Autumn Bicycle Quarterly

If Bicycle Quarterly was a ‘normal’ magazine, the Autumn edition would look quite different. Which ‘normal’ publisher would add 25% more pages just because there are so many great stories? We simply felt that we had no choice…

When OPEN told us that they had a new bike for ultra-wide tires coming, we took all our courage and asked them: How about sending us not only one of their much-in-demand test bikes, but two? We wanted to ride the brand-new WI.DE., but we also wanted to try the superlight U.P.P.E.R., so we could compare the two. And we’d like to ride them for more than 1000 miles, so we could really take them to the limit and beyond. We figured that it couldn’t hurt to ask…

To our surprise, two of these amazing machines arrived in the BQ office before the new bike even had been launched! We enjoyed them on a incredible ride in the Oregon Cascades, plus we performance-tested them in a controlled setting to find out what you give up when you go really wide…

When we looked through the photos and stories, we had so much fascinating material that we decided to expand the article to 26 pages. It’s not your average bike test, but an adventure that you’ll enjoy even if you aren’t looking to buy a bike.

The Trek Checkpoint really got us excited: Here is a mainstream production bike with a high-performance carbon frame that can run really wide tires (up to 55 mm). It even has eyelets for fenders and racks. We take this on the paved and gravel roads of Marin County – and we don’t just ride one, but three Checkpoints: Natsuko reports on the Checkpoint’s smallest models and compares the women’s version with the men’s. How are they different, and which works best for a smaller female rider?

The report from last month’s epic 1200 km Paris-Brest-Paris randonnée also expanded far beyond our plan. We had allotted space for a story about this amazing ride, but so many people asked about our small team’s bikes that we decided to add a second article that shows them in beautiful studio photos.

When we visited Cherubim, one of the most respected framebuilders in Japan, we expected to show photos of how they file lugs and braze their iconic frames. We got those (above), but we also spent hours with Cherubim’s Shinichi Konno discussing frame stiffness and how it’s optimized for Japan’s professional Keirin racers. His insights were so interesting that this article, too, expanded far beyond what we’d planned.

Before Ted King became the ‘King of Gravel,’ he raced as a professional in Europe. We asked him what it was like to lead the Tour de France on the road and help Peter Sagan win the Tour‘s green jersey. Ted talks about what it’s really like to race in the world’s biggest races, about the differences between racing for a North American and an Italian team, and how he decided to race gravel upon ‘retiring.’ It’s a fascinating conversation that – you guessed it! – required much more space than we had allocated for it.

As a counterpoint to all this talk about steel bikes and wide tires, we feature Christopher Shand’s trip across Europe and the Balkans on carbon racing bikes and 25 mm tires. As you can imagine, theirs was a real adventure, and they brought back so many great photos that we expanded this article, too.

Those are just six of the fascinating stories in the Autumn Bicycle Quarterly. The result is our biggest edition yet, with 128 pages (plus cover). It’s really more of a book than just a magazine, not just in size, but also in production values. But then, cycling is our passion…

Subscribe today to be among the first to get the Autumn Bicycle Quarterly when the magazine/book comes off the press in a few days.

7 Responses to Autumn Bicycle Quarterly

  1. NIKOLAOS KARANIKAS September 10, 2019 at 5:35 am #

    Dear Jan,

    You got me so excited that i feel compelled to do something to help expand the audience that could benefit from your excellent work as an editor, a publisher and a cycling ambassador in general.

    Please send me two issues of the Autumn Bicycle Quarterly and reduce the remaining issues of my subscription by two instead of one, so that i can leave the other to my bike mechanic.He will lend it to some of his customers to read increasing, hopefully, the number of your subscribers in the future.

    Thank you for the inspiration and the emotions that you offer with every issue of BQ.

    Kind regards,
    Nikos Karanikas
    Athens, Greece

    • Jan Heine September 11, 2019 at 9:33 am #

      Thank you for spreading the word about Bicycle Quarterly! We appreciate it!

  2. George Griffin September 10, 2019 at 8:57 am #

    Man, this issue sounds great. Thanks.

  3. Tim Cupery September 10, 2019 at 4:07 pm #

    As range-of-surface riding becomes more popular and bikes for these surfaces can be mass-produced, we see more and more carbon fiber allroad or gravel bikes. Carbon bikes can give a great ride. But my understanding is that for people outside the racing world who don’t want disposable bikes, carbon bikes are less confidently durable, and less likely to hold resale value compared to metal bikes of similar original quality and dimensions.

    Am I overstating the difference here?

    • Jan Heine September 11, 2019 at 9:14 am #

      Durability of bikes depends on many factors. Quality construction is more important than the material used. Carbon can be quite durable – just witness the Boeing jets with carbon wings and even carbon fuselages that have undergone daily take-off and landing cycles for years now. On the other hand, cheap carbon forks have a terrible reliability record. The same applies to steel bikes: Well-made ones seem to last (almost) forever, but others are more likely to break, especially if ridden hard.

      Fortunately for us, we still have a choice. In the new BQ, I explain why I picked steel for my new bike, but I’m also excited that riders who want a carbon bike can get such excellent machines as the Opens and the Trek Checkpoint.

      • Conrad September 12, 2019 at 12:10 pm #

        Have to disagree. Airplanes dont get bumped and dinged. If they do, they are grounded and extensively inspected before they return to the air. A carbon fiber bike, especially a carbon fiber fork, has a safe lifespan of 0-1 years in my hands. Meaning the bike is ridden often, hard, and occasionally crashed. What about the flying rocks that hit your down tube when descending at 40mph?
        I have seen plenty of shattered high end carbon frames and forks, and the resulting serious injuries. Racing voids the warranty with most manufacturers of carbon bikes. On the other hand, I have not been able to render a steel frame or fork unsafe or unfit to ride in my 25 years of serious riding and racing so far. They have dings, dents, and a little bit of rust that I keep an eye on. Forks and derailleur hangers have been straightened. But they are all still going. And lets be real: its really unusual to see a broken steel frame or fork, even on a cheapo or stupid-light bike.
        I appreciate that BQ has an open and honest approach to testing bikes, and includes carbon bikes. Personally I would like to see more tests of steel bikes, though, because carbon fiber bikes hold zero interest for me!

  4. Max Sievers September 10, 2019 at 10:42 pm #

    Bicycle Quarterly is the only bike magazine which does actual test bikes and components. With other magazines it’s still unclear if it shifts well, how responsive it feels, if it gets in sync with my pedal stroke and under which loads, can it be ridden well with no hands etc. You saved me from buying the Rotor Uno groupset.

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