Monthly Archives: August 2009

Zigo Leader Review

Recently my wife and I had the opportunity to test-ride a couple of Zigo Leaders at the NYC Summer Streets event. As a serious racer with 2 youngish children and a wife who is an average cyclist I’m always looking for opportunities to include the family in my sport. In the  interest of disclosure I should mention that a long-time friend of mine (Marc) works for the company and asked that we accompany him on the Summer Streets ride. That said, our personal relationship had no bearing on what you’ll read below.

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The Family on/in the Zigos

The Zigo Leader is a modular carrier bicycle that lets you ride with one or two children in a ChildPod. The pod acts as the front wheels (basically a reverse tricycle set-up). The modular aspect comes from the fact that you can detach the pod and use it as a double stroller, a jogger or even a traditional kid trailer. The jogger and trailer modes require the purchase of additional accessories.

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The Zigo Carrier Bike. You can see the 2 knobs that secure the Leader Link – between my hands and at the junction of top-tube and head-tube.

The Zigos before attaching the child pods

The Zigos before attaching the child pods

A Brief History of Totting My Kids

Over the years I’ve had experience with a couple of different contraptions designed for hauling kids with a bike —  rear-rack mounted child seat, a rear trailer attachment. The rear-rack seat is OK when your kids are small, but even then it tends to be a bit tippy and you have to look around behind you to check on your kid. You can mount the seats to your regular bike, but with the model I owned you had to have rack braze-ons. Since none of my race bikes had them the seat went on my wife’s MTB. Trailers are a nicer, more expensive option. I never owned a trailer, but borrowed one from a friend and towed the kids all over Block Island, RI a few years ago. The experience was pretty good, but I didn’t like it enough to purchase one.

Sizing up the Zigo

Before the Summer Streets ride I had only seen online pictures of the Zigo. Truth be told I was a little apprehensive. The whole thing just didn’t seem too slick. But when we arrived in SoHo to meet up with Marc I was pleasantly surprised. The bikes were actually rather cool and the setup was easy. The ChildPod takes shape through a siple series of unfolds and clicks — sort of like a regular stroller, but on a larger, more rugged scale. The Pod attaches to the bike via what Zigo calls the Leader Link. Basically two large, easy-to-manipulate knobs that, when tightened, secure the ChildPod to the bike part of the Zigo. I’m pretty ham-fisted when it comes to things like this, but it was simple enough that once I saw Marc do it once I had no problem operating it myself. Now we were ready to load up the kids. My son (5-years-old) hopped in, buckled the 5 point harness and was ready to go. My daughter is 7 and quite tall — she had a tougher time. She couldn’t really get under the harness and spent much of the day w/ her legs hanging out the front. Can’t really call this a flaw w/ the Zigo just a simple statement of fact that there is an upper limit for height. All that said there wasn’t any complaining from her about being uncomfortable. As for my fit the height-adjustable seat (via a standard quick release) was fine. I’m 6’1″ and still had plenty of post in the seat tube.

The Ride

Let’s get something straight about the Zigo — it’s a bike designed to carry your kids. It is NOT nor does it claim to be a race bike or even an everyday road or mtn. bike. The riding position is pretty upright, which for most casual riders is rather comfortable. To a racer it feels hokey at first, but you don’t really notice after a minute or two. The shifting on the Zigo is handled by a Sutrmey-Archer 3-speed internal hub. I’ve had no experience with these type of hubs before, and was curious to see how they worked. The shifting was pretty quick and smooth, but the 3 speeds just aren’t enough. I think even the casual rider would find it limiting. The low isn’t low enough (my wife had to really work hard up the one or two steep-ish hills on our route) and the high gear often left me spinning like crazy. For most bike paths I think this gearing would probably be fine, but if you have many ups or downs you’ll be looking for more gears. Luckily the folks at Zigo tell me that the next generation of the bikes will feature a 7-speed internal which should help things out a lot.

The steering on the Zigo feels a bit heavy since you have the ChildPod right in front of the handlebars, but the heaviness actually works to your advantage in that the ride is very stable and steady. On a few quick downhill sections I appreciated the heavy feel at the handlebars in that there was no hint of speed-wobbles. That steadiness is also an asset when you come to a stop. Due to the 3-wheel configuration there’s no need to put your feet down when you slow or come to a stop. This is a real advantage over the rear-rack carriers which require you think ahead as you slow down due to their top-heavy nature. My wife actually toppled over once at a traffic light with our daughter in the rear carrier. Nobody was hurt, but it was sort of scary. The stopping duties on the Zigo are handled by drum brakes in the front and rear wheels. The lever feel is light and the brakes to a fine job of stopping the bike.

