Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday News And Views

Pre-Order Ends Today:

Just a friendly reminder that the RidingGravel.com jersey/shorts/accessories pre-order ends today.

If you've ordered anything, the deal is supposed to be all manufactured and sent out in Mid-March, so this stuff should hit about the time that good weather comes to stay. (Hopefully!)

So this year I will have this kit, and I also pre-ordered the "army green" Pirate Cycling League kit again. I like supporting that group of guys. They've truly been some of the unsung pioneers of the gravel scene. Lincoln, Nebraska had gravel grinders before anyone knew what they were. I'm talking way back.

Anyway, new jerseys are coming, and even though they aren't wool, I will wear these when I am training or riding for fun. Of course, I'll likely fly the RidingGravel.com livery at selected events. I'd like to make a jersey based off our design for the RG jersey in wool. I may have to look into that.....

Creamy. You'll understand later.......
Another Piece Of The Puzzle:

I am continuing to gather up the parts I want to get for the old frame I have in the basement put back together again. It is a fillet brazed piece and you've seen it before here on the blog. Ten years ago is when I got it, so it seems only fitting that I resurrect it now.

The Salsa Ti Regulator post will be what this Brooks C-17 gets mounted to. I expect that the result will be one super-cushy ride. Each of these components I have ridden before, but not in combination, so I have an inkling that it should prove to be a good way to go.

I'm choosing the "Natural" version of the C-17 as it will really compliment the paint scheme of the frame and the over-all look I am trying to achieve here with this bike build. I have much of the drive train sorted already, and the last bit remaining that will be a big expense will be the wheels.

So, I will be researching my choices in the wheel department. I am looking at new hubs. I really don't need to get hubs because I have some that would work, but in this instance I think I have to "do it right". The reasoning there is because I didn't "do it right" the first time I built this up, nor the second time that I built it up. I basically hodge-podged the thing and that always bugged me. It is a custom frame, for crying out loud. It deserves a top-flite build, so that's what it is going to get.

There is a reason this visual abomination exists.
When "Stiff" Isn't What Is "Good"

I was reading about a prototype "gravel bike" that will be coming out soon. In the "blah-blah" about the bike, the comment I saw that raised a red flag for me was one referring to the proposed frame for the bike. It read as follows, ".......should help improve stiffness up front"

If you ride rough, gravel laden roads, the last thing you want is a stiffer anything up front. Unless you like getting jack-hammered into submission and think that makes you more "manly" or something. I don't know. I just don't get all these "stiffer forks", "stiffer front ends" and whatnot. Obviously, there is a missing link here with "designers of gravel bikes" and "people who actually ride" gravel bikes.

Take the ugly duckling of a fork many are flocking to to relieve themselves of vibrations. That would be the Lauf Grit model. It flies in the face of the "stiffer is better" mantra by using 30mm of undamped travel. Travel- as in suspension travel. Not stiffness. 

Whatever you may think of the Lauf, it brings up an interesting conundrum when considering what many companies are saying we need in a gravel/all road bike and what many riders are actually seeking for in a gravel/all road bike. That quality riders would be seeking is less vibrations, and I am pretty certain that a "stiffer front end" and a "stiffer fork" are not going to be bringing on the "less vibrations" feelings. Yeah........I am pretty sure about that. 

So, if you are working for a company that is seeking to bring out a model for gravel/all road riding, don't make the front end stiffer! That's the wrong direction. Make the front end more compliant, more comfortable, and hopefully, better looking than the Lauf Grit fork.

If you take my suggestions to heart, we'll be heading in the right direction. For once.......

That's all for this weekend. Stay warm, stay upright! Get out and ride if ya can.  

3 comments:

jkruse said...

I have never ridden a Lauf, so maybe they really are a revelation. However, I think the compliance given by a high quality steel fork combined with the right puffy tire would be the way to go in most situations. Lauf seems like just another way to get people to spend their money on something they've been told that they "need".

Has there ever been any study on the amount of travel a steel fork provides? Would be interesting to compare to the 30mm the Lauf has.

Robert Ellis said...

Those forks are aesthetically unappealing. But I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Bruce Smithhammer said...

"However, I think the compliance given by a high quality steel fork combined with the right puffy tire would be the way to go in most situations."

@jkruse - For what most people are doing on gravel bikes, I totally agree.

@jkruse, @Robert Ellis - Personally, the look of the Lauf has really grown on me, though I tend to have a "form follows function" approach to aesthetics (I have a Lauf on my fat bike and really like it for that application). I think it's an interesting, out-of-the-box approach that accomplishes what it claims to do in a lightweight package. I can't say that I've seen anyone saying you "need" one, particularly for gravel, but for long days on rough roads, I'd certainly like to try one out.

@GT - I don't get it either. I really see no advantage to a super stiff carbon fork for gravel riding, and I'm speaking from experience. Imo, it's another case of where racing has created an erroneous perception that if you are a "serious" cyclist, you "need" to have a stiff carbon fork, just like the pros. And most sheeple dutifully follow along...