Stefan Küng wins stage two of the BinckBank Tour with a blistering time trial

Küng moves into the general classification lead

Stefan Küng (BMC) won stage two if the BinckBank Tour with a blistering time trial.

In what was otherwise a close contest, with the rest of the top ten posting times within seven seconds of each other, Küng obliterated the field with a time a whole fourteen seconds quicker than the next best rider, Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal).

As a result, Küng inherits the overall lead from Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Floors), who, as was to be expected, finished way down on the stage in 101st place at 1 minute 25 seconds.

How it happened

It was a pleasant day for time trialling, with all of the rain that affected yesterday’s stage having cleared away.

Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) was the first rider to set a competitive time, arriving at the finish line in fourteen minutes and nine seconds.

For a while Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) was the only rider to come close to that time, with a ride three seconds slower than the Australian.

However, Durbridge was eventually removed from the hot seat by Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin).

Having shown good time trialling form last week with fifth at the European Championships, the Briton put in another great time that looked as though it might be enough to challenge for the stage victory, and looked relaxed on the hotset where he was seen tucking into some food.

His meal was rudely interrupted when Michael Matthews posted a time four seconds quicker, who himself was ousted mere minutes later by his Sunweb teammate Søren Kragh Andersen.

There was to be no stage victory for the Dutch team, however, when first Victor Campenaerts and then Stefan Küng pushed them down to third and fourth on the standings.

Campenaerts, who won gold at the European Championships time trial last week, appeared confident of another victory, when he celebrated upon crossing the finish line – something unusual for a time trial, with so many riders still to arrive.

Things looked ominous when, moments after Campenaerts finished his ride, Küng was seen passing his minute-man further down the road. That was an early indication of the superb ride the Swiss rider was on, and he ultimately put a whopping fifteen seconds into the Belgian’s time to take the overall lead.

Most of the GC favourites posted good enough times to keep themselves in overall contention.

Two-time overall winner and last year’s runner-up Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) ceded 31 seconds to Küng, while the likes of Greg van Avermaet (BMC) and Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) posted similar times.

Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Michael Valgren (Astana) fared worse as they lost 41 and 42 seconds respectively, meaning they’ll have work later in the race if they’re to challenge for the overall honours.

The BinckBank Tour will continue tomorrow with what is expected to be a bunch sprint in Antwerp.

Results

Stage two

1 Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Teamin 14-11
2 Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 14s
3 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb at 15s
4 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb, at same time
5 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 19s
6 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin, at same time
7 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 20s
8 Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 22s
9 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 23s
10 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at same time

General classification after stage two

1 Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team in 4-15-11
2 Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 14s
3 Soren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb at 15s
4 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb, at same time
5 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 19s
6 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin, at same time
7 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 20s
8 Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 22s
9 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 23s
10 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at same time

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The best Mavic wheel deals: Seven mega deals on the French wheels

Seven of the best Mavic wheel deals. including Mavic Cosmics and Mavic Ksyriums

For a long time, Mavic has been making some of the best road bike wheels on the market and we’ve acknowledged that, giving various wheelsets best on test marks or even our coveted Editor’s Choice award. Now though, we’ve compiled a list of great Mavic wheel deals just in time for summer. Included in this list are varying Mavic Ksyrium wheels as well as the French brand’s Cosmic option.

The products featured have been chosen because we know they’re good quality and are an excellent offer at the price we’ve included (at the time of writing). Our tech team have unrivalled expertise and years of experience testing new products, so you can trust our recommendations – and we also know what represents a good deal. Where we’ve reviewed the product we’ve included a link to it so you can read more.

With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.

Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc Haute Route wheelset was £1900, now £949.99

Just because they’re branded Haute Route doesn’t change the fact that these are the awesome Mavic Ksyrium Pro wheels, and these special editions are equipped with CeramicSpeed bearings – and they’re now at 50% off.

We’ve only reviewed the lower end Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, which we thought were absolutely exceptional. These wheels are higher end, and come with lightweight rims which will make a massive difference on the climbs. The rim is 25mm deep, which offers a level of comfort and is also stable, which is good because it’ll be a fast pair of wheels.

If you race or you still ride tubular wheels, Chain Reaction Cycles is also running a very fine deal on a tubular set – 53% off at £899.

Buy now: Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc haute Route wheelset at Chain Reaction Cycles for for £949.99

Mavic Allroad Pro Disc wheelset was £859, now £599

Read more: Mavic Allroad Pro Disc wheelset review

In short, we found the Mavic Allroad Pro Disc wheelset to be a quality option for mixed-rough terrain riding. They’ve got a snappy feel to them thanks to a fast engaging hub and a 22mm internal width makes them wide enough to seat a good spread of wide tyres.

Buy now: Mavic Allroad Pro Disc wheelset at Wiggle for £599

Mavic Cosmic Pro carbon wheelset was £975, now £877

Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon disc brake wheel set

Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon disc brake wheel set

These are the disc brake specific version of the wheelset below. It has 12mm thru-axle hubs although these are convertible to either quick-release or 15mm on the front. The rims are made of a lightweight 12k weave that also keeps them stiff and strong.

