Serge Pauwels and Louis Meintjes explain their experiences using ROTOR components. Also, Nick Dougall tells you how he helped to develop the 2INPower powermeter.
Serge Pauwels is a veteran of Dimension Data and one of the most highly awarded cyclists in the team. He explains 2018 is his fourth year using ROTOR components and they have been the best years of his career. Serge trusts in the 2INpower powermeter every day in both training and competition and he says that is one of the most reliable powermeters on the market. Power measurement in both training and races are always based on watts and as a result the 2INpower is an indispensable ally.
The South African rider Louis Meintjes is one of the most promising young cyclists from the african continent. Involved in the development of the Q RINGS oval chainrings, he is a strong advocate and it formed an important part is his career evolution: “When you are really working hard, you want to know that you’ve taken every possible step to gain an advantage”. He’s been using the 2INpower powermeter with Q RINGS for the last 3 years and thanks to its reliability, it has become a vital training companion.
Nick Dougall, another of the South African riders in the Dimension Data line-up has been with the team since it’s foundation and is also a lover of the ROTOR brand. Putting ROTOR products to the test at the very highest level opens the feedback loop to allow the development great components to continually innovate and improve. ROTOR’s inspiration is always to invent a product that improves the cyclists experience and compete for podiums at the highest level.
When it’s time to shop for your next pair of road wheels, you’ll find that you have plenty of options. The question is, how do you make sense of them all? In this article, we discuss what key points you should consider ahead of purchasing your next set of wheels.
Wheel and Rim Dimensions
Two key dimensions are important. First, what diameter is your wheel? 700C (622mm) is standard among most road bikes, but some bikes, especially smaller sizes, come with 650C (571mm) wheels. Secondly, what width of tires do you expect to run? You don’t want to run really wide tires on a skinny rim or really fat tires on a skinny rim. Running the correct width rim will ensure that your tire has its optimum profile shape for its best performance.
Be sure to check the manufacturer’s spec for each set of wheels on what tire widths are recommended for any given rim. Tire widths of 21, 23 and 25mm are common on road bikes, but increasingly larger width tires are being routinely spec’ed on road bikes, especially those that are also ridden on gravel roads. Some road bikes and wheels can accommodate up to 40mm tires.
Axle Type and Size
Wheels can attach to road bikes via more traditional quick release skewers or newer thru axles. Your bike’s frame and fork designs will determine which axle type you need for your front and rear wheels.
For either axle type, size does matter: both the length of the axle and its diameter are important. Road bike quick release skewer diameters are consistently 9mm in diameter, and skewer lengths are 100 mm and 130 mm respectively for front and rear, but thru axle skewer diameters are much more variable in sizing options.
Tubed, Tubular or Clincher
Road wheels come in three common types: for use with tires and tubes, for use with tubeless tires and for tubular tires. Racers have traditionally trained on tubed tires and raced on tubular tires, but recent advances in tubeless technology now make it a great option for the road.
Carbon fiber and metal alloy rims are your two most common choices. Carbon fiber rims come in more different shapes and are often lighter, stronger and more aerodynamic, but are usually significantly more expensive. For those using rim brakes, alloy rims are typically a better choice for a wider range of weather conditions, including extremely wet or hot weather.
Wheel design is influenced by factors such as aerodynamic vs conventional rim shapes and number and shape of spokes. Different rims shapes will handle better or worse in windy conditions, and wheels without enough spokes for a given rider weight may be more fragile and more frequently subject to broken spokes. Furthermore, some spokes also give better aerodynamic performance (less drag) than others. It will be much easier to replace the broken spokes that will inevitably occur over time if the wheel’s spokes are a standard size and design vs. proprietary.
Whether or not your bike has rim vs. disc brakes will affect which wheels you pick. If you’re still riding rim brakes, you’ll need to make sure your wheels are rim brake compatible – that is, they have a flat rim side surface that aligns with your rim brakes. Likewise, if you’ve got disc brakes, your new road wheels will need to be outfitted with hubs that can accommodate the kind of disc setup on your bike – such as six-bolt or centerlock.
Good hubs should be well sealed from the elements, easy to service with replaceable parts and give rapid engagement for transferring the power from your pedals efficiently to the wheels.
Nicer wheels are typically lighter, which makes them feel better performance while when you are accelerating or climbing.
