Lisa Jacobs is one of our national treasures, 3 x Australian CX Champ (2013-15), she is one of the rare few selected to train with the AIS, in 2010 Lisa made the Australian National Women's team that raced the women's Giro D'Italia and has had many other road and CX racing accolades over the years, all whilst building a successful law career... So why did we take a 45min specialist on a 44 hour 800km trip from Melbourne to Adelaide?

Below are LJs words on the her TDU Pilgrimage

Lisa Jacobs riding on the 800km TDU Pilgrimage

 

'The trick is not to think of it as an 800km ride. You're used to 100km rides, right? Just think of it as one 100km ride after another. And eat lots.'
- Troy Bailey, currently riding around Australia for New Life Cycle

'People, you need to have your shit dialled. Do not be that person who gets seven flats. No one will save you.'
- Jesse Carlsson, Curve Cycling; winner, 2016 Trans-Am; Australia's best ultra-distance cyclist

'I'm shitting myself a little bit.'
- LJ, night before the ride

Curve TDU Pilgrimage Ride


On a crisp Saturday morning, just before 4am, a small group of cyclists gathered outside a 7-11 in Brunswick, Melbourne. Eight of us, to be precise, although we were joined from time to time by others (more on that later). The mission, as Curve described it, was to travel by bike 800km to the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, South Australia, in just two days. No support car, no team mechanic, and riding straight into a headwind. Why wouldn't you?

Rhino always looking strong -  Mich Adventures Photography

It sounded pretty extreme to me. But Jesse Carlsson and Sarah Hammond had just done the same ride from Melbourne to Adelaide without stopping, as training for the upcoming Indian-Pacific Wheelrace. When they got to Adelaide they admired the view, then turned around and rode back to Melbourne. In comparison, this version seemed positively civilised. So I signed up. The fact that Jesse and Sarah are both superhuman ride-bots with a passion for self-punishment conveniently escaped me in the excitement of the adventure.

Kay's Carlsson and some guy in the back that looks like he is going to be nailed to a cross  -  Mich Adventures Photography
I'd like to say that the bunch was a motley crew, hastily thrown together on the back of a few emails and a secret handshake. In reality, it was a carefully-assembled cast of adventurers, selected on the basis of good looks, panache and likelihood of not being reported missing if things went awry. There was Jesse 'I can't believe we have to stop and sleep' Carlsson, mastermind behind the route and chief time keeper; Adam 'Captain Flat' Lana, who loyally upheld his reputation for puncturing despite fitting new tyres and riding entirely on velvet; Ryan 'In like' Flinn, who kept us laughing and in good spirits even at our lowest points;
Nick eat The Ox  -  Mich Adventures Photography
Nick 'Eating Machine' Skarajew, in training for the Australian Speed-Eating Championships and on the cusp of selection in the national team; Troy 'New Life Cycle' Bailey, fresh from riding up the east coast of Australia for a super cause; Laurence 'The Ox' Bassel, about to be married, who had eschewed the traditional bucks party in favour of doing infinitely more regrettable things like sitting on the front for 700km; Mark 'Cycling Maven' Ferguson, the man with a million friends who, like Jesus, turned water into wine and stretches of highway into the world's longest beer crawl; and Lisa 'What could possibly go wrong?' Jacobs, persuaded into riding on the promise that it would be 'kind of like a CX race'. Joining us for the first 300km was star ultra-cyclist Jacqui 'Great Divide' Bernardi, who made the hills look easy and led the bunch like a pro.

For the factologists:
Day 1: 450km. 21 hours. Brutal headwinds. Melbourne - Ballarat - Dunkeld - Balmoral - Naracoorte. Highlight: cold pizza at 1am. Adam, you're a genius. I'm promoting you to Colonel.

Day 2: Short sleep. 350km. 15 hours. Naracoorte - Keith - Tailem Bend - Murray Bridge - Nairne - Mt Lofty - Adelaide. Highlight: #beersformaven
- Nick's 800km Strava Segment https://www.strava.com/activities/472320407

 

Troy Boy and L.J., Ride Happy -  Mich Adventures Photography

Throughout the ride, one of our crew had been kept busy tending to his many disciples. I won't blow his cover, so let's just call him 'Jesus'. Jesus was a top bloke, and everywhere we went we were joined by his followers who would ride with us and present offerings. And I mean EVERYWHERE. We only had to stop for a moment and a cracking human would appear out of nowhere, furnishing trays of home-made pastries and cold drinks. It was the stuff of miracles. Jesus took it all in his stride, and I suspect it happens to him a lot, but for us it was quite something. Most impressive, though, was the speed with which the universe responded to Jesus' call for beer.

