Useful APPs For Cyclists

Useful APPs For Cyclists

Today, Mobile apps for people who ride bikes have almost become a necessity for any leisurely ride, training session or competition. It is completely normal to have one or two apps running during a ride; we have become “addicts” to comparing data with our closest “enemies”. There are tons to choose form for Android and IOS, but we want to show you the most useful ones to get the most out of the data from your rides.

1.ROTOR Power

If you are fortunate enough to have one of our INpower DM or 2INpower DM power meters, you know that you have the ROTOR Power app at your disposal for both Android and IOS. Through them you can monitor all your data from your rides; from pedal watts, to heart rate, the route based on the GPS… Also, if you use the Q ring OCP chainrings the app will help you find the best OCP position (Optimum Chainrings Position) for your pedal stroke, according to an analysis of your power output. And if your smartphone has altimeter and pressure, you can also store all data relevant to the accumulated altitude, climbed, descended, etc… You can also see in real time, your pedal cycle, as well as the instant power output at any given part of your pedal stroke. It is free and can be downloaded from ROTOR´s website.

2.Strava

Undoubtedly the most famous of all the bicycle related Apps, or at least the most extended one. Strava gains one million new users every 40 days. One of its strong points is that as well as being able to use it for mountain biking and road riding, it is compatible with an uncountable amount of other sports and various accessories. In fact, you can use Strava through over 300 types of sports devices. This way, if you have a Smartwatch, or cycle computer, there is no need to take your Smartphone with you. Once home, you can transfer the data via the app used on your device, and it will sync automatically with your Strava app without having to do anything. The app is free for both android and IOS, and there are two types of user profile, a free version that allows you to access to the basic options, and a paid Premium account which gives you more options to choose from. With either one of them, as well as your Smartphone, you can view your routes and training data on your laptop or tablet. One of the other strong points of Strava, and probably the most recognised, is that you can view and ride routes that have been uploaded by other users and try to compete with them, And if you like, you can create your own routes and try to compete with the rest of the users on them. The interface is very easy to use, and even with the free version, there are a lot of options available to use. You can visit their website for more information.

3.Zwift

If you follow the social media accounts of any of the professional cyclists from the international circuit, we are sure you have seen more than one of them training in front of their TV with Zwift on. Zwift is compatible with almost all of the static trainers, and you can even use your own avatar with which you can train and compete with other users. You can choose to ride virtual roads, use scheduled training, depending on the level of exercise chosen, or compete online with a multitude of events on a global level. It is without doubt one of the most entertaining apps when there is no other way than staying at home to train. If you visit their website, you will see a free one week trial, but if you end up wanting more, you will need to pay the monthly fee of $14.99 USD. It is compatible with ANT+, BLE, as well as most PCs, Macs and Android and IOS devices. It is important to check what you need on their website, depending on the device you will be running it on, as well as extra accessories you may use like powermeters, heart rate monitors etc.

4.Relive

Undoubtedly Relive takes the title of one of the most visual and attractive apps that any cyclist can use. It is compatible with a lot of systems and devices such as Garmin, Strava, Apple (Health), Endomondo. With a software focused on the use with a variety of sports, the best thing about Relive is the video that it creates for you at the end of a ride, with the mountain passes, the maps, the participants, the photos you have taken… It comes into its own when you have been part of a group ride and everyone has the app, because the video will show the positions of each of the members in each moment and their final times. It is not the app that will give you the most technical data of each ride or training session, but is does stand out from the rest with a very visual and super attractive interface. The application is free and available on the Relive website for both Android and IOS.

