KNOW’S NOTES – BIG DEALS, NEW BIKES, RIDE FASTER
Now that it’s winter in the northern hemisphere, I would guess that most of us road cycling enthusiasts are riding less outdoors and more indoors and likely less overall than during the other seasons. I certainly am.
While this is a good time to keep up our daily training, I find it helpful to use the added hours off the bike to look forward a bit. Having some goals and picking out the events we want to do during the year is a way to start. Revisiting and adding to what we need to do to achieve those goals and perform the way we want to at those events can make us even better.
With that in mind, I’ve recently refreshed a few posts on how to get faster using both training and gear. You can see descriptions and links to those below. You can also link to a couple of experts who talk in-depth about some of these ways to go faster, or not, that is entertaining enough to enjoy during one of your easier trainer rides.
First, I want to update you on every cyclist’s favorite topic – BIG DEALS! – and highlight the review I just published on the new 2020 bikes.
Three online bike stores are offering you, because you are an In The Know Cycling reader, exclusive 10% discounts. I think that’s a big deal. They get that serious roadies like you who read this site are just the kind of cyclists they want as regular customers. Giving you a discount to shop with them is more cost-effective than spraying some of their marketing budgets around to less discerning riders through ads and discounts at other cycling sites. So chapeau to them about that.
I’m also pretty discerning about which stores I invite to offer you discounts. I start with the top-ranked stores on my best online bike stores list, the ones that have among the best prices, customer satisfaction ratings, and enthusiast gear selection. Fortunately, 3 of the top 4 stores I ranked the highest signed up to provide you these discounts and all three have returned again to do it this year.
Note that in addition providing you the exclusive discounts, these three stores pay the site an affiliate commission when you buy something at their store directly after linking from this site. That’s true of about half of the stores on that list of the best online bike stores. While it doesn’t cost you anything, the commission helps me cover the gear purchases and site expenses to create the independent and in-depth reviews you read on this ad-free and conflict-of-interest-free platform. So shopping at these stores helps you support the site while getting a discount at the same time. Win-win!
Here are the stores and their offers…
Competitive Cyclist will give you 10% off full-price and sale clothing and gear (except bikes and frames) across a wide range of brands with code ITKCC20 one time in 2020. You can click here to see the brand exclusions.
Of course, you probably know Competitive Cyclist as the largest US online bike store with some of the best customer satisfaction levels (98% of customers give them 4* or 5* ratings). They also do short-term, store-wide, category and brand-specific codes from time to time. I post those on my Home and Know’s Shop pages when they are announced.
My strategy for the Competitive Cyclist 10% off In The Know Cycling reader discount is to put items I want to buy in the cart and enter the ITKCC20 code. I then move all the ones that qualify for the discount and that aren’t already covered by one of their other, short-term codes into the Save For Later part of the cart. When there’s enough in that bucket (that I can afford) or there’s a pretty expensive single item I want to get, I’ll pull the trigger and see a nice $ savings.
Tredz is another large online bike store with great prices, selection, and top-rated customer satisfaction. They are based in the UK and deliver all over Europe. With a £30 minimum spend, you can get 10% off anytime using code ITKTDZ10. You can’t use the discount with a Cycle to Work purchase and there are a few brand exclusions, but they are pretty limited. You can see them here.
All in all, Tredz is a really easy store to shop at with a very comprehensive discount program just for you as an In The Know Cycling reader that includes many of the bikes in their store and all of their wheelsets, groupsets, and clothing at 10% off.
If you are looking for a power meter, trainer, bike computer, watch or any number of sensors, check out Power Meter City. They’ve got a great selection in all those categories, the highest Trustpilot customer satisfaction ratings of all the 100 or so online bike stores I follow, and will give you a 10% discount anytime when you use code ITK10.
Garmin and Favero are excluded from the Power Meter City exclusive discount and since they just dropped Stages prices 20%-40%, so are those power meters for now. That still leaves another dozen power meter brands to choose from and a bunch more products in the other categories of electronics they offer.
If a new bike is in your plans this year, congratulations. I’m jealous.
If you are considering buying that n+1 steed online, I just published a rather exhaustive refresh of my review on how to choose the bikes to consider and which stores have the best selection, customer satisfaction, support, and return policies.
Central to that review are the stack to reach charts I created comparing the 46 endurance, racing or aero 2020 road disc bike models from the 17 brands I suggest you consider. You can use those charts to see how well their geometry fits yours. If you don’t know how to do that, read the review!
Here’s an example of what the chart looks like for the 2020 road disc racing bikes.
And yes, I did say road disc racing bikes. If you haven’t shopped for a new bike in a few years, know that about 80% of the new road bike models this year are road disc ones. That includes both racing and aero bikes, not just endurance ones that have been mostly road disc for a couple of years now.
Using my store rating criteria for buying bikes online, Competitive Cyclist for US residents and Tredz, Rutland Cycling, and Cyclestore for UK and European riders are some of the best ones to shop at this year. There’s more about these and a couple of other stores I recommend and how they do against those criteria in the review.
Also in the “refresh” category of things, I’ve committed to and actually have been posting more on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. If you want to see what’s just come in for testing, what reviews we’ve finished or updated, what fresh sale I’ve come across that’s worth taking a look at, what interesting developments are happening in the cycling world, or what’s going on with my training and events, you’ll find it on my social media. Much of this will be beyond what I post up on the site.
I’m sure one of my kids could tell me how to say it in a very 2020 way but for now, I’ll just say click the links above and follow me on social media if you want to.
RIDE FASTER AND NERD OUT
Perhaps it’s a sign of my decline but two of the articles I most enjoyed researching and writing go back 5 years now.
I wrote those when I was trying to sort through the range of research and claims about how to ride faster. Every year or so, I revisit this whole topic to see what new approaches to training, technique, gear, and kit might change the order or recommendations of the top 10 ways I originally found to ride faster.
You may be surprised to find that for a guy who publishes a site that reviews cycling gear and kit, those don’t show up until Numbers 7, 8, and 9 on my list and remain there after my latest review.
While I did make only minor changes and additions to these two posts, I encourage you to read them now if you haven’t before or again even if you have before. They can put some perspective on the range of things you may be doing or can do to have a better and faster cycling season this year.
Click on the images below to link to them.
If you want to go deeper and really nerd out on some of the reality and myth behind how the right gear can make you faster (Number 7), I offer you two discussions I found rather informative and somewhat entertaining, at least if you are a gear nerd like me.
In this episode of his Marginal Gains podcast, Josh Poertner of Silica and the lead engineer during Zipp’s rise in the 2000s talks about his rule of 105 and the benefits, large and small, from ceramic bearings, nice hubs, and deeper wheels. Start at the 10:15 minute mark to skip over the intros, ads, and silliness at the beginning of the pod.
In this next deep dive, Hambini, the aerospace engineer who through a stick of dynamite into the world of wheelset testing, offers what he calls an Aerodynamics Masterclass on bike wheels. He explains why he believes the wind tunnel testing done by wheelset designers isn’t valid in the real-world environment of road cycling.
He shows charts and formulas that I could somewhat understand even many, many years after having studied fluid dynamics. Along the way, Hambini adds his unique perspective and colorful judgments on some of the same topics in Josh Poertner’s podcast.
Each is about an hour. Hambini’s requires more attention. Not quite Zwift but these could provide a change of pace on an easy ride day.
That’s it for now. Enjoy your riding safely!