Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday News And Views

e-13 Fat Bike double crank
Double Crank Thoughts: 

With the advent of 9spd mountain bike systems, folks started messing around with 2X set ups on their mountain bikes. Then when 10 speed systems hit, the manufacturers went whole hog into 2X stuff.

On one hand, I sure like the simplicity of having only two rings up front, and most of the time the shifting is really great. However; the limited choices in combinations has me at a loss sometimes. I suppose you can buy the rings in whatever size combinations you want, but in many cases, the rings are not optimized for shifting with each other, or with the newer, narrow chains. Or you have proprietary bolt circle diameters. Then all bets are off.

Maybe the new idea SRAM has proffered in XX-1 will pay off in the long run by getting rid of front shifters and derailleurs altogether. Still, I don't know if that is the answer for everyone though. Sometimes I think it would be great on a snow bike, then again, I have used the lower gears quite a bit this year in the deeper, shiftier snow we had.

Pizza cutter

I got these new mud specific tires in to test recently. I find "mud specific" off road tires for bicycles to be a conflicted product. On the one hand, we cry foul if anyone rides muddy trails. Trails are sensitive, and they are a precious commodity, which we as cyclists, especially off road cyclists, need to be careful with. Then I get sent "mud specific tires" to test. You know- I need to find me some mud then!

There is the Green Belt, which due to its nature, is oft flooded and cutting up that trail usually isn't an issue at all. However; I don't try to go there when it is muddy unless it's a last resort for tire testing, and even then, it's something I resist. So I was pleased to find some short, albeit great, testing ground right near my own neighborhood underneath and along the knot of highways that meet near here. Clay, wet muck, black dirt, and marshy stuff abounds now. The best part? It doesn't matter a lick if I want to go muddin' through here.

So, I have my conscious clear, but I still find mud specific mtb tires to be an oddball product. Obviously it must be okay, maybe even encouraged, to ride on mud ridden trails somewhere here. (I know the U.K. is well known for heinous mud trails.)

NAHBS teaser....

While I am not the biggest fan of  some of the things hand made bicycle shows stand for,  I still am a bicycle geek, so I love to check out the trends and the rigs to see what fancy-pants show bikes are like these days. This year, there seems to be an unprecedented number of "sneak peeks" of several builder's work.

It seems that gravel bikes, or bicycles geared for adventure with a gravel bent, are going to be one of the "trends" of this year's NAHBS. At least, that is an impression I am getting. I could be just seeing the few bikes that are geared toward this niche, but then again- maybe not.

One of the things builders and critics claim about NAHBS is that the "big companies", (read: Trek, Giant, and Specialized, along with some "second tier companies"), come in and look around, take images of all sorts of bikes, details, and components. Then the story goes that a lot of these "trends" in the form of certain bicycles, materials, ideas, and component usages show up the following year on production bikes.

True or not? I don't know, but I have personally heard a builder rant on this very convincingly. If that is the case, maybe you'll see some more gravel specific rigs coming down the pipeline. Maybe. Or not........Stay tuned next weekend for all the NAHBS images to start showing up from the Denver show and then we'll decide in a couple weeks what, if anything might be on our horizons.

Take care, and get outside this weekend!


coastkid said...

I regulary ride in the 20 tooth front 36 rear on my pugsleys 2x9 set up on rocks and wiching up hills so not sure how i am going to get real low ratios in the future!

Barturtle said...

I'm pretty upset about the lose of 22t rings on 10sp setups. Even with a 36t cog a 10sp 24/36 is not as low as on old 9sp 22/34. Add in a 36t on that 9sp 22t setup...

The 28/42 lowest setup of the XX1 doesn't get there either.