BQ 42 (Winter 2012)


The focus of the Winter 2012 Bicycle Quarterly is on titanium racing bikes and modern shifting systems. We look at the best modern bicycles to establish benchmarks of what performance we can expect from a bicycle — any bicycle.

We test two of the best modern titanium racing bikes, a Seven Axiom SL and a Lynskey Helix. The Seven looks classic, and has a custom-butted tubeset that made specifically for our testers. The Lynskey has twisted top and down tubes. Without giving too much away, we can tell you that both are excellent machines. But which of the two works better for us?

The two test bikes are equipped with the latest in electronic shifting: Shimano Di2 and Campagnolo EPS. How are these systems different, and how do they compare to mechanical systems? We give you an overview of the strong and weak points of the three most popular shifting systems: Shimano STI, SRAM DoubleTap and Campagnolo Ergopower. That way, you can choose the system that works best for you.

After determining which of the new titanium bikes is best, we then pit that bike against Mark’s 650B randonneur bike. The question here is: How much speed are we giving up by insisting on fully equipped bikes. If it is just a little, then I gladly will carry around my fenders and lights even on dry daytime rides. If it is a lot, then we may be tempted to add a modern racing bike to the stables for those short, fast rides.
Surprisingly, the lightest bike in this issue is not one of the modern titanium bikes, but a 1975 machine. To round off our “Titanium Shootout,” we feature you a Speedwell with superlight components, and explore the history of the first successful titanium bike.

It wouldn’t be Bicycle Quarterly without an inspirational ride story. This time, you accompany our editor as he explores unpaved gravel passes in the Cascade Mountains late in the year. Will he get stuck in the snow on the high passes?

We take you on a trip to Philadelphia, where we visit two very different makers of custom bicycles: Bilenky Cycle Works and Engin Cycles. Enjoy the photographs of their shops and learn about the builders’ philosophies.

As always, there is much more, including a technical article that explains how chainring ramps work, book reviews, new products, test and “My Favorite Bicycle.”

  • Features:
  • 26 Speedwell – Pioneer of Titanium Bikes
  • 30 1975 Speedwell Titanium
  • 34 Squeezing in One More Ride
  • 57 Bilenky and Engin Cycles: Two Philadelphia Builders
  • 70 My Favorite Bike: Harvey Cycleworks
  • Reviews:
  • 6 Bike Tests: Titanium Racing Bikes: Lynskey Helix; Seven Axiom SL
  • 24 Test: Electronic Shifting: Campagnolo EPS vs. Shimano Di2
  • 44 Integrated Shifting Systems from Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo
  • 66 Book Reviews
  • 68 Pacenti PL23 Rims
  • Tech:
  • 50 How Ramped Chainrings Work
  • News:
  • 62 Readers’ Forum
  • 16 News