Friday, January 06, 2012

Friday News And Views

Kona Raijin Prototype: (Image Courtesy Kona Cog blog)
More Tennessee Titanium: Lynskey Performance in Tennessee is cranking out titanium bikes under its own brand name, plus at least three other brands that I know about, maybe more. At any rate, I find it rather amusing to see this Kona proto coming out which should be available later this spring.

Signature Lynskey design touches abound here, and one starts to wonder when the brand on the down tube starts to lose its meaning.'s got a 69.5 degree head angle, but beyond this, what is really any different than a Lynskey or a Salsa Cycles offering? Not a whole lot.

Now, I realize I am riding a Lynskey made rig, and I have ridden a few others made by them. They do great work. My point isn't that "Lynskey is bad", my point is that if you are bothering to have one manufactured by them, you might want to somehow make a strong visual distinction from the "standard issue" Lynskey cues. I don't think anyone would bat an eyelash at first glance at this bike if it had a sandblasted Salsa Cycles logo on the down tube. Ya know?

That said, I am sure the Raijin is a cool riding rig. Gotta wonder what the chain stay length is here. I noticed its screaming non-disclosure in the blog posted specs. One other possibly telling cue: The rear tire is a Maxxis Ikon. Not a voluminous, wide tire. Maybe that's all that would fit with mud clearance with the sliders pulled all the way forward as they are here. If so, that won't fly too well with the forum-freaks. We'll see.

WTB Frequency Rims: Ya know, so many times I get e-mails about what rims to use for tubeless applications on big wheeled rigs. It seems so many choices are already laced to hubs. Well, not everyone wants pre-built wheels. It is something of a problem in the marketplace. Especially when one choice, (Stan's), seems to be the only thing that comes to most folks minds these days. (Not that Mr. Koziak minds, but it would be nice to have some competition here.)

Well, that is why things like the new WTB Frequency rims are going to be cool. These are looking like some pretty well thought out rims here. The bead seat is optimized more toward the UST side of things, and the sealing tape and sealant is right from Stan's playbook. Solid, reliable stuff there.

Then WTB's design work is added on top. "I-Beam" extrusions have been a feature of WTB rims since the late 90's. I used a set of Lazerbeam rims once back in my 26"er days and was really impressed with the lightweight/toughness combination they exhibited. I would suspect that the 29"er version, with current refinements, would be as good if not better. WTB also optimized the spoke drilling angles and added the "Unbendium Bulge" for strength. Good, smart stuff. 

Anyway, these are available now in 26 or 29 inch versions with 19mm or 23mm inside rim well dimension variants to choose from. MSRP on the 26 and 29 inch versions are $75.00 and $80.00 respectively. Now you know.

On One Scandal 29: Image courtesy of shedfire
Okay- So What Would You Suggest? Getting back to the Kona thing, I would have suggested that (perhaps) they should have veered from the "typical Lynskey" look and found a signature. Used to be that Kona had that rad top tube slope, big head tube, and an extended set tube with a forward facing slot at the seat collar.

You know the bike in the image doesn't look like a Lynskey. It looks like an On One bike. You know this from the signature seat stay arrangement.

So, ya know......that's what I am talking about. Get something unique out there. (Whoa! Never thought I'd write that about 29"ers, but they are mainstream now days.) The Kona Raijin isn't really much to crow about in terms of its looks. It does have some unique stats, but I dunno.......

Maybe I'm wrong here, but it just strikes me as a bit "ho-hum".

Okay, well.......enjoy the non-winter! Get out and ride a bike, take some pictures, and have an adventure.


Exhausted_Auk said...

Talk about non-winter! Rode the summer fixie on the longer route to work this morning. I might even take the long way home, via Hudson or something.

Erik said...

"Industrial Mill Finish" is the ad copy fingerprint of a Lynskey made frame. It's a marketing phrase that they seem to have coined, but others use as if it's a description.

So many companies, big and small, use Lynskey as their titanium frame supplier but don't have the courage to just admit who is doing the work. At least Kona is owning up to it.

Not that I have a problem with Lynskey (except for their ludicrous 'helix' tubes), but I agree that there is a certain boring sameness to all the brands of titanium bikes whose chief differentiating feature is the name that has been bead blasted onto the down tube.