5.Endomondo

With a base very similar to Strava in terms of the data it offers and the ability to use it with a variety of sports, Endomondo was one of the pioneers in the field of training apps. It has a very complete interface that offers tons of parameters from your ride (map, average speed, altitude, maximum outputs, etc…), but its strong point is the feedback from a virtual trainer through audio. You mark the objectives of the training, and a personal trainer will provide you with information on how the training is going, as well as encouraging phrases to motivate you through your headphones or Smartphone speaker. In addition, by having real-time tracking, your friends can follow you when training and send you direct messages of encouragement. As in many similar applications, Endomondo is compatible with loads of fitness accessories and you can also use it as a social network with other users through messages and an online community. In 2015 the app was bought by the giant Under Armour, that is why you will see it linked to the brand. It is free and available for both Android and IOS. There is also a Premium version if you want to opt for more features within the app and the web. You can get more info on their website.

6.Training Peaks

Probably the most professional and effective app if you want to keep to a strict training plan. It is valid for both personal and professional use. The app is more focused on keeping track of and planning your training, more than following real time data. You can structure your training by days, weeks or months. On the Training peaks website you can download a free trial, but it is only valid for 14 days. After this you will have to sign up and pay a minimum monthly fee of $9.92USD (if you pay for a whole year). If you would prefer to have a monthly subscription the price is $19.95USD (fees may vary from country to country). For personal trainers the price varies from $19 and $49 USD as well as an initial payment of $99USD. The price is high, but as an athlete it allows you access to a multitude of training plans for cycling, triathlon, running etc… This way it will be incredibly easy to establish your daily goals. It is also compatible with quite a few static trainers and accessories.

5 Advantages of Hydraulic Gear Shifting

5 Advantages of Hydraulic Gear Shifting

There are three ways to change gears on bikes: using mechanical, electrical or hydraulic systems. Which is used on any given bike is all about how the power is transmitted from the shift lever(s) to move one (or both) derailleur(s) among the available gears. Pulling on cables to mechanically change gears is the most common and familiar method, but the use of both electricity and fluids to switch gears is becoming more popular.

In this article we take a look at the advantages of hydraulic gear shifting. A great example of such a system is ROTOR´s 1×13, a recently launched, state-of-the-art, 13-speed drivetrain for use on road, gravel, cyclocross or mountain bikes.

Low Maintenance

Perhaps the greatest advantage to hydraulic shifting is ease of maintenance. Hydraulic shift systems use an intentional design of fluid moving within a closed system to create changes in pressure that in turn create movement of a derailleur to shift gears.

Yes, like any braking or gearing system, it does take time to initially install and set up a hydraulic shifting system, but once you do, there is very little further caretaking to be done. Gone are the days of having to adjust your derailleur cable tension to accommodate the inevitable cable stretch for mechanical gear shifting systems over the first days and weeks worth of riding.

No Batteries

Also gone is the need to have to maintain yet another battery. We’ve all heard stories of batteries in electrical shifting systems dying mid-ride because they inopportunely run out of juice. With hydraulic shifting, you never have to remember to charge or replace your battery.

Precision Performance

Ever notice how mechanical shifting degrades over time as water and grit contaminate cables and housing and cause corrosion? Or how they don’t work when they get wet and then are subjected to freezing conditions? With hydraulic shifting, those concerns no longer apply. Hydraulic shifting is unaffected by wet conditions, and it works well over a wide range of cold and hot temperatures. Likewise, because hydraulic systems are relatively simple in their design, they are both efficient and precise in shifting feel relative to mechanical systems.

Tried and Tested Technology

Hydraulic systems, which have long been used for applications like vehicle brakes, airplanes and construction and mining equipment, made their debut on bikes along with the development of disc brakes. Cyclists who experienced early hydraulic mountain bike disc brakes will remember that they came with a lot of issues, although those were eventually addressed as the technology was further developed and improved over time. Fast forward to today, and hydraulic braking is now ubiquitous on mountain bikes and quickly becoming the new standard for road and gravel bikes, too. And while hydraulic actuation is relatively new to bike shifting systems, engineers already have decades of design experience in having brought hydraulic technology to bicycle brakes.

