sweet // bikes

cool bike shit for the discerning cyclist


// Shinola - The Runwell Contrast Chrono              

Now I’m no horologist, I mean I don’t even know what star sign I am, but I do like a nice watch.

Shinola is one of a number of companies that has risen Phoenix like out of the ashes of the Detroit car industry, and has employed that now redundant technical skills base to start making beautiful bicycles and bike related ephemera.

That aforementioned ephemera mainly consists of leather goods and homegrown watches. And they are pant droppingly nice.

Trying to work out which is the best I’d say is like choosing between your kids, but I only have one so I can’t relate to that. Unless it’s a choice of kids OR bike in which case someone better have the number for social services. I’m joking of course. I think a formal email is much better in those scenarios.

The Runwell Chrono is powered by a Detroit-built Argonite 5030 high-accuracy quartz movement which sounds ace although I have no idea what it actually means means. It also comes with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, stainless steel case, and leather NATO watch strap embossed with the Shinola name and a lightning bolt. The watch is “proudly manufactured” in the USA and if you really like to get to know the people who sweated over your time piece then you can see pictures of them on the Shinola website. Which I felt was a bit like leafing though a catalogue of the moribund looking animals that zoos try and guilt you into sponsoring.

The Shinola watches are not on the cheap side but they are amazing quality and even if they aren’t you get a life time guarantee.

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// Yorkshire Grand Depart Cycling Jersey              

So you might have seen that the Tour de France is having a dirty weekend in Yorkshire as an opening to the 101st edition. Writing that gives me the mental image of Chris Froome smothering himself in uncooked parkin whilst a man in flat cap licks it off. Yummers.

To celebrate this rather exciting event Welcome to Yorkshire, the people running this northern soiree, have made a commemorative jersey that means you can feel part of it, and shock horror its actually ace. Rather than being yellow, which is always awkward if you wear a version of the leaders jersey and get overtaken on a mild incline by a man on a 1950s shopping bike, its a vivid aquamarine.

It’s made by Le Coq Sportive so it’s made of high quality wicking material, has the usual 3 pockets for storage and a full zip. Even better it has a discreet Tour de France logo as well as a very restrained large Y on the front so not only can people know what the shirt is about without it being overly gaudy, you also have a handy image that points directly at your penis. Result.

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// Clug              

I’ve been called many things in my life, but never a Clug. Or possibly I have and I either misheard them or it was behind my back.

The Clug isn’t an insult, but it is the worlds smallest bikes rack that involves one piece that drills into the wall using just 2 screws. It seems so simple that anyone can do it, but they haven’t yet seen my prowess with a drill. I’m prepared to test this theory for them and then pay my own taxi to hospital to have my arm stitched back on.

It works as a “hug for your bike” – and by that rather nebulous phrase I mean it clips onto your tyre so you can get your steed out of the way. Either upright or stood up; wherever you feel it keeps it out of the way the best. The Clugs come in 3 sizes, 23 – 28mm for road bikes, 32 – 47mm for hybrids or 1.75 – 2.5” for MTBs. That should cover all eventualities unless you are riding a fatbike, but then as we know all fatbike riders are perverts who live in shacks so why would you need to keep it out of the way anyway?

It was funded though a super successful Kickstarter campaign and they are currently in pre-order mode so if you want one get signed up now.

Oh and if you actually own a 3d printer then you can get the digital file and produce it yourself, like you are George Jetson or something.

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// POC - DO Blade Sunglasses              

Like it or not the sunnies that you wear say a lot about what sort of cyclist you are. Some say “serious, unsmiling power machine” Some say “free wheeling lothario” These say “fabulous terminator”

As used by the Garmin Sharp Team the POC DO Blades are by far not the cheapest on the market. In fact you might have to raffle off your first born to afford a pair, but if you want something that is technically super and a bit different then child number 1 might need to pack a suitcase.

The frames are sports specific so are both light and tough and the lenses they come with are a violet hue that works for road cycling conditions, so you can spot holes, gravel and road irregularities. They have anti-fog and repel treatments that will tell fog, dirt and grime to do one. Water will also pearl off so not only can you wear them on a stormy ride you can also wear them to a sexy water fight. Lenses are swappable and there are some great options, but they are sold separately so child number 2 might also need to get ready for a new career working down the mines

Rubber inserts keep the glasses in on the ears while the nose piece, also made of rubber, is adjustable for those of us with a larger proboscis.

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// Wraith Cycles - The Hustle              

Its been said that we only feature retro looking steel steeds here on Sweet Bikes. And I say to you detractors “Don’t you dare try to pigeon hole me, you fascist”

So, The Hustle from Wraith Cycles is a retro looking steel road bike. Made from lightweight Columbus Life steel it gets that individual ride which is both comfortable and fast. Dancing gingerly onto the scales the medium comes in at 3.4lb/1542g which means that it weighs less than my breakfast burrito and will see you flying up the climbs and still being solid on the descents.

