Indoor and Outdoor Adventure

DOWNTOWNS MOBILITY

Main Cycling Routes

Cycling is popular in Spain, cycling with panniers not so much… yet. Still, the movement is starting and there are some very well developed routes with some infrastructure that will allow you to explore the country for a Mountain Bike Holiday in Spain. Here is some information about them:

Way of Saint Jacques / Camino de Santiago

Under the generic name of “Camino de Santiago” you can find several routes that will lead your way from the border of Spain and France to the mytical city of Saint Jacques of Compostel, where, according to the legend, the Apostol Saint Jacques the Young is buried. Truth be told, this very popular cycle and walking path is no longer used exclusively by pilgrims but also, and maybe more often, by sport addicts and tourists wishing to see the country under a different light. If you choose this path you will be entitled to a great experience full of encounters, culture, beautiful landscapes and of course, some serious workouts. Not to worry, the road is apt for anybody with a minimum trainning and skill. Under the name of “Camino de Santiago” you can find several different routes:

Across the Pyrenees // Transpirenaica

If your thing is to emulate the cycling heros of the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, you may consider this route. 500kms from coast to coast, climbing some 20 high mountain pass on the process. There is a MTB version and a roadbike version, both spectacular and worthy. The MTB one though, is advised only for experienced, tought riders. This route is not marked although there are some quite good guides and in summer is easy to find other cyclist doing it.

Trasándalus

Trasándalus is an ongoing project that will allow you to do a tour around Andalusia only on dirt roads and paths. For the moment the only way to do it properly is using a GPS, since the road is not marked. If you have time and experience it’s really a very nice route although beware that you will need a MTB and that some parts are marked as hard, which means you will probably have to carry your bike on your shoulder every once in a while.

Cid’s way / Camino del Cid

XI century and Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (also known as Cid) has to make his way from the city of Burgos, in the middle of the Central Plateau, to the coastal Valencia, where he will fight and eventually win a battle against the Muslims, back them the roulers of the Peninsula. This historical tale is the evocative plot that now gives way to a 600kms cycling route that crosses the country from NW to SE. Following small roads and sometimes old raiwailway lines, if you choose this path you will find yourself inmerse in one of the least known, more traditional parts of the country. Castilla is a land where winters are rough and summers hot and short, people quite and landscapes sober.

Green ways / Vías verdes

Old railways no longer in use have been stripped of their equipment and transformed into cyclepaths. Sounds good, hum? It IS good, and moreover, sometimes quite convenient. The downside of this project is that many of this cycle paths are not connected so eventually you will have to combine them up with small roads to do a long-distance itinerary.

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Triangles

In the last few days, I have been thinking about triangles, as they relate to both my project, and bikes in general.

Lets start general and then work more specific. A while back now I came to realise that when it comes to bikes, the holy trinity is something like this –

Essentially, the premise is that you can have 2 of the above, but not 3. I think you could probably substitute fast for a few other things – part of me wants to put Unique – but I think you can follow my thinking.

Why am I talking about this? Because I think it’s worth thinking about. Of course you want all three, or as close as you can. Everyone has their budget, and their design spec. Unfortunately I will be pottering around the bottom of the above triangle for the most part, with the occasionally foray towards fast/unique/maybe even sexy – after all, I have to make the bike my own.

Now to triangles of a completely different type! More after the jump.

Great Find – MotoGadget

Historically, I have felt that my Internet research skills have been pretty good – and a pretty big part of how I earn a living is being able to find and analyse information.

As such I have relished the challenge of finding some of the more obscure parts and accessories for my project. It seems, as in many projects and artistic endeavours, the artisans involved have a variety of approaches – some are very open and willing to share, whilst others are very protective of their methods and suppliers.

I also get the impression that some of the more successful builders get a large number of enquiries from amateur builders like me, asking for advice and information, and probably don’t have time to respond, despite best intentions.

So how do we overcome this? By improving our attention to detail. I picked up a brand on a gauge from a photo of a Wrenchmonkees bike…and although this is a long story for a short link, it’s a good one – http://www.motogadget.com/us/frameset.html

Really nice all in one gauges, mini gauges, mirror gauges, and very neat switches and disc brakes. Some are expensive, but I think I can see the value, and to me they are neater and more stylish than the other solution I was contemplating – Acewell Gauges.

