Journal

Introducing Rene Herse Stems

They are here! What is probably the most iconic stem of all time, the Rene Herse stem, is now available again, updated for the 21st century. And we're not just making the stem, but a complete, integrated system consisting of stem, decaleur and light switch, plus a few other...

80th Anniversary Rene Herse Update

It's been a while since we announced the 80th Anniversary Rene Herse bikes and frames and started taking orders. From the beginning, we had decided to offer just eight bikes and eight frames – this isn't a money-making project, but a celebration of our heritage and a way to share...

We Love Fenders!

Many years ago, the biggest American bike magazine published a short note about aluminum fenders with the comment: "We are charmed by the idea that there actually are fender snobs!" I had to smile, because the reason we care so much about fenders is simple: We like to ride...

The Ideal Tires For Paris-Roubaix?

Before there was gravel, there was Paris-Roubaix. The famous race used to be a relic from a past when many races of northern Europe went over cobblestones. While other races – especially the Tour de France – became 'sanitized,' the Queen of the Classics played up its image as...

Packing for the Oregon Outback

People have commented to the stats of the Oregon Outback FKT. I find it interesting to review the ride – what went right and what could be improved in the future. These numbers can also help others who plan a long ride. Distance: 585 km / 363 milesElevation gain: 4,382...

Autumn 2021 Bicycle Quarterly

The Autumn 2021 Bicycle Quarterly is coming off the press this week. We're preparing the mailing lists on Monday – to get your copy without delay, please make sure your subscription is up to date. Sometimes the best stories are rides where things don't go according to plan, and Jan and...

Jan sets Oregon Outback FKT

Few rides have captured my imagination like the Oregon Outback. It's not just the epic scale of it – traversing the entire state of Oregon on gravel roads – but also the varied landscapes. I love the wide-open sagebrush country in the south. There are few better roads than...

Another Go at the Oregon Outback

The Oregon Outback has been a huge influence for us at Rene Herse Cycles. Back in 2014, the inaugural ride/race over the course made us realize the potential of truly wide tires. Ever since, I've wanted to come back with a bike built specifically for riding rough gravel roads...

Sad to Miss the BQ Un-Meeting

We have been looking forward to the BQ Un-Meeting in Marin County for two years now – ever since our friends from Bicycle Counterculture (BCC) offered at the 2019 Un-Meeting near Portland to host the next meeting. Last year's date had to be postponed for obvious reasons, and this...

Introducing Hatcher Pass 700C x 48 mm

When we asked Lael Wilcox which tires she needed for bikepacking, the Fleecer and Oracle Ridge dual-purpose knobbies were the result: great traction on loose and muddy surfaces (and snow), but fast and grippy on pavement. Plus quiet thanks to our patented noise cancellation technology. These tires cover the...

How Tough are Rene Herse Extralight Tires?

We just received another tire shipment, this one mostly with Extralight models that had been out of stock for a while. For me, the Extralight casing is one of the things that defines our Rene Herse tires. It's the most supple casing you'll find anywhere, matched only by the...

Lights for the Tour Divide

Before our ride on the Oregon Outback, Lael replaced her headlight – which was designed for mountain biking – with a more road-oriented SON Edelux II. The more even illumination of the road surface by a shaped beam makes riding at speed much easier and less fatiguing. And a single...

More Umtanum 650Bs and a New 26″ Tire

Let's start with the new tire: We're excited to expand our 26" offerings with the 26" x 1.8" Naches Pass Endurance. The Naches Pass is the 26" equivalent of our iconic 650B Babyshoe Pass – the tires we ride on our own bikes more than any others. In fact, Natsuko...

All-Road Interview in DIE ZEIT

"Racing bikes are defined by the riding experience, not by a few millimeters in tire width," says Jan Heine. The German edition of our book 'The All-Road Bike Revolution' just launched, and there's been a lot of interest in the German media. Gravel bikes are a brand-new phenomenon in Germany,...

BQ Un-Meeting Dates and Routes

The 2021 Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting will be hosted by Bicycle Counterculture (BCC) in Marin County, California. A group campsite is reserved at Samuel P. Taylor State Park on What: Bicycle Quarterly Un-MeetingWhen: Thursday and Friday, September 16-17, 2021Where: Madrone Group Campsite, Samuel P. Taylor State ParkWho: Everybody who enjoys cycling...

Nivex or eTap?

We're offering the 80th Anniversary Rene Herse bikes with a choice of two drivetrains: either SRAM eTap or a Nivex rear and Rene Herse front derailleur. It's a choice between best electronic or the best manual shifting. Both the current Nivex and modern electronic drivetrains stand at the pinnacle...

80th Anniversary Rene Herse Ordering

There's been a great response to our 80th Anniversary Rene Herse bikes and framesets. There's a lot of excitement. Even people who don't want to order one are glad that they'll exist. Just like I'll probably never own a great sportscar, but when I see one, I smile. Perhaps the...

