Happy bottom bum butter

Well there’s a way to get noticed! What a name. It’s one of cyclings better attempts at a bit of marketing fun mainly because it’s actually attached to a pretty good product.

Happy bottom bum butter is an all natural chamois cream manufactured by a guy called Charlie the Bike Monger here in Dorset. It’s vegan so contains zero animal products, is made from all natural products, has and awesome smell (could substitute it for vicks vaporub!), and also has pain relieving, antibacterial, and healing properties.

I’ve been using this since the start of the year for my turbo trainer sessions. As you know turbo trainer sessions can be super uncomfortable, the bike does not move naturally with your body, you don’t get out of the saddle, you just grind away. I find I suffer with more soreness in an hour on the turbo than I would out on the road.

Bum butter is different from most chamois creams that I’ve used before in the sense that it’s quite light. Similar to a coconut oil product. It melts into your hand so is pretty easy to apply, so no roughing up patches of hair with thick cream! I apply it directly to me then clean my hands on the chamois pad so as to not waste anything. I apply a generous amount but it does go a long way so the tub should last pretty well.

So how’s my undercarriage? Very good! Whilst I still have a mild tenderness you are bound to get from daily saddle work, I don’t have any chafing, sores, or hair root issues. This is unheard of for me as I’m a typically hairy arsed bloke. After repeated prolonged cycling sessions I’m normally tending to hair root issues with hydrocortisone!

I rate this product, in fact it’s going to replace the Chapeau! product I use currently. Buy some, you won’t be sorry.

BC

1x revolution

Roads newest fad is to remove functionality from your bike (ok that’s a bit harsh), and the first to go for it on a professional level are 3T with their Strada model. Take a look below, you can’t deny that’s it’s (as Prince put it) a sexy mother fucker.

Now I appreciate that this is not news, this info has been knocking about for a couple of months now but I wanted to look at the potential whys and wherefores of going 1x. There are pros obviously, I’ve been running it for years on a mtb, just how are they good for top flight road work?

To start with, what is 1x? This essentially means having a bicycle drivetrain that has a single front chainring. So what? That’s nothing new, my kid has that on their cheap Halfords 20″ wheeled bike I hear you say. I completely agree, but what’s new here is the inclusion into the pro peloton.

Let’s look at the Strada then. On paper what do people want from a road bike? Fast, comfortable, safe, hassle free (I go with that order of priority as well). All things that make a bike confidence inspiring. Whilst I haven’t tried this bike (I’d love to btw 3T if you want to send me one!) it’s quite easy to see that it’s got those in spades. The stiff yet compliant aero frame, wide rims, larger tyres, and disc brakes. Lots to make you feel like a superhero, but maybe not to the liking of the purists who want 23c tyres and delta brakes!

This bike is to be raced by Aqua Blue Sport (UCI level team but not Grand Tour) professionally, a bit of a stand out event as the first team to do so. My thinking of this is that it’s a surefire test bed for The big teams, eyes will be on it to see if the wide range cassette cuts the mustard.

Now this is where the science comes in. The Strada is available as a frameset only and most builds I’ve seen have used an 11t to 40t range 11 speed cassette. Married to a chainring between 40t and 48t, supposedly giving enough range. This, according to research, is down to the spacing of the cassette with the first four gears being wider spaced to give easier climbing and the final seven being closer to give better cadence control on the flatter stuff. Now this may be the case but it will take some fettling. You may find yourself playing around with cassettes and chainrings to find a happy medium that works for your fitness level and local terrain. Something that a pro team with access to a big parts bin will be fine with, but maybe not for the weekend warrior?

Weight. Everyone loves to save a few grams here and there. Ditching your front mech, second chainring, cables, shifter mechanism, frame mounts, and reducing front chainring size does that quite well. But it’s not that simple, cassette size jumps up and adds weight, the extended range on the cassette requires a long cage mech, 1x drivetrain needs a mech with a clutch and narrow wide chainring, all little things that add weight back on. But overall there will be a weight saving that gives teams the ability to chuck ballast on where they need to to get the weight right for regs.

One of the messiest areas on the bike for aero is the bottom bracket. Because it’s essentially the widest solid lump of the bike, so removing any clutter around there will be a benefit. No mech or additional chainring matched to a fancier design of crankset with bring some nice aero gains. Probably not enough for anyone to notice on their local club ride but for GT riders any watt saving over a distance is music to their ears. So maybe a 1x setup could be GT worthy?

