Category Archives: Bike Tech

Black Inc Wheels Support

blackinc-logoThe Eastern Conference is happy to announce new support from Black Inc wheels, offering discounts to ECCC teams and neutral support at the upcoming races in the 2014 road season.


Black Inc is a carbon wheels manufacturer led by a former ECCC racer from McGill Cycling, now working with a premiere carbon fiber producer in Taiwan. Its wheels have been tested and raced by UCI continental and pro tour teams for the past three years, both marked and unmarked. They also have a close partnership with Factor Bikes, creator of the Aston Martin One-77 and the well reviewed Vis Vires.

Black Inc’s product range currently includes 35mm and 50mm deep wheels, in tubular and clincher form to suit those riders looking for knockdown drag-‘em-out race day performance as well as the more practically minded. A variety of hub options are available, from the industry standard DT Swiss 240S laced to DT Aerolite spokes to the upcoming proprietary Black Inc hubs made from Ceramic Speed bearings. The Black Inc 30 tubular rear wheel weights a mere 30 grams more than the Lightweight Meilenstein full carbon “wunderwheel,” while employing a more aerodynamic profile, traditional spokes, and retailing for $3,400 LESS per set.

Giving Back

In the spirit of giving back to the community that shaped its founder as a rider, racer, and person, Black Inc is offering student friendly pricing to every ECCC team. The program is designed to get cash-strapped academics riding and racing on top-notch equipment, at prices they can afford. Interested riders and teams should check out and contact Ben Adler, another McGill Cycling and ECCC alumnus, and now North American agent for Black Inc.

Beginning this past weekend at the MIT X-Pot, Black Inc will also be at ECCC road events throughout April, showing off their full range of high quality carbon fiber wheels as well as providing neutral mechanical support to all ECCC riders.  Look for the black tent by parking or staging and swing by to chat up an exciting new range of cycling products, or simply to get some help with your bicycle!

PSA: Keep Your Rims Clean!

Winter riding is the cold, hard truth of collegiate racing in the Northeast. There is only so much time I can spend training indoors before I have run out of Tour de France DVDs; the downstairs neighbors start banging on the ceiling; and I start having unbidden daydreams about crushing that peppy spin instructor’s  iPod full of dance tunes under my cleat.  Time to venture out onto the road.

As if the frothy mix of salt and slushy matter that is sometimes the byproduct of road treatment* weren’t enough, winter brings another hazard: enormous potholes that the salt eats into the roads. I hit a big one this morning and bent/cracked the rim on my rear wheel.

Take care of your rims, or this could happen to you!
Take care of your rims, or this could happen to you!

While the pothole was the immediate cause of this ignominy, two things put me at risk for catastrophic rim failure: (1) over-use of my rear brakes, a holdover from when I first learned to ride a bike and Dad told me to always brake with the right or I would go flying over the handlebars—I’m getting better about this; and (2) failure to keep my rim and brake pads clean. You see, all that sand and grit gets caught between the rubber brake pads and the rim, wearing a  concave groove in the braking surface until it’s as thin and flimsy as a Coke can. Moral of the story: keep your rims squeaky clean, kids! (Except without the Squeak.)

Start by rinsing off excess sand with water, so you’re not just rubbing it into the rim. Beware of shoddy advice out there on the Interwebs; don’t use household cleaner (which can leave behind a film that slicks up your braking surface) or steel wool  (unless you’re TRYING to wear down those rims). Mechanics I trust recommend acetone or rubbing alcohol, which evaporate without residue. Spray your chosen cleaner onto a rag and wipe those babies until they shine. (I’m talking about aluminum rims here. I know nothing about taking care of carbon rims, so feel free to chime in on the comments! Also, what the heck are you doing riding that nice carbon wheelset in this weather?)

I can’t complain too much about the life of this Mavic A-719 rim, which boasts about 8,000 miles of commuting, cyclocross, and and winter training. But maybe if I had taken better care, it could have made it to 10,000!

*I feel we should name this substance after someone we hate, Dan-Savage-style. Any nominees? Where are we on hating Lance Armstrong these days?

College-Bike: Scott Igo’s Haro Werks XCR

Scott Igo's Haro Werks XCR
A very interesting and unorthodox piece of equipment, Scott Igo has transformed his Haro Werks XCR cross-country bike into a road-ready machine. A junior at UVM majoring in Philosophy, Scott bought the Haro on eBay three years ago for $15 in what he described as “an impulse buy”. An entry-level hard-tail in Haro’s frame lineup (years ago), no one could ever imagine this bike being used in road races. With a small investment and a little bit of help from his UVM teammates, Scott made it happen.  Read the full article here