#Beersformaven

#beersformaven

A simple tweet on Sunday morning resulted in at least five separate roadside handups, including one family who had driven for two hours to stand by the side of the road with an esky full of cold beers and home-made posters. The day was filled with rad stuff like this. The CyclingTips crew drove past to deliver cold drinks (and yes, more beer).

Cycling Tips beer hand up at TDU Pilgrimage

Cycling Tips and #morebeersformaven

Countless cars on the way to the TDU honked and cheered as they drove past. There was a drone. Truck drivers rarely resisted the sight of ten cyclists cranking their arms in unison. In the pitch blackness of the Adelaide hills, blokes came to run alongside The Ox and a lone cracking human waved a cowbell in unbridled joy at the sight of Jesus cycling past.

 

Rhino. Nipples -  Mich Adventures Photography

TDU Pilgrimage arrival

 

We arrived in Adelaide 44 hours after we'd left Melbourne.

We were exhausted, sore and so, so happy. I can't describe how good it felt to finish something I really didn't know that I could. I also can't describe how crazy all those ultra-endurance cyclists are. After two days, pain radiated from every joint in my body and every possible chafe point, and I was subsisting on a diet of Coke and anti-inflammatories. To think that ultra-distance racers do this for two weeks straight makes my head explode.

Grovel on the TDU Pilgrimage

Grovel V2-  Photo by Captain Flat

Would I do it again? Absolutely. Once the swelling dies down, that is. It was a brilliant adventure with an awesome crew, and the stories we shared and the friendships forged over those 800km are tattooed on my brain. Rumour has it that Curve will make it even bigger next year. Tempted? You'd better bring Jesus.

Adelaide to Melbourne TDU Ride

Zoom Zoom-  Photo by Kays Carlsson


Ride happy.

Lisa Jacobs.

 

 

 

The Tour Down Under is here again for 2017, and while there is plenty of cycling and activities to do, our rides are going the be the best and most memorable rides of the TDU. 😀

Belgie Ride Tour Down Under 2017 TDU


We are bringing you 3 days of Curve Kays
Belgie Ride // RAPHA
Thursday 4pm 19th of January // RAPHA Pop Up // 5pm Roll Out
We are bringing the noise of the infamous Belgie Ride to the Tour Down Under. A punishing 40kms of mixed surface madness around the town of Adelaide. It's all ridable on road bikes, but bring your sense of adventure, maybe some robust tyres and definitely a spare tube or two. Followed by some party vibes, food and Bridge Rd beers back at Rapha.


A Taste of the Race to the Rock // RAPHA
Friday 7am 20th of January // RAPHA Pop Up
Back up the Belgie ride with a taste of the Race to the Rock. We will start this ride along side the crew at Rapha to head out to watch Stage 4, but for those who are feeling a little more adventurous we will split off and do the gravel climb that started the 2016 Race to the Rock course. 


Willunga - Curve // Kask // Cycling Tips
Saturday 7am 21st Jan  // Exchange Cafe in Victoria Square // 7.30 Roll Out
We've partnered up with our good buddies at Cycling Tips and KASK cycling to deliver you to the best spot to catch all the action in style.. Curve Cycling have pulled together a stunning little 70km (700m+ vert) jaunt out to Willunga, including an optional gravel alternative to Old Willunga Hill (it's awesome!).  Along the way we'll look after you with a refreshment, before delivering you to the prime viewing spot at the BikeExchange area, 200m from the finish. Protip: this is the last spot before the baracades start, which also means it's where the crowd is at the most intense!


We are so excited to be involved.... also we will have special little $10 Deal bag for you, included is one of our Stem Caps. Track us down for your fix.

Curve Deal Bags

Other stuff to do
SUNDAY 15th 11 - 4: MAKER w/ Treadly
MAKER will be a mini-exhibition of frame builders, craftspeople, brands, organisations and artists within the Australian cycling world,

 

FRIDAY 20th EVENING: Thereabouts 3 Film Official Launch at TDU AdelaideIn this film, Lachlan and Gus Morton visit Colombia to discover the cycling culture, riding, landscapes, and what exactly makes this unlikely country such a unique breeding ground for some of the best cyclists in the world.

SATURDAY 21st EVENING: Car Park Climb 

Bike racing in a multi-story carpark?! It debuted in Melbourne last year, and now VTWO and CyclingTips are bringing the carpark climb to Adelaide at the Tour Down Under.

Curve Cycling Grovel v2 Complete Bike

It has been a long time coming, but today we're happy to release our new complete bike builds into the wild. Grovel v2, CXR and Belgie Spirit complete builds are now available for pre-order now with delivery in February 2017.