Buy now: Mavic Cosmic Pro carbon wheelset at Wiggle for £975

Mavic Cosmic Pro carbon wheelset was £969, now £872

These 45mm deep wheels are designed with a Naca profile to give them an aerodynamic edge, As does the fact the wheels are optimised around 25mm tyres. That additional depth of the wheels also gives them additional stiffness that helps your rolling speed on the road.

Buy now: Mavic Cosmic Pro carbon wheelset at Cyclestore for £872

Mavic Cosmic Elite UST was £389, now £325

With winter fast approaching these Mavic Cosmic Elite UST could be the perfect winter training wheels. For starters, with this discount they won’t break the bank. They’re also tubeless ready, which is perfect for the winter months, are aluminium and have sealed cartridge bearings in the hubs that should keep the worse of the winter gunk out.

Buy now: Mavic Cosmic Elite UST at Evans Cycles for £325

Mavic Ksyrium Elite UST centre lock was £569, now £509

This is the disc brake version of the rim brake Ksyrium Elite UST. It has been brought bang up-to-date with a 19mm internal rim width that seats tubeless tyres very well.

Buy now: Mavic Ksyrium Elite UST centre lock at Evans Cycles for £509

Mavic Ksyrium Elite UST 2018 for £424

Read more: Mavic Ksyrium Elite UST review

Buy now: Mavic Ksyrium Elite UST 2018 at Tredz for £424

The Mavic Kysrium Elite UST is one of our favourite wheelset. In fact, we love it so much we awarded it a spot on our Editor’s Choice list for 2017.

The UST moniker stands for Universal System Tubeless, and as a result all of Mavic’s wheels in 2018 are tubeless ready as standard. We also love the superb bearings used, the fact that they’re light weight for their price (1520g for the pair) and come with tyres to boot.

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Simon Yates lines up at the Vuelta a España with ‘lessons learned and a different approach’

Team Director Matt White says “if you don’t learn from the other races, then you are never going to reach your goals”

Simon Yates is heading to the Vuelta a España with “lessons learned and a different approach.”

The Mitchelton-Scott rider led the Giro d’Italia for 13 days until Chris Froome took over to win.

Sports Director Matt White and the team took away critical experience from Yates’s ride, which included three stage wins, before his collapse en route to Jafferau.

Yates went from race leader, holding the pink jersey from Sicily to the Alps, to 21st overall. The 26-year-old now aims at the Vuelta a España, starting August 25 in Málaga.

>>>  Vuelta a España 2018 route

“It’s a different race, different competition and different time of year. They are night and day, different style of races, they are different beasts,” White told Cycling Weekly.

“We knew that we had to take time early on in the Giro, and on the way we won five stages. We will definitely be approaching the Vuelta in a different mindset.”

Colombian team-mate Esteban Chaves won the mountain stage at Etna when Yates took the race lead. It started a tidal wave that included summit wins at Grand Sasso, Osimo and Sappada. On the famous gravelled climb of the Colle delle Finestre, Yates began to buckle under pressure from Team Sky and Froome took off moments later.

The experience gave the Australian team and Yates critical information they need as they approach the Vuelta a España.

“Yes, there is [a lesson], but we are not going to make our plan public! If you don’t learn from the other races, then you are never going to reach your goals,” White said.

“We came up short of getting on the podium in the Giro, but we didn’t plan on winning five stages against climbers, and Simon was also second to Froome on the Zoncolan stage. That was his first big real attack to try to win a grand tour. Now he’s lining up again with some lessons learned and a different approach. We’ll see how that approach works in August and September.”

Yesterday, the team announced twin bother Adam Yates would race the Vuelta to support Simon. The Vuelta had not been on his plan.

Adam aimed for the Tour de France overall in July, but suffered from dehydration and lost time in the Alps. He rebounded well, nearly winning stage 16 to Bagnères-de-Luchon until a crash on the descent to town.

“It wasn’t originally in his schedule, but plans change. We wanted him to go through the process of getting another grand tour in his legs,” explained White.

“Things didn’t go as we planned in the Tour, but if he didn’t do the Vuelta it could have been another year before he race another grand tour. Racing another grand tour is going to be a valuable experience.

“We are using this as experience, to go through the process of a three-week tour and coming out on the tail-end stronger, and to be crucial support for his brother.”

White and the team are thankful to have three riders able to compete in grand tours. Its third leader Chaves is not able to race the Vuelta, still rebounding from the Giro and being diagnosed with mononucleosis.

“Simon is on his way up after a break and Adam is in a different place after the Tour, but they support their teammates no matter who is the leader, if it is the brother or someone else.

“Esteban was pencilled in the Vuelta at first, but now probably won’t race for the rest of the season. We know that if something happens to one of those guys, we always have on in the sidelines ready to step up. It’s a bonus.”

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Tom Pidcock to lead new British cyclocross team in 2018/2019 season

TP Racing will be led by the former World, European and National junior cyclocross champion

Tom Pidcock will lead a new British cyclocross team in the 2018/2019 season.

