Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday News And Views

It could be great.....
Thoughts On Trek's Almost Gravel Bike And Carbon Fiber Armoring:

Okay, so we had a customer buy the newest Trek Domane Disc "something number-something or another" (Trek has 31 different Domane models, so maybe you could see why it is I cannot recall the exact numeral/digital moniker for the one I saw in the shop.) Anyway, once again I say it- this is darn near the perfect gravel road bike. In terms of bottom bracket drop, head tube angle, front/center dimensions, and of course, the ISO Speed decouplers front and rear, this bike nearly tics all the boxes and some that you don't even know that you need. However; there are one or two major modifications necessary before I would sign off on a Domane for my personal gravel grinding pleasure.

One would be tire clearances. The new Domane Disc is oh-so-close in that area. The stock bike comes out of the box with 32mm slicks with room to spare. we were looking at this at the shop and figured it might clear 35's on a nominally wide road rim set up tubeless. But barely so, if it does. That's not going to cut it. We need room for at least 40's. I think Trek can do this easily.

Secondly, I find the thought of riding a $5,000 to $10,000 dollar rig in moist, grinding, muddy paste rather.......stupid? Yes. Stupid. That would be rather unwise given that I have seen, and I have heard reports of chain stays getting ground through on carbon bikes in one event. Yeah...... That's an expensive proposition. So, what would I suggest that Trek, (or any manufacturer that makes a carbon gravel rig), do to protect against this? Think what they do on mountain bikes. Armoring is the answer. Here's what I would do......

A somewhat horse shoe shaped piece of steel, or titanium could be fashioned and slightly recessed into the inside facing area of each chain stay, and bridging across at the bottom bracket, to keep mud from grinding holes in the area between the tire and chain stay. You could even do the same thing underneath a fork crown, but that is a less susceptible area, I think. Anyway, this piece could be anchored in with a few small screws and could be removed for cleaning, replacement, or might even serve as a "window" of sorts to ease internal cable routing of hydraulic brake lines and shifting cables, for instance. The weight added would be minimal and the case for ground through chain stays would be closed.

One of the country churches on the Geezer Ride route
Geezer Ride Update:

A week ago I updated y'all on the Geezer Ride route, and gave you the date, which is September 17th. We will likely start at 8:00-ish from Gateway Park in Cedar Falls, Iowa. There is a gravel parking lot there and it is right over the Main Street Bridge from the main highway and downtown Cedar Falls.

The other news is that I have a theme for the ride and a route. It looks as though the route works out to 42 miles, four of which are on easy-peasy bike paths. Four more or so are on easy pavement. So, in total there should be only about 34 miles of actual gravel roads, and according to my best guestimates, we're looking at maybe 1200 feet of elevation gain. Not too bad, but there are a couple steeps that will test your legs. It's mainly pretty flat.

What is more, I came up with a theme! I'm calling this the "Geezer Ride Tour of Country Churches ". By my count we should go right by six rural churches. Almost all of which are still working churches, by the way. We will also go by Bennington #3 School house as well. So, bring your cameras and we should have lots of photo ops.

Finally, there are no convenience store stops that fit the route without adding a ton of mileage. So....... I asked real nice, and I think Mrs.Guitar Ted and my two kids might be out to service the group with cold drinks and snacks. Stay tuned on that front.....

I'm hoping to recon the route Saturday morning early, unless it rains, or something like flooding gets in my way! I'll update the ride page on the Geezer Ride site and be back with more here again soon......

Otso is a new company out of the minds of the Wolf Tooth folk in Minnesota.
Otso Cycles:

Another new bicycle company? Really? Well, I think this one looks like it just might have some cool things to offer that are innovations.

Otso Cycles: They are a bunch of folks that are the brains and marketing behind Wolf Tooth Components. Based up there in Minnesota, you'd expect that they would do a carbon fat bike frame, and they have. This is a bit different though.

I think one of the coolest attributes of their fat bike model is the bottom bracket width. I happen to know more than a few folks cannot ride traditional 100mm bottom bracket width fat bikes because it is ergonomically unfit to do so for them. They have hip pain, knee pain, or both. Ouch! Not good. Well, this Voytek fat bike from Otso is running an 83mm bottom bracket which puts the pedals at a claimed 10mm wider than a traditional mountain bike, yet the frame clears 4.0" tires easily and up to 4.6" fat bike tires on 70mm rims.  That's pretty rad. Now obviously, if you have to have the widest rims and tires for maximum flotation, this model is out.

The Voytek also dances with Plus sized fare in the 27.5 and 29 flavors, if that is your jam. Cool! Obviously, it is going to be spendy, but they are claiming full builds for less than 4G. Not bad.

I liked their stainless steel framed Warakin gravel/all road bike. It has some pretty trick features too, and I already wrote up that on here. It's interesting that they hit these two models up first, as I am hearing that the big cycling trade shows are going to be loaded with adventure road this, adventure bikepacking that, and adventure whatever else they can market up a storm about. So, we will see how it goes for Otso, but the homework these models reflect is pretty stout, and I am betting these will shine a bit brighter than much of the "me too" bikes that we will see coming in the next few weeks or so.

Okay, that's a wrap on this post. Have a great weekend, y'all!


phillip Cowan said...

I'm looking to put together my first geared gravel bike. The Warakin frameset looks pretty nice. I'm also looking at the Lynskey Cooper CX. Right now Lynskey has a sale on that frameset. That frame with all carbon tapered fork and thru axles at both ends would run about $1900. Any thoughts about Ti vs stainless?

Guitar Ted said...

@phillip Cowan: Here's a good place to go read up on stainless steel for bicycles. it's KVA Stainless steel tubing company's site:

phillip Cowan said...

Thanks GT.

Bob said...

I recently got a Motobeercan any road type of bike for $600 from Bikes Direct that had TCS i23's and all the bells and whistles, albeit down spec for sure. It came with 40c wire bead Nano's that rode surprisingly well, especially because I was using them @30 psi. Just got a pair of Riddler 45c's for it and they fit with room to spare. A lot less than a Trek like you are talking about but arguably as much fun.

Nice job btw at Gravel World's GT. Liked the write up as usual.