Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday News And Views

The new Niner "Steel Mountain Bike Fork".
Niner Announces Steel Fork, New Investor:

A couple of things came down the newswire this week concerning Niner Bikes. First off, we saw the introduction of their "Steel Mountain Bike Fork". Okay.......wait a minute.......

So, you mean to tell me that you can name a bicycle or part with a sensible, easily understood name that doesn't require some form of "inside knowledge" of some bizarre sport or niche band culture to understand the model name? Really?!!

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Now, as for this fork........

The Steel Mountain Bike Fork uses Boost spacing , a tapered steer tube, and obviously, it has a through axle. Axle to crown measurement is 490mm and the offset is 51mm. It has mounting points for cages and racks and is rated to carry up to 45lbs. MSRP is $179.00. See more here.

Now what was I saying just yesterday about how straight steer tubes, quick releases, and axle spacing was going to change? Hmm.........

Next up in Niner news is that they were able to find an investment company to partner with which will now allow Niner to continue onward and have the cash to invest into R&D for future designs and products. Chris Sugai remains as head of Niner and all operations are to be continued as they are now. Good news and "good luck" to the Niner crew going forward.

Differences between through axle 142, Boost, and Super Boost hubs. Courtesy of Pivot Cycles.
 Your New Hub May Be Boost Or Super Sized!

Noticing a theme of ever changing component dimensions here lately? Well, it isn't going to end anytime soon, so best get used to it. Now the rumblings are that longer travel mountain bikes may all be going to an even wider than Boost rear hub, called "Super Boost".

This is really all a result of where we have been stuck in terms of over-lock dimensions for hubs for decades. Only recently has the "Pandora's Box" of hub width been opened and I believe the dust isn't going to settle on this for some time. Obviously fat bike hub width was the precursor to this madness and it showed that consumers are willing to entertain new ideas for bicycles based upon crank, hub, and drivetrain needs.

Way back when the decision was made to go from six to seven speeds, mountain bike manufacturers, and in particular, WTB, were calling for "symmetry" in rear wheels, which meant that the rear axle was going to have to be widened. WTB already was championing wider than 100mm front and 130mm rear hubs for mountain bikes based upon Charlie Cunningham's experimentation with hubs and wheel design. So, the concept of a wider hub has been there, it was just a matter of breaking that traditional thought regarding hubs that was holding everything back.

Now I don't for a minute think that this is staying on the mountain bike side. I believe that road will see an increase in hub widths in the coming years and going to through axles will be the way that the "tradition" is broken. Younger riders will be familiar with disc brakes, through axles, and hub widths won't matter at all to them if it makes the bike better handling and wheels stiffer.

 T.I.v14 Update:

The latest on Trans Iowa; Cues- So far I have two sectors covered in the formatting department with one to go. I should have the last sector formatted this weekend. That will get printed out into a final draft and that draft will be final checked in the field sometime in late March or early April. Weather will likely play a factor in when I get out to do that. It is interesting whenever I do formatting that I can visualize the course as I fill out the format. I also have found a few places where I deleted cues, added cues, or made some small changes based upon comments jotted down while we did recon last year. So, refining the cues is always something on my mind until I make the final commitment to print them in April.

I expect also to be sending out a communication to all participants starting this weekend. The e-mail will detail the schedule of events and lay out the procedure I plan to use for handing out cues the morning of the event. This will be very important, so be looking for that if you are in Trans Iowa coming into your inbox next week.

Number plates will begin to get worked up sometime in March or early April. I also have a plan in the works for some schwag for the racers that is in motion right now. I am getting assistance for that in an unlikely place which will be an interesting story to tell you all when I can. Stay tuned on that front.

That's all for this week. Keep the rubber side down and get out and ride folks!


Robert Ellis said...

Those wider hubs look like they have generators in them.

phillip Cowan said...

Here's a simplistic question. Why all the incrementalism? If 157 Super Boost is the cat's pajamas and it's where we all need to be, then why didn't we just go straight from 135mm to 157mm. Why did we tarry along smelling the roses at intermediate points like 142 and 148. Did the manufacturers need a few years to sell more soon to be obsolete hubs? Sorry to sound like a bitter old man but all this pseudo innovation is making me a bitter old man. Haha.

Irishtsunami said...

I am confused, is it actually made of steel.............?

Guitar Ted said...

@phillip Cowan- Well, part of that can be explained by the move to through axles, which made a QR 135 a through axle 142. Basically nothing changed but the axle/connection method. Boost 148 and Boost 110, (for the front) was done in an effort to allow for shorter chain stays on 29"ers, better wheel strength for 29"ers, and afterward a way to get 27.5+ tires in the mix.

Should they just have went with Super Boost after through axle 142?

Probably, but that's only for long travel mtbs. XC 29 and 27.5 will likely never go to Super Boost.

Rainier Wolfcastle said...

Can you still run a 73mm BB with super boost?

Also, I personally don't see road switching to a wider Q factor any time soon. Road is still largely dictated by what the pros are using, and even for allroadenduroneuring adventure bikes you can run over a 2 inch tire with road cranks.

Guitar Ted said...

@Ranier Wolfcastle- I know DH bikes use 83mm BB's with that standard, but I think that enduro and long travel trail bikes will still use a 73mm based standard.