The team – currently called TP Racing – is registered to the London based sports management, marketing and events company Trinity Sports Management, who manage Pidcock’s career on and off the bike.

Former National junior mountain bike champion Dan Tulett will also ride for the squad, as well as multi-disciplined road, mountain bike and cyclocross racer Emily Wadsworth.

Pidcock – who won the Under 23 World Cup last year when riding for Sven Nys’ Belgian team, Telenet Fidea Lions – commented: “I’ve gained a lot of experience riding for Sven’s team and achieved some good results last season. I want to thank everyone at Telenet Fidea Lions for all the support and guidance they gave me during the year.”

>>> The best cyclocross bikes: a buying guide  

“However when Trinity Sports Management discussed with me the opportunity of creating a British CX team, I just couldn’t say no. I am really excited about what we are creating and cannot wait to start racing in the new colours,” added Pidcock, who rides for Team Wiggins on the road.

Runner-up to Pidcock at the 2017 World junior cyclocross championships, Tulett said: “When you look at the success of British riders in cyclocross in recent seasons, I think it is fantastic that we now have the opportunity to ride for a British registered continental cross team. Having raced with and against Tom since we were 10 year olds, I am delighted to join the team and look forward to the new season.”

Wadsworth gained a top-ten place in the National road race championships this year, and explained: “I want to focus on cyclocross this winter and when the opportunity to join this team came up I couldn’t say no, I am really excited now to get racing”.

Director at Trinity Sports Management Andrew McQuaid added: “Working with Tom over the past couple of years, it has been really exciting to see how he keeps developing and improving both on and off road. Creating this team centred around Tom, building an environment he enjoys, seemed to be a natural progression.

“In addition, we are passionate about helping other young British riders coming through, and look forward to supporting Dan and Emily on their racing ambitions. We are very excited about what this team can grow into over the next few years.”

The team is in the process of finalising its partners, and more details are promised soon.

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Strava and other technologies could be fuelling exercise addiction in cyclists

New study has found that endurance athletes using connected health technologies and social media have an increased risk of addiction

New research has shown that endurance athletes using technology and social media to log and record their training are more at risk of becoming addicted to exercise.

The study looked at cyclists as well as runners and triathletes, who used platforms such as Strava and fitness trackers.

The research determined that technologies often designed to help those with poor fitness to increase their exercise levels were also being used extensively by ultra-endurance athletes, in some cases pushing them into exercise addiction.

Of the cyclists, 39.6 per cent were found to be at risk of addiction – a lower percentage than the wider group of endurance athletes, at 44.7 per cent.

“What was eye-opening in this study was that technologies like Strava or Garmin were driving some athletes to deviate from their own ‘real life’ goals,” said Chartered Sports Psychologist, Dr Josephine Perry.

The results were published by Performance in Mind – Perry’s sports psychology consultancy.

“The way these technologies allow athletes to compare their data to others can cause some to worry about what others think and is pushing them to question themselves or second guess their coaches or training plans,” Perry said.

“In some cases, the athletes reported this had caused them to become injured or to burnout. Others stopped them enjoying their sport and began to label themselves a failure.”

Those using a larger number of technologies in their sport were found to have the highest risk of exercise addiction.

Of those surveyed, 92 per cent used GPS trackers and 84 per cent used online trackers whilst 70 per cent were Facebook users.

>>> Are you a Strava addict? 

Exercise addiction was classified as when a person uses exercise to modify their mood, requires increasingly higher doses, gets frustrated and angry at the thought of missing a session, sees physiological changes if they try to withdraw and then relapses when stopping, and risks losing control over their exercising habits.

“Exercise addiction is a really under researched area, but one which is important for sports psychologists, coaches and athletes to know more about as it can cause such distress for athletes, and sometimes their families too,” explained Perry.

“Diligence and focus is necessary in order to be a great endurance athlete but when we get too absorbed and inflexible around our training, particularly if we are intently tracking our data, we can lose sight of our real goals and cause ourselves harm,” she added.

In-depth interviews with athletes revealed that many were using technology to seek out online communities and that whilst they valued the relationships found, they also used them to extensively compare themselves to other athletes – causing stress and pressure.

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Gravel bikes buyer’s guide: best bikes for your adventures in 2019

We pick out some of the best gravel bikes and adventure road bikes on the market, and explain what defines the genre and what to look for

Gravel bikes and adventure bikes: the basics

Adventure and gravel bikes occupy much of the same space, and, in most cases are two different names for the same machines. This is because of the nuances between the types of riding available in the USA (long open gravel roads) and the UK (bridleways and canal paths).

These bikes sit somewhere between cyclocross bikes and endurance road bikes – they’re more nimble on the road than their mud ready cyclocross brethren, but more capable of tackling rough surfaces than endurance road bikes.

These bikes are ideal for multi-terrain adventures – they’ll take you on bridlepaths, farm tracks, and of course gravel. You can even expect these bikes to handle advanced off roading riding and, in the hands of the right rider, mountain bike trails.

