Bicycle Quarterly: Spring Issue

Our readers eagerly anticipate each issue of Bicycle Quarterly. The wait is almost over: The Spring 2013 issue will be mailed this week.
Many of us want to know: What makes your bike significantly faster? Perhaps the most influential research in over ten years of Bicycle Quarterly has been on tire performance. Six years after that ground-breaking research, we focus once again on the performance of tires. We use a new methodology to test tires on a smooth track surface. We answer (almost) every question you may have about tires.
Which tire rolls fastest, which rolls slowest? How does tire pressure influence tire performance on smooth and rough roads?
Are tubular tires faster than clinchers? What is the optimum inflation pressure for your tires? How does the tread pattern of your tire influence its cornering traction? We also provide a large table that compares every tire model we have tested.
Professional racing bikes have changed a lot in recent decades: Virtually no part of a 2013 racer remains interchangeable with a machine from 1963, with one exception: Then as now, most professionals ride on hand-made tubular tires. We visited FMB to learn why the pros still prefer tires that are made the traditional way. We also bring you a photo feature that shows step-by-step how FMB makes tires entirely by hand.
Bicycle Quarterly is as much about inspiration as it is about research and technology. In the Spring issue, Tim Bird takes us on another wonderful adventure in Yorkshire.
We test a custom-built randonneur bike from Johnny Coast with beautiful “bi-laminate” half-lugs.
In our Builders Speak series, Mike Kone of Boulder Bicycles examines when superlight frame tubing is appropriate, and which riders should select stiffer frame tubing. He discusses shimmy, riding no-hands (photo above) and other important considerations.
We test a number of products, including leather handlebar tape, a CNC-machined taillight and Tire Savers (above).
As always, there is the Readers’ Forum and My Favorite Bike. Click here for a full table of contents.
To get your issue without delay, subscribe today.

24 Responses to Bicycle Quarterly: Spring Issue

  1. Bubba March 18, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    As you correctly pointed out, I am eagerly anticipating this issue.

    • Rod Bruckdorfer March 18, 2013 at 11:45 am #


  2. Steve Palincsar March 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Seems like we’ve been waiting for another tire test issue for years!

  3. BBB March 18, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Shame that one can’t buy an electronic version e.g. pdf… preferably via Paypal. I’d get one right now just for the tyre tech articles.

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly March 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      You can get a single issue for $ 10, payable via PayPal, credit card, check, money order or cash. You can order here:

      • Hamish Moffatt (@hmoffatt) March 23, 2013 at 3:53 am #

        I too would be interested in an electronic subscription and/or electronic access to individual issues.

        • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly March 23, 2013 at 5:15 am #

          We’ve been thinking about electronic subscriptions, but the simple fact is that we don’t have the resources to pursue this right now. It already takes all our time to get out a paper issue every three months on time!
          Beyond that, there is the additional cost of the service provider, which would increase the cost of electronic editions by about 40% over the paper one. We can mail a paper edition ourselves, but we would have use another provider’s platform for electronic editions, which would add significantly to the cost. I am not sure many readers would be willing to pay that much more for the electronic edition.
          Many people think that an electronic edition would cost less, but unfortunately, the opposite is the case (except for international subscription, where the price would be about the same as paper, because you’d save the postage).
          I have talked about the advantages of paper with regards to permanence and beauty elsewhere…

  4. BBB March 18, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    I’m assuming 10USD is for US customers only and 17USD for international (UK) orders?

    • BBB March 18, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

      Ordered 🙂

  5. Bubba March 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    That tire onto which the fellow in the picture is mounting a tread, is pretty plump! I assume that’s a cyclocross tire?

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly March 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      Yes, François Marie (the “FM” behind “FMB”) is putting the tread on a cyclocross tire. They do make road tires up to 30 mm wide, though, as he explains in the article.

      • Bubba March 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

        I’ve got some tubular rims still, and a contemporary road bike that would take 30mm tubulars. That would be pretty luxurious. Maybe….

        • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly March 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

          It’s tempting. The old Clement Del Mundo 28 mm were among the fastest and most pleasant tires we’ve tested, and these can be had with a silk casing and an extra 2 mm width…

  6. BBB March 19, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    Any tests of the same tyre models in different widths?

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly March 19, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

      Yes. Six years ago, we tested three Michelin Pro2 Race (20, 23 and 25 mmm). This time, we added three Grand Bois (25, 29, 32 mm). The goal is to find out at what width wider tires no longer are faster than narrower ones. And at some point, wider tires will have to get slower – a 200 mm tire would be very heavy and have great wind resistance, thus probably slower than a narrower tire…

      • Greg March 21, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

        Excellent comparison subjects. I look forward to (especially) the three GB tires!
        Any info./timing on the next batch of EL tires, btw?

  7. Christopher Grande March 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Are y’all still planning on doing a run-down of different shifting systems outside of integrated brake/shifter levers? I am excited for this issue non-the-less.

  8. Jon March 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Is it true that for comfort Fausto Coppi raced or sometimes raced on 30mm tubulars?

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly March 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

      I don’t know. Looking at the photos in The Competition Bicycle, the tires look more like 28 mm. But the photos show the Tour de France, which had gravel, but no cobblestones.

  9. Matt Sallman March 25, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Since seeing this post last Monday I have been very anxious to receive the new issue. I have been so impresssed with the speed of shipments from Seattle to Detroit up to now. I walked to the mailbox today sure that I would finally be able to read what looks like a fantastic issue, but alas, still nothing.

    • Greg March 25, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      I’m located near you, and my issue seems to take forever sometimes! USPS is still pretty good, in general, even after Congress has thoroughly abused them, but getting those issues here seems to be a slow process, for whatever reason. Folks far East of here seem to get theirs sooner, typically….

  10. Ablejack Courtney March 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    Haven’t ridden with Grand Bois Leather bartape, but I attest that I prefer Gilles Berthoud over Brooks leather bartape. It is much more supple, thin like cotton tape and hasn’t “slipped” in over a thousand miles.