BQ 50 (Winter 2014)


The Winter issue is the 50th issue of Bicycle Quarterly. To celebrate, we added 50% more pages! The 50th issue presents an opportunity to take stock and look back over 12.5 years. Perhaps Bicycle Quarterly’s greatest contribution has been to redefine what a performance bike can be. No longer do we have to choose between comfort and speed, between spirited performance and the ability to go on adventures off the beaten path.

To examine the state of the art in “real-world bicycles”, we tested one of Peter Weigle’s nearly mythical 650B bikes. We took it to the Bicycle Quarterly “Un-Meeting”, where it had to carry a light camping load, traverse a mountain pass on gravel roads, and chase a personal best on a long, paved road climb. Apart from being a great test, it was a lot of fun!

We selected 11 milestones among the 60 bikes we have tested. Each of these bikes was special when we tested it. Together, they chronicle how our understanding of performance bicycles has evolved over the last decade.

Three years ago, I got my own “ultimate custom bicycle”. Now with 18,000 km under its wheels, I take stock: How is it to ride a bike with 1930s derailleurs, 1950s brakes and 21st century lights every day? What would I do differently next time around, and which features have proven their worth?

We bring you the story of the very first Paris-Brest-Paris. Conceived in 1891 as a “utilitarian race”, the first PBP was an extreme adventure and a gripping race. We combine Bernard Déon’s classic text (translated into English) with unique images from the Jacques Seray collection to take you right into the action.

World traveler Damian Antonio takes you on an amazing adventure in the Himalayas. What is it like to cycle above 5000 m (16,400 ft) elevation?

We also went to the Big Island of Hawaii, and bring you the experience of climbing the volcanoes there. At the same time, we evaluate the compromises inherent in a bike designed to fit into a suitcase. It made us realize that some features of our favorite bikes are not essential, but others we would not want to live without.

We take you on a factory tour of Nitto, the famous makers of handlebars, stems, racks and other metal components. Among other things, you will learn how the bulge in the center of high-end handlebars is formed.

Of course, that is far from all. We show you how to replace a rim without completely rebuilding the wheel. We feature book reviews, product tests, news, as well as our popular “Skill” and “Icon” columns.

  • Features:
  • 12 Cycling to the Land of the Gods (India)
  • 42 The Orient Chainless Waltham (1899)
  • 46 The First Paris Brest-Paris (1891)
  • 68 A Visit to Nitto
  • 76 Mauna Kea on a 90% Bike
  • 96 A Brief History of Handlebar Bags
  • 108 Icon: JOS 431C Headlight

  • Reviews:
  • 6 Book Reviews: Goggles & Dust; TOEI
  • 22 Bike Test: J. P. Weigle 650B Randonneuse
  • 98 Test: VAR Bike Repair Hooks
  • 99 Test: Orwi Merino Wool Jersey
  • 56 Test: Dromarti Sportivo SPD Shoes

  • Tech:
  • 36 Eleven Memorable Test Bikes
  • 88 My Ultimate Bike After 3 Years
  • 102 Replacing a Rim on Your Wheel
  • 72 Skill: Countersteering

  • News:
  • 4 News: Centerpull Brakes, Classic Panniers, Calendar 2015
  • 8 Gilbert Bulté, 1921 - 2014
  • 104 Readers’ Forum