|The "Spray Tan" Karate Monkey|
The coolest rig in the booth was the Karate Monkey refresh. No more funky track ends. No more antiquated 1 1/8th straight steerer. And check out that tinted clear over raw finish. Nice.
And while it is a cool upgrade to an old classic, one has to wonder if it is enough to do that only. There are so many great hard tails now that the Karate Monkey seems a bit lost these days in the white noise of everything else around it. Even Surly's own line up boasts more interesting bikes like the Krampus, ECR, and Instigator. Throw the "everything but the kitchen sink" Ogre into that mix and one has to wonder why this bike, or the long in the tooth 1X1 still hang on in the Surly catalog. I could see this bike being a bit fresher with a geometry tweak, but Surly didn't see fit to do that here.
Finally, the Ice Cream Truck. Hmm.......this should have happened when they did the Moonlander. Other than this, I don't see this as ground breaking, besides the fact that it signals a break with past Surly traditions.
|An Instigator with a fat front fork and 26 X 3" Knards.|
|From L-R: Dillinger 5, Dillinger 4, and Husker Du|
But here's the deal: $250.00 bucks a pop? (Dillinger 5) Ouch! I'll take my chances for $500.00, Alex. That's too rich for my blood. And you get a tire rated for......tubed usage. Lame.
You know, the Dillinger 5 will sell out, and probably will be a sought after tire, but I can shod my entire fat bike with Vee Rubber tires for the price of one Dillinger 5 studded tire and the Vee Rubber tires are tubeless compatible. Surly has nothing much better either.
I was hoping to see the Q brands up their game in the fat bike tire market, but I was slightly disappointed. It should be interesting to see how Bontrager fat bike tires and anything else Specialized comes up with compares to Surly/45NRTH. This could get interesting this Fall.......
|Tubular gravel road tires?|
Now, I get why the tubular seems to be a great solution for mountain biking and gravel road riding. Basically eliminate pinch flats, supple, smooth, comfortable ride, high degree of traction with low rolling resistance, can be ridden flat, etc. However; I noted two things about this idea that still need work. Rims and tire failure in the field. Oddly enough, the solution for both issues may lie in a single specialized product. Special rim tape that is pressure sensitive.
That said, and I know this may make me sound like a "Negative Nancy", but I don't really see how tubulars become a better solution than tubeless tires. Especially if tubeless tires for gravel road riding are a system of rim and tire that are designed to work together. (Stan's Iron Cross/Crest suggestions need not apply here) I'm not talking conversion of a standard tire to tubeless. That's cutting corners. I'm talking a dedicated, real tubeless solution for gravel road riders. Doesn't exist, you say? Well.......
Moving on, I saw some promising ideas for gravel road clinchers and tubeless ready tires and rims were talked about as well. So the other companies will be doing some cool things coming in the near future.
|This is Anna Schwinn's Light, Strong, and......Pretty drop out.|
But here comes Anna's cool All City drop out to the rescue with an ingenious design that moves the IS brake adapter along with the rear axle when you turn the adjuster screw. Beautiful, strong, and light, (so says Anna, and I chose to believe her), this makes living with an All City Nature Boy disc model that much easier. Other companies take notes, please!
|Tim Allen's new bike. He's a National Champeen, ya know.|
At least you can easily pick out the ironic name of the bike now! They should change the name of this brand to "Chemical Stew", or "Autoclave". At least it would fit better. Besides that, the bikes are straight up cyclo cross screamers. Don't think about putting anything bigger than a legal sized CX tire in the back, because you won't have any mud clearances. It's tight back there!
A word about Mr. Allen. He won the CX single speed national championship, I guess. You'd never know it by talking with him. A great, down to Earth, humble fellow. He was truly stoked to be getting the bike pictured here and to fly the Foundry flag. It was genuine. The thing about meeting him was that I didn't realize "who he was" until afterward when someone pointed it out to me, so I had no preconceived notions there.
|SRAM's 1X road/CX set up appeared at Frostbike|
I don't think that he will, of course, and he seemed truly stoked to get it. I think he was genuinely struck by the fact that this upcoming T.I. is number ten. I know we were pretty amazed that folks wanted to do Trans Iowa a second time after we put on the first one, much less having it last ten editions.
So there were several other conversations with several other folks I don't get to see all too often. Some Trans Iowa veterans and finishers, some others that have been reading this blog or one of my other sites, (thanks, by the way), and then I looked at my watch. Dang it! I missed lunch again this year! Oh well........Onwards through the fog!
|A special Trans Iowa tribute in the Salsa booth: Images by Scott Haraldson|
So I walked over to check it out finally after the show was clearing out for the day. I have to say that I thought it was really impressive, well done, and definitely humbling. You know, I never planned on having all this attention on Trans Iowa, and even now I am still kind of shocked when I see people making a special effort to express something in print, on film, or in the digital realm that concerns the event. I know........it means something to a lot of folks, I get that part. Heck, it hasn't gone unnoticed in my life that it means some things as well to me personally. However; to see it at a trade show expo........ I never woulda thunk it.
Then there were beers, some vittles, some Korean food at Hoban, then nighty-night. The next day I made a brief appearance back at the show, then I had to skee-daddle back to the home base. It was a good Frostbike, but a different one. No Mike's Bikes, less shenanigans, bad weather, epic travel, and lots of great friends and acquaintances.
I'll have a bit more to say about Frostbike elsewhere, but for here that's a wrap. Thanks to the Witt Family, QBP, all the friends and acquaintances, and everyone that made Frostbike possible.