BQ 39 (Spring 2012)


Cyclists come in all sizes. What has to be considered when designing bikes for very tall or short riders? We look at frame geometries, tubing choices and hear from two riders about their experiences.

We interview Lennard Zinn to find out how he designs bicycles for very tall riders. We also look at frame geometries to learn how René Herse made very small bikes without toe overlap.

Two riders report about their first experiences with classic randonneur bikes. How will a low-trail bike handle for a novice rider? Is “planing” something all riders can experience? How does a low-trail 650B bike feel to a rider used to carbon fiber-racing bikes?

Three brothers rode in the footsteps of Hannibal’s army for a BBC documentary, from Spain via the Pyrénées and the Alps to Italy. Then they followed the great general back to Carthage in North Africa. Read about the insights their trip provided, and the many interesting encounters they had on the road.

We test a Bilenky cargo bike. How does it compare to other load carriers?

We bring you a report on a predecessor of the Xtracycle from 1947. Why did it not catch on?

Our series about our editor’s new bike continues with a look at the Nivex rear derailleur. Why aren’t all derailleurs mounted in a protected location under the chainstay, instead of on the dropout where they (or the frame) get bent if the bike falls over? Read about the features that make the Nivex stand out even today, 75 years after it was introduced. Learn about its history and its mysterious inventors, and find out how it works on the road today.

  • Features:
  • 6 The Classic Randonneur Bicycle — My First Encounter
  • 16 Lennard Zinn’s Bikes for Tall Riders
  • 24 A Randonneur Bike for a Tall Rider
  • 34 Cycling in Hannibal’s Footsteps
  • 43 An Xtracycle in 1947
  • 52 The Nivex Derailleur (My Ultimate Custom Bicycle)
  • 70 My Favorite Bike: Breezer

  • Reviews:
  • 32 Book Reviews: Major Taylor, Furnace Creek 508 (RAAM), Yehuda Moon
  • 44 Bike Test: Bilenky Cargo
  • 61 Tests: Compass 26" Tires, Hutchinson 650B Tires, Camelbak Bottle, WabiWoolens Jersey, Shimano PD-A600 Pedals
  • Tech:
  • 14 Designing Small 650B Bicycles
  • News:
  • 30 Compass Bicycles Purchases René Herse
  • 31 Product News (Lights, Centerpull Brake Bosses)
  • 60 Readers' Forum
  • 68 Comments: 'Changing Philosophies in Randonneuring'