Early Adoption

Switching over to hydraulic gear shifting soon will put you on the cutting edge of the latest bike technology; you’ll be an early adopter and thus different from most other cyclists. But don’t wait,  because we’re sure that hydraulic shifting will catch on quickly, so you won’t be alone off the front for very long.

Mario Mola´s Profile / Bike

Mario Mola´s Profile / Bike

Precocity is not casual. That Mario Mola decided to start swimming at the age of 5 was almost an omen of what the Mallorcan athlete sponsored by ROTOR for almost 3 years, was to achieve in his career. At the age of 28, and between 2013 and 2018, he has won a total of 5 medals in the Triathlon world championships, including 3 gold medals in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Here we will find out what Mario is like as a person, about his bike and some inside details of what an elite athletes life is like.

During this year’s latest competition, the Triathlon World Series grand final, celebrated on the Australian Gold Coast, has made it clear that after a tremendous performance by Mario Mola, the Mallorcan is the clear dominator of the Triathlon World Series. 2018 has been impeccable in every aspect, and in addition of winning various gold medals in the previous races (Yokohama, Hamburg, Edmonton, Montreal and the Gold Coast), has achieved with the latter in Australia, his third consecutive gold medal in the Triathlon World Series.

Asked about the importance of Q RINGS in the reach of his 3rd World Title, Mario aswered: “I’ve been using Oval Q RINGS for over 6 seasons and for me there is no better option. From the beginning I had fantastic sensations with them, feeling that I could apply the force optimally and this always translated into greater performance on both wheels. Since I compete with the ROTOR Q RINGS, not only has my bike performance improved, but I feel that I am able to keep my muscles in fresher condition to complete the transition to the final run. It has undoubtedly allowed me to run at my best level and fight to be ahead in more competitions.”

Mario Mola was born in Palma de Mallorca in 1990. 1,78cm tall, weighs 60kg and as well as being a ROTOR sponsored athlete also belongs to the Red Bull platform. His story starts with his initiation in swimming at the age of 5, he then entered his first triathlon competition in his home territory at 15, placing 3rd overall, where the Athens Olympic athlete Xavier Llobet took the win. This led him to debut with the national team a year later, in 2006 in his age category. Mario Mola won the first Triathlon Championship for Spain in the junior category, as well as a World Duatlon sub-championship and a European Triathlon sub-championship, all of them in 2009 and still in the junior category.

2011 was the start of his breakthrough; he sealed a place on the Olympic team in the London Olympics in 2012, where he placed nineteenth. He repeated the Olympic theme in Rio 2016 where he managed to achieve a tremendous eighth place. Mario Mola’s idyll with the World Championships started in 2013 where he finished third in London to later on achieve a medal in all of the consecutive years; Silver in both Edmonton 2014 and Chicago 2015. The Gold medals started to appear in 2016 in Cozumel, and in Rotterdam 2017. Without doubt the gold in Cozumel was one of his career highlights, due to the incredibly tight finish battled out between him and his rival Jonny Brownlee, who succumbed to the intense heat in the finals and lost to Mario. Currently, after winning the gold medal in the Gold Coast, Mario completed his triplet of gold medals whilst being the clear dominator in the category since 2016.

In addition to having a large media following, largely due to being sponsored by Red Bull, and a variety of other first class brands, Mario has been working closely with ROTOR for the last 3 years, using the Q rings and the 2INpower power meter. Mario is using BH bikes to compete this year, the model chosen is the G7 Pro painted in the colours of the World Champion. The G7 is the flagship model from BH, weighing in at just 840 grs in the medium size frame, and sporting beautiful aerodynamic details. Mario appears in one of the latest media videos by ROTOR. The athlete explains he normally uses the Q rings in the position 3 (third in the five OCP positions) “I found I was very comfortable from the beginning in the position 3, I haven’t noticed any discomfort or inconvenience in this position. I use 52-36 when competing, this allows me to have enough ratio during climbs and enough cadence to not lose rhythm, and with the 52-11 gearing, you really have enough ratio to get past almost all obstacles”

As well as using the Q rings, Mario Mola uses the ROTOR 11 speed UNO cassette (Mario combines this with Shimano transmission) that has a 11-28 ratio and an extraordinary weight of 135 grams. The UNO cassette is built using a combination of high strength steel and aluminium.

