tant desire exotic machines, observe for an improved performance and be obsessed unusual ritual of shaving by the relentless quest for a competitive edge. their legs, wear tight-fitting Bike racing force you clothes, and talk to each to re-examine every other in coded jargon. a peer of your bike; Accessible Sport the way it i et-up

Bicycle racing is, however, primarily a very and its perform-

accessible port, requiring only a bike, a ance, your riding

body, and tons of willpower. The fasciposition and your

nation of cycle racing endures because pedalling cadence,

the port combines the huge appeal of your diet, training, and even the propor-

technology with an alma t tion of time you spend asleep.

unquenchable and irresi tible urge

All-consuming Obsession C)de colllpmer to measure the strength and enRacing can ea ily become a total ob e ion: an durance of a human. This mixture of Q ail-con uming relationship betw en rider technique with trength require and bike, where you live to ride and stamina and cunning, for which there ride to live, with a single objective is no known precise alchemy. - to optimize the harmony be- For both the beginner and profes-

~ tween your body and the bike so ional alike, the sport is varied Walel'ixmie

that together you becom the enough to offer an ideal type of rae-

ultimate machine. Thi urge can ing for everyone

be experienced on the track or on to pursue the road, on short and long courses, on the flats in their or on hills, competing against the pack or own way. against the clock. It is a real relationship that demands dedication and courage, and can deliver both pain and triumph, yet frequently appears to cut off the rest of the worldto whom cycle racing may seem

Aero bars



Racing C'jch I


Racing Bike Anatomy

e igned and built for speed, road-racing bicycLes have evolved a classic frame geometry. Most modern bikes till share the 'arne feature as the machines of a decade ago: a short wheelbase, steep head- and eat-angles, a high bottom-bracket, and a hart fork rake. This de ign allows the rider to adopt the aerotuck, till the mo t efficient way to transmit power to the pedals, and the most aerodvnamic. With the frame design standardised, racing bikes optirni e performance through materials and components. The carbon-fibre tubes of the

Russin (shuwn here) are 30 per cent

~:;:~~~~ lighter than steel tubes, while its

• Campagnolo components

are efficient and r liabl .

.Qu ick-release hub skewer


Rear axle ,

'pacer boh:J;o-'-



15 0




o -.Freewheel cog spacers

.Rear derailleur

Sear Sl1ly.

Bottom- Spindle. brac~

cup. """"\


Beanngs·O ~

Nylon sleeve-




Brake shoes»

Seat tube.

.' Ll ·1

r .Freewheel I lock ring

• 0.

",_ .Chairuing ( s.pacers s: tlxing hoIr

: Crank-arm bolt.

Dust cap. ~I .\Vasher •

.. • .. .. • • .. • • • • • • • • ill .... :II •• ~ .......• - ......

• Peda I

.52-moth cha i nr! ng

.Toe clip

~Top tube Bar-end n pltLg.-~.J

.Derailleur Bolt. ; cable Seal«.



r. __ ~, \

~ .To~

head cup

• Lock washer


O \ .Aerobm

, \ arm rests

-. Ba 11 bearing,

O-·_Dus, seal nog

r""' .Headse, locknut


Brake lever

Front brake cable & housing.

Head tube»

.Right lever

Cable housing s

, .wa,he,O ~Right lever


.Down tube

.42-wotb ch a inring


.CJ<ankarm bolr, washer, & dust cap

.Demille"r cable


..Handlebar stem

,Q" i (k - rei ease ! nub skewer

_$t 14~1


Two riders can go faster than one rider by dra ftin g, IV here the rider in front acts as a windbreak (or the one behind. I n a large echelon, [1.0 rider has to give 100 pe r cell t effort for long, and yet the e-chelon is much faster than a solo rider.



The Rossin is an Italian hike rhar is equipped with clip-on aero bars for time trials.


.Clip-on aero bars

Tubular ryre


Frame Construction

he weight of a racing bike is crucial. The craft of building a racing machine is to make it as lean and precise as possible. The better the bike, the less there is of it. In the early days of cycling, building quality frames was a craft tradiri n which required skilled hand-brazing of lightweight alloy steel tube. In the 19705, manufacturers developed versatile alloy steels designed for machine-welding, and mass-produced, inexpensive lightweight frames became widely available. In the 19 a , the development of aluminium tubing for frames further reduced the weight and cost. In the 19905 and beyond, the choice material i now carbon-fibre, which is far stronger, stiffer, and lighter than either aluminium or steel.

~ rt:+T=hic=ke=r "='al1=ed ""===f'. ToJ!!I1~

at ends at cenrre


BTated alloy .Iteel frames are joined using Imm or silver; mewLs which melt at [ower temperawres them steel and serve os a mew/tic solder, holding che rubes cogetlter. TIG welded frames in sted. allU7llnimll, or n'uln tum, are joined by henting the cubes IIlHi/ rhe~ m ell and [use rage ther,


Thick wall giveJ strength at jomrs


The Reynold, 531 double-butted t\lb€5 in rhLl rwdirionallugged and brazed frame belou: are heal-treated sleel alloyed wilh mangane,5I' and orher exotic elements,

SEIH sr A VS: Every decal I is honed and refi ned from rna n y vears or racing experience. The

5(",1 r stavs have hi-cnnC'~.v~ t111ting,.--~


The hcmd-finishe.d merollugs re<nforcing brazed jomrs were-quire uften an oTTlllmenwl design feature, 1 n this classic lugged and brazed frame, the lu~ are tapered to help dimibw.l' Ihe srress evenly, Bike builden meh as AI! He tchins rais ed iuglllor k ro a rea! an !onn, /w.nd-scuipn'ng designs such cs the Magnum Bonum, an dahOTat€ combination of fleur-de-lys, whorls and swaUow-U1iLI.


The ewlurian of double-butted tubing ser1led ro accelerate the (;Taft tradition in frame building, I! wru trick), w work urith, bIll saved a pound in weighl over plain-gauge rubing.

TRE OTH: Lugs increase the joint strength by provlding an extra surface area for rhe brazing me[al..-----,.

Alloy ste e Is are Ugh t ye t extremely Strang. With normal use, a steel frame will last a Ufetime. Many cyclist:; prefer lhe feel of steel frames despite the additional weight.

FINE T 'ING: Steel frame rubes are

sold in sets, but builders mix different strengths to fine-tune a frame for one rider.

RANGE: '[cel fames

'G come in manv different

IJ grades and strengths

\II to sui, specific d npplicarions such as IJ road racing. rimeLUGWORI(: r [riallmg or ourmg. Dccoranvc

dcrails m the I u gwork iii en nfy [he bike maker,

FORK CROWN: Th~ fork crown is a cast. sernl-sloping cleS:Jign.

SECTION: Oval-secrion

fork blades ha ve greater resisrarrce co braking Stress than. do round blades,.


OVERBUILT: Aluminium frames fatigue bur are

d . igned with extra strength for sa ery reasons,

LAROE TUBE': Alumiruum is light bur soft. Large-diameter rubes are used to Increase rigidity and strength.


With man)' aluminium fmmes tlte rubes 'ITe glued together, ratlter titan welded togemer. Glues are simple to work with and are usuaUy stronger titan the materials they join.


The Cannondale 3.0 aluminium TIGwelded frame is one of [he lightest and sriffe~[ frames in any materia! (above). Cannonda le use the frame. f(iT their top·

line racing bike, es well a.:; {weral budge! ready-to-race models. De pite a wide gap in price, ,he bicycles differ in component qualit), only: the frames are the same.


Thil is anis tropic - strong and s tlff along the axis of rhe fibres (right) These can be. formedinlO any s!tape, with rhe strength placed where needed. Carbon -fibre offers .he l.lrimate in Ug/\[ weighl, feel and comfort. Wim.1ui onset of mess producrion, carbon-fibre frames are becoming inexpemive - less bike and more peiformance WlIl ever before.


9 0, (below), is all hiswric landmark:

a carbon-fibre frame whh alloy tug.;, head rube, forks, and stainless stee! drop outs, which has a comparatively cheap retail price.

MA TERlAL PERFORMANCE Steel and aluminium are both well-developed materials which are now near [Q their performance limits. The future for I ighrweighr frames belongs to carbon-fibre.

A carbon-fibre frame can weigh at least 30 per cenr less than an aluminium frame, givi.ng an overwhelming advantage in a race.

MATERIAL: Many testers feel rhar C<I rbon -f bre IS the best

2lh, (0.9 kg) 0 steel produce

less man half a co m p le te frame.

W1. HBONE: The wishbone lug nearlv separate, the seat

s rays and provides

material for bike frames.


Carbon- fi hre [LI bes are often covered wid, a layer of arnarld Of fibreglass to resist any abrasion.

2100 (0.9 lcg)of

A carbonfibre frame can weigh lIb (0.9 kg) or les s,


used for conventional tubing, carbon-fibre can a lso be fO.rmed

into any shape. required.