They’ve generally got a lower bottom bracket when compared with cyclocross bikes, giving a more road-like feel but making them less tailored to rocks and roots.

Gravel and adventure bikes often have water bottle cages, pannier rack mounts and mudguard eyelets that you wouldn’t find on a full-on cyclocross racer.

Wide tyres (28c+) are usually specced, with room for more, and you can expect disc brakes as standard.

What is the appeal of a gravel bike or adventure road bike?

If you’ve ever gone out on a ride on your best road bike and noticed farm tracks, bridlepaths or alluring singletrack as you passed, wondering where they lead but hesitating to head off the tarmac, then a gravel bike or adventure road bike may be for you.

It’s a bike which aims to meld on-road speed with off-road capability and so overlaps in design features with both road and cyclocross bikes, as well as incorporating elements borrowed from mountain bikes. As standard you should expect disc braking and clearance for wider tyres.

>>> Cyclocross bikes: a buyer’s guide

A gravel bike is similar, but is designed for riding on the untarmacked roads which are more prevalent in the US and some European countries than the UK. It will have clearance for even wider tyres, which may be up to 40mm across.

Below is our pick of the best adventure road bikes and gravel bikes – read on for more details on what to look for when shopping for a knobbly tyred road bike.

With each bike is a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.

Our pick of the best gravel bikes and adventure road bikes

Mason Definition 2 Rival 1X Gravel Bike

Read more: Mason Definition 2 Rival 1X review

The Mason Definition 2 Rival 1X has been brought bang up-to-date thanks to a couple of nuanced technical developments including the speccing of thru-axles front and rear over quick releases. Happily, these design tweaks have done nothing to limit the bikes versatility that made us fall in love with it in the first place.

Overall, it’s beautifully finished, comes with a quality spec well suited for UK riding and has the versatility to cover everything from fast club runs to bikepacking adventures.

See more at Mason Cycles

Specialized Diverge 2018 gravel bike

Specialized Diverge adventure gravel bike

The Diverge now sits firmly in the adventure / gravel bike camp

Read more: Specialized Diverge Comp review

When the Specialized Diverge first arrived on the scene, it was very much a ‘do it all’ bike – but updates for 2017/2018 (it’s ok, they’re available to buy already!) see it move firmly into the adventure/gravel bike family.

The American brand has added its ‘Future Shock’ front suspension to the front end, with a progressive spring on the 20mm travel so there’s no bottoming out. The bottom bracket is now lower, providing stability, and at S-Works level the bike comes with a dropper seat post. This can be purchased separately and fitted to lower ranked frames.

Disc brakes are a given, and 650b wheels can be fitted, with 42c tyres being the max.

>>> UK See the range, from £799 to £8,500 at Tredz here 

>>>USA See the Specialized Diverge range at CycleStore

Orro Terra C carbon gravel bike

Orro Terra C gravel bike

Orro Terra C gravel bike

Read more: Terra C gravel bike from Orro here 

New on the market, the  Terra C from Sussex based brand Orro features a UK made fibre with vibration-busting ‘Sigmatex Innegra’ that aims to reduce the chances of frame damage. The material is embedded at the bottom bracket, chainstays and forks – areas likely to suffer attack from rough roads.

A low bottom bracket also aids stability, and there’s clearance for a 42c wheel.

Buy now: Hydraulic discs and Shimano 105 shifting for £2099  and with TRP mechanical brakes for £1799.99 here

Open U.P. gravel bike

best adventure road bikes

The Open U.P.

Read more: Open U.P. review

Closer to a cyclocross or even mountain bike, we can’t help but include the Open UP – it’s got a little MTB pedigree, meaning it can handle some techy trails but still feels quick on the road. This versatile frame is both mechanical and Di2 compatible and can house 650b wheels as fat as 2.1 inches wide to standard 700c hoops. This takes gravel bike riding to new levels.

Buy now: Open U.P £2,230 at the Tri Store

GT Grade 2018 gravel bike

GT Grade gravel bike

GT Grade gravel bike

Read more: review of the GT Grade Carbon Ultegra gravel bike

GT was one of the first in line to create gravel bikes, and seeing the success take off, they broadened the range in 2017  and continued it into 2018.

The Grade is designed to ride well on gravel paths, whilst still feeling good on the road. It’s got a long wheelbase to add to stability, and comes with a 52/36 chainset and 11-32 cassette – giving plenty of options on those short sharp ascents often found off road.

Hydraulic disc brakes provide quick stopping and the tyres are comfortably wide at 32c.

Models start from £649 and travel up to £2899.99.

>>> UK see the range at Evans Cycles from £649

>>> USA see GT Grade  range at Wiggle from $1148

Cannondale Slate 2018 adventure road/gravel bike

Cannondale Slate adventure road/gravel bike

Cannondale Slate adventure road/gravel bike

Read more: Cannondale Slate review

One of the most fascinating bikes to come out in recent years, the Slate effectively kickstarted the adventure bike craze with its fusion of road and mountain bike technology.

