There is another podcast out right now that features myself yakking about the gravel scene and a bit about Trans Iowa. It was an interview conducted by Russ from "The Path Less Pedaled" and if you'd like to hear the almost one hour gab session, click here.
A couple of notes here- First off, this was recorded before Trans Iowa v14. So......I couldn't let on that T.I.v14 was the last, or the cat would have been outta the bag too early. But you may wonder about that because the podcast didn't get released until earlier this week. Well.......
I was supposed to have been video interviewed, but the connection wasn't working for video, so we just recorded the audio track and Russ said he'd make it work out. He wanted an image from me of myself, but Trans Iowa was up next, and then the DK200, and then...... I forgot all about that. I didn't know when Russ planned on releasing the audio, so I kept the news about T.I. mum during the recording.
So, Russ grabbed some video shot during the beginning of the DKXL event at the Dirty Kanza 200 weekend. (I wrote about that moment here on the blog) and pasted that in front of the interview as a lead in. That's something I didn't know he was going to do, so I was a bit surprised by that, and the point of views he used I never had seen before. At any rate, I had no idea even if this podcast would ever get released, much less when, so the deal was a big surprise this week when I came across the mention on Twitter. Check it out if you'd like.......
|The new Cannondale Topstone gravel bike|
Maybe you saw my post on this bike for RidingGravel.com. But in case you haven't, Cannondale is now making a 700c based gravel rig. The Slate, the front suspended, 650B rig, continues in the line up as well, but this new rig ticks a lot of "standard" boxes when it comes to current gravel rigs. 42mm tire clearances, (probably a slightly bigger tire will work as well), dropper post compatibility, three bottle bosses with the down tube one being a triple, "Three Pack" type set of braze ons, rack and fender mounts, and through axles front and rear. All carbon fork on all three models. All the basics here. By the way, it has been said it will accept a 650B x 47mm tire as well. They just won't be offered in 650B.
While all that is well and fine, and the bike is aimed at the entry to mid-level buyer, what I was very impressed by was the geometry. Cannondale pushed a few models into their gravel category that were really cyclo-cross bikes and the geometry showed it. Now the Topstone will have, what in my opinion is, an aggressively slack head angle mated with an aggressively low bottom bracket. 71° and 75mm respectively. I like those numbers a lot, and in fact, that was my preferred set of numbers for the Tamland, but in 2012 I thought that telling Raleigh to do that was too radical.
The Topstone will come in three model specs and the top is shown here in SRAM Apex 1. The other two are Shimano 105 and Sora, both with double ring chainsets. I dig that blue color, but I do not dig that drive train! The 105 is a glossy, conservative grey and the Sora is forest green, or close to that with a starting price of 1G. The others go up from there. $1650.00 and 2G actually. The bikes are available now.....
I didn't really give a review of the pink MCD Black Mountain Cycles rig after Gravel Worlds, but I will say a few words now since I have a space to here.
First off, I am not changing a thing. I may as well saw off the steer tube now where I have the stem set and call it finished since I have zero complaints about the way I fit the bike. All the careful measuring I took off my other bikes paid off with a perfect fit the first time. Trust me, I am pretty surprised I nailed it!
The big tires are the way to go for me. The Riddlers are good. I think Resolutes would be even better. I need to try them on here sometime. But other than that, the bike is perfect. Thanks to Ben Witt and Whiskey Parts for the incredible No. 9 24 Drop Bar and the super-smooth No. 7 Seatpost. The ride of this bike is totally calm and smooth mainly due to these two components. Also, my bum left shoulder has never been happier! Well, since it's been a "bum shoulder", that is. So, I am tickled pink, (sorry!), about these parts on this bike.
During the Gravel Worlds event I had really awesome stability due to the geometry of the bike and the tire/rim combination. The looser sand and pea gravel down there never threw me for a loop and I could even dart across the center line of the road at high down hill speeds without fear of washing out or fishtailing. The wasboard, which was all over the course, was sucked up big time by the bar, post, and my Redshift Shock Stop stem. The whole package really made it so my body wasn't beat up at all over the course of the 24hrs of Cumming or Gravel Worlds.
Finally, a word about the fork. It is really smooth. I was afraid that since the disc brake change was coming that the new fork wasn't going to feel like the old cantilever brake Monster Cross fork does. But I have no worries about that after having done two different kinds of gravel in two different states. That fork works very well, and you can see it working. Just like you can with the cantilever based fork.
In my humble opinion, both Monster Cross variants are home runs for gravel or all-road riding. Mike Varley has done it again, and now I have another bike I'll never be letting go of. I look forward to a lot of adventures on my new Bubblegum Princess and continued adventures on the Orange Crush.
That's all for this week. Have a great weekend and get out and ride!