Ser in a "CTDW'S Jam" pat rem (!efoJ wirh one-third of

iJl€ spokes radial and two-thirds crossed, mis c; an ImwtUiI combination; most wheels aTe either

one or Ine Olh.fr. Radial spokes lmvcrse the .,honest /xmihle di.srance be.t1.veen hub and rim, lhereby redlleing weigh! ,

bilL they are poor for tra115miwng tor que from acce!eTmian or braking. The crossed spokes

leave the hub at a umgl'm, thlLS creming a lever thal allows the spoke to

tro115mi t torque uli til

less stress than a radial spoke .. Each, arguably,

hll.l its own jJaTcicular merits. However, (he srze and hardness of the lyre,

and the weight m,d strength

of chI' rim, have a greaser

efIea on wheel stiffness

and on shock absurption,

Radially spoked wheeLI have a slight 'lerodynamic advanrage worm one second per kilometre (lI, mileJ over three-cross- pauem wheels, They are often baed to ultra-lightweight time-trial bikes.


Wheels for Speed

fter the frame, wheels are the mo t vital element in bike performance. Two factors in wheel design are critical: weight and shape. As the wheel spins, angular momentum creates a gyroscopic effect; the heavier the whee! and the faster it turns, the greater the momentum and the greater the amount of force you need to ace lerate or brake it. To ave weight, wheels are made wi h spokes. However, as the wheels

pin, the spokes churn the air, generating aerodynamic drag that increa es pr portionately fa ter than ground speed. The solution is to design wheels that smooth the flow of air: even though they may be heavier than spoked wheels, these require less energy at high speeds,

COMPOSlTE The Specialized Du Pont Composite "-Iheel (abolN!) is made from fibre s of carbon, ~ram id ,

and glass, over a f(Jllm core, bonded to ~ ...... - - ......

a 6061 T6 aIuminiltm rim, An open-side area

of about 50 per cent reduces VlAnerability us cross-winds and makes .he wheel safe to !i.l1' borh front and rear. Eac~ spoke

actS ru an aerafoil thal genCT(lles forward !if! in cro ,Hvind, lIke Q sllilixxu rllCking In!O the wind. De.~pi(e /x>ing almost 50 per cent hetwier than a srandard J kg (Z lb) spoked wheel, Cll speeds Qt'€T 10.5 kmlh (17 mph) the Du Pont has [asier acceleration. In a "IO-km OS-mile) lime rriaJ, mey claim to saw 2 !O 3 minL,(eS.


( right) combmes J B bla.de.d spokes with a

carbon -fibre composite rim, The spokes help reduce wheel weigh! to aboUL the same as a 32-spoke wire-OIl

wheel. giving sufficient open area for the wheeLl to be used both from and back in cross-winds, Tile spoke pattenl is a mixed radial and twocross. The carbon-fibre rim has a

give similar to a hard-inflated Lyre.

In a 40-km OS-mile) rime trial. ex wheels will save around twO minutes.

DI K WHEEL Slicing the air, disk wheels (Ief!) more than halve the amOl.l;nr of d.-ag (u J km/h (30 mph) of eggbearer spoked wheels. The)' are unsafe on the fran t: in cross-winds they produce steering torque,

