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Happy Birthday, ROTOR Box!

Happy Birthday, ROTOR Box!

This day, in 1998, the first product designed by ROTOR was commercialized: the ROTOR Box.

More than 20 years have passed since ROTOR founders Pablo Carrasco and Ignacio Estellés began to reinterpret the world of cycling in their chosen disciplines. Enough time for the ROTOR Box to become a distant ancestor of the current Q RINGS® oval chainrings that have given so many joys and triumphs to cyclists and athletes including Carlos Sastre, Marianne Vos, Christoph Sauser or Mario Mola, and many others. That device, with a round plate with the crankset displaced from its geometric center, was the first step in a race in which ROTOR has always been in the lead.

Maybe, today, the ROTOR Box seems to us little aerodynamic, something clumsy in its movement or excessively heavy, but without a doubt it was the beginning of a new way of enjoying the two wheels. The pursuit of maximum sport performance, both mechanical and physical, has not stopped at ROTOR and our team of engineers continues working to realize the full potential of our cyclists. The new Q RINGS®, for road and mountain, owe much of its ingenuity and precision to that twenty-year-old system that today dresses the walls of our headquarters.

Almost at the same time the ROTOR Box was born, the young Kate Courtney (Specialized), Vlad Dascalu (Brújula Bike) or Carlos Rodríguez and Álex Martín (Alberto Contador Foundation) also saw the light for the first time, without knowing that they would become young promises of cycling, but now witnessing, another great ROTOR milestone: the launch of the only group in the world of thirteen speed, the ROTOR 1×13.

So two decades have passed, placing us as leaders in the powermeters sector, making the most of the benefits of oval chainrings in competition and health, betting on innovation and the constant improvement of each component on your bike.

We’re celebrating ROTOR Box and we hope to see it for much longer, letting it inspire us in each stage, in each curve, in each slope …

1×13 – The Only One

1×13 – The Only One

The world’s first 13s Hydraulic Groupset for a simplified and performance optimised shifting experience

The modular platform concept crosses 4 cycling disciplines (MTB, Road, Gravel & Cyclocross) with a flexible choice of drivetrain components to match your preferred bike set-up.

 

 

Why 2x11s equals a 14s Effective Gear Range?

The 1x drivetrain is currently viewed as an MTB only system because of the perceived gear range or the scale of power cadence available to the cyclist between gear shifts.

Although the traditional 2×11 groupset has 22 theoretical gears, the Effective Gear Range is 14s due to overlap of chainring and sprocket combinations.

Why 1×13?

Focused on simplifying the cyclist’s shifting experience ROTOR believes Road, Gravel & Cyclocross riders will follow MTB in the successful adoption of single ring (1x) drivetrain.

Combined with a wide choice of 1x chainring sizes (38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52, 54) our 13s cassettes can match and improve gear range and gear steps of the traditional 2×11 drivetrains.

The science behind the gear ratios

The foundation of our faith in the one-by groupset configuration is firmly based in the unique aero design of the world’s first 13s cassette.

We have put the cyclist at the centre of our re-designed 1×13 transmission by analysing real user-data thanks to our sophisticated INpower power measurement technology.

Our engineers process the primary data in the fine-tuning of our drivetrain design to deliver the optimum cadence range and the best possible cycling experience.

 

What are the unique benefits?

Simplified shifting

Leave behind the anticipation for the challenging front derailleur shift in the crucial race moment to avoid chain loss or chain suck.

Alternative

Exclusive 1×13 platform is a real alternative in range and gear steps to the traditional 2×11 drivetrains.

Flexibility

Bigger gear range and more gear choices compared to existing MTB 1×12 systems.

Modular platform

Unique 1×13 modular platform concept fits different cycling needs with the choice of shifters, cassettes, optimised direct mount chainrings and cranks.

Lightweight

Simplified 1x chainring without front derailleur means reduced weight and mechanical complexity with improved aerodynamics.