UK buy now: Cannondale Slate for £1949 at Sigma Sports 

USA buy now: Cannondale Slate at Sigma Sports for $2,115

Marin Gestalt 2 2018 gravel bike

Marin Gestalt 2 gravel bike

Marin Gestalt 2 gravel bike

Read more: Marin Gestalt 2 review

An aluminium frame with carbon fork and Shimano Tiagra shifting, Tektro mechanical disc brakes and wide 30c tyres at a sniff over the £1k cycle to work voucher threshold.

Buy now: Marin Gestalt 2 at Rutland Cycles for £862

Giant AnyRoad 1 2018 adventure bike

Giant Revolt 1 adventure road/gravel bike

Giant AnyRoad 1 adventure road/gravel bike

Suited to any road (as the title might suggest), this aluminium frame comes with a carbon fork. For £1399 you get Shimano Tiagra shifting, hydraulic disc brakes, and 30c tubeless tyres.

UK buy now: Giant AnyRoad 1 at Rutland Cycles for £1188

Adventure and gravel bike frame geometry

An adventure road bike is built for a stable ride, which particularly comes into its own off road. So there will be a long wheelbase and low headtube angle which should result in controlled steering and less chance of washing out in wet or muddy conditions.

>>> Cycling Weekly Adventure Cross sportive series

The frame will be built for rider comfort too, typically having compliance zones and often a carbon seatpost for shock absorption. The head tube will be long and the top tube short to allow the rider to adopt a more upright position to move their weight around when negotiating off-road obstacles.

15mm thru axle and hydraulic discs on the GT Grade

15mm thru axle and hydraulic discs on the GT Grade

Axle standards are increasingly being borrowed from mountain bikes. Although quick release wheels are still found – particularly at the rear – there is increasing use of 12mm and 15mm thru axles, which provide more rigidity to the wheel-frame junction and easier brake disc alignment. Rear axle spacing for disc braked wheels is usually 135mm or 142mm, with some even increasing that to 148mm which gives a more robust rear wheel.

>>> Raleigh’s 2016 adventure road bike range

Often the frame will come with mudguard eyelets and mounts for a rack too, so that the bike can be used as a rugged commuter or all-year road bike.

Gravel bike and adventure bike tyres

You can get adventure road and gravel bikes shod with tyres of pretty much any width between 28mm and 42mm. Since they are designed to perform well on the road as well as off it, adventure road bikes will typically come fitted with tyres with less aggressive tread patterns than cyclocross bikes.

Cannondale Slate is a gravel bike with 42mm tyres and a suspension fork

Cannondale Slate is a gravel bike with 42mm tyres and a suspension fork

There’s not really a consensus on the best pattern, with some bikes coming with slick tyres, whilst others have file treads or low profile knobs. Depending on where you find yourself riding, it may be useful in the UK to use a set of more aggressively knobbed cyclocross tyres which afford more grip when it’s wet or muddy and are less likely to side slip when making turns on loose surfaces.

Alternatively, if you’re riding on a loose gravel surface you might find it beneficial to have a slick centre with more aggressive knobs on the sides.

>>> Cannondale Slate gravel bike range

Many adventure road bikes come with tubeless or tubeless-ready tyres and rims. This allows the tyres to be run at lower pressures, as there’s no risk of pinch flats. The sealant in the tyre will deal with many leaks without loss of pressure or needing to stop for a repair.

Gravel bike and adventure bike gearing

Adventure road bikes are designed to be ridden on the road as well as off, so they have a wider range of gears than a cyclocross bike to ensure that they can be pedalled faster on the road without spinning out.

>>> Road bike groupsets: A complete buyer’s guide (video)

Specialized Sequoia Expert

SRAM 1X keeps gear it simple

This often means a compact or semi-compact double chainset, although – as with cyclocross bikes – SRAM’s 1x (pronounced One-By) single chainring groupset is becoming increasingly popular for its simpler set-up, mud clearance and control of chain slap.

Adventure and gravel bike pedals

Pedal system choice is a matter of personal taste and dependent on riding style. If you ride predominantly on roads and well-maintained paths where you rarely need to put a foot down, then road shoes and cleats may be a good choice.

Mountain bike style pedals make walking, mounting and dismounting easier

Mountain bike style pedals make walking, mounting and dismounting easier

On the other hand, more demanding off-road riding may mean that you need to dismount and walk with the bike or put a foot down for stability. In this case, mountain bike pedals and shoes may be a better choice for their ease of walking, treaded soles and recessed cleats.

Adventure and gravel bike components

Adventure and gravel bikes almost exclusively use disc brakes for their better modulation and more consistent stopping in dry, wet and muddy conditions.

>>> Disc brakes in the WorldTour: are they necessary on road bikes?

On higher speced models the brakes will be hydraulic, whilst lower priced bikes will typically have mechanical calipers. With Shimano 105 now available with hydraulic disc brakes and the increasing use of SRAM 1x mechanicals, hydraulic systems are becoming increasingly prevalent.

