Thursday, January 09, 2014

More wonderful than you can believe it

X-fusion Velvet RL2
In the world of cycling we are bombarded with more BS than we can deal with with regard to so called improvements in bicycle design, which in my opinion often serve only to further complicate what was in its original format an elegantly simple thing.

Extended seat-tubes, multiple bottom bracket standards, multiple head-set tapers and 11 speed clusters with crazy chain-lines.

The bicycle is going the way of the luxury yacht and when hydraulic brakes on road bikes became standard the average punter will be taking his bike into the shop for all maintenance I guess.

It was a real surprise to hear the other day that a company has finally started doing what they should have been doing for years, creating forks that will work on multiple wheel sizes. The X-fusion brand are building several forks that cover multiple sizes.  27.5 to 29 inch forks, and 26 to 27.5 forks.

Whether we really need a 27.5 I don't truly know, but when I finally had a gutsful of the worst Rockshock I had ever known, and I have owned 4 different models, I picked up a new X-fusion Velvet RL2 from Jville Cycles.  It comes with a straight steerered version AND a 9mm axeled version so its win-win for luddites like me. It also comes with the ability to set it (internally) to 100mm, 120mm and 140mm travel, plus have an internal adjustment for 27.5 wheel sizes. One fork fits all : )

So far I have loved it. Set with 120mm of plush travel it is very confidence inspiring, and I have spent the last couple of rides with a 27.5 loaner wheel from Francis on the front. Even without making the internal adjustment for the 27.5 wheel size it is really good, and you cant beat the price.

Running a standard 26 inch on the front at 120mm.
With 27.5 (650B) wheel on the front at 120mm, without internal adjustment for it in place.

Use-only-as-directed

I heard a very interesting podcast about the drug Tylenol the other day on This American Life. It is the over-the-counter legal drug that kills more people than any other in the US each year.

Image from BaldBoris
It struck a chord with me because I remembered seeing a tweet from Taylor Phinney about the widespread use of this legal drug in the peloton and how he didn't agree with it.

To some people he came across very preachy, but to me it gave hope for the next generation of cyclists who can look at someone like Phinney and know that you can race even without "legal" drugs.

As I found in the This American Life Podcast, the scary thing about Tylenol is its low margin for error. Twice the recommended maximum dose could cause you real problems or even death. Compare this to something like Ibruprofen which has a many times larger margin for error.

According to the This American Life podcast 150 people a year die from taking acetaminophen in the US (the active ingredient in Tylenol) but in a country where 1 in 6 take it at least once a year that's probably not seen as a massive problem.

What I wonder about is what happens when an athlete takes it and their body is already under massive stress? Maybe their high metabolism cycles it through and its not a problem.

What concerns me more is when NZ coaches and their riders are seen via social media promoting the use of legal pain killers as a legitimate option, just because it is not illegal.

Promoting pill popping is not doing anyone any favours and only encourages the "arms race" . Anyway, listen to the podcast, its very interesting.