Monday, November 30, 2009

New helmets - Cratoni

CRATONI Helmets GmbH is one of the most innovative and biggest safety-helmet manufacturers in the World.


In 1985 the company was established as a noble forge for bicycles.

Since 1990, CRATONI concentrates on the manufacturing and distribution of bicycle
helmets and was the first company in the world to develop the revolutionary HEAD-RING-SYSTEM back in the year 1991, for one helmet size to fit all heads! lt is a little known fact that CRATONI originated the helmet retention craze which set a new standard in helmet performance.

The know-how of many internationally successful pro-athletes flows into our product
development. In close cooperation with professional athletes CRATONI creates top class safety helmets regarding design, fit and safety. This close cooperation with active sportsmen makes revolutionary innovations possible.

The CRATONI headquarter in Rudersberg-Steinenberg, a town close to Baden-Württemberg’s capital Stuttgart in south Germany, from where all the actions are coordinated.

Determined to supply the market with quality products, CRATONI reached exclusive
distribution agreements with partners in more than 70 countries worldwide.


CRATONI helmets is your professional partner for 100 % HEAD PROTECTION in the field of sports.

As a specialist with years of experience, they are aware of our responsibility.

Their deeply rooted enthusiasm for sport forms the basis for a philosophy which focuses on passion, adventure and having fun on the way. As a leading cycling helmet manufacturer, our mission is to assist outdoor sport enthusiasts to achieve their goals.

We look for new challenges every day in order to raise our sport to a new level together with professional athletes, experts and motivated sportspeople.


From the next season I will use the Achillon, one of the best helmets available on the market, a really nice helmet for road and off road use, wish a awesome finish and colors. The Achillon has Carbon Wings reinforcements, dual compound visor, a awesome venting system and the evolution size adjustment.

I'll also use the helmet for the CLUJ WINTER RACE. Soon I will come back with a review, but on the first sight the helmets are great.

Features of Achillon

  • Weight: 260 g
  • EVOLUTION FIT Size Adjustment System
  • 28 Air Vents
  • Inmold
  • CARBOWING Carbon Reinforcement
  • Removable dual compound visor
  • Reflectors
  • Sparepads included
  • REARLIGHT compatible

Most of the information founded on this post is from the CRATONI web site.

The photos are made by me. The rest of the gallery can be seen HERE

See you at Cluj Winter Race

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thule - my new partner

Rooted in Sweden. Dedicated to the world.

In 1942, Thule was founded by the Thulin family, when Erik Thulin, a true lover of the outdoors, put the Thule name on a Pike Trap that he designed and began to sell to the fisherman of Scandinavia. It wasn’t long before they added belt buckles and other things to his manufacture. Business boomed, gaining profitably year after year — a not so unusual thing for the typical Swedish entrepreneurial company of that era, but there was something special about Thule.

By the 1960s, the family whose work in metal for years began to concentrate its business on car-related products, and before long the first roof rack was born. Ever since, Thule has been in a growth mode. We’ve added new products like rooftop boxes to the offering and opened new markets such as the UK; Japan and North America. The rest is indeed history, and Thule is today the most respected brand globally in the industry.

The Thulin family sold Thule to the publicly listed company Eldon in 1979, and it continued to grow both organically and through acquisitions (trailers and rooftop box manufacturing). By 1999 the private equity firm EQT acquired the company and developed it further with increased focus on growth and profitability. UK-based private equity firm Candover took over the company in 2004 to initiate a stronger growth through acquisitions. Eleven new companies joined Thule in the years between 2004 and 2007 strengthening the position as world leader in sports and utility transportation. In 2007 Thule changed hands one last time, and was acquired by Nordic Capital.

You will notice that the word Sweden is still as important a component of the logo today as it has been for the past several decades. Though always a nod to the company’s origin, today it stands for the inherent values of a Scandinavian-based company — namely solid quality, timeless design, continuous innovation, empowered and cherished co-workers, and an undying respect for nature and the environment.

