All posts in Bike Love

06 Oct

Shimano 6800 11 Speed Review

In Bike Love,Bike Parts,Product Review by wrench / October 6, 2013 / 0 Comments

The long awaited Shimano 6800 11 speed groupo is now available and it is exactly what Shimano described. This trickle down version of the Shimano Dura Ace  9000 groupo has more similarities than less.  The ergonomics of the levers feel much more natural, especially compared to previous versions like the Shimano 6600 10 speed group. Shifting feels almost effortless with the reduced shifter ratios and shift cable that appear to defy friction.

6800 Ultegra

Shimano Ultegra Levers

On the first test ride, I immediately noticed the increased braking power as I squeezed the front brake; it was very reassuring having that much stopping power. Unfortunately, the kit I built up did not require the installation of the Shimano bottom bracket because I went with a Chris King bottom bracket instead. I believe that it is very difficult to top the quality and reliability of King products and plus, who doesn’t like a little extra bling?

11 Speed Ultegra Groupo

Shimano 6800 Ultegra Group

One feature I am sure that cyclists will like is the 11/28 cassette, with 11,12,13,14,15,17,19,21,23,25,28 individual cogs keeping ratios close. It is also available in other ratios ranging in several variations from 11/23 to 11/32. One of the most impressive aspects of this group is the 39/53 standard crank set with the four arm spider.  A multitude of chain ring options are available in 53-39,50-34,52-36,46-36 and best of all – they are all interchangeable. The large chain ring is massive and does not appear as if it would flex even under large amount of watts.

11/28 11Speed Cassette

11/28 Shimano Ultegra Cassette

The chain ring bolts screw directly in the chain ring, this means no more butter knife or silly chain ring tools. According to Shimano North America, the 6800 crank is supposed to be as stiff as the Dura Ace 9000 11 speed crank set. The Hollow Tech 2 designs allow cranks to be hollow internally yet incredibly stiff, without sacrificing structural rigidity. This technology seriously drops the weight and makes these cranks the benchmark for stiffness in the industry.

31 Dec

Flying With Your Bicycle

In Bike Love,Bike Parts by wrench / December 31, 2011 / 0 Comments
S&S Coupler

S&S Coupler

Do you find yourself often traveling with your bike? You may want to consider choosing a tried and true solution to aid you in those traveling pains associated with bike shipping. If you fly with your bike, you are going to be penalized with oversize charges for the giant box you would be checking onto the plane. Financially speaking, in most cases you are better off renting a bike for a day or two. But, if you are like me, I would much rather ride my own dream machine then some boring rental bike!

This DeSalvo traveled through Istanbul.

This DeSalvo traveled through Istanbul.

S&S Couplers are a common name in the world of high-end bicycles. They provide a practical, space saving solution for transit without compromising the frame’s structural integrity. Couplers can be installed on most frames, but are most common on steel or titanium frames at the time of building, or as a retrofit by a qualified welder.  Essentially, the bike is broken down into two 26” triangles so that it can be packed into a case that is half of what it would be normally. The standard S&S cases are 26″ x 26″ x 10″ which totals to exactly the 62 inch limit.  The cases meet airline regulations for standard checked luggage, as of this post.


Bon Voyage!

28 Dec

Sugar: The Original Power Bar

In Bike Love,Tips by wrench / December 28, 2011 / 0 Comments


Happy New Year!

I hope your holiday was swell. If you are like me, the baked goods and sweets are plentiful during family celebrations. But after a while, you start itching to move, get out of the living room and onto the bike.

Winter is an ideal time for riding your base miles. Keeping a steady and slow pace prepares your body for spring’s intense rides.

Try riding indoors on rollers, which can help your technique and form. Plus, it is a challenge to stay focused on the act of riding itself.

I like to stow a couple of sugar cookies in addition to my regular snack for extra fuel. How else do you think Santa makes it around the world in one night?

07 Feb

Bike Theft? Oh, no!

In Bike Love,Product Review by wrench / February 7, 2011 / 0 Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Just like life to get busy. But, hey, I’m back with something fun. What if someone stole your bike?


Make sure you lock your bike. Half the benefit of having a lock is the deterrent factor.

