Showing posts with label SRAM XX1. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SRAM XX1. Show all posts

Friday, August 02, 2013

Friday News And Views: More "News Season"

Velocity "Dually" profile
I have to admit that when the Surly Krampus came out, and I rode one at Interbike, I figured there would be a fair number of components and bikes hitting the market by now that would capitalize on the craze the Krampus obviously created.

The components and bikes never materialized though. Well, a few rims, maybe, but nothing else beyond a few custom built bikes surfaced that all used Rabbit Hole/Knard combinations. Well, that trend is about to be changed.

Velocity let me know quite awhile ago that they intended to come out with a bigger rim than the P-Blunt. (Formerly the P-35) That rim is 35mm wide and at the time, was the widest, easily available mtb rim out there. (Sure- there are some trials rims and small run-small company projects out there, but these are not widely known.) Then the Rabbit Hole came along and at its 50mm wide size, it cut a line between the 65mm Large Marge and the P-Blunt. Now Velocity will have its own product in this "mid-sized" area.

The Dually will be only available in 32 holes and in black ano or silver polished at first. More "options" will appear later, as in anodized colors, more drillings, and I would assume the 27.5" size as well. (700c and 26" only at first.) The rim should find a home with riders looking for a narrower, lighter rim for fat bikes or for an an alternative to the Rabbit Hole for the 29 X 3" Knard tires. These are done up in Velocity's own tubeless ready format, and while I do not know if a Knard will play nicely with it, there are a few bigger 29"er tires that will. It will be interesting to see how those tires might act on such a wide rim.

The Fasterkatt
45NRTH has announced a new boot, which I think is a great idea. Trouble is, it will be a big scrum rush to get the first shipment, and if the Wolvhammer is any indication, you'd better be on the front if you want these. But we'll see how that goes, won't we..... Seems as though the QBP way is to put out minimal product, whip up a demand, and leave a lot of folks wanting in the end while stock is out till the following year.

Anyway, a cycling shoe with a built in bootie. It has been done before, but not as fully and with such technology brought to the fore as with the Fasterkatt. The Fasterkatt is weatherproofed with a waterproof membrane, sealed off bottom, and a waffle insole that features wool and a reflective layer of aluminum. They claim your feet won't get wet and will stay warm down to about 25°F

Traction is enhanced with a new outsole made from "micro-glass" enhanced rubber. Two bolt cleats only with a provision for toe spikes as well. 45NRTH made a big deal about these being cyclo cross shoes, but I see these as being great commuter shoes and gravel grinding footwear for the colder months.

 I personally hate booties because they are not part of your shoes and always are shifting around when you get off the bike for any reason. They never line up with my cleats, fouling my pedal entry, and in snow, they pack up underneath with ice and snow and you know what that ends up doing. That's right, your feet get ice cold and you are miserable. Did I mention I hate booties?

I have pretty warm feet, so these may end up  being a shoe I could wear right down into the teens on days it isn't windy. I am pretty sure I would like these, and maybe I will have to pinch my pennies to get them.......well, that is if they are available when I am ready to buy, that is!

SRAM X0-1 Introduced
SRAM introduced the expected. X0-1 is basically a slightly heavier XX-1 and otherwise is functionally the same as its premier sibling. This is the SRAM way of doing things: Introduce high end product, then trickle down the benefits over time through to the lower groups in the range. Gotta have it now? You'll pay the price.

Interestingly the media keeps "wondering" if SRAM will trickle this down to lower groups and lower price points. Why wouldn't they? Shimano has nothing like this, and as long as Shimano has no response, the market will belong to SRAM. I fully expect that we will see the 11spd 1X concept to go down to at least X-7 levels.

Interestingly, the X0-1 is using the "old" 94BCD for the crank. 94/58BCD is something I was asking for years ago for 29"ers. In that bolt circle diameter scheme, you can mount a big ring down to a 30T easily, and 20T granny gears are easily mounted as well. It was a popular bolt circle diameter in the late 90's and was super versatile, but of course, it was in a five bolt pattern back then, and not the four bolt pattern used now.

