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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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show series
 
If you were to rank the hardest working parts on a bicycle, you’d be hard-pressed to find a component that goes through more than the chain. And keeping that chain working well has become a real obsession for Marginal Gainers. So this episode, we dig into chains, lubes, and who should be using what.
 
2020 has been a rough year for traditional racing, but has brought a surge in interest in Everests and Fastest Known Time (FKT) efforts on well-known courses. And for these solo, pride-of-place FKT attempts, Marginal Gains matter. In this episode, WorldTour-Pro-Roadie-Turned-Gravel-Privateer Pete Stetina nerds out with Josh, Fatty, & Hottie about h…
 
Before Open Cycles and the now-famous U.P., Gerard and Josh collaborated in Europe with Test Team Cervelo. Like a lot of guests on this show, Gerard Vroomen is an engineer first. He and Phil White took a school project they started in a basement in Montreal and turned into Cervelo Bikes. Against much bigger companies, their bikes not only revolutio…
 
Nobody enjoyed seeing (or hearing about) Chloé Dygert's recent crash, but it was an extraordinary illustration of one of the effects discussed in our most recent episode on Bifurcation. Josh breaks it down (and we all wish her a fast recovery and speedy return to racing). We also discuss UCI frame rules modifications, and how those open the door fo…
 
What do aircraft wings, the Tacoma Narrows bridge and Coronavirus modeling all have in common? As you may have guessed from the title, it's bifurcation — just about the least intuitive (or predictable) behavior known to humankind. In this episode, we talk about bifurcation and its relation to all of these — as well as how understanding bifurcation …
 
This is an Engineer's episode if there ever was one. Josh talks to James Woolcock of Bastion cycles, a maker of custom frames, or as the site puts it, "Bespoke Luxury Performance Bicycles." As you would expect, these bikes come with a significant price tag, but there's a lot of custom engineering based on a customer’s wants and needs going into eac…
 
The Tour de France is underway, and we've got questions (and answers) about it. For example, do racers REALLY still ride with tires at 120psi as Phil Liggett suggested? (Hint: no.) Why are riders turning their hoods inward? Is tubeless on the verge of replacing tubular as the wheel setup of choice? We've also got a great crop of questions from our …
 
Factor is a relatively new name in the industry. But after just a few years in the marketplace, a leading publication put Factor alongside Giant, Specialized and Cannondale as the next bike to own. And Factor has been brought to prominence by Rob Gitelis. In addition to applying his experience as an engineer to build a really terrific bicycle, Rob …
 
Nick Legan is a name anyone with more than a casual interest in cycling has probably come across. Nick was the tech editor at Velo Magazine and Adventure Cyclist Magazine. He is also the author of the book “Gravel Cycling.” Josh and Nick talk about Gravel riding, bikepacking (not exactly the aero discussion we normally have around these parts but w…
 
Shortly after setting a new Everesting record — obliterating Alberto Contador's time by 20 minutes — Ronan McLaughlin reached out to Josh with some remarkable news: Silca Products and the Marginal Gains podcast had been an important piece of his extraordinary accomplishment. Needless to say, Josh immediately set up this interview to talk about Rona…
 
We've asked you to ask Josh anything (kind of meta, we know), and you do not disappoint. In this episode, however, we completely lose track of the "ask" thing because we are SO GEEKED OUT on Ronan McLaughlin's new Everesting record. If ever there's been a full-circle Marginal Gain moment, this is it. Listen and you'll understand. Eventually, howeve…
 
Sean Small of Ruckus Composites is our guest for this episode. This is going to be a great interview for any listener who has spent any amount of time on a carbon bike. Sean is going to reveal a frame’s strong spots and the areas where it is most vulnerable. We also talk about the importance of torque, which company is making the best product and a…
 
Tom Anhalt was one of the first to turn conventional wisdom regarding inflation on its head. He is a smart guy. No doubt. But his true talent is curiosity. In this episode we learn that questioning the norm and having an open mind can lead to more than just marginal gains but to revelations. Tom Anhalt runs the blog site, blather ‘bout bikes where …
 
Andreas Klier has been focused on competitive cycling since his early teen years. He became a pro in his first year as an adult and went on to become a spring classics specialist. He’s only win in those early season races was the 2003 Gent Wevelgem but he did come close at Flanders on a couple of occasions. Some believe he has a better understandin…
 
Everesting — riding up a single pitch enough times to match the altitude of the summit of Mt. Everest — is a massive challenge with an elegantly simple set of rules. Which makes it a perfect candidate for a Marginal Gains conversation. Josh, Hottie, and Fatty talk about how the obvious, not-so-obvious, and downright bizarre strategies racers could …
 
We are happy to report that we continue to seek questions Josh is unable to answer, or at least unwilling to try. We regret to announce that we have so far failed, in spite of the fact that in this episode we expanded our universe of acceptable questions to include how to make electric scooters more aero. Josh was, in fact, distressingly excited by…
 
Jordan Rapp is one of the true greats in triathlon. You may know Jordan as a 5 time Ironman Winner, or maybe as and ITU World Champion.. Or maybe as a US pursuit champion on the track. Nowadays, his claim to fame includes the fact that he designed the Alpe du Zwift (and much more of the gameplay on Zwift, for that matter). Enjoy this episode as Jos…
 
This was not the episode we intended to create. Josh, Hottie, and Fatty sat down to record an episode on confirmation bias and how it can undercut marginal gains, and instead found that what we want to talk about — and think you might enjoy hearing — is the good things Josh is seeing during a very difficult time. So this is a "stories" episode: sto…
 
Josh, Hottie, and Fatty are back with all the bike-related questions too nerdy to be asked (or answered) anywhere else. In this episode, we tackle: What lessons from track racing can be applied to singlespeed mountain bike racing? All else being equal, are fewer spokes more aero? Is a matte finish on helmets faster than a gloss finish? What are the…
 
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'…
 
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 c…
 
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 thir…
 
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.…
 
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