Hydraulic actuation benefits

  • Maintenance free: Install, Bleed, Forget. No cables to replace, no batteries to charge.
  • Internal routing ready.
  • Lighter than battery powered and mechanical systems.
  • Hydraulic technology with proven reliability.


The tech details:

Table below show the meters developed in a 53/39 & 11-28 2x chainring drivetrain (dividing by chainring and sprocket size):

 

If we order them:

 

However the cyclist never shifts between front rings 13 times with the corresponding shifts in the cassette.

We are used to riding in the outer ring and upshift sprockets until a certain point. Then we shift down to the inner ring for optimal cadence.

With 1×13 you can bypass the traditional challenging 2x front derailleur shift so you can focus on fluid rear shifting with reduced chance of chain loss or chain suck.

See platform explained for Road / Gravel and MTB below (next page):

1×13 Road / Gravel / Cyclocross

ROTOR 1×13 platform brings a real alternative to the classic 2×11 drive trains; let’s compare a classic 2×11 (53/39 & 11-28) drive train with ROTOR 1×13 (50 & 10-39):

Furthermore ROTOR provides 4 different cassettes sizes to accommodate the different spectrum of riders: 10-36, 10-39, 10-46 and 10-52.

So if we can afford a smaller total range (still bigger than 2x) and look for smaller steps in between gears, we can choose the 10-36 cassette.

Total Range Equivalence Tables:

What about MTB drive trains?

ROTOR wins Gold Award INpower in Eurobike 2018

ROTOR wins Gold Award INpower in Eurobike 2018

Following 2016’s Eurobike award for 2INpower ROAD, INpower ROAD received a prestigious Gold Award at Eurobike 2018 demonstrating ROTOR’s market leadership in the growing connected bike segment.

From the development of the original oval Q RINGS® our obsession has been to improve the cyclist’s performance and experience. Biomechanical visibility of your pedalling action allows you to perform more efficiently and track your training over time.

 

 

Interesting links to:

Why Q

Training with Power Meters

Does the Stiffness of Cycling Components Matter?

Does the Stiffness of Cycling Components Matter?

Is more always better? Not always. With current technology, it would not be a difficult task designing frames or components to be stiffer, and even lighter than the ones available now. But, what happens if too much rigidity in the components compromises the overall working of a bicycle? We explain why everything has a limit when choosing the right amount of stiffness in each component and why stiffness is important if we want to get the most out of our bicycle.

If you spoke to any frame or component manufacturer they would warn you that too much stiffness can be on occasions negative. They would also say that they could produce a component so stiff, that flex in the material would be almost non-existent. They would also tell you that could even make them lighter. Luckily for us, the engineers that design the frames and components that we use, know that when we apply a certain force or pressure on these parts, there should exist a certain amount of “give” so that the energy can be transferred in and adequate way. There is energy that is transmitted, energy that is returned and energy that is lost and they all have an important role to play.

CARBON FIBRE AND ITS CAPABILITIES

Although not all manufacturers use carbon fibre to produce components, it is without doubt the material that can be manipulated the most to determine the rigidity of a component. The quality of the fibres, the number of layers, the angle of layers in relation to each other, the type of resin used to cure it and the different manufacturing techniques are so varied that it allows the manufacturer to find the perfect combination of all the factors that they are looking for when designing a component. A handlebar for example, needs to be stiff enough so when we hold on during a sprint it will not flex too much, but it also needs to absorb small vibrations and impacts and give a comfortable ride when passing uneven or rough terrain. This is something of vital importance in the rear triangle of a frame for example. The end goal is for the stays to transmit the most amount of energy from the pedals to the rear wheel, but at the same time they also need to flex enough to absorb small vibrations and impacts, giving the frame a more comfortable ride.

One thing that is very important in all of this is the definition of rigidity. We could say that rigidity is the resistance to elastic deformation, and that elasticity is the capability of the material to deform under loads or sudden forces and return to its original form. We also need to take into account that when using aluminium to produce a frame, no matter which type, the only way to make it stiffer is to use bigger or thicker tubing. But with carbon fibre, you can dramatically change the stiffness by using different types of fibres, laying them at different angles and the resin that we use or even the way that they are set and cured.

