Product Highlight – Jagwire Barcon 2.0 Shifter Mounts

Posted in New Products, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2010 by hypercatracing

  I was given my first set of Jagwire shifter mounts in 2007 as a beta set for testing.  These Originals only worked with Shimano shifters.  The concept of the shifter mounts was simple; create a mount that replaced the traditionally very heavy Shimano shifter base.  To lighten the load Jagwire took the internal expander wedge and threw it out and made the system an external mounting system.  This not only significantly reduced weight but had the side benefit of solving the problem of bars with different internal diameters and bars that had been modified beyond the ability to mount a shifter internally, safely.   Yes, I have cut quite a few bars down in the name of aerodynamics, only to later ponder how to mount the controls.  Oops.  Now I plan ahead before modifing.

Tech: BarCon 2.0      

  • SRAM® and Shimano® bar end shifting systems
  • Weight: 44 grams per pair
  • Housing: 4mm derailleur housing w/ L3 liner
  • Housing Length: 2100mm
  • Cables: Slick stainless, SRAM® & Shimano®
  • Cable Length: Front – 2300mm, Rear – 2300mm
  • Small Parts: 4mm sealed alloy ferrules, donuts & tips
  • Other: Shims for 22.2mm bars

Shimano’s traditional mount weighs ( 47 grams each ), while the Jagwire replacement weighs only ( 22 grams each ) That’s a savings of 52 grams, or basically one shifter.  Couple this with adjustiblity in mounting and you have a great bang for the buck at $59.99   with cables/ housing.  The current version, known as 2.0 allows the same bracket to be used with either Shimano or SRAM.  Currently there is no Campagnolo version.  With this simple adapter Jagwire’s engineers came up with an ingenious solution that solved the compatibility issues and made it possible to use the same mount with both SRAM® and Shimano Shifting Systems. I have tried both now, and they seem to work equally well.  Another side benefit because of the design these can work on road bikes as well, so for cyclo-crossers that use bar-end shifters or touring bikes this is a great way to shave some additional weight and add in some flexibility to shifter location. 

        

 From Jagwire’s description.

The BarCon’s sleek low profile design shaves precious grams off the weight of a bicycle and its external mounting is adjustment and service friendly. And the external mount makes the BarCon very versatile. While originally designed for triathlon bikes the mount can be used in a variety of applications including H-type handlebars, touring style drop bars and recumbent bike handlebars.

As a side note:  I recently broke a left (front) Sram lever on my TT bike and was able to slap on a Shimano shifter as a replacement without changing my set-up, pretty slick. 

Pro’s: 

  • The system is easy to install
  • Shifters can be placed at any angle regardless of bar angle/ positioning
  • Very lightweight
  • Comes in 3 anodized colors (Black, Gold. Silver)
  • Can be used to quickly convert a road bike to tri bike
  • Works great for Cross or Touring bikes

Con’s:

  • Only works on bars with round tubes
  • Does not work with shaped, integrated aerobars  
  • External routing

Overall, the Jagwire 2.0 Barcon mounts are simple, well constructed and easy to install.  They come with a new set of shifter cables (stainless) and Jagwire’s best L3 housing.  I ride with my bars sized so that when aero my shifters are in the palm of my hand, with this position I found the jagwire shifter mounts to be slightly more comfortable than the Shimano and even more comfortable when compared to the SRAM (not a huge fan of the step down center with SRAM). 

Bar compatibility:

  • Will work with any standard round metal handlebar
  • Will work with any round metal aerobar (all brands)
  • Will not work with some carbon round bars (ex. Profile Cobra)
  • Will not work with aeroshaped carbon bars (ex. Profile Viper, Volna)

If you are looking for a way to clean up your shifter position and save some weight in the process these are the product for you.  MSRP is $59.99. Hypercat December sale price $39.99 a set while supplies last, very limited quantity (black and Gold only).  Visit www.hypercat.com or this and other products, training plans or to schedule a bike fit appointment.

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New Product – McCool’s Smartmount Bike Race Number Holder

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2010 by hypercatracing

  For more than 20 years I have been wrestling with a simple problem.  Where to put the race number on an aero bike, that is to say a bike used for time trials, triathlons, duathlons, and the like.  A new shiny aero bike can be quickly ruined with the various things hung about it, and a flapping number can literally drive you crazy.  Over the years I have come up with countless mounts, and special tricks to deal with number placement.  While many of the solutions achieved the goals of not interfering with aerodynamics or functional parts of the bike, most were time consuming and generally pretty complicated.  Voila, enter the Smartmount Race Number Holder, by McCool’s.      

