Uncategorized

Bicycle Shop Gen

In Bicycle Quarterly, we've featured a number of the great bicycle builders in Japan: TOEI, C.S. Hirose, Iribe and Level. We did a brief feature on Bicycle Shop Gen – one of my favorite shops anywhere in the world. This year, I had the opportunity to visit again. Bicycle Shop...

Follow Us on Instagram!

At Bicycle Quarterly and Compass Cycles, we take thousands of photos on our rides big and small. Only a fraction make it into the magazine or onto our web site. Many of the others are just too precious to vanish into our archives. Instagram provides a great way to share them. Most...

Holiday Gift Guide

Winter is a time when we think about our bikes. That way, when we are riding, we don't have to think about our bikes. During the off-season, we overhaul parts to make them last another year. We switch components in search of comfort, performance or beauty. We then test the modifications...

Our Man in France

Compass components have found fans all over the world. We are shipping them as far as Brazil, South Africa and Singapore. Unfortunately, international shipping is expensive. And we really want to see our products in bike shops. So we are working with distributors to make our products more widely...

Just Another Road!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY_9e-dB8M0?rel=0&w=640&h=360] Here is a little video we made in Mexico during our trip to the Paso de Cortés. Compass doesn't have the means to air it during the Superbowl, but we think you'll enjoy it nonetheless. Click on the image above or watch at this link. Make sure you watch it...

Rinko Systems: Ezy and Ezy Superior

  We have discovered a compatibility issue with the different versions of MKS Rinko pedal. Please note that the SPD-compatible MKS US-S pedals (shown on left) use the "EZY" release system while the other MKS Rinko pedals we offer use the "EZY-Superior" release system (shown on right). Each system works...

SPD-compatible Rinko Pedals

The long-awaited SPD-compatible Rinko pedals from MKS have arrived. Now you can enjoy the convenience of SPD shoes and cleats, and yet remove your pedals in just seconds without tools. Initially intended for Rinko (the Japanese system of disassembling bikes for train travel), MKS Rinko pedals have two parts. A stub attaches...

Bicycle Flea Market

Visiting Japan is fun, in part because I meet so many different cyclists. There are the cyclotourists, the randonneurs, the collectors... Bicycle collecting as a hobby has a long tradition in Japan, and there are many events for collectors. The Keiokaku Bicycle Flea Market is one of them. It's a popular...

It's a Hobby!

It might be challenging to understand cycling enthusiasts when you aren't one. We spend a lot of money on bikes, then spend a lot of time getting into shape, and then we go on rides to nowhere, and come home tired. After all this effort, we are back exactly where we started. We...

Join the Swift Campout

Some of Bicycle Quarterly's favorite stories have been campouts – short camping trips into the mountains. We pack lightly and enjoy spirited rides, unrolling our sleeping bag or setting up a lightweight tent at the end of the day, before continuing the next morning on a loop that brings us...

Tokyo Cycle Parts Show

The first Tokyo Cycle Parts show was held last week. This trade show is open only to the bicycle industry, which allowed focused inquiry into products, and provided a good glimpse at what is happening in Japanese cycling. For me, it also provided a great opportunity to see acquaintances, such as Mr. Yoshikawa,...

Happy Holidays!

I wish all our readers Happy Holidays! I've enjoyed all the interactions with readers. The technical discussions are stimulating, but most of all, it's nice to read about so many people enjoying their bikes on great rides! Thank you all! Photo credit: Fred Blasdel

Gift Ideas from Compass Bicycles

It's that time of year, with the holidays fast approaching, when many relatives and friends wonder what to give to their favorite cyclist. Here are some great gift ideas you can use, or forward them to anybody who asks: “What would you like?" For The Allroad Cyclist The Allroad Cyclist is an inveterate randonneur, a...

Charlie Cunningham Needs Our Help

Of all the people I have interviewed for Bicycle Quarterly, Charlie Cunningham was perhaps the most fascinating. We talked for hours about a great variety of bike-related topics. I am particularly fascinated by his various brake designs – we both prefer brakes with posts next to the fork crown. (Since then,...