Thule is supporting my, thanks to the Romanian importer AutoNet. I'll use the roofrack and the Thule ProRide 591 bike carrier. It looks really good and I really like it.

I'll use it a.s.a.p. and I will tell you all my opinion, but because in the last two year my and my team mates used the Thule products on our cars, we were really happpy with them so this one can't offer me another opinion, right?

Almost all the information, including the photos are from the Thule web site. There are their property !



Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Buff - the original multifunctional headwear

As a lot of you know that Buff is supporting me since this year, I didn't had the opportunity to make them a short presentation.

Buff S.A. is a company established in Igualada, a small city 60km from Barcelona. Its headquarters and production plant occupy facilities of around 8,000m2. Design, production, printing, publicity campaigns and packaging are all carried out on the same site. To achieve this we employ over 50 staff.

In 1992, Original Buff, S.A. (previously Caviro S.L.) created the first multi-functional, seamless, tubular headgear in the Buff® brand. In 1995, it began to export to diverse European destinations. Currently, 80% of sales are in exports to over 45 countries through exclusive distributors.

What is Buff?

Buff® is the brand of an innovative, useful, comfortable, fun, multi-functional garment that will keep off the sun, wind or cold.. The brand’s success consists of having created a product that didn’t exist before 1992, which meets a significant need among sportspeople and outdoor activity practitioners who are seeking functionality, quality and design.

Our best known piece is the original, multi-functional, seamless, tubular headgear that, because of its high quality, means you can perform any activity in total freedom and comfort.

Original because it was and continues to be the first worldwide brand to create the first seamless, multi-purpose, tubular headgear.

Functional because it can be worn in loads of different ways: as a scarf, cap, headscarf, facemask, balaclava, headband, wristband... and as many other ways as you can think up. A versatile article that can be worn more than twelve different ways, used to practice any sport including cycling, skiing, playing tennis, running, going by motorbike, even as a daily clothing accessory.

Seamless, which gives it elasticity, allowing you to adapt it to many uses while avoiding rubbing or skin irritation.

Our customers’ satisfaction encourages us to keep improving, innovating daily.

Buff® products currently represent an accessory line that is available in hundreds of colours and designs. You can also personalise it and create your own Buff® headgear. Even though it started as a single range, Buff® continues to incorporate new fabrics by the best manufacturers, like Windstopper®, Coolmax® and Polartec®. Currently our catalogue includes a wide product range under a single concept, products such as: Polar Buff®, Baby Buff®, Buff® Innova, Reflective Buff® and Visor Buff® Evo_2.

And like a little story...

Joan Rojas is a textile manufacturer who, faced with the crisis in the sector, chose to reinvent his business. He seems to have achieved his objective.

An avid biker from way back, Rojas began riding trail bike in the early 70s. Nowadays, every Sunday he and his friends cover kilometres on those lonesome Catalan highways. It all began back in 1991 when biking around northern Spain. “I was wearing some military briefs around my neck to protect me from the wind and the cold and I got the idea to improve them

because they were itchy and looked pretty ugly”, he remembers. Rojas began working on drawings and carrying out tests in the family’s textile factory until he found a way of manufacturing a seamless, tubular garment out of micro-fibre. “At first I just gave them to my kids and to my friends”, Rojas explained. He also promoted them among ski instructors and in shops. In 1992 he launched the first collection. Three years later, he began to market them abroad, mainly in France, Switzerland and Germany.

As a novelty for Buff, I had the chance to test the new bike and running equipment. I admit that here too they are making a really nice job and they are producing the same high end quality products as the original Buff.

I recommend all of you at least a Buff, you don't know when you'll need it and must of all you can use it an a lot of ways. I am prepared with a Buff for any weather and for any other situations.

Keep it up guys,


PS: 95% of the information founded in this post is from the Buff web site

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When and how to maintain your chain

Maintenance depends very much on the conditions you ride in, obviously wet and muddy conditions prompt a more intensive schedule than dry and asphalt conditions.

