Journal

Lael’s summer riding plans

All of a sudden, it’s almost summer. With a busier spring in the desert than expected—from starting a new Tucson GRIT (Girls Riding Into Tomorrow) cycling mentorship program to setting a new fastest known time on the 827-mile Arizona Trail—time just flew. In between were a quick trip to Alaska...

All Tires Back in Stock

It's been busy at Rene Herse Cycles. With all the big gravel races on the calendar, plus many riders planning their own private adventures, tires have been flying off the shelves. As a result of this surge in demand, a few popular models were out of stock for a...

Tires from Unbound

We work with a number of top riders and racers to develop and test our tires. After big races like Unbound, the famous race across the Flint Hills of Kansas, we ask them to send back the tires they raced on, so we can look at how they fared....

Hailey’s Ozark Gravel Doom FKT

"Navigating the unknown was the most challenging aspect of the trip, but also the most rewarding." Hailey Moore's intrepid solo ride over the Ozark Gravel Doom, the 378-mile (608 km) bikepacking route in Arkansas clearly left strong impressions. That's not surprising, as the DOOM, as it's affectionally called, remote...

Nana is getting a big sister!

The Nana carbon minipump has been one of our best-sellers. It's small, it's light, it's cute, and it works well. I carry one on every ride as a backup in case my 'big' pump fails. (That has happened only once in all my riding, but at 25 g and...

Why we’re excited about bolts

Some readers were surprised by the light weight of my Oregon Outback bike: 10.3 kg (22.7 lb) with lights, rack and all those parts that usually are left off when a bike is weighed: pedals, bottle cages, pump, etc. Others wondered how our bikes can withstand these challenging rides...

Thank you!

It's been a long two years since Covid first hit our world. The pandemic isn't over yet, but two years have given us time to adjust to the new situation. Throughout this difficult time, we appreciate our customers' support and understanding as we dealt with lockdowns, employees who had...

Extra-Wide Handlebars and 165 mm Cranks

There isn't much discussion of the subtleties of handlebar shapes these days, for a simple reason: Today's racers almost exclusively ride on the brake hoods. Sometimes, they get in the drops. When you put out that much power, there's little weight on your arms and hands, and all you...

JaBig and Ted King Live

DJ + world traveling bike-tourer JaBig is one of the funniest, most positive humans you could imagine. His observations are always inspiring and thought-provoking. Right now, he's on a 6-month, 10,000-mile ride around the perimeter of the United States to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief. Ted King is isn't...

Cross-Wind Spokes and Self-Truing Wheels

April 1, 2022. Today Rene Herse Cycles announced a new wheel system with spokes that adjust on the move. This allows orienting bladed spokes in response to crosswinds, and it also makes it possible to true wobbly wheels without stopping. It's another example of the company's 'thinking outside the...

Spring 2022 Bicycle Quarterly

The Spring 2022 Bicycle Quarterly is coming off the press as you read this. Paper shortages have delayed this edition a little, but it's been worth the wait. Putting together the magazine has been a lot of fun. Our team followed with amazement as Lael Wilcox rode the entire Alaska Pipeline...

A big SON shipment

Months of hard work (and patience) are paying off, and shipments are arriving at our warehouse almost daily. Most of the Rene Herse program is in stock now. The latest arrival are SON generator hubs, Edelux lights and associated small parts, like coaxial connectors and dropouts for the ingenious...

Tire Pressure Calculator

The new Rene Herse tire pressure calculator is based on hundreds of tests of tires from 20 to 55 mm wide. These tests have consistently shown that supple high-performance tires roll fastest at two distinct pressures: A relatively high pressure that provides a firm feel to the bike, and...

177 mm Crankarms Have Arrived

The headline says all you need to know: A small quantity of 177 mm crankarms have arrived, so we can custom-build you one-by, double, triple and even tandem cranks. There's no need to bore you with more stories about supply chain woes. This isn't a post about why we...

Brevet Rims Back in Stock!

We've got rims again! Rims are essential components of our bikes – we can't ride without them. They are among the parts that we try to keep in stock at all times. But these aren't normal times... To give you an idea of what it takes these days to...

BQ 4-Pack Sale: $ 28

We feel it's time to take a break from the news. Not to close our eyes to the terrible things happening in the world. Not to stop being inspired by the heroism of the Ukrainians. Certainly not to block out the suffering caused by war. But to avoid getting...

Why No Half Knobs?

We get that question sometimes: "Why don't you offer tires with smaller or shallower knobs?" At first glance, it seems like Rene Herse offers only extreme tires. Our tires are either almost slick or have large knobs. Wouldn't an 'in-between' tire offer the best of both worlds – just...