This simple little device makes installation of your race number fairly quick and definitely easy.  The idea is simple:  A flat clamp that holds the race number from the top of the number and attaches to a point on the rear of the bike.  A cleaner much simpler version of my and other race mechanics old trick of using a rack bracket or similiar device.   

The Smartmount is made from a lightweight, impact resistant polyurethane. Small steel nuts are recessed into the mount clamp. The carbon steel set screws are tightened with the included Hex Key. Designed to give you the option of leaving the bike attachment clip on the bike all season and simply removing the race number clamp plates, or cut the cable tie off after each race, and attach again with a standard cable tie. It uses less than an inch of space on any size or shaped bar or tube that you choose. The reversible and curved mounting clip provides for the best clearance possible giving you the option of mounting your race number practically anywhere on your bike

  We got our first Smartmount this summer and decided to try it during the ITU Long Course World Championships.  The ITU provides a stiff number and we chose not use the optional aero sleeve.  Set-up was quick and easy and I almost didn’t use the directions as everything seemed intuitive, but in the end broke down and looked at the sheet just to make sure I was doing things right.  I was of course, despite 12 hours of flight, 3 hours of driving and the usual problems of wrenching in a euro sized hotel room.  Thumbs up so far, espcially for thinking of including an allen wrench with a pointy end to poke holes in any number supplied (this is important for lining up the holes in the mount with those of the number). 

 Overall the Smartmount was easy to install, a couple of screws and a zip tie and adjusting the angle was a breeze (loosen slightly/ retighten).  During the event the number wasn’t even noticeable, no annoying flapping in the breeze, no hindrance to bottles or brakes, just a number attached for all to see and stay out-of-the-way.  After the race we decided to leave the zip tied portion of the mount to the bike, put away the rest and travel to the next venue.  After several weeks of travel and training there was no issue with the little stub left on the seat post and when the next race (ITU Du World Championships) came up it was as simple as swap the numbers and bolt the frame back onto the stub.  Done. 

Next bike to receive the Smartmount was an aero seat post bike built for IM.  Lower seat height, bags and bottle cages off the back, stuff, stuff and more stuff to provide minimal room.  Once again the Smartmount was no problem.  Just reversed the little tab mount, and played with the angle till I found a happy spot and done.  The rest of the performance was the same as we found on the other bike.  Basically didn’t notice a thing. 

Conclusion:  The Smartmount is a clever, simple solution to mounting your race number.  All types of numbers mount easily from paper numbers to hard stock numbers ( I have not tried a plastic number yet, but as these are not common, it’s not much of an issue).  The optional aero sleeve (recommended) makes even the thinnest of numbers work and is infinitely superior to cleaning sticker residue off your frame.  McCool’s offers a few other innovate products like an aero cover for your standard helmet and a helmet number holder.  Look for these to be reviewed in the future. 

  If you are interested in purchasing a race number holder for yourself or for that Triathlete in your life they are now available at the Hypercat Store for $14.50 with the optional Aero sleeve. 

 

 

 

Bicycle Headsets finally get standardized (S.H.I.S)

Posted in New Products, News with tags , , , , , , , on November 10, 2010 by hypercatracing

There are two points of major frustration on a bicycle for me.  The headset and the bottom bracket.  Both of these areas involve bearings and also involve the whim of the manufactures who are competing with one another to design the “perfect” size, dimension, and marketable feature set to give you the perfect whatever.  Bottom line this leads to a lot of choices with not a lot of compatibility. Want to upgrade or change then you need to decipher what you have, what will work and buy 100% anew.  There is some interchangeability within the crank/ bottom bracket arena and BB30 at least set a universal standard, however headsets have gotten out of control along side bike design and if you desire to change the headset knowing what will work practically takes an advanced degree in engineering.

Our good friends at Cane Creek along with a number of other manufactures decided to change this madness and create a universal standard language (SHIS – Standardized Headset Identification System) so that headset manufactures, bike makers, frame builders and the rest of us can all agree on what headset will fit our bike. 