Suomy Spec 1R Helmet

The Suomy Spec 1R Pitt helmet is the motorcycle helmet I had my eyes set on for about a month before I bough my R6. I work for an online power sports retailer so I knew that I could get one for a really good deal. I also new not to make a squid move and buy a new sportbike helmet just for the looks. I already pulled a squid move the first time I bought a dirt bike helmet. The thing was an HJC and it was all nice and shiny and cost me a couple hundred bucks. After I went down the first time that new HJC didn’t look so good and my head didn’t feel that great either. I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice so I took so careful consideration looking into Shoei, Arai, Suomy and AGV. I knew they were all the most expensive but I’m willing to pay the money for a new helmet if the helmet is the total package. In the end I went with the Suomy Spec 1R because the Arai didn’t fit well, the Shoei felt bulky and the AGV was uncomfortable to me.

The Suomy Spec 1R helmet is very light, weighing in at just about 2lbs, 13oz. Suomy helmets are made with three different shell designs so that depending on your helmet size you can get the correct fitting. The inner shell is formed with an ultra light Kevlar/fiberglass weave.

As far as safety standards go, Suomy likes to use the phrase, “When Snell just isn’t enough” because Suomy helmets are the only helmets to offer both DOT approval and B.S.I 6658 Type A. Suomy went with the British Safety Institute for its safety ratings. B.S.I. 6658 Type A standard is based on voluntary participation, the approval also guarantees a universally race-approved helmet.

Suomy offers 10 different shields including 3 race shields with posts. The shield that comes with the helmet lasted me for about 3 months until I got sick of it and went to a light smoke shield. The stock clear shield really works well but I just wanted something to dim the sun during the day. The Suomy Spec 1R is equipped with the sure lock visor mechanism that locks the visor into place. Suomy does provide a special tool for shield removal and side plate removal. When I got my light smoke shield I was able to put it on the helmet in minute or so, very straight forward. All Suomy shields claim to be anti-fog and scratch resistant. So far so good with both of the shields I have.

I didn’t have any ear plugs the first time I rode with the Spec 1R, and still the wind noise wasn’t bad at all. I like my helmets to be very tight fit but even with the visor up wind noise isn’t a big problem. One thing that is really nice is the inner liner that comes with the helmet, it’s adjustable, removable and washable, so for those of you who ride everyday you can wash those smells out. Cheek pads are removable and washable as well.

The only thing that I was skeptical about was the clear coat on the beautiful design. To my surprise the Spec 1R’s paint job is still as shiny as the day I bough it, over 6 months ago. One thing to be careful about is always clean the helmet. When cleaning try to lightly buff the clear coat with a polishing cloth. I used the helmet bag that came with the helmet along with a diaper soft cloth and that has kept the Spec 1R looking really nice.

Wrapping up the Suomy Spec 1R package is a nice little helmet bag that also doubles as a cleaning cloth if you turn it inside out. To sum up this review, if your serious about having excellent protection with good features than I would definitely suggest the Suomy Spec 1R.

Undertail Exhaust, Pretty But No Performance!

It seems the trend of taking MotoGP inspired bodywork and styling has become more and more obvious in the past few years. Now almost all of the sportbike manufacturers are taking some aspect of MotoGP and incorporating it into their production sportbikes. It’s pretty nice to see that the big four of sportbike manufacturers are taking notice that we, the sportbike rider, are eager to get our hands on anything that is race inspired. For instance Honda and its new breed of CBR-RR models all come equipped with undertail exhausts and the marketing ads shown in magazines like Sportrider and Road Racer X have tag lines pointing out the new features. The ads run a main heading saying: “DNA DONOR: RC211V, RECIPIENT: CBR600RR” Honda has lead the charge to bring MotoGP inspired performance accessories over to the new CBR-RR’s, but they aren’t the only ones. Kawasaki, Yamaha and Ducati have added underseat exhausts to a select few sportbikes in their respective lineups. The only motorcycle manufacturer not going in the trend of a stock undertail exhaust is Suzuki, which obviously doesn’t seem to be a problem for motorcycle buyers as the Suzuki GSX-R1000 was the sportbike of choice for the serious racer and certainly hasn’t hurt their road race effort, just ask Matt Mladin.

