Friday, September 18, 2020

Friday News And Views

LOOK Pedals' Geo City.
Iconic Pedal Maker Makes Ironic Pedal Debut:

The cycling industry missed most of its debut product events this year, so things are trickling out at odd times now. One of this week's strangest debuts comes from classic clipless pedal maker, LOOK. This is the company that invented "clipless" pedals back in the 1980's. They have pretty much hung their hat on that fact since. However; it is no secret that flat pedals, or normal pedals, as most people would think of them, are now very popular amongst mountain bikers and urban bikers. So, LOOK felt compelled to respond with two new models. 

One is a bit on the goofy side. The LOOK  Geo City is a flat with replaceable VIBRAM® rubber inserts in different colors. There are trail inserts and urban inserts with slightly differing raised block/patterns and compounds for grip. They go for around $70.00 retail. The draw here , I suppose, is fashion. You can customize the look via the inserts, but other than for casual city use, these don't move my needle much. 

The LOOK Geo City Vision

There is a variant on the theme though that does kind of make sense to me. LOOK has a Geo City Vision model which includes LED lighting in the pedal's edges. These lights are rechargeable and the Geo City is upgrade-able to the lighted version. However; the price is twice that of the Geo City pedals at $140.00 suggested retail. Still, for urban commuting, it is a compelling idea. 

In a study done for Bontrager, they stated that any reflective or lighted elements on a cyclist that moved in an up and down motion were much more noticeable by motorists than stationary reflective or lighted elements. This would suggest that these LOOK Geo City Vision pedals would be a nice addition to a commuter's arsenal of lighting. 

LOOK claims the lights are water resistant and have been thoroughly tested to withstand the elements. I should hope so, at the price they ask, it would be very disappointing to have the lights be less than totally durable. 

LOOK's other pedal entry is a rather mundane take on the typical aluminum flat for trail riding called the Trail ROC. It also retails at $70.00. Ho-hum. There are a ton of flats that look like this. I also think it is ironic that LOOK would feel compelled to enter this very competitive market, but that's their business. In my opinion, the Geo City Vision is the most interesting intro of the lot here. 

This broken rear derailleur used to cost about $12.00 to replace.
The Bikes & Parts Shortage Continues:

As many of you out there are finding out, or already know, bikes and parts for bikes are hard to come by these days. It isn't just high end stuff either. Even the least expensive Shimano bits are hard to source these days. Take this broken Shimano derailleur, pictured here to the left. 

This came in on a department store kid's bike, and like probably a third of these, it was destroyed in contact with the rear wheel as it spun around. This is a super-common failure mode for cheesy rear derailleurs. No big deal, right? These retailed at around $12.00 a pop in 2019. Try to find a hangar mount type like this today. As a bike shop, our supply lines are dried up. So, the customer sourced this rear derailleur for himself. He got it on Amazon, of course, and guess how much it cost? 


Yep! Supply and demand, I guess. But that's just one example of how 2020 has gone haywire in outdoor retail. The big question is, "When will it all end?" No one really knows the answer to this, but a great article in the latest posting by "Bicycle Retailer and Industry News" gives some solid clues. 

In that article, industry commentator, Rick Vosper says his sources are telling him that we can expect shortages on bicycles and accessories for the next 12-18 months. That's the end of 2021 folks. We're talking things being a mess until 2022. Maybe. I wouldn't doubt that this hangs on in some form or another for most of 2021 though. 

This is an interesting take on the industry though, and if you are curious as to how things might shake out, it is well worth a read. Inventory levels will be leveraged by the big brands and dealers will have to absorb a lot of high end product placement on their floors and in their warehouses to get the meat and potatoes bikes everyone is hungry for. And what if things fall off as far as demand? Hard to say. It is an election year and there is a LOT of uncertainty surrounding this election cycle. I'm betting dealers will be cautious and will sit on their hands for a while to see how this shakes out in November. 

The men's model- a HPC- promised by LeMond.
LeMond Introduces HPC Models:

The 'surprise' bikes that LeMond had promised via their social media recently have been released, at least the identity of them has been- prices and actual availability information have yet to be released. They are electrified bikes, or as I term them- HPC's. This is one of the things I figured that would be released by LeMond. The other thing I expect to be released sometime in the future will be a gravel oriented rig, but we will see. 

I'll give LeMond credit, the style of these bikes is done well. The urban style is cool and sleek. Of course, this is carbon fiber, so you get organic, flowing lines, but I do like what they've done for an electrified bike style. Most are ugly. This is decidedly not ugly. 

Now I will also say that this same frame, the HPC one shown here, could just as easily be a drop bar bike. It's not hard to imagine it. Secondly, LeMond used a hub motor, so a 'traditional' powered frame would be simple to manufacture. This makes sense for, what essentially is, a start-up brand. Modular product makes more sense than making a bunch of different frames. Although I should also say that this frame isn't a 'one-size-fits-all' bike either. In fact, LeMond also introduced a mixte' frame- in carbon fiber- alongside this as well. So that alone shows that they have some daring in their design portfolio as well. 

Teravail Introduces A New Tire:

 This week Teravail announced a new tire called the Washburn. They are offering it in three sizes- 700 X 38mm, 700 X 42mm, and 650B X 47mm in tan and blackwall versions for each size. They also have the Durable casing or the Light and Supple options for each.

This is an interesting take on a gravel tire. It is most like a Riddler/Byway mixture. It should be a fast tire, but maybe best on drier grounds versus something like a Teravail Rutland. At any rate, you have to hand it to Teravail who have been really making some decent moves of late. It wasn't all that long ago that their gravel tire line up was a lot less appealing to me. Their older designs were stiff and just odd.

Now with the Rutland, re-vamped Cannonball, and this new Washburn tire, they have a lot of bases covered with competitive and unique designs. My only beef with this Washburn tire is that Teravail did not offer it in a 29" X 2.1"er size or close to that. This seems like a great pattern for Cutthroats or Fargos. Maybe that will happen sometime down the line. 

Well, that's a wrap for this week! Time is wasting! Get out and ride where you can.


Boudin said...

The Washburn in 27.5 x 2.1 would be great for Gorilla Monsoons.

S.Fuller said...

That Washburn is getting perilously close to what the old WTB Vulpine was like, although solid center vs file tread. Tempting

Barry said...

I think you're going to lose the battle on this HPC thing. There's a company in California selling electric dirt bikes (they're barely bicycles) under the name as Hi Powered Cycles.

DT said...

looks like Teravail Washburn = WTB Byway = Vittoria Terreno Dry, to me at least

teamdarb said...

I am assuming the LeMond HPC and whatever other bike ends up under that name are the no longer invested Schwinn and/or Raleigh 2021+ models. Remember I said it here.