Cover image of Marginal Gains Cycling Podcast, Presented by Silca

Marginal Gains Cycling Podcast, Presented by Silca

The Marginal Gains Podcast, presented by Silca is the show that makes a big deal about the little things, and how those little things...can be a big deal. Josh Poertner of Silca, along with Hottie and Fatty, talks about all aspects of cycling — design, manufacturing, marketing, riding, racing, management and most likely every from a thoughtful perspective. It's a podcast for the thinking cyclist.

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Mountain Biking and Marginal Gains

With two of the three of the Marginal Gains hosts also doing a weekly podcast on the Leadville 100 MTB race, you knew it was just a matter of time 'til we dragged the topic of Leadville into this show. And that time...is now. The fact is, the idea of marginal gains goes hand in hand with endurance races like the Leadville 100. It’s over long days in the saddle that little changes start making a big difference.  We cover a lot of very practical topics in this episode, and while we’re focusing on one particular race, a lot of it is about techniques any cyclist — on dirt or pavement — can use.


15 Jul 2019

Rank #1

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Ask Josh Anything #001

It's the first of what is sure to be many "Ask Josh Anything" episodes of the Marginal Gains podcast. And if this episode is any indicator of how our listeners think, the Marginal Gains crowd is a smart bunch of cyclists. Josh answers questions about experimenting to get your tires to the right pressure, tire vs frame and fork compliance, techniques for getting more aero when you don't have a wind tunnel, marginal gains vs diminishing returns, rim vs disc brakes, lube preferences, and more. Much more, actually.

1hr 10mins

26 Feb 2019

Rank #2

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The Placebo Effect and Marginal Gains

You know you've had this suspicion: the core of the cycling industry—much of what it's really selling you—is not tech, speed, or fitness. Nope, the truth is that one of the most powerful marginal gains you'll ever get is thanks to the placebo effect. Josh, Fatty, and Hottie talk about what it is and how potent a force it is in cycling.

1hr 3mins

14 Dec 2019

Rank #3

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Ask Josh Anything #009

In this Ask-Josh-Anything episode of Marginal Gains, we ask you to imagine Josh as your boy scout leader, and whether that would be the most awesome — or terrifying — thing in the world. (The jury's out on that question by the way). Then we settle in and talk about how Silca's new online Pressure Calculator works, why aero tires are no longer a thing, hysteresis issues of swerving under hard effort, whether being aero matters when you're in a big peloton, and a lot more. Gather round the fire!


26 Nov 2019

Rank #4

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The Hour Record, Part 4: A Conversation With Robert Chung

We always planned on our Hour Record trilogy being three episodes long. But then Josh got to talking with Robert Chung — one of Josh's intellectual heroes — and we just had to share it. If you think most episodes of the Marginal Gains Podcast are too lightweight and you've been jonesing for a show where Josh has an intellectual equal to talk with (mostly but definitely not exclusively about the Hour Reord), this is the episode for you.

1hr 1min

15 Nov 2019

Rank #5

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Ask Josh Anything #008

We're back with more proof that we're willing to ask Josh practically anything bike-related...and that he's willing to take practically any question seriously. In Ask Josh Anything #008, we talk about what gas you should fill your tires with, the challenge of planning for endurance ride air pressure loss, marginal gains and Kipchoge's sub-2-hr marathon, which pedals are most aero and whether aero pedals matter (they do!), whether aero adjustments could make a difference in downhill MTB races (they could!) and —as always — much more. 


28 Oct 2019

Rank #6

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Ask Josh Anything #010

We've got a great batch of questions from you for Josh to contemplate this episode: Does the placebo effect apply to cycling clothes and shoes as well as to equipment? Since many rims are different widths in different places, where should we measure when applying the rule of 105? How much — if any — does a patched tube affect a bike's CRR? Are third-party ceramic bearings and oversized pulley wheels still relevant? How marginal of a gain do you get with a really nice hub? Is it faster to run a deeper wheel in the front than the rear? Josh will answer all of these — and more! — in this episode of Marginal Gains (Disclaimer: the answer almost always begins with "it depends.")

1hr 2mins

11 Jan 2020

Rank #7

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Contact Points and Marginal Gains

While we have just 5 contact points with the bike, each of those contact points are made of whole systems of contact points. And your tires are the ONLY contact points between the bicycle and the earth. Think about it: all the forces, traction, braking, cornering, all have to be transferred through tiny patches of rubber, dynamically moving on the surface of the earth. Clearly, contact points aren’t as obvious as they seem, which makes them a perfect topic for...Marginal Gains!


7 May 2019

Rank #8

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Non-Linearity In Marginal Gains

Non-linearity has literally has won and lost the Tour de France. Josh breaks down this important concept -- one he admits to sometimes having a tough time wrapping his brain around. The metaphor? Extreme betting during what would turn out to be a very expensive round of golf.  From there we apply non-linearity to cycling and aerodynamics. Let's just say that after this episode, you will give serious consideration to shaving your head. 


10 Mar 2019

Rank #9

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The Hour Record and Marginal Gains, Part 3

In this final (?) part of our Hour Record trilogy, we talk about the rules of the modern Hour Record, how marginal gains start really coming into play, the theoretical upper limit for the hour record and how close we are to it, and the future for the hour record. We give extra focus to Bradley Wiggins' hour record, in part because it comes as close to a perfect attempt — apart from uncontrollable factors — as we've ever seen, and in part because Josh has some fascinating inside knowledge of Sir Wiggins' incredible feat. 