Canyon’s double-decker handlebar

Different types of handlebars are also worth considering on adventure bikes. The wider the flare, the easier it is to fit a handlebar bag on the front of the bike and still be able to grip the drops and brake at the same time. Recently, the humble handlebar has come under scrutiny and seen a radical redevelopment with Canyon’s double-decker bar designed to add additional compliancy to the ride.

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Brompton Electric – First ride

Britain’s best loved, best selling bike just went Electric. There will be many of you reading this that have never ridden an e-bike before (and perhaps not a Brompton), so let me tell you this from the start – you’re missing out. RRP £2,595

On sale now for three months the Brompton Electric is four years in the making. You see a Brompton isn’t like any other bike and when they decided to go electric they very quickly realised they were going to have to design and build their own system virtually from scratch.

Most e-bikes have a crank drive motor coupled with a big battery pack that attaches, or is built in to, an oversized downtube. With the limitation on space when folding a Brompton this more common approach wasn’t an option.

Of course they could have built a new bike, but the Brompton is a design classic and thankfully the London based company that builds everything in house remained true to its roots.

Their solution was a motor in the front hub and an external battery pack clipped to a mount attached to the headtube. The problem when they started in 2014 was the system they needed didn’t exist.

The other dilemma for Brompton was weight. Their USP is transportability. It’s designed for city life; to be folded up, picked up and taken on and off trains, carried up and down stairs and hidden under desks rather than locked up outside.

Brompton Electric folded up with battery off of mount. Retails at £2,595

This, as much as the bike’s look, could not be compromised.

Starting from scratch, Brompton had to find someone to work with. Bosch, Yamaha and Shimano are the big players in the e-bike market, making most of the systems currently in use. None of which where any good for Brompton. The Swytch system is a handy after-sale add on (and can be built on to a Brompton for £400) but Brompton needed their own.

Having secured £200,000 in SMART funding from the government’s Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK) Brompton built a team of engineering expertise in-house, and teamed up with Williams of F1 fame following a conversation between Brompton’s CEO Will Butler-Adams and Patrick Head, then Engineering Director of Williams. If you can build the fastest cars in the world, a little bike motor would be easy, right? Wrong.

What surprised me is just how complex this bit of machinery is. Couple this complexity with the size and weight limitations and you begin to understand why the project has taken as long as it has.

It’s not just an on / off motor. It has to work with your legs, knowing what they’re doing, how hard they’re doing it and therefore when to kick in and help, and how much. It’s got to feel like a bike in how it rides – and how do you tell a motor to do that?

Four major system components (controller, motor, battery and pedal sensor) are constantly measuring a variety of factors – rider torque, crank position, wheel speed, motor speed, motor temperature as well as the batteries functionality and the lights. The main circuit board sits  below the connection between battery and bike on the headtube.

All this means the system knows what you’re trying to do so it can help you to the right amount (torque and power) and at the right time.

It’s testament to the amount of work that has gone in to the bike and system that it’s only now that Brompton feel confident to do a full launch. In addition to the usual stress tests done by machine in the factory, 25 test bikes were run for a year, while 15 bikes were given to a cross section of Brompton customers to test in real life situations.

>>>> Top tips for commuting to work via bike

The first demo bikes hit the stores in October 2017 before the first consumers got their hands on them in June this year. Unfortunately they’re currently not available for sale outside the UK. As Brompton gradually train up UK dealers they’re understandably cautious about selling to a customer abroad without a dealer in place to support them with updates, or servicing. World domination (75% of Brompton’s output goes abroad) will have to wait.

Brompton Electric – the kit

The bike is almost identical to a standard Brompton, and with a quick glance it’s hard to spot any differences. It comes off of a separate production line in the factory but this is more about monitoring and output than anything else.

The Bottom bracket shell is a little different due to the torque -measuring cable coming out of it and the stem is beefed up little. But essentially it’s a Brompton. It folds in the exact same four-step way, and rides like any other.

Brompton Electric production line

It still comes in either two or six speed but is currently only available in black and white. Over time customers will be able to chose the colours they want for the electric bikes (painting also done in house) as you can with the standard bike.

The Samsung made lithium ion battery has 30 cells and weighs in at 1.9kg. It sits in a plastic frame, which itself sits in a bag that clips on to the mount attached to the headtube. It drops quickly in to place as the two parts find each other easily every time. Unclipping it is simple with a single push button to the side of the handle releasing it. The bag comes with a shoulder strap so you can carry that over one shoulder and the bike in the other hand.

The floating connection between battery and mount is a clever touch, meaning it doesn’t get disconnected when it hits bumps.

The 300Wh battery has three power modes that can be cycled through as you ride with buttons on top of the battery. It also powers a front and rear light which have a handy auto setting, flicking the lights on when it’s dark enough. Charge time with the standard two-amp charger is 80 per cent in 3 – 3.5 hours and 100 per cent in 4 – 5 hours. With the four-amp fast charger (an additional £115) it’s 80 per cent in 1.5 – 2 hours and 100 per cent in 2.5 – 3 hours.