A Visit to Ben Le Batard

While I was in Paris after this year's Paris-Brest-Paris, I visited Ben Le Batard, who runs a machine and fabrication shop. He specializes in motorbikes and bicycles. The bicycle portion of his shop is run by Daniel Hanart, perhaps best known for building Jeannie Longo's hour record bike, as...

Customer Newsletter

Along with our updated website, Compass Bicycles updated its customer newsletter. We use it to announce things like new items, products that are back in stock, and other noteworthy news. It's the best way to stay updated on what is going on at Compass. Our newsletter frequency is once every...

400 km Brevet Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7PBPtmNCZU Theo is the ride organizer of an upcoming Seattle International Randonneurs 400 km brevet. So a week ago, Theo, Hahn and Ryan of the Bicycle Quarterly team pre-rode the course, to make sure that the cue sheet is correct, that roads are open, and to get a general feel...

Japan in Autumn

I just returned from Japan. It was an amazing trip of talking to Compass Bicycles' suppliers and of collecting material for future Bicycle Quarterly stories. Most of all, it was great fun! We got to see old friends and acquaintances, and meet new ones. We rode bikes with some, went...

Optimizing Tire Tread

Most tire manufacturers agree that supple sidewalls and a thin tread make a tire fast, but the role of the tread pattern remains poorly understood. Most modern tires have either a completely smooth tread (slicks) or a coarse tread pattern similar to car tires. Many high-performance tires are smooth...

Flèche in Japan

Last weekend, the Japanese randonneurs organized their Flèche 24-hour ride. We were honored to be part of the banquet at the finish. (The photo shows us with Maya Ide, the organizer.) Originally, we had been scheduled to ride with a team, but I broke my hand three weeks ago....

BQ in Japan

The Bicycle Quarterly team is in Japan for a few weeks of visiting manufacturers and builders, enjoying the culture, and cycling. Above is the view from our window in Kyoto. Doesn't it look like a dream spot, with temples in the foreground and rugged mountains in the background? Our wonderful...

Switching to Zero Emissions

Cycling used to be the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation available, but with recent technological developments, this no longer is the case. Even though the emissions of riding bikes are small, they are not insignificant. As we cyclists convert carbohydrates into energy to power our legs, we emit CO2....

Viennese Mechanics' Bikes

Late last year, Richard Hollinek sent me a calendar about Viennese "mechanics' bikes" – bikes built by small builders in Vienna, Austria. The calendar hangs in our bathroom, and I smile every time I see it. The "mechanics' bikes" are workmanlike in their quality and execution, but not without some...

Oops! AdventureCorps Ad Mix-Up

At Bicycle Quarterly, we appreciate our advertisers. Even though the magazine is financed by subscribers, the advertising revenue allows us to print a few additional pages of the magazine. Our advertisers tend to be small companies who believe in what we do, and support Bicycle Quarterly. In fact, we use...

René Herse édition française

Our new book René Herse • The Bikes • The Builder • The Riders will be available with French text in addition to the English version. Therefore, this update is in French. Notre souscription pour l'édition française du livre René Herse a connu un beau succès puisque nous avons reçu...

Charity Drive: Thank You!

The Bicycle Quarterly charity drive was a success. We were able to raise almost $ 1500 for three charities. Checks are going out this morning to Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Thank you to all who contributed!

Winter Training

I enjoy the annual rhythm of the seasons. It encourages me to change my cycling and exercise, like a farmer rotating crops and leaving some fields fallow for a while. The early months of the year remind me of preparing the soil and sowing that year's crop. This means base...

How Germans vote

Today, I am reminded of my grandfather in Germany. Not of his cycling exploits during the 1930s, when he rode hundreds of kilometers with his friends on weekends. Instead, I am thinking of him voting. When my grand-father was in his 80s and confined to his house by severe arthritis,...

Online Resources

The Bicycle Quarterly web site provides a number of useful resources. Most popular is the Color Photo Supplement. It shows color photos of the classic bikes that have been featured in Bicycle Quarterly over the years. Most of the bikes we feature are unrestored originals, so they are not...