At Rotor we have been using aluminium for many years in our cranksets, by using the TDS system (Trinity Drilling System) we are able to produce extremely light cranks, and to not compromise on stiffness, we use our own ‘Twin Leg’ technology, which allows us to achieve a crankset that has a perfect balance of stiffness between the two cranks. There is no point making a super stiff right hand side crank, if the left hand side is too flexy.

ELASTICITY IS THE KEY TO RIGIDITY

The stiffness of certain components is important. It is fundamental that parts like handlebars, stems, seat posts and cranks are stiff enough to transmit all the energy we input to the rear wheel, and from there to the ground. In every pedal stroke we lose energy, and if all these components were too flexy, then very little energy would transferred to where it is needed, losing valuable watts. This is the reason why SPD pedals were introduced, to efficiently transmit all the power to the cranks, along with the extra rigid soles of road shoes. This same principle is true to the crankset as well, they need to transmit all that power to the bottom bracket and in turn to the chainring, chain, rear sprocket and ultimately to the rear wheel. With other components like the handlebar and stem, a balance is needed between stiffness and elasticity to offer certain comfort, and also to absorb small impact from the terrain. Professional racers for example will look for higher stiffness in detriment to confront and elasticity, they would prefer a set of cranks or a bar and stem that are extremely rigid, and will overlook the lack of comfort as a trade off.

On the other hand, you have cyclists who will look for components with a focus on bump absorption and optimum stiffness. This is the reason behind why high end components are oriented towards efficiency and not comfort, to be able to transmit as much of the energy the rider puts into the bike as possible to the ground.

There are evidently many factors to take into account that can influence the stiffness of a component, It is not just about the materials, like aluminium, carbon or the type of carbon used, but sizes and lengths are fundamental to obtain a stiffness to the degree desired. The rigidity of a set of 165mm cranks will not be the same as that of a set of 180mm cranks, or a 420mm wide bar compared to a 460mm wide one, or a seat post that is too far out of a frame, or a 130mm long stem or a small compact frame compared to a very large one… The key is to find a balance between stiffness, elasticity and weight in function to the needs of each cyclist.

10 Training Tips for a Gran Fondo Success

10 Training Tips for a Gran Fondo Success

At some point, we have all thought of training for a “Gran Fondo”. The idea of racing with your friends and thousands more in breathtaking scenery sounds like a brilliant plan. But without the necessary training, the Gran Fondo can turn into a nightmare without the adequate preparation. We will list the 10 best tips to get yourself into the best shape possible for your big day.

In today’s world, the term “Gran Fondo” is usually allocated to races between 60-200km in length. There are many alternatives, but we will be giving you tips to prepare for a Gran Fondo race of between 100-120km. We cannot stress enough that any training plan for a Gran fondo needs to be prepared by a professional. Without the help of a qualified personal trainer, it will be very difficult to reach perfect form in time for the big day. Below we will explain which steps to take.

1.START WILL A GOOD AEROBIC BASE

If you do not have any form of training behind you, then to start, the first rides should be low to medium intensity, where distance should be the main goal, and not intensity. This way we can work the aerobic base and good muscular foundations to be able to work at higher and shorter intensity levels. This should be a goal for the first 6-8 weeks of training, at a minimum of 3 days per week. It is important to work on this base to condition the body and fine tune your riding position on your bike, including finding more ergonomic and comfortable parts like handlebars, saddles and bar tape, to make you feel as comfortable as possible during long distance rides.

2.ESTABLISH A MINIMUM WEEKLY TRAINING ROUTINE

Training twice a week will not be sufficient. The minimum number of days per week should be 3, alternating especially during the start of the training program. The ideal amount would be 5-6 days, These can be used for gym work, where we can work on a good aerobic base, focusing on flexibility, muscle coordination, strengthening joints, increasing power and strengthening the abdominal wall, back and shoulders, fundamental for a correct riding position.

