Paceline Podcast 145

Paceline Podcast 145

Selene was recently a guest for Lovingthebike’s Bike School. She was asked a number of questions, but two memorable ones were: what is the lowest temperature you will ride in? How cold can you take it? Another was what your favorite ride distance is. How long does a ride need to be for you to feel like you’ve been for a good ride?

So whatever happened to all those cool brands that got bought up by Trek back in the 1990s. They went on a shopping spree for a while, either buying or licensing the brands LeMond, Fisher, Bontrager and Klein. Why did they need those brands? Patrick answers that question as well as how their changing business model affected each of those brands.




The Paceline is supported by Eliel Cycling. Crafted in California, the Eliel brand combines the latest technology with cycling tradition to deliver an experience that is authentically California. View their retail gear and custom program at


Show links:

Instagram for Yewande Adesida, the cyclist in the images of the launch of SRAM Red eTap AXS

Yewande Adesida on Strava

Selene’s article, “Is Riding Too Much Making Your Bones Weak?”

Patrick’s essay, “The Sprint.”

The new Open U.P.

SRAM’s new Red eTap AXS

Photo illustration of Keith Bontrager courtesy of Trek.

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  1. Jackie Gammon

    Loved listening to the discussion on what is the lowest temperature you’ll ride. As you mentioned, it is relevant only to the part of the country that you live in. I think another part of this conversation should have been about wind as well. My lowest is -20, but it was in the woods protected for the most part from the wind. Had i not had that option, and had to ride on the roads in wind… definitely would not have been outside. We have lots of great options with clothing these days, but the unfortunate part is that not everyone can afford it. So that in itself I think cuts down a few folks from riding, and of course with low temps and wind… you quite often have icey conditions. It’s a big piece of the puzzle that I think many of the clothing companies simply miss.

    Lastly, I’ve always felt that when bike companies buyout other companies, they simply are eliminating part of their competition. What happened with Trek and all of the companies that the bought was a shame, and I hope that we learn from that. Fisher and Klein were great companies and it’s sad that they are no longer making bikes. On the other hand, I know many will disagree with me there.

    Thanks for the great conversations!

    1. Selene Yeager

      Totally agree on all of that. wind/dampness, etc. that all changes my low temperature tolerance. And yes. Good gear tends to be expensive. Though I imagine savvy cyclists can figure out how to outfit themselves on a shoestring. I might try to put together a story on that….

    2. Quentin

      Where I live (west Texas), wind is more important to me than temperature when I’m looking at forecasts. It doesn’t rain much, but the wind blows most days. Some days I have to decide between riding first thing in the morning when it’s 40 degrees with 5-10 mph wind or wait until later when it’s nearly 70 degrees and 15-20 mph wind. Some days I just can’t deal with the cold. Other days I just can’t deal with the wind. In summer, on the other hand, the choice is pretty obvious.

    3. Author

      I just want to say in Trek’s defense that I don’t think their intentions were competition-quashing. They, at the time, really felt a need to have a presence at the high end and shops didn’t consider them a premium brand. Good, yes, but not amazing. Business plans change, and to my knowledge, they have a history of taking care of their employees as circumstances change.

    4. Touriste-Routier

      RE Competition Squashing. While this may be the case in some circumstances, there are other very compelling business reasons to acquire other brands:

      1) When you get to a certain point in sales, it is hard to sustain growth rates organically. Sometimes you get to the point that the only way to grow is to acquire other companies/brands.

      This also can help you drive your costs down, since you have more bargaining power with your suppliers.

      2) In line with this, if you have a protected dealer network (meaning your dealers have an exclusive territory), the brand can’t open up competing dealers. But if the brand is different, they can. So you can have 1 dealer selling Trek MTBs and another literally across the street selling Fisher MTBs without necessarily violating the terms of the dealer agreements.

      3) Having multiple smaller niche brands in house enables you to better get a toe hold in dealers that are selling your major competitors’ products. Once you get in the door, you have a better chance of winning business, expanding the relationship. and perhaps eventually flipping the dealer so your products dominate their sales.

      You can let the dealers and your internal teams battle for sales, but in the end, the parent company wins, as long as the sale is under their roof.

      This is analogous to why Proctor & Gamble have so many brands of products that are essentially the same thing (ex Dawn, Joy, Gain & Ivory dish washing soap). It is a battle for shelf space. For each slot you occupy, it is 1 less your outside competitor can.

  2. Lyford

    I have ridden when it was snowing, but for road riding my No Fun Zone starts around 40F. I can see winter fatbiking as being a whole different animal, and probably comfortable and fun in sub-freezing conditions that would be good for cross-country skiing.

