Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday News And Views

First snow
Beginning Of Snow Season:

The recent big dump of snow has gotten us off to a fantastic start for fat biking, XC skiing, and snow shoeing. I decided I couldn't wait and not long after the snow came in earnest on Wednesday evening I went out for a bit of a cruise.

It did not take long before I realized that the snow was so wet and so thick that I was hard pressed to see where I was going. Then the fork packed up with snow as well. Probably should have chosen the single speed. The cassette was packing up, or the rear derailleur jockey wheels- not sure which, but the snapping sound emanating from the rear end could only be quelled by switching gears every five seconds or so.

Time to head for the shed.

I only got in about two miles, but it was fun. I came home covered in sticky snow, wet through to the legs, (since I ran out wearing only blue jeans for pants), and a bike covered with a layer of wet snow.Even if I had worn proper gear and brought my repair kit, this would have been very difficult snow conditions. I'm sure the drive train issues would have eventually been my undoing.

Most road disc brakes have tiny rotors- A bad thing?

Road Bikes With Disc Brakes: Hold On There!

You've heard it, most likely. Road bikes will have disc brakes any day now. Well........yes, but maybe not. 

I just read a very interesting article in "Bicycle Retailer and Industry News" in the December issue that stated several reasons why this may either be delayed, or why it may never happen on a wide scale.  Most of the issue revolves around heat dissipation and strength of the frame and fork. It seems that with regard to getting folks on board with disc brakes on road bikes, designers and product managers are spec'ing 140mm to 160mm rotor sizes to keep the weight down and obviously give the bike a not so "in your face" disc brake look. However; these little rotors have to deal with a lot more heat than a mountain bike would, especially on repeated use during a long down hill descent.

I remember hearing from Shimano testers a few years back that in Japan, Shimano ran brake tests on Deore XT and XTR brakes against other mountain bike brakes by going down this mountain there which featured a very long descent measured in miles. At one point it was related to me that the tester, aboard a new Shimano braked bike, passed another tester on a competitor's brakes who had pulled over to the side because his brakes were on fire!

These were guys using big rotors and heavier duty hydraulic brakes that road bike aficionados wouldn't dream of sticking onto their bikes because of weight issues. So, a road bike going down a mountain, slowing from 50mph to 15mph repeatedly going around switchbacks isn't going to need bigger rotors, with better heat dissipation characteristics, and would not need a beefed up frame and fork for these purposes?  That's going to be somewhat of a hurdle to get over, not to mention the making of a proper, good looking hydraulic capable brifter. (Sorry SRAM- your proto looks ridiculous.)

Trans Iowa Talk: 

Once again, on Mountain Bike Radio I had the honor of speaking with Trans Iowa veteran and finisher, Tim Ek. Tim brings a great perspective to what it means to him to be in Trans Iowa, to ride during the night time parts, and has great insights and stories regarding the event he has ridden in several times now. You can listen to the show we did last night by clicking the link below here.

Listen to internet radio with Mountain Bike Radio on Blog Talk Radio

And speaking of Trans Iowa, there will be a big post tomorrow regarding the question: "Why do you use a different course every year?" Look for that to go live in the wee hours for your reading pleasure.

Otherwise have a safe and fun weekend. See ya soon!


Ἀντισθένης said...

Great post. Calipers have worked for a long time, and often are improved with nothing more than different pads. I have had trouble with cantis, but others say they can be made to work... Disks? Everything you've said. And what are disks for on mountain bikes anyway? Mud. Not much of an issue on asphalt.

Max said...

Lots of snow in Iowa! Just moved to Cedar Rapids myself, and have enjoyed playing around in the snow on my bikes as well the past couple days. Although, I only have my CX bike and SS 29er..No fat bike (yet?). We ought to meet up for a snow ride!

Guitar Ted said...

@max: There will be some snow riding down that way soon. I'll try to give some advanced warning!

Ari said...

I always think that a road bike with disc brakes is going to be heavier. Some carbon road bikes are 15lbs. Wouldn't disc brakes add at least a couple lbs? What about the torsional effect on a light frame? I see where there is still a lot of stuff to work out. It is not as easy as some people think it is.