Letters to the Editor

We get many letters and e-mails. We read them all, but we cannot reply to each and every one. We select a few for inclusion to Bicycle Quarterly "Readers' Forum" pages. How do we select these letters? To be published, a letter must add something new to the discussion. We...

The Big Picture

It's amazing to me that  the big picture often gets overlooked. I am not talking about willful distortion, but about well-intentioned people looking at only one part of the equation in an attempt to arrive at a good but simple solution. Here are two examples, both concerned with reducing...

Who Pays for Your Magazine?

My wife was an avid reader of Gourmet magazine. She was disappointed when the magazine ceased publication a little over a year ago. It wasn't that Gourmet was not popular - it had as many readers as before. But in the recession, ad revenues had declined... This points out how...

Quality over Quantity

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan were terrible, and the unfolding nuclear catastrophe threatens to overshadow even those disasters. Our thoughts go out to the people who are affected, and we must do what we can to help them. Beyond that, Japan has shown me once again that there...

Earthquake in Japan

The terrible news from Japan are not getting any better. Our thoughts are with the people who suffer, those who are displaced, and those who worry about their loved ones. We are glad to report that our friends at I's Bicycle in Kyoto are fine. Most of our other contacts...

A Journey of Discovery, Part 5: Frame Stiffness

In the previous parts of this series, we have looked at how our preferences in bicycles changed over time. We started out on "state-of-the-art" bikes with mid-trail geometries, 700C x 28 mm tires and saddlebags. How did we come to prefer low-trail 650B bikes with much wider tires and handlebar...

SKF Bottom Brackets: World Exclusive

Compass Bicycles is proud to be the sole distributor of SKF bottom brackets world-wide. Svenska Kugellagerfabriken (SKF) has been the leader in bearing technology since 1907. Today, SKF is the largest bearing manufacturer in the world, and their bearings are used in Formula 1 racecars and other high-end applications. SKF's...

A Journey of Discovery, Part 2: Handlebar Bags and Aluminum Fenders

In the last installment of this series, we looked at the bikes we rode when Bicycle Quarterly got started almost a decade ago. How did our preferences change from our familiar bikes with mid-trail geometries, 700C x 28 mm tires and saddlebags to low-trail 650B bikes with much wider tires...

A Journey of Discovery, Part 1: What We Used to Ride

We sometimes hear people criticize our technical analyses: "Bicycle Quarterly's testers simply prefer they bikes that they ride most. You get used to anything, and then you prefer it." Or: "Jan has got his preferences. He started a magazine so he could have a place to talk about them." The reality is a...

Mr. Pedersen – A Man of Genius

David Evans spent more than a decade researching the life of Mikael Pedersen, who is best known for his unconventional bicycles. I have been fascinated by these machines since we photographed a rare racing version for our book The Competition Bicycle (see photo below). I have ridden a reproduction...

Oregon Manifest Technical Trials 2011

The 2011 Oregon Manifest Constructor's Design Challenge will be held in Portland, Oregon, on September 23-24, 2011. The goal is to determine what the ultimate modern utility bike looks like and who can build it. The 2009 Constructor's Design Challenge was an innovative event that focused on riding bikes over...

Winter 2010 Bicycle Quarterly Mailed

The Winter 2010 issue has been mailed. Most subscribers will get it soon, but delivery times vary depending on the whims of the U.S. Postal Service. All subscribers should have their magazines by December 24, 2010. In the mean time, click here for a preview. And for some fun with...

A Neat Bike

When I was working with Peter Weigle on an article on fender mounting for the Winter 2010 issue of Bicycle Quarterly (now at the printer), Peter sent me a photo of his latest bike (above). His bikes always have been special, but on this one, I noticed a lot...

Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show

The Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show was a celebration of finely crafted bicycles. With natural overhead light in a former industrial building, the bicycles were displayed well. Tony Pereira (above) showed a replica of his Oregon Manifest-winning commuter machine with its integrated lock.  We hope to get this one for...

Welcome to Our New Blog!

In this space, I'll blog about what is going on at Bicycle Quarterly: Rides we do, how we keep our bikes on the road, new products, glimpses of topics in upcoming issues of the magazine and more. BQ's contributors will feature occasionally as well. We welcome everybody to join...