Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday News And Views

Trek joins the fat bike full suspension bike category with the Farley EX line.
 FN&V- The Sea Weasel Edition

New Trek Fat Bikes:

Trek dropped a bunch of new fat bike info for dealers to chew on which will represent the bikes you will see this Fall in dealer showrooms. Don't go lookin' for these just yet!

The bikes, highlighted by a new, full suspension line up dubbed Farley EX, are pretty cool and heavily laden with 27.5" fat bike wheels. There will be new Barbegazzi 27.5 X 4.5" wheels on some, while many others will get the 27.5 X 3.8" wheels. Trek will also still do some hard tails in the 26 X 4.7" wheel format, but from what we are seeing, it sure looks like they are pushing the 27.5" stuff hard. My guess is that the 26"er stuff will go away at some point. Or maybe Trek will see that as the WSD version of a Farley's wheel size? Hard to say, but it is obvious that Trek is going big on the 27.5 format.

Come June, Trek will also offer a Bontrager branded dropper seat post in three travel lengths and, for now, only in a 31.6mm diameter size. The post is a cable actuated, hydraulic, infinitely adjustable post that can be internally routed.

The last tidbit I have is that we, (at the shop I work at), have it on good authority that a Manitou fat bike fork is coming that will "blow the Bluto out of the water", so look for news on that later in the year. There also should be some news on aftermarket availability of the tires, rims, and possibly the fork as well.
We were digging this version of the new Farley hardtails which will feature the Barbegazzi 27.5 X 4.5" tires.

Salsa Redpoint: You know, I don't think I saw the word "enduro" in the entire description!
Salsa Redpoint- Long Travel FS:

It's not a Pony Rustker, and it is not a Horsetheif. Nope- it's a Redpoint. It is a slack angled, long travel 27.5"er bike which can also fit 26Plus.  How much travel? Well, 150mm out back, and that's a heck of a lot. Salsa bills it as the " ...150mm travel trail bike for tackling the roughest and most remote all-mountain terrain." So, yeah.........probably not the bike to have in the Mid-West, but it is a cool option for sure. I may be mistaken, but it is the first dedicated "small wheel" sized full suspension bike since the demise of the El Kaboing about six or seven years ago. (The Pony Rustler doesn't count because it is not a 27.5 specific design.)

You have to hand it to Salsa Cycles. For a smaller brand, they have a really diverse full suspension line up. From the XC-ish Spearfish, the wheel morphing Pony Rustler and Horsethief models, to full suspension fat bikes, and now this long travel, back country brawler.

Electronic XT: Much, much more affordable.
  Shimano Deore XT Di2:

Of course, it was a no-brainer after we saw XTR, but the cost to gain entry to Di2 XTR a was a huge barrier. Not that the new Di2 XT is "cheap", by any means, but it is much less expensive. Definitely a "do-able" price for many folks. There are the eleven speeds, and the single or double front crank sets. This, in my opinion, is the group that kills SRAM Eagle. Unless you have issues with rear tire/front derailleur/chain clearances, (ie: Fat bikes, Plus bikes, and some FS 29"ers), then Di2 XT takes your front derailleur fears and kills them. Oh! But you say that SRAM only requires one shifter? So does Di2 mtb stuff. It can actually shift the front derailleur for you at the most appropriate moment. So, I just do not buy all of this, "I dropped a chain once so front derailleurs are bad." talk anymore. Unless it is a clearance issue, the smaller jumps between gears on XT Di2 and the front derailleur giving you a wide range of gears simply trumps the huge gearing jumps on the low end of the cassette on Eagle, or XX-1, for that matter.

Yes, it is great we have workable 1X stuff from SRAM, because many designs would not be possible on fat bikes, Plus Bikes, and FS 29"ers without that stuff, but for everything else, this new Shimano stuff pretty much does everything better.

2017 Raleigh Stuntman. Image pinched from Grannygear of Twenty Nine Inches
 Don't Call Them "Gravel Bikes" Anymore!

The blog here is littered with posts that I have written which say that "gravel grinder bike" or "gravel bikes" probably is not the best idea for a name for this newer genre of road-ish, fat tired, go anywhere machines. I even did a post which got 40-50 comments suggesting new names for this sort of bike several years ago.

Well, the industry finally figured out that, quite frankly, "gravel" as a term pisses people off. So, what to call these bikes? Well, the newest, (ahem! Salsa Cycles circa 2008 anyone?), buzzword is "adventure bikes" and I am noticing a lot of companies are pushing that term now. Raleigh, Breezer, and Marin were all pushing new concepts out at Sea Otter yesterday for 2017 releases that are being pigeon holed into this "new" category.

Probably the "poster child" for this sort of bike right now is Cannondale's Slate, but what I am seeing coming along now is more akin to Raleigh's preview of the '17 "Stuntman" bike. You could say "monster cross", and you wouldn't be wrong. Two inch wide tires, a 1X drive train, and a dropper post! This bike is, for all intents and purposes, also a look at the '17 Tamland, which will feature less width on the tires, but will also have this carbon fork, integrated head set, and will likely have the exact same frame. It's not a stretch to say that, because I can slot in 2" wide tires on my current, 2014 model Tamland, albeit just barely. It wouldn't take much to get to a place where there was a bit more clearance, Clarence.

Okay, that's a wrap for this week! Have a great weekend and stay safe!


Doug M. said...

There's sooo many good FS trail bikes out there now. As someone who is in the buyer's market, it's a good problem to have! I think that carbon Kona Hei Hei DL would be a great Midwest/East Coast bike for a lot of folks.

bostonbybike said...

27.5x4.75", seriously? Those wheels are going to be huge. Larger and heavier than 29x3.0". Does it still make sense? Where is the end to this?
I would be worried that this bike will be sluggish - hard to accelerate. Maybe it's designed to just bombing down the hills?

Phillip Cowan said...

Looks like some tasty new stuff,especially the Raleigh. I'm having a real hard time working up any enthusiasm for electronic shifting though. I guess I'm showing my age. I came up through the roadie culture of the 70's. Knowing how and when to shift was one of the things that separated the sheep from the goats. You didn't want to be the wanker who rode around one gear all the time because he couldn't figure out his drivetrain. Remember this was friction only shifters on the downtube. Also roadie culture in that day was like a bunch of old blue haired society bitches. Certain things were done and certain things were not done. Showing up on a sunday morning ride with a self shifter would have you branded as Fred Fredricks from Fredricksburg. To me electronic shifting on a bike is like an automatic transmission in a Porsche 911. It can be done but why? You just end up looking like a poseur. I know there's no stopping this stuff and I sound like a retrogrouchy hater but I have wonder does anyone else feel the same? Ok all you rotten kids take your batteries and solenoids and get off my lawn. Haha

Smithhammer said...

"Adventure bikes" seems like far too broad a term which could be applied to a lot of different types of bikes, and doesn't really denote anything in particular about this particular genre, imo. I think it's rather bizarre that the term "gravel" would make anyone upset, but I'm also not surprised, given how uptight and persnickety certain segments of the cycling world have become. We would all be much better served if these people would pull their chamois out of their crack, jump on a bike of whatever type, and just go have fun. Categorization is largely a silly and self-important exercise.

Smithhammer said...

@bostonbybike - I'd say the "end to this" is wherever you personally want it to be. ;-)