1hr 18mins

11 Oct 2019

Rank #10

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Materials and Marginal Gains

"Materials and Marginal Gains" is a big topic — too big for a single episode of this show. So if it's OK with you (and we think it will be), we'd like you to think of this as the first of many episodes about Materials. And we're going to kick this introduction off with a few stories, and look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback...which we'll incorporate into future episodes.

1hr 16mins

4 Jun 2019

Rank #11

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Ask Josh Anything #004

We didn't set out to turn every other episode of the Marginal Gains Podcast into the "Try to Stump Josh" game show, but at least 2/3 of the hosts of the show are glad it worked out this way. In this episode, we ask Josh what he thinks of Zipp's new MTB rims, puzzle over why the GoPro is so non-aero (and how to mitigate that non-aero-ness), discuss aero cranks and why they aren't any bigger of a deal than they are, talk about why it's faster (sometimes) to ride the white divider line, wonder why ceramic bearings don't (usually) turn back into sand, detail the steps for figuring out CRR in the field, explain why heavier riders descend faster, and — believe it or not — more. Enjoy this new Q&A episode of the show that makes a big deal about the little things, and how those little things can be a big deal.

1hr 17mins

21 May 2019

Rank #12

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Ask Josh Anything #005

In this Q&A episode of the show that makes a big deal about the little things (and how those little things can be a big deal), we try to stump Josh with questions like: Do stiff shoes matter? What's the point of hookless rims? What benefits does steel have over carbon? What's the weight vs aero tipping point? Are 23mm tires dead? Is graphene tire content anything but marketing hand-waving? Do integrated visors have real benefits over sunglasses? And what's the right way to wear a cycling cap?

1hr 6mins

18 Jun 2019

Rank #13

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The Hour Record and Marginal Gains, Part 1

The Hour Record is unlike any other race in cycling. Almost unimaginably difficult to do, but elegantly simple in concept: Ride your bike, as hard as you can, for an hour. When you look underneath this simplicity, however, the subtlety, beauty, cruelty, and sophistication of this race become totally gripping. And then you find out there's way, WAY too much to talk about in just one hour. So this is just part 1 of a three-episode series about the Hour Record, covering the origins of the race, early history...and doping. 


30 Jul 2019

Rank #14

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Ask Josh Anything #003

We didn't necessarily intend for it to turn out this way, but this episode of Marginal Gains' "Ask Josh Anything" is a wheels, rims, tubes, and tires question extravaganza. We also find time to discuss the Silca Hiro chuck's origin story, whether testing how aero helmets are in a lab setting has real value, and exactly how much impact on your ride those gatorskins are having.


23 Apr 2019

Rank #15

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Ask Josh Anything #007

We're back with a new set of questions for Josh, digging deep into the topics supernerd cyclists care deeply about. We talk about the products that intrigued Josh most at Eurobike, find out what size (diameter and width) he'd make road wheels be if he could start from scratch, speculate on whether the very aero-looking Ceepo Shadow-R is actually aero, consider marginal gains in gravel races, ask whether it's better to wrap cables together or keep them separate, ponder the age-old question of tubeless vs latex tubes, and...ponder marginal gains opportunities in inline skating. (Hey, rollerbladers need marginal gains love, too.)

1hr 16mins

16 Sep 2019

Rank #16

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Silca R&D: A Peek Behind the Curtain with John Balmer

Josh is in Europe, involved with some race or something. Whatever. Which means that Hottie andFat Fatty get to pick the topic for the episode. And that means fewer big words and more talk about a topic Hottie and Fatty have wanted to dig into since episode 1 of Marginal Gains: the process of creating and refining products at Silca. Joining them is John Balmer, who just happens to be the head of product at Silca. If you've ever wondered where Silca product ideas come from, how they're developed, and even what products have been left on the cutting room floor, you won't want to miss this episode.


2 Jul 2019

Rank #17

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Bikes, Journalism, and Integrity with CyclingTips' James Huang

James Huang, Global Technical Editor of CyclingTips, is one of the most-trusted cycling journalists in the industry today — and for good reason. He brings a knowledge, experience, humor, and integrity to everything he covers. In this episode, Josh and James have a great, wide-ranging conversation — from their similar histories in getting into the cycling industry, to how the cycling world has changed, to the relationship of cycling journalism and product manufacturers, and much more.

1hr 1min

27 Jan 2020

Rank #18

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Granola and Cargo Cults

Cyclists are always on the prowl for marginal gains. We slam our stems, because we've seen pros do it, and they're fast. We eat mounds of spaghetti before races, because we've heard that fast cyclists carbo-load. In many ways, cyclists and cargo cults are remarkably similar.  What's a cargo cult, though, and what does it have to do with granola? We'll tie it all together in this episode of Marginal Gains!

1hr 2mins

19 Feb 2020

Rank #19

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Ask Josh Anything #002

In this Q&A episode of Marginal Gains, Josh answers questions about whether front and rear tires should have symmetric or asymmetric air pressure (and why). We dig into whether no-name Chinese handlebars and wheels are a good deal, or just cheap (and why). Josh analyzes the ongoing thread at Slowtwitch that shows little Crr difference between 23, 25, 28 and 32mm tires. Josh answers why pros are (still!) sticking with tubulars. And there's more. So much more (including — weirdly — that both Hottie and Fatty talk about how Silca and this podcast are beginning to affect their respective marriages).

1hr 13mins

26 Mar 2019

Rank #20