Indicators to watch out for:

- reduction of shifting function;
- chain-Suck (chain sticking to your front chain wheel);
- squeaking noises from the drive-train;
- in a tunnel or passing an object reflecting sound, you can hear your chain rattle (it's too dry).

At all events, for road use: inspect your chain at least once every month or every 250 kilometres (150 miles) for off road use: at least once every 100 kilometres (60 miles).

- Clean your chain after each trip, especially after riding in the wet.
- Always use a piece of dry cloth to clean the chain and it's component parts.
- If neccesary, use an old toothbrush to clean between the plates.
- Do not forget the sprockets, front changer and derailleur pulleys.
- To remove mud or sand, use a bristle brush, if necessary with light soapy warm water.
- Never use acidic or alkali based detergents (such as rust cleaners), these agents can damage the
chain and may cause breakage.
- NEVER EVER use a so-called'chain washing machine' in combination with solvent. This is the one
and only sure way to instantly ruin your chain.
- Avoid the use of solvents, not only are these bad for the environment, they remove lubricant from the
chain's bearing.


- lubricate the chain every time you clean it, scrub it, or wash it with any solvent (the usage of solvent is
not recommended!);
- before lubricating, make sure the chain is dry;
- use a lubricant which initially penetrates the chain's bearing, and then turns'sticky' or'dry'. In this way
you can reach the chain parts which are most sensitive to wear;
- make sure you are using the appropriate lubricant - you can test it by spraying some on your hand-first
it feels like water (penetration), after some time it should become sticky or This'simple' chain is
probably the dry (durable lubrication);
- in order to avoid a build-up of excess grease, try to apply it on the critical places only, like the rollers.
Applying grease there helps to reduce chain wear and noise;
- apply just a little grease on the rest of the chain to prevent rust;
- remove excess grease from the outside of the chain;
- in the case of derailleur bikes: do not forget to pay some attention to the derailleur pulleys, chainrings
and cassette sprockets. Use the same principle as above for maintaining and lubricating them
- after lubricating, use a dry cloth to remove excess grease from the chain's outside, this prevents
attracting excessive amounts of dirt and dust.

Before re-connecting your chain, do not forget to clean the chain's ends inner bearings of chain ends, to make sure no dirt remains there. After cleaning, and before applying the connecting link, apply some grease inside and on the connector's pins.

"A chain is a chain, they're not so different"

We hope, after reading this brochure, you have become aware of many different applications, treatments and qualities in a seemingly simple product called chain.

This'simple' chain is probably the most important part of your drive train, when it functions well, you are not aware of it's existence, but when there is something wrong, you will either be annoyed with it's noise, or even worse: standing next to your bike with a broken chain.

On these pages we would like to give you some tips for maintenance and usage, most of which we follow ourselves. We hope that by using this information you will be able to prolong the chain's life and improve it's performance.

Liberty mechanic Faustino: "Good maintenance provides the conditions to win."

How to minimize chain wear
There are different treatments, which affect the chain's life in different ways. In general you may expect a much better performance if you use one of our Long Life or Hi-performance (X and X-SL) products.
Frequently people ask us: "how many kilometres can I expect out of a chain?"? Well, our road test results (over 350 different riders) produced a wide range of chain life which varied from 1000 km (heavy duty MTB) to 17.000 km (Road Racing). This certainly does not mean that the MTB rider was not satisfied with this result, in fact his com-ment was: "compared to my previous chain it lasted 200 km longer"
That is why it is very difficult to answer this question, because chain wear depends on the:
- usage (performance, shifting frequency, chain line);
- circumstances (terrain, wet, dry, mud, water, salt);
- rider's condition;
- degree of maintenance.

Prevent unnecessary chain wear

We can give you the following tips, in order to obtain the maximum mileage from your drive-train, irrespective of the type of chain:
- follow our maintenance tips;

- when shifting, try to keep the chain in as straight a line as possible between chain wheel and cassette
(e.g. do not use the extreme positions like the smallest chainring and the smallest sprocket, or the
largest chainring and the largest sprocket);
- when shifting, try to anticipate a situation (e.g. when going uphill, up shift early in order to prevent
excess force on the chain when having to change gear);
- before stopping, shift to smaller chainring, this avoids having to shift from stand-still.