650B x 55 Umtanum Ridge Back in Stock

The response to the new 650B x 55 mm Umtanum Ridge surprised everybody: The Endurance casing was sold out within 4 hours, and the Extralights lasted only a little less than a day. We just received another shipment, so both models are back in stock. The Standard casing will...

80th Anniversary Rene Herse Bikes

To celebrate 80 years of Rene Herse bikes, we're excited to offer a limited edition of bikes and frames. René Herse entered the cycling world in 1938, when he introduced innovative superlight components that drew on his experience making prototype aircraft components. A few years later, during the German...

Umtanum Ridge Tires Are Here!

The new 650B x 55 mm Umtanum Ridge tires have landed! Now our widest knobbies are available in the three most popular wheel sizes: The award-winning 700C/29" Fleecer Ridge is perfect for the latest drop-bar mountain bikes. The 26" Humptulips Ridge has made classic mountain bikes fun again. And...

Cross is Coming – Get Your Tires Now!

We're excited that cyclocross is back this autumn in North America. It's something we've missed more than almost anything else during the pandemic. 'Cross is so much fun in part because you get to ride multiple laps of the same course, so you get the opportunity to fine-tune your...

Rift Iceland 2021

The Rift Iceland gravel race has fascinated me since it was first announced. I've only been to Iceland once, during a short layover on the way to France for Paris-Brest-Paris in 2015. I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the landscape – everything seemed vast and inhospitable, yet also...

Tour de France Cyclotouriste

This year's Tour de France provided gripping racing and a worthy winner: Tadej Pogačar rode a smart, powerful race, and his second win in a row promises more for the future. Especially since he's just 22 years old and at the beginning of his career. And yet one of the...

Bikepacking.com: Best Tires for the Great Divide

With the 2021 Tour Divide happening this year – on a shortened course, since the Canadian border is still closed – Neil Beltchenko from bikepacking.com looked at what he considers the best tire for this challenging 2,745-mile (4,418 km) course. Neil has more experience than most: He has ridden and...

Amanda Nauman: Racing Unbound XL

Amanda Nauman is a true inspiration: Not only is she a top-tier cyclocross and gravel racer, but she also works full-time as an engineer – and she's putting together a gravel event, Mammoth Tuff, that takes riders into the beautiful eastern Sierra Nevada. We caught up with her after her...

We Have Tires!

We have tires! All sizes, most casings, and even most colors are in stock again! Some quantities are still limited, but there's no real shortage on the horizon for the next month or two – and hopefully beyond. You'll understand our excitement when you hear the story: Four weeks ago,...

Summer 2021 Bicycle Quarterly

The Summer 2021 Bicycle Quarterly is another action-packed edition. We test one of Fern's dreamy creations, a pure adventure bike equipped to handle everything from fast road riding (with aerobars) to ultra-steep technical terrain (with a dropper seatpost). Outfitted with a full complement of custom-made Gramm_Tourpacking bikepacking bags, it's...

Italian Fixed Champion on Rene Herse

It's been exciting to see the first stages of the Tour de France. A little too exciting, in fact, when spectators aren't aware that the privilege seeing racers zipping so close comes with responsibilities. Here's a little secret: Every bike racer, deep down, just a little bit, dreams of...

A Mid-Summer Ride to Spada Lake

"Let's go to Spada Lake," suggested Steve when we discussed where to head for a one-day ride. Now that the entire BQ Team is vaccinated, we can return to our long-missed team rides. Steve mapped a route that combined favorite gravel and paved roads through the Cascade foothills to Sultan....

Keeping Supplies Coming During the Pandemic

If you've been trying to buy a bike or components lately, you'll have noticed that many things are out of stock. Shortages have affected not just the bike industry, and it's been all over the news... We've been less affected by this situation than most. We have long-term relationships...

The Unsung Heroes of Unbound

One thing that's great about gravel racing is its inclusiveness. Where else can you line up with world-famous pros and ride the same course, under the same conditions, and be cheered by the same spectators (who cheer even more for those who push themselves just to finish the event)?...

German Edition of The All-Road Bike Revolution

Exciting news: The German edition of our book The All-Road Bike Revolution is set to appear in July. We've worked with Covadonga, a specialist publishing house for cycling books, who already published The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles (Meisterwerke des Fahrradbaus) and The Competition Bicycle (Die Räder der Sieger). Translated...

Congrats to all Unbound riders!

Congratulations to all riders at last weekend's Unbound. It was exciting to see so many riders ride through heat and the infamous Flint Hills – and enjoy the challenge. Special kudos to Ted King, who overcame breaking his collarbone just 5 weeks ago (and a veritable invasion of Euro-Pros) to place...

