The Col Collective

Bike tech

Hi Mike, First of all I want to tell you how inspirational your interview was on the Rich Roll podcast. I was contemplating on buying a bike, and since I'm new to cycling, I would like to ask your opinion about the best first bike. I'm planning to go on short and even longer rides, and I would like to build endurance for a potential triathlon/ironman. I was advised that either the Cannondale CAAD8 flat bar 1 or 2, or the Cannondale CAAD8 8 Claris could be a good choice. So my question is, what's your opinion about the flat bar bicycles? Are they comfortable on a 50-100 km rides? And are the Claris shifters reliable, or should I invest on Sora or Tiagra shifters? Thanks. kind regards, Attila

Hi Attila,

Thank you for your message. I’m very happy to hear that you enjoyed my interview with Rich Roll, and super happy to hear that you’re new to cycling, welcome!

It sounds like you are hoping to progress your fitness and even enter a competition (so cool!) The flat bar will be good for all types of rides but is more focused on leisure. Personally I think if you are planning to challenge yourself with a triathlon then a drop bar road bike may suit you better in the longer term.

The two options I’d possibly look at are the CAAD8 and also the Synapse (Claris 8). The Synapse offers a touch more comfort and slightly more upright riding position so really is an exceptional bike especially for those new to cycling. Claris would be great, the most important thing is to try and get the best frame possible (both the CAAD8 and Synapse are excellent frame platforms), you can upgrade the components over time if you wish and the Claris components will certainly function well. If you can afford a bike with better parts now then it’s always a good investment but Claris will certainly do what you need it to.

I hope that helps. Once again thank you for your message.

Stay well, ride safe and most of all enjoy!


Thank you Mike!

It seems that in Hungary there is no Synapse Claris 8, only the women version, and they probably have to make it for me from parts. I’m gonna get an estimate, and I’ll decide. Thank you for the suggestions! I hope you’ll ride safe as well. I love your amazing videos.

All the best,


Topic: Bike tech

Hi Mike, I am interested in the bike you ride during The Col Collective. Obviously it's a Cannondale but which one and what groupset are you using? Also what is your preferred choice of pedal and what sort of pump do you carry with you on your rides? Thanks, Peter

Hi Peter,

Thanks for getting in touch. I ride the Cannondale EVO HiMod with Shimano Di2 9070 groupset, Hollowgram SiSL2 crankset and Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40 clincher wheels. This was actually last years model, you can see the new 2015 range here. For pedals I use the Zxellium from Mavic this is the same as the Time Xpresso pedal (Mavic and Time have a partnership) What I really like about them is the engagement mechanism. Instead of having to force your foot into them the spring is always open and when you step on the pedal it engages (a bit like a ski binding) so it makes it really easy to clip in to. I’ve been using the Carbon Road Drive pump from Lezyne for the past year or so. Seems to have stood the test of time so far!

If you need anything else at all please do not hesitate in asking and I’ll do my best to help.

Stay well and ride safe.


Hi Mike, I’ve been loving your Col Collective videos. Top notch. I watched the Hautacam edition last night and like the look of the Mavic carbon wheels you were riding. Are those the CC40s? I am heading back to the Dolomites and Italian Alps this year and have been told by my tour group not to bring carbon wheels (which I presume is to avoid heat related blow-outs). Wondering what you think about carbon clinchers in the mountains and what your views are on the Mavics as I understand they use an alloy rim wrapped in carbon which must make a large difference to the heat build-up compared with all-carbon clinchers. I currently ride Enve 3.4 carbon clinchers in the semi-hilly roads of Sydney but haven’t given them a work-out in the high peaks. Any views gratefully received. Phil

Hi Phil,

Well spotted! Yes, I was riding on the CC40C for all the climbs and descents. From experience you have to be very careful with full carbon clinchers that you may not know the development or testing process that they have been through. You and your tour operator are right to be concerned as resins can easily melt under extended braking which can lead to a serious catastrophe. On the outside carbon can look the same but dig a bit deeper and it’s very different underneath. With this in mind I would not ride any carbon clinchers in the mountains that have not been extensively tested and can prove their performance in this application. Mavic spent over 2 years developing the Cosmic Carbon 40 wheel which was tested extensively in the lab and on Mont Ventoux (with a 100kg rider dragging the brakes the whole way down) to validate their materials. They use two types of high temperature resin and a thin internal aluminium rim to dissipate heat build up and also improve braking consistency. This is the only carbon clincher I would trust (I’ve done a huge amount of mountain miles on them last year).