Some people use 2 or 3 chains and change them every week (or every 500-700 km). According to them this reduces wear, particularly of more expensive cassette and chainrings. It makes sense.

To check the chain's elongation

The easiest way to check if your chain has worn down is when you feel the chain has lost its smooth running and agile shifting function.
A rough way of checking:
- put the chain on the outer chainring, and lift up the chain from the middle of the ring;
- if you can lift it more than half a link, the chain or chainring are probably worn.
If this is the case, chainrings and cassette sprockets may well also be affected!
KMC has developed a special digital chain wear indicator, the'Digital Chain Checker'. This tool allows you to exactly measure the chain's elongation, changing the chain on time (not too early and not too late) prevents excess wear on other drive-train parts, so you can prevent unnecessary high repair costs.
There are also other effective mechanical tools on the market which can help you determine whether your chain needs to be changed or not.
In general KMC recommends checks at the following intervals:
- road use and riding in the dry: every 500 kilometres?(300 miles);
- off road use or more demanding environments: every 150 kilometres (100 miles).

Note: The chain life varies; it depends on the product you use, the circumstances you ride under and the maintenance you adopt.

    • The easiest way to check
    • The digital way to check
    • Avoid extreme shifting positions!
    • Correct chain length
      Mount on smallest sprocket and smallest ring: the chain should to run as close as possible to-. But just free of the derailleur pulley

Connecting Link Instructions


  1. Fit chain with the correct length, clean bearing and lubricate
  2. Do not forget to lubricate the pin
  3. Insert both halves of the MissingLink into the chain ends
  4. Press both halves of the MissingLink connector together
  5. Lock in place by pulling the chain apart
  6. Opening: press both plates together while sliding the chain ends towards each other


  1. Fit chain with the correct length, clean and lubricate bearing and pin
  2. Insert pin plates into both chain ends
  3. Fit other plate over right pin
  4. Bend both ends of the chain slightly towards you and click in the other end
  5. Check connectors for correct assembly. Opening: bend chain slightly and pull off the plate


  1. Fit chain with the correct length, clean and lubricate bearing and pin
  2. Insert pin plate into both chain ends, then fit other plate over both pins
  3. Place spring over both pins (note: the closed side of the spring must be in the forward pedaling direction of the chain!)
  4. Use pliers to assemble spring

The material is from KMC web site. Thanks for that.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

KMC Chain - new sponsor

From the next season I'll start to ride with KMC chains, because it's one of my new sponsors.

KMC was established in 1977, and now is producing 150,000,000 meters of chain per year and the sales has reached over 130 countries in the world with its strong marketing network in more than 10 languages.

For the past 30 years, KMC Group has set up a total of 11 plants and 16 sales companies in the world, located in Taiwan , China , Holland , USA , Indonesia , Thailand , and Vietnam , to meet the great demand in the global market. The total footage of the plants is 573,304m 2 , with nearly 4500 employees. Automatic production and state-of-the-art manufacturing technical production chain provide customers with the fastest and the most convenient services. All the plants passed ISO9002 and ISO9001 and the Shenzhen Factory also obtained its TSI6949 accreditation in 2004 for better professionalism to meet the high quality demand of the auto mo bile industry. Since 2003, all the plants have started to adopt the Toyota Production System, which represents higher standards and regulations to enhance quality control. It is our creed “to provide the optimal service at the mo st appropriate time” and meet all demands from customers.

Right now KMC is producing the lightest and the strongest chains on the planet ! KMC is sponsoring a lot of talented and famous riders, so I must confess that I very honored to be in the same group with them. I'll use the X9SL and the X10SL for training and racing.

With this I would like to thank to the guys from KMC for trusting me and for suporting me.

I'll keep you updated and I will come back with a review soon, so stay tuned.