It will be interesting to see how this performs, I personally believe that it will limit performance for the pros as flexibility will be reduced. Currently they can save watts by fine tuning their gear ratios, but you never know the weight savings/distribution and aero improvements may outweigh that. As for the social rider I think going single ring is great, increased reliability, reduction in fuss, and weight saved with less expense. But that’s coming from someone who knocks out most of his miles on a singlespeed!

As far as modifying your current road bike to a 1x setup to get the benefits, I’m not entirely sure. Yes people have been using this in hillclimbing for years by removing anything and everything they aren’t using to remove as much weight as possible but unless your bike is specifically designed for it I don’t think there is much to gain.

I think 1x gearing on road bikes will be a big thing in the future but it will take some fettling first. With 12 speed cassettes, barrow wide chainrings, and clutch controlled mechs now out it will help to ensure it all works reliably. Let’s see how they get on at the races though eh!

BC

Colnago C64 coming?

So after lusting after a C60 since release, three years later I had just about got my finances together for my dream build. We then had the arrival of our first child, and then buying a house, both meant the C60 dream being put off until this year (but hey it is only a bike!)……….. and then I start seeing things flying about on the internet about its replacement!

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The above pic shows Fabio Aru on a photoshoot for a new bike launch going by the info and hashtags given away on Instagram. Although there’s no actual give away at the name, if you zoom in on the downtube you can see C64.

Colnago have also released various videos and images stating a bike launch for the 9th of February. With the rise of the UAE team in the peloton the Colnago brand is being pushed full force to the front of top flight competition and therefore selling bikes and creating demand. Demand needs to be continued to pay for this kind of expansion so new models are a must, we have seen the V1R, V2R, and Concept in the last 3 years so the C60 production was getting slightly long in the tooth. Especially with new technologies entering the peloton in competitor teams, it was inevitable for a replacement to come along.

From what I can see from videos and pics the lugged construction remains but it has more aero constuction. Direct mount brakes are in there, as is redesigned chainstays, both probably to increase the ability to run wider rims and larger tyres. It looking like a well formulated GT bike.

This doesnt mean that the C60 is a bad bike….. oh no! what it does mean though is that I may be able to get an amazing deal on one now. I’m more than happy not having the current model, so watch this space!

Fit To Ride Poole

A hidden gem of road bike knowledge in Bournemouth. Im slightly embarrassed that I have forgotten to include Neil and his services in the directory. But they are in there now!

Neil helped me get settled on my first real road bike, my original cycle to work special Ribble R872, 5 years ago. He first helped me order the bike by doing a few measurements and flexibility tests, this helped with ordering the bike with correct bar width, stem length, and crank length. Then when bike was delivered built and fitted it to me based on my levels or fitness and flexibility.

Neil is super knowledgeable and has a great fitting studio located in Holton Heath in Poole. He will get your positioning right as well as offering great advice on top end product. He stocks Scapin, Olympia, and Merida Bikes with accessories and gear from Kask, BBB, Hutchinson, Knog, and Santini.

Fit To Ride’s contact details:

Fit To Ride – click here for website

Unit 41

Glenmore Business Park

Blackhill Road

Holton Heath

Poole

Dorset

BH16 6LS

01202 922500

Going tubeless….

After the unfortunate splitting of my rear tyre on the charge winter bike last week I was in the hunt for some new tyres. The new Mavic Open Pro rims I’ve just had built on to the bike are UST tubeless compatible, and going tubeless was the plan. It’s now happened just a little bit faster though……

On my table here we have a full Hutchinson tubeless setup. Rim strips, valves, sealant, and two Fusion5 All Season tyres. The perfect winter tyre setup. No more tubes!

Looking to get them mounted up over the few days. Obviously I’ll be letting you know how they go……

BC

halo clickster freewheel

The winter bike was feeling a little worn in the drivetrain area so replaced and upgraded it all. My choice when replacing the freewheel was the Halo Clickster.

There are a lot of freewheels on the market. The trials bike crew love them, the singlespeed crew love them, and they have been a staple of the BMX world since inception. So what was me to the Clickster?

First let’s go by my requirements. Singlespeed Road bike that gets stick throughout the winter, wanted to run a setup as light as possible, want to run a road chainring up front.

