Friday, 6 April 2018

What's the road cycling about?

Different people, different idea for road cycling but for me the road cycling is like working in the bank on manager's position. Every morning you prep yourself for a professional day by treating your body with a shower, favorite cosmetics, healthy breakfast and finally dressing the stylish outfit. 
All must be perfect, you must be perfect. You feel energized, fit and ready to make this day your day.



So... what is the link between the manager and road cycling? Let me walk you through my thoughts.




Every road cyclist starts somewhere. At some point of time you get your first bike and you start riding. Some people will drop off quickly concluding that this isn't for them but all the others will stay falling in love in this beautiful sport. 


First you ride small loops. You are far from being quick, however with time you improve. Every ride makes you stronger and faster. You can see and feel that. Your ride more and you explore more. If you're lucky you live in cycling paradise like Alps if not you travel to high mountains for road-trips from time to time. 
Painful climbs, crazy fast descends & adrenaline - that's all you need :-)



It's natural for us, the human beings to continuously explore particular space. Facebook and Instagram provide a massive amount of pictures and videos - your food for thoughts. 

Riding and watching the others creates few questions which come sooner or later to your head:

  • How to improve your fitness and become faster?
  • How to dress and look like the others?
  • How to improve your bike to make it a better looking machine?


From my experience those questions are linked to several levels of every road amateur cyclist:
  • 1st level - you start riding. At this stage you usually ride alone, build your shape and learn the basics.
  • 2nd level - you join your first groups, usually with people of similar shape as yours. Here you learn the basics of group riding and usually you train a bit harder to keep up with the rest.
  • 3rd level - you start riding with pro amateurs. This level is a real eye opener. You meet with the people who ride a lot, are really fast, dress very well and have beautiful and expensive machines. 
  • 4rd level - you become a pro amateur cyclist.

Level #3 is where I'm today. All the best flavors of road cycling are here: the culture of riding, dress code, performance and beautiful bikes.

For me the road cycling IS a culture. What I really enjoy especially during the summer are long and epic rides in Swiss Alps and discovery of unknown passes. 
Long rides and group rides help to improve your fitness. I'm far from being a type of guy watching the numbers, in fact I don't even own the cycling computer so I won't tell you anything about intervals, wattage, FTP etc. What I can definitely tell you about is Furka, Grimsel, Susten, Gotthard, St. Bernard, Croix and many many other passes. From own experience I know that riding in high mountains build your shape and help to improve your legs significantly. 


Part of the riding pleasure is the proper dress code. You might like it or not but when you ride in a groups of particular level you should accept the culture of required look. This for me is like manager's position but instead of suite and tie you dress nice jersey, bibshorts and of course the most importantly socks matching to the rest of the apparel.


If we talk about your bike improvements, honestly there is only one part which will make your bike looking damn good - carbon wheels.
Carbon wheels usually come with deep section rims and those give always this sexy look. No matter if you ride alu, titanium, steel or carbon frame, deep section wheels will always match your bike.

As part of my service I help customers to design & build the wheels which will do the job. Everybody is different in terms of weight, style of riding and expectations from the wheels, therefore every project is different. Unlimited combination of rims, hubs, spokes and type of lacing allow to create the perfect solution in all cases.



Buying carbon rims you need to be aware of couple of facts:

PROS

  • They look good
  • The ride sensation is extremely positive. Carbon is stiff and same time provides really high comfort on rough surfaces
  • High rim profile helps to maintain high speeds especially in group rides
  • They usually come pretty wide as carbon is lighter than aluminium. Wide rim provides more stability on corners so you can descend quicker.
  • Often less spokes are required due to stiffness of the rim itself

CONS

  • Not great braking in rain in case of rim brake types
  • Price - definitely more expensive than alu rims

Depending of your situation where do you ride I have the following recommendations:

  • If you have disc brakes then all problems solved. Just go for carbon
  • If you use rim brakes and live in flat areas go for carbon. Even in rainy days you will be safe
  • If you, like me live in high mountains go for carbon but keep spare aluminium set. In case you plan to go for multi-day trip or race when it's gonna rain then use spare wheelset. Choose right tools to specific job.

Trust me, if you're thinking about carbon wheels you will buy them sooner or later. Some people try several aluminum wheels before going for carbon. It's just waste of money. If you're thinking about such wheels then just go and purchase them.

If your're decided you have really rich selection of factory wheels or you can order wheels from wheel builder. Remember that custom wheels are NOT more expensive than factory ones. It's very rare that you will change your custom wheels, as they will be made for your specific needs unless the builder will screw the job. 
In case of factory wheels you always take compromises even if you're not aware of it. This results in selling and buying again.
If you take that into account, buying once and properly is much more wallet friendly.





I offer two main carbon wheels selections:

1. OEM carbon rims, directly from manufacturer. These come from Chine but are used by big brand all over the world

Price starts from 749 CHF for wheels with bitex hubs. Of course any other type of hubs or disc brakes option is possible.

2. Duke carbon rims. Premium wheels based on carbon rims made in France

Price starts from 1119 CHF for wheels with DT Swiss 350 hubs. Rim or disc brake option is possible.

If you're interested, don't hestitate to drop me an email on [email protected] I will be more than happy to build such wheels for you.

That's it. Three main things in road cycling - fitness, look and well looking bike ;-)

Thanks for reading such a long post. Hope you enjoyed!
Cheers
Tomasz
blog-wheelbuilding

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