BQ 57 (Autumn 2016)


The Autumn 2016 Bicycle Quarterly continues to bring you the news you really want to read about: In France this summer, the famous Technical Trials were organized for the first time since 1949! It was exciting to be part of the jury at this event, where bicycles (and not riders) competed for the prize of the best “light randonneur bike”. Some of the bikes used tried-and-true solutions, but others featured suspension, disc brakes, and even a carbon frame with integrated fenders.

We bring you a full report from this great event, including on-the-road observations of the bikes as they were ridden over a very challenging course. We present two of the most amazing bikes – including the winning machine – in beautiful studio photos.

We also tested one of the most surprising machines at the Technical Trials, the PechTregon with its girder fork that combines rack and fork into one lightweight unit.

The whole event was a truly great experience, because it was all about improving the bikes’ performance for real-world riding. Best of all, the Technical Trials will be organized in regular intervals, so builders can improve their bikes with each iteration.

From France we move to Japan, where we relive the experiences of mid-century cyclotourists, who used every opportunity to take the train to the mountains and go riding. We take you on three amazing autumn tours, each to a completely different destination.

Our in-depth bike test features the Litespeed T5g “gravel” bike. We took it on the search for the “Lost Pass” in the Olympic Mountains. As so often during our adventures, the road started out smooth, but it didn’t remain that way…

We also assessed the Litespeed’s performance on pavement. Here, we tested whether wide and ultra-wide tires slow you down on steep hillclimbs. How much speed are we giving up on smooth pavement when we upsize our tires to “Enduro Allroad” or “Road Plus” sizes?

Can you imagine importing high-end French Uragos to Detroit in the late 1930s? That was John Fletcher’s plan. Yet his friends remember him not for his bicycle business, but because he was a truly inspirational gentleman. His story, as well as that of his 1937 Urago, are told in a beautiful article that is illustrated with period photos.

Back to the current day: Tom Moran takes you on a ride along the “Southern Tier” across the United States – in mid-winter. Tom is from Alaska, so he thought that the southern border of the U.S. was warm and dry in winter. Not so – but that and other adventures led him to encounter strangers, whose kindness made his trip all the more memorable.

If you get caught in the rain unexpectedly, you need mudflaps for your fenders. We show you how to make them from materials you can find virtually anywhere.

Our “Skill” column shows you how to corner with confidence. That is only a part of the many articles in this exciting issue, but we hope it’s enough to whet your appetite!

  • Autumn Cyclotouring in Japan
  • Rebirth of the French Technical Trials
  • Cycles Victoire "Type Concours"
  • Cyfac "Concours de Machines"
  • 1951 René Herse Randonneuse
  • John Fletcher and His 1937 Urago
  • A Mid-Winter Odyssey from San Diego to Florida
  • Icon: Radios No. 16 Headlight
  • First Ride: PechTregon Randonneuse Légère
  • Bike Test: Litespeed T5g Gravel Bike
  • Project: Emergency Mudflaps
  • The Speed of Enduro Allroad Bikes
  • Do Lighter Wheels Accelerate Faster?
  • Skill: Cornering with Confidence
  • News: Idéale Saddle, Compass 700C and 26" Tires
  • Readers’ Forum