Up until now, Curve has offered only the frames and components that define a bike. Curve wheels, frames and framesets have been proven in the toughest endurance bike races on the planet. It was time to wrap these up in a complete bike package, with quality components you can trust, no matter what your next cycling mission is.

Curve Cycling Complete Bike Grovel v2

Grovel v2 Complete

Want to get on the Curve program, but you're on a budget? The Grovel v2 is the Swiss Army knife of bikes and could be the weapon of choice for you. Version one of this beast has conquered Paris-Brest-Paris, the Japanese Odyssey and a forever growing list of bike tour missions all over the planet.

The Grovel v2 picks up where v1 left off. The strong, durable and light Columbus Zona steel tubing results in a frame that is good for CX racing, light touring and anything in between. We've chosen the wide range 1 x 11 SRAM Rival 1 drive train and no fuss SRAM Rival 1 hydro brakes. You can fit up to 700c x 42 mm or 27.5" x 2.1" tyres, giving you plenty of tread options. 

The wheelset features solid Alex MP23 rims laced with DT Swiss Comp spokes to DT Swiss 350 hubs. Ever bought a complete bike and been stunned by the low quality wheelset? Not with this build! This wheelset is a solid all-rounder, tubeless ready and able to tackle the harshest conditions.

The build is completed with a quality Zipp alloy finishing kit. It's such a great value package.

You'll find the full set of details here for the Grovel v2 complete builds.

Curve Cycling CXR Complete Bike

CXR Complete

Want a CX race slayer? After a lightweight titanium touring machine? Look no further than the CXR. With a low BB, thru-axle, short and sharp chain stays, the CXR was designed to go fast. But with the versatility that Curve titanium frames offer, the CXR has become so much more than just a CX race bike.

We've chosen the race-proven, high-end SRAM Force 1 drive train for this machine. The wide range 1 x 11 set up and quality hydro brakes work just as well on the race track as they do on fast touring missions.

Here's where things get interesting though. We've included Curve's race ready 30x25 carbon rims on this weapon. They're laced to DT Swiss 350 hubs for a wheelset that will handle CX race abuse as well as road riding with skinny 25 mm tyres fitted.

We're finishing this build off with quality Maxxis Rambler 700c x 40 tyres and a high end Zipp alloy finishing kit.

Want all the details? You can find them here!

Belgie Spirit Endurance Road Bike Complete

Belgie Spirit Complete

After an endurance road bike for all day riding? Looking for a machine to take on the toughest ultra-endurance road cycling races in the world? The Belgie Spirit is the weapon of choice for you. From the early response we've had, it is likely to become the new benchmark for endurance road riding.

Featuring a SRAM Force 22 build with a 2 x 11 drivetrain and flat mount hydro disc brakes, this complete build is ready for the Indian Pacific Wheel Race or any other long distance mission you can dream up.

The wheelset is something special. We've gone with a 35 mm deep Curve G4 rim laced with CX-Ray spokes to DT Swiss 350 hubs. You're unlikely to see a wheelset of this quality on a build at this price. Nope.

Curve Cycling Belgie Spirit Complete Bike

A high end Zipp alloy finish kit completes the build. There are some nice details too. We've included our own saddle with titanium rails in the build. Nice!

Oh wait... the tyres! Maxxis Refuse 700c x 32 tyres are the pick for the Belgie Spirit. They were proven in a recent ride from Perth to Melbourne by one of the Curve Crew - not a single flat. Sure they're not the fastest tyres out there but they're built for all day comfort and zero issues.

Click here to find out more.

Still want more details? Get in touch to sort out your Curve complete bike now.

Xmas Good Cycle

December 08, 2016

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Curve Cycling is partnering with Melbourne Cycling League to host a Xmas; ride, race and party to raise awareness, money and bikes for the good crew at Good Cycles - a social enterprise bike store.

Xmas Belgie Ride

In typical, Curve Classic's style, this ride is a 40km mixed surface jaunt that will make you laugh as hard as cry. We will be hopping from steep hill, to bike path to CX track to bike path, and then back to Curve Cycling HQ to share war stories and party with some beer and food. But 20kms into the ride we will be all lining up to race the "Hilliminator" a steep grassy knoll, where the winner takes all... the kudos. Curve Classic's are always road bike friendly, but remember to bring some new or sturdy tyres and as always, your sense of adventure.

BRING A PART, BIKE or BUCK: As part of the Good Cycles' education and employment program, Good Cycles build and give away bikes to the disadvantaged people they help empower. So if you have an old bike, frame or a bunch of good parts that you can donate to the cause then bring it along. We will also be asking you for double gold coin donations for food and beer, all proceeds go back to the Good Cycles.

