Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday News And Views

TIMP Update: No word on the two intrepid travelers that started the 9th. I would assume that they are done by now, but I haven't heard a peep. Today we have two other fellows attempting and for their attempt they do have a SPOT tracker page set up so we can all follow along if we want to. So, do you? Go here if so.

Looks like it could be a rainy start, but who knows? Maybe they will miss the rains and get through the B Roads unscathed, or.....maybe Don will relive his Odin's experience a bit! 

Okay, I have a few rumblings of future attempts, but the time is running out. The original plan was to go till August 31st.  Now I have had a request to extend the TIMP until September 30th. What say ye? If I have more than the singular request I have gotten already, I will seriously consider a 30 day extension. Hit the comments if you have an opinion!

Fat tires: Make the world go 'round.....
Plus Sizes:

Now that I have experienced a good dose of the "plus sized" rubber, (or "mid-fat", if you will), I am pretty convinced this is where mountain biking for the masses should be going. It all makes perfect sense too.

Fatter tires for off road are not an alien idea to motorsports folk. The vehicles used for most recreational off road vehicles all feature fat, bulbous tires run at very low pressures. Of course, when you start talking about bicycles, weight is an issue, so I suppose that kept bicycle designers from getting too crazy with the width of rubber for years, not to mention the drive train obstacles presented by triple crank sets and parameters set by the geometry-du jour.

But thanks to some visionary folks in New Mexico and Alaska, and the observations of folks like Dave Gray of Surly and others there, this whole deal with fat bikes came to be and proved that flotation is a good deal for all terrain fun. Surly then instigated the "plus sized" genre with the Krampus, and I've been intrigued with the idea ever since the first ride on one of those bikes back at Interbike a few years ago now. Wider rims are back in vogue again, and this entire deal is going to evolve into something I feel we got off track with back in the 80's when there were wide rims and big, bulbous fat tires like the Fisher Fat Trax.

That is capable, tractable tires that sit on wide rims that we can roll at low pressures. Now that tubeless set ups are an option, the package can be complete. I feel that 3.8+ sized tires will become less desirable and the 3 inch to maybe 3.5" range will become very popular. In fact, I feel 2,8" to 3.25" is the sweet spot. Enough float to be "fat bike-like" but without the weight and without the ridiculously wide bottom brackets and chain/seat stay set ups. With modern materials technology, these wheels can be lighter than ever before, making off roading more fun and capable of being done on more surfaces with less impact to those surfaces.

Gone To The Races:

This weekend I'll be gone to the races at Iowa Speedway again. (If it doesn't get rained out) After work my son and I will be getting away and hopefully camping out as well. Whatever happens with the weather, I hope we have a fun adventure and of course, some great father-son time alone. The racing will be awesome if it is allowed to go on, but really, it's an excuse to be doing something with my son, and that's good enough for me. 

Hope ya'all have an awesome weekend and get to ride your bicycles!


Irishtsunami said...

I still have a hard time seeing these bikes becoming mainstream, at least until the costs come down. An introductory model starting at $1500 could be hard for many to bite into. Above and beyond that is the cost of tires! Hot dang, $90 for a 27 tpi tire is unreal. These hidden costs of maintenance are sure to dissuade folks. I thought that fat bike tires would come down in price as more makes/models became available. I am not seeing cheaper tires, and those that are weigh a ton.

I love my fat bike and I know that I would love a 29+ but the costs are pretty high compared to 26 inch and even standard 29" for the the mainstream.

Guitar Ted said...

@Irishsunami: I think you'll see lower prices on tires this fall. Surly has already reduced prices at wholesale, and Panaracer has a 120TPI 3.8 fat bike tire that MSRP's right at 100 bucks, which is far cheaper than what those quality tires have been.

Also- I thought a 5G fat bike was crazy talk, but the shop where I work sold 6 last winter alone.

So, I guess the prices may be high, but folks are opening up their wallets and these things are going out the doors. Who knows.....??

Michael Lemberger said...

Seems to me that TIMP in September could be waaay different than TIMP in the summer months.

Check out the averages. Average high tends to really cool off toward the end of September in particular.

Tim said...

I looked at an attempt at TIMP this year but couldn't get it in by the August deadline. I'm not sure if September would work this year, BUT the more moderate temperatures and change in seasons, crops, colors, etc. would be very inviting to me.

MG said...

I might be able to make the TIMP happen in Sept, but can't until then. It's a busy summer...