All of the above factors influence cost. For example, carbon wheels are typically more expensive than alloy wheels; lighter wheels are typically more expensive than heavier wheels; aero wheels are often more expensive than conventional wheels because of more complicated designs and lower production volumes. When you are shopping for wheels, you’ll be balancing cost vs. all these factors to find the set that best works in a high quality way for you and your budget.
Your bottom bracket isn’t the most exciting part of your road bike, which makes it easy to ignore until something is wrong with it. However, it’s a very important part of your bike, so in this article, we tell you a little more about this essential yet relatively uncelebrated component.
Your bottom bracket connects your cranks to your bike in such a way that they can rotate freely as you pedal and put power into the drivetrain. It is located in the bottom bracket shell which is where your frame’s down tube, seat tube and chain stays all come together. A bottom bracket typically contains bearings that enable the crank’s spindle to rotate. Shell and spindle widths vary depending on the type of bottom bracket.
What’s the big deal?
If your bottom bracket is working well, you can pedal smoothly with minimal resistance. That means the energy you apply to the pedals gets transferred efficiently to the bike.
Looking back over time, there have probably been as many different bottom bracket designs as there are bike brands; and some bike brands have even been known to come up with their own proprietary bottom bracket designs.
Modern bottom brackets tend to come in two general types: threaded and press fit.
Threaded bottom brackets
Threaded bottom brackets can only be used with frames that have a threaded bottom bracket shell. This is because threaded bottom brackets must be screwed into the frame. These bottom bracket’s bearings are typically held in place within cups.
What’s tricky about threaded bottom brackets is that not all threaded bottom brackets are created equal, which means that different types of threaded bottom brackets can’t just be swapped for other types.
For example, two common threaded types are Italian or English. Both sides of an Italian standard bottom bracket are right threaded; whereas English standard bottom brackets have opposite threading, like your pedals do. The advantage to the English design is that the drive side does not come loose through the forces of normal pedaling action like it tends to on the Italian version.
The good news about threaded bottom brackets is that they are relatively easy to install and maintain.
Also known as threadless bottom brackets, press fit bottom brackets get, well, pressed into your frame’s bottom bracket shell instead of threaded in. They are effectively cartridge bearings pushed into the shell, and their design often allows thicker crank spindles, which some riders experience as stiffer and more efficient.
Some examples include BB90/95, PF86/92 and BB30. BBright and BB386. Special tools may be required to press the bottom bracket cups into your frame during installation and likewise to remove them again should you ever need to do so.
Square taper bottom brackets
This once very popular type of bottom bracket combines the bearings of the bottom bracket and the crank’s axle together into one removeable part. The cranks affix onto two square tapers on either side of the bottom bracket. Square taper bottom brackets are effectively a specific kind of threaded bottom bracket. They are frequently found on older, vintage bikes, but are still on some more contemporary bikes.
What can go wrong
When your bottom bracket is poorly adjusted, it may develop play or a wobble, causing less efficient transfer of energy from you to your bike.
Another common problem is that when bearings get contaminated with dirt and water or wear out, there is more friction in turning the cranks, so it feels harder to pedal. Sometimes the bearings actually feel rough when you spin them; other times, you may hear and/or feel a click or two with each pedal stroke, especially under higher loads.
It is important to maintain your bottom bracket. If you have a threaded bottom bracket, remove it periodically and refresh the anti-seize compound that keeps it from getting permanently stuck in your frame.
And no matter what type of bottom bracket, check your bearings regularly to keep them running smooth. Loose bearings in some types of bottom brackets can been taken apart and cleaned and re-greased; whereas in cartridge-type bottom brackets, you’ll simply replace the cartridge bearings when they go bad.
You can make your bottom bracket last longer by carefully cleaning your bike. Never spray high pressure water directly at and around your bottom bracket as it will eventually penetrate seals compromise the integrity of the bearings.
Lots of different bottom bracket standards mean there are lots of different tools for installing and removing them. If you don’t have the proper tools and skills, you may need to take your bike to your local shop to help you fix any bottom bracket issues.
ROTOR is delighted to announce we will become the title sponsor of the WNT-ROTOR Pro Cycling team for the 2018 season supplying all cycling components for this elite group of professional women cyclists.
ROTOR has been closely involved with the team since its foundation in 2014 and the unique partnership means WNT-ROTOR Pro Cycling will be the only UCI registered team equipped with UNO, the first complete road groupset with hydraulic-actuated shifting and braking.