making Lhe bike hard to handle, On tAl' rear the

~~~~~~~~ ... ~ aerodynamic ad1ianrage is reduced, because

air flowing 0 ver the whee! has already been dislUrbed I:ry !h,e bike and rider. Diskwheel5 tend to

be heat'ier than spoked, although the latest models in Kevlar are very light. Overall, however, disk whu!s aTe

To save weight and maintain very high pressures, the casing of tubular tyres are sewn together, and the eyre is glued to the rim. The casings are made <.l( Cotton or silk fabric. and the tread vulcanized either by machine or by hand Riders then age their rvres for a period of 6 to 12 months. allowing {hem to dry out co exactly [he right consistency: tOO moist and [hey may pick up grit and puncture; if rhey are too dry, the tyre may slip,



Illegal Bikes

bike with superb performance will not nece arily be the greate t racing bike.

The fastest bike in the world is of limited use if it fails to comply with the rules. The prototype track bike shown here did not qualify fm the 1986 World Championship becau e the Union C)ldisre lntemn.tional€ (UC1), cycle POrt'S governing body, ruled that it one-piece mono, coque frame was illegal. Only five y ars later the bike was deemed track legal The rules had been relaxed to catch up with technological advances. The regulation, specifying exactly what a bike is are now limited mainly to the dimensions. A bike is now Uel-legal if it is "viable, marketable, and able to be used by all types of sporting cyclist", These new rules allow bike builders to u e modern material and design In order to get the ultimate

in! erformance from their machines.

DROP OUTS: These are solid carbon-fibre and are ,10 iMegrJI ran (If the fr.mc. rnoorh surfaced

washers prevent the wheel nuts fwm /

m~tring the relauvclv sofr carhon-fibre .•


SADDLE POST: By designing rhe frame ,0 char it extends all rhe W~y to the saddle, r hit I Ike has a much mort: aerodynamic strucrur e. The b: ke "

ustom-fitrcd ro rhc rider and the searpm has only l.2 em of up-down adjustment.

The angle 0 the sear post IS set at 75° - a steep angle wh ich move, rhe rider (nrwa rJ over the bortom bracket and allows for a riding position with the chest oren.


In hermg with the rnirurnal i,r deSIgn of rune-mal hikes, there is a ,ingle speed fixed wheel


ince it is moulded in carbon -fibre, the Windcheerah Monocoque eliminates traditional (11beS aM this creates a mare meam!lned frame. The means to hold rhe wheels, cranks, forks, saddle, and .he handlebars are all in one piece. Built b)1 Mike Bt<n1JWS as an exercise in ,treamlining, the frame is as ltiff as

a regular steel frame .. The complete

bike weighs 9 kg (20 Ib) .

GUlL-WlNG HANDLEBARS Machined from solid aluminium, the aerofoil section of these handlebars is designed to minimile aerodynamic drag, Although [he bars are heavier !han regulctr rOlmd-!l4be handlebars, rhe shape is more aerod)'IWrmc; compensaringfar any weigh! disadvantages _

• FRAME: Apart from being aerodynamic, light. and strong, monocoque frames can be tailored precisely [0 the rider and rid ing condirions, to create the perfect bike, The number of layers of cornposi te materia Is ca n be deci ded at the construction stage, depcndi n~ on [he srrcngt h and flex needed,

.HEADANGLE: The head tulle angle i 71° to allow for fairly fast hand ling.


• INGLE FORK BLADE: By substituting a single fork blade for rwo blade , the weight. as well as any aerodynamic drag, IS grcadv reduced. The material used Originally. aluminium. had to be replaced bccau e

1£ flexed too easily.


The small Ze-m front wheel

a llows a shorter wheelbase of 94 e111_

WHEEL: What the 24-in front wheel yield in irs aerodynamic advantage rends to be offset by the increased rolling re isrance that is inherent

in smaller wheels. On a later model

it was replaced by a 700c \Vheel..~

• BRAKE: There

is on Iy one fork blade, SIl [here is nor

a convenient mounting place for a c nnlcver or side-pull brake, A hub brake W>lS the rncsr elegant solution.

The cable is routed through the fo rk and bars to red lice drag Furth er,



Race Clothing

hen ch osing clothe, a rating cyclist has to take into account not only the type of race and weather condition, but al 0 the rules governing clothes laid down by the organization running the event The rules are tight for road racers, Ie exacting for time triall ists, and almost non-ext tent for triathletes, who jump out of the water in a quick-drying swimsuit and traight onto a bike. By contra , road racer must wear a race jersey, cycling shoe, sock, horts, and a helmet to meet the required safety regulations. For a stage racer who spends as much as four

hour on a bike, protection and comfort are of vital importance, which explains [he strict

rules that are placed on their race clothing by the ruling bodies.

Ruling Body

The rules for racing cyclists are fixed by the Union Cycliste Internationale. The Swiss-be ed UCI i the cycling equivalent of the United Nations - it is no less unwieldy, but jut as powerful in its field and answerable only to its DB·nation congress.

TRJATHLETE CLOTHING T riathleres can wear what they wane, acCOl'ding 10

U I Titles. Tile real tesr is whether the clothing wOTb.



UCI have been criticized by those trying to make bicycling a popular television sporr for preventing jerseys displaying individual names of riders for the benefit of the cameras The UCI says that it refuses to let the riders look like billboards.

and warm-down massages. Racing as hard and as frequently as they do, cuts and knocks are very common and smooth skin is easier to dean and bandage. The notion that clean legs will make you more aerodvnarmc and save vital

seconds is based, like all good myths, on a

grain of truth: wind tunnel tests have shown that shaved legs save five seconds on a 40- kilometre (25-mile) time trial ~ 0_2 seconds a mile. Despite this tiny advantage, amateurs sha ve the it legs before a big race Just to feel psychologically prepared.

Shaving Legs

Professional cyclists all shave their legs because smooth skin is easier for the 50igneuT, a team masseur, to lubricate as part of the


Despi te na l1i ng !O mee t the 5 met c1·heri£! Icid down by rhe UCI. /I recer am wear many type!> -of d()[rnng. Cycling jene)'.1 are ami !able in 1<.'00 I, wool and aery lie , and Lycra Shon"" can be lined with

the traditwnal chamois or with a more popular 5ynchc tic lin i ng, ~V/ull~"er type of jersey or s hart> yo tj choose, make sure that they are a good fir; there is nil pofnr in econom i zing.

~ft"---- ..... JERSEY: This allows [he body (0 hrearhe ~nd soak up sweat,

I t has three [0 Ave pockers a' [he hack to carry spar es 01' food.


These are lung to stop (h'ghs c h .flllg al'l'in5l: (he saddle, and are made from any]!)n/ l)'cr<1 material to prevent rhern from riding right up .• -------,i.

SHOES: j nrearared shoe and pedal systems use srecially designed pedals and dear, [hac lock together and keel' your fee, on cl,~ ped~I;._-_~



Bikes for the Tour de France

o win the great Tour de France, the world's most famous bicycle race covering more than 3,220 km (2,000 miles) each July, Q racer needs to win, or come close to winning, in the mountains, the time trials, and in the rest of its 23 hotly contested stages. Over the years three types of bike have been developed for the different race conditions. With as little as eight seconds and a set of innovative aero bars being the difference between first and second place in the 76th Tour, riders are now seeking whatever technological edge they can find. Apart from the $200,000 prize money, there is the potential for the winner to earn ten times that amount in sponsorship and endorsements. As a result, challengers for the yellow jersey keep their bikes under wraps until the last minute .

.. 11'"


The TVT is an impres_liw new road-racing bike thaI was .he winning frame of the 1990

Ilnd 1991 T oizrs. A racing cycli,t inrrease s gear ,i ze on the WIl)· up a hill. Starting .in the lowest and most comforrable gear, he

'i~~iii •• iiiii ... :::: climbs, Illoungup through the

1 gears and increasing lpiled

with eat: h change. \'Vhen de5Cending a. n.i!l, the besr place for a rider to be IS second,

about 9 III (30 fr) ben ind the S cage leader, 1m! 5 ull able to catch him.

WEIGHT TVT bikes weigh just over 9Y5 kg (20.9 Ib), which shaves l.I Ib off the we igh LOr an equivalent steel-tubed l'i ke.



As it';; the finish time that connts , time-trial equipment. such as on [his Condor, is ligilt and aerod~'namic to saw I'ital seconds. The h(1ndkbar-stem 1$lnweT en cr~me a mllTe ~treamline,l position and rhe front deraillcllr has /Jeen removed (0 sat'e weight on a j1m CUlme There are !'1.W [)'/les of rime (l"i(1/

in d1J! Tom - indit1duat and ream, The indi1'idlwt rime trials 111 [he middle of lhe Tow' can be crucial becau..se a virmoso performance can cl ~ rhe gap 1m rhe ra;:e leaders, 111 rhe ream rime rrial, speed r, rru:ui.mi,d b" each nine-man ream riding

in <l ri/o!hr fO~lariotl in die slips(ream of the lead rider, who rn!a«'~ every {CHi secvmk

CO~II'ONENTS: Ra crs ~rick [n lop'<1u"IIIY proven equipmenr, in preferenc to ultraIi~h[welght pam.


In rhe mallY road race.1 rhat dominar:e rhe T OHf, a rider needs endtnance, plJu-er and a bike to march, such as rili.' Rossin Carbon, fibre, TnI.' frame has to be reliable, re${lorui't-'C. and soUd enough for rne rider to remain stable while jostling and /JII(lling for a positIOn ill rhe pewton.



Tour de France winners are made and hrllken

on [he massive cols of [he Alps and [he Pyrcnc('S [hat dorrunate its middle "tag!'." with l-in-4 gr",lienr, an.l climbs of ),000 metres (to,OOO ft ) 111 one day. The most gruelling of these is the ISl·kilometre (Ll l-mile) L'Alpe D'Hl,le: "mgt' where rider, ascend and de.cend the 1,525-m('[re (5,OOO-fr) Col de Madeleine before clirnblnu the 22 hairpin bends or the 1,830-metre (6,OOO·ft) l.'Alpe D'H1Jcz. Wid. this orrmdable challenge, saving weight becomes s major priority. Improved manufacturing mean; carbon-fibre frames can now weigh a little [1S 0.91 kilograms (2 Ib) They will probabl be a dominating actor in the Tour for rnanv more years to come.

HELMET: Since 1991 helmer; have

been compulsory on the ToW" de France, hlll manv riders still shun them dcspue il~CII!'rlll~ !lnb, jvj"ny clarrn that he:lJ"",.r makes rhcm (r'ln hor.



tage racing is a supreme test of road- ~

racing ability, and the Tour de France is the \'=:::1 ultimate stage race. To win the hardest event

in CYcling, .. 8 f. ider has to. be~lo~h P.h .. YS. ically a~d. mentally sharp, and be a disciplined strategist

with a talent for time-rrialling, climbing, and ..

sprinting. Riders need to have an unswerving determination which must last them the duration of the event, Twice-winners of the Tour occur rarely and are treated like gods in the cycling world .

CoLOUll.·CODED Tops These help speccawrs idenlify leading riders.

Tour de France


Thf Tour ~ (he ...,,0,[..1'5 third Iarge:st SpoTring even! and

one where speccators can come (('ithin an an71'5 leach of

the comperilor~. Th.e !;TOIl/eLI .in excess of 300 ,.000 gathered earb in the morning ro watch Ihe Tour leader, Greg Lemond of th.e United Suues, and Spain's Pedro Delgado (below) heading a break on the Alpine ,lope.l.

POLKA DoT Top: This is • won by the nder with most points from the climbing stages.

.GREEN JERSEY: This signifies l! cyclist with the m rut poi nts from spri [1 ts.




Politics and business diculte the roure (leld of the Tour de France. Each year the course changes; town councils and properly devel.opeTS compece for [he TOl{T hoping that lhe media wverage willfocw; on the; r locality for one day, giving it u 1111uli [Qsre of noronery, There {Ire no mies, no set namber of time mals or lull climbs Tequired in plllnning the big everu. The route is seidom con tin!lOtt$, wi th llll~ competiwTs fi)'ing between each stage 011 the rest days. The tour can even leatle France and strecch over the border into neighbouring countries. if the price is anracrive enough to the organizers.


The pack (below) is the "motor" of al1y srng€ race and i.s critical for the pace and energy necessary to th e Tour. M os r lCam ridErs, also known m dome.lriqlles, are underpaid and over-used gofers for team leaden. The ream rider's main role is a strategic one, keeping in a good position near the fr01lt of the pack to join any sudden breaks or avoid crashes. They must even be prepared w ~acrifice their OU~l \ValCr Do ttle$ and whee Is ro keef) .heir leader hil/:h liP in the mnkings.



Criterium Racing

