Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday News And Views

The next thing ya know, there will be fat bike recum....oh!
Fat Bikes:

Of all the posts over the past week, the ones with fat bike  content were the hottest ones here. Obviously all the new entries have stirred up a lot of interest, and if you think about this, it makes sense.

Until recently, there was but one fat bike tire. Now there are several models from three different sources. (Four if you split off 45NRTH from the Surly stuff.) Soon there will be at least two more offerings, and possibly more. I suspect this reminds many, as it does myself, of the early days of 29"ers, when a new tire intro was met with a huge buzz. Heck- now days a new 29"er tire hardly dents anyone's consciousness. Maybe some day fat bikes will get to that point. But they are not there yet!

Then there is the interesting debate on what rear spacing is going to shake out at. Specialized and 9 zero 7 have put a stake in the ground with 190mm hubs, and Fatback also offers them now. Everyone else is pretty much sticking with 170's, with the exception of Surly, but, ya know........they don't give a rip about what everyone else is doing and how they do it. They are their own deal. So I don't think that Surly factors into this anymore.

Finally, there is the Rock Shox suspension fork that is due this Fall/Winter which- when it comes out, will be much like it was in 2005 when Fisher put a Rock Shox on a 29"er for the first time. I remember that well. (Sniff! I still have my Mark 1 Reba in the basement!) There will be a bum rush to get a hold of one. It's going to be interesting, and you have to wonder, "Can Fox or Manitou be far behind?"

Raleigh Tamland 1 (Image courtesy of Cyclo Cross Magazine)
 More On The Gravel Bikes: 

There was a bit of banter on Cyclo Cross Magazine's Facebook page the other day regarding the new Raleigh Tamland  2  gravel bike. A commenter quipped, as I've heard many folks say before, something to the effect that he didn't need a "gravel specific bike" because a cross bike can do all that just fine. Right. I don't argue that at all, but here's my reply to the commenter as quoted from the thread:

"I think the easiest way to look at this would be to say "Why have a road bike for crit racing when your CX bike can do that easily?" Hopefully, you see where I am going with that,because the gravel road races call out for a slightly different animal, (if you want to go fast, be in control, and be less beat down), than what a CX bike is these days"

So, no one needs a gravel specific bike just like no one needs  a time trial style bike for triathlons. I mean, a road bike can do that just as well, right? Right, only a time trial bike is better. Same deal with bikes tweaked for gravel. It's just that most folks have never ridden a gravel specific bike to know one way or the other. Now that will start happening next year. (The Raleigh's come out late 2013, so I've heard), and obviously Warbird owners can attest to this already. There are going to be more of these bikes out there, and I am hearing a "major player" is going to step into this genre as well. It's going to happen, and well......then we'll see how folks like "gravel specific" road bikes. 

My "Off-Road" Fargo
Fargo Changes:

The new 2014 Fargo models drew some fire for their changes from 2013 as well. Many do not like the front mounted braze ons for the Anything Cages on the forks for 2014. Some are grousing that it went to a 100mm sus corrected fork length, (which I find weird for a few reasons), and some don't like the new colors.

Here's my take: The Fargo has  looked like a drop bar specific mountain bike in the past, (notice- I did not say it was a touring bike), but it has never quite lived up to that. I feel that it now has reached, what I believe to be, its mission: A drop bar mountain bike capable of bike packing and being a great single track hard tail with a definite adventure leaning. Don't like drop bars? Get an El Mariachi. To my mind, these two Salsa models are the same bike designed with different handle bars in mind. I think that is how it should have been from the get go. (Even though I absolutely love my 2008 Fargo.)

Touring bikes, that can handle traditional touring gear, and that can do a bit of off pavement action describes what the Vaya is for. The Vaya isn't for rough single track though, and shouldn't be. Try dragging a bagger set up through rough single track, (where big, meaty tires are really the best), and see what I mean.

I like the cut of the Fargo's jib now. It isn't anything like the Vaya anymore, which is as it should be. Previous Fargos were pretty much fat tired Vayas, and to my mind, that doesn't make much sense. But maybe having a drop barred El Mariachi doesn't make sense either to some of you. All I can say is that a drop bar mountain bike has a place in my stable and I look forward to acquiring the new 2014 Fargo in some form or another.

I like the 100mm suspension fork capability, and a new one would have that suspension fork, if I get one. I like the Alternator drop out, because I like single speeds, but I maybe would set this up geared. At any rate, I have that option. I also would have the ability to bail myself out of a derailleur failure out in the field by going single speed. I like the slightly shorter stays, or being able to lengthen the back end with the same Alternator set up. And I like Bomb Pop Blue. So, yeah.......I probably will look very hard at doing that for 2014.

3GR: Yes, it is happening tomorrow from Gates Park Swimming Pool parking lot on Donald Street at 8:30am, unless it is raining. Hope to see some of you locals there.

And with that, have a great weekend and ride those bicycles!


Unknown said...

Any chance you will be updating your comparison of the Fargo and Singular Gryphon? I'd love to read a comparison of the new Fargo, the Specialized AWOL, and the Gryphon.

Rob said...

So if Schwinn is guilty of "cashing in on what it sees as a trend" by offering a 'gravel grinding'ish bike, isn't Raleigh? Just recalling your thoughts on the Schwinn Super Sport CX compared to these offerings from Raleigh. Not being argumentative, just curious...

Jay Swan said...

I think a more interesting question is: can a gravel bike be a decent road bike substitute? Today I ride my 2008 alt-bar Fargo for all road surfaces and some singletrack, but I'd like something a little lighter. Can a Warbird hang with a road bike on pavement? I don't know anything about road bikes, so I don't know.

Guitar Ted said...

@Scott Bruton: There is a possibility of exactly what you are suggesting soon. Stay tuned...

Rob: Schwinn took an ordinary hybrid frame, put drop bars on it, and someone said "gravel grinder". Raleigh actually researched the gravel scene, asked people about it, and carefully crafted a bike for gravel riding. Big difference, wouldn't you say?

@jswan: Ironically, we were just discussing this at the shop today. Take a Warbird 2 out for a spin sometime,if you get the chance. It is a very stiff, spirited ride not unlike a racy carbon bike. My answer is "yes", a gravel specific bike can be used as your roadie, especially with the advent of disc brakes on road bikes.

Mike Howard said...

I'm still looking for some spec's on the Giant "Anyroads" Have your heard any ? Really like to know how big a tire it will take.

Guitar Ted said...

@ Mike Howard: The Anyroad is NOT the gravel bike you are looking for from Giant. (HINT!)

Irishtsunami said...

What is the ride from Giant?

Guitar Ted said...

@Irishtsunami: A gravel specific bike that is very different than anything I've seen yet. (Yes- I've seen an image of it) I can not say anything more yet, but it may be announced soon, so stay tuned....

Mike Howard said...

I'm waiting patiently and not making a move on a bike yet...but I sure am curious on what the big boys are coming out with.Thanks for the help Mark.

Irishtsunami said...


Guitar Ted said...

@Irishsunami: I can neither confirm nor deny that this is the bike I refer to. :>)