Monday, July 22, 2013

News Season: Part 5- More Saddledrive

Salsa's Beargrease XX1
Bonus! Update from Saddledrive....

As told in the last post, there would be more from Saddledrive, and here is some of it, albeit not all of it. (Yes- there is more to come.)

First up we have the Beargrease, which is all carbon these days. Through axles on each end mean special hubs, and the headset is an inset one as well. This is meant as an all-out, no holds barred racing bike with really fat tires.

The matte finish is highlighted with green striping and grips but otherwise is very subtle in appearance. With the XX1 spec, this bike is a claimed 23lbs or so, depending on the size. Oh- the sizing! Sm, M, L, XL.

The bike is spec'ed with no strange, weird weight weenie stuff too, which makes all this all the more remarkable when you look at the complete weight. The weight could go down even further with some tricky parts swapping. With all this "raciness" and ultra-low fat bike weight-weenie delight going on, you just know it ain't gonna be cheap.

And it isn't. Expect a well north of 5G retail price on this fantastic fat bike. There will be a second tier model as well as a frame set, but even the frame set won't be cheap. In fact, it is more than just a frame set. Seeing as how the frame requires through axles, the frame set price, (about what a Muk 2 complete retailed for last year), comes with through axles, hubs, head set, and seat collar, along with the immense carbon fork and frame.

I don't see spec or listings for a Beargrease aluminum frame, so this looks like it is it if you want to get into a lightweight, fast fat bike.

Beargrease Carbon, 2X10 (Image from QBP's feed)
There will be more Salsa Cycles news, but now we move on to Surly Bikes, which not only popped out a new disc "Cross Check" type bike dubbed the Straggler, but also has the following things coming your way soon.....

The "ECR", a 29+ "enduro-camping-race" bike (Image from QBP's feed)
Dirt Wizard 2.75"er
Okay- sometimes I think Surly thinks up these odd ball tires and then has to create a bike around them. (They as much as copped to this with regard to the 29+ and 700 X 41mm Knards)

Now they have not had an Instigator in the line up for a few years. Well- it is back. I am not so much interested in the Instigator as I am the tires they made for it. (Or was the frame made for the tire? Hmm....) Anyway, here you have the perfect "fat-lite" tire. This is the sort of thing, ( I hope), that will fit on my "Ultimate Big Dummy" bike build. (Someday, don't ask just now.) I'm sure Surly has other ideas for this tire, especially since it is called the "Dirt Wizard".

I know a lot of folks will be wondering why the Instigator wasn't a 27.5"er, or a 29"er. The Krampus is pretty much the big wheeled version of this anyway, and.....well, did you notice the irony in the Dirt Wizard's width on the hot patch on the tire's sidewall? My guess is that 27.5"ers will shoe into that frame just peachy, if that's what ya want to do.

The "ECR", above, is an interesting take on 29+. I said it when we first learned of the Krampus: 29+ is a great size for bike packing.  Well, obviously Surly was way ahead of me in that thought, because here they already have the ECR. Notice the Troll/Ogre dropouts? Notice that this bike has a front derailluer?  Notice the Anything Cage mounts on the front fork? Notice the Jones Loop Bar, (which will come stock on this rig)? Yep! I think this would be a great, durable, versatile bike packing rig, sans suspension, if you can live without that.

41mm Knards
I think a Rohloff equipped ECR would be a stellar touring-at-a-comfortable-pace off road rig.

Now for the other tire I am excited to see coming down the pike. (Well, depending upon some details, that is), and that is the Knard 700c X 41mm tire.

This tire will be spec'ed on the new Straggler bike from Surly, which appeared here yesterday. The 700c X 40-ish tire size is great for gravel grinding. (One of my favorite tires, the Clement MSO, comes in this size range) If the Knard 700 X 41 comes in a 120TPI version at some point, I think it may become a great gravel tire for events like Dirty Kanza, Odin's Revenge, or any other event that big, floaty tires would be an advantage for.

Surly may not have a 120TPI tire now, but I think that a 27 or 60TPI tire may be too stiff and heavy for many gravel grinders. So, I'll wait to see what Surly offers here, but a 700 X 41mm tire sounds just lovely to my ears right now. Obviusly, Surly doesn't go in for tubelessness, but I would sure like to see a tire in this size class be tubeless.

Whatever- at least there is progress in the tire choices for creative minds to put to use these days. Surly may not have the technology in their tires, (tubeless, dual compounds, higher quality), that others do, but they seem to hit on all cylinders when it comes to sparking imagination and adventure in riders out here. I like that, and I support that effort.

More to come. Stay tuned.


Adam said...

27.5 wheels/tires fit pretty easily on the Troll and 1x1 so they will easily fit in the Instigator.

Dave said...

The Knard CX looks great, but I'd love to see it in a 45 or so.

Greg said...

I'm really interested in the Straggler. Did you get any sense (besides the tires) that it met any of the other criteria for the "perfect" gravel grinder that you have written about in the past? Like head tube angle and bb drop?

Guitar Ted said...

@Greg: Indications are that the BB is slightly lower than the Cross Check's, which would be a move in the right direction, but I have no other geo data as of now to make any judgments on.

nurse ben said...

Speaking of innovation "without" the technology, why doesn't Surly up their game and put a little "tech" in their tires? It's not like their tires are inexpensive...a little kevlar weave in the casing would add pro and make them a little less spongy.

It seems silly to build simple hunks of rubber in the same factories where high tech pieces are being produced, i.e. Schwalbe. We need Surly to add a little casing protection to these fat tires, call them sometng cute like bubble wrap, whatever, just add something so the casings last as long as the tread.

I just picked up a 650b Schwalbe Hans Dampf Super Gravity, it is amazingly sticky, has the protection of a DH tire, but rolls like an XC tire, mounted tubeless on a Bunt 35 with a floor pump, 200 gm worth of weight penalty over the regular HD, but it's worth it.

I'm looking forward to picking up a Dirt Wizard to replace my overweight Duro Wildlife 26" x 3"