WHEN:  Thursday 15th December 5.30pm (roll out at 6.30pm)
WHERE: Good Cycles Bike Hub Docklands Bike Path
PARTY:  Back at Curve Cycling Northcote at approx 8.30pm

FB Event Page https://www.facebook.com/events/440262996361853/

 

 

Curve Cycling supports Good Cycles

More goodness on Good Cycles: As a social enterprise, the organisation’s focus is on making a difference, rather than a dollar - with 100% of the revenue from their commercial enterprises going to support their numerous social and community programs. Using bikes as a lever for engagement, education, empowerment and employment -  they work with those experiencing disadvantage to provide new opportunities and broader horizons. We all know how life changing a bike can be – Good Cycles are applying that knowledge to help those in need, working with at-risk youth, long term unemployed, refugees and asylum seekers - amongst others.

Their commercial operations cover their main CBD bike store, city-based mobile bike servicing, bicycle maintenance courses, the operations of Melbourne Bike Share and the recently opened Community Bike Hub on the waterfront in Docklands. They offer everything your LBS would – expert, friendly advice and service and a great range of bikes and accessories – along with the extra layer of knowing you’ve made a difference simply by visiting them. In fact Good Cycles now refers to anyone using their store and services as a supporter rather than a customer.

Find out more at GoodCycles.org or drop in at either Tenancy 2, Level 1, 150 Collins St ( Entrance on Batman Hill Drive) or at The Bike Hub at 131 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands – right on the Capital City bike path.

Looking forward to this one!

See you on Thursday.

Tasmania is getting some well deserved riding love at the moment, so we'd thought to keep the vibes going and look back at Scott's Belgie Disc adventure up Mount Barrow.

When setting up a bike for the first time you should take the bike on a small local ride so adjustments can be made easily. But if the opportunity presents itself to christen a bike on a ride up the side of a remote mountain over dirt road and ruts 100km from home, then you should never ever say no.

Since completing the ascent of Ben Lomond last year as part of the Rapha Prestige, Ben (my mate, not the mountain) and I have been eyeing off his little brother (only just), Mount Barrow. Arthur, Barrow, Ben dominate the eastern skyline of Launceston Tasmania. While Ben is the most famous of the three, Barrow provides a road less ridden of equal beauty and even more brutality.

Ben Lomond

The Belgie arrives late Friday afternoon and with the leave pass arranged for Saturday morning, my night is spent a madly assembling the bike. Once together, it's a thing of beauty to behold. I am so excited to get out there, but a weather check shows that the window for success is sketchy at best with a sizable front coming through. We had no idea at the time or how sizeable this front would turn out to be but more about that later in the story.

Belgie Disc

The beginning of a chilly Tasmanian early winters morning finds Ben (again, the rider not the mountain) and I heading off through the rolling hills of the Tasman Highway. The forecast is grim but the blue skies ahead fuel our enthusiasm.

The beginning of the Barrow ride commences with a right turn off the tarmac onto a dirt road winding its way through green rolling hills of Tassie farm land. Then you hit the steep first ramp that pops you out of the green into the tall timber forest. The 14km climb is a battle of climb-rest-climb-rest, the blue skies begin to grey as we ascend through the forest to the exposed open rock scree road. Winding its way like a snake through the field of boulders is a rutted and rough dirt road to the summit - this what we had came for and why this ride is touted as harder than “the ladder” on Lomond.

Mount Barrow Climb Cycling

Some notes on the Belgie once adjusted the bike handled the climb with ease. The compact gears balanced with the sure-footed nature of the Curve wheels provided made easy work of the rough terrain. This was especially noticeable in the tight loose switchback of the climb which from past experience on similar Tassie roads normally make road bikes squirm.

Gravel Climbs

Ramp-turn-ramp-turn the exposed roads climbs ever upwards with the final pitch placing us in the clouds. We make the top, take a few minutes to recoup and explore the landscape, but it is clear that we should make our way down, with the weather closing in. 

Going down the dirt ramps give us a chance to hit 70 km per hour over the open straight gravel sections, but then it was hard on anchors before entering the loose off camber corners.

Mt Barrow Climb

Back down to the safety of the bottom, we make our hasty retreat with thoughts of cold beer and warm food of Launceston. I had a chance to reflect how the Belgie shined, it was sure footed and calm under fire. The speeds hit during the decent felt controlled and predictable on roads that were anything but. What can I say there is nothing quite like flying down a loose bit of gravel on a surface are barely wider than your little finger but at no stage did I feel out of control on this bike.

