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BQ 45 (Autumn 2013)


The Autumn 2013 Bicycle Quarterly marks a big change: As we go into our 12th year, the magazine is our first to be in full color!

We tested two brand-new products that will be presented at Interbike this month. Calfee will present a new 650B Adventure model, fully equipped for randonneuring with lights, a front rack and wide tires. And SRAM introduces their new Red 22 with the long-awaited hydraulic disc brakes for road bikes. Before these new products headed to Interbike, we got to test them.

Bicycle Quarterly tests are much more demanding (and we think more fun) than the average magazine review. We took the Calfee on the most challenging ride we can think of, the Volcano High Pass 600 km Super Randonnée: Almost 400 miles, more than 35,000 feet of elevation gain (below), and almost 1/4 of it is on gravel roads, ridden non-stop! This “test ride” was a true adventure that pushed both rider and bike to their limits. It was an amazing experience in every way.

Challenging and fun at the same time also applies to the French cyclotourists, who have inspired us in many ways. The Poly de Chanteloup (above) started as a test of gear changers, to determine which system worked best on a very hilly course. In later years, it became one of the most important professional races and randonneur events in France, as well as a great festival of cycling. Read the full history of this fascinating event.

Even the greatest photos cannot match the clarity of a great hand-drawn illustration. We commissioned noted artist George Retseck to draw the Simplex Retrofriction and Suntour Power Shift levers. We use his detailed drawings to explain how these shift levers compensate for the pull of the derailleur’s return spring, so that the shifting effort is the same during up- and downshifts. As so often, the real beauty of these components lies in parts you cannot see, but feel on every ride.

Bicycle Quarterly’s product tests are renowned in the industry for their thoroughness. In the Autumn issue, we test TRP’s HY/RD hydraulic disc brakes. Their hydraulics are in the brake calipers, so you can operate them with standard brake levers. Are these a good upgrade from the rather weak mechanical disc brakes that equip many recent road bikes?


Vol. 12, No. 1

Super Randonnée 600, Poly de Chanteloup

Test: Calfee 650B Adventure over 8 mountain passes
Poly de Chanteloup hillclimb race history
A lap with Lyli Herse
Make a mudflap
Test: TRP HY/RD disc brake
Retrofriction and Power Shift explained