Personally I think anything that can make a sportbike more race inspired is cool. It cuts back on aftermarket needs and saves money for gas and track days. Undertail exhausts are a tough one though because after reading the May 2016 Sportrider where Kent Kunitsugu rips on underseat exhausts trend for being more fashionable than performance enhancing, I may have to change my thinking. Here is a quick run down of the main points of the article. First off an underseat exhaust doesn’t seem to be saving any weight. These undertail exhausts usually only add five or six pounds but that’s till some additional weight that has to be accounted for. With the increasing number of inline-four-cylinder sportbikes coming equipped with undertail exhausts, motorcycle manufacturers are trying to find other ways to shave off weight, which may mean more titanium, which is great, but since titanium means equals expensive it’s kind of a double edged sword.

The article goes on to explain that in this new millennium of mass-centralization designed engines and chassis it seems odd that these new undertail exhausts are being run. It is a fact that by placing these new sportbike exhausts higher and farther away from the motorcycle’s roll axis the manufacturers ideas are running counter to the engine and chassis design.

The last and most important part of this underseat exhaust article is that these underseat pipes have less power potential than a traditional under engine exhaust. Two undisclosed European motorcycle exhaust manufacturers said that in the particular case of inline-four-cylinder motorcycles running underseat exhausts are at a disadvantage versus traditional under-engine exhausts. An under engine exhaust has two main advantages over undertail exhaust:

  1. Midpipe – The section that connects the four head pipes to the muffler must be routed differently so that it may travel far enough to reach the exhaust muffler. The mid pipe is also bent in certain places to allow for clearance. These bends restrict exhaust flow and volume which is critical in power output.
  2. On traditional sportbikes the exhaust canister is much larger which allows for some baffling to take place and reduce noise without hurting power. Underseat exhaust have the opposite problem, the exhaust canisters have to be smaller to fit under the seat while still having to account for noise. The internal baffling within the muffler on an already small exhaust canister means even less exhaust flow which in turn hurts performance.

I think racing inspired designs are what make sportbikes so appealing to motorcyclists. Since every other race team except for a MotoGP race team has to use some stock parts it seems that the race teams are influencing motorcycle engineering more than the consumer desires. I think it’s great we as enthusiast and consumers just get the benefits in the new sportbikes every year. The only problem I see is when these new additions make the price tag increase and we don’t see any real benefit in the sportbike. Don’t get me wrong, if the new 2017 Yamaha R6 comes out with an undertail exhaust it won’t make me want one any less, it will just make me spend money on a better aftermarket exhaust to try and save weight and increase performance. For now I’m fine with my traditional under engine exhaust and besides I know my girlfriend wouldn’t want to ride on my bike if here ass is being cooked every time we ride. Earlier I said that I think race inspired sportbikes are cool but I don’t think it’s worth it if you have to go out and spend $400-$2100 on an after market exhaust just to make them as functional as last years traditional under-engine sportbike.

New Disc Brake for Mountain Bike / Brake Force One

These cyclists who are rummaging frequently in cycling magazines,will perhaps heard something of the new high-tech disc brake. The Brake Force One, which is by the way produced in Germany – more precisely in Tübingen – will set new standards in terms of braking power.

Mountainbike Disc Brake

This was made possible by a completely new principle of the brake booster. The brake booster is placed in the calipers of disc brakes and allows comfortable one-finger braking. For achiving the maximum braking performance or for achieving a good braking handling , several test runs are needed (same as with several other bicycle brakes).

Brake grinding belongs with this completely new type of disc brakes to the past, because the brake pads are actively retracted and the resulting air gap prevents an annoying whistling.

Mountain Bike Disc Brake

The brake is made without the usual reservoir for disc brakes. An influence on the pressure point or even the brake performance is the result of the great master piston and the great air play but have not. The pad wear is adjusted manually via the thumb wheel on the brake lever.

Below, you can find the technical data of the Brake Force One disc brake. Finally, we can say that the Brake Force One will set a new milestone within the bike parts, because it’s performance has been thoroughly tested by cyclists and test reports (for example, Velotech) reflected the braking performance too.

  • Integrated brake booster
  • Dose-dependent way rather than force-based dosing
  • Without reservoir with low pressure
  • Deceleration is very easy to dose
  • Brake pads are actively retracted –
  • any abrasive pads!
  • Brake oil
  • Weight 210 g without discs
  • Specially adapted to brake booster pads
  • More brake lever at the comfort of rubber
  • Extremely simple and robust construction
  • High reliability under extreme loads
  • Pressure point and reach adjust
  • No more cramped hands thanks to a loose one-finger brakes
  • Stiff, sturdy saddle
  • Best test results on the test bench

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