Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday News And Views

2013 Trek Crossrip Elite
NOTE: Large doses of "my opinion" will be handed out in gloppy dollops today. You've been forewarned.....

Initial Excitement Dampened: 

This week was the annual dealer only show dubbed "TrekWorld" and although much of what was to be shown was already known, a line of disc only, aluminum framed, budget conscious cross bikes were announced called "Crossrip".

The line up consists of the Crossrip and the Crossrip Elite, (MSRP $1269.00USD), and is being touted as an alternative to commuters, cross racers, and as I understand it, to gravel road riders as well.

Initially I was excited by the offerings due to their subtle looks and pricing, but I am now not quite as enthusiastic as I once was. You see, as I have already pointed out, I have certain ideas on geometry for gravel road riding/racing bikes. The Crossrip series, unfortunately, doesn't measure up so well.

Bottom bracket drop numbers were not available, but the head tube angles on most sizes is 72.5°. Really? That's steeper than most cross bikes, and certainly not gravel bike territory- well, that is unless your back roads are very smooth. Where I live, they certainly are not so. Chain stay length was a nice 430mm though, so for light touring with a front load on pavement, yeah......I can see that. But this ain't no gravel road eating machine. Too bad.

2013 Trek Stache
Initial Excitement Dampened Part II: 

Okay, here is another one I was a bit let down about, the Trek Stache. Initial reports were that this would be a short chain stay, slack angled fun trail bike. Well, they got the slack head angle all right.....

Unfortunately, the listed chain stay length is 445mm, which converts to 17.52 inches. Yeah.......that's not a short chain stay length on a 29"er hard tail, Trek. 

 I had noticed that in all of Trek's hype leading up to the catalog being made public that no mention of chain stay length in specific numbers, or anything alluding to a specific length, was ever mentioned. Just "short chain stays". Ha! Well, that cat is outta the bag now and this model is now going to be seen as a slack head tube angle hard tail 29"er that is neither a XC/Trail ripper or a highly maneuverable AM type hard tail. It will just be an oddball bike. Good? Yes.....probably, but the perception battle has already been lost here. Again......Too bad. 

3GR: Saturday morning at Gateway Park, 8:30am. I'll be there and hopefully will be debuting my tubeless Clement tire set up. I've been working on this all week, and hopeful signs are showing me that I may get away with getting these out on their first long ride Saturday. If not, the Orange Crush has the trusty tubed MSO tires to fall back on.

And while I'm on the subject of is another nugget that you folks can chew on over the weekend. It was a reminder from a reader here that prompted me to post this link. It is about how wider tires, with supple casings, at lower pressures are faster with less energy expended by the rider. Go here for the deets.

You may or may not agree, but for my money, this stuff makes a heck of a lot of sense. This is also a big influence on my thinking on gravel road bikes. (Yes- I've read through the "Bicycle Quarterly" articles in the past, so I have been aware of these tests for some time.) I've seen the practical results of how skinny tires vs wider tires has played out in Trans Iowa, the Dirty Kanza 200, Gravel Worlds, (which is this weekend!), and on other gravel road rides and events. It is why I like the lightweight, supple, higher volume tires for gravel road riding. And if you read the link, you'll see that running tires like these do not make you slower. On the contrary, seemingly.

Have a great weekend folks! Ride yer bicycles and have some fun already.


Ἀντισθένης said...

You were too optimistic. This is Trek. You'd expect a sweet car from GM? Mass-market all-wheel drive turbocharged rally car? No, Subaru.

Chad said...

445mm is the same length all of their HT29ers use out back, Wahoo > Superfly. I don't know where the short stay marketing came from. The only place i ever saw say "short chainstays" was Bike Rumor, and i normally have to correct them on half their posts.

As for the Crossrip, it is really just a rebirthed Portland. Sure it can ride gravel, but it is a city bike and jack of all trades at heart. Trek isn't really marketing this as a gravel focused bike as much as we just hoped they would make one. We are still niche.

Ben said...

In my extremely unscientific testing I will say that with absolute certainty my new 700x40's on my Long Haul Trucker at 60 PSI definitely were as fast, or faster than my previous 700x35's while also being way more comfortable.

To the point where 700x40 is now my new minimum size. Big big big difference noticed on the washboardy gravel yesterday and man do they roll nice. My butt and my legs are happy, let's just leave 'er at that.

Guitar Ted said...

@Chad: You may be interested in the following quote from Trek's own Press Release on the 2013 mtb range...

"Trek built the Stache around short chainstays, 120mm of fork travel, and a 2x10 drivetrain featuring Shimano’s Shadow-Plus derailleur technology for added rider confidence when hitting the trail. "

There ya go. ;>)

Ari said...

Full body-ache with my 700x35c tires at Trans Iowa.

Steve Fuller said...

700x40 tubeless at DK was wonderful.