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Nerd Alert Podcast

The CyclingTips Nerd Alert Podcast dives deep into the bikes and tech we all love. Road, gravel, mountain bikes, we cover it all. Hosted by James Huang, Dave Rome, and Caley Fretz.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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High fashion meets high tech: the science of cycling clothing

Cycling apparel may look similar between various brands, but when you dig a little deeper, there are often seemingly small variations that can make a world of difference in terms of how well they work out on the road. In other words, that tag may say “polyester” on it, but that only tells one tiny part of the story — and it’s time to learn a little more about the rest of it. 


30 Apr 2021

Rank #1

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Electronic shifting is supposedly what people want — but is it what they should want?

The Nerds have an awful lot of tech news to talk about this week, such as SRAM’s recent decision to seemingly go all-in on electronic shifting, the ins and outs of two big high-end wheel introductions, the unmentioned pitfalls of fully internal cable routing for everyday enthusiasts, and some big changes for DT Swiss’s workhorse hubs. There’s also been yet another push in the drivetrain friction front from Silca that uses... diamonds? Finally, we debate the ideal gravel bike in a What Bike Should I Buy segment for a new gravel rider on a “flexible budget.”

1hr 5mins

23 Apr 2021

Rank #2

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The science of Everesting

This week Caley and Ronan interrupt the regular schedule to bring you another deep dive episode. Deep diving into the science of Everesting, the Nerds discuss the training, wattages, equipment selection, marginal gains, and time left on the table from Ronan’s recent Everesting world record ride.

1hr 25mins

16 Apr 2021

Rank #3

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Can computers make us faster cyclists?

TrainerRoad offers training plans and workouts for the individual rider and has always been focused on making us faster. They recently launched an Adaptive Training method that combines machine learning and science-based coaching to adjust training plans based on coaches feedback. The goal? "So you get the right workout, every time".   This week Ronan chats with TrainerRoad co-founder and CEO Nate Pearson about the new Adaptive Training and explains just how it knows what it's doing. They also discuss what the future might hold and if Adaptive Training can replace coaching as we know it. 


8 Apr 2021

Rank #4

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What worked — and what didn’t — on Ronan’s crazy-light Everesting bike

Ronan Mc Laughlin joins us this week to go over the details of the hyper-optimized bike he used to shatter the Everesting record. Weight matters a lot here as you’d expect, but so does aerodynamics. Canyon’s precious container of new bikes is finally free from the grips of the Suez Canal, Enve announced its new custom carbon fiber road bike program, we question if we’re all worrying a little too much about weight (and paying the price as a result), and we finish up with a discussion of whether it makes sense to build your own bike from scratch using open-mold frames and parts since new bikes are nowhere to be found.


4 Apr 2021

Rank #5

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Designing bikes when there’s no stock

You’ve heard us talking about the supply issues currently facing the booming cycling industry, so this week we dive into what it’s like designing bikes when things are in such short supply.  Our guest this week is Sydney-based materials engineer and bike designer Dave Musgrove, someone who’s deep in the industry and in touch with the industry’s Covid-related supply issues. From two year lead-times on certain components to slower and more expensive shipping, this conversation details why you may want to hold onto your existing bike for a little longer. Dave Musgrove is the brand manager for Polygon Bikes in North America and Oceania, a consumer-direct bicycle manufacturer sold through bikesonline.com.


25 Mar 2021

Rank #6

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MIPS, new Speedplay, and our sketchiest repairs

James, Dave, Caley, and Zach discuss a wide range of topics in this week’s episode, like how much Speedplay’s revamped pedal lineup matters relative to the changes to its dealer service, whether MIPS really is a must-have when it comes to helmets given lingering questions over human scalps and hair, and what drastic changes in Cervelo’s sales figures indicate about changes in the drop-bar bike market. And then in this week’s Ask a Mechanic segment, we tackle perhaps the most important repair and maintenance question of all: what’s the sketchiest repair job Caley has ever done?


19 Mar 2021

Rank #7

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Clinchers and inner tubes at Paris-Roubaix?

Team Deceuninck-QuickStep and Bora-Hansgrohe — together with sponsors Roval and Specialized — have been doing a fair bit of experimenting with their wheels and tires over the past couple of years, gradually moving away from traditional tubulars to tube-type clinchers for time trials and tubeless clinchers for road races. In an unusual move, both teams say they’re now wholly committed to clinchers and latex inner tubes for everything — even possibly (but not likely) Paris-Roubaix. To find out more about the surprising decision, James and Dave have a chat with Roval engineering manager Jeff Meyer, as well as three key players from the Deceuninck-QuickStep team: technical director Ricardo Scheidecker, team scientist and coach Koen Pelgrim, and head mechanic Nicolas Coosemans.


11 Mar 2021

Rank #8

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Broken handlebars, flexy seatposts, and power meter pedals to the (Shimano) people

Mathieu van der Poel didn’t let a little broken handlebar on his Canyon Aeroad keep him from finishing Le Samyn, a cobbled race in Belgium, but why did it break? And what’s up with the flexy seatposts on those bikes, anyway? The Nerds share their thoughts on those topics and then look into a Specialized patent for a wacky flexy seatpost design of its own. And is the wait finally over for power meter pedals for Shimano SPD-SL pedal fans? It sure looks that way. Last but not least in this week’s episode, The Nerds bring back the “What Bike Should I Buy?” segment to discuss the ultimate one-bike solution — or if it even exists.


4 Mar 2021

Rank #9

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Can cycling apparel brands cut back on plastic bag use?

With very few exceptions, every piece of cycling clothing you buy comes in its own individual bag — or “polybag” as it’s commonly called in the industry. When you take into account the size of the global cycling apparel industry, and the number of individual garments, that’s a lot of plastic bags. Has it always been this way? How did we get here? And what do we do about it? In this week’s episode, James chats with two apparel brands, Ornot and Pearl Izumi, to assess the current state of things, find out how things are already improving, and why we still have a long way to go.


25 Feb 2021

Rank #10