Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday News And Views

Salsa Cycles Reveal the Path Video Contest: Make a video, send it to Salsa Cycles Reveal The Path Video Contest, and win a Mukluk Titanium complete and a beach riding trip in Alaska.

Sounds pretty reasonable to me!

This is an amazing opportunity to go to a place that I've only dreamed about, and others have raved about. Salsa Cycles asked me to put the word out about this, so I am. (Apparently they think I have some sizable audience out there or something!) Anyway, I am glad to do it to hopefully help someone in getting motivated to go get this deal. I mean, you get a sweet fat bike, how could this be bad?

BMC with a 1.9"er
Thoughts On Tire Clearances: 

There were some new bikes discussed earlier in the week here on this blog and some "concerns" were raised by my comments about tire clearances. So following is my take on this subject in reference to gravel road biking.

Some folks have no need for a bigger tire than a 38mm on a gravel road machine, or so I am told. I find this interesting, since back about three years ago I did a survey of what tire diameters and sizes were going to be used at Trans Iowa and the overwhelming category named was 35-42mm. Yes- 38mm is right in the middle of that, but it is a range where most gravel riders seemed to be at that time for that event. A data point, if you will.

In discussing a gravel road bike on Rawland's blog, a discussion about tire size was struck up and most agreed that a 38-42mm tire was optimal. (It was noted that if you wanted to run a 35mm tire with fenders this was also necessitating a max tire size without fenders at about 42mm.) Okay, another data point.

My experiences have been that many gravel riders are looking for a 40-ish millimeter wide tire, and I have forwarded that on to tire makers and others interested in the industry. Clement responded with a 35mm and a 40mm tire. Interesting data point.....

So- if you were to make a gravel road racing machine, why not add in some extra clearance? Is it going to put off the "go-fast" racer guys? Is more mud clearance a "bad thing"? Is it really going to add that much extra weight? Wouldn't this sort of tire clearance make the bike more versatile and more appealing across a wider user base?

I don't design bicycles or market them, and this is merely my opinion. Take it for what it is worth. But it makes a heck of a lot more sense to me to allow the choices than it does to limit them when you can.

Nuff said...........

Come ride into The Black Hole with us...

The 3GR will be happening again on Saturday from Gateway Park across from downtown Cedar Falls at 8:30am.

We'll be doing the 27-ish mile loop again and if it is nice, we'll maybe even hit Cup of Joe's afterward. Please consider joining us. It is a group ride for fun and fitness and the vibe is pretty relaxed.

Maybe I'll have my "Orange Crush" back in action. It's been sidelined since late June when I traded off the wheels for a new ride for my wife. Good trade, but I needed to grab new wheels for it. Fortunately Mike from the 3GR ride had a nice set sitting unused- a XTR hubs with Delgado Cross rimmed set, so I have them but I need to get everything mounted before Saturday morning.

Now it may sound like I am procrastinating, but when my 9 year old son asks to go ride with him so he can get his brand new bike out, I am not saying no. Ya know what I mean? So, the wheels have set around for the time being.

Okay folks, I hope ya'all have a great weekend and get in some good rides.


KC said...

I read the blogs of a lot of the fast gravel guys, and especially love hearing their take on what makes for a good gravel rig. Totally unscientific, but it looked to me like the trend seemed to be towards higher volume tires and the frame/fork combo that would accommodate them. Especially for the Dirty Kanza 200, 40mm was the "skinny" and 29xX.XX was surprisingly common. Didn't seem to slow them down or make it any less of a race either! They were hours ahead of me and motoring.

Michael Lemberger said...

Right there with you on the clearance issue. While I recognize that my Cross Check isn't some super-fancy rocket, it's proof positive that you can have a pretty ordinary-looking bike that still has clearance for *45mm* tires....

Unknown said...

In reference to my earlier statement, I'd make the case that MOST people who ride gravel are fine with a 35c or 38c tire. Using Trans Iowa, or DK200 as a standard to build all gravel bikes to is a bit misguided. A shockingly small percentage of the gravel riding populous participates in these events. Around here, most gravel riders are road bikers or CX racers. 35c tires and the like are considered to be the standard, and work very well indeed.

Again, the Warbird is not for everyone, but for many folks it's going to be great. I would suggest reserving strong jugement about the bike until you ride it. Tire clearance is just one small part of the bike, there are many others that contribute to the whole.

Again, my opinion of the bike completely changed after riding it. Just saying.

Unknown said...

I think there's a point that has been hugely overlooked as well, which is to consider the Warbird as a fat tired ROAD bike. I'm leaning quite heavily towards throwing a set of Parigi Roubaix's in the thing and flat out rocking it. Fast group ride on tarmac, fine. Peel off onto gravel when pavement gets monotonous, sure. Jump curbs, potholes, small children, go for it.

This bike is probably one of the best examples of a fat tired performance road bike I can think of, yet it's been completely overlooked as a bike for that application.

Guitar Ted said...

@Ben Witt: Fat tired road bike. Exactly. If the pre-order I helped put in survives, that's exactly how we're going to sell the Warbird in the shop where I work.

Makes more sense to me in that light anyway.

Slonie said...

Right on, Ben... Personally, I'm stoked on the Warbird as a road bike replacement*. If I ever find myself thinking that I need more tire (and weight), there's always the Vaya.

*My road bike was stolen, and I'm not sure I can replace it with anything that only fits 25's or 28's now, so 38 is pretty healthy...

Also: I read on one of the blogs that it actually clears 40's, but they only claim 38 for whatever reason (probably because "clearing" implies some reasonable amount of clearance for mud, in the real world). I still don't understand why they didn't build in more clearance, except if they just built the frame to clear the same tires as the ENVE fork.

So... Well, there's that.

Guitar Ted said...

@Ben Witt: I respectfully must take issue with one thing you have written here:

"In reference to my earlier statement, I'd make the case that MOST people who ride gravel are fine with a 35c or 38c tire. Using Trans Iowa, or DK200 as a standard to build all gravel bikes to is a bit misguided. A shockingly small percentage of the gravel riding populous participates in these events." (quote: Ben Witt)

As you know, the Warbird was specifically designed for competitors that race the very events you call out, and was tested at these very events, and which Salsa Cycles is calling out in their own marketing materials for the Warbird.

To be fair, you say "all gravel bikes", and that is true- it isn't a standard "all gravel bikes" should be designed to. That said, it is clear that the Warbird was designed with these very events in mind, at least if you look at the evidence as put forth by Salsa Cycle's own marketing materials and statements made in my comments.

So, if this is true, I stand by my observations and comments about tire clearances for a bike such as the Warbird.

Unknown said...

I just bought a Cannondale SuperX carbon bike to ride on those long dirt/gravel/pavement rides. I put Clement MSO tires on and have about 2 maybe 3 mm of clearance on each side of the tire. Is this enough clearance or will it cause problems? The roads around where I live get really messy when wet so on wet days I'd stay on pavement. Although there will be times I end up on a wet gravel road.

Guitar Ted said...

@Nikki McBride: You will be fine if (a) you don't get into gooey mud/sticky peanut butter gravel or (b) don't break a spoke. That much clearance isn't ideal, but typically isn't that big of a problem on gravel roads.

Wet gravel shouldn't be an issue either. Ride On!