Friday, August 09, 2013

Friday News And Views

One Hub To Rule Them All....
Velocity USA Introduces New "Lightweight Convertible Disc Hub":

Here's a good idea. One hub. (As long as it is for a disc brake wheel) Done. All axle standards, (that matter), and all free hub styles. XX-1? Yes. Campy? Same hub, just swap freehub bodies.

Cool! Now if I could only telescope the hub shell to accommodate 170mm and 190mm rear hubs on fat bikes, and we'd really only need one hub!  Pipe dreamin', I know.... Well, here are some particulars straight from the Velocity horse:

  • 265g weight
  • SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo 11-speed ready
  • 135mm quick-release or 142x12mm thru-axle options
  • 6-bolt ISO disc compatible 
  • high-quality double-sealed Japanese sealed cartridge bearings
  • 6 pawl engagement
Velocity will sell you a single set up, and additional pieces would be sold separately. See Velocity for the deets.

I like this kind of talk from hub providers. With wheels getting really expensive, and frame/fork standards changing and drive train innovations happening, this can make a new wheel purchase les of a head ache and give you options.

Surly's new "ECR" 29+ machsheen
 In The "Whadda Ya Think Of That Department?": Surly's New ECR

I've been asked about what I think of Surly's new ECR a few times lately to the point that I wonder "Hmm.....what's going on here with this?" Well, here's my opinion on it....

This is the bike that will make or break the 29+ thing. The Krampus is kind of a one trick pony. A play bike, and only so many will ever really want one. Now the ECR is a totally different animal, and to my mind, it fits the Surly "MO" in a much better way.

Surly, if nothing else, is a company that makes bikes that are a "blank canvass" sort of deal. What I mean by that is folks buy a Surly, then they personalize it, and bend it to their will, which Surly accommodates with their forward thinking designs which feature versatility.  Take the Cross Check, as an example. How many ways have those been built up, and does anybody ever really cross race them? Think about that.... Or how folks dress up the Ogre, or how folks use the Pugsley, or, get the idea. 

I see the ECR as one of those "blank canvass" type of bikes that folks will be doing all sorts of different takes on. If I am right, and they take off that way, I bet Surly will unleash another tire or two, and if that happens....... Well, it could take off elsewhere. We'll see. 

Personally, I saw the Krampus and thought "bike packing bike" immediately. Well, the ECR is "that bike" more so than the Krampus, but it could be a lot of things, really. The basis here is the 29+ deal, and if it catches on with riders, lookout. If not........ sayonara 29+.

Gravel Mutt V2
Some Details On The Gravel Mutt V2:

As mentioned in my previous post on this bike, the V2 Mutt has a couple of significant differences from the V1 Mutt. First off, I was wrong about the year on this one. According to my research, the serial number for the bike decodes to an October of 1977 build date. while Trek did not put model designations on bikes until the early 80's, the brochures scanned online I checked out indicate this as a TX502 complete bike, (judging from the spec list and what I recall taking off this rig), so not the top-o-the line bike, but a nice mid-range sport touring rig. It sold for the ridiculous price of $250.00 back then! The frame is Ishiwata 022 double butted Chrome Molybdenum that is silver brazed to investment cast lugs and has a Chrome Molybdenum forged fork crown.

The geometry  has road bike leanings, but that only makes sense. A 73° head tube angle is listed, (although I measured multiple times and got 72°), while the bottom bracket drop is listed as 60mm, which is right in line with my BMC, and definitely lower than the V1 Mutt. The fork offset was listed at 55mm! The chainstays are longer, but this was a good thing for gravel on this particular bike, since it offset the nervous front end a bit. So, better than V1? Yes. The lower bottom bracket is a big deal. The front end is a bit "chattery" on rougher gravel, but the bike is flexible enough that at moderate speeds it isn't a handful. Really fast down hills would be a bit hairy on gravel with this one. Overall, it is a really smooth rig, and on pavement, it is an absolute dreamy ride.

This is going to end up doing city duty and I am getting fenders and some nicer bits for it at some point. I'll have to touch it up some, but that will be an ongoing project. In the mean time, it's a keeper. Just not ideal for gravel, but not bad either. If it was my only bike, it would do.

3GR: Yes. Gates Park Swimming Pool lot. 8:30 am. I'll be planning on being there riding the BMC.


Jon Steinhauser said...

How well would a custom fork compensate for a steep head angle? Could you increase the axle to crowm and rake without causing another handling problem? I have a Lemond Poprad with a 72.5 HA, 45mm of rake,and 62mm of trail.

Guitar Ted said...

@Jon Steinhauser: The answer is- "It is complicated." Changing parameters on a fork can change a lot of other things on a bicycle as well. I always try to point out that a bicycle is a complete system, not just "a head angle" or a "chain stay measurement". One has to consider how changes on one part affect the entire system.

When taking this view, fork geometry and head angle can do things like change the bottom bracket height, seat angle, and the way a front wheel reacts to inputs, which affects how a frame works to absorb that energy. Obviously, it gets complicated very quickly.

In the case of your LeMond, changing offset while keeping everything else the same/similar is the least upsetting change in regard to the entire bike, but getting more stability this way means a shorter offset, which brings the wheel closer to the rider, and may negatively affect toe overlap. It also will affect how the fork levers the frame, which you may or may not like.

It's best to leave well enough alone and live with what you have, in many cases. However; if experimentation is up your alley, have at it. Only by trying an idea out will you begin to understand in a clearer way what it is you are after.

Rich said...

let's put some canti's on that old Trek and really gravel it up!


Guitar Ted said...

@Rich: It really could use better brakes!

Vik said...

FWIW - my LBS [Victoria BC] is selling through their stock of Krampi pretty well and have yet to sell a single Pugley.

I think the future of 29+ is solid. For most people it makes more sense than a fatbike and while I'm not buying the impending fatbike tsunami idea they are undeniably establishing a solid niche in the bike world.

The fact the Krampus and ECR can run normal 29er rubber and wheels is their saving grace. It makes switching over less painful for folks with a 29er and also less committing because you aren'r stuck with running some niche products.

I love my Pugs and we've had many great adventures, but if I had to choose between them I'd keep the Krampus for sure.

safe riding,


Michael_S said...

I'm sure hopin' that 29+ will survive. I'm planning on getting an ECR in 2014.Just seems like the perfect bike for me in So Cal. Much more versatile than a fatbike for drier climates. The Krampus sure is a nicer color but the lower BB of the ECR is more in tune with my riding preference.