Rolf Prima Ares4 Carbon Clincher

January 10, 2014
Rolf Ares4 Wheelset Jamis Xenith Elite

Rolf Ares4 Wheelset Jamis Xenith Elite

A month or so ago, the representative from Rolf Prima asked me what I knew about their wheelsets,  Other than I vaguely remember that they had a patent on some sort of  spoke pattern and that they were on a lot of Treks, I didn’t know much.  We than had a 30 minute conversation about Rolf Prima’s history, technology and products.

The spoke pattern is indeed unique to Rolf Prima and is patent protected here in the USA and I’m sure in many other countries.  In a conventional wheel the spokes are evenly spaced at the rim resulting in a series of right and left forces.  This results in significant lateral forces on low spoke count wheels thereby making them difficult to keep in true.  In contrast, Rolf wheels are designed so that the spokes meet at the rim in pairs evening out the lateral forces.  By pairing the spokes, Rolf can build an exceptionally strong and light weight wheel with fewer spokes.

I mounted up a pair of 25c tires and installed the wheels on the Jamis.  The first thing I noticed is that these thing are really wide, 27 mm according to the website.  I had to run the SRAM Red brakes wide open just to get them to fit.

The first ride was on our normal Saturday 32 mile loop.  The day was windy, cold and wet; not a perfect day for a test ride.  The first thing I noticed was how fast the wheels spun up.  It didn’t take long to get up to speed and when I did, they held the speed exceptionally well.  The only downside to the ride was the strong cross winds on Bee Cave Road which made for some difficult handling.  These, along with every other 40mm+ wheel I’ve ever ridden, were going to take some getting used to.  Over the next two weeks I was able to ride the wheels on some calm flat days where they really impressed.

Near the end of my time with the wheels, I was finally able to test the aspect of the wheel that really concerned me.  Would a sixteen spoke count wheel be strong enough for a 185lbs rider during maximum effort hill repeats?  I was really starting to like the wheels and was hoping for the best but expecting the worse.  I was expecting enough flex for the wide rim to cause significant brake rub under effort.  After an hour of hill repeats in Apache Shores near Mansfield Dam, I had my answer.  They were rock solid – no perceptible flex at all.

Overall, I was impressed with the wheels.  They spun up nicely, held speed well, were rock solid in the climbs and, once I got used to them, were fairly stable in the cross winds.  The view from the cockpit at that wide front wheel did take some getting used to though. At an MSRP of $2300, including Swiss Stop brake pads, titanium skewers, and a double wheel bag, they are a good value.  Easily 20% less expensive than the better known competition.

These wheels are not for everyone, but if you are looking for an aero, light weight and strong carbon clincher you should certainly consider a set.

More details about the wheels can be found at http://www.rolfwheels.com/products-ares4.php

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Merry Christmas from Southwest CycleSport and Jamis Bicycles

December 13, 2013

2013 Holiday Video


Addict is Back

November 15, 2013

When it was first introduced in 2007 the Addict was the lightest production frame on the market at just over  790 grams. It was used by, among others,  the HighRoad professional cycling team and where it was raced to a number of Grand Tour and Classics’ victories.

After a 3 year hiatus, it’s finally back. I rode and raced my first Addict in 1998 and to this day is one of my favorite bikes. Its lightweight, stiff, highly responsive and durable.  In fact, the Racer is currently using it at Aggieland.

We were excited to learn of the bikes return to the lineup and just received our first shipment. The first one we built was the Addict 20 with Ultegra 10 Speed

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As usual, the bike was very well protected and required a fair amount of time to unpack.

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The build went very well and we encountered no issues. The Ultegra 10 speed group set up very quickly and operates flawlessly. The final weight was just over 17lbs, which was more than we expected. We attribute it to the heavier than average Shimano RS wheels. No doubt we can lighten it up substantially with a pair of Easton EA 90 SLX, which we will review in another post.

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Scott Helmet & Shoes

November 12, 2013

Today I received my new helmet and shoes from Scott USA. I have used their shoes in the past but this is the first helmet that I will test.

