Friday, May 09, 2014

Friday News And Views

Prototype Bonty tires and rims.
Looking ahead to the Fall, there are going to be a slew of new fat bike components and bikes coming out. I've spoken about Trek's plans before here, and now I've heard a bit more about that. In fact, the shop where I work will be getting in two new models of Farley fat bikes, one with a Bluto front suspension fork and Bontrager tubeless ready fat bike tires on Sun Ringle' manufactured fat bike rims which also will be tubeless ready.

There will be demo bikes at most Trek dealers, (including the shop where I work), for prospective buyers to try out the new rigs. Furthermore; it has been confirmed to me that Trek will have these rims and tires in supply for aftermarket sales. I've no idea what the pricing will be, but that may be information that isn't set in stone just yet.

This is kind of a big deal in the fat bike world because it is going to put some of the established companies on notice that their non-tubeless, high priced merchandise needs to be retired in favor of some better priced, tubeless ready stuff. I just can't see 150 dollar plus tires and rims that are not tubeless ready surviving sub 100 dollar tires and tubeless ready rims from the new players in the game.

Oh.......and I heard Trek is working on a 29+ bike. So there is that as well. Think about tires and rims with regard to that development. It's going to change things up. This should get interesting.

One is a "better 26"er", one is a 29"er
Not The Best Of Both Worlds: 

My friends in SoCal took on a challenge to see if the revolution in 27.5" wheels was better, worse, or just different than 29"ers recently when they did this review for Twenty Nine Inches.  (Disclaimer: I had nothing at all to do with the testing or findings reported on in that review.) They put identical Scott bikes, with the only difference being wheel size, to the test on their backyard trails and found pretty much what I've said all along about 27.5 inch sized mountain bike wheels. Mainly that they are not the "best of both worlds", (meaning traits of 26 inch and 29 inch), and really, how could they be? I heard it said that basically one has to think about 27.5 as a "better 26"er". That's pretty much spot on.

So, essentially you can look at the "revolution" of the 27.5"/650B wheel as a lateral move based mostly on marketing to make the old somewhat better and somewhat new. Not that there is anything wrong with 27.5"ers, but it isn't what many had said it was/would be in 2007 when the 27.5"ers hit the airwaves. The hyperbole surrounding the introduction of this wheel size was really not correct. That said, there is a place for smaller sized mtb wheels, be they 559ISO or 584ISO based hoops. Smaller statured folk, big, ungainly traveled suspension bikes built to be pinged down mountain sides, and really......just to have a different flavor, it's all good, but I still think it is funny how 26"er stuff is disappearing fast, which when you stop to consider it, makes a point about the necessity of having both 26 and 27.5 around as choices. Obviously, manufacturers, at least, are saying you don't need that, and the findings of my friends in SoCal seem to say similar things.

My image of Jay Barre from T.I.V10
Movin' On:

A few things come to mind with regard to this image of Jay Barre from Trans Iowa V10.

  • First off is that Jay Barre is moving from Illinois to California and his going away party is soon. Wish I could be there to wish him well!
  • Secondly, this may be the most popular image I have ever posted. It's been shared numerous times and I keep seeing it pop up all over. I am not much of a photographer when it comes to a comparison of some of my friends who are excellent, but I guess I captured "something" that resonates with a lot of folks here. Of course, the feat behind it is compelling, so there is that! 
  • The Feat: Yes, Jay Barre did the toughest Trans Iowa ever fixed gear and rode 336 miles in just under 34 hours straight. But that's just the tip of the iceberg, as it were. You see, whenever I think about Jay, I think about that heartbreaking scene in "300 Miles Of Gravel" where Jay missed Checkpoint #1 by two minutes and was DQ'ed. The look on his face gets me every time when I see that scene even now. Well, Jay came back in V8 and finished the course on a geared bike. Then in V9 he did it on a single speed freewheel set up, and now, in V10, on a fixed gear. That's never been done like that.
Good luck Jay on your move to California!