Mario started using Q rings after being advised by an experienced runner who had been running them for a number of years, he had commented then they benefited him at the start of the running section making for an easier transition. In addition to Q rings, Mario also uses the 2INpower cranks with built in power meter which allows him to analyse the power output and cadence of each leg separately and with much more detail without having to use any add on devices.

As for the preparation and motivation that the Mallorcan athlete needs for his long and hard training, Mario told us; “The preparation is obviously focused on continuing to improve, so that everything accomplished in the coming years, will hopefully serve us to achieve the best possible conditions for the next Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but at the same time we have more short term objectives in sight, basically because I believe that this is the best way to keep the body and more importantly, the mind, healthy.”

Without a doubt, it is an honour for ROTOR to have an athlete like him who is as committed to his training as to the technical means he uses to get the maximum out of his time on the bike. We are confident that his success will not stop here and that he will continue to be linked to ROTOR products for many years.

Interview with Kate Courtney, new 2018 MTB World Champion

Interview with Kate Courtney, new 2018 MTB World Champion

Since her racing career began in 2012, Courtney has been a podium-regular. She’s now gearing up to dominate in the women’s elite category.  Last weekend, at 22, she won her first MTB Elite UCI World Champs title in Switzerland.  She is the first American world champion since Alison Dunlap in 2001 and the fourth American woman to ever win the title.  

What do you feel about winning the most important race of the season and the one that every cyclist dreams?

Its an unbelievable feeling to have everything come together when it counts the most. I am still definitely letting the feeling sink in but couldn’t be more proud to bring the stripes home for the United States and Specialized. 

First year in elite category… first year riding with Q RINGS®… and you won the World Championship. What can you tell us about your experiences with Q RINGS® in this first season? Have you heard about it before?  

I started testing the Q rings in the fall and raced on them for the entire season. They have been a great addition to my race and training setup!            

People ask us what is the most common OCP position in our professional cyclists. In your case , which OCP position did you use in the World Championship? Do you use different OCP position depending on the track?

They have been in the same OCP #3 since my testing with the 2INpower App in the fall! 

How tall are you and what cranks size do you use? Do you use the same size for all your bikes no matter what discipline is?

I am 1,63m (5 feet and 4 inches) and ride 170mm cranks. I definitely use the same size for all bikes as they are an important component of my fit!

In the World Championship you had the opportunity to use the new KAPIC crankset, the ROTOR lightest model for XC. However, you decided to use ROTOR 2INpower MTB. Why did you choose that option?

Personally, I find the data from my power meter very valuable. It is incredibly helpful in terms of warmup and preparation – but also in this race I looked at numbers selectively to help moderate my effort on a really physically demanding course.

So far the use of power meter has been very popular for road bikes, but it is not so usual in MTB. Do you consider power meters as a trend which could make the difference for MTB trainings?

I think power meters have actually become very popular in mountain biking. They allow racers to train differently and I think most serious mountain bike athletes rely on them heavily! 

Although you still enjoying your recent victory in the World Championship and maybe is too soon to think about it, what are your goals for next season?

I am definitely still enjoying the victory and will take a break this season before resetting and focusing on next year. My biggest goals will definitely be the complete World Cup season, world championships and helping the US qualify as many spots as possible for the Olympics!

 

 

Now, check out this video of ROTOR oval chainrings and 2INpower DM MTB power meter in Kate Courtney´s bike.

