|The new sled in the shed.|
Specialization for gravel bikes makes just as much sense as specialization for cyclo cross bikes, because when it comes right down to it, we could ask the very valid question: Why not just use a road bike for cyclo cross racing?" Ridiculous, you say? Not the same thing, you say?
Really? Think about it.......
So, with that said, I have been bouncing around ideas for a gravel specific bike geometry for years on this blog. Apparently someone took notice, and last year sometime, I was at work and I received a phone call from Raleigh USA. A conference call, ideas were bounced around, and I downloaded a "laundry list" of ideas that, if I were a manufacturer/retailer of bicycles, I would include in designing a gravel specific bike. Phone call ends, and I pretty much shrug my shoulders and forget about it all. I'm used to being asked stuff and having it go nowhere, or come out entirely unlike anything I suggested. Why should this deal be any different?
|The Tamland 1: Image courtesy of Cyclo Cross Magazine|
Later in the year, more information is released and at Interbike in Las Vegas I get to see the Tamland for the first time. At that event, I was told that, indeed everything I laid down was taken to heart and implemented into the Tamland design. Pretty heady stuff. I said at the time, "Well, if this doesn't work out, I suppose it will be my fault!" Maybe I overstated the importance of my advice, but that's the impact the news had on me at the time. I was, and still am, flattered that this bike was somehow influenced by my thoughts on what a gravel bike should be. Of course, Raleigh's talented folks had a lot to do with getting this done, and they certainly deserve the lions share of credit, but knowing I had a small part is humbling.
Now, in light of this, I figured I better buy one, and I did. I mean, I figured it probably won't happen again anytime soon, that a bike would have something from my influence executed in its design, so I had better get one now. That said, I don't even know if this would work- I just thought it should! Fortunately the early reactions have been very positive towards the bike, which is even more flattering and humbling.
And now I'll get on this red and white Tamland with the blue highlights and I'll find out if it does work. If it does or doesn't, I'll not be shy in saying so. And as I've always said, it is not going to work for everybody, or maybe for very few folks, and maybe it doesn't really work at all, (although that last choice seems highly unlikely from what I've heard), so we'll see. In the end, it may be a great all-road design. Whatever it is, I will be finding out real soon!