Best Place To Buy A Road Bike in 2017: Online Or LBS (You Decide…)

For most of the last two centuries, the best place to buy a bike (whether that’s road bike or a vélocipède) has not been online. Once production moved out of the LB (local blacksmith), sales activity moved to the LBS (local bike shop).

In more recent years, LBS sales have come under threat from bike chains and from direct sales on the internet. But as we stand here in 2017 (or sit), where is the best place to buy a new bike (and do we have much choice anymore…?).

Your intrepid reporter, Le Mont of the Daily Velo, attempts to make sense of it all. (And fails. The End.)

Read moreBest Place To Buy A Road Bike in 2017: Online Or LBS (You Decide…)

Best Power Meter For Road Cycling 2017: The Sportive Cyclist Guide

Join me as I investigate the best power meters available for road cyclists in the glorious year of 2017.

Now I don’t own a power meter. I keep hoping that if I write about the topic enough, one of the power meter companies might notice and send me a free one.

Fat chance. At some point I’m going to have to buy one.

And me being me, I’ve done all the research to work out which one I’d get, for when the urge to splurge finally becomes unbearable (or when my training becomes so consistent that ‘training with power’ would give me a material uplift in fitness).

I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt with you good readers of the Sportive Cyclist (and a few of the naughty ones too).

So I give you, the Sportive Cyclist Guide to Cycling Power Meters.

[Fanfare. Mont exits with a flourish]

Read moreBest Power Meter For Road Cycling 2017: The Sportive Cyclist Guide

Service Course: In Which Our Hero Starts To Upgrade From Shimano 105 To Ultegra (And May Need To Buy New Wheels)

I am pleased to report that my gallant Trek Domane has been in for a service. I am less pleased to report that I have been guilty of a little bike neglect.

But there is a silver lining to every cloud. In this case it’s an Ultegra lining.

And this nimbostratus may even have a platinum lining as we, whisper it, consider… new wheels.

So, without further ado (and another paragraph that starts with a conjunctive), I give you my bike service REPORT!

Read moreService Course: In Which Our Hero Starts To Upgrade From Shimano 105 To Ultegra (And May Need To Buy New Wheels)

Shimano 105 vs Ultegra: Is It Worth It To Upgrade?

SHIMANO 105 vs ULTEGRA

There comes a time in every road cyclist’s life when it becomes clear* that the quickest way to progress to professional standards of performance is to splash more cash on a random bike component.

(*Not all that clear)

That time occurs before you buy your bike, roughly a week after you’ve bought your bike, then on a weekly basis until you cycle off this mortal coil.

So now is the time to consider whether upgrading from Shimano 105, a perfectly functional bike groupset, to Shimano Ultegra, a perfectly functional bike groupset, will take you from dog-dog to Froome-dog.

Read moreShimano 105 vs Ultegra: Is It Worth It To Upgrade?

Torque To The Hand (Or What’s The Best Torque Wrench For Bikes?)

Best Torque Wrench For Bikes

It feels like spring is starting to agitate in its loins (as Keats would say). It also feels like I need to show my bike a little TLC after it has spent the winter doing a ‘good job of work’.

And as every beautician will know, performing some serious TLC requires a serious torque wrench.

Whilst I’ve been washing off my bike after most rides, and a couple of weeks ago, I gave the whole drivetrain a (relatively) deep clean, I’m thinking that it might be time to start taking key components off the bike in order to clean (and grease) them properly. I want my summer cycling to hum to the tune of sweetly-tuned gears.

This is another of those ‘research before buying one’ posts. I’ve always known (in my heart of hearts?) what a torque wrench does (it tightens stuff to a precise amount of, er, tightness). But until now I’ve never had cause to use one.

Having decided to buy one, I’ve been doing some research and in this post I’ll share it with you (in case you, too, wish to tighten things to precise levels of tightness).

Read moreTorque To The Hand (Or What’s The Best Torque Wrench For Bikes?)