 

Cross Country vs Marathon: Key Bike Differences

Cross Country vs Marathon: Key Bike Differences

Racing your mountain bike in cross country (XC) and marathon (XCM) events may seem quite similar at first, but taking a closer look at both disciplines reveals key differences in terms of ideal training and equipment. In this article, we focus on the best bike setups for both and how it all comes down to balancing speeds vs. comfort.

Cross country or Marathon

Let’s begin with explaining what we mean by cross country and marathon. A typical cross country mountain bike race involves multiple laps around a fixed course, mostly or entirely off-road and with a significant amount of singletrack. Laps at the pro World Cup level are between four and six kilometers although they may be longer for standard amateur events. Most cross country events last between 1.5 and 1.75 hours.

Marathon mountain bike racing, on the other hand, tends to cover a course that is either one big lap starting and finishing in the same place or traversing a point-to-point route. Marathon race distances can vary widely from anywhere between 60 and 160 km, and it’s not uncommon for marathon stages to last between 2.5 and 6 hours, depending on category and terrain.

Suspension

Marathon racers are more likely to compete on bikes with full suspension and more travel. Because marathoners cover greater distances over trails that are often more remote and get less traffic, riders have to deal with more varied conditions and more total physical abuse for any given race. Hence, comfort is a greater factor in deciding bike setup. Kilometer after kilometer, the physical toll of racing on natural surface or backcountry trails adds up, and having both front and rear suspension can take the edge off, significantly decreasing overall fatigue from all the jostling.

Cross country racers are only out there for one or two hours, so it’s easier to prioritize and performance and handle the extra abuse of racing on a hardtail for the shorter duration. Plus hardtails are on average lighter than full suspension bikes; thus pedaling a super lightweight hardtail up steep, punchy cross country course climbs can be a big advantage over pushing a heavier full suspension bike, especially at fast cross country race paces. And that climbing advantage often holds even factoring the extra jostling on descents and technical sections.

That said, depending on the course, cross country racers may still sometimes opt for full suspension for greater comfort. It can be the best choice for more technical courses where the weight penalty is worth the tradeoff because while riders may suffer a bit more on the climbs, they can flow faster over sections with roots, rocks and drops. A typical cross country racer will use full suspension with 100 to 120mm of front and rear travel whereas a typical marathoner will often go for 120mm.

Gear Selection

When it comes to gears, cross country racers can get away with narrower gear ranges and larger gears in general. In part, this is because cross country races are shorter, so racers can power through the tough spots in a higher gear and not have to worry about the fatigue that will be felt a few hours later. Cross country races also have a higher average speed, so bigger gears are needed to be competitive.

In marathons, which are more likely to have longer climbs and descents, a wider range of gears is needed to sustain ideal leg speed and bike speed over the long haul. Marathons tend to be held in mountainous terrain, which means longer and steeper climbs and descents. It can be less fatiguing overall to spin a low gear up a long climb before switching to a high gear to fly down lengthy descents.

Drivetrains

Fortunately, riders who use ROTOR’s Q rings have an advantage no matter what the discipline. Q rings help marathoners and cross country racers alike get the most out of each pedal stroke by optimizing when and how power is applied from their legs through the cranks and into the drivetrain. Whether you have just one bike or two separate bikes to set up to race cross country and/or marathon, you can’t go wrong using Q rings, and their design makes it easy to switch out chainring sizes to that which will best suit whatever your next event is.

Maintenance Tips for Your Disc Brakes

Maintenance Tips for Your Disc Brakes

Disc brakes are fundamental on mountain bikes nowadays, and they are becoming an unstoppable force in the present and future of road bikes.

If you ride an MTB, road bike or both, we want to give you the best tips to help you with the maintenance, so your brakes will work flawlessly from the very start.