And that's a wrap on today's news and views. Keep the rubber side down and go have an adventure on your bike!


Ari said...

That's why people started calling him Gravel Jesus. The Slender Fungus is going to infect the west coast soon! Good luck Jay and thanks G.T. for posting this.

Unknown said...

I'll slightly disagree with your comments on 650b. You kind of gloss over the facts about them being good for shorter people. In reality, they are excellent for shorter people. I'm only 5'4" and 29" bikes need ridiculous negative rise stems to get my bars where I want them, plus standover issues, headtube heights in general. I know there are plenty of shorties riding 29" bikes, my twin brother being one of them, but a good analogy would be that 650b is to us shorter folks what 29" is to taller peeps.

Guitar Ted said...

@Peter Rhodes: Oh....I don't "gloss over" that they are better for shorter folks at all. I totally get that part, but.....

They aren't all that different then 26 inch wheels, which if you think about it, are even better for shorter folks.

Point is, 27.5/650B isn't all that radically different than 26"ers, (There are documented reports done independently of me by riders, some women, that say they couldn't even tell the difference between the two sizes), so my point stated stands, and as I said, my friends in SoCal have found this to be the case as well.

You say the following:"...but a good analogy would be that 650b is to us shorter folks what 29" is to taller peeps."

How is it that 26" inch to 27.5" is the same (Or even similar), as 26" to 29" for anyone, stature not withstanding,is beyond me then if many folks cannot even determine the difference.

I have never heard anyone say they could not feel the difference going from any smaller wheel size to 29". Never mind whether they liked it or not.

So, I just can't agree at all with that final statement of yours.

MG said...

I would suggest that wheel size choice is just that, a choice. If you think wheel size is going to make you a better or worse rider, you are mistaken. Riding your bike more makes you a better rider. Wheel size is just a choice, no more, no less.

Unknown said...

GT - There is no way I can get my point across in a simple blog reply. It would take a book to write what I need to explain. The basic argument that I need to make is that while shorter people can and do ride 29" bikes, there are a number of concessions that need to be made for fit.
You say there are a number of reports done that people cannot tell the difference. How many of them are done by short people? I've got to live with being 5'4", your reference point can only take into account your height and your experience with 26,27.5 & 29. You cannot know what it is like to be my height (or shorter) and ride a 29" bike.
I don't disagree that it can be done, just ask Emily Batty or some of the other pro XC women who ride 29ers. What I am saying is that from my experience with 20+ years of east coast singletrack and now 12 months of Pacific Northwest trails I personally feel (ie my opinion is) that 650b is a better choice for my height. I converted my 2006 Cannondale Rush from 26" to 27.5 this past winter and there is certainly a difference. The only change being wheels. All else on the bike remained constant. So yes, there are benefits to 29" wheels, but there are also numerous issues for me personally that make 29" a bad choice. Maybe some people cannot tell the difference between 26 & 27.5, but I can tell you that there is definitely a change. I'll have a write up soon on my past 6 months converting to 650b, maybe I can make some points better there.

Guitar Ted said...

@Peter Rhodes; I get that is your choice, but it isn't what you wrote in the comment I quoted, which wasn't about your choice, it was an analogy you made which I find doesn't make any sense. no more-no less.

So, if you like 27.5" wheels- rock'em. I never said they were "bad", I am saying that many, (yes- mostly shorter folks and women I have read comments on this from), cannot tell the difference between 26 and 27.5"ers. Not my opinion- just passing along what I have seen others that have tried both say.

Insudtry-wise, it is simply a way to get folks interested in buying smaller than 29"er sized wheels here and to satisfy Europeans who never did really get on the 29"er thing.

Mostly it is as my friend MG says- a choice. It's good to have that, at least, eh?

Michael Lemberger said...

I don't know where the #TIv10 report links ended up, but I did finally write one.