I look forward to seeing this roll out across the industry this year and next and seeing more manufactures come on board.

For all the info visit http://www.bicycleheadsets.com/

To view the complete document explaining the new system look here.  Standardized_Headset_Identification_System

Get ready for Winter: 3 bike products under $10

Posted in Tips with tags , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2010 by hypercatracing

As winter looms on the horizon with cold and rainy days ahead, there is no need to hang up the bicycle, keep riding with three of my favorites products that won’t cost you more than a couple Latte’s.

  1. ProGold Voyager Chain Lube $7.99 – For nearly 12 years Progold Prolink has been my choice of chain lube.  Why, it simply works awesome.  But if you don’t believe me how about endoresments from almost every top race mechanic, Leanord Zinn, Years and years of best Lube awards from major mags and review sites, and on and on…  This year enter a new product designed to last longer through nastier environs such as winter.  built on the Prolink platform voyager is designed to not wash off with water and has a better adherence to metal too last longer between lubes.  How long,  try a rating of 100o miles between applications in normal conditions.  Talk about low maintenance.
  2. Rock and Roll Lubricants “Cable Magic” $4.00-$5.00 – This product was introduced to me a few years ago and quickly became a product I always had around.  During the winter, cables are prone to getting sticky and sluggish.  Little bits of dirt and grime and sometimes rust and make the friction between cable and housing increase and shifting/ braking performances decrease. Cable Magic reduces the friction and returns your cables to smooth operators.  After a rainy grit filled ride, drop a few drops of this into your cable housings and keep your cables running smoothly between overhauls or major services. 
  3. Jagwire Nosed Ferrules $2.99 – This seemingly small part plays a huge role in reducing the amount of maintenance neccessary throughout the winter months.  A nosed ferrule is quite simply a ferrule with a little tube added.  The little tube extends from the inside of the ferrule 1-2 cm down the length of the cable and serves as a barrier to dirt getting into the cable housing.  The picture below shows a typical application on the rear derailleur loop.  On cross and mountain bikes nosed ferrrules can be added at all housing ends to ward off dirt and contaminants and save on costly repairs down the road.  They are also available in many colors.

Phil Casanta has been a professional mechanic and bike fitter for over 20 years.  He is available for consult, fitting or other services at www.hypercat.com

Understanding Bike Fit – KOPS (knee over pedal spindle)

Posted in Bike Fitting with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2010 by hypercatracing

Over the last 20+ years of performing bike fits, no single bike fitting axiom seems to be more of an issue than the concept of Knee Over Pedal Spindle or (KOPS).   To illustrate a common issue with the concept I offer this rather typical question from a client and my response. 

QuestionI have a somewhat technical bike fitting question.  I have heard from many sources that give the following information: “In proper neutral fore-aft saddle position, with the pedal at 90 degrees [3 O’clock], a plumb line placed on the front edge of the kneecap should fall to the end of the crankarm.”

On the other hand, an equal number of others say that’s just not correct.  I’m more likely to agree that this method is faulty, because people have different femur lengths with regards to their total inseam.  Also, different bikes are made with different seatpost angles.  I find that even if I were to put my seat all the way forward, my knee still wouldn’t be over the spindle! Is there a better rule-of-thumb?

Answer:  This is an excellent question and one that many people have had trouble rectifying when reading from the various sources that offer their opinions. For this discussion we will assume we are discussing a standard road geometry where this type of positioning would apply. Triathlon, Time Trial, and Mountain bikes would only in the rarest of instances match to this discription.

 The exact quote ” in the proper neutral fore-aft saddle position, with the pedal at 90 degrees (3 O’clock), a plumb line placed at the front edge of the kneecap should fall to the end of the crankarm”, is generally incorrect as it assumes too much.  I have seen this description listed in many an article over the years and it is a tough one to justify since the front edge of the knee cap is also not the bio-mechanical marker for the knee.  This position would place the riders knee from 2-5 mm forward of the ball of the foot relative to the common bio marker of the Tibial Tuberosity (TT or bump just below knee cap)depending on cleat position, length of crank arm, etc… , however since they also use the end of crank arm instead of spindle center the general relative distance between TT and pedal spindle is about the same.  In either case the fact still remains, it can be a poor position for delivering effecient power to the pedal, a cause for generating knee strain, vastus medialis soreness, hot spots in the foot and a number of other issues.  It does not mean it is the incorrect final position and can many times be the resulting position, however it is faulty logic to say that every rider should be in this position from the outset.  KOPS is not the ultimate end goal, more over it is on average very close to the final position.