I am currently rocking the OnGuard Bulldog Mini U-Lock.


It’s small enough to carry around when you are riding one handed after picking up tacos. Plus, you can’t beat the price at 30 bucks.


Erik Vitela

01 Jan

The Gowalla Bike Project

In Bike Love by wrench / January 1, 2011 / 0 Comments

Happy New Year! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but as life tends to be, I’ve been busy. Check out what I’ve been dedicating every work moment to:

DSC_0972-300x201DSC_0251-300x200DSC_0273-300x200 DSC_0930-300x201 DSC_0941-300x201

Gowalla is a new, Austin based, social media company based on discovering new places and connecting with friends, of course. What better way to meet up with friends than on a bike?

Chris Wood from Sicola Martin put Gowalla in contact with me to help make this interesting idea a reality. Btw, he took my photo above, otherwise, I took the rest. Thanks, Chris.

The Details:
Gowalla wanted the bicycle to have minimal branding. No small task in the cycling world’s in your face advertising! That is why we decided on custom finishes.

Because a commuter needs a durable finish, I chose powdercoating instead of a wet paint option. Each bike was set up with a free wheel to ensure safe, downtown commuting. The rear hub will accommodate a track cog to allow the bike to ride in a “fixie” type manner and have the versatility to flip back to a free wheel.

For tires, I used a larger 700c x 30mm, to allow a plusher ride on downtown Austin’s unforgiving streets. I chose the legendary Selle Italia Turbo saddle to provide unbelievable comfort and style. Oury grips in white, head-up the front to give a smooth and reassuring grip.

The Velocity Deep-V white hoops with machined sidewalls are attached to the traditional high flange hubs, leaving a reliable wheelset that provides adequate braking on top of a bold statement.
The steel frame and fork are set up with rack and fender eyelets to allow this bike to be an ideal commuting rig or a versatile bicycle.

Co-founder Josh Williams commissioned these bikes for his staff as an unbelievable Christmas gift. This was the first time the Pro Cycle Works studio has ever felt like Santa’s Workshop!
I just signed up on Gowalla, so if you use them, throw a shout out.
-Erik Vitela

Update: Gowalla has since been bought out by Facebook. Read about it here.

04 Aug

The Flat From Hell

In Bike Love by wrench / August 4, 2010 / 2 Comments


I have seen more flats then I care to count working in the cycling industry, but this is a first! What are the odds you would roll over a nail on a ride? If you have been riding in Austin, I would say pretty good.  This nail clearly had the upper hand advantage  and  penetrated all the way through the DT RR 1.1. Needless to say,  the Continental Gator Skin tire was no match  for this framing nail.

12 Apr

Chris King R45 hubs

In Bike Love,Bike Parts by wrench / April 12, 2010 / 0 Comments

The long awaited Chris King R45 hubs are hitting the door at the Pro Cycle Works studio. Prior to handling this hub set, I wondered how could they improve a hub design already above and beyond their competitors?

Since the original Chris King hub-set, the benchmark has been set high. King hubs have always had a much more responsive free hub body mechanism than the competition. This is especially noticeable when you are riding and about to attack a hill, or when doing a low speed technical maneuver where modulation of power is critical.  Immediately, you notice the superior engagement of power delivery of King hubs.

Standard King hubs use a 72-tooth drive ring. This design has over 3 times the number of engagement points of a standard free hub body that uses 24 points of engagement!

This revised, road specific hub set weighs about 100 grams less then the standard road version. The front hub weighs 102 grams and the rear weighs in at 215 grams. Various hole configurations available to suit and even low spoke count options, which are ideal for building custom carbon wheels.

Window cut outs on the rear hub, none drive side flange, knocked the weight down further and provide an interesting aesthetic detail. Weight was dropped off of the R45 set by using a titanium ring drive with 45 points of engagement vs. the standard 72. This is still much more response then the 24-point engagement.

Because of the reduced number of engagements, the hub dramatically quiets down. The “angry Bee sound” that has long been synonymous with King hubs is now gone with the past. Lower drag seals that reduce friction while protecting the bearings are now also being used. This minor update may sound ridiculous to some, but others take it very seriously in the world of watts competition.  I can’t wait to get the first ride on them!


Erik Vitela