Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday News And Views

The big ride is this weekend
Getting Ready To Ride: The Guitar Ted Death Ride invitational is set to go off tomorrow at 6:00am sharp from Backbone State Park just South of Strawberry Point, Iowa.

I polished up the Tamland Two for the ride and since it only has two water bottle cage mounts, I will likely attach my Revelate Tangle Bag and either throw in a bottle and stainless canister for cold drinks or use a bladder. I'm digging the canister idea for this ride.

Anyway, I was checking out the RAGBRAI route and whattaya know? It goes through Strawberry Point and Garber Iowa, both towns on our route. No, no.......I did not plan it that way, but we will likely have some "ragbree traffic" to deal with at a couple points. I'm certain that if that happens it will make for some interesting interactions.

"Having fun on RAGBRAI so far?"

"Nope. I'm not on RAGBRAI. I'm on the Death Ride."

(Blank stare)

Or something like that! Look for a full report starting Monday.

Same bikes, different year.......
What The What? No New Warbird?

The biggest downer for me from the recent Saddledrive coverage was the lack of any changes on the Warbird. Salsa Cycles flagship "gravel bike" basically carries over from 2014 unchanged for the most part.

I'll make no bones about it, I think the Warbird V1 is flawed. I know others who are really into gravel riding and some other folks I know in the media feel likewise. It could be the "go-to" gravel rig, but in my opinion, (and that of others I know), it needs an overhaul.

And here's a question I haven't heard discussed much: Why is the Colossal, (Salsa's long distance road rig), a steel bike and the Warbird is an aluminum bike? Furthermore- Why should Salsa have both bikes when one model could easily do both tasks? 

Not that Salsa Cycles would ever listen to me, (cause they have smarter folks running the show than I), but why not make "one bike to rule them all" with 42mm tire clearances, a steel frame, and gosh darn it- a real, honest to goodness lower bottom bracket!! 70mm bottom bracket drop is not "low" folks. It just isn't, and gravel bikes and long distance roadie rigs should have a lower drop than that for ALL sizes. Salsa could make this "one bike" outta steel, give it a 71.5° head angle on the larger sizes, slacker on little sizes, and call it good. Salsa Cycles doesn't need two bikes for "all road riding". Don't like big tires? Fine, run 28"s. But for those that need 'em, they could. Not a Vaya. That bike is over-built for a purpose of touring. But yeah......I get why that makes sense too. It just doesn't need to be a touring bike. This "one bike" for unloaded riding could have a livelier frame than a Vaya. Okay- maybe a Vaya-lite?

One bike for everything, Salsa. (Hey! It doesn't hurt to let 'em know!)

TIMP News:

In Trans Iowa Masters Program news, there is a group of four including a couple of T.I. finishers and our first female rider attempting the route together today. No SPOT track available to follow here, so we'll just have to wait and see if they can make it. Sounds like the weather may be cooperative at least.

Then we have two ITT, (Individual Time Trial) attempts happening in August. Mike Johnson has been scheduled for quite a while for the 22nd and a new one came across my desk yesterday. Allen Brunner, a Trans Iowa V9 finisher, will be making his attempt on the 15th.

I've given it some thought, as far as extending the time limitations for attempting TIMP, but I think I'll not allow it. There just wasn't enough interest, and I feel that it should stick to the original plan of ending on August 31st. The TIMP was partly a celebration of Trans Iowa's past, partly a celebration of getting to my goal of doing Trans Iowa V10, so extending the date past the plan seems a bit "not right" to me. Not to say that something similar won't be offered down the road, but I haven't given that any thought now, and may never. We'll see.

That's all for this week. Have a great weekend and I'll be back Monday at the latest from my escapades in Eastern Iowa. Keep the rubber side down and ride your bicycles.


Fargonaught said...

As a Fargo Ti, Vaya (wife's) and Nature Boy owner I really get what your saying. Do you think the Tamland does that job? The Nature Boy makes me want to skip the Tamland and get a Macho King. I'm looking to make less compromises with the Fargo for long mixed rides.

I don't understand the Warbird alum frame either. I guess this is the scenario with niche bikes sometimes they make sense sometimes they don't. I think the Vaya needs a shot of Colossal and the Fargo a shot of Warbird.

Guitar Ted said...

@Fargonaught: The Tamland is Raleigh's Warbird, if you will. it is probably a better execution of the idea than what came out from Salsa. Is it "perfect"? No. If Raleigh were to put all their resources into the idea it probably would have been a different, lighter bike. As it is, the Tamland is a great all-arounder, and is what I would call the best of the lot so far for the niche of "gravel road bikes".

Salsa has a bit of a conundrum in their hands with regard to many of their road-ish bikes. The fargo is a prime example. Before the Vaya, the Fargo Gen 1 was a "wider clearanced Vaya", but the presence of the Vaya made for two bicycles that were too similar to exist alongside each other. this allowed the Fargo to become a "drop bar mountain bike", as it sits today, which allows the vaya to take up that niche of "all-road/touring" duties. (This is all my speculation and opinion, by the way)

Now we have a kind of "mixed message" with the Colossal and the Warbird. By the way, did you notice that they increased tire clearances for the Colossal? Up to 30mm. Why stop there? Get that tire clearance up there and do away with the Warbird altogether, I say.

Exhausted_Auk said...

Looks like I was correct with 2 verbal predictions I made to various people about Salsa's new stuff - bigger tire clearances on the Colossal + fender eyes, and the return of the aluminum Beargrease for a lower price point snow race bike. I was almost correct about a third - I thought with an aluminum Beargrease they would then push the Mukluk up to 5" tire clearances, but they came out with a completely new model instead. I guess pushing the Muk in a different direction, as a fat tire mountain bike, makes sense.

Agree with you completely on the Warbird. It really doesn't have anything you can't get with a Macho King, and you can CX race that as well. The Vaya is pretty well optimized at this point, so not surprising that it had no changes.

Fargonaught said...

Yeah but is that an actual change or just spec change on paper? Colossal with clearance for 32-35 with fenders would be good in my book. I wonder how the road lineup does for Salsa. Is the lack of changes indication its good or plenty of stock to get thru the year.

Do you like the evolution of the Fargo? Seems to be getting more like the El Mar.

Guitar Ted said...

@Fargonaught: The Fargo is pretty much the "drop bar El Mariachi" for sure, once again showing a large degree of overlap in intended purposes. One wonders how long a drop bar mtb 29"er makes sense in the marketplace when its only difference is the handle bar set up.

My senses tell me a "Plus sized" Fargo wheel set up would do the trick of making the Fargo relevant again.

Jay Swan said...

What do you think about the ti variants? I've just recently started thinking about a road bike, and both the Colossal and Warbird look good to me. I've never owned a ti bike or a road bike, let alone both in one package, so I'm not entirely sure what I'm looking for.

I already own a Gen 1 Fargo, but I want something lighter and faster for long rackless rides on both rough pavement and light gravel.

Guitar Ted said...

@Jay Swan: I think I would opt for the Warbird since it has decent clearances for whatever tires you'd want on road and almost big enough for the serious gravel events. I've got a friend who was remarking that he turned his Ti Warbird bike into his road bike and he loves it.

That said, my Boss at work has a titanium Colossal and I feel it has become his favorite bike. Both are great rigs, I am sure, but versatility would be my deciding factor on recommending the Warbird.