Women Racers at Unbound

Gravel racing – like randonneuring, passhunting and other cycling adventures – has always welcomed women racers as equals. We're excited to see so many women head to the Flint Hills of Kansas this weekend for Unbound, the world's most famous gravel race. We caught up with three of them...

A Rene Herse for the Outback

Last week, Lael Wilcox and I rode the Oregon Outback, the 364 mile (585 km) gravel route across the length of Oregon. It was an adventure, full of beauty and challenge. Starting the ride with Lael as the full moon (with a partial eclipse) was to our side, then seeing...

Oregon Outback with Lael

It's been a busy weekend planning, packing, figuring out how to make a Spot tracker work, and going on a shake-down ride on my new bike. Now all is ready, I'm heading down to Portland on the Coast Starlight to meet Lael and Rue. Lael and I plan to...

Tires and Cranks Back in Stock

This is just a quick note that we received a few long-delayed shipments: Most tire models are back in stock, although some quantities are still limited. Rene Herse 171 and 177 mm crankarms have arrived, too, but we're still waiting for 165s and chainrings. Brakes and Berthoud saddles are...

Returning to the Oregon Outback

Over the last seven years, the Oregon Outback has evolved from a crazy adventure (and race) to one of themost popular bikepacking routes. Back in 2014, when Donnie Kolb first mooted the idea of this ride, gravel bikes were still in their infancy. I rode the first Outback on...

Why narrow tires FEEL faster

All our research shows that wide tires roll as fast or faster than narrow tires (if they use the same casing). How come that generations of cyclists believed that narrow tires are faster? The answer is simple: Narrow tires feel faster. They simulate the sensation of higher speed –...

Visiting Makino, the Japanese Builder

Just before the pandemic made travel next-to-impossible, Natsuko and I visited Makino Cycle Factory, one of Japan's most renowned builders. It was intended as a short visit to take a few photos, but it turned into a wonderful day of watching the craftspeople at work, discussing frame geometry and...

A Shipment Arrives With a New Tire

We finally receive a big shipment of tires that had been on the seas for what seems like ages. And we've also got a new tire: The 26" x 2.3" Humptulips Ridge is now available with the ultra-tough Endurance Plus casing. Whether it's adventures into the unknown or gnarly...

My PBP Bike: Derailleurs

Why would anyone make custom derailleurs when modern electronic shifting works extremely well? It's a bit like driving a car with manual transmission even though the latest automatics are very sophisticated. It's about being involved in the operation of my bike, rather than just pushing a button. There's a...

Taking a Break from Comments

We've decided to turn off the comments on our Journal for a few months. We really enjoy the interactions with readers and value the discussions, but running one of the more popular cycling sites on the web risks becoming a full-time job. A recent post had 80 comments, and...

Cranks, Berthoud Saddles and New Products

Usually the logistics of keeping things in stock don't matter to our customers. Usually we receive new shipments before the old stocks run out, so the transition is seamless and parts are just always in stock. Usually... If you've been following the bike industry just a little bit, you...

Tire Test Results

Last week, we talked about how real-road tire tests have revolutionized our understanding of how bicycles work. We've looked at different ways of testing tires, and why it's so important to perform tests carefully and under realistic conditions. Today, let's look at some results of our testing. Are Wider Tires...

Umtanum Ridge 650B x 55 / 27.5 x 2.2

Ever since we've worked with Lael Wilcox to develop the 29" / 700C Fleecer Ridge dual-purpose knobbies, we've been deluged with requests for 26" and 650B versions with the same noise-cancelling tread pattern. We launched the 26" Humptulips Ridge late last year. Now we're excited to announce the 650B...

How We Test Tires

One of the secrets behind the performance of Rene Herse tires lies in our R&D. We run our tests under real-world conditions, so we can optimize our tires for what matters: riding on real roads. When we started our research 15 years ago, high-performance tires were narrow and designed...

Lael’s Bike

Riding with Lael Wilcox, I was impressed not just by her speed and positive attitude, but also by her efficiency and planning. When we stopped at the small (and sparsely stocked) store in Index, I was still surveying the shelves when Lael was already checking out, having snagged the...

Rene Herse Cable Hangers

Cable hangers aren't a very exciting topic. We love to talk about derailleurs or brakes, because they are complicated parts with many intricacies. But cable hangers...? And yet they're as important for the performance of your bike. It's small parts like these that can make a big difference when...

Stop Asian Hate

I never thought of myself as Asian, because I lived in Japan most of my life, where I was just like everybody else. Only when I came to Seattle did I notice that I may look like a stereotypical Asian woman: I'm not very tall; I tend to smile...

The Bike Sauce Reviews our Book

When The Bike Sauce reviewed our book, it came as a surprise. We aren't really part of the book industry, and it's not like we've sent out hundreds of review copies. It's nice to hear that the book meets the target of summarizing all the research that has transformed...