Run time is almost impossible to pin down as that depends on how it’s used, who it’s used by and over what terrain, but having been tested through the hot summer, and a cold winter, the range is confidently stated at between 20 to 45 miles.

Brompton Electric – First ride impressions

Brompton took CW out for a brief ride from their base in Greenford over to Ealing Broadway. Cutting through busy roads, down suburban streets, along cycle ways and through a few parks.

Before we hit the road there was the obligatory mess-about-in-the-carpark to get used to the feel of the bike. This took seconds.

The pick up, which kicks in at a very low speed (this is a commuting bike after all so has to help a rider as they deal with lots of starting and stopping) is surprisingly strong on full power. But it’s smooth, and helps you quickly get up to a good speed without feeling like you’re out of control.

It’s easy to get up to the motor’s maximum speed of 25kph and when it drops out it does so without a sudden surge so you decelerate smoothly. It assists you while trying to hold that speed which means in most built up areas you’ll be riding comfortably at the same speed as the traffic around you. And when you do back off the pedals at any speed the motor does too – again smoothly and without surges.

Throughout the ride I tried to get the motor to kick in or back off when I didn’t want it too, and ‘surprise’ it in to reacting too suddenly. I tried short, stuttering pedal strokes, quick accelerations, riding with the brakes on and exaggerated stopping and starting.

At no time did a trick it. It always responded how I felt a bike should respond. Even turning tight circles whilst kicking at the pedals, mimicking weaving through traffic didn’t result in any unwanted surges. I once got the front wheel to briefly skid as I accelerated out of a tight turn, but the system is designed to recognize this and back off, which it did. Told you it was clever.

On the only slight hill we used, I feathered the pedals to see if I could make the ride jerky by tricking the motor to kick in and drop out. While I could feel small jerks it was almost imperceptible and to feel them I had to ride in a completely unnatural way.

>>>> Essential commuting kit

A lot of this was me messing around. But I had good reason. When commuting it’s not uncommon to weave in and out of traffic, make sudden, unpredictable changes of speed or direction or ride in a way unlike you would on a nice Sunday blast out in the lanes. The last thing you want is for the motor to kick in as you squeeze through a gap and send you flying forwards when you wanted to turn instead.

There’s lots of clever things going in the system, some of which you need to be an electrical engineer to understand in detail. But one example of a measurement that keeps you safe when riding through tight spaces is the pedal revolution. The system divides it in to 36 segments. The crank has to travel through five consecutive segments before the motor will kick in. Just under a quarter of a pedal stroke. It’s formulas like this that have been worked out over the testing period and allowed the ride to be refined in to something that feels very natural.

The bike’s best function is undoubtedly accelerating. It was perfect when pulling away from junctions. A cyclist is at their most vulnerable when pulling away from a standing start. It’s when they’re unstable and surrounded by traffic and often at close quarters. The Brompton pulled away beautifully both in a straight line and when turning in to a road. It has you up to speed, smoothly and safely in no time.

Not only is this safer, it’s also easier. Accelerations from a standing start are what tire your muscles (it’s why the standing start for a team pursuit is such an oft repeated training drill), so by helping you out you’ll get to your destination feeling a lot fresher. Something that will make cycling to work a lot more appealing to non-cyclists.

Brompton Electric battery mount and main computer

Brompton Electric – Verdict

If you like Bromptons already, you’ll love this bike, it’s great fun to ride. Before riding this version I thought a standard Brompton was the perfect accompaniment for travelling in to and around a busy city. The electric version just raised the bar. The assisted power helps you get around without breaking in to a sweat, improves your safety and remains comfortably transportable.

Although word of warning; having to carry the bike and the battery will limit what else you can carry.

E-bikes have the potential to get more people on bikes, making it more accessible as both a leisure activity and as a mode of transport, wherever someone lives. As more and more people around the world live in cities this might be the bike that helps accelerate further change in transport planning in cities that are still struggling with unsustainable levels of traffic.

Where it surely has the most potential is in cities with hills. Non-cyclists often spurn cycling as a mode of transport due to the effort involved, not wanting to get to their destination sweaty and out of breath. E-bikes, and this bike especially, could break down that barrier.

This bike rides well, with nippy handling for tight spaces and a comfortable upright position that keeps your head looking forward, rather than downwards. But if truth be told, this is so much more than a bike. This is a transport solution. This is a way to get people out of cars and free up polluted, gridlocked roads. This is a way to get more people moving quickly, safely and efficiently through our cities. This bike could change the world.

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Quick-Step Floors boss Lefevere still searching for 2019 title sponsor

Rider contracts still pending – including that of Niki Terpstra

The boss of Quick-Step Floors, Patrick Lefevere, is still searching for a new title sponsor to take over the funding of his Belgian super team for 2019 and beyond.

The team tops the wins list with 54 over the 2018 season, its latest coming from Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Floors) in stage one of the BinckBank Tour on Monday. Team Sky is the next best team with 36 wins.