3.LEARN TO CLIMB LIKE A PROFESSIONAL.

If you are not an accomplished climber, then it is very likely that during the ascent of a mountain pass you will be left behind, losing the group you are cycling with and ending up alone or in smaller slower groups. During the training for ascending or climbing, look for a hill with enough pendant that will force you to ride at your almost maximum rate, and maintain it for 15-20 minutes. Doing this will help develop your lactic threshold and you will increase your maximum intensity output, which will help you maintain power on the pedals for longer periods of time. If you are planning to repeat the climbs in series every 10 minutes, remember to have a 5 minute cool down between them to allow you to perform at your maximum level at every interval.

4.TRAINING WITH INTERVALS

Just as training climbing is a positive input to your overall routine, training with intervals can benefit you in the same way. It is important to train at your maximum sprint level in 2 minutes blocks with 2 minutes light pedalling periods between them. These can be done in blocks of 10 cycles, which will improve your maximum V02 threshold, as well as maximum power output. Remember that before performing these training intervals, it is a must to correctly warm up beforehand, a minimum of 45 minutes of light pedalling and small 10-15 second sprints will properly warm up your muscles and allow you to get the maximum benefits out of this training method.

5.REMEMBER TO REST

Rest is fundamental. Rest days count as part of your training regime. If you do not rest enough, your body and muscles will not heal after an intense workout, nor will it be ready to take on another one. To add to this, overtraining your muscles can have an adverse effect on their growth, meaning a longer and less efficient training period. Depending on the intensity of the workout there will be days of total rest and other that we call active rest days, where you can perform light training, for example yoga, Pilates or just stretching, muscle relaxation and massages. Take full advantage of your rest days to disconnect completely from cycling, rest your mind as well as your muscles.

6.KEEPING UP WITH A GROUP DURING A RACE

During a race, it is very important to find a group that is riding at an average speed that is comfortable for you. Being in a group during a race if fundamental to not waste energy riding solo. This is also true during Gran Fondo races. Taking into account that there will be varying levels, the most important factor is to join a group that you feel comfortable riding with, is does not need to be a large group, just one that will not overwork you. Never leave a group while climbing or during long flat periods. If you do, it will be incredibly hard to rejoin and can ultimately make you lose too much energy doing so.

7.GRAN FONDO RACES ARE LONG; BE PATIENT.

Specially at the start. Gran Fondo races are famous because from kilometre zero, racers start at a pace much higher than what will eventually be their average. Do not stress. Start at a good rhythm so you do not find yourself alone, but never at a pace that is above your correct average speed. You will only achieve tiring yourself out early, which will inevitably affect you later on in the race. Remember that this will be a long race, and you will have moments that you will ride at a quicker pace, if you feel you have extra energy to spare. It is better to save energy at the beginning, and use it at the end.

8.NUTRITION DURING TRAINING AND RACING

Never forget to eat during training and racing. During training it will help you identify which food sources you digest the best. And during a race it will give you the energy needed to finish. If there is a type of energy bar, fruit or nutritional complement that works for you during training, use these during a race too. Whilst competing, the food they give out may make you feel bad, have stomach problems and force you to stop. You will also lose less time if you take food with you, as you will not have to stop as frequently as if you had none, making calculating the amount of stops easier, leading to a better final time.

9.TRAVEL WITH TIME TO SPARE

If you have time and can take an extra day off, it is important to be able to travel with a couple of days extra before the Gran Fondo race. You will be able to rest from the long trip there, check out the surrounding terrain, and see first hand which parts will need which clothing. If you are travelling to another country or continent, and will accumulate jet lag, it is important to travel with at least two days to spare, to acclimatise your body to the new time zone. If you can do it with 3-4 days to spare, even better. Another advantage to travelling with time to spare, is to be able to adjust your bike correctly, and check all the rest of your equipment.