riterium, or multi-lap "round the houses" races are fast and action-packed, with lots of pri-zes, and are highly popular, particularly in the US. The overall distances range from 40 to 100 kilometres (25 to 62 miles)" on short courses through city centre streets or parks, and are: exciting for spectators because the riders pass by every two to three minutes. There can be

100 or more laps per race, and on many of these the riders compete furiously for special prizes. There are two types of critenums: in one, the first rider over the finish line is the winner; in points races, the winner is the rider with the highest number of points for winning selected laps in the race. There are also primes: extra prizes for winning particular laps.


Cri!e,·iu.m f"unes (right) are .!iff for efficirnc-y, and ligh! fDr reponsiveness and quick handling. The shOTle'f-than"su.al cranks allow the rider to pedal deepe-r ;IItO corners, and more quickb ()!H of (hem - in {j I 00 -'[}TIler race ,

a 4 - IYr 6 -pedal S!roki: per corner fldllilmage can prolll' decisit'e,

GEOMETRY, For fast, nimble handhng, rhe frO!lf end geometry is sharp: w;[h the fmh raked ar I J1 In or I ess, and trail B l around 2 i_n,


Saddle height is on

the high slde, for _j maxi mum .rtnver .•


Wh""l, are "iff and strong, and [yrcs a s light as rhe smoothness "f rhe course will ,~fdy allow - sorncrimes as lirrle as 165, (6 m{.)

TYRE GLUE: T yrcs must be strong I \' glued to wirhstand cons ranr cornering and sprinting.


The bottom bracket !5 ,lightly higher rhan on a regu larroad race bike, und the cranks should be 25 mm

~ shOTT", ehan the rider would use on a mad bike .•

TYRE AGE; rur~ oprirnu n'.PCrform_ aile", rider> age their eyre, for 6

to 12 rnonrhs, and rhen break them. in. S':Uffillg the tread to h cl P adhesi on, •

chainstavs call he 40 em ( ! 5)1, in) or less, and rhe wheelbase is JS K ill (97,8 em) or less,



Shill'! courses and pie n ry of action mMe cruerium races (right) perfee! fu,' rde~rision. A~ a ble11d of road and track racing, rhere is somerhing fill' elleryone_ In mriml til fixed cameras on the course, a mororcvcie and camera run in a special lane Qlongside rhe rider" 1115taManeollsl), capturing (he acrioll

of sprintS and breakaways.

STEM' The stem and bars are lower chan on a [Dad bike,

to improve aeroJYTlamk~'.

BAR-END SJ-llfTERS: Grip .%jfr or bar-end shifters are popular: in' a sudden sprint, reaching for a down-rube mounted shifr lever would COot a rider valuable (ractions of a sccorul.



Criteriurns are won on corners. A short 40-km (2S·mile) race may have H hundred or more comers, a long lOO-km (62-mile) event several hundred. Riders try [0 corner as fast as [hey possibly can, The easiest riding position is ncar the from of the P3Ck, where the pace is smoother and faster, there is less chance of becoming involved in a crash, and the breakaway attempts will be made. A the main pack funnels into comers, the riders have to slow down and then accelerate hard to reg. in speed, There is a lor of jostling and pu hing as the tightly compressed riders fight for position, and it is common enough

for a rider co fall and rake down a good portion

of the pack with him. Tactics arc very varied, depending on [he points and primes, and whether

the rider is solo, or part of a team working together. Either way. rhe racing is very personal, with rhc riJ rs marking and stalking each other, constanrlv poised for insrantaneoua anion. A); all types of riders are

in with a chance for one of the rri zes, the ridi ng

is fast and furiou ,and you must have speed in

your legs for the final sprint [Q the line.



Time-trial Bikes

aLled the "race of truth", th individual time trial provide one of cvcl racing' severest te ts. It is a race requiring sustained allout effort, as competitors ride as fast <1" possible over a tixed di ranee, for example 16,40,80, or 160 kilometre (10, 25, 50, or 100 mile) or for a tixed time: 1, 1 Z or 24 hours. A tim -trla] (TTl rider require a bike that i bo h aerodynamic and light. Aerodynamic take priori ty bee 31.1.se, as wind [LInne I tests ha ve

hewn, a rider's body po irian at speeds of 30 to SO km/h (20-30 mph) is the major cause of wind resistance. The drag factor can be reduced by 25 per cent by nor riding upr ight, but crouched, with arms resting on the aero bars. This position requires irs own frame geometry, and [his ha led 0 the modern "funny bike" with its short head-tube, loping top-rub , aero handlebars, and aerodynamic tubing.

DISK WHEEL: Srrucrurallv stronger anJ more aerodynamic [han a conventionally spoked wheel, a solid disk wheel" only su itable on the back. Here ir is "lfec[i "ely shielded by legs and frame tubes. and I~

I herefore less likdy to 3<:1 like 3 sail in

a cross·wind.o-- ___

NARROW TYRES: Vcr\' light silk rvres with 81Tl",>!h treads have the lowest d,-ag_

rious TT riders Inflarc

rhei rs with helium, which

IS llghter man air and saves about to g (0.330:) per tyre_


EAT TUBE, This;' steeper than on a rod ng bike, positioning the rider further over the bottom bracket. increasing pednllina efflctencv. _----

PmALS: Clipless pedals are preferable because rhey perform more effiCIently than toe straps, and

create less draa .• ----'


The Rossin is a speciaUs! bike [hal incorporates mallY features common to time-trial bikes, including disk wheels, n1llTOU! t\lres, and aero hars, However, Ilero bars ha~'e on/)' l-e~endy been permirced in time trials

nm under UCI rulel, and are unlikely ro be. accepted in mass-start stage racing. ThIs is because citey are thought to be unsafe, des:tabi Ii zmg the front end when a rider has to cram fer weight fram the bars or s reel' sharply.




Cli/>-on aero bars '·edl.!Ce drag by aoou! 12% compared with riding in a racing crouch using UptillTl ed tOWhOTI1 bars,

THREE-SPOKE WHEEL This has less aerodvnamlc drag rhan a conventionallv spoked wheel, It avoids the wlndsai I cffecr and. depending on type,

pe rforms as we II as, i [n or benet than,

a d isk whee I, maki ng i [ su i tab Ie

for use on the fro m.

WHEEL DIAMETER; A small front wheel offers less drag than a large ne, is stiffer, weighs less, and requires less rame to mount i, in, making the bike lighter. However, it has more rolling resistance, which Can cancel out these advantages,


The fastest one-hour time trial ever ridden was in january 1984 when the Italian, Francesco Moser, rode SLl S km (31.78 miles) on a track in Mexico City.



Riding a Time Trial


here's no better way to get into cycle racing than learning to ride a time trial. Whatever your age, riding against the clock is the quickest

way to gauge fitness and speed. It introduces you to the feat of maintaining constant pace and energy over a given distance. By trying to beat a personal best, you learn to endure long rides at sustained speeds. These skills are vital

for mass-start races, where the self-reliant and strongest riders are best able to deal with any / breaks and chases from the pack. ~ ttl

~\\\\'a ~

,Botly POSfTfOI'; Your hack should be flat. not hunched,

tv atd aerodynamics. Keel' your , chesr open f(l reas lcr brca thing.


For " ~umon"r" lUlf!. " ,MeT needs balance Racer 5 slim

wind res isranc e. The tapered

tail should fill the '"';)~ behind rhe head,

at one minure inlcrvai.s - rhe [dIreSt n'ders Sl£(l'ting /mr.

GEARING: U"" the hLg-he,( gear you feel comfortable with, Professionals LIse a S5T chalnring wirh a 12· IS stra ight block. Lighter ).\e~ rs for arn a eeu 1"5 a re a 52T chainnng with a 13-19 straight block. T

T YR£ PR E,_;SlIR E5, Bac k ryres are as nIgh a, 1401''' (105 pSI for L uher races) .•

On H"t runs me cadence should be 66-92 rpm, R"", Icg.' hI" """il1l: "if fit, fh·c .• rrokcs nne side, rhen [he other.



The abilirv ro check frequently on time, speed, and paCE has added 'it whole new dimension to racing, Instead of merely estimating their progress. wee cyclists can detect from rhe burton-operated digital read-out on their handlebars when they are under-achieving, and when they can ~fr1.Jrd to hold hack.

Available Types

Stage racers and time-trial riders favour [he smallest, lightest computers, such as the !;!-m A"oce( 30 (bottom, near nght) or the Crue,'e Vecrra (top, near right). Both give baseli ne readouts of

current and maximum speed, [rip and total distance, rimer, and clock. The Venm displays an average speed. as does [he Altimerl'T 50 (bottom, far right), which has an altimeter to record how rar mountain racers have climbed in feet sbove sea level. The computers r~ad the speed off a front wheel magnet and sensor wired to rh .. computer. The exception is Cate~e Cordless (top, far right), where data is rransrnined from 11 sensor on the Fwnt forb.

Successful rirne-trialling is an art, and requires serious preparation. For a dub time trial you should receive course details beforehand, to check the route, Most time trials are held early in the morning, so get up early to wake your bqdy up and eat a light breakfast.

Warming Up

Before the start of the race, warm up by riding 8 kilometres (5 miles), at about 75 per cent of the effort you wilt put in later. While you wait on the start ramp for your turn to go, pick a low gear and start [Q practise breaching; that way your lungs will be filled with air when you explode onto the course. Then settle into a high gear and breathe regularly. If you go full out tOI) soon, you're likely to go into oxygen debt. This occurs when vou are out of breath, using more oxygen than your body can supply. Experienced racers flirt with oxygen debt, avoiding it until the last half-mile, when they go flat out.


Dedicated time-tn'al rider Jolm Prir[~llrd (righr) , Briti'ih 50· 11M 25,mile champion, sees rime.r:riLlWng ill In" ul,imare rontesr.




llriathlete Bikes

ri bike are the newest breed of racing bike. Because the cycling section of a tandard full triathlon is a 40-kilometre (25-mile) time trial sandwiched between a long-distance swim. and a lO-kilomerre (6-mile) run, a tri bike needs to be both fast and comfortable. Early triathletes experimented with fast-steering time-trial bikes, but quickly discovered that these were torture on arms already exhausted from the swim. In their quest for speed they adopted the forward-over-the-saddle tyle of track riders, but found that this shifted too much weight to the forearms. This was solved by aero bars with elbow pads, but they left the rider too far forward. The solution was to turn the seat post around so thatthe saddle moved forward.


Euyopean Champion, Yves Cordier, (above) competes in the Hawaii lronl7u:m, the world's longest arw mosr pre5tigiot~s trimhlete event. During the 180-km ( II 2-mild

ride ecrcss the island, ride,-s [ace heat. humidity, <Inti 65 kmfh

(40 mph) headwinds, The rules

are the same as in a time tria!'

tiders are pe-nnIized if che:;; ride

do er to one anD.her man 10 111

(33 (t): This prevents the

unfail advanmge of drafting,

where a ,-ide,- saws energ:< oy

riding in anochcr's slipstream,


RACE LaTHING: Lightweight trunks made from quick-drying fabric avoid time-wasting changes between swunrrung and cvcling stages.

RACE NUMBER: These are "bllg~rol')' on [he from, hack and sides for offic ia I. [0 regls te r the triarhletes as they pass

through checkpoints. ---~


The steep 0" seal angle allows the saddle to be 300m 10 em (4 in) further forward [hem ina conventional frame, so rhar the rider CHn resr narurallv on [he bars __ ---


Aero bars can .salle up ro three mimltes in a 40-km (25- mile) time [rial. Riding on aems allows a rider to SUSUlm the opdmum po.."f'T posicion - hips forward over bottom bracket - for long period" Power Qurpw, apart, th.is rype of pedalling extends /unrurring lllwdes to a greater eXIe11l, mn.king it easier for rite transition to n{nning, One of [he fim purpose-bRiit bikes, the Quintana Roo Superform, is designed from its aero bars back. The forward rider posirion has meant radJcal change, in the frame geometry «11[/1 a shallou" head-ang!e to wWili<:e the problems aero bars can creme, and a steep aO-degree seat-tube angie to place rhe saddle {uffner forward over the bocwm brackec-

RiDiNG POSITION: By resting on his forearms, the rider'. upper body weight to distributed right through (he skeletal

system. A road racer can achieve (he same position in sprints when ridmg on drop bar>, but the resulting muscular tension diverts energy away from

ped a Ilmg,


GEAR-SHIFT L!':VERS: The gear levers are within [he reach of a thumb. TIlls ellrntnares in~llIb;tity whilst changing gear in such a forward position.

AERO BARS: The. allow rriathletes to adopt the lower, more aerodynamic, aero tuck for long periods - which is vital when they are going flat Out.

'WHEEL SIZE: The 26- inch front wheel gives a

