Living Jackson

Benefits of cycling

Custom Bikes & Tech At Red Hook Crit Milan


– I’m here at the Red Hook Crit in Milan, which is different from
any other bike race we’ve been to with GCN before, because the riders have
to use fixed gear bicycles with no brakes, it’s absolutely bonkers. Now James Lowsley Williams,
fellow GCN presenter, is gonna be competing in this
race, rather him than me. But while I’ve been here,
I’ve just noticed so many awesome bikes that well, quite frankly, you don’t see anywhere else. So I thought I have to show you these and do a video showing you
some of the tech at Red Hook, so right, let’s go and have a look. (metal sliding) (upbeat music) Here you can see behind
me, one of the Look riders, warming up on the rather nice
875 Madison carbon frame. I’ve been asking the riders
’bout what kind of gears they’re using for Red
Hook and the 50 14 combo seems to be the most popular choice for this kind of circuit. The riders reckon that this’ll mean they average their cadence well over 100, with speeds they reckon of
about 45 to 48 kilometers an hour average for
this technical circuit. The other thing I’m noting, is the cranks. Everyone’s using shorter cranks because catching a pedal in Red Hook, is a potentially big
issue, because you have to pedal around all the corners. So 165 cranks are pretty common and there’s some 160s as
well, but I’m gonna try and find the shortest cranks I can see. (upbeat music) One of the cool things about Red Hook, is that you actually get trained teams competing against amateurs, which you don’t get at
many other bike races. Now these are the bikes
of the Rocket Espresso Specialized team, as ridden by Alec Briggs and Justin Williams, who
are among the favorites to win this edition of the Red Hook. Now what’s really cool here is this is an alloy sprint frame,
which is quite unusual, because it’s aluminum, so
they’ve got these really funky paint jobs on there, so
it shows that to win, at Red Hook, you don’t need a carbon bike. Which is really cool, you can just win with an aluminum bike. And also, aluminum bikes are
quite popular for Red Hook, because they’re deemed to
be a bit more, reliable. Well, a bit more robust
in the case of crashes, of which there are quite a lot. And it’s quite deceptive
that it’s an aluminum frame, because if you look at the seat tube, it’s like a tear drop shape and well, you don’t normally
expect that kind of shape from an aluminum frame, but it shows how far aluminum manufacture’s come. But, we look at these wheels. So these are Rovo Wheels,
propietary Specialized, but they’ve been custom painted to match the sort of paint job on the bike and they’re just so funky and really cool. And interestingly they’re running 28 millimeter tires as
well, for that extra grip. Another really cool piece of tech, is that the team actually has
these custom painted helmets, to match the funky paint job on the bike. How rad is that? They are seriously cool. Just really bright and
vibrant and different. (upbeat music) Just spotted a really cool hack. Using a boot strap,
right, as a bike stand. How cool is that? And, this is one of the
competitors bike here at Red Hook, and it’s a really cool, custom, Don Walker steel frame from America. And it’s all nice, filet
brazed beautiful frame and this is just, sums up Red Hook really. There’s a lot of amazing customs, or hand built steel frames here. As well as sort of, big
frames and big brands, but it’s nice to see that the
sort of custom frame building community is thriving in this
kind of racing, it’s great. One of the more unusual bits
of tech here from Red Hook, is this, which is a Schindelhauer Hektor, as ridden by the
Schindelhauer-Gates teams. Now it’s an aluminum track
frame, and it has a carbon fork. But the most unusual thing about it, is that it’s got the Gates carbon drive. So you’ve got this whopping chain ring. But it doesn’t mean that the
riders have a massive gear, it’s still equivalent to the 50 14 that a lot of the other
riders and teams are using. Because the sprocket on the back is a 22. The reason why you have
these much bigger gears, is because the carbon
belt drive works better when it goes through a bigger angle and not as tight an angle
as a conventional chain. But the advantage of it is,
that it’s really efficient and it’s said to last three times longer than a conventional chain. (calm music) The bikes are really simple,
but one of the most important pieces of tech is tire choice. Now I’ve not seen a
bike with tires narrower than 25 millimeters here and I’ve been scouring the pit lane. This one actually has 28 millimeter tires. Now traction is just so
important when you have to pedal around tight corners and hairpins. But also, today is wet, which adds a whole other spanner into the works. Generally, if people can
fit 28s in their bike, and not many track bikes
have that clearance, they’re using 28s. There’s also a full range,
people are using tubeless, like on this bike, but also clinchers, and there’s quite a few tubular tires still being used as well. But the other big thing
with tires is the pressure. Now I’ve been looking around the pit lane and asking the experienced
guys what pressures they’re running and it’s surprisingly low. A lot of guys today are running
just 60 PSI front and rear. And that isn’t much at all. But, it’s crucial in order to
gain that extra bit of grip. And although you loose a little
bit of rolling resistance, the trade off, because you can
stay upright in the corners, well, it’s a no brainer. (calm music) A bike that’s really caught my eye, even though it is getting
a little bit dark now, so apologies for the lack of
light, ’cause the Red Hook actually takes place in
the dark, is this Thoro. Now I have to admit, Thoro isn’t a brand I’ve actually heard of before. For the paint job here,
is absolutely stunning. You’ve got this sort of nice iridescent, glitter in the white section here, which when the light shine
on it, when they’re racing in the dark, it really
pings, and it looks amazing. But these sections, it’s like
a Jackson Pollock painting. It’s like the paint’s
just been flicked on it. And it just looks absolutely awesome. I’d love to see more bikes with this kind of style on the fork,
’cause I’ve not seen it. (upbeat music) Cinelli is a brand that
has well, massive heritage in single speed bikes and track bikes. So it’s great seeing
them represented here. And this is a Cinelli Vigorelli and well, it’s absolutely beautiful,
it’s really simple. Just with this nice red paint job and then just like the
mirrored silver Cinelli logo. I really like it. But what this undermines,
really is that these bikes are just really simple. This is an aluminum frame again
and it’s not too expensive. It costs nowhere near the price of what a professional racing bike
would cost in normal racing, with gears and a carbon frame. Yet, this is all you need
to be completely competitive at Red Hook racing, which
I think is really awesome. (upbeat music) There’s loads of really
creative, cool touches at Red Hook, but one of
the things is the numbers that all the competitors are given. So, it’s a folding design,
as you can see here, but it folds as a number
onto your seat post but is rigid and aerodynamic, it’s just, I mean it’s simple, but it’s ingenious. So cool! (upbeat music) Just spotted another really cool bike, which is this eight bar. And check out the paint job on this. So it’s got this sort of
pointless paint scheme, with all these dots of
different colored paints overlaid on the matte black
frame and it just looks superb. I like how they’ve also carried
it through into the wheels and customized the DT Swiss RRC 65 deep section wheels as well. How cool is that? Running 28 tires on
here as well, tubeless, which is a common theme and
the classic 50 14 chain set, which seems to be the prerogative of the riders here at Red Hook. (upbeat music) Hope you found this video interesting. Covering an area of tech that we haven’t done much on before. So if you have, let us know
in the comment section below if you’d like to see
more of it in the future. And if you’d like to see
a video covering, well, the complete opposite of simple tech, something really complicated, then why not check out Si’s video, for his KOM challenge bike, in
which he sort of modified it and did all sorts of fancy
things to try and beat a KOM. But until then, I’ll see ya later.

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