My advice would be, if you have any doubt whatsoever in your equipment then think again about using it in the high mountains.

Super happy that you’re enjoying The Col Collective. Much more to come!

Ride safe,


Topic: Bike tech, Wheels

Just wanted to get your thoughts on the rising popularity of mid-compact chainsets. I'm currently using a 50/34 compact for the steep stuff but wondered if a 52/36, combined with an 11-28 cassette, be a decent option for the Alps aswell as training in more varied terrain? Thanks, Rich

Hi Rich,

Thanks for getting in touch. Sounds like I use a similar set-up to you in terms of gear ratios. In the big mountains I personally still like to keep my 34 tooth chainring in hand but then I do prefer to use a higher cadence if possible. Having said that, I reckon the 52/36 ratio is the absolute business if you’re riding in varied terrain and you don’t want to switch between a compact and standard chainset each time. I’d say that for most riders this mid-compact set-up would be a great option.

Ride safe and thanks again for the message.


Topic: Bike tech, Gearing

For the past year I've moved over from 23mm to 25mm tires (Conti GP 4000 S), but I am doing La Marmotte and I am thinking maybe I should go back to 23mm to be quicker; thoughts? And what pressure would you run them to? Thanks, Paul

Hi Paul,

Firstly, how do you feel on the 25′s? I used 23mm for years (like most of the world) but found the added comfort of a slightly wider tyre better for the longer rides that I typically do. It’s often thought that the harder and skinnier the tyre the faster but there’s a fair amount of science out there now that has proven the opposite. In terms of pressure, this depends a lot on how much you weigh and the conditions (e.g. wet or dry). In good conditions I run approx 105psi in the rear and 100psi in the front, dropping another 10spi if it’s wet (I’m 60kg). It’s best to take some time to practice before the event to see how you feel at different pressures. I was amazed at how much more traction I got when I lowered the pressure a touch.

Ride safe and best of luck!


Paul Barnes - I’ve found them really good, I can’t notice being slower on them and I think they handle better. Just that typical thing; is there a marginal gain to be had. I weigh just under 70Kg and run the tyres at 110psi; to be honest. I am travelling to the Alps this weekend so will be testing a few of these things. Thanks, Paul

Mike - Glad to hear you’re getting on well with the 25′s! The preconception is skinny is fast but as you’ve found out wider doesn’t necessarily mean slower! Sounds like you have the pressures pretty good too (most folk run tyres too hard – again preconceived that hard is fast). If you’re more confident and can corner better then you’ll always be faster and you’ll use less nervous energy as well to boot!

Topic: Bike tech

Hi Mike, Out of the following – Mavic CC40C, Mavic Ksyrium SLR or Mavic R-SYS SLR wheelsets which would you take for a two week trip to the Pyrenees? Also for 50-60 miles would you still plump for 25′s even on shorter rides or stick with the 23mm tyres Mavic supply with the wheel sets? Cheers, Rich

Cheers Richard. All of the wheels that you mention can certainly handle themselves on the terrain you’ll be riding in. I’ve ridden the Ksyrium SLR’s for a monster week in the Alps last year and the CC40C’s in and around Ventoux and the Pyrenees too so in some respect it comes down to your budget along with what may be most suitable for your normal riding when back home – e.g. do you ride flatter or more hilly routes? The Ksyriums are a tad lighter so may help in the mountains, but the CC40C’s will roll better with their more aero profile. To be honest, if you’re anything like me, whatever you choose will have you smiling – after all you’re going to the Pyrenees! Hell yeah! Oh, and personally I’d stick with the 25′s. M

Richard Treen - Cheers Mike. I used the Ksyrium SLR’s last year when I was over there, and loved the braking from the Exalith rims more than anything. That is what makes me want another set. I am now lucky enough to own a set of the CC40C′s but have not been able test them yet on anything close to the Pyrenees either up or down so your feedback has been useful! Thanks again – Rich

Topic: Bike tech

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