Friday, October 02, 2015

Friday News And Views

The Teravail Sparwood
Teravail Tires is a newly minted brand by Quality Bicycle Products. I heard about Teravail at Frostbike last February, and I got to see the first prototypes for the gravel tires at Dirty Kanza this past Spring. They looked quite intriguing and the product engineer that was on hand had some really interesting research information regarding the tire's development stages.

The research into how a tire interacts with gravel was a big part of how these tires came out the way they did. The claim was that the tread pattern actually helps the tires go over the gravel as opposed to squirming around on it. This interaction between gravel and the tires usually causes gravel to squirm, and a result of this can be gravel bits shooting out from under your tires. This is a loss of energy that causes higher resistance to rolling, it was claimed. The new Teravail designs are said to interact with gravel in a way that helps cause less of this loss of energy and a gain in speed and energy to the benefit of the cyclist.
The 38mm option dubbed the Cannonball

The new tires have been ride tested in the Flint Hills by cyclists and the reports are good. Now these tires are finally available for gravel riders everywhere.

The 29 X 2.1" version is dubbed "Sparwood" and was the tire that Jay Petervary used during his run at the Tour Divide this past Summer. Jay reported that wear was remarkably low. This tire would be a great option for those running 29"ers and especially for something like a Fargo. It is tubeless compatible as well

The other model in the line up that looked interesting to me was the 38mm Cannonball. This obviously is the tire that would benefit a large portion of the gravel/back road riding community. The tubeless compatibility is there, and it comes in two options, one with lower TPI count and less puncture protection, and a higher, 120TPI thread count with more puncture protection.

There is another option, which I am not a big fan of, honestly, and it is called the Galena. This is a 32mm wide tire, (the part I am not big on), and otherwise looks like a down scaled Cannonball and comes with all the same options. Perhaps a great tire for places with tamer gravel, smooth dirt, and for lighter weight folks. Obviously, a good cyclo cross option as well.

I hope to obtain at least one pair of these soon and check them out. Stay tuned.....

Riding the River Bottoms, November 2008
River Bottoms To Be Paved:

This issue may not mean anything to many of you, but in the context of what passes for "progress" and "access" these days, I think it might just find meaning elsewhere. You can be the judge of that.....

The "River Bottoms" is the unofficial name for the unofficial trail that runs along the Minnesota River in the Twin Cities metro area. This land that runs along the river is prone to flooding, and was left as "useless" by developers for well over a century of the Twin Cities history. Somewhere along the line, (some say 20-25 years ago), off road cyclists and hikers forged a trail through here that runs about 10 miles or so through fens, woodlands, and hard against the backwaters of the Minnesota River.

I was introduced to this little gem of rustic beauty that is hidden in the heart of the urban landscape by Salsa Cycles' crew and specifically, their then head honcho, Jason Boucher. I was able to ride the entire length of this on maybe three different occasions and my takeaway from it was that this was a perfect foil to living in a big metro area. You literally almost forgot that within a mile from you at any time was a bustling community full of cars, pollution, and all that goes with that. I remember folks on the ride marveling at this. I thought it was too good to be true, and I knew that if I lived up there, the River Bottoms trail would have been very close to my heart.

Well, apparently, it was too good to be true. Jason told us back in 2008 there was a plan to pave parts of that area and for a connector bridge at the point where the old Cedar Highway once crossed the river. It seemed like a pipe dream back in 2008. Now, that "pipe dream" is about to become a full fledged paved trail through the area with work slated to begin next Spring. (See a story on this HERE)

I get why there are many sad folks and I get why officials want to see this get done. However; I often wonder why, as a nation and culture, do we feel the need to "urbanize" wild areas for the "benefit of getting more users" to that area. Why is it "unfair" that this area is not served by a  paved pathway? How does creating a man-made path through this wild area benefit the wild area?  What is the "real" reason that the officials really want to pave this? Tourism? Money? Is that a good enough reason to do this? What about maintenance, as mentioned in the linked article. Seems like that might be a big deal with regard to flooding and whatnot. I know our local State Park's paved pathway, and the paved pathway along side the river opposite of that both suffer damage on a yearly basis due to river flooding issues. I suppose all these questions are hashed out to death concerning the River Bottoms, but what about where you live? Maybe these are questions to ponder.

Maybe I am a Luddite that is "anti-progressive". Maybe..... I do like my gravel and dirt roads, so there ya go.

Bought and paid for with my own damn money.
And As Long As I Am Feeling All Minnesota.....

Take a look here at the newest addition to the fleet. It's that Twin Six Standard Rando I was testing for back this past Summer.

I did not buy the wheel set that came on it though. See, I am what you might call a wheel snob, and I wasn't 100% on board with Stan's hubs and rims. (Which is what the bike was shipped with, by the way.) I want something more suited to my tastes in wheels, so I sent that wheel set back. I have my own wheels as a placeholder in the image here. Those won't be the wheels this ends up with. I need to get an 11 speed wheel set built up, since this bike has SRAM Rival 22 and as you may or may not know, you cannot put 11 speed cogs on a ten speed free hub body. Won't fit. So, I have to build a set of wheels.

