Friday, December 26, 2014

Friday News And Views

B+...."Mid-Fat".....or whatever you wanna callit!
On One Teases Proto "Mid-Fat" Design

First of all, "mid-fat" is the name I'm going with for any tire that is between 2.5" wide and 3.8" wide of any diameter! It is just so much easier to figure out what the heck you are talking about when it is put that way. Then you can just say, "this is a mid-fat bike that uses 27.5" rims and that mid-fat bike uses 29"er rims" and so on. Enough of this "plus" business, okay? Mid-Fat. Makes sense and communicates the idea in an easy to understand and compare way. It slots into "normal" mountain bike nomenclature well.

Now if we could only go back to calling 2.25" tires "fat" like they used to and the current fat bike tires? Obese? Nah......that's probably too offensive for tender minded types. Hmm...... Anyway.

Back to business here! This bike is .........well, it is hard to say, really. The image was staged very carefully, make no mistake. The angle of the image does not show how wide the hubs are, nor how wide the bottom bracket may be. This could be a ploy to hide a fat bike here. Or......maybe not. Hard to say. Those are 27.5" rims and Vee Tire Trax Fatty tires in the 27.5" format, which if set onto wide rims, are 3" wide tires. We can see that the rims have cut outs, indicating a wider rim. Gotta be at least a 50mm wide rim for holes that big, I would think. That means the Trax Fattys may even be measuring wider than 3" by a bit.

WARNING! HIGHLY SPECULATIVE PARAGRAPH FOLLOWS===> The frame looks to be of steel. Makes sense, especially being something from On One. NOTE: The 27.5" based 3" wide tire would come out to be 29" in diameter, or just shy of that. This would be the same diameter, or very close to it, of a 26" rim based 4" wide tire on a 65mm wide rim. Could this be a bike that can be a fat bike or mid-fat? Maybe. I'm saying that it is not the case.

Another Highly Speculative Paragraph!! ===> I think this is a specifically formatted frame for Mid-Fat wheels. It certainly will have a wider rear hub, but not fat bike wide. I am thinking it will have an 83mm bottom bracket. This does two things: (1) It makes several crank sets from SRAM, Shimano, and others immediately compatible and is a standardized width coming from the down hill mtb side of things. Heavy? Yes, but available. No need for new components. Keeps the "Q" factor within reason for many. (2) It has a mechanical advantage with the right rear hub spacing, (again, most likely DH based at 150mm, but it maybe that Boost nonsense Trek developed), which means shifting has been dialed for years already and hubs exist from many manufacturers. All that means that we could have full drive trains and the chain would easily clear the rear tires.

The 150mm wide front hub is a game changer.
Oh What The Heck! Here's Another Load Of Speculation!! ====> Look at that fork. Seriously? This bike clearly has "trail bike radness" written all over it. Why the rigid fork? Well.....I think a Mid-Fat specific fork is on the way. It will be clearanced for the 3" wide tires on wide rims and it will have wider hubs. I am betting you that Mid-Fat and Fat Bikes will share the 150mm front hub standard going forward. The Bluto proved it works well, and let's face it, the 100mm wide front fork spacing is antiquated and sub-par for any bike with larger than 26" wheels. So......yeah, I think 29"ers go this way as well. At least the longer traveled, more aggressive 29"ers. They would really benefit from that. Or.....all long travel, rad hard tailed 29"ers go away in favor of Mid-Fat. Those bikes would essentially be 29"ers, (technically speaking, and that's how 29"ers came to be anyway- It was based on overall wheel diameter), so the industry could do away with 29"ers altogether and just have one wheel size- 27.5"- in several different width formats. 29+ might be an outlier, but this bike industry likes to streamline stuff for ease of business purposes, so I feel a culling of this wheel madness coming on. I could be wrong about 29"ers going away, but I bet less of the longer traveled stuff will exist and it will be an XC dominated category instead.

All righty then! That's enough speculating for one post! I do know that the bicycle industry is going to push the Mid-Fat deal hard for 2016. You'll start seeing it pop up at Sea, Sea Otter, that is! Then the various dealer show/private roll outs will happen and then you'll be getting the idea that this Mid-Fat thing is for real. Hints are coming in from many sources already that this will be the case. It will get pushed on the enduro side, it will get pushed on the "rad hard tail bike" side, and I figure it will be the antidote to the fat bike full suspension ideas that Salsa Cycles and a few micro-companies are pushing out now.

This will mean more business. In a flat market, new ideas that require new components to be purchased are exactly where the industry will go to and hope that they get more unit sales. It will work because folks seem to gravitate to the next big thing in mountain biking like white on rice, and I see this as being no different. Besides, these bikes do look like fun! I know that between the 29+ Borealis Echo I rode and the B+ WTB Trailblazer wheels I have on the Sawyer that the fatter, more voluminous, but not quite fat bike, tires are loads of fun.

For more on where the Mid-Fat thing is coming from and going to, see this Bike Radar article I just found that was published back in October. 

Have a great weekend- the last one of 2014!!- and get outside and enjoy life!

1 comment:

Irishtsunami said...

I remember when it was hard to get 29er tires at the LBS. What does this do for retailers, do they carry the same tire in 2-3 different sizes? Seems like a lot of inventory to manage.