Wednesday, June 18, 2014

News Season: Part 1 Fat & Gravel- Get Used To It!

GT Bikes "Grade"

It's Summer and like last year, I am going to sling out all the new bike entries here that I find interesting, and there are already a bunch of interesting things hitting the digital screens out there. 

The buzzword last year was "enduro" with a sprinkling of fat bike and gravel stuff. This year, enduro takes a back seat to fat bikes, "plus sized rubber", and gravel oriented stuff. Get used to it, cause there's gonna be a lot of news in those categories this Summer!

Over the weekend the news broke about GT Bikes new "Grade" model line up of "all road" bikes. Yes....they used the term "gravel bike". You decide what that means to you, I already have a pretty solid opinion of that. Anyway, this rig doesn't have the bigger tire clearances that many die hard gravel road aficionados will desire. Up to a 35mm tire, but it does have some cool design elements with the solid, glass core wrapped in carbon fiber seat stays, (yes- solid seat stays.), which reminds me a lot of fishing rod technology, to be honest. They went in for a pretty big line up of two carbon frame and fork models with three aluminum base line models as well.   

ROS 9+- Now with plumper tires. (Image courtesy of
 Niner announced a new carbon cyclo cross rig, which is okay. (I'm not all that into CX, so please excuse my non-excitement there) However; it was what wasn't "officially released" that was really interesting here. Niner's new ROS-9 Plus was spied by someone at PressCamp and the image quickly made the rounds on social media. What may be a "no-brainer" move by Niner was made even more interesting by the fact that the bike was shown with a new set of Stan's hoops dubbed "Hugo", which is a totally new design. Instead of the hollow, extruded section of the rim being underneath and bridging across the rim walls, as in traditional designs, Stan's newest hoops have the box section and rim bead seat all on the same plane, as it were, so that the outer appearance of the rim is almost as if it were a single walled rim extrusion.

It's pretty clever, and the Hugo line up will go across three wheel sizes- 622ISO, 584ISO, and 559ISO. Width internally is just shy of 50mm, so these will be spreading tires to really wider footprints. Strength should be greater than single walled rims, and weights are said to be competitive with Velocity's Dually rims, which are currently the only double walled extrusion in a similar width available now.

This shows me a couple of things: One- that 29+ is going to catch on with more manufacturers getting behind it now. Two- That "B+" is not only going to happen, but it will become a bigger deal, probably next year, and you're going to start hearing a ton about it.  Real soon, in fact.

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