Hed H3 wheels are probably Team Grumpy’s go-to wheel - they are pretty close to being indestructable (but not invulnerable) - they aren’t likely to go out of true as there aren’t any spokes to break or lose tension.
In use, I’ve always found them to handle well except in the windiest of conditions (see for example the 2018 edition of the Duo Normand when I ended up using a regular spoked wheel). In comparison to very deep rimmed spoked wheels, they seem to be more of an all-rounder aero wheel for time trialling.
Power Meter Update - I've been using a variety of power meters over the last few years. All of these seem to be accurate and consistent in their data. This is a brief review of the four systems I currently use.
To cut to the chase, of these four power meters, which would I recommend as a power meter on a new bike build?
Given that two of these are discontinued, the choice comes down to the SRAM Red chainset or the Assioma Duo pedals, and from the viewpoint of easy transfer between bikes I'd recommend the Assiomas (which can also be bought in a version to be fetted to Shimano pedal bodies). I should add that all four of these power meters have been absolutely faultless in use.
This is a longer-term update: I've ridden with the eTap Aero group on my Cervelo P5 for pretty much the whole of the 2016 season, from mid-March through to my traditional season closing event, the Duo Normand in late September. During this period, the set has performed flawlessly. Until the end of the season, that is - see the end of this report for more on that.
I’ve been something of a retro-Luddite when it comes to gear-shifting technology. Party this is because I had several 9 speed race wheels, and I wanted to maintain interchangeability between bikes, and (I am embarrassed to admit) I found it difficult to figure out which parts I’d need to buy to set up a TT bike with Shimano Di2.
Enter SRAM’s new electronic gear system, eTap. For road bikes, this is a pretty straightforward system. Each brake lever has one gear change switch, and it operates the derailleurs wirelessly. Satellite shifting switches (the ‘’blips”) allow shifting from the top of the bars or clip-on aero bars. The right hand control shifts the rear mech up, the left control down. Pressing both controls at the same time changes the front mech either down or up, depending on which position the mech is currently in.
A few years ago, I decided to have a play with using a power meter in my training. Because I wasn’t too sure about how useful I’d find this, I went with the cheap option – a Polar CS600X with WIND speed and power/cadence sensors. This worked reasonably well – at first – but I’ve had no end of problems with reliability. Mostly this seems to be because there are several essential components in the WIND power meter system: the power supply, the chain tension sensor, the cadence sensor and the chain speed sensor. If any one of these elements doesn’t work, you see no power or cadence reading, and there is virtually no diagnostics available to figure out where the problem lies (except if there is no power). And what is particularly annoying is that the setup can work fine one day, and the next (with the bike not moved from the turbo trainer) it doesn’t the next day.
This is just a brief update to the long term review of the Polar CS600X. In fact, the chain tension based W.I.N.D. Power Sensor has I think been discontinued now that Polar pedal based power system has been released. Since buying a Garmin Edge 500, I don't use the Polar out there on the road. This is principally because it's so fiddly to get the thing reliably working with the GPS and power units. So it's been mostly used on the turbo trainer (without the GPS, obviously).
I've been using the Polar CS600X with Power for a few years now - this is something of a long-term test report.
This is just a brief update on the CS600X bike computer - I've been using this for about 6 months now, on a pretty frequent basis, but the majority of use has been on the turbo trainer.
As I've mentioned a few weeks back, I was the happy recipient of an excellent half century birthday present, in the shape of a Cervelo P3 frame and forks. I finally had the opportunity to ride it in anger a couple of days ago in the NBRC New Year's Day 10 mile time trial (reports at Flies&Bikes and at the NBRC website). How did it work out? Well first off, here's the specifications as assembled:
Part 3 - getting the GPS to work
My final posting on the Polar CS600X (probably) contains my observations on how to get the G3 GPS to send speed and track data the main unit. These notes assume that the GPS has been "inroduced" to the CS600X.
1. Navigate via Settings to the Bike menu. scroll down beyond Bike 3 and select Other. Turn this option on.
2. Turn on the GPS by ressing the button once. It will flash a red LED - this will turn green once contact has been made with the satellites.
3. Don't set the main unit going until the GPS has made contact. The main unit will probably say "Check Power" (click OK) and "Check Speed" (click OK).
4. Set off riding the bike. Your HR will be showing. In my experience it takes around half a mile before a speed reading is shown, but after that things seem to work quite smoothly.
5. I find it more convenient to put the GPS in a jersey pocket than to strap it to my arm.
I have finally persuaded, by dint of actually reading the manual, managed to use the Polar G3 GPS unit to report speed/distance and the route to the CS600X. Unfortunately, I'm not exactly sure what made the difference. I think it was switching the GPS on before starting to record the exercise. What with all the faffing around, I ended up only recording a few miles on a ride curtailed by rain.
I recently bought a Polar CS600X bike computer/HRM, with an associated Power meter system - here I present an initial review of the unit. I later bought the add-on Polar G3 GPS unit for use with it - I'll review this separately as I haven't had a chance to use it at the time of writing.
Grumpy Bob is aware he said in the Team Grumpy blog that he'd not fork out for new aero bars solely to make his bike UCI-legal. However, a week or so ago he decided to change his mind, and chose some USE Tulas (see picture). The Tulas were designed to be UCI compliant.
In part 2, I will reveal how my time trial bikes fare relative to the somewhat bizarre UCI bike regulations.
The UCI have what could quite charitably be described as a luddite approach to bicycle design. Witness for example their responses to Graeme Obree's innovations, which ultimately culminated in the rejection of post-Merckx hour records in favour of the "athlete's hour" record. As an aside, Steven Berkoff does an excellent job of portraying an international commissaire in "Flying Scotsman".
A few years ago, I decided to replace my trusty steel Cougar time trial frame with a more up to date carbon fibre effort. The frame was cheap, light, and looked pretty aero. It's actually sourced from a generic Taiwanese frame factory, and you can see (or at least could see) very similar frames from other distributors, many of whom were a bit closer about the frame's origins than Planet X were! I kitted the bike out with the following:
One of the enduring myths of cycle racing concerns the relative merits of tubular tyres relative to clinchers. Convention has it that nothing can compare to the performance of a quality tubular. However, lot of anecdotal evidence is bandied around supporting high quality clinchers as superior to tubulars. I was recently sent a link to test data regarding the characteristics of tyres versus tubulars - this gives clear data to support this contention.