10.CHECK YOUR KIT

Your bike needs to be working 100% correctly on the day of the race. It is vital to check over and adjust your bike the week before a race, take it to your local mechanic to get it checked over completely. Remember to check the basics before a Gran Fondo race. All bolts need to be correctly torqued, tyre pressure checked, quick release levers and pedals tightened and your drivetrain correctly adjusted. Also check that your cleats and brake pads are positioned and tightened correctly. It is important to carry basic spare parts with you at all times, one or two inner tubes, C02 canisters and a multi tool would be the minimum. It is up to you if you wish to take more. You will also have to check which clothing you take, the weather conditions may change suddenly, rain, wind or a big drop in temperature can occur. Try not to carry too much kit, as it will be lot of time on your bike, a windbreaker and arm warmers are a must in colder weather or if the temperature drops during a mountain ascent.

How To Clean Your Road Bike Like A “Pro”

How To Clean Your Road Bike Like A “Pro”

“A clean bike is a fast bike.” It’s something that many of us repeat to ourselves as we summon the motivation to clean our bikes, especially before big rides and races. And it’s true: a clean bike’s drivetrain and brakes simply work better, so you will feel faster. Plus, when you clean your bike, you have the chance to closely inspect it, which means you are more likely to catch small problems before they become ride- or race-ending problems.

Step 1: Pick your venue

First, find a suitable place outside to clean your bike. Depending where you live, you may be able to set up a semi-permanent spot, complete with a bike stand, hose and cleaning supplies, for easy, frequent bike cleanings. But maybe that’s not an option for you, or you’re traveling? Consider using a bay at a local car wash, or borrow a friend’s driveway or lawn and hose.

Step 2: Assemble supplies

No matter where you clean your bike, it’s helpful to create your own portable bike cleaning kit. Key elements should include soap, degreaser, a chain cleaning kit, brushes of various sizes, a sponge, polish, old towels and rags. Store it all in a bucket that you can travel with and use during cleaning.

Step 3: Take care of your drivetrain

Because drivetrains are typically covered in lube, they attract dirt, mud, sand and other grit. Use a chain cleaning kit with degreaser to thoroughly clean your chain. Taking some time to scrape the accumulated gunk out of pulley wheels, off chainrings and from in between gears will make your drivetrain turn more smoothly, which means less effort to pedal. Use degreaser and a brush to get that gunk off; water alone won’t do much.

Step 4: Use soap and scrub

Although it’s tempting after a long hard, dirty ride to simply hose off your bike, which is still better than doing nothing, it will get much cleaner if you use soap and scrub. Despite all the marketing hype, no special soap is needed; dish detergent works great. Simply add some soap to your bucket and fill with water. If it’s a cold day, use hot water – it’ll be easier on the hands.

After initially spraying down your bike with water, use a sponge to soap up your frame, fork, wheels and other parts. Use a scrub brush for extra effectiveness wherever grime is caked on. Remove your wheels to get to hard-to-reach places. Last but not least, don’t forget to soap up your drivetrain so you get all that degreaser off.

Step 5: Rinse

Rinse your bike with water thoroughly after using degreaser and soap. Be careful where and how you spray water; avoid using a strong spray, such as from a power washer, directly into moving parts like bearings and bottom brackets, unless you also plan to re-lube or re-grease them all afterward. One of the great things about ROTOR UNO groupsets is that you don’t have to worry about the water potentially corroding your bike’s steel cables because both the brakes and shifters are actuated hydraulically; there are no metal shift or brake cables.

Step 6: Polish

Getting all the dirt off your bike will make your bike look much better, but if you want to do a super pro job, also dry your bike with an air compressor or old towels and then polish your frame and any shiny components. Be sure to check in advance that your chosen polish is ok to use on your frame. It’s hard to hurt metal, but not all substances are good for all frame materials and paints.

Step 7: Re-assemble and lube

Put the wheels – and any other parts you might have removed during cleaning – back onto your bike. Finally, lube your drivetrain, pedals and any other essential moving parts so they don’t rust or seize up.