Barrow and its big brother The Ben are the essence of what Tasmanian riding should be about. Just one turn off the main road can turn an afternoon's ride into an afternoon of adventure, all within 100km of home.

Belgie Titanium Bicycle

So back to the subject of our chasing clouds well,  they ended up dumping a wall of water 200-300ml of torrential rain behind us on to the slopes of Barrow as we retreated, turning the roads into rivers. This same cloud front continued its path washing away roads and causing wide spread flooding and damage throughout the Tamar valley. So what is the recipe for great adventure; a window of opportunity, willing participants and just a little bit of luck.

Scott Mattern

Adam was in some good company last weekend, and lucky enough to take the GMX through some of Tasmania's spectacular terrain. 

My weekend in Tassie was a win! Here I was, feeling pretty lucky with an invite to come and ride Tassie thanks to local Launceston rider Scott Mattern (via Tourism Tas). The other rider on the invite list, was none other than the famous bike blogger, John Watson, aka John Prolly aka The Radavist. Our task was pretty simple, get from Launceston to the Central Highlands and back in a couple of days and share this “Credit Card touring” experience with you all.

John Watson aka John Prolly aka The Radavist

It was set to be a “big tyred” weekend, we all wanted it all - the rugged trails, the beautiful winding bitumen and everything in between.

Scott and I were on Curve Titanium GMXs with 29x2.2 tyres and John was on a 44Bikes steel off-road tourer with some oversized 27.5 x 2.8s built by New England, USA. All our chosen wheelsets were carbon.

 Our day 1 destination was the Thousand Lakes Lodge; Being 100kms+  from Launceston it was nothing too strenuous by normal Curve standards, but still plenty of gravel, vert, and silky roads to work over the legs and earn a good feed. Cycling Tasmania with Curve CyclingThe Leafy Fall climb to the plateau included some lovely tree lined roads and some steep gravel pinches, which was rewarded with stunning vistas, crystal clear lakes and the ancient geology that the Tasmanian highlands are known for.

An oasis in a barren landscape, our accommodation was was spot on. The Thousand Lake Lodge was a former Antarctic training centre, and was recently converted into a stunning lodge by racing car legend Marcos Ambrose. Lush couches, some bloody amazing local beers, wine, a nice feed and then a comfy bed to sleep in. Thousand Lakes Lodge

The ride back was just as nice, albeit with a rather adventurous downhill to finish off the day.Hydo Scheme Tasmania

This section of the Tassie Trail was pretty smashed, littered with huge rocks and washed out areas saw us walking much of it, when you could mount the bike it was pretty wild ride. There were plenty of ways down the hill, and Scott was a little worried about his chosen route - but we didn’t give a shit, in fact the whole thing just added to the smiles and adventure.

 

This weekend and the company I shared, sums up about what I love about cycling;

Hanging with John Watson was pretty damn cool. He may be “world famous”, and “living the dream”, through the sharing of his two-wheeled stories, but down to earth nature and his fame doesn’t come without awesome talent and hard bloody work. He is on a mission to promote cycling and has taken big risks in driving his opinion to support those who give back to the industry. Chapeau!

John Watson aka John Prolly aka The Radavist in Tasmania 

Scott on the other hand is not in the cycling industry, he is a full time scientist, a Dad, a proud Tasmanian, and an all-round good bloke who just dead set keen to share his home turf with the rest of us. He gambled his valued time to help create this ride to help get Tassie on the cycling map.

Scott Mattern Tasmania local hero

Then there is me, the guy representing Curve. I love sharing the good vibes that these rides bring and get a real buzz from hosting rides that put the “awe” in awesome. But, ultimately we risk it all to make sure our products are worthy of the race you doing, the ride you are about roll on, or the adventure you seek.

Adam Lana Curve Cycling 

So here we have three pretty different riders with more-or-less the same goals; to share and enrich others through this awesome pass time we call cycling.

There were plenty of other cyclists who helped make it awesome, so a huge thanks to Scott for organising it all. Thanks to John for the insight, Enduro Ben for being so chilled. Rob for the trails and Troy and Co from Sprung for the wrench. Thanks to Will from Van Dieman's Brewing, for the Pork, Lamb and Beer!

 

Tasmania Cycling

Curve Cycling Belgie Titanium Indian Pacific Wheel Race Bike Packing Set Up

With exactly four months to go until Curve Cycling's next big event, the Indian Pacific Wheel Race, kicks off we thought we’d talk about preparation. Many riders on the roster are new to this style of bike packing and multi-day ultra-endurance racing. We get asked, at least a couple of times every day, how riders should prepare. We thought we’d jot down some thoughts.