First Impressions Of TrainerRoad: Upgrading The Paincave

I have this sense that there is a secret to training that, if I crack it, will result in my becoming a stronger/faster/more stylish cyclist. If not instantly, then at least overnight.

It is this inner inkling that prompts my fascination with power meters (“If only I had a power meter then a programme of effective training would be within my grasp…”).

My innate Yorkshireness (long arms/deep pockets) means I haven’t quite pulled the trigger and bought one. Perhaps my other inner inkling is saying, “Don’t be ridiculous. Spending £500 on a Stages power meter just because Team Sky uses it is clearly not going to turn you into Luke Rowe.”

And yet, and yet… Those crank-based power meters do look awful shiny…

Thankfully, before I splurged half a monkey (or a couple of stoats) on a cheeky power meter, I remembered an email I received from a company called TrainerRoad, way back in the mists of time 2014…

Read moreFirst Impressions Of TrainerRoad: Upgrading The Paincave

What Is The Best Garmin Edge For Cycling in 2017?

Updated February 2017.

Great question. And one I’m going to attempt to answer.

The purpose of this post is to give you an overview of the Garmin Edge range of cycling GPS devices as we stand (ride?) here in the first months of 2017.

My aim is to give you an idea of what each Garmin Edge model can do, what features each one has, so that you can go down the list and identify the model that is most appropriate to your own requirements.

(Then you can persuade yourself that you do need the latest pedal stroke analysis feature, even though you don’t have a power meter, and buy the shiny top-of-the-range model.)

Fantasy Cycling (Purchases)

Long-time readers (and maybe some short-time ones) will recall that I own a Garmin Edge 510. It is entirely functional and does everything I need from a bike computer (and quite a lot more).

And yet […wistful music starts to play…] I can’t help fantasising* over a new shiny piece of Edge-bling attached to my handlebars.

(*Too strong a word?)

So I find myself keeping up to date with bike tech (not least via the stupendous DC Rainmaker blog).

And from time to time I share some of this ‘research’ with you (you lucky people). Let’s begin!

Read moreWhat Is The Best Garmin Edge For Cycling in 2017?

How To Fit A Bontrager Duotrap Speed and Cadence Sensor (And How To Write A Headline That Guarantees No One Will Read The Post)

I’ve got some pretty interesting ideas (interesting to me) as to how the Sportive Cyclist blog will evolve and improve in 2016 (I know, I know, you’re struggling to see how it can get any better).

Unfortunately, before then, I’ve some more, er, esoteric posts to publish. It’s either that or bin them. And the bin is full.

So, for the roughly 0.1% of you that own a Trek bike with a hole in one of the chain stays, here’s a guide to installing a Duotrap speed and cadence sensor. Two things: (i) it’s very easy; (ii) I took loads of photos.

Everyone else, go about your business. These are not the droids you’re looking for. Move along now.

Read moreHow To Fit A Bontrager Duotrap Speed and Cadence Sensor (And How To Write A Headline That Guarantees No One Will Read The Post)

Garmin Edge 520 vs Edge 510: Another “10” – What Gives?

So you’re in the market for a mid-range Garmin cycling GPS device and are considering whether to go for the Edge 520 or the 510?

Good, well you’ve come to the right place.

The Edge 520 is one of the newer additions to the Garmin cycling range and, as the ‘520’ number-clature suggests, it similar to the 510 (and with an extra ’10’, a little bit of a step up).

The purpose of this post is to summarise the main similarities and differences between the 510 and 520, for your delectation. Prepare to delect.

Read moreGarmin Edge 520 vs Edge 510: Another “10” – What Gives?

A Grease Gun For Your Bike (Or How To Lubricate Speedplay Pedals On The Cheap)

This post is not going to interest everyone, but if you have a strong desire to make precision insertions of oil into certain parts of your bike, then I’m about to blow your mind.

(Sort of).

I have found (and used) ((and liked)) an alternative to the ludicrously expensive Speedplay grease gun.

And I’m going to share my findings… (ooooh!)

Read moreA Grease Gun For Your Bike (Or How To Lubricate Speedplay Pedals On The Cheap)