Anyway, more on wheels some other time. Let's talk about this bike, shall we? I bought this because the Standard Rando really rides that good. I once had a test bike back in my Twenty Nine Inches days that rode so good. Actually, there are two I can think of right off the bat, and both were single speed 29"ers. Anyway, I was offered to buy one of them at a cut rate, but I did not do it, and I have regretted it ever since. You just don't come across very many bikes that just "hit you the right way", for lack of a better term, and the Standard Rando was one that did. However, there is one other thing about the Standard Rando that made me go cross that line to purchase it- and that was its low bottom bracket. 

Now I've had commenters say that I make these geometry statements and am slicing it down to millimeters and that this doesn't matter.Whatever.... It does, and I put my money where my mouth is. Nuff said....

I am going to really get on with this bike, and I look forward to many adventures on it. So, stay tuned for that and the wheels I build up for it will all be documented right here.

That does it for today. Have a great weekend and get some riding done!


jkruse said...

Link to a .PDF of an essay by Edward Abbey about the industrialization and modernizing of our wild places. As relevant today as it was when it was written. Based on your comments above, you and anyone else who feels similar might enjoy his thoughts on the subject.

Iowagriz said...

River Bottoms Trail - easily 20yrs plus. I moved to the cities in 1994 and was introduced to it that summer. Great trail then and I'm sure better now. I can see that the raft has improved greatly :)

Robert Ellis said...

Paving trails like that actually makes them more dangerous for cyclists. There will always be slick wet leaves, ice, and angry walkers and joggers. And there is more chance of injury if one has a crash. That's a shame they are going to pave all that. That's a disservice for those who like to ride off road.

youcancallmeAl said...

what is the BB height?

Guitar Ted said...

@youcancallmeAl - I usually work in terms of bottom bracket drop, as that isn't affected by tire volume. The T-6 Standard Rando has a 75mm bottom bracket drop.

KC said...

What about using the shimano XTM8000 11speed cassette or removing a cog from a SRAM or Shimano 11 speed cassette to fit the 10sp hubs on your current wheels? I will be trying the former soon, as I am going Rival 1 with XT 11sp cassette.

Barturtle said...

Paving an area that regularly floods makes zero sense. Louisville, KY now has a mile long section of its River Walk closed and under feet of mud because it wasn't cost effective to scrape after everytime the river rose or heavy rain washed more mud down the banks onto the pavement.

Guitar Ted said...

@youcancallmeAl- They don't make a 58cm, and the BB drop is 75mm, which I verified.

youcancallmeAl said...

i meant the Tamland 2

Ben Welnak said...

galena wouldn't be a bad option for a lot of the Colorado Front Range gravel roads.

Kenny Ness said...

What is your issue with Stans? I love my Arches (including the 3.30 hubs) and I am a big guy who has put a couple thousand miles of gravel on mine. They stay true, and they roll smooth.

Guitar Ted said...

@Kenny Ness: Stan's are primarily for conversion of non-tubeless tires to tubeless. The bead socket technology is specifically shaped for that sort of tire. Tubeless tires have a different bead shape, and are designed to fit a different rim bead seat/socket. I would rather have a tubeless ready rim and run real tubeless tires.

Secondly, and most importantly in this instance, the price I would have had to pay for the wheel set was more than I was willing to pay. I want to set up a nicer hub with a tubeless ready rim, and I feel confident that future tire releases in gravel sized rubber will work best with that sort of wheel build, which I can accomplish for about the same amount of cash outlay. Better hubs, better rims, better tubeless tire fitment.

To me it was a no-brainer. Nothing "wrong" with Stan's product when used as advertised and how it was designed to be used. I just don't want to go that direction. I am glad it is working out for you though.

Kenny Ness said...

Thank you for your response.

I am completely on board with running tubeless for races/events/etc. That said, as a guy with 5 different bikes, keeping 3 of them ready to go all the time by keeping the sealant fresh is a chore I often choose to avoid by opting for tubes in some of them for daily use. Stans stuff gives me that option of tubes, or not.

That said, please consider a "tutorial" series on what rims and bead options are out there, and what can be safely mixed and matched with and without tubes: It is getting pretty hard to keep up with all the rim and bead options! Now, your telling me there will be more?

Unknown said...

Hi, I've been giving serious consideration to the T6 Rando for several weeks now - and going back and forth between it and the All City Space Horse. They're very similar in geometry with the Space Horse having longer chain stays and a little more fork offset. Just curious if you have looked at or ridden the Horse and what your opinion would be comparing the two. Thanks.

Guitar Ted said...

@Unknown: While I have not ridden a Spacehorse, I know several people with them, and have ridden with folks on gravel rides that have them. They are a decent enough bike, but one thing rings true throughout all the comments I hear about that bike, and that is that they are heavy and stiff. Not surprising, since QBP bikes made of steel tend to be stiffer and overbuilt these days. (My opinion on the "overbuilt" part )

Anyway, the Standard Rando rides really, really smoothly and is lighter by a noticeable amount. I'd decide on how to choose by intentions you have going into this. Do you ever want to haul stuff, bike pack, or otherwise want a stouter bike for any reason? Get the Spacehorse. It will probably do touring/loaded commuting better.

If however; you are more about speed, lightweight touring/minimalism, then the Standard Rando seems to be a better choice to my mind since it has such a supple ride quality without having to have a big load on to get that smoothness out of the frame.

That's my take on it now. Hope that helps.

Unknown said...

Thank you, that does help and I appreciate your thoughtful reply. Sounds like I'd be happier with the Rando - currently riding a Macho Man disc and while I really enjoy the bike it is a bit of a beast.