Friday, August 01, 2014

Friday News And Views

The Germans do Fat!
Fat Bike News:

Seems like everyone is getting in on the fat biking bandwagon these days. Now I see that German brand Canyon Bikes is doing a high end offering dubbed the "Dude CF".

Canyon bikes are highly regarded and, unfortunately, unavailable in the U.S. However; I suspect folks connected with the Topeak-Ergon team might just be sporting these, since they are sponsored by Canyon Bikes.

No hard details yet on this other than it is a 190mm spaced rear that is said to fit the biggest available tires. Note the DT Swiss branded rims. Schwalbe tires too. Think fat biking is a fad now? No, it isn't, and if you want to know, the fat bike genre has a lot more going for it than the 27.5"er craze. My opinion is that the fat bike will gain more sales than the 27.5"er, "enduro" bikes, and if you exclude the move by many companies to simply convert all their 26" stock to 27.5"ers, (to simplify and streamline their bottom line more than anything else), fat bikes will easily outpace the "mid-sized" wheels soon. Well......maybe not in Europe.

Twin Six: METAL
Twin Six "Standard Fat":

Twin Six, (yes.....the cycling clothing folks), are busy bringing some "hardware" to the table for all you bikenerds out there like me. This is a bit of a peak at a titanium frame/carbon fork fat bike set up that Twin Six designed and tested in house. The company line is as follows.....

"Operation Ride Metal stems from our pride and dedication to the sport as well as our cycling heritage. With an everything you need and nothing you don't philosophy, the Standard Fat is inspired by our hunger for precision and drive for classic aesthetics. The result is a lean T6 titanium machine weighing in at 4lbs 2 oz (medium frame & fork). The chassis boasts competition driven geometry, Twin Six engineered dropouts, covert cable stops, a 100mm bottom bracket shell, 170mm rear spacing, and clearance for five inch rubber. The 44mm head tube is paired with a svelte carbon fork and adorned by a Twin Six silver plated brass head badge. Target price point for frame, fork, seat collar, and T6 designed top cap is $2200 and will be available late fall."

The "Standard Fat" sports typically sano T6 graphics and classy looks. 
T6 designed drop outs
 The "Standard Fat" also sports an interesting drop out, as mentioned- designed by T6,-and it looks pretty clean and elegant. One has to wonder if perchance that a "swinging" type drop out, or other modular bits might be in the future since the drop is a bolted on piece. 

Removable cable stops.....because you could go single speed? It would make sense. However it goes, this is a decently priced offering that looks great. Oh! And did you catch that it fits big tires with a 170mm OLD rear end? Don't you have to have a 190mmOLD rear to do that? Well, I asked about that and T6 responded that it can fit a 4.8" tire on an 80mm rim with their manipulated seat and chain stay configuration. 

While carbon is all the rage for fat bike frames, I can tell you that titanium rides super smoothly on fat wheels. Better than most rigs. It really makes a difference and of course- it is METAL. What else would Twin Six make a bike out of? 

The GTDRI set up: The bike survived!

 Gear Assessment From The GTDRI:

Well, if you've been reading along this week, you know all about the ill-fated GTDRI event. Now I want to talk about the gear I used for this ride. 

I decided to take the Tamland Two out, and besides the cassette gearing being woefully over-geared for the hills and my fitness level, it was a great rig for the task. I could go on in minutiae about what I liked, but I'll just hit the highlights. If you have specific queries, just hit me up in the comments section and I'll be glad to answer you. 
  •  Geometry: The downhill performance at speeds of up to 40mph was stable and I felt that I could totally trust this bike. 
  • The TRP Spyre brakes: Both Dan and I were using these brakes with different levers and we both agreed that the modulation and power was better than BB-7's. Oh.....and they were quiet the entire ride. 
  • Challenge "Gravel Grinder" tires: If these tires were going to blow apart on me, they would have by now and particularly on this ride. On wide rims they are fantastic on loose gravel. if a tad "loose" feeling, to borrow NASCAR terminology. 
  • Ergon SM-3 Saddle: I wasn't 100% sold on this perch at first, but it has become a favorite now. Zero saddle issues- no numbness, and it has a perfect "sweet spot", but the other positions are fine and comfy as well. 
  • Bike Bag Dude "Chaff Bag": Instantly turns a two water bottle cage bike into a 4 bottle cage bike, and having two bottles on the bars is awesome. Those old Euro racer dudes were on to something with that idea. 
The bike was great, and the gear worked very well. As far as the crash goes, the bar tape got nicked- that's it. 

Bike Bag Dude Chaff Bags work great as food holders, bottle cages, or for smaller items. 
These tires really are great for gravel. Fast, wide, stable.

My Oakleys got trashed.

 There was one item that got totaled in the wreck and that was my Oakley shades. Near as I can tell my helmet, which the Oakleys were perched in, went flying off my head when the truck hit me, (I didn't have the helmet buckled yet, as I was walking the bike), and it smashed glasses first into the gravel or something. Anyway, they are a total loss. If that's all I lost in this, well then I count myself very fortunate. Shades can be replaced. Bodies? Lives? Not so much. 

New Raleigh Willard Two
New Gravel Rig From Raleigh:

Finally, I have known about this rig for a bit, but I saw where it had been talked about on-line now, so I feel free to say a thing or three here. 

The Raleigh guys were the ones that picked my brain on gravel specific features for a bicycle's design, and they did everything I advised them to with the Tamland. Now they have done similar geometry with an aluminum frame and carbon fiber fork and dubbed the bike "Willard". I instantly thought of that rat based horror flick when I heard the name, but apparently, that wasn't the inspiration for the rig's name. (I asked) Anyway, this is supposed to be lighter and it will come in two flavors- The Willard Two, a 105 equipped rig, and the Willard One, a Sora 9 speed rig. The retail prices are a step lower than the Tamland's are, so they should find a good audience out there. 

The only thing I am a bit wary of is the aluminum frame. I might be pleasantly surprised, if ever I get a leg thrown over one, but I just don't know about aluminum on gravel roads. Maybe I could use some enlightenment there? Maybe I could. At any rate, the good stuff is there, like Shimano components, TRP Spyre brakes, and Clement MSO 40mm tires. They claim it will tip the scales at 22 or so pounds, and I bet with a judicious choice in wheels and a few component swaps it would easily dive under 20lbs, if that is a goal.

Okay, I am going to be out for the weekend again taking my son to the last events at Iowa Speedway for the season. Back on Sunday at the earliest. Meanwhile, ya'all have a great weekend and get yer ride on!


james said...

Have you changed your TRP brake cable and housing or know what brand might be installed on your Tameland?
Also, with your Challange tires, I believe you previously stated they wouldn't support a tubeless set up. Is this still the case?

Guitar Ted said...

@james: Haven't had to swap that out yet, so I do not know what housing it has.

Yes- the Challenge tires are not tubeless rated.

George said...

GT, you're right about everybody jumping on the fat bike wagon. I found a Mongoose fat bike at the local Meijer store for $250. Surprised the heck outta me.