Mid-Week Report: The Latest News, Products and Events

Welcome to the December 11th, Mid-Week Report! 
Welcome to the December 11th, Mid-Week Report!

ALBERTO CONTADOR DROPS ANDY SCHLECK IN SHANGHAI

Longtime Tour de France rivals Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador toed the line together once again for a balance bike race in Shanghai. Somewhat reminiscent of the 2010 Tour stage up the Tourmalet, el Pistolero dropped Schleck and the rewrote the story.

BIKE OF THE WEEK:  FACTOR O2 VAM

The new Factor O2 V.A.M (Velocita Ascensionale Media) is in the office and we are excited to test the newest version. A new carbon layup is said to increase stiffness while also dropping weight. We last tested the O2 Disc, but this version is said to improve in all aspects. Keep an eye on our social media for updates on our testing and for more info head to www.factorbikes.com.

BIKE TEST: SCHWINN PARAMOUNT

Schwinn re-rolls out the Paramount name

As most of us know, the Schwinn brand itself has never been known as a brand bred for competitive cycling, but that’s not because Ignaz Schwinn or his descendants had an aversion to racing. In fact, Schwinn has always had their hat in the game; it’s just that it went by another name—Paramount.

Since it was first introduced back in 1938, the Paramount brand has acted as Schwinn’s performance breed, and throughout the decades, numerous great riders have left their mark on the result sheets aboard a Paramount.

As the Chicago-based Schwinn company did its best to confront the hurdles of the modern cycling era, they faltered on numerous occasions. With each misstep, the Paramount name would get shelved, only to get dusted off when someone would recognize the brand’s legacy and see in it a chance for market resurrection.  

It was at this year’s Sea Otter Classic that we were reintroduced to the latest launch of the Paramount line. The modern Schwinn Paramount is nothing like the bikes of the past. In the place of outright performance, value is the new ideal. 

THE FRAME 

With the Paramount, Schwinn turned away from its historic use of steel tubes and opted instead for what they call N Litened Black Label carbon. The front triangle and rear bits are bonded together for a semi-monocoque design. Schwinn claims a size-medium unpainted frame weighs under 1000 grams. The paint, however, is one of our favorite aspects of the bike, with the red and black gloss able to catch the light just right for a subtle pop of color in a peloton that’s sadly overpopulated with matte black bikes.

The Paramount’s endurance-oriented geometry is designed around a tall 20.25cm head tube and a long 102.6cm wheelbase. The extra-long head tube keeps the handlebars high for a relaxed upright riding position, while the wheelbase adds predictable handling for confidence at top speeds. 

As for modern upgrades, the frame and fork can clear up to a 32mm tire, and internal cable routing is customizable for traditional or electronic shifting systems. Flat-mount disc brakes are the only option for stopping, and hidden-handle thru-axles are used for easy tire changes or quick wheel swaps.

THE PARTS 

Thanks to the latest 12-speed AXS drivetrain from SRAM, this is where the proposition of a Schwinn frame begins to seem reasonable. That’s right, you get the classic Schwinn name and SRAM Force AXS eTap. Up front, 48/35 chainrings work with the 12-speed 10-33 cassette for a wide range of gears with five 1-tooth jumps between the 10-tooth and 15-tooth gears. Wireless shifting calls for paddles instead of shifters on the lever, so only the two hydraulic brake lines clutter the front end.

The 160mm rotors provide quick and powerful stopping in nearly any situation. SRAM’s brake levers maintain their slim design. The hoods have been trimmed down a bit but are still larger than their mechanical counterparts. 

Vision Trimax alloy rims are laced with steel-bladed spokes to Vision’s centerlock hubs with sealed cartridge bearings. The rims have a double-wall design for added durability and are 30mm deep for minuscule aero gains. The rear hub has a high amount of engagement to respond when it’s called upon. On the rubber side, 28mm Vittoria’s Rubino Pros are installed with tubes, but all you need is a couple of valves and a bottle of sealant for a tubeless install.

THE RIDE 

We draw on a wide range of riders—from crit racers to Gran Fondo lovers to weekday commuters—to consult on our rides, and they nearly all had the same thoughts when it came to the ride quality of the Paramount. The massive head tube creates an upright riding position for relatively relaxed lower back muscles and minimal neck strain when in the drops. 

At high speeds, the Paramount’s long wheelbase adds predictable handling traits and helps cancel out the small handling mistakes that fatigued riders make. 