For a hand built frame its also trez res price wise – for just over a thousand greenbacks (£650) you get the frame and a full Columbus carbon fork delivered ready to be built up at home without special tools. Or if you are like me, ready to be built up at home then taken apart and done properly by the local bike shop.

You can have the frame in any colour as long as that is grey and will take a 27.2mm seatpost, most 25C rubber, english threaded BB, and an Internal Campy headset.

Pre orders being taken now with frames to ship in August.

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// Vulpine - Summer Shorts              

The unending debate around male cyclists is do you shave your legs? I am of the no variety currently, only because I know once I go down the route I’ll end up getting carried away and end up looking like a seal.

But then the debate isn’t even going to happen if you don’t get your legs out in the first place – and with summer threatening to blaze at us you need some short shorts to cultivate those tan lines when you aren’t clad in lycra. Rule 7.

These nut huggers are from Vulpine and join their sartorially on-the-money line up as part of the summer range. Which would make sense in them being shorts and all. They are lightweight, have zipped pockets, tailored turn-ups and a diamond gusset so you don’t sit on seams thus chafing your “Road to Grimsby”

You get a choice of 3 colours and they also have a high back which unless you are the owner of some serious crack should eliminate any form of builders bottom. A natural phenomenon which no one wants to see even if you shave that particular area as well.

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// CMWC - Cycle Cap              

Smidgen of honesty – I once tried to ride a fixie and forgot to keep pedalling. Its a good job the pavement broke my fall or I could have ended up carrying on all the way through to Australia.

Cycle messengers on the other hand ride them all the time and are so good they even have their own world championships. This year they are being held in Mexico City. 3 days of messenger related competitions, beer, and looking a bit stinky. So to celebrate they have made a cap in conjunction with Cinelli and it’s ace. It comes in a variety of sizes and colours. That is as long as you choose black with a multi coloured stripe and your head is a one size fits all shape.

We have done tests as well and if like me you struggle with fixed gear cycling then if you wear this hat you will see an immediate 82% increase on your ability to not fall off. That’s science.

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// Vittoria - Open Corsa SC              

Tyres are lot like trousers. If you leave the house without them you will get some odd looks. If you live near a school you might end up in custody.

At the same time you don’t want to be leaving the house in just any old trousers. They have to be well constructed trews that can withstand anything the day throws at them, don’t puncture, roll well whilst also looking good…. look this analogy makes no sense.

The Open Corsa’s are tyres that have been used by a number of race winning teams in pro cycling. Alot of how good a tyre is depends on the Tpi apparently. Tpi stands for threads per inch – Continental GP 4000s have 110. Schwalbe Ultremo ZX have127. The Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX have 320. They have a redesigned tread for extra grip whilst retaining great rolling ability.

These are the clincher versions and come in both 23cm and 25cm widths. The most important part though is that with their open wall design you get a winner retro look. And lets be honest, chicks dig sexy tyres and that’s all males care about. That and good trousers.

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// Horse Cycles - Urban Tour 2014              

If you are feeling lascivious of nature and fancy feasting your eyes on some tubluar smut then Brooklyn could be your new destination. They seem to be bogarting some of the sexiest steel bikes around.

Horse Brand Co. is based around builder Thomas Callahan and this is an update to last years Urban Assault. He has a moustache and a furry hat – once again this is all the CV a steel bike builder needs.

Hand built and capable of being single speed or geared, you can also get colour matched fenders, racks for the touring and still have the juice to smash out some Strava segments if the whim takes you. The urban Assult isn’t the lightest out there but who cares about meat on the bones when they look this good.

This is one of those all round life long partner bikes. The sort that you not only want to throw dollar bills at and take home to partake in biblical things, but to also escort round to the parents for afternoon cake and perhaps a game of croquet.

Basically it’s a steel Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. But with less Richard Gere.

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// Gu Energy - Chomps              

Bonking; great for carparks, second dates and 1980’s Jackie Collins novels. When the bonk sucks is when it happens at the bottom of a large hill. Oh and on scout camp but lets focus on the previous.

So if the bonk fairy visits then you need something stored in your back pocket (that’s your jersey back pocket, not your “prison pocket”) that will give you a burst of energy and not taste like you have just taken a full load of robot “junk” to the back of the throat.

GU do a range of physiological turbo boosters – the Chomps are great if you just want to top up or are at the end of the ride and don’t want to be stomping round the house like some raver home early from a club. 1 packet of Chomps = 2 servings = 1½ to 2 hours of activity but you can amend that accordingly.

The Chomps contain amino acids for speed recovery, the antioxidants Vitamin C + E, to combat tissue breakdown, sodium and potassium to restore electrolyte balance and He-Mans adrenalin gland for an added kick. I possibly made up one of those ingredients.

You get a choice of 2 non-caffeinated flavours in Blueberry pomegranate & Orange or if you really want to blow your face off then Cranberry Apple & Strawberry are full of the afore mentioned caffeine. RAAAAAAAHHHH.

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