Friday, June 01, 2018

Friday News And Views

It's not for everybody, and that's okay.
Accepting Limitations:

The other day I saw a post about how a lot of people in a certain mountain biking heavy area were not happy about how hard the trail system was. In another place, I saw a long time resident of a mountain biking area lament the fact that his home trails had been "dumbed down" to the point that he couldn't find any joy riding there anymore. Over the years, I've witnessed a similar thing happen to the old trails in our state park.

This sort of phenomenon is not just relegated to single track mountain biking, but I think that mountain biking serves as a good example of how we as humans collectively reject "hard" efforts and gravitate toward making things easier.

I'm not going to pick out reasons. You can manufacture all kinds of reasons and argue about them until the cows come home, but the bottom line is that more and more our culture has rejected challenges and choices that are "tough". Fine, that's not going to get fixed anytime soon, but what really is sad is that where there are challenges the folks that don't like them want those who do to compromise so that the challenges become, well.......not so challenging.

Bringing it back to my focus on mountain biking, this usually is manifested in "go arounds" "B" lines, and outright bandit trails that cut off "tougher" sections. Even modifications of trail features happens because, well, someone couldn't ride it, couldn't be arsed to learn how, and thought they were doing people a favor. Heaven forbid you have to dismount and walk a section of trail!

You know, I think it might be an issue with accepting one's limitations. It's okay to let others have skills and learn how to overcome challenges on trails and it is also okay to understand that, if you don't have those skills or desire to overcome challenges, those trails may not be for you.

Says it is environmentally friendly, acts otherwise.

Muc-Off Drive Train Cleaner Mini-Review:

One of our distributors started carrying the U.K. brand "Muc-Off" which has basically the same types of shop and rider supplies as Pedros or Finish Line, for reference. This prompted our shop's buyer to ask me if there was anything I wanted to try out, and we landed on this drive train degreaser spray.

Touted as being environmentally friendly, the Muc-Off Drive Train Degreaser comes in a spray bottle for MSRP $19.99 and touts a simple to use strategy where you simply shake the bottle, spray liberally, and let the solution set a few minutes. Then you rinse and wipe down components.

The solution is a nice clearish green and the bottle is a decent size as far as handling it. The trigger mechanism feels weird and kind of weak. Oh, and don't miss the shut off valve tab located behind the base of the trigger underneath the trigger itself. It must be set into the "On" position or the trigger doesn't work. I've not seen anything like that before. Generaly speaking "On-Off" valves on spray bottles have a twist nipple function on the sprayer.

Okay, enough of that, how does this stuff work? Amazingly well, actually. I used it during a few tune-ups and it was sprayed on then I immediately wiped it down. Wait two minutes? I don't think so! I've got a LOT of tune up work to get to! Well, not waiting didn't seem to matter much as this stuff stripped grease off like a champ. The spray is very fine from the bottle, so maybe this has the effect of helping this stuff get into the nooks and crannies, but whatever the reason, chains came out looking brand new after using this stuff.

That fine spray also gets under watch bands and rings and that causes BIG TIME skin irritation. I noted a rash really soon after using the stuff, and I don't normally see that sort of reaction with other cleaners including solvent tank solution. I missed checking underneath my watch face one day and I had bad chemical burn from this product. Biodegradable it may be, but environmentally friendly? Not so much. Plus, to my nose it has a strong, unpleasant odor which lingers a long time. That fine mist from the spray may be the culprit here.

So, while Muc-Off Drive Train Degreaser may work great, I would strongly caution against using it as a spray. It just seems that this stuff is very bad for human skin, and breathing in the odor cannot be great for you either. I'd use it in a dish with a brush and with rubber gloves on only. For my purposes at the shop, it is a non-starter, but at home, this stuff might be a good option for those who like to do their own maintenance. Just don't spray it and do not get it on bare skin!

Note- I did not purchase this product and I was not asked by Muc-Off to give a review. I was being paid while using it because, well, I was at work! But Muc-Off had no skin in the game and I was not bribed, nor paid for this opinion here. 

The Otso Waheela S
 New Gravel Bikes From Otso, Donnelly:

With the Dirty Kanza 200's prominence as a "big time" gravel event, many companies are now centering marketing around the early June event. Two new gravel bikes are being introduced now which are good examples of this. First up we have the Reynolds steel Otso "Waheela S". The "S" apparently stands for "suspension correceted" in the name of this rig. The Waheela S features a specific Wolf Tooth designed and manufactured head set which takes up the space normally needed for suspension travel on a suspension fork application. With a fork installed you simply make the change to the lower cup, presumably, and run the sus fork. This has the effect of preserving the intended geometry of the bike. This is a point many lose when considering a Lauf fork, or other shorter travel fork application on a "standard" geometry bike.

The Otso Waheela S will be offered as a frame/fork for $899.00 and will also offer completes in various spec choices. The frame is routed for an internal cabled dropper post, and it features the "Tuning Chip" drop out for fine tuning the geometry. The frame is designed more like a mountain bike with the intention that the longer top tubes be mated with shorter stem lengths.

The Donnelly G/C (Gravel Carbon) bike will be shown at the Gravel Expo today at the DK200

Perhaps the biggest stunner of the year was the announcement that Donnelly will have gravel and cross carbon frame/fork bikes available soon. The gravel bike will feature pretty conservative frame angles and bottom bracket drops with clearances for 700 X 45mm or 650B X 50mm tires. Frame/fork combos will be offered at $1999.00 and completes will feature either SRAM Force or Rival 2X drive trains with prices of $3999.99 and $2999.99 USD respectively.Spec'ed with Donnelly's own tires and wheels, both tubeless ready, of course, and will be available later this month.

The Donnelly bikes will be at the DK200 expo today and I hope to get around to speak with Donn Kellogg about them. Look for that on later next week.

Stay tuned for my DK200 report this coming Monday and all the details on will be coming soon as well. Until then, have a great weekend and get out and ride those bicycles!


Rob E said...

What is the intended purpose of a dropper post on a gravel bike? I get their use for mountain biking where you're likely to encounter steep downhills and undulations in the trail that would make it nice to be able to get the seat out of the way but gravel is relatively smooth as far as a surface goes. Even B roads aren't all that horrible that you need to have that extra clearance, Clarence... am I missing something?

Ben Petty said...

I'd guess when you hit a steep descent with loose gravel it might make you more comfortable to drop center of gravity. I've been on some rutted B roads where I'd use it if I had it for better stability. That being said, I'm not about to go out and get one anytime soon for my gravel bike or think it high on a list of priorities next time I'm out bike shopping.