Someone (wish I could remember who) recently suggested that I write a recap on some of the stuff that I’ve blabbed (er, blogged) about over the past year. Sans ado:

A Very Good Friend Indeed

Jamis Xenith Elite: This is about as much road bike as you could possibly cram into an MSRP of $5000 or less. Fantastic bike. I cannot think of an attribute of this bike that disappoints. Stiff? Yes. Jarring? No. Bitchin Red drivetrain? Check. Sweet wheels. Yes, though I did give mine to my wife as I typically use something involving a power meter. I’m extremely pleased to see this bike get some terrific press lately. Bicycling Magazine recently featured it as “The Bike You Need.” Neat. I didn’t buy a new road bike for 2012 in large part because I’m mega-satisfied with my current bike. Is it the bike you need? Maybe.

Now with Highlights

Guru Sidero Cyclocross bike: As chronicled earlier, I made a couple of mistakes when I ordered this bike: the totally horizontal top tube and the mega-stealth paint job. The first thing ends up not bothering me at all (is this a bad admission?). The second bugs me to no end. This is a sweet bike; I should advertise it. Otherwise, I’m impressed. The fit is (as it should be) great. The quality is very high. The Force drivetrain is good, but I’d probably go Rival in the event of a Groundhog Day type of event. Rival is very good and quite a bit less expensive if, say, you crash on the drive side or ride a spectacularly muddy race or otherwise beat on your drivetrain. Tubulars? Jury’s out. Love the feel and the low pressure, but I rolled a tire in a race. Major bummer. I’ve found the flaw in my process and should be fine in the future. If I had a do-over I’d opt for a wider rim (probably Velocity Major Tom) OR just give tubulars the finger and go back to clinchers. Note: my buddies at Sign Center helped me with the over-stealthiness of the bike.

Powertap G3 Wheelset: This is a great product — a really nice wheelset built around a really nice power meter. The G3 hub is great. The Velocity A23 rims are light and oh-so-vogue wide. A nice little bonus is that the hub transmits power, speed and cadence, so you don’t need a speed/cadence sensor glommed onto your bike for indoor training. Mine does appear to be eating batteries at a rather alarming rate, which I’ll investigate as more evidence accrues. On the whole: very satisfied. Also: nice value.

Crank-based power

Quarq S975 Powermeter. Another ding-dang power meter, this one built on a crank. More expensive than the above wheelset (1800 vs 1500), but perhaps more transparent in use. My experience has been this: install the crank, pair it with your computer and start riding. Piece of cake. Note that a speed sensor of some ilk is required to get speed, distance, etc. while training indoors. Worth the upcharge over the G3 wheelset? Yes, if you’re in love with your current wheels.

All the Data You Can Devour. And more.

Garmin Edge 500. Here it is: the go to computer for the cycling nerd. It does a lot of stuff and does it well. Everything good you’ve read or heard about this computer is true. Seriously. There are just a few things I don’t care for, and it might be worthwhile to put my carping into context. I bought this as a display and recorder for the aforementioned power meters. It does that job, but there’s a bit of overhead involved. For instance, it’s not enough to turn the computer on to record your ride; you must also start the timer. And when you’re finished, you need to stop said timer. If you’re riding indoors, you must manually turn off GPS every time you turn on the computer. If you’re riding with two different power meters, you need to set up two bikes in the computer or you must rescan for devices each time you switch bikes. These are not earth shattering complaints, but they’re niggling little nuisances that I notice on a pretty regular basis. Granted: my situation is probably a bit off the reservation, computer-usage-wise. One really great thing: super-easy data download once you install the appropriate Garmin software. Would I buy it again? Yes. Am I super-anxious for CycleOps to release the new Joule? Also yes.

Fun!

Jamis Dragon 650: Too new to say a whole lot more about the bike other than that this is the closest I’ve come to forming an Avatar-type bond with a mountain bike.

Monkeys on Typewriters

Each month we go to the zoo and hand out typewriters to monkeys. After a few days, we collect their thoughts and format them into an email newsletter suitable for framing or birdcage lining. Sound good? Enter your email below and check it out.

Note: we will never ever ever ever share your email. Ever. No monkey will contact you directly.