3GR: Happening again from Gates Swimming Pool parking lot at 8:30am. We have been getting in about 40-50 miles depending on where you ride from. I've been getting home about 11:30 or a bit before, so it doesn't take all day.

See ya soon here, but in the meantime, have a great weekend and ride yer bikes!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday News And Views

SRAM XX1 Cassette
XX1: The Future Of Drive Trains?- 

 I had the chance to actually handle some XX1 drive train parts yesterday at the shop. The XX1 group is the newest technical advancement in drive trains for mountain biking.

SRAM saw that a lot of racers were not using the inner ring on their 2X10 set ups, so they developed an 11 speed system with the "bail out" gear on the cassette instead of on the crank set. This eliminated the front derailleur, shifter, and cable and housing on the left side. That makes XX1 lighter than XX, but the actual component pieces are heavier.

SRAM put a lot of neat little details into this. For instance, the rearmost cog is actually dished to help it clear the spokes. The cassette carrier is threaded and screws onto the cassette. That carrier has two cartridge bearings on each end to support the massive looking cassette, which is incredibly light, by the way. The carrier reveals the free hub pawls, and since the cassette is removed with a Shimano Hyperdrive lockring tool, you can get in there to clean out things anytime you want to.

The derailluer is also quite interesting. It has a Type 2 clutch to arrest movement of the cage, which stabilizes the chain. Interestingly SRAM used a roller bearing clutch to do this with. Shimano uses a band clamp. SRAM claims a no maintenance use for the Type 2 clutch mechanism for the life of the derailleur.

Downside here is that the entire system with the derailleur, cassette, crankset, shifter, and chain is about $1700.00. So, it isn't for everybody. There also is no option currently for a fatbike, which I think this system would be great for.

San Marco Pirelli damped saddle
Engine Mounts: 

 One of the ongoing pursuits of the cycling industry has been how to design components to absorb vibrations. This is important, since any vibrations or shocks that reach a rider have to be absorbed by that rider, which causes fatigue and loss of power, and at worst can cause failure physically and failure with components on the bicycle. Several ways of taking care of this problem have been attempted in the past. Suspension on mountain bikes is a good example of this, but even the tires and the air pressure you run them at are important in combating vibrations and road shock.

Lately I have seen several seat post based solutions to this problem. A few new ones on me were witnessed at Interbike. Now another one crops up from Cantitoe Road here. Elastomeric isolation from the rest of the bike for the rider is nothing new. (Note the Pirelli designed donuts on the saddle rails of that Selle San Marco saddle I have pictured here.) However; it could be a very effective way to get the job done. Just like engine mounts in a car isolate the activity of the engine from the rest of the car, the Cantitoe Road design could be a great product. However, typically this sort of idea has been problematic in its applications in bicycle components. We'll see how this pans out, but I like the idea.

Whoops! Not yet....
Hydraulic Road Shifter/Brake levers: 

 First off- yes, they are coming. It is not a hoax, something that is being pushed off, or a teaser. SRAM was going to pimp these at Interbike, but for technical reasons in other areas decided to hold off on these. They are just now making the rounds at cyclo-cross races.

Of course, everyone is wondering what Shimano will do. I hadn't heard anything until just recently, and this article in "Bicycle Retailer and Industry News" confirms it. Shimano is coming on board with the disc brakes for roadies too.

A few points from the BRAIN article are worth noting. First, that Shimano is involved and plans on coming out with something. Shimano is primarily a research and development company. They likely have had a prototype road disc set up for several years and now can fast track it into production. Secondly- that the CEO for Formula's German arm is quoted as saying, "Shimano will be right from the beginning the leader of the market". That tells me the stuff will be dialed and will be spec'ed everywhere. Thirdly- That standards for road bikes are set for another sea change. You already have different head sets and bottom brackets across several different design standards. Now the wheels and wheel attachment standards will also change. I wouldn't at all be surprised to see road bikes get their rear axle spacing bumped out to 135mm as well. This means that road bikes from now back to the early 90's will become obsolete. Expect choices in wheels and other components to go the way of Campy Nuevo Record. (E-bay, Craigs List, and swap meets.)