The UNO groupset will be mounted on the Orbea Orca OMR road bike with 2INpower power meter, Q RINGS and the innovative ROTOR RVOLVER® hubs which are all CNC machined using WNT cutting tools at ROTOR’s manufacturing facilities in Madrid.
With the new season fast approaching, WNT-ROTOR Pro Cycling will become a test and development team for ROTOR products, who will be taking on the highest level of UCI racing throughout Europe.
ROTOR CEO, Jose Manuel Banqueri, commented “We’re extremely proud to be associated with WNT-ROTOR Pro Cycling team. They are pioneers in women’s professional cycling and we look forward to working together in both product development and competition in the coming season.”
Claude Sun, World MD of WNT-Ceratizit and team manager of WNT-ROTOR Pro Cycling added “It is the next logical evolution between ROTOR and WNT in our concept in investing in Women’s cycling with a pro cycling team. Together we hope to make 2018 our most successful year as a Pro Cycling team and continue to improve both ROTOR products and our riders.”
Riders for 2018: Anna Badegruber, Lydia Boylan, Natalie Grinczer, Hayley Jones, Melissa Lowther, Elise Maes, Eileen Roe, Hayley Simmonds, Aafke Soet and Lea Lin Teutenberg.
Optimum Chainring Position (OCP) is what allows you to vary the rotational position of a Q-Ring, thereby enabling you to adjust it to the precise point where you deliver maximum power during a single pedal rotation.
ROTOR suggests the following initial OCP setups by discipline:
Road: Position 3
Triathlon and TT: Position 4
MTB: Position 3
Because Q-Rings use leg muscles differently than round chainrings, your muscles will need time to adapt to the new, more efficient way of pedalling. Adaptation is a gradual process covering four stages with each stage taking between one day and one week. Most riders will require at least 10 hours of pedalling time to make the full transition.
In stage 1, you will learn to pedal more efficiently. Pedalling may initially feel different, and you may find yourself turning the pedals at a faster or slower rate than your usual cadence. Don’t worry about any initial jerkiness – it will smooth out over time.
You will start to feel more capable and more powerful in stage 2, and your spin will improve on climbs. Many who suffer knee pain will start to notice it less – assuming their OCP is correctly adjusted.
Stage 3 + 4
Stage 3 will bring improved biomechanical efficiency, which produces a smoother pedal stroke due to fuller activation of muscle groups. You will be creating more power than with round chainrings. If you experience no issues during this stage, you have correctly set your OCP and are onto Stage 4 of adaptation. Those encountering issues should read on for further OCP setting instructions.
If you experience the following symptoms, you are arriving at the max chainring diameter too late because your OCP number is too big, and you should reduce your OCP by one setting:
You accelerate and sprint easily, but have difficulty maintaining speed.
You feel pedalling resistance too late in your pedal stroke and/or you are hyperextending your ankle.
You need a lower cadence to be comfortable.
Your sit further forward than usual to pedal comfortably.
You are comfortable pedalling while standing, but not while seated.
You have new pain at the back of your leg behind your knee.
On the other hand, if your OCP is set too low, you will find yourself arriving at the max chainring diameter too soon during your pedal stroke. You should increase your OCP setting by one if you experience the following:
You find it easy to maintain a steady speed but have difficulty accelerating and sprinting.
You feel pedalling resistance too early in your pedal stroke and/or you are hyperflexing your ankle.
You need a higher cadence to be comfortable.
You sit further back than usual to pedal comfortably.
You are comfortable pedalling while seated, but not while standing.
You have a new pain at the front of your knee.
Once you’ve got your OCP correctly adjusted, it’s time for stage 4 and final adaptation, which comes naturally with more cumulative pedalling time using Q-Rings.
A few final setup notes
Different bikes may need different OCPs – don’t assume you will use the same position on each of your bikes.
Adjacent chainrings in multi-ring setups may require different OCP’s.
Road Q-Rings and QXL have five OCP points while MTB Q-Rings have three OCP points.
If you are using a Micro Adjust Spider (MAS), your number of OCP points is effectively doubled because it reduces the angle between OCP points by 2.5 degrees, thereby offering micro adjustments. In this case, you should adjust your OCP in 1/2-step increments.
In this article Trevor Court and Dr Carol Austin are going to take a closer look at Jacques Janse van Rensburg’s effort during the Vuelta 2016 opening stage, the Team Time Trial (TTT) from Balneario de Laias to Castrelo de Miño. What were the challenges of the TTT course?