When it comes to power transfer and quick cornering, the Paramount shows weakness. There is noticeable flex in the bottom bracket and rear end, which makes the bike feel sluggish when pedaling out of the saddle. While it is disappointing, the same qualities that increase flex in the Paramount seem to add compliance. The 43cm-long seatstays damp road vibrations for minimal road chatter. Quick cornering is also lacking on the Paramount. The long wheelbase pulls the bike up as you lean it over in tight corners.

THE VERDICT

When you factor in that the SRAM Force AXS eTap groupset alone is valued at $2678, for the money, the Schwinn Paramount delivers a really good value. While the Paramount name may not be as current with today’s cyclists (aka “the kids”) as it once was, the endurance-oriented geometry, predictable handling and contemporary components make it a bike worth looking at by young and old.

PUNCH LINES

• Tall head tube for an upright ride

• SRAM AXS eTap at a value

• Schwinn resurrects a legacy brand

STATS

Price: $3299

Sizes: XS, S, M, L (tested), XL

Weight: 18.30 pounds

www.schwinnbikes.com

VIDEO: CUB HOUSE BIKE SHOW

FITTER LIVES 2020 SHOE PRE-ORDER

Fitness—that’s what it takes to ride a bike. The apparel company Fitter is committed to promoting an active lifestyle through their brand. Company founder Espen Kateraas is a committed cyclist himself who started the SoCal-based company in 2015 after he became disillusioned with the current cycling shoe market where he felt that too often the scales tipped towards higher prices instead of more value.

The company is based on a consumer-direct sales model, which helps keep the prices down.

Fitter’s latest savings offer comes in the form of a pre-order deal available until December 15. Included is a pair of the updated 2020 road and new off-road shoes with a free pair of socks as a bonus.

PREORDER HERE

BELGIAN WAFFLE RIDE MAY 3, 2020

Photo: Nils Langner

Press release: Registration opens Friday, November 15 at high noon (PST)! The most unique cycling event in the country, the Canyon Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR), returns dirtier than ever for its ninth consecutive edition of pedaling perversity with an unexpected boost by way of the absence of the Amgen Tour of California. Created as an extremely challenging race in the spirit of the great European one-day Spring Classics, the BWR returns to North County San Diego on May 3, 2019 with a Belgique theme unlike anything the cycling world has ever tasted is sure to test World Tour and Continental Pros in untold ways. This year the event will offer a larger prize purse than ever before for the deepest PRO field ever assembled for an event of its kind. As expected with the explosive growth of the BWR, there will be an expanded Canyon Pure Cycling Expo at the Lost Abbey Brewery in San Marcos, California, where the race is held each year.

The Canyon BWR will be offering a prize purse to the top ten riders, both female and male, in support of what will be the most exciting and competitive professional field ever assembled for the ‘Hell of the North (County).’ Once again, the women will receive a larger prize purse than the men. Racers and event patrons will again be treated to Belgian waffles, moules-frites, cheese, bread, Lost Abbey Belgian ale, more waffles and more Lost Abbey ale on race day. The Waffle race itself promises masochistic punishment of entrants along a 221-kilometer course, which features more than 12,000 feet of undulating climbs and over 50-miles of off-road terrain that harken to the teeth-rattling cobblestones of Europe’s most grueling race routes.

GRAN FONDO HINCAPIE 2020: MARCH 28 AND MAY 2

After two successful fondos earlier this year in Greenville South Carolina and Boise, Idaho Gran Fondo Hicapie has two more events lined up for 2020. Join a host of current and former pro riders on the roads of Fort Worth, Texas and Chattanooga, Tennessee on March 28 and May 2 2020.

Website: www.hincapie.com/granfondo

2020 DIRTY KANZA REGISTRATION DETAILS

2020, here we come! Mark you calendars for the 15th annual Garmin Dirty Kanza on May 30, 2020. Thank you for making this year’s race one of the best ever.

The random selection process for the 2020 race will open on January 6 through January 19. Selections will then be made on or before January 27.

MORE INFO

THE RIFT ICELAND JULY 25, 2020

The Rift is a gravel race through the dark lava fields in the highlands of Iceland – taking place on the tectonic split between North America and Eurasia. An ever-growing battlefield that grows an inch every year.

The battlefield sculpted by volcanic eruptions is vast, rugged and unpredictable – making the Rift a challenge of endurance, mental fortitude and most likely the bare elements. And in the end – a gravel battle between the continents!

The course starts out of a small town along the southern coast called Hvolsvöllur. This incredible shoreline stretches from the greater Reykjavík area in the west to the magnificent Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in the east. It is lined with countless natural wonders such as cascading waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers and volcanos – circumnavigating one of the most active volcanos on the island, Hekla.

Website: www.therift.bike

 

mid week report