2008 has changed the face of cycling, mostly for the better.
We’ve seen a seesaw of positive and negative news in the BikeRadar grease pit this year. Lance Armstrong unpredictably announced his return to pro cycling, hitting the scene like a meteor; Carlos Sastre dominated the later stages of the Tour de France, putting in a magnificent performance to snatch victory and Britain’s cyclists made such an impression at the Olympics that four were short listed for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.
But the taint of doping scandal still lies heavily in the air, with the new EPO CERA tests unearthing more cheats and creating more sport-shaming bans.
Through it all there’s been some enticing new kit to goggle over, including variations on the theme of electronic shifting, which has captivated both our imagination and, apparently, yours.
Here are the road stories that proved most popular on BikeRadar this year.
Mellow Johnny’s is Lance Armstrong’s first bike shop based in Austin, Texas. Its grand opening was in May, and we were there to bring you the news.
What began as a business idea between Armstrong and the Trek Bicycle Corporation five or six years ago is now an 18,000-square-foot bike shop with a built-in coffee shop – impressive.
Follow the links to learn more and see the lighter side
- Humour: A complaint to Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop
- Spy Shot: Lance's new Mellow Johnny commuter
- Mellow Johnny's grand opening May 10 new story
- Mellow Johnny's website
The leaked information on Campagnolo’s 11-speed groupset was our fourth most popular story of the year.
The 2009 Chorus, Record and Super Record will all be fitted with 11-speed rear ends; according to the company this is a move to satisfy the constant demand from pros and amateurs alike for a wider range of gears with smaller gaps between them.
Back in June, Giant showed off its new road bike range, which has been heavily revamped for 2009 with new construction techniques, technologies and shapes.
Heading the range is a more nuanced, lighter version of the flagship TCR Advanced race weapon, dubbed the TCR Advanced SL. Below that there’s the new TCR Advanced and a range of ‘performance’ bikes called Defy.
Giant also revealed it would be releasing all-new women’s versions of each of the new platforms, too, save for the top-end TCR Advanced SL.
It’s a subject that’s been massively popular throughout the year: Shimano are introducing two new Dura-Ace road racing component groups for 2009, one electronic and one fully mechanical.
Highlights from the groupsets include carbon and titanium sub-components for reduced weight, improved braking and shifting, a wider choice of gearing and, of course, that electronic shift system.
- Shimano Dura-Ace 2009: official details released news story
- 2009 Shimano Dura-Ace makes Grand Tour debut news story
- Shimano unveils Dura-Ace Di2 electronic groupset news story
- Shimano's electronic gruppo wins Best Of award news story
- Shimano website
We spotted a new version of Campagnolo’s electronic groupset at the Tour of Flanders in April, just when we thought the design had been finalised.
The battery holder had received some minor tweaks, the lever blades had a new shape, the lever body was bigger and the inboard thumb paddles had disappeared in favour of shrouded push buttons.
Will the design change again before market release? Only time and inquisitive bike journalists will tell…