~~~~=:::~~....... sleeker prof le for reduced wind



• The first triathlon, the Hawaii lronman, was run in 1976 to settle an argument among a group of ports-mad ex-servicemen who

could no agree which sport - swimming, vcling, or

running - produced the best

all-r unci athlete. in Hawaii already had three classic events, a 180-km (Ill-mile) cycle race, a 39-km (lA-mile) ocean swim, and a marathon, it was decided to combine all three.

• Dave Scott, in ven tor of tri bars, has won the Hawaii Ironrnan six rimes and was a lso the first [Q complete

the course in under nine hours, -Riding the bike ecrion, lronrnan competitors average speeds of37

km/h (23 mph) - equivalent [Q

those f professional road racers.

• Triathlon's are 50 popular that lO-year-olds compete in junior "lronkids" events, swimming 100 mJ (109 vds), cycling 7 km (4).1 miles) and running 1 km ("'~ mile).



Ultra Marathons

n demonstrating the art of the possible, the transcont inenta I 4,.960- ki lornetre (3,100- mile) Race Across America (RAAM), the world's longest non-stop bicycle race, is without equal. Physically, it's the equivalent of running 58 marathons, or even swimming the English Channel 18 times consecutively. This event is an all-out race without any stages or yellow jerseys, set against the vast panorama of America, Riders cannot draft, and there are no rules imposing sleep or rest: all that counts is being first across the finish line, Exhaustion and dehydration result in almost half the competitors failing to finish.


No tl.()O RAAM routes are the same. Concciued in 1978 0)' John Marino after riding [mm Los Angeles to New York in 13 da'lS, I !tOUT, 20 mmvres, !he [am!! ums hal fallen steadily to Pm,1 Solon's 1989 record 8 days, 8 hOl.r.>, 45 minufC5. Women', holder Susan Nmorange.iD rook 9 d(lYs, 9 I\D,~'TS, and 9 minutes, The

J 990 rowe (below), was .he fiTS ( to avoid the North-Eas! o[ the US, and indllded il15l.ead rhree 2750-mCITe (9,000- It) Cok,,-ado pas_,e:;, CrCtlJ_1 aTe i_l~ued

wi rh 60-/Ja?;e route plans de tadi nl< OIlt'T 900 checkpoint,l, hw riders still ge.! !oS!.

GOING SOLO Afl er rhe firs (

48 km (30 miles) the riders be~in

to spread om, To relain motivation, rider, abUlin news of rivaG by radio conmct with a spy car, or from the 80 rime SUi(il)ns at 48-80-km

( 3D-50-mile) imervals along

,he ~'a.I r HllHe_


DID YOU KNOW? I .Excellem hike ski Ih, a reli ~ble I crew, menculous nutritional attention, and total mental and physical concentration are viral

to your chances of winni llg a RAAM, These skills come only with experience; with one exception, every champion has been an "also-ran" in past years. .On a fist stretch of road with nom a j or wi ncb, ride" 11 verage 26-35 krn/h (16-22 mph), With sleep/resr breaks, this drops to 21-14kmih (13-15 mph) .

• Riders use publ ic roads, and tr~ffi c 1,,,"1> rn u.' r be obse rved . Each breach results in a penal tv of 15 -rn inures off the bi ke at d1C linal rime station, Six tickets resu tt in a disqual i fica non,



All efficient and han11{)l1iou:s sIIP/Xl1l crew prollidill~ food, dQl:hing changel , and mechanical sUppOr! is cruclllL A minimum cmw of six inc!t<de.:; d medic. "masseur, and mechanics working ill shif LS •

FORERUNNER TO AERO BARS ]986 winner Pete Penseyres added a homebre w pia ifOlTll (below) w h is handlebars. The I!VO padded cups ",-ere CUStom-made. enllblins him to supp(IT[ his body wdghl A third brake lewr was aLwchEd UJ allow brlll(lng wilhoU[ shifring po."OOI1.

SLEEP-STARVED Rider s g~ l llbmn rnn!e hOUri ,lee p

II night. The "lOS! dilllRl'TOUS rime i 5 111 the chiliy hOlm between midnight and sun- up. Each .sl<ccessiw nighl

of .Il.opp.ing geli worse (righL). Hll11ucinmj()ns

are common and ridm crash falling (1.\ leep pedalling.



Track Racing

rack racing is bicycle racing in its fastest and most exciting form. Unlike road or mountain-bike racing, track racing is natural theatre, almost gladiatorial in style. Spectators can watch the drama of a tense and tightly contested race in an enclosed amphitheatre-like pit of a velodrome. The top-class track meets are a variety show, involving several different types

of race: individual and team, sprint, pursuit, and time tria!' in different combinations. As pure entertainment, the races vary from suspense to psychological thrillers, to marvels of endurance. The stars who please the crowd are those racers who climax a sprint by combining both nerve and strength to hurtle off the steep banking at speeds of up to 80 krn/h (50 mph).

RrDING POSITION: A relaxed crouch is rh e perfect n ding pnslrior, as I[ is acrodvnamlc and provides a comforcable

sea nee ror powerfu 1 red a II i n ~.


To be track-legal. a bicycle has neither gear> nor brake s,

HS rh ~ re are no grad i e nts (0 chrub or obstacles W Sh'P fur .•


This is Cl physiClljjy and /J,""chouJgicall), teStillg event in which tUiO riders smrror opposite encl., of [he !Tack. The wl11run is I he one who ca (chel hi) oppone 11[, or Ita, the frure.st rime. Distances var')' from 5 km (3.1 miles) for pwfeSSionu/.s, til 3 km ( I .9 j 111 i!e,) far u.omen and j II ruors,


A track bike (right) set up for ,-;ding purmiLl i.5 similar to a road lime-trial bike (see p.74) , bur ,tititou ( brakes or g-ears. Ie;' se t I~pfonhee-r speed and an llerudynamic ridIng position. The one noticeable diffel1'1!a in jm1ne g-eame1T)' is thm" pUTsui r lJi.ke has

a 5!ighdy ,norl;e7 ~~he"tbase because the-re is le~j clearance between the Inm! u'hed and pedals. On TOfu! bikes dlis clearance /Jrevent:; a fOOl cau:h ing as che [TCm t wh eel 5 reers inro a comer. On lhe track tnere

is no ileed to fum (lnd, in effeCt,

the bike fOIl.CN<>S a Itrrugh I line mlJUna [he JJelodrame .Ix,~ul.




These aggressiue, ph)' ieal contests consts: of HIIO or three riders compeling Q1Ie1- 1000 m (I ,094 ),ds) (left) _ They combine a game of C!lt-and-mause tactiC.! throughout "he race u'lth a fiMl e,,-plost"e burst of spe~d just before the finish line. Riden sprrul. the first 800 TIl (875 )'do) jockeying for a derenr posir:ion. This is bewttSe only the times for the Ia.lr 200 m (2 J 9 yd_,) are e.'er recorded, The minimum drew-nlerenee of an Olympic:class velodrome is never less than 333 m (364 ),d:;), rhough indoor rra ks can be as- small as 150 rn ( /64 yds). With banking in the velodrome as sreep as 50° to the horhomal, sprinters can often reacn speeds of up to 80 kmlh (50 mph).