What Cyclists Say

It's one thing to write a book that the experts enjoy, and you may have read what bike designer Gerard Vroomen (Cervélo/OPEN) and gravel racers Lael Wilcox and Ted King had to say about "The All-Road Bike Revolution." It was great to see that even they learned new things......

A Long, Slow Winter Ride

Winter is a great time for riding in the Cascade Mountains. The high passes are covered in snow, but our favorite roads in the foothills spear far into the deep valleys of the mountains. These are long, cold, hilly rides. Rides that are about getting in a rhythm without...

Super Tuck vs Aero Tuck

The big news in bike racing is that the UCI wants to ban the Super Tuck position. It's a position pro racers sometimes use during fast descents, when reducing your wind resistance provides more benefit than pedaling hard. With the UCI decision, many cyclists wonder: How much benefit does...

All Tires Back in Stock

Another shipment with some favorites just arrived: All Rene Herse tires are back in stock. When unloading tire boxes, we’re imagining all the rides these tires will experience, from great road rides to incredible adventures on our widest and toughest knobbies. We can't wait to hear the stories and...

Most Tires Back in Stock

It's no secret that supplies in the bike industry are a bit of a challenge right now. It's not just manufacturing that's compromised due to Covid, but shipping is also delayed. As a small company working with high-end suppliers, we've been less affected than others, but nonetheless, it's been...

A Long-Awaited Shipment

We just received a shipment with many eagerly awaited products. These include the new 26" Humptulips Ridge knobby tires in Standard and Extralight casings. (Endurance casings are on the way, but will take a bit longer.) Most other Rene Herse tires are also back in stock, too. Now is a...

Live with Path Less Pedaled

Chatting with Russ from Path Less Pedaled about our new book 'The All-Road Bike Revolution' was a fun way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon. Russ asked why we wrote a book, we talked about front-end geometry and the future of 650B. I especially enjoyed Russ' take on bike...

Design & Innovation Award for Fleecer Ridge

We're excited that our Fleecer Ridge tires won the 2021 Design & Innovation Award in the Category Off-Road Components. This prestigious European prize is based on real-world testing. The 30-strong, international jury consists of journalists, test riders and engineers who are amongst the most renowned experts in their respective...

Optimizing the Cantilever Brake

Cantilever brakes have traditionally been the way to make brakes for bikes with wide tires. Invented by Nicola Barra in 1936, they were the first direct-mount brakes with pivots that attached to the fork blades and seatstays. This eliminated the flex that is inevitable with long brake calipers that...

Lael Rides Alaska Scholarship

I’ve dedicated three summers over the past six years to riding all of the major roads in Alaska, some 4,500 miles. What started as a dream to see my home state under my own power and push my limits in endurance has evolved. A condensed backstory – in 2014, I...

A Winter Ride

January is a great time for riding. A new year is starting, and it's a time for those long, slow miles that build our distance base. After a month of rest, our minds are eager to get out and start preparing for the adventures that will come later in...

What Makes a Bike Fast?

It used to be easy: If you wanted a fast bike, you chose a racing bike. End of story. And what made a racing bike special were first and foremost the narrow tires. Light weight was a plus, too, and so was the lower, more aero riding position. Then came...

Rides to Remember

It's been a difficult year, but cycling has provided one way to deal with the challenges we've faced. Whether riding alone or with a good friend, it's allowed us to get away from it all, recharge and return with new energy to tackle what lies ahead – and have...

Video: How a Bicycle Is Made

A reader sent a link to the video "How a Bicycle is Made," filmed in the 1945 at the Raleigh factory in Britain. It's definitely a period piece, but look beyond that, and the 17-minute movie has a lot of interesting content about how bikes were mass-produced. Some production...

Humptulips Ridge Tires Are Here

The new Humptulips Ridge 26" x 2.3" knobbies have arrived! Usually, we airship just a few tires for photography, but with so many riders eagerly awaiting these tires, we sent over a few more. We have a small quantity with Standard and Extralight casings (tan sidewalls), as well as...

We’re Hiring

Rene Herse Cycles is hiring a full-time, long-term position in our shipping/warehouse department at our Seattle, WA, location. Be a part of our fun team and growing company. Passion for cycling is a plus, but not required: We don't expect you to know our products – be ready to...

Our Holiday Gift Guide

Every year, we enjoy the autumn cycling season, and then, suddenly, the holidays are almost here. And with that, we are looking for gifts for others, and we're being asked what we want ourselves. Gift giving is a wonderful tradition, and Natsuko and I really enjoy gifts that we...

My PBP Bike: Lights

Nothing else has changed our riding as much as modern generator hubs and LED lights. When I first started riding the almost-mythical (and now long-defunct) cross-state races in Washington – Cannonball and S2S – I ran a Nightsun battery light. These races started just after midnight in Seattle, so...