SCOTT Road Team Boa – MSRP $165

According to Scott USA, “The Road Team BOA is the shoe for serious response and long distance comfort. It features a microfiber upper and a close-fitting adaptive fit pattern with the BOA closing system at the midfoot. The Ergologic insole features an adjustable arch support and metatarsal button. The injection nylon and glass fiber sole has a stiffness index of 8 and features a replaceable TPU heel tread.”

My initial impressions are positive.  The shoes are comfortable and light and the BOA closing system secures the foot quite nicely.  Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the white with the red accents matches the kit quite well ( yes, i am that vain).  Ill get the cleats mounted up in the next week and give an over all review in a month or so.

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SCOTT Vanish EVO Helmet – MSRP $160

According to Scott USA, “The Vanish Evo offers a class leading combination of ventilation, fit, light weight and safety.  ConeHead™ technology offers the edge in safety and the all new MRAS II fit system ensures a comfortable and familiar fit ride after ride.”

Well, the helmet is light and the vents are huge.  The fit is pretty good and the highly adjustable retention system is a nice plus.  It seems to fit me quite well, albeit quite differently from the Laser Genesis that  have been using for the last season.  As with the shoes, I’ll post a detailed review in a month or so.

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Time to Revive the Blog

July 27, 2013

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted and I think that it’s about time to revive the blog.

Lots has been going on since the last post including turning 50, a few minor health issues, purchase of a power meter and a long over due personal decision (Day #4).

The next few weeks are gong to be very busy at the store. We continue to have group rides every weekend and Tuesday morning, have a full day of Retul bike fits scheduled for July 30th and will preview the 2014 Scott line. I’ll post about both early next week.

Thanks for reading.


Joys of Single Speed

January 18, 2012

A few years ago I sold an old steel bike that I was not using very much and bought a new fixed gear/single speed.  My previous FG/SS bikes had always been frame up conversions whenever I could find the right frame, so this was going to be a first.  I decided on the Felt Dispatch because it had road bike geometry, came fully equipped with drop bars and brakes and, first and foremost, it was available.

2009 Felt Dispatch

I’ve been riding this bike a lot lately because I sold my Jamis Xenith Elite last month. (Hey Renea – when is my new bike gonna get here?).  I’ve gotta say, I’ve really enjoyed it.  Until this last month I’ve only used it in fixed  mode but since flipping the hub to the freewheel side I’ve been doing longer rides both alone and with the group.  The only issue I’ve had is on flat sections and down hills.  I just cant seem to spin faster than 115 rpm and find mydelf running out of gear.

The overall impression?  It’s been kinda liberating – No intervals – No hill repeats – Just riding along.


Emergency Contact Information

June 8, 2011

Something became crystal clear to me this past Sunday morning at 10:10 am.  I need to get a Road ID.

This weekend, the racer and I did not do our usual Sunday morning ride out of the Shop.  As we do every year, we volunteered to do mechanical support at the Day 2 start of the South Central Texas Tour de Cure.  That meant we were up early on the road by 5am to San Marcos, TX for the start.  Every thing went as usual as we pumped up a few hundred tires, changed some flats and generally made sure everyone was ready to ride.

We were home by 10:00am and eating breakfast when the call came.  A good friend had been involved in a crash in the sprint finish of the Road Race in Fredricksburg, Texas and no one had his wife’s contact information – Luckily I did.  I saw him on Monday in University Hospital in San Antonio.  He’s going to be OK, but its going to be a while before he’s back on his bike.

Two things need to be stressed here.

  1.  You need to have emergency contact information with you at all times while your riding or racing.  (It turns out he was wearing a Road ID, but no one knew what happened to it.)
  2. Those disclaimer forms we’ve all filled out a thousand times before every race – Please slow down and write clearly.  The information may be vital.
Yesterday I bought myself a Road ID and signed up the shop to be a dealer.  Go to our website click on the banner and get one.  If you can’t spare the $20 come talk to me, well figure out a way to get it done.  It’s that important.