Sprint bikes (&elow) are the greyhounds ofbicyde racing, uicra-lig/uweighr

711-9 kg (! 7-20 Ib) machines with short wheelbases, (igil! angles, and deeply curved drop bars for SMrp handling. Bottom bracketS are posiaoned higher ~han on mad bikes

so tMI the right pednl does not hiL

the banking during rile iniaalslow stages of a match sprint.

HUBS: Large flange hubs requ lre shorre r

spokes .. They help to create a laterally stiffer wheel to cope with [he greater forces generated by vi lent sprinting.

have steeper sear angles 74-75 0 [han short-wheelbase road hikes.This allows for faster handling

since the track is a flat, vibrauonfree surface.


The Entertainers

1m st since the bicycle was fir t invented, promoter. have been elling track racing 3' entertainment. Whether it' Keirin racing in Japan or Six-Day racing in Europe, these are events where sport and spectacle merge, the audience is king, and high ticket prices entice the cream of cycle racing 0 star in events providing thrills, spills, and glamour. Keirin

tars are among Japan's highest-paid sportsmen, capable of grossing up to £150,000 a eason. In Europe qn.ly proven road and track tars are invited to join the privileged ix-Dav riders, who e winter earnings can ea ily outstrip all but tho e of a Tour de France winner.

Six-Day racing

From vernber to March, Europe' finest earn their living riding the boards in indoor arenas. Modern ix-Day racing is not as gruelling as the original races in America at the turn of the century, when riders pedalled around a circuit

for six days, with only brief stops for sleep and rna ages. C.W. MilLer set the record in 1897, riding 3,361 km (2,088 mile), and spending less than 10 hours off his bike. Injuries and exhaustion were so common that laws limited these nightmare marathons to only 12 hours per rider. Promoters evaded the law by having team- of two cycling alternately, thus still riding around the clock. Modern ixes are more civilized, lasting only eight hour a day. The Madi on Race is a focal event in Six-Day racing, with lip to 12 teams competing, and as many as 24 riders on the track. Excitement is greatest during high-speed handovers between team-mates, or in the tactical manoeuvring that takes place before the fast sprints, which occur every 10 lap to accumulate point .


Specmrors line the banking es riders hurtle QfOlmd a 250-m (8Z0-ft) wooden indoor [rack in Munich. In (ite cenrre. rich spenmors dine and ('Iljoy the two-wheeled floorshotu.



~ •••• I ijl'Jo.·22.iEI·tut·'~~·!~·'i:t: ..... ~IIIllL.p;II\'''!I.,1(.,:IEI-'il1l

•• rf!..I,JtI'ft,=t-.'Ii-i!l.·~.LII''''''''.'iIII;I;hli3" -ul!lj


Ev~ry yellT (M'r 25 million Jap.anese flack to watch Kdrin racing - eIL,ily acknowledged as [he wl,gnes[ and most competiti1!e track racing in the world. Unlike Six-Day racing, whe"e there is always rhe occruional dawn to wke

ad vantage of a lu I! during races, K elri n r.acing LI deadl), 5eTiolj~ and is cycling's amweT w gre),hound racmg. In·wnted

In rhe 19505 for a na,ion (h(l[ is gambling crazy, K eir,in racing is the exception to

!n e punter's ru Ie, rhal yOu sho~1d never bel on anYlhing Lltmcan laUe More than £ j 2 billion i~ bet ewry year on Keirin racing events alone_ There are over 50 velodrome; delJOr~d ro WHi ng Kel'ri n races, and a whole score of magazines and newspapm (It'ai/able on the 5ubjen . Whe71 major faces are held during the selLlo n, rhey are a iW(l y~ networked on national televis,on to (I large audience.


The essence of Keirin IS af a C)'cU: ~prim commed Oller 2 ,000 metres (J ,2 miles), which is aimw five taps of a Japanese IleWrome. The decisiVE acdon i11 the race takes pw.ce In the /inal 200 merres

( 654 {t) Each (Jf the nine riders,

who have heen kept in q~ramine for !hree whole days befarchand to prcvem nobbling,begin the race in numbered 5ralls like greyhounds_ AhO!<I, 90 metres

( 295ft) ahead is rhe "human hare"_ When the min gun goe~thCTe i5 a mad dash rn ruck in behind LIte hare' 5 back l.l!heel. The han winds liP !he {,Iace,ru !he riderJ jockey fOT a decent posicion, befme peeling off In the back 5tmiglu of rhe penuuima!e tap. Then aU hllU break; loose ru LIte real race stllr~ and rhe riders elbow rheir WII)' forward Shoulrler pads anc/. helmets are essential ami crmhe5 II! 60 kmfh (37 mph) are no, uncommon.



Exercises for Cycling

f you do no other exercise to improve your cycling, you should at least stretch. Cycling exerc ises many m usc le groups, bu t doesn't stretch them. It tightens them, and unless vou release them you run the r is kaf injury. Stretching prevents this and as an added benefit, it improves posture. Try to stretch every morning and evening. Always do so before a ride to warm your muscles and after a ride to aid their recovery.


Sran lJ.lith dItl feel aoout 60 0Tl

(24 in) from Q. 'IA!CIII. Leal1 forward. with both hand.> ~aimt fhe wall lind move one lou r wwards .1h e wall so thaf 1he other leg i~ eXlended llnd

lh~ ClJlf mUKUo stretched. Hold I

for 30 seconds, then rep~tlt al .

lens t once wi til: mher leg.

BACK: As you bend forward, bend from the h irs", "void straining your back.

QuADRICEPS S rand on your left leg. grrup me ankle of )'0 lIT righ1 leg wi til your righ t hand.. and pun up. Keep YOlir hips forward. ro avoid bending your back.

Hold me posuron for 30 ,ecaruiJ, then repeaJ 'l.vi,h ~he Other !tog at !toas! once.

• PRESSURE: Hold your ankle so rhar I'IJur leg leal's tight in line wid, ,our ,high. T'1' ro avoid pulling Out stdeways, as

this will place

un want ed press ure an I'''ur knee'.


PedailingwiU conm'ICI MmS'!Tings. To

me rr h th I'm, l tand. Uli!h lee [ wge til er , ("TOSS 011 e film (WeT til e orner. and drop your head to allow the weigh.! of your head and arms to rna ve forward a.nd -down as [ar as (hey lUi1l comforwbly go. Hold for 30 SCCOnd.I .. then repeat cr !east once

.. ·hf, rhe 0 therleg .

POSITION: rl~cc your fee, a' ~ com forta hit disra nee fr,'m the IVa II so you don' [ have [0 srrerch forward.




1 Ue flat all the floor, face down, hand.! (upped mlder yot.r chill.


The e xerci5e5 OIl III is page mengl hen back muscle.l. The dorwllift will stTengfhell lower back mnscies. Sit-liPS CDUllU'Tact and wmplemell t dorsal

l.f!! as 'vel! as srrengdtening abdominal m.usdes_

25. lowly rai5e your arms and flee!:;_. Hold fur I j secunds, rewx, and re/JeaL


1 Ue {Wt on your back, knees benr and armi across your ch.es t. Slowly sit: up.


1 Pur yO!,r hands and knees on the floor Ii) support YOllr bad and hiP5, Rail e )"OU r we, off (he floor .


1 With hand> and knees OIl the floor allow )'0111" head ro drop and your !lack to arch, Hold for 10 seconds.

2 Hold Jar 15 seconds, relax, and repeat lD w 20 rimes.

2 Bend ),ol<r head and shoulders 10 one ,ilk, then slowly Ii) _ the other 5 ide _ Repeat /0 ro 20 Ii mes .

2Rellene the W,f rnovemeru, miSfng

both your head and borrom. Repeat JO to 20 times.



Indoor Training

• REAOcQUT: A. 11m.,.

button, menu-driven.

I J igi tal read-out d isp I" y, all the information about your performance, which

includes heart [ate. speed, cadence, and calories burned.

handling skills, they can keep your training programme ticking over" improve strength, and tune your body for the riding season ahead A wide choice of equipment is available, but the same results can be achieved working out on a no-frills exercise bike as on an ultimate indoor

cycling simulator. The difference is price, comfort, and entertainment.

iding indoors Gomes into its own when the weather turns too cold, the roads become ICY, darkness falls too early, or you're just toO

short of time to cycle out of doors.

While fixed indoor machines

will not improve your bike-

-',---'"-c __ ,. RmlNO POSInOl'<': By riding vour own bike, you ride a machine that Is set up ("n'o u , In contrast, exercise bike> in flea'ith dun, can only he adjusred for an approximate tit and tend [0 have a riding position that is tar too upriaht.