During the last two years, the battle to introduce disc brakes into professional road racing has been difficult, with team and individual cyclists in favour and others against. It is a question of time before disc brakes are embraced fully for the benefits they offer. Here at ROTOR we know this, which is why we have been offering our disc brake system for road bikes that is integrated into our transmission system called UNO for a number of years, which we have developed in conjunction with the German braking specialist Magura, to offer you the RT8. For those of you that do not use our system, the following tips can still be used with any disc brake system, Simple and easy to perform, they will help you keep your braking system working perfectly from day one.

1.Brake pad and rotor cleaning

This is rule number one. Keeping the disc brake pads and rotors clean is essential for a brake to work correctly, and offer the best stopping power available. For the brake pads, you will only need to remove them from the caliper, and give them a light sanding with fine grit sandpaper, just enough to remove the shiny glaze from the surface of the pad. After a while, pads can become crystallized and glaze over, this causes brake squeal and a notable decrease in braking power. Lightly sanding them down will return the pad to its original condition, removing any impurities and improving braking power. In the case of the brake rotors, use a designated brake cleaner for bicycles, or rubbing alcohol. Using a clean rag, clean the rotor of any pad residue, oil or impurities. Check the surface for any nicks or sharp edges, if found, lightly sand them down to remove them, offering a nice, uniform braking surface. Also check the disc rotor is straight, if not, using a designated tool (never with your bare hands as this could contaminate the braking surface) straighten it until no rubbing occurs.

2.Check the pistons and fitting hardwear.

When removing the braks pads for cleaning, it is a good idea to check and clean the pistons at the same time. With the pads removed, carefully pull the brake lever, allowing the pistons to move 2-3mm. Be careful not to pull too hard, or you risk the pistons coming out of the caliper completely, which we then need re-bleeding and most likely the expertise of a qualified mechanic. Clean the inside of the caliper, then with the correct tool (never a screwdriver, as this can damage the pistons) push the pistons back to their original position and re-fit the brake pads. Once this is done, check all bolts and fittings to make sure everything is correctly tightened, go over the disc rotor bolts, and tighten if necessary, a loose disc rotor can be dangerous under braking. Lastly, check for any leaks in the system, especially around the hose fittings at the caliper and brake lever.

3.Brake bleeding

If you notice that your brake lever is feeling spongy, braking power has decreased or the brake lever travel is more than usual whilst braking, it may be time to bleed the hydraulic system. It is important to have the correct bleed kit and that you use the correct type of hydraulic fluid recommended by the manufacturer. In ROTOR‘s case, and the RT8 model, it uses a mineral based oil, and when you purchase the brake kit, it will come with a designated bleed kit. Using the incorrect hydraulic fluid can damage the seals in the braking system and cause catastrophic failure of the brakes. Even if the braking system work perfectly, we recommend bleeding them and changing the brake fluid once a year, This will help keep the system in perfect condition and give you a constant brake feel and power.

If you do not know how to bleed a braking system, then we suggest you take your bike to your nearest qualified bicycle mechanic for the work to be carried out.

4.Brake pad and rotor life

Both the Brake pads and rotors have a wear limit, In the case of the brake pads, you can easily check the wear by a simple visual check every now and then, never wait until the pads are completely worn out to change them, as they could wear down to the metal part and cause irreversible damage to the brake rotor, which can be dangerous under heaving braking. Brake rotors usually have a minimum rotor thickness to aid you with checking the amount of wear they have, and replacing them if necessary.

5.Noises and vibrations

To avoid unwanted noises and vibrations in the braking system, it is important that all bolts and fittings are tightened to the recommended torque settings. Regularly clean the brake pads and rotors. Check the QR levers are closed properly and tightened on both wheels, and that nothing is loose which could cause vibrations. Some manufactures recommend a light coating of high-temp grease between the brake pad backing and the pistons, to avoid pad vibration under braking. This must be applied sparingly and carefully to avoid and contamination of the pads or brake rotors, which could in turn cause loss of braking power and possibly cause an accident. There is also the option of changing the brake pad compound, from organic to synthetic or vice versa this all depends on the type of terrain you will be riding, and the weather conditions.