Category Archives: Equipment

Everyone should know about their equipment.

MMT’s gotta a new bike…woo hoo!!

Dear Rouleurs,

After many frustrating hours of window shopping MMT has finally purchased a new bike. Woo hoo!!! MMT has joined the ranks of cyclists that now own something loosely referred to as a gravel bike. MMT will revisit that theme later. The new bike is a 2021 Giant Content AR1. The AR bit stands for ‘All Road’.

Essentially was looking for a better quality commuter road bike that could handle more sedate offroad paths like railtrails. The other key requirement to The Giant Contend provides this via its relaxed geometry aluminium frame that can fit tyres up 38mm on 700c rims. The Contend comes with 32mm tubeless tyres, which MMT is having to get used to. MMT is struggling with the idea of running tyres at 50-65psi and not being able to easily fix punctures.

The other main requirement was for the bike have a drive train compatible with MMT’s Tacx Neo 2 trainer. MMT has Shimano Ultegra (50-34 and 11-32) on his Domane and trainer and wanted similiar groupset for reasons of compatibility. Happily, the Giant Contend is equipped with 105 (50-34 and 11-34) and not the more gravel popular GRX. Its also has hydraulic disc brakes…hooray.

Here’s the spec details plundered from Bikeradar.com

  • Shimano 105 11-speed groupset with a non-series RS510 chainset
  • Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brakes
  • Giant P-R2 Disc wheelset
  • Giant Gavia Fondo 2 32mm tyres
  • Giant D-Fuse carbon seatpost
  • Giant D-Fuse D-shaped handlebars for increased comfort
  • 9.62kg claimed weight (medium)
  • note: that that its also has carbon fibre forks
  • £1,499 / $US1,550 / $AUD $2,499

It took MMT a long time to track down this bike. It first appeared on MMT’s radar late last year and has had generally favourable reviews. This one by Dave Rome at CyclingTips was one that convinced MMT, this was the correct choice.

Independant reviewers of the Contend have had consistent gripes.

a) The 105 shifters seem to rattle quite loudly on uneven surfaces – this is completely true. In fact, after riding super quiet and smooth Ultegra, its quite unnerving. MMT felt like that some bit of the bike was going to fall off.

b) The standard Giant tyres are a bit crap – the Gavia Fondo 2 tubeless aren’t very supple/grippy. Not sure about that one, they look more like commuter tyres than out and out gravel. So as long as they last and don’t puncture MMT can live with them.

c) The standard Giant rims are heavy – this is also true, the rims are heavy and the spokes are steel. A quick Google search suggests they weight just over 2.1 kgs. Hopefully this means they are indestructible and if broken cheap and easy to fix.

MMT’s other two gripes are that:

d) The Approach saddle just feels weird. Its quite hard and wide compared to the Selle C2 or quite firm Trek Montrose that MMT has placed his posterior on recently. If MMT could find a replacement Selle that was sub-$150 he would have bought it by now, and

e) The Shimano 105 shifter hoods are significantly bigger than the Ultegra hoods and feel quite bulbous to grip.

However this is all part and parcel of deciding which compromises you can live with on a sub-$2,500 bike. Coming back to Dave Rome’s review, fundamentally the bike is sound, has great quality running gear, a few minor quirks and is a bit heavy. It also only comes in a single colour…midnight blue. That sounds like a fair trade to MMT.

Until next time, ride safe, stay safe

MMT

And we are back in 2020…. with Hope HB-T

Dear Rouleurs,

Its been a while since MMT put fingers to keyboard on this blog. So much has happened since December 2019, that MMT doesn’t even know where to start. So MMT is starting with a tangent…track bikes. Yep, those two words have never, ever been been put together in an MMT blog before. To cut a long story short, MMT has been listening to the Cycling Podcast and heard about the radically different track bike that some (MMT will use the quaint English term) boffins at Lotus and Hope Technologies have developed for Team GB.

Its called the HB-T and it looks amazing.

Here’s a whole bunch of photos MMT stole…err…requisitioned off the web.

Its the front on photo that hints at what these wide forks and back stays are for, optimized drag. Effectively the rider’s leg is sitting in line with forks and stays. MMT is guessing that laminar flow across the side of the bike, is vastly reduced.

MMT wonders if this kind of bike might cross over into professional peloton for time trials? If Team GB clean up the gold medals on offer for the indoor track events and thrash competition, that might happen. MMT can’t wait to see this machine in action at the Tokyo Olympics this year.

Hopefully MMT will start churning blogs on a more regular basis in the coming months.

Until next time, ride safe.

MMT

Marv’s Law of Punctures…revisited…again

Dear Rouleurs,

This is the first blog MMT has written on his shiny new IPad Pro.  MMT did the MS Cycle 2018 a few weekends ago. MMT has really enjoyed doing this ride over the last few years. It’s the only time a cyclist can legally cross the Westgate Bridge. As MMT rides almost exclusively an the south eastern side of Melbourne, the ride has enormous novelty value. MMT will write up a blog about the event, sometime soon.

No, the real reason MMT has drafted up this short blog is that his started to get punctures… again… sigh. In fact, he’s had 2 in 3 days.  Its been at least 18 months since MMT has had one. MMT was beginning to think that the Bontrager AW3 tyres were impervious to punctures.

The first occurred as MMT was furiously pedaling up Kensington Road in Flemington.  It is bloody annoying getting a flat halfway up a steep hill, in the bloody rain mind you. Judging by Strava, that hill is somewhere between 5% and 7%. MMT didn’t see what it was that caused the rear flat.  It probably was a piece of glass or metal, maybe a nail.

The second flat occurred this morning need Beacon Cove store. MMT had finished his morning ride and was… luckily… only about 3/4 of a kilometre from home. Another rear tyre flat, this one occurred with a spectacular bang. MMT had exactly nailed a small but sharp piece of bitumen, resulting in pinch flat. A nearby pedestrian asked MMT if he was ok. The tyre popping must have been very loud. As a nearby pedestrian asked if I was ok.

Sunday’s puncture took 20 minutes to fix, so MNT pushed his beloved Trek back home. This was going to be much quicker. Later that day MMT purchased a new tyre at Cycles Galleria.  Removal of the old tyre revealed a hole the size of a 10 cent piece.

So I feel like I’ve rediscovered Marv’s law of punctures, all over again.

Until next time, ride safe.

Marv

A better use for triathelete time trial handlebars….

Dear Rouleurs,

I’ve fallen out of love with Mr Zuckerberg’s social behemoth, Facebook.  It’s big brother use of my activity data just leaves me cold and wondering when Skynet will arrive.  Nevertheless, the occasional post from cycling magazines turns up a gem and this is one of them.  Can’t help but wonder if Aussie didn’t ‘invent’ this.

Not that I’ve advocating drink-riding or any other similar foolishness.

Until next time, ride safe and sober,

Marv