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Motorcycles Bicycling's Bike of the Year

02:00  29 september  2021
02:00  29 september  2021 Source:   bicycling.com

B&O Museum gives Baltimore dirt bikers a summer home. But advocates still call for a permanent campus

  B&O Museum gives Baltimore dirt bikers a summer home. But advocates still call for a permanent campus BALTIMORE – Engines roared as dirt bike riders did wheelies and rode around a gated parking lot on a recent sunny Saturday in Baltimore's Pigtown neighborhood. Riders in B-360, the Baltimore-based organization that teaches the science behind the machines, have been out every weekend since April, making the most of the nearly 2.3 acres to ride, repair and learn about their bikes. The Southwest The Southwest Baltimore lot belongs to the B&O Railroad Museum, which bills itself as “the birthplace of American railroading.” This summer, it’s also the home of Baltimore dirt biking.

The Bicycling test team rode and tested dozens of bikes. Many were good, some were great, a couple were exceptional, but only one bike can be Bicycling's Bike of the Year. © Matt Phillips The Bicycling test team rode and tested dozens of bikes. Many were good, some were great, a couple were exceptional, but only one bike can be Bicycling's Bike of the Year.

Specialized AethoS Comp Rival eTap AXS / $5,000

When the Specialized Aethos Comp Rival launched, I said, “I think we have an early favorite in the race for 2021’s road bike of the year.” In this case, my prediction was accurate. But before I tell you why this bike won, some backstory on the Aethos is necessary.

The Aethos made a splash when it launched because it’s a fantastic riding bike, but also because it’s a shocking bike for a company as invested in racing and aerodynamics as Specialized. It’s a bike designed with all the tools and experience they use to make their highly successful race models, but the Aethos was not, specifically, made for racing. Its clean non-aero design, simple graphics, freakishly low frame weight (585 grams, claimed), and common standards—round 27.2mm seatpost! Threaded BB! Standard handlebar and stem!—made it stand out among the ever more integrated road bikes with proprietary parts. In some ways, it’s what people love about the bikes from boutique and bespoke builders: Just a road bike, pure and simple. But unlike a bespoke bike, the Aethos is—Covid-related supply-chain issues aside—available in large numbers, relatively easy to buy, and backed by a lifetime frame warranty.

New protected bike lanes

  New protected bike lanes I am a native North-Sider and an avid bicyclist who leads group rides to help people experience the joys of riding in the city. The freedom that bicycling throughout Pittsburgh gives me is indescribable, but is not trepidation-free. Approximately 10 years ago, the city began installing bike lanes/​facilities along popular corridors — East Street, The Commons and Brighton Road — that enabled cyclists to feel more comfortable as we traveled about during our group rides. However, a general consensus among us was that they “did not connect,” which raised safety concerns until recently.

But you know how these things go. When a brand launches its latest and greatest, they highlight the flashiest top-of-the-line version and send those bikes out for review. So, yeah, the $13,000 S-Works Aethos with Shimano Dura Ace Di2 is an amazing bike. That’s like saying water is wet: It’s not surprising, and it’s barely interesting.

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  How a spider-webbed 1983 Honda taught me to just ’wing it There are literally a dozen vehicles in my possession right now. That’s a problem. The most interesting part of this predicament is not how many of them don’t run, need parts, or are mothballed. No, the problem is that my current favorite is the one to which I show the least love. A clunker of […] The post How a spider-webbed 1983 Honda taught me to just ’wing it appeared first on Hagerty Media. Looking to purchase a car? Find your match on the MSN Autos Marketplace

What’s interesting is the least expensive Aethos: the $5,000 Aethos Comp Rival eTap AXS. It’s about 62 percent cheaper than the top-of-the-line Aethos, rides and handles just as well, and is even superior in some ways. Cheap? No—not even a little bit. But it’s far from top-of-the-line money, and it’s a lot of bike for the cash.

True, this Comp-level frame uses some different grades of carbon and isn’t as light as the S-Works frame. So instead of a 585-gram frame, it has a 699-gram frame. Yes, that’s heavier, but still far from heavy. In fact, 699 grams is one of the lightest production disc-brake frames in the world. And it still has 32mm tire clearance, common standards, and comes built with the same carbon seatpost and flyweight thru axles. Plus, the Comp frame has one feature the S-Works frame does not: compatibility with mechanical-shifting drivetrains.

Specialized aethos comp rival etap axs © Trevor Raab Specialized aethos comp rival etap axs

And just like the top-of-the-line Aethos, this model has electronic shifting and hydraulic disc brakes, courtesy of SRAM’s excellent Rival eTap AXS group. Continuing a theme here, this group has the edge over SRAM’s more expensive Red and Force AXS groups: It shifts faster and runs smoother.

Adventure Motorcycle Review: The Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250

  Adventure Motorcycle Review: The Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Harely-Davidson has been making iconic motorcycles since 1903, but this is its first foray into adventure bikesMotorcycles have long been able to access remote areas of the world. Thrill-seekers like Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman chose the BMW R 1200 GS to take them on a trip around the world. And the Indian military uses the Royal Enfield Himalayan to patrol mountain passes as high as 18,700 feet above sea level. They are highly-capable machines that can go places larger vehicles simply cannot; ideal for solo adventurers looking to get off-pavement.

Coming in at 17.2 pounds (size 54, our scale), this Aethos is light enough to be crisp, lively, and quick. The low-profile tubes and shallow-depth wheels are almost immune to cross winds. It climbs fabulously and descends like it craves that postride beer more than you do. The steering is light but the bike is stable, and well settled over rough roads. It looks good too: The Gloss Clay color is different, unexpected, and fabulous (it’s also available in—yawn—basic black). The logos are virtually invisible, which could be the most stunning thing Specialized did with this bike. A Specialized—a SPECIALIZED!—without a million huge logos; what a time to be alive.

Specialized aethos comp rival etap axs © Trevor Raab Specialized aethos comp rival etap axs

We love our race bikes, and we love it when brands push the limits and reach new heights of speed, performance, and technology. But this Aethos is our bike of the year because it has top-of-the-line engineering and features and is half the price of the S-Works variants. It takes a step back from the extremes of price and bleeding-edge race tech and focuses instead on just being a great bike with useful and ride-enhancing features.

CLICK FOR COMPLETE LIST OF THE BICYCLING'S GEAR OF THE YEAR

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