INDOOR TRAINER TIw Schwinn Velodyne is

a wp-of-the-linc inOOn,- tra'net that 1m yo I' ride yo liT 0",11 bike, Sophi:; liwted eiec /.TOT! ic> display your progress lllonl( Olympic courses, rrach and sprims _ In Stage races yOll can ride with tin imaginary peloton rhm llcceierat!'.,S if you gel either ail ead [IT belt I'nd. bl<! il eeses .tile pace SOTlle,dllU when you're within L"~ park.




The uirimace in hmh price and pftf[ormallce. me Precor Electronic Cycling Simulator (abo~,<,) cries to overcome the major problem lhal confronc; anyone rraining indoors: boredom. Simulators, [auDllred by bOth he.ahh dubs and lams. achieve

Ihis by monitoring and di.lpla)'ing your per[uTI11.anDe. You can compete in a grOlIP of up to seven people WI:th a colour TV

wall moniwr displaying your relative pa.lirio11S on a gi'l'en COUTse riding through digifized valleys and up electronically devised hills. Altenw.tively, YOti can Tide solo on one of 1 0 pre-set courses.


A heart-rare monitor i like a personal speedometer rhar provide> reliable feedback on the amount of effort you pur in. A sensor and micro-transmitter are scrapped [Q your chest and feed the information either ro a wristwatch digital display, or TO rhe cyclo-compurer's min i-screen in front of vou,

The Beat of Your Heart

Monitoring your heart rate determines the amount of activity necessary to achieve firneso within safety limits. A conservati ve estimate of heart rate is a maxi 111 um of 220 bears per minute, minu your ag e. A 30-year-old should have a heart rare of 190. The maximum aerobic threshold is 85 per cent of the maximum rate; 16] for the 30-year-old. The mmmuen aerobic threshold i, 70 per cent of the maximum. attainable heart rate, which fora 30.year-old is 13. laxirnum benefit is achieved bv exerci ing in the 70 to 5 per cent target zone for 20

The inGemi~'e rtJ ride fast i.1 10 bem your own personal besL, brued ~IIJon me infOTTnarion displa),ed on a screen in from of YOIIspeed, avemge speed, the distllnce rraveUed, the numberll[ calorie:; burned I yOltr position ill dll' race, how far ahead (OT behind) your nearest apponell I is. me wutse record, lhe gradie11l of the sim ulared T(xuJ, (J'r [ile gear you are in. It al!ow., YIJU to develop a variety of c1Jallenl!:es to improve !he amO!ml of effun )"Oll pU! in, be it chasing a fictiunal pacemaker or o'ying w finish in a [osiev ~ime !han befOTe.

to 30 minutes three rimes a week. Weight training is not ahsolutelv necessary for racing, bur lt srrengthcns the upper body againsr hack ache from long hours in the 'Clddle. Cycling is still the best way 01 conditioning leg muscle: spinning the wheels is effectively lifting" series of small weigh t,; very fast,

Training At Home

A folding windtraincr is a good, low-cost ser Lip [0 ride regularly ill a stationary position, with the back axle clamped in a mount and the back wheel on a roller. A sensor linked to a handlebar cyclo-cornpurer ( ee p.75) gives the necessary information. Rollers re the hardest trainers to ride. but the only ones to improve bike skills. The back wheel rests between cWC/ rollers, me from wheel on one, linked to the first rear roller by a helr, The slighres awkward motion is instantly magnified, find rollers force you to ride smoothly with a high cadence.



Touring by bike is a real joy. It offers variety and free, dorn: you can make any journey you care to make, Just for its own sake. Touring can be a day spent trav-

Clwinri~j( el1ing quickly between two

points in the countryside; or a three-month trans-continental odyssey; a fortnight exploring a foreign country; or a Sunday spent gently discovering the back streets of an historic city. Touring can mean setting off on a once-in-alifetime adventure, with pannier racks piled high with loads that would give the average camel a hernia; or it can mean embarking on a long weekend weighed down by nothing heavier than a credit card.

Your Decision

A bicycle tour can start from wherever you wane: from the front drive, from an airport, a rrainstation, a hotel, or a campsite. You can ride until you feel like stopping, and stop as many times as you [ike. People tour on lightweight, or custom-built

machines, on mountain bikes, on sit-up-and-beg tanks rescued from the j unkya rd . To uring can be as planned or as impromptu as you like; you can use maps,

Pedal lind srrap or utilize serendipity ~ taking pot' luck at turnings and choosing the route as you go. Tours can be professionally organized with someone taking care of the details down


to the bed linen; or they can demand self-rel lance , self-sufficiency and sleepi ng - bags. T ouri ng can be public, part of a mass ride for charity, or it can be private .. You can.ride with friends, family, or plain solo: it is individual. It's like making your own private movie with the breeze on your skin, soaking up images as you coast through memorable landscapes at perfecrpann ing speed. It is exhilara t i ng and exhausting. Saddle

The Unexpected

BIcycle touring can take you co the highest point on a pass, or leave you, as darkness falls, with 20 miles to go against a battering head, wind. Touring exposes you tache elements; it makes you adjust to changes in wind direction and teaches you to read the sky tile a sailor. Touring stimulates and it relaxes: it utilizes the senses, alerts you to fresh sme lis, to the sound of birdsong, to the changing light of evening, to the sun ali your back. Bike touring is the perfect means of making unexpected, unscheduled trips: it is, in fact, real travel. Bike touring is whatever you make of it and what it makes of you. Make it fun.


Touring Bike Anatomy

ong-distance, heavy-load tour bikes ate designed for comfort, a stable ride,~-and predictable handling The Cannondale ST 1000 i e pecially stable a it is built from large-diameter aluminium tubing, which resists "ide-to-side sway. Stability is enhanced by the Long chain stays, which keep the weight of the rear panniers centred over the rear wheel without fouling the rider's heels when pedalling. At the front, a relaxed head-tube angle

and generou fork rake give steady and respcn ive handling.

Crank-arm holr

Wa>her-Q 80([001 hracket ,pindle-

Grease ""

seal ring..--'J'

Ball A beariL.,g,.~


dera illeur ..--6Ol .. ;;..,.c ...... "OJ

.5" ve n - peed freewheel

cllkd bearms pedal_----I"!!O.::


• Handlebars

Headset locknut

-Lock washer



Large-diameter tubing makes the Cannondele STIOOD one of the best heavy-duty touring bikes ever made,

--------.DuSl seal ring

-----40 Top heed cup

.Down tube

I ~

.2 -rooth chainring

Cantilever brake arm & shoe

Front pannier mounting bo s.-

36-SROke hard anodized alk.y rim

Stainless steel spokes

69.2 x 2.9 em road rvre ------.tF

. .....:::-

\~t' B

R,,...., pannier

Rear mudguard Water Mudguard

& rack bottle & rack pannier



The Open Road

vcle touring is one of the finest ways of seeing the world On a bike that fits you correctly you can go as fast or slow as you like: a cracking pace for the exhilaration of sheer speed and effort; a Lazy meander through picturesque lanes; or a stop, to savour the moment, relax, and take in the view, Some people ride lightweight racing bikes like this Trek 1200, and carry no more than a small tool kit and a credit card. Others prefer to be self-sufficient, and carry tent, sleeping bag, and cooking gear. Some seek remote places, while others explore cities. Touring is about freedom, variety, and fun, riding where and how you like.


The Trek 1200 is a hjgh-perj"o17nance all<mll1il~m-alllJy road bike .lIar !.'i UJed fOT wI.ring. Onl) "few years ago It WOI,/d have be.en considered a flat-OUt racmg machine.

TYRES' These \'~ry from the very ligbt, ~ in-wide "speed" models to llil in

I FRAMES, Wi thin the gukleline, for correct bike slzes (sec pp. WI Z I ), a larger rather than a I smaller frame is much the

best fm touring. This '" gives m,ore stability " on descents and

~~ on corners.


To get the most enjoyment out of touring, set your pace by the efficiency of your heart and lungs, rather than by muscle strength. Pace too fast and you will experience fatigue and

ate muscles. Pace too slow and you will be sluggish and lethargic.

Heart and Breath

Your heartbeat and breathing should pick up tempo when riding, and on all but hard climbs, you should be able to converse or sing. A good pedalling rate or cadence is essential. Try to spin the cranks at about 55- 65 rpm. Below 55 rpm, the legs push the cranks through each stroke, building up

lactic acid in the muscles and giving great pain. Over 85 rpm may cause an excess use of oxygen, and heavy breathing.

--.u,"-UJI.I: HEIGHT: Unless fOil

are on a racing bike, saddle height should be slightly on the low side, ro ease the knees. Shifting back in the saddle will Increase height and power for climbing.

SEAT POST: 7.5·10 ern (3-4 in) willbe exposed when the saddle is at the righr height for you.

GEARING: In order

to ustain an efficient minimum cadence of 55 rpm on climbs, an average rider require. gear of24 in (see p.27) for unloaded climbing, and a 19-in gear for loaded climbing.