“Quick-Step will stay for at least another three years, but they would prefer to become a second sponsor,” Lefevere told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, “I do not have that main sponsor yet.”

The Belgian flooring company has been the title sponsor since 2003, continuing its support until 2011 and taking up the mantle once again in 2017.

Between 2012 and 2016, it was the second title sponsor with Omega Pharma as the predominant name.

The pharmacy company produces Etixx supplements, the name the team raced under for 2015 and 2016.

The Belgian manager secured several smaller backers in recent years. He welcomed Lidl in September 2015 and at the 2018 Tour de France, he brought on Maes 0.0% beer.

Neither Quick-Step nor Lidl seems to be ready to step up to be the main backer. The team’s budget is around €18 million (or £16.1m), compared Team Sky’s deep wallets lined with around £31 million which has promoted the re-opening of discussions around budget caps. 

“Lidl? They have said from the outset that they do not have the intention to carry the team,” Lefevere said.

“I do not really care where the sponsor comes from. That may well be [from] China or Mongolia. As long as they bring real money and no Monopoly money.”

Lefevere’s team over the last 15 years has included the likes of Paolo Bettini, Stijn Devolder, Tony Martin, Mark Cavendish and Michal Kwiatkowski. The current roster includes Elia Viviani, Philippe Gilbert, Bob Jungels, Niki Terpstra and Fernando Gaviria.

For 2019, the team roster looks to stay nearly the same with young Belgian Remco Evenepoel joining and others still in the air, including 2018 Tour of Flanders winner Niki Terpstra.

“I hear that Bora-Hansgrohe wants Maximilian Schachmann, but I saw his agent on the final day of the Tour de France in Paris and he said he wants to stay,” continued Lefevere.

“The Niki file is still pending. If fresh money comes quickly, it will be fine. If there is no money, then we have a problem. Niki is willing to wait a little longer, but that should not take too long.”

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Man arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences after cyclists and pedestrians driven into at Westminster

Two people – believed to be cyclists – have been taken to hospital

Cyclists and pedestrians have been injured after a car crashed into the security barriers outside Parliament.

The vehicle is said to have sped into the barriers, at an estimated speed of 40 miles per hour, in what is being considered to be a deliberate attack.

“We have treated two people at the scene for injuries that are not believed to be serious and have taken them to hospital”, the London Ambulance service said in a statement.

It is believed that the two people hospitalised were cyclists.

The car collided with the barriers outside the Houses of Parliament at 7:37am.

Scotland Yard is said to be treating the incident with an “open mind”, but the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism command is leading the investigation.

A male driver of the car – a silver Ford Focus – was arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences at the scene, by armed officers who surrounded the car – which was crumpled in the crash.

The man, who is in his late 20s, has been taken to a south London police station.

There was nobody else in the vehicle, which remains at the scene and is being searched. No weapons have been recovered at this stage.

The streets around Parliament Square, Millbank and Victoria Tower Gardens have been cordoned off Westminster Tube station is closed.

A selection of police vehicles and ambulances are attending the scene.

The Metropolitan Police have asked for anyone with information to call 0800 789 321, and anyone with footage of upload them at www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk.

Extra police officers – both armed and unarmed – have been deployed to the streets around central London and police say members of the public should remain vigilant and call 999 if they see anything suspicious.

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Kona launches Libre multisurface bike

Two spec options including a choice of 650b or 700c wheels

At the heart of the Kona Libre, launched today, is a brand new carbon frameset. Kona says that it has characteristics of the brand’s existing Sutra and Rove models. It’s designed to perform well both on tarmac and when riding trails, with the versatility to take on adventure rides as well as gravel and other surfaces.

The Libre frameset is paired with Kona’s new Verso Carbon Touring fork, which is designed to accept mudguards as well as a front rack for heavy duty touring. It’s one of the few carbon forks out there that has this degree of versatility.

The Kona Libre follows the modern trend with all-surface bikes, with clearance for both 700c and 650b wheels, with the requisite wide tyres. There are also mounts for four bottles, for those really long, hot rides.

Libre has clearance to spare with 45mm WTB Riddler tyres

Top spec is the Libre DL. This comes with Easton EA70AX Disc 700c adventure road wheels and SRAM Force 1 single ring groupset.

>>> Kona launches all-new Jake cyclocross bike range for 2018

The lower spec Libre comes with a double ring Shimano 105 groupset and WTB tubeless ready 650b wheelset.

Cory Wallace rode the new Libre at this year’s Dirty Kanza

The Libre comes in sizes from 46 to 55cm. Kona has already shown the Libre at Sea Otter and Eurobike, ahead of the launch today. And Kona-sponsored world solo 24 hour MTB champion Cory Wallace rode the Libre at the 200 mile Dirty Kanza gravel bike race in early June. There’s a link to the story of his ride here.

Wallace finished Dirty Kanza in 14th place, despite a succession of flats, which meant that he needed to come back from hundreds of places down the field.

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