    1. Lyford

      Sun also makes a huge difference. 40F calm and sunny is a different world from 40F overcast and windy.

  3. Stewart Van Buskirk

    I just recently picked up a Gary Fisher Triton Single Speed from 2010. I got it cheap, like cheaper than my shoes cheap ($275), and partly to help me recover from a MTB crash where I separated my shoulder. It’s a fun bike and I love the glide it has.

  4. John Knowlton

    Patrick, it is common to hear that buying new wheels is the best upgrade you can make to a bike. Is that true? If so, what do you look for in a wheel upgrade? How do I pick a new wheelset?

    1. Lyford

      On my old bike, going to a wider rim and wider tires made a huge difference in ride comfort and cornering stability.

      Lighter weight makes accelerating easier. More aero makes it easier to sustain high speeds. Tubeless capability may be important if you want that option.

    2. Author

      I try to steer clear of language that gets too salty here, but in this case Ima make a semi-exception. Eff yeah. Wheels are unquestionably the best not-cheap upgrade you can make. A great set of tires can do wonders, but the right set of wheels will make it feel like a new bike. As to what to pick, my advice these days for road bikes is to go aero. If you can’t afford Zipp or Enve SES, there are great options from outfits like Stan’s and Irwin. I’ve got 18 months on a set of Stan’s Avion wheels and they’ve been pretty great. Aside from aero, my advice is establish what your budget is and give yourself a 10% +/- buffer.

      Here’s a data point to keep in mind: You can realize just as great an aerodynamic gain with a good set of wheels and an aero helmet with a fitted kit as you can dropping the coin on a bike like a Specialized Venge.

    3. Me

      how does one decide which wheelset to go with? how do i know how much my current wheels weigh and is weight the most important factor to consider in new wheels?

    4. Author

      Aerodynamics are much more important with wheels than their weight. With regard to judging your wheels’ weight, I’d try to look them up on the manufacturer’s website; even if their listed weight is off, it won’t be by much. That will give you a basis of comparison to the weights listed by other manufacturers. If each wheel weighs less than 2kg (2000g), they are okay, but if each wheel weighs less than 1500g, they are reasonably light. To get wheels in the neighborhood of 1kg, you’ll pay dearly.

  5. shiggy

    Surface conditions, not temperature, is my limiting factor for riding.
    I have done 6-hr road rides @ 5F with studded tires.

    1. Author

      Totally reasonable she says. Ha! Six hours at 5°F? You just made every Belgian on the planet look like a lightweight.

  6. slugsmasher

    +10F is about my threshold for tolerance. Feet and hands dictate how long/cold can go. Some folks mention expensive gear. Thrift stores are good places to find winter gear especially if you live somewhere where there are a lot of outdoor enthusiasts. The other thing is if you spend up front you only have to buy it once every 10 or 20 years. I still have jackets and fleece stuff that is 20 years old and work fine.

    Question for our hosts. This time of year is when a lot of “training plans” are moving forward. For a multi-discipline cyclist (MTB, Gravel, cyclocross) most training plans are not compatible or make sense. Seems like everything starts from zero to that “one big event” and then you fall off the cliff. What is the best method to maintain a high level of fitness for 9-10 months a year? I know pick an “A” event and train for that. What if you have 6 “A” events to do during the course of spring, summer, fall and winter. No breaks unless you somehow force it in there. Interested in what you guys do to stay fit all year, especially Selene.

  7. Dylan

    As an avid listener to the Paceline I can not wait to try out my first hopper this weekend. My fiancée got deployed out here to work on the wildfires. Coming from Emporia we shall see how Super Sweetwater works out on 28s. I left my checkpoint at home. Hopefully I don’t get beat up to bad. What are you rolling on this weekend Padraig?

    1. Author

      Welcome to the area Dylan. And please thank your fiancée for her work on the wildfires. We simply can’t express too much gratitude for those who battle the flames.

      Grasshoppers aren’t like Dirty Kanza, this one especially, due to the course changes (landslides). I was thinking of riding 28s, but the bottom of Willow Creek, which will be the only dirt road in this edition, will be soupy. I’ve decided to opt for 32s. You might want to run MTB pedals so that you’ll have a walkable shoe. I suspect there could be a dismount or two.

  8. GL

    Just got a fat bike this winter. With groomed trails, my new minimum temperature is now 0F.
    With a fattie, over heating and sweat is as much of a problem as freezing. They truly can take cycling from 3 to 4 seasons in places that have a “real winter”.

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