A lot of inexperienced ultra-endurance racers will focus heavily on the usual cycling training in the lead up to a long bikepacking race. They’ll be keen to discuss their training program and how they’ll build before the event. Solo, unsupported, multi-day races are a little different to the usual bike race though. It’s critical that riders get familiar with their kit. We try to get riders to think about what they want to achieve in the race. Do they want to try to win? Do they want to head out with the goal of simply finishing? The answer will dictate their race strategy and consequently their pack list.

Bike Packing Set Up Curve Cycling Rapha Indian Pacific Wheel Race

Once you’ve sorted out a rough pack list, it’s critical to build confidence in it. An important part of training is to head out on a multi-day ride, in terrible weather if possible, sleep out, pack up your gear and ride home. It’s only after completing that sort of mini-adventure that you can build confidence in your kit. Plenty of people head out for long day rides but there is no substitute for an overnighter - riding with the extra weight of your kit on your bike takes some getting used to, and you’ll need to be mindful of your pedalling action to avoid achilles, knee and back issues, especially when climbing. The inexperienced ultra-racer tends to be more “jerky” / less fluid on a loaded bike than more experienced racers. An overnight ride also gets you used to dragging yourself out of a less than comfortable sleep and hauling your sore body onto your bike for day two. That’s a skill that could save you a full day throughout a race like the Indian Pacific Wheel Race.

If you can manage it, it’s a good idea to head out for a two-night ride. Again, preferably in terrible weather. Why two nights? It’s so that you have to pack your kit up after night one and then sleep in it again on the second night. It doesn’t take too many nights trying to sleep in a wet sleeping bag to learn the importance of keeping some items in your kit dry. If you just head home after a single night out, you unpack when you get home and never have to deal with poorly packed gear in the field.

Curve Cycling Indian Pacific Wheel Race Bike Packing Set Up

You’ll find that with a few overnight rides focused on building confidence in your kit, the training miles come for free.

Of course now is the time to get your race bike sorted as well. Ideally you’ll spend a lot of training time on it, fine tuning the set-up and your pack list in the lead up to the race. What will you be riding for the Indy Pac? There's still time to get yourself a Belgie Spirit race weapon!

Groveling along

November 17, 2016

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MTBer Troy Bailey had a mission: To ride around Australia (mainly off-road) to help raise awareness for refugees. He formed New Life Cycle and brought together the support of various refugee charity partners. We had just finished testing and refining the Grovel V2, so Curve decided to support his mission and supply with him with two bikes; An Uprock and the first pre-production Grovel v2 to land in Australia. The perfect test for the Grovel.

Here are Troy's words 

-

The Grovel is the latest addition to the Curve family and I'm here to tell you, that it will be welcomed with opened arms.

Just like its titanium brothers and sisters, (Belgie, GMX and Uprock) all the design and R&D has been done in-house. Coming from such pedigree, the pressure was certainly on for this versatile youngster to perform. With the guys at Curve catching wind of what I was proposing to do (a lap around Australia off-road in 180 days) They were confident they had just the steed for me.


With the adoption papers signed for the first Grovel in the country, I was keen to see just how versatile and capable this bike could be. Melbourne's winter was sinking its teeth in, and it was time to make tracks. But the Grovel hadn't landed, so in the true family spirit of Curve Cycling, "Take my Uprock 29er hardtail and we'll send the Grovel to wherever you are when it arrives", these were Steve Varga's words, (aka Curve founder). Steve built this bike up as a Christmas present for himself, seriously what a guy! Thanks heaps Steve this bike is an absolute weapon!.

With the Grovel, in its yellow glory arriving in Port Macquarie, I was excited and a little scared about its maiden voyage; a punishing 160 km & 3500 vertical meter gravel road, dirt road and 4x4 track adventure. To top it off, I was with my old teammate Jason English (8 x 24 hr solo MTB world champion). With Jason saddling up on his MTB at 4.30am, the aim was to make our destination by nightfall. Sounds a bit more like a baptism of fire than a christening, but to both and my surprise the Grovel with the 27.5 x 2.0 Refuse tires (a robust slick with a tiny diamond pattern) handled everything we could throw at it. 

This would be the first of many days on the dirt navigating the 4,000km New Life Cycle journey thus far. I followed the stunning tracks and roads through the Great Dividing Range and Bicentennial National trail, I toyed around with tire pressures and set up, and my confidence continued to grow on the Grovel.

Curve Grovel - Columbus Spirit

I had choice, but the mountain bike remained in the support vehicle and I continually threw my leg over the Grovel as I was just amazed at the all-round capabilities of this gravel bike.  

