Friday, September 05, 2014

Friday News And Views

It's Friday already? Yep! And here is the weekly post of ramblings sprinkled with some newsy bits.

Carbon rims that aren't super expensive.
Interbike is coming next week, and I am not going. That will be the first time I haven't gone in......eight years? I think that's right. Well, more about that later, but here's a few ideas and trends I see being bandied about that will make up the bulk of Interbike news coming soon.

Carbon Rims That Are Less Expensive:

This has been a trend over the last couple of years with companies like Derby, and others who are importing Asian made carbon rims, (and other components), that are bringing pricing down from the stratospheric levels carbon rims started out at.

Now I don't know if these are on the same level as, say an Enve carbon rim, but I've heard stories saying one thing and then another about these imported rims. Let's just say the quality level seems to be all over the map right now. The point is that these components coming out of Asia, either directly or through an importing brand, are driving prices down below the $400.00 a piece range. That's still plenty expensive, but when you figure that many carbon rims were 600-800 bucks a pop not long ago, this is an improvement. Anyway.....expect more of the same coming soon. 

Fat bike this-fat bike that!
 Moar Fat:

Eurobike was a bit of a surprise because of the plethora of fat bikes introduced over there. Now that I've seen this, a lot of these tire introductions make a heck of a lot more sense.

I suspect that Interbike will see some of the same thing. Cannondale's Lefty equipped fat bike might get shown there, and probably a few other fat bike surprises as well. One thing is for certain- fat bikes are a thing and this year will probably be the zenith for new introductions. I just don't see anything but maybe more carbon framed rigs and maybe some technical refinements in rims and tires down the road. A couple more suspension forks? Perhaps. Obviously, a proper fat bike compatible Lefty from the source is coming.

Bad Motor Scooter
E-Bikes: (Motorcycles)

Eurobike was also rife with every sort of electric motored two wheeled contraption you could think of. Guess what? The industry has decided that this is "the next big thing" and is going to jam the airwaves with bad motorcycles for the foreseeable future.

In advance of this onslaught, many concerns have been raised by off roading advocates and lovers of wilderness as to the effects these motorized vehicles might have. On the other hand, manufacturers are quick to point out that these motorcycles don't roost and are only "assisting" the riders on them.

My Take: Most of all, these things need to be called what they truly are- motorcycles. The so called "e-bike" industry would have you forget that term and would rather have you believe that these motorcycles will assist people and make them "real cyclists" someday. This is seriously flawed thinking on so many levels.

But no matter- these things are coming and we'll have to deal with the messy aftermath. Bike paths in municipalities will have to make judgments on what is and isn't acceptable. Trail managers, land owners, and stewards of the outdoors will have to make a line in the sand somewhere on these vehicles worthiness as recreational vehicles.

One thing is for sure, this will fundamentally change mountain biking access and bike trail access in the future. My opinion is that these motorcycles don't belong mixed in with human powered recreational activities that include running, hiking, walking, and cycling. These have mostly been separated activities and should remain so going forward.

Not to mention that if you think these things won't get modified, you're delusional. These things will roost, will go faster than they should, and will cause havoc in the hands of tinkerers. It's human nature, and these vehicles are not going to be regulated by laws, that even if they did exist, would be darn near impossible to enforce. At least within the current infrastructure we employ now.

Okay, have a great weekend folks! Ride those bicycles!!

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