KOPS is used, even though it has no real biomechanical basis because it does seem to work quite well and is an ideal starting point when setting a bike up from nothing. One of the reasons it works is really very simple. A diamond frame bike could theoretically have a much steeper or shallower seat-tube and be as biomechanically efficient at either extreme, but the inclination of the saddle would have to be tilted up or down and friction would be insufficient to stop you sliding off it. Similarly, the pedal forces in the KOPS position are predominantly upward with a small rearward component. In normal pedalling efforts these will be reacted by gravitational and saddle frictional forces.

If one is to follow strict KOPS rules then the neutral postion the plumb line or laser should generate from the tibial tuberosity to the center of the pedal spindle. This would be at or just behind the ball of the foot (or 5th metatarsal).  This position tends to greatly reduce the strain on the patellar tendon during the donwstroke, specifically when the most force is being generated, on a typical road geometry.  Having the seat too far back tends to over straighten the leg creating essentially a seat that is too high.  From the neutral postion (once found) you can tweak the seat postion forward or back depending on your riding style (high cadence spinner, big ring masher or something inbetween). 

All this is still not much help without taking into account all the other factors that effect a properly positioned knee, but those are for another discussion.  So here is in a nut shell how saddle positioning brakes down: a higher seat assuming nuetral positioning transmits more power, while a lower seat conserves more muscle energy.  The seat height of course also affects the bio mechanics of the knee itself.  The more you bend your knee the greater the stress placed upon the patellar tendon, if the seat is too high then the strain tends to go to the iliotibial band.  Assessment – you feel pain in the front of the knee – raise the seat slightly.  You feel tightness or pain in the back or side of the thigh – lower your seat.  If you have a functional discrepency causing the knees to be two different angles that is where shims, wedges, orthotics or other devices can help.

To further illustrate my point that KOPS is not what we as fitters are actually looking for here is an exerpt from an  article in the mid 90″s by Keith Bontrager.

The KOPS rule seems sensible enough; it puts the knee in line with the pedal at maximum pedaling force, which must help, right? Wrong. The KOPS rule of thumb has no biomechanical basis at all. It is, at best, a coincidental relationship that puts the rider somewhere near his or her correct position. It probably grew out of someone’s observations that may successful riders sit on their bicycles with their knees somewhere over the pedal spindle. In fact, there has been little comprehensive work done in the field of cycling biomechanics that has studied rider position on the bicycle in order to maximize power input or minimize fatigue. Most builders and fitting specialists rely on customer feedback to tell them whether a change in position feels better or worse. This information doesn’t pertain to power output; it is a result of physiological response called perceived exertion, only one of the several important variables that are related to a rider’s muscular effort. In short, there is no scientific evidence to support the KOPS method.

To properly assess these structures in the dynamic environment of pedaling it is advisable too have a profesional bike fit expert work you through the process and make changes based on trained objective experience.  A proper bike fit is the only way to not guess at the proper location for your knee.

It should be noted that this Q and A was from a conversation in 2005.   Today, nearly 6 years later this question still comes up in some form nearly every fitting.  Today we have adopted tools such as Retul to provide true 3D motion capture that is accurate to less than a millimeter in an active dynamic environment.  This allows us too see exactly what is the best relationship of the foot, cleat, pedal, crank length, Femur, Tibia, saddle, saddle position and more in real time to achieve the correct position for the type of rider and type of bike.  Listed below is a quick quide as too some normative standards relative to our prefered standard of (knee forward of foot, where knee = Tibial Tuberosity and Foot = Fifth Metatarsal) for different types of bikes. 

  • Road Bike            (0 mm to -10 mm)
  • TT Bike                 (+50 mm to +100 mm)
  • Tri Bike                (+50 mm to +100 mm)
  • MTB Bike             (-20mm to -10 mm)

Hypercat Racing provides Retul 3D fittings at their by-appointment studio in Ventura, CA

Understanding Bike Fit – Knee Alignment

Posted in Bike Fitting with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2010 by hypercatracing

As mentioned in common bike fit issues part 1, knee alignment is very important to a proper and efficient fit.  Poor knee alignment at best is inefficient and does not allow for good power transfer and at worst will cause injuries.  Correct knee alignment is effected by a number of factors, listed are the 3 most common I come across in the studio.