Thank you for helping Ukraine

Thank you to all our readers and customers who chipped in and made our fundraiser for Ukraine a success. A few readers missed the deadline, but we were able to include their donations as well. We came close to our goal of donating $ 10,000 – so close that...

Let’s Help Ukraine

We can't imagine what it's like right now to be in Ukraine. We've heard about bombing raids and invasions from our grandparents and from René Herse's riders and employees, but those were stories from a time long ago. (The photo above shows the Rene Herse shop window during the...

Meeting JaBig

JaBig and I have known each other for a number of years now. Back in 2019, he was planning a ride around the world to raise money for World Bicycle Relief, and we asked him whether he was interested in testing our tires on his ride across Europe, Africa...

Servicing the NANA carbon pump

At Rene Herse Cycles, we offer parts that last a long time and that are rebuildable if it ever becomes necessary. And not just 'rebuildable' in theory – we stock the parts you need for the rebuild, and provide detailed instructions how to do it. It's all part of...

Rim and Tire Standards

Standards exist mostly to ensure interchangeability of parts. If you need replace one of the bolts that attach the bottle cages on your bike, you can go to any hardware store in the world and buy an M5 bolt. Unless it's specified otherwise, the threads will have a diameter...

Readers’ Forum: Flat pedals vs foot retention

The readers of Bicycle Quarterly are a vibrant group, and that comes through in the Readers' Forum where we publish comments, opinions, and questions. It's more than just a 'Letters to the Editor' section; we also answer technical questions that don't warrant a complete Bicycle Quarterly article. In a...

Back in Stock and a New Rack

"I feel like Santa Claus," said the truck driver when he saw our excitement as we unloaded the latest shipment. "You are! We've been waiting for these for a while!" was our reply. The shipment from Japan included some popular tires, like the 700C x 42 Hurricane Ridge and...

Routes: Tahuya-Hood Canal

When we talk about wide tires and other bike tech, it's for one reason only: so we can have more fun on our bikes. We have some amazing riding in the Pacific Northwest, and here we're sharing some of our favorite routes. First in the series is a wonderful...

Why wider tires are NOT slower

Our bike shop partners tell us that the most asked question these days is: "Aren't wide tires slower than narrow tires?" That's what all of us believed for many decades, and old beliefs don't disappear overnight. Rene Herse Cycles makes tires all the way from narrow 26 mm racing...

There is no place for Antisemitism

This is so evident that it shouldn't need saying: Jews (and all other religious groups) should not have to be be afraid when congregating in places of worship. There is no place for Antisemitism. It's sad that almost a century after this photo was taken, Antisemitism is still very real...

Price Increases and ETAs

Inflation has been all over the news, and it's caused much confusion. Customers have asked us: Do we really need to worry if used car prices are high? We are cyclists, after all... From our vantage point, we don't need to worry, but prices will increase. It's a world-wide...

Gravel is as old as cycling!

When the project for a Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame was announced, there was immediately some pushback: Isn't 'gravel' too new to have a Hall of Fame? From the perspective of gravel racing, that makes sense. Many of the big names from the early days of 'gravel' are still...

Job Opening at Rene Herse Cycles

Rene Herse Cycles has a job opening for an Order Fulfillment Assistant. 25-40 hr/week (negotiable). Full benefits. It’s not about scanning barcodes or driving forklifts: As a small company with a large program, we rely on the skills of our employees, not automation. You’ll work under our shipping manager, who...

Cranks have landed

It's been a long wait, but we have good news: Rene Herse cranks have arrived. We've got 171 mm arms, and the 165 and 177 mm arms are at the polisher. They'll be here soon. In an age of integrated spindles and carbon cranks, you may wonder why many riders...

More Merino Wool Jerseys

This is just a short note that we got more Merino Wool Jerseys. They're the ultimate performance cycling wear for the cold season, and they are a key part of what makes our adventures possible: They keep us dry and warm over a wide range of temperatures, during hard...

Why we call it a Revolution

The word 'Revolution' is overused. Almost every new product and idea is marketed as 'revolutionary.' And yet, once in a while, something happens that really does change everything. For bicycles, the 'All-Road Bike Revolution' has been perhaps the biggest change since multi-speed drivetrains replaced singlespeeds. The 'All-Road Bike Revolution'...

Looking back over 2021

Despite its many challenges, 2021 also brought out a lot of resiliency. We learned to live with the new circumstances, helped by the fact that riding bikes is actually safe, even in small groups. For us at Rene Herse Cycles, 2021 was another year where our tires and components were...

Our Favorite Routes

Rene Herse Cycles was born out of our passion for exploring the forgotten mountain passes of the Cascade Mountains and beyond. Now we are sharing some of our favorite routes, from an all-paved rambles through the Cascade foothills to the multi-day adventures that take you over the highest passes. Explore...