Overall Impressions

In short, a fun day was had by all. Although I initially had my doubts a day spent on the Zigo was a good time. As a serious racer I sometimes lose sight of the simple pleasure of a bike ride with the family and friends. Since my kids are both riding 2-wheelers a Zigo probably won’t find a place in my garage, but if I had younger children a Zigo would be high on my list. At $1349 it’s not inexpensive, but when you take into account that the Zigo is a bicycle, a stroller, a jogger (with a $70 accessory), or trailer for any adult bicycle (a $75 accessory), the price seems much more reasonable. My advice is to visit a Zigo dealer and take a ride to see if it’s right for you and your family — I think you’ll be impressed.

A Fun Day with the Family

A Fun Day with the Family

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Filed under Bikes, Reviews

Tyler Farrar Wins Stage 1 of Eneco Tour

Tyler Farrar did a great sprint today to take out the first stage of the Eneco Tour and propelled himself into the overall lead. Video is here (click on the top, right video in the sidebar on the right).

Boonen was second. He started from way too far back and then had to go out and around the rider in front of him. Farrar was 2nd or 3rd wheel when things got going and nobody ever got close. Koldo Fernandez from Euskatel in a fab display of head-down sprinting seemed to cause a massive pile up near the front of the sprinting bunch. The video link above shows a good shot of a Bbox Time bike broken clean in half and the head-tube.

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Video of Tyler Farrar’s Vattenfall Win

Here’s some video of Tyler Farrar’s Win at the Vattenfall Classics yesterday. There’s even an overhead shot (no sprint replay should be w/out one). Seems like Tyler had no leadout, but his pure speed took him to the victory. No Cav, but he did be Ciolek. Boonen was in the race too, but seemingly didn’t even try to sprint.

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Filed under Racing – Europe

2010 Colnago Website & Catalog

Colnago has updated their site. Much better than last year, but some of the Flash is a little wonky (at least on Safari).

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Di Luca Fired. To Be Sued by Sponsor

Now that Danilo Di Luca’s B-sample has also tested positive for Cera. Team Sponsor LPR Brakes is suing his ass for damages.

Di Luca “will also be held responsible for all damage” to the reputation of both the sponsor and the team said the squad’s management company, BF Cycling Management, according to La Gazzetta Dello Sport. The Italian newspaper also reported that BF Cycling Management has instructed its attorneys to commence legal proceedings.

Maybe this type of thing will help tip the scales of doping. Right now it’s obvious that the potential benefits outweigh the liabilities of getting caught. If Di Luca has to fork over a bunch of money for damaging the reputation of his employer maybe some guys will think twice.

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Everyday Bike of the Future… Not So Much

This article tells us that Chris Boardman and Sky have revealed their artist’s impression of the everyday bike of the future. The article is full of great claims about the bike, but this one is my favorite: “Carbon-fibre is the ideal material to use for bikes as it can be moulded into any shape and is super-lightweight (‘it could even be lego for adults’).” The first pat of that sentence about the virtues of carbon is true, but the collection of words in the parentheses is just confusing.

Future, sure. Everyday, not a chance

Future, sure. Everyday, not a chance

The bike is certainly cool, but there is nothing remotely everyday about it. Everyday bikes don’t need self-inflating/sealing tires, shaft drives or GPS. I’d love to see some of this tech on my future race bike, but not parked in front of my local coffee shop. And to further add to the non-everydayness it would cost 4-grand if it could be mass-produced. Bravo to Chris for pushing the dial forward on bike design, but let’s be silly. The bikes we ride today are largely just extensions (albeit lighter, strong, cooler) of the original diamond frame design. Concept bikes rarely seem to see the light of day. And for that we should be thankful. Remember this bastard child of a LifeCycle, Tri-bike and a Rollerblade?

Words fail.

Words fail.

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Filed under Bikes, General Riding, Tech

Vino Returns to Racing. Leaves Humility at Home.

Alexandre Vinokourov made his big comeback to racing on Tuesday in France. In the natourcriterium of Castillon-la-Bataille Vino sported a jersey w/ a picture of himself and the words Vino 4 Ever. Still a class act, apparently.

This guy has got some balls. First he dopes when he knows he’s going to be under massive scrutiny due to his association w/ Dr. Ferrari. Then he gets nailed and gets his entire team tossed out of the Tour, not for one year, but 2. Next he doesn’t have the balls to man-up and admit what he did. The Kazakh federation gives him some bullshit 1 year suspension. The UCI decides to sue to enforce the full 2 years and Vino retires, so UCI drops the case. Now here we are in 2009 and the guy just waltzes back into pro cycling with his “comeback” story. What a dick. I mean, really. He hurts the sport, and himself and costs Astana untold sums of money and there are really no consequences for this guy. Stunning.

And once again we have cycling’s big names silent. People like Lance Armstrong , Johan Bruyneel, Phil and Paul, Contadore need to come out and call foul on guys like this. What good do they think it does to prolong the cycling omertá.  I can accept dopers back into the sport, but in my mind they must not only serve their suspension, but show some remorse and admit to their infractions of the rules. Sweeping shit under the rug may help things look better, but it still leaves a stink.

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Filed under Doping, Omerta, Pro Cycling Antics