  1. Cleat position –  The location of the cleat on your shoe will affect your knee tracking.  Cleats have multiple positions: for, aft, side-to-side, rotation (toe in-out, heel in-out) and tilt.  Where your cleat is located on your shoe not only affects the comfort of your foot but also the alignment of the knee as it travels throughout the stroke.  Note: A worn or broken cleat will perform incorrectly and cause the symptoms of poor cleat alignment.
  2. Foot position – Where your foot sits in relation to your hip.  While many times the foot-hip position can be adjusted via the cleat position it is not always the possible, such as when the pedal spindles are too short or the crank width too wide. The hip-foot relationship can also be effected by your stance (distance between feet) on the bike  or the Q-factor (distance between cranks).   A significant discrepancy between the width of your hips and the spacing between your feet when engaged to the pedals will cause the knees to be poorly aligned throughout part or all of your pedal stroke.  Many times an athlete will feel their foot is pushing in or out on your shoe when the hip and foot are out of alignment
  3. Saddle Position – Saddle position directly affects knee tracking.  Having the saddle too low tends to force the knees and foot in at extension (bottom of stroke) and out at flexion (top of stroke), giving the visual impression of looping when looking at the knee from the front.  Saddle too high tends to have the opposite effect. 

 

  • Other factors – More common contributors to knee alignment: 
    • Pedal choice.  Pedals come in different spindle lengths, width of platform, support and float (ability of the cleat to rotate in the pedal).  Your pedals need to allow for proper foot position relative to your hip. 
    • Shoes.  Shoes need to be supportive and hold the foot in the right position, if they are worn out or incorrectly sized they can cause a misalignment of the cleat position.
    • Insoles.  Some athletes need different support within the shoe to keep the foot aligned.  having the wrong or a worn insole can allow the foot to become misaligned. 
    • Orthotics. Using orthotics made for a different sport will cause issues, it is very rare that orthotics made for running are correct for cycling.  If you need or choose to use custom orthotics it is best to have them specifically made for your cycling. 
    • Wedges. Wedges are used to account for Varus and Valgus foot tilting.  Wedges are a fantastic tool for solving fit issues, however they can also be a problem.  Over wedging is more common that under wedging, however both are a problem.  If the foot is over/ under wedged the cleat and/or whole foot will be misaligned and cause the knee tracking to be affected. In many cases this will cause pain and/ or discomfort and in extreme cases injury.
    • Shims.  Different than wedges a shim is designed to deal with leg length discrepancies (LLD).  LLD’s come in both functional and anatomic.  a functional LLD is generally not fixed by shims, however a true anatomic LLD is.  If not assessed properly placing shims for a functional LLD or the incorrect length for an anatomic LLD will cause issues at the hip that will translate to poor knee tracking. 

1997 Lemond Chambery

Posted in Restoration Projects with tags , , , on May 15, 2010 by hypercatracing

1997 Lemond Chambery

Originally uploaded by Hypercat Bike Works

Not all bikes that come through the studio are new and shiny examples of the the latest Italian super bike, in fact HBW started as and continues to be a restoration shop for 80’s and 90’s road racing and Time Trial bikes. From simple projects to exact restorations and show pieces we love to bring that old bike bike to life and on the road where it belongs.

The Lemond Chambery is a unique collectible and was produced by Trek for Lemond for only 3 years and this is the first year. It is an OCLV stock frame and even carries the Trek air rail carbon fork (labeled lemond air rail). Because it is the stock Trek frame it is the only Lemond not to be made with his unique geometry. The model continued to be produced by Trek/ Lemond after 1999 but with different materials mostly Aluminum and later aluminum/ Carbon mix. 2007 was the last year for production and throughout it’s production it was always spec’d with Shimano Ultegra.

For an original spec list you can visit bikepedia.

Here are the before and after shots.  For more pics click on the link above (under main pic) and view the Flickr album. You can also open both of these pics and go back and forth for an easy comparison.

After Restoration

Before Restoration