Trail Does NOT Make a Bike Stable

For decades, cyclists have believed that trail makes a bike more stable. It makes sense: A bike's front wheel touches the ground behind the steerer axis. As the bike moves forward, there's a self-centering force on the front wheel – sort of like the caster of a shopping cart. Trail...

Job Opening at Rene Herse Cycles

Rene Herse Cycles has a job opening for an Order Fulfillment Assistant. 25-40 hours a week (negotiable, but consistent), full benefits. It’s not about scanning barcodes or driving forklifts: As a small company with a large program, we rely on the skills of our employees, not automation. You’ll work...

Sleeping Beauty: Riding a Rene Herse in Paris

Winter is coming to Seattle, but, contrary to stereotypes, it's not always raining. Sunny days invite us to explore neighborhoods we usually don't visit. Last weekend, I decided to ride a bike that brings back many memories: The Rene Herse I used for years to commute around Paris. Back then,...

A Big Tire Shipment Has Landed

The holidays have arrived early at the Rene Herse headquarters here in Seattle: A long-awaited tire shipment has landed. Almost all models are back in stock. This includes our most popular tire, the 650B x 55 Umtanum Ridge, as well as our other dual-purpose knobbies that are ideal for...

Lyli and the Puy de Dôme

We love history because the stories are so inspiring – real life is often better than fiction. One of my favorites is Lyli Herse's record-setting ride up the Puy de Dôme in 1951. Tour de France fans know the 'Puy' as one of the toughest climbs in France. Many times...

Winter 2021 Bicycle Quarterly

The Winter 2021 Bicycle Quarterly is at the printer. We are preparing the mailing list this week – subscribe now to be among the first to get a copy of this exciting edition! It's another un-missable BQ, starting with the cover story: Donalrey Nieva and Karen Yung climb Mauna...

Holiday Gift Guide

It's the season for giving nice things to people you like. It's an opportunity to show appreciation and love. Giving something that delights and is useful creates lasting memories. Every time we use a gift, we think of the person who gave it to us. It's always fun to...

Rene Herse Merino Wool Jerseys

Our Merino Wool Jerseys have landed! I've been wearing the prototype for the past year, and I'm glad we can finally offer them to our customers. Some may ask: Why Merino wool? It's all about performance. Synthetic fabrics have improved a lot in recent years, but wool has a...

More Umtanum Ridges and Hatcher Passes!

Just a quick note that we've received a restock on our most popular tires of the moment, the new 650B x 55 Umtanum Ridge knobbies and 700C x 48 Hatcher Pass all-road tires. A few other models are available again, too. Ever since taking prototypes of the Umtanum Ridges (above)...

Books!

Whether it's after a long ride (and shower and good meal) or on a day when it's not appealing to head out at all – there's nothing quite like making a cup of tea and sitting down with a beautiful book. Great books don't just tell stories and convey...

Let’s Focus on Humans, Not Things

The latest U.N. Climate Talks concluded this weekend. There was some encouraging progress, but not nearly enough. Yet bike companies and social media has been mostly silent on what is probably the most urgent problem humanity faces. It's almost as if we don't want to talk about what many...

Back in Stock: SON and Berthoud

We just got a big shipment from Europe with SON hubs and lights, as well as Berthoud saddles, bags and other parts. No doubt you've read in the news how supply chains are stretched to the breaking point... So when a shipment arrives at our warehouse in Seattle, all...

‘Steel Bike Edition’ of Bicycle Quarterly?

Half-jokingly, we've been referring to the Autumn Bicycle Quarterly as the 'Steel Bike Edition.' We didn't plan it that way; it just happened. This illustrates how vibrant the world of steel bikes is today – arguably, they are better than ever before. Of course, there are also great carbon...

Dumonde Tech Chain Lube

When I was racing on fender-less bikes, chain lube was an important topic here in the wet Pacific Northwest. Back then, it was generally accepted that Dumonde Tech was by far the best lube. It was the only one that allowed you to complete a rainy ride without the...

Cal Poly Pomona x Rene Herse Cycling Research

We're excited to announce our partnership with the Mechanical Engineering Department at Cal Poly (Pomona) to explore cycling-related research topics. Starting this semester, 38 undergraduate and 2 graduate students are working under Dr. Nolan Tsuchiya on a variety of projects, including: Measure drivetrain losses: Does cross-chaining decrease efficiency? What...

Travels with J. P. Weigle

Today would have been J. P. (Peter) Weigle's French Fender Day, the gathering of cyclotouring bikes old and new at the master's workshop deep in the woods of New England. The meeting went virtual this year, with a photo contest on Instagram with the tag #ffd2021v. You can still...

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 noise cancellation technology. These tires cover the multitude...

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...