Curve Grovel Gravel Bike

The New Life Cycle journey come to an abrupt but temporary end in the Far North. I lost my support vehicle driver suddenly and decided to wait it out in lovely Mackay and race the QLD state MTB champs. But then, whilst training on the MTB I dislocated my shoulder.  The injury saw me back on the comfort of the Grovel pretty quickly, but 4 weeks later as I jumped back on the MTB, on the very same trail, I broke my collar bone. Surgery was a success, however with a six-week recovery time-frame, it was definitely curtains for any further progress north this year.

But the journey doesn't end here. As I recover and the top end becomes unbearably hot, humid and wet, I will chop and change the route to finish my round Australia trip in sections. So now my energies and training will be directed towards completing Perth to Sydney via Curve's unsupported 5,300 km Indian Pacific Wheel Race, kicking off on March 18th. After Sydney I'll head back to Mackay and complete the New Life Cycle journey with the new finish line being the southern-most point of the west coast in the Margaret River region.

I Grovel on! I am getting pretty excited for the Indy Pac, the gravel bike will turn roadie, so I will swap out the Grovel's 27.5 x 2.0" tyres for some 700c road wheels and 28 mm tyres.

I've always thought myself a MTBer, but doing this trip and also looking forward to a 5,300km tarmac journey, I would be more than happy to be referred to as a keen cyclist who loves it all.

Curve Grovel - CX bikeI love the dirt side of the fence, getting away from it all immersed in nature as far off the beaten track as possible. But often to get there you need to cover a lot of bitumen between even the most remote places, and the Grovel makes these traverses more enjoyable.

For those who ride road, but have a secret hankering for dirt, this bike's clearance and geometry allows you do both. Run 700c wheels and then throw on some 42c tyres or better still, borrow a mate's spare set of 27.5 MTB wheels and you can get out there and test the water. Be careful though - it becomes very addictive!

In a nut shell, this bike fills the gap beautifully as a do-it-all bike. For mountain bikers, it's a road bike/gravel/CX bike or for roadies, it's an introduction to another world.

For me, it's been a tough but rewarding road, and my adventure continues. 

-

To support Troy and New Life Cycle visit and donate here: http://www.newlifecycle.org.au/

For more images and short clips go #grovelhighway 

We launched our G4 carbon wheels via the track. One of the first riders on them was Lizanne Wilmot - the 2015 Canadian Keirin Champion. Their first test and Lizanne's mission was nothing short of the UCI Category 1 event, ITS Melbourne and then on to the infamous Red Hook Crit London.

Lizanne now resides in Sydney, she normally rides tubs, but here is what she had to say about her new clincher wheels.

NB: these are same design that grace our road wheels.These rims are laced 20H Front 24H rear 45mm depth laced to DT Swiss 370 Track Hubs.  Contact us for pricing on these wheels.  Article used with permission from https://lizannewilmot.com/2016/09/30/i-cant-believe-its-not-tubular/

 

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here’s how the conversation went

Me– hey guys, do you have any tubular track rims? 

Curve – we have rims but no hubs, or some clincher prototype G4’s.  You’ll love them!

My Thoughts– *thinking/mental tantrum* I want tubulars!!!!! I only ride tubs on the track.  

Me-Ok, I’ll try out the G4’s and see how they go.  

And that’s how I chanced upon the best feeling wheels I’ve ever ridden.  

For a few years I've been drooling over photos Zac from Skunkworks has been posting.  The curve wheels looked the biz and made any bike look dressed to the nines. The only problem was, they didn’t really do track and they stopped making tubulars. This was great for my wallet, I didn’t need more wheels.  

Then, in the summer, I got to go on a belgie ride with the curve guys.  I mentioned I was planning on racing the red hook crit, and was looking for tubs.  They said they might be able to help.  

Fast forward to June, that’s when the do you have tubulars conversation happened.  It was a few weeks out from ITS Melbourne and a month from Red Hook.  When I was offered clinchers I was a bit disappointed.  The only acceptable tyre on the track is tubulars.  But, because I wanted schmick new hoops for the Red Hook, I said I would test them out.  

This is what I thought.  

First impressions-HOT lizanne-wilmot-curve-g4-wheels-disc

Ya, super HOT! Like absolutely drool, they look amazing on my bike I look fully pro.  

Besides looking good,  they ride so well.  My G4 rims are laced into a DT Swiss high flange track hub.  I raced them at ITSagainst Steph Morton.  They had a happy whistle when they got up over 60km/h.  It added to my joy when hitting the apex. Off the track,  I was able to drop the PSI right down to 70psi and commute.  At the low pressure this is where these wheels really shine.  They roll so easily, I can’t tell they are low pressure.  It also has the added bonus of extra grip while cornering and it almost eliminates the bumps and potholes of Sydney’s streets.  

