Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday News And Views

Trans Iowa: We have another sponsor to announce. The WEMs races in Wisconsin have supplied T.I.V5 with 9 entries to a WEMs race of your choice. All you have to do to get one ofthe nine freebies is beat Allen Brunner at T.I.V5! Allen is in the event and arranged the sponsorship. See the site for the details.

Also, Trans Iowa V4 has been added to the Historical Archives. Check it out along with all the other T.I. historical stuff. Future improvements will include a listing of results, a page including all the past participants, and more. Remember, the site is arranged in "pages", so look for the links to each in the right margin on the site.

Singular Cycles: If you haven't seen Singular Cycles stuff, you should check it out. Classy looking frame sets from the U.K. there. And that was the problem- they were U.K./Europe only, until now! The Prairie Pedaler in nearby Prairie DuChein, Wisconsin has signed on to be the sole U.S. distributor of these fine looking frames. For more on the story see this.

Giant 29"ers?: Yep! That's the word. It sounds as if Giant is finally throwing their hat into the ring for 2010. I am hearing that they will have a hard tail and perhaps a FS rig based on the Maestro platform with a tapered steer tube Marzocchi fork on the front end. No "official" word will be presented by Giant until their 2010 product introductions in August, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a few leaks before that time.

Tire Goodness: I have a Hutchinson Toro Tubeless Ready 29"er tire on hand here for testing for Twenty Nine Inches. Right now I will say that it seems undersized for the intentions that Hutchinson has for it. The Toro's casing is a paltry 50.1mm wide, while the Python is 51.2mm wide. (Toro mounted tubeless at 40psi for 24 hours- Python tubeless, 35psi, mounted and ridden some previously) The Toro is listed as a "marathon/XC tire and isn't even as wide in the casing as an XC race oriented tire? Huh? Kind of weird really, and when you look at the weight, which is just south of 700 grams it seems way off base. However; this is one of the few 29"er tires with an actual sidewall strengthening construction. Called "Hardskin" by Hutchinson, it's supposed to resist tearing and gashing. Good qualities to have, but that comes at a price. One tire expert told me that if their tires were to feature a sidewall treatment like Hardskin, the 2.4 incher they make would weigh just shy of 1000 grams, and that they thought 29"er freaks wouldn't go for that.

Continental is said to be shipping Race King 29"ers any day now and that a Rubber Queen 29"er tire is on the drawing boards. Also, Hutchinson is said to be readying a 29"er version of their Cobra, which is a hard pack, go-fast tire that may be a great racing/endurance tire. Finally, Geax is going to be hitting the lightweight button for 29"ers with the (anyday now) Barro Race. (Scroll down the page to find the Barro Race) The Barro Race is said to weigh oly 450 grams in the folding bead version! We're also told that a Geax Gato 2.35"er will be coming in a 29"er size. Keep in mind that when Geax says they are doing one new model, it's actually three tires. A tubeless ready, or TNT version, a folding bead version, and a UST version. Oh yeah.......and I saw a picture of a Saguaro tubular 29"er tire too!

Ten Speed MTB: It is confirmed now that SRAM will be introducing a 2 X 10 drive train, (most likely at Sea Otter) aimed at the XC racing crowd. Right now their are no firm details as to what that will entail for technology, but one has to wonder if the road and mountain stuff will be cross compatible at that point. It would be hard to imagine that it wouldn't be. I have also heard a pretty solid rumor that SRAM is working on a hydraulic drop bar/road brake/shifter mechanism. If all of this is true and comes to be, then a truly race worthy drop bar 29"er would be a viable option.

Anodized Baby!: Ano is coming back in a big way. I saw more anodized stuff at Interbike than you could shake a stick at. Now Race Face is telling us that they will be offering cranks in various models in gold, blue, red, purple, and orange hues besides the basic silver and black offerings. Yahoo! (See the italics for which color I'm pumped about)

Okay, enough talking about it, go ride!

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