A Few Words On T.I.V9:

Tomorrow the registration for Veterans will come to a close. I do not know how many spots the Vets will leave unclaimed, but I am certain there will be a fair number. These unclaimed spots, (if any), will be rolled into the pool available to the Rookies starting Monday. 

Look for a roster update later today and again on Saturday. I will then post what total number will be available to the Rookie Class on the T.I.V9 site.  Rookies will surely fill out their chunk of the roster in a few days or less. Things get kicked off for them on Monday. I have been getting a lot of questions and requests from individuals concerning the way things will work, which tells me interest is high. I am especially pleased to be hearing from several women who are considering jumping in. 

Could be a record year! 

I saw a few kind words were posted by T.I. Vet, John Karrasch on his blog. I admire John for his "never quit" attitude he displayed at last spring's Trans Iowa. You can check out what he had to say here, and read a few suggestions for those looking to attempt T.I.V9 as well.  

Fat Bike Summit: Last night on "The Guitar Ted Show" I had the pleasure of chatting with Jay Petervary and Scott Fitzgerald concerning the upcoming Fat Bike Summit which will feature seminars, information, group rides, a race, and demos of fat bikes in some awesome groomed snow trail country in Idaho. Jay mentioned that there is over 800 miles of snowy goodness out there to ride, so check out the links here and maybe get yourself out there come late January to enjoy the "Moab of Fatbiking".

3GR: It will occur again on Saturday at 8:30am at Gateway Park.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Front Derailluers Are Dead- Long Live The Front Derailleur!

SRAM XX1 Crank (Image courtesy of SRAM)
You may have seen this the other day. SRAM's newest "innovation" called XX1. It is an 11 speed drive train featuring several proprietary parts, and no front derailleur option.

Leaving aside the many concerns over "unnecessary technology" or issues with proprietary parts, I happen to think XX1 is a bold stroke. Front derailleurs are difficult beasts. Especially so on mountain bikes. Getting a system whose aim is to rid the mountain bike of this component is appealing to my dislike of those dratted things.

Now- I do not think all front derailleurs are evil. Just the ones that don't work all that well, which is a lot of them. "Momentum suckers", now that is a name I could apply to a front derailleur. "Noise makers" is another. Maybe that's why I like single speeds so much.

Here's one that works pretty good...

That said, many upper end front mechs work just great. The 2X ones especially so. Why, I can pop off shifts with these like nothing else, but at what price? Oh my! Yes- you have to not only have a great front mech, but the cranks and chain rings to go with that. Things can get pricey real quick-like.

Your average drive train doesn't work quite so snappy up front, and when you add in nice little gremlins like Dirt, Gravel Dust, and the really nasty one, Mud- well you can get all kinds of Mayhem going on with those!

So, while proprietary free hubs, wheels, derailleurs, and all that maybe are not that great, the idea of a chain guide-less 1X system is very appealing to me. Simple, better shifting, a wide range of gearing, and with the new derailleur cage arresting technology for rear mechs, the chain doesn't slap your stays and doesn't whip the chain off your front ring either.

I've been running a 1 X 10 set up on By-Tor the Titanium Mukluk, and I like it a lot, but the range of the gearing is not as wide as I would like. Plus, I have to use a chain guide and my chain slaps the chain stays,making racket.

I will say that the final complaint there was a universally accepted trait of mtb drive trains for eons, but have you ridden a bike with the new rear derailleurs featuring the cage arresting technology? It is amazing. The amount of noise you don't hear is very apparent. Why didn't they come up with this before? I highly recommend you try one of these newer derailleurs out. Well worth the paece and quiet, and chain retention! 

But I've gone off point- The death of the front derailleur may be at hand for some like myself, but trust me- There are a lot of folks that won't ride a bicycle without a front derailleur and three- count 'em- three front rings! They demand "all those gears" because of the hills, and even if your compact double shifts better and has as wide a range, they ain't given up their triples, much less ever thinking about a 1X set up. May as well shoot them now as to consider that one.

So, Long Live Front Derailleurs! (Now where is that single speed.........)