Freewheels generally only come in two chain widths, 3/32″ or 1/8″. 3/32″ is 8 speed chain width, 1/8″ is singlespeed chain width. The Clickster is made with 3/32″ teeth meaning you have access to some lighter chains, this was one of the main selling points. Another reason being that fitting an 8 speed chain would work well with a narrow ride chainring, just in case of any tension issues out on the road.

The Clickster has a set of six pawls, and 72 pick up points resulting in a great sound and instant engagement. You can really notice both on the road, with a standard single pawl freewheel with low pickups there’s a noticeable lag akin to a loose chain feeling, with the Clickster the power is down straight away. The only potential issue I felt was that all those pawls and pickups do cause extra drag so on a road bike not always perfect, but hey you shouldn’t be freewheeling anyway!

Final thing to say about the Clickster is it looks hard as fuck. It’s black oxide finish, so will take some wear before it rusts, and the logos are cool. Always something to consider!

I’ve yet to see the longevity as have only been running for about a month now, but it’s bedding in nicely and the initial drag is reducing.

I like it! If you need a freewheel and don’t want to spend a shed load, yeah I’d say a Clickster.

BC

Rapha festive 500

Now this may sound a bit negative but I’m not a fan of the festive 500. No not just because it’s a marketing effort for Rapha but because of its potential hazard to the cycling community over the winter break.

Now I’m not risk averse, I’m just a realist. Let’s break down the required effort. 500km over 8 days between Christmas and new year, that’s 63k a day or 42 miles per day for 8 days. Now the distance isn’t that much in one hit (42 miles) I’ll admit, but let’s add up what it takes to do 42 miles once. Prep, get dressed, eat, and check bike so we are talking at least 30 minutes. Then we have time on the bike, and this is where fitness levels and location really come into play, 42 miles is realistically a minimum of two hours. And come on, who can really average 21 mph over two hours? Unless you are in a velodrome or on a TT bike in the Netherlands? Realistically with a quick break and a 16mph average you are looking at 3 hours on the road. Then when home you have wind down, wash, and recovery. Another half hour.

So if you were to try and carry out the festive 500 as a daily activity you would be writing off 4 hours a day. We only have 8 hours of daylight per day at this time of year. So essentially writing off half of the usable daylight. Not to mention the additional recovery needed for the continued fatigue.

Ok so I hear you, why not cycle larger amounts in one day. Then you are writing off more sunlight, and realistically how much would you get in in a day? 7 hours of solid cycling at 16 mph? 112 miles? 168k, so you’d only have to do that three times to be there. Great. Three 100+ mile rides in 8 days. Exhausting.

Cycle at night then to stop it encroaching on your day? Great let’s encourage vulnerable road users to get out on their bikes at the most dangerous time of the year without daylight on their side. It’s prime time for drunk driving, so why risk it? No matter how well you light yourself up you can account for other road users inadequacies.

Then there’s the weather conditions, and this is what really got me thinking about this “challenge”, we have some of the most mixed conditions in the U.K. at this time of year. I experienced them this week as well. I took a tumble on black ice at just under 30mph, went down like a sack of shit, tore my jersey and base layer, bent my hoods in, and scuffed my saddle. The sky was clear and the sunshine was glorious, but if it hadn’t hit the road they were like an ice rink. Luckily the car behind me was far enough away to stop, and yes they were kind enough to ask if I was ok. I was then sat at the side of a road that was covered in sheet ice and sloping toward me. Unable to ride I pushed the bike along the road and up the following hill, desperate to get out of the way of the traffic just in case a car had a similar issue to me then proceeded to collect me on its way off the road. So yes trying to cram in 500km in 8 days in those conditions, great idea!?

It’s not about how tough you are, I follow people on strava who put in far greater efforts all year round, this is about how many people Rapha can get talking about their crazy idea. Fuck the consequences.

I’m a family man who cherishes his time away from work at Christmas, have responsibilities that mean I can’t be in a shagged state for life and work just to earn a sew on badge.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not against people putting in stellar cycle efforts, and people can ride what they like when they like. But to get sucked into a marketing campaign to cycle at one of the most dangerous times of the year ain’t for me. Especially after yesterday’s exploits. I’ll ride what I like when I can.

In saying that fair play to all who have the time, inclination, and levels of personal accountability to ride that amount over the Christmas period. Just do it for you and do it safely!

BC