The G4’s are in a class of their own.  Normally I need several wheel sets for track. But with these I can commute, swap the gear ratio, then race. The versatility of these wheels to offer the comfort for the road then to rival the performance of my race wheels, it just astounds me.  I can’t believe they are not tubular. The extra wide 25mm rim profile, coupled with 23mm vittoria tyres gives the illusion of a tub, with the ease of puncture repair found in clinchers.   I find it rather re-assuring I can fix a puncture on my race wheels.  It takes away the stress of having 2 wheel sets on race day and the risk of only having one set if it’s not possible to bring 2 (or if i already punctured).   

The real test-Red Hook Criterium London 

red-hook-crit-curve-wheels-lizanne-wilmot-ash-duban

After ITS I flew out to the UK to race the London red hook with my Friend Ash Duban.  After some false starts with my bike arriving late and her bike being damaged, we finally got some sleep.  

At the race, there was a carnival atmosphere.  Because Ash is a bit of a superstar (a bit it an understatement, she is the fastest RAD-est chick I know!!!) I got to bask in her stardom while trying to hold onto her wheel in qualifiers.  I thought I knew how to corner.  But following Ash around the red hook was a whole different level.  

It was fast, it was technical, and after throwing myself into the deep end,  I had complete confidence in my wheels and tyres. I had only really ridden them a handful of times; they felt like old friends. Reliable, predictable, instantly familiar.   

Once off the circuit, I had a stream of people coming up to me asking the same thing; what wheels are those? They’re tubs, right? They look sweet/amazing/clean/fast/f**king bad a$$/you get the drift.

red-hook-crit-curve-wheels-lizanne-wilmot-leana-kate-james

The dude behind is totally checking out the wheels

It wasn’t just me who couldn’t believe they weren’t tubular.  The looks fooled even seasoned mechanics and racers, and the feel fooled a picky trackie(me).   

lizanne-wilmot-curve-g4-sydney-commute

Long(ish) term review- I love them! They are the perfect wheel to ride/race on outdoor velodromes and the road.  They feel like tubulars(they feel so much like tubulars), but have the security of clinchers.  The wide profile means I can drop the pressure(70-80psi) to make the ride softer (I survived a Hurstville 100 lapper!) without making it feel slow or sluggish.  They have also eliminated the need for me to carry spare wheels to RAW.  I can ride to the track on the G4’s,  add a bit of air (100psi) and then jump onto the track and race.  

From the road, to racing track, to smashing the red hook.  I’m converted, maybe you don’t need tubulars for the track.

 

P.S. I’m currently off the bike and the wheels are lonely.  If you want to give the wheels a spin, drop me a line and I’ll see if I can hook you up.

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 Contact Curve for pricing on G4.

Welcome to the Munda Biddi trail in Western Australia... We have great trails, beautiful natural backdrops that change daily, nice purpose built camping huts and charming towns to resupply along your journey... It also has flowing single track, switch back climbs and descents, gravel roads, quite back country sealed roads, emus, kangaroos, pigs, hail, more hail, rain, puddles, sunshine, great mates (BYO), mountains, coastline, beer, huge karri tree forests, -3 degree sleep outs, single speed conversions (Gotta earn these) and lots of K's. 

Enjoy my photo montage in no particular order.

 

Thanks to:

Munda Biddi Trail Foundation

Kathmandu

Rapha Australia

Alee Denham - Cycling About

Campbell Townsend

Erin Baxter

 

Munda Biddi Trail W.A.

First night camping Kathmandu Bivy

Munda Biddi Northern Terminal - Curve Cycling CXR Carbon

Steep Climbs on day 1 of the Munda Biddi

Munda Biddi fast wet roads

 

Pine forrest smells great after rain

Munda Biddi

Hail Sun Hail Sun

Puddles everywhere

Sticky mud

Munda Biddi Rockier than expected

Hail again

Pine tree goodness

Munda Biddi wild pig

Munda Biddi Wild pig 2

Trail Hut Munda Biddi Munda Biddi Laundry bed

Forrest roads

Forrest

Munda Biddi suns out

Munda Biddi Suns out again

Trains and bikes

Munda Biddi dirt tracks

Munda Biddi Forrestry

Munda Biddi Big trees down

Munda Biddi Pine forrest

Emu and Kanga

Munda Biddi fire damage

Keep em dry

Straight and fast

Divided road

End of the line

 

Additional pics and words here - 

http://www.cyclingabout.com/cycling-munda-biddi-trail-australia/

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