This i.s a true story: two cyclists on a IO,OOO-km (6,000· mile) bike ride to India stopped after the first 160 km (100 miles) because [heir saddles, one a leather Brooks Pro, the other a modern anatomic design, were causing each terrible pain. After swapping saddles, the resr of the journey proceeded without a twinge. Of the saddles available, . orne are lean and light to reduce weight and friction [0 the minimum; other anatomic models are shaped to reduce pressure where the pelvic bone meet the 'addle: and gel-filled saddles shape to the rider's anatomy. You must find which kind suits best. Don't judge the saddle just by bouncing on it. As the miles go by, your bottom becomes rougher, and the comfort of a light, slim saddle increases.

WOMEN'S SADDLE The Madison L22 Anatomic has a contolt~ed base and eX!Ta padding at COIl taCt pointS. Ie is wider than a man's saddle as women have wider pell!ic bones,

LEATHER SADDLE The Brooks B17 saddle has a wide wunng design. It needs 800 km (500 miles! of ritling before It is

Ilroken In, but fit and camfan ran be .superb.

GEL SADDLE This Specialized women's saddle fiUed with el.astopol)'m~ gel moultls to the shape of the rider. SO!Tle swear by the comforr of gel-fiUed saddles, others swear at [hem.


A typical saddle found. on women's IlUI.'iS production ba{es, If it

is uncomfortable, a new saddle

is an inexpensil!e way co upgmae.


pring saddle has additional s uspen~ion for mOlmtain bikes. This leach¢!" Brooks haTks back to the days when riding on TOUgh Toads was cushioned by saddles with IlUI.'i s1!1e coil springs.



Helmets and Touring Clothing

f you value your skull, wear a helme . Over half of all of the critical injuries and deaths in cycling accidents result from damage to the head. A good helmet dramatically reduces the risk of head inj u ry by cush ion i ng your head from the impact of a fall. R cognition of this ha now led to Sweden and a number of

U and Au tralian state rnakins the wearing of helmets cornpul ory for cyclists.

afery tandards for helmets are in ernational and a helmet should conform to either the BSI, ANSI, Snell, or AS standards. These en me that a helmet fits, stays on in a fall, and that the layer of crushable polystyrene, which absorb impact, offers sufficient protection. A helmet should fit so that it moves when you wrinkle your brow and doesn't c vet the ears, or impede your peripheral or front vision in any way.

A1R VENT: The Bdl I()go·plat~ slides ur [0 reveal an air vent.

PADS: Th~e con be mserted to gwe ~ comfortable fie .--__:

Th~ lJI'roo'Vnamic til Iii "Aero" is a hard h~lme! for track racing.


This Brancale helme" made vI f[Jam s rnps, offers ~ 'ery [it tie pwU'crio 11.

Son- SHELL ,

The Bell "Quest" has a wlltiitlled sofl ~hell with internal r~infr)fcetnenr.


LAYERED PROTECTION The Bell V-] Pro has an inner ia)'er of polystyrene to ab~orh shock. and an outer Ihel1that Ti'Slm penel'mtion.


The Specialued "Air Force' has a LJOLys[yrene shell with a mesh cover.


The Giro "Air Arrack' hru a hard outer shell on a PoIJ5[)rene inner.


HEAD: In wlnter, wear a. warm hat under your helmet. At 4·C (40·F) an uncovered head loses up to 50 per cent I bodv helle, and as much as 75 I

per cent ut-15"C (5·F)"::;~!.::=_~lItr~~

lathes for touring need to be light, comfortable, and funcri nal. ycle clothe are be t, becau e they are tailored for riding and have useful features such as conveniently located pockets. What you wear depends on climate and season, but in general, cycling is warm work. You need to prevent over-heating on ascents, yet also avoid hypothermia from wind chill on de cents. The key is to dress in layers that can be added or peeled off one by one a. the conditions change.

SUNGLASSES: These filter UV lIght and keep grit out, ,f your eye s. Lenses to improve n igh[ vision are also avai lable.

(_'vCLlXG HORT, These stretch to prevent them riding up, and have an absorbent, seamless, chamois-type crorch insert, which gh'es you greater freedom of movem€fl r,

in. Most rourists prefer dual-purpose shoes.with soles reinforced for cvcling. yet

flexible enough f,)r walking.

SEASONAL TOURING CLOTHlNG In tIIi nrer and a U'lUm n, «>eaT at lew; t IWll wyers of cli)thing. The Inner

Ia yer should be a li~iJ r jersey, cyclillg undershorts, and sock.! in a high" tech fabric such (1,1 pol)'/Jrol'ylene. thm wick! moisture away from

Ihe skin and retains b.Jd)' hear, The cop layer slwllld be 0 weorht>rproof shea in a breathable fab,-ic; such as Gore-Tex or Thiruech, which keeps ou! wind and ruin, yet allows per piradon to €l'apOralil. In very cold conditions, in.sulace with a middle byer of wool, fleece, (J1' down .filled ganllen!s. Prolecling yQur hands, fecI, and heoo

is absolutely necessery. Use full-length g/wes, 1.!rinter shaes or in~ulated ,Iwe ClJ1JI.'IS, and a Gore- T ex helmel coeer,



Mass Rides

rgani e 20,000 cyclist f r a rna s bike ride, and 40,000 will tum lip Since they began in the mid-1970s, rna rides like the UK's London to Brighton, ew York's Five-Bore, Canada's Tour de Montreal, and Mexico's Rosarito to Ensenada have all become cvclmg phen rne na. Each started with ju t a few hundred riders, and now attract 50,000 cyclists or more, who have to book to be assured of a place. Mass rides are appealing, because being out in the open with a crowd all riding to the

arne place on a chosen route, often in aid of a charity, generates instant camaraderie. The sense of occasion of a mass ride turns it into a natural jamboree, celebrating the delight of being on the open road, riding a your own

pace. All aspect of cycling life surface for uch events; some rid - r arrive in c Wines, or on vintage bikes, racer, tourers, mountain bikes, tandems, and HPVs. You can create impromptu pelotons with the people around you, exp riencing the fun of drafting and the

en arion of moving at high speed in a group.

Although mass ride are terrific fun, if Y0l! are riding, prepare yourself by obtaining any literature about the route, maps, club notes, potential refreshment points, and, where the medical facilities will be based. Make sure your bike i in good working order, and take along a puncture repair kit and basic tools. Carry some food and drink with you, even if you plan on a refuelling Stop with friends.



THE V I\R1ETY OF CZECHOSLOVAKLA A groap of cyclist> enter Prague during

(l two-week lOUT of Erutern EHrvpe

( ahove J. With us absence of cars, C:rechosluvakia h1l;5 becumt inrreasingl), popular for bicycle touring.

SOLITUDE OF EASTERN EUROPE Cyding along qt,ie~ Toads (Tigh!)iS JUS! one of the woys of ~eeing Po/and. Y()U can .ChOOIE between a I elf-can [!lined lOUT or a de-I...xe rour, with PTe-booked hfJIels _


One of tn e bel t wily I to Sta rt longdistance eyell' wUTing is by entering a mass ride, WeU-organised I-ides like the 90-km (56-mile) LondarHo-Brighwn rou re (left) protiWe suppon tiuu is hard w equal. The route along country !.allel hru already been. rried and l.ested by experie'nced cydim _ EtleT)'!hing i, well- 5ignpo~!ed so mere is no need to read II map, andt:raffic hru l Ies are min imal since car acce55 is reSt:ricred There 1:5 Ii t tie to carry; f(}od and mafhanicai ,upportare tJl'ooided_ Illtmg ,(he rowe. There are even 5P"cial (rains to take you home once you gel there, so al! you have to do is ride,



Sports/Credit-card Touring

he modern trend in cycle touring is ro go fast and light. Popular organised tour now have van to carry cyclists' baggage, or provide extra transport if necessary between stops. Some tours are guided, others give you a map and let you ride at your own pace. The bikes have also adapted to the e new riding trends. Traditional touring bikes

were de igned to remain stable when laden with bag. Sports touring bikes now ernpha ise performance rather than load-carrying capacity. Credit-card cye! ists prefer sophisticated, light bikes and take the minimum of acces aries. These new lines all encourage a much more dynamic approach to cycling holidays and tours.


Provide ea.;;\ access to items such as maps, suntan locion, food, [lad a camera.

Keep [he load hght, as tOO much weight Call affect yQ\lr steering.


This bike (below) combines perf=atlCe ~<ii(h

ver atility. Like a racing bike, il illight and quick, bur the geanng has a lower range. It is nut designed

to accommodate excess baggage, 50 luggage must ~ kept ill a minimutn. Eitnl"T let a 'weighr !mlit and stick to it, or lay DIU everything e.lsenriai, and leave. half of it behind.

PANNIERS: M05t sports bikes have eyelets C'I brazed-on bosses for mounnna mUU'luards and pannier racks. Load pannier racks lij!htly.

,SADDLE POl,lCH: A sm. II under-the-saddle POUe!1 can huld essential tools and

" pare inner tube.

CHAINSTAYS: The stays are longer fnr extra stability .•


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