|SRAM Eagle 12spd 1X XX-1|
Remember those leaked images of a SRAM Eagle 12 speed 1X group I had on here a while back? Well, as you may know now, it was a real thing. SRAM introduced the "improved" group yesterday in XX1 and X01 flavors. Yes......they are way expensive. $1417.00 and $1193.00 respectively for all the parts. Which, if you think about that, are only the cassette, shifter, derailleur, crank set, and chain. You can bet that a big chunk of that expense is in the XDome cassette, just like it is for 1 X 11 stuff. And yes....the derailleur, chain, cassette, and chain ring are all proprietary and specific to 12 speed. So, barriers are there for sure.
I had a long chat online about the merits of this system with a friend yesterday. Here are my main thoughts on 1X in general: First of all, try thinking of any vehicle/powertrain combination that is seeking engineering and technology to find ways to make its powertrain have bigger steps between ratios. Yeah...... That would make the powertrain less efficient. So, why do we, as humans, think bigger jumps between gear ratios is a better way to do mountain bike drive trains? By the way, Shimano does not buy into this way of doing things, (bigger gear ratio jumps), and that is why they have resisted the whole 1X drivetrain thing from the beginning. It is not because they couldn't do this.
Secondly, the entire reason for going to the 50T low gear was to erase the complaints against 1 X 11's lack of a low enough gear to compete with 2X10 drive trains, and of course, now 2X11 drive trains. This makes the suite of parts more marketable, but again, not more efficient for "the motor" that drives it all. Other reasons for 1X drive trains are mostly about aesthetics and fashion. "Cleaner" looking, no front derailleur to "mess up" the looks of the bottom bracket area, and an "uncluttered handle bar". Shorter chain stays and suspension designs not possible with front derailleurs can also be touted as "benefits". None of that makes you go faster. Some claim weight benefits, but with a 50T cassette cog spinning back there, can we now start looking at rotational weight as being a negative for this idea? Maybe.... But the big deal here is the jumps between gears and that isn't the best thing for the rider, nor does it promote keeping your momentum up, since your cadence gets jacked with those bigger gear jumps.
|The Renegade Gent's Race 6.0 flyer|
It is happening again, and so the reboot of the Careless Whispers is going to happen again as well. The sixth running of the Renegade Gent's Race, which has been such a great event for me so far. It is responsible for new friendships and such great times that I never would have had if I had not been invited to ride with three strangers and a Trans Iowa vet back in 2011.
The Gent's Race has been a growing deal since the beginning. I'm not sure this year that it will be bigger than last year, but at about 300 folks, maybe it's big enough! That's not a concern for me though. It's kind of funny how you end up riding with your team, seemingly all alone out in the country, at least a few times during the afternoon. So, no matter how many teams do end up coming, I think that will still be the case again this year. Then there are the times when you are in a bigger group, and that seems to be okay as well. It's a weird dynamic, but it is fun.
So, as I alluded to the other day, I have to pick a rig to go with that day. I am sentimental, so the Black Mountain Cycles rig is high on the list of bikes I will choose. Maybe the Tamland with those big ol' Gravel King 40's. That's the only other bike I've ridden there, I think. Nope! I just checked, and I rode my Vaya one year down there. Oh well...... It isn't like it will matter a whole lot, so whatever I choose will be fine, I am sure.
|Nothing "new" to see here..... Move along!|
Have you noticed more chatter about "gravel this" and "gravel that"? Bigger magazines and websites are all over the "gravel bike" scene now. They are saying things like"do we need these new bikes", and "how to prepare for your first gravel race", like these sorts of things are so unknown and new that they need explanation.
Well, if you've been a long time reader here, you already know all about this stuff. Heck, just look above at my Renegade Gent's Race mention. Notice that it's version six? Trans Iowa is in year 12!! The Dirty Kanza is going on 11 years. I could go on. My Black Mountain Cycles rig is six years old now. My Tamland, a gravel specific rig, is going on four years old now. These things aren't new.
Plus, if you are really paying attention, you'll know that gravel roads were being ridden since gravel roads existed, and gravel events are not all that different from something like a long, 100 mile mountain bike race, or any other cycling competition. Bikes that work on gravel roads have been around a long time. What happened was that the industry forgot about those bikes and chased after the "F-1" style road bikes that the Pro roadies use. Those bikes pretty much suck for gravel roads. Well.....the thousands of miles of gravel roads in the middle of the country, and elsewhere. They just weren't the best idea, and still are not, unless you, well.....you know, do criteriums and actual paved, fully supported road races on closed courses. Nothing wrong with doing that, but bikes drilled in sharp focus for that pursuit flat out suck on gravel. No way to sugar coat that.
So, in those terms, we don't need a "new genre" of bike to do this "all roads" cycling, we need to get back to where we were a long time ago, and we are. This is good. But.......it isn't anything new. Neither are the events. Just keep that in mind when you see all these articles about gravel this and that pop up in the big media productions. I say....Welcome to the party! And...calm down! It's not that big of a deal, y'all. We've been here for years.
That's all for this week! Get out there and turn some pedals, and have a meaningful and enjoyable Easter for those that observe that.