Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday News And Views

A huge Trans Iowa banner will be displayed at T.I.v11
Trans Iowa V11 Updates: 

Well, with just two weeks to go until Trans Iowa v11, I have a TON of stuff going on and I am pretty tied up from this point until the event happens. One of the exciting things that has been in the works for a few weeks and has come to fruition is this great new vinyl banner courtesy of Don Daly and the Dirty Dog Race Pack This banner will be at the Pre-Race Meat-Up and at Checkpoints #1 and #2 so riders can easily see where we are positioned to check them in. This is also going to look killer in my shop after Trans Iowa is over!!

Next up I have some super-exciting stuff happening that I am bursting at the seams to share, but it will have to wait for a bit before it can be made public. It has to do with a "thank you" to a select group of folks and I think everyone will be stoked to see what this is when I can release the news. For now, I can only say "thank you" to Ari Andonopoulous, Sam Auen, and 8/7 Central.

The business end of a Warbird
Warbird Ridden (A Little Bit)

Thursday we took delivery of a 2016 Salsa Cycles Warbird 105 This is the first update of the Warbird since its initial introduction a few years ago, and I must say that I am impressed. The old aluminum Warbird was a hay rack and had minimal tire clearances. This new one looks to be vastly superior in many ways.

Firstly, the tire clearance issue was addressed and it looks like it should clear 40's without worry. Salsa says it'll take a slightly bigger tire, but I'd hedge my bets until I actually slotted something big on a wider rim in there. Obviously, the only place you'll have any worries is at the chain stays, since the seat stays are wide open for business!

I put this 56cm together and took it outdoors for a quick spin and these are my initial impressions; First, a 56cm is supposed to be small for me since I normally ride 58's. However; this bike nearly fit perfectly out of the box. I'd only need a layback seat post and I would be good. A 58cm bike is 35mm longer in the seat tube and has a 15mm longer top tube. The standover on a 56cm looks great until you realize Salsa measured it with a 32mm tire. (Like I'd ever run anything that skinny!) I'm thinking these Warbirds run a hair big. I remember trying a 56cm Warbird in the original version and it felt too small. Well.....try before you buy, because traditionally Salsa sizing has always been a crap shoot, in my experience.

I have it on good authority that frame bags and Tangle-type bags fit oddly on these bikes as well, so be aware that what you have may be a compromised fit on the new Warbirds.

Besides that, the ride is really good, from my brief test ride perspective. There is compliance and the bike handled nicely, I thought. What that would translate to on the gravel is only a guess, but I am optimistic that this bike is a major improvement in contrast to the first gen Warbirds. Oh.......and the bike sold within two hours of my assembling it! 

650BIG: What the what!!!
 Trek Introduces Fat Confusion: 650BIG

Well, once the Farley was introduced, I knew it was a matter of time before they did a carbon version of the fat bike. However; nothing prepared me for what that frame would roll on- 27.5" rim based FOUR INCH WIDE rubber!! 

Okay, let's just back up a minute here and see what this actually does to diameter.   Initial reports are that this "new" wheel size will approximate the diameter of the 26 X 4.8 inch fat bike wheels. So- approximately 31 inches in diameter.

That's the ballpark of not only 26 X 4.8", but 29+ sized 29 X 3" wheel/rubber as well. So, this will take a few wheel sizes, (allowing that Trek made clearances for 4.8" tires and used 190/150 axle standards) .....UPDATE:  Trek confirmed 197 & 150 thru axle standards for these new bikes and they are abandoning 177 rear end this could be a cool rig. However; I think a couple of things stand out here to me and they stem from this bike but are not necessarily about this bike.

Firstly- Trek announced this just before Sea Otter. My gut feeling has been that 27.5+ and fatter tires overall are the theme of Sea Otter and to get this bike "its own spotlight", Trek didn't wait until Sea Otter to announce it. They could have, but when every 'Tom, Dick, and Harry" is introducing a fat, 27.5" based bike, wheel, or tire, why wait to be swallowed in the crowd noise?

Secondly: If Trek is doing a 27.5" based wheel/tire, (in a carbon rim no less!), I'm betting that others are going to be doing this as well. I would find it very difficult to believe that Trek is the "lone wolf" here when it comes to doing 4.0" 584ISO rubber. Update: Here's some info on the wheel size straight from Trek:  Who will have 27.5x4 aftermarket wheels? Tires?
Wheels: Sun Ringle already has 27.5x80mm rims available. Other manufacturers will be coming out with 27.5 fat wheels as well.
Tires: Bontrager, Kenda and Maxxis will offer 27.5x4 and there will be more to come as the popularity of 27.5x4 increases.

The problem here is that bigger diameters leave smaller folks in the cold for sizing and geometry. Think about it, 29"ers are always criticized as being wrong for folks smaller than about 5'5" or so. What do you suppose a wheel size measuring 31" would do to that statement? Yeah.......good luck with that. Bigger isn't always better. Not for everyone.

Farley 7: This does fit 4.7's. Those are Bonty "Barbegazi" tires.

Well....For Some Bigger IS Better!

And Trek is getting really aggressive in "traditional" fat bike standards with a lot of new models coming out. This Farley 7 features a SRAM 1 X 11 drive train, 150mm spacing on the fork, and will retail at $2399.00 Those tires? New 4.7 Bontrager Barbegazi tires.  Wanna bet they're tubeless ready?

Trek is also going to do a 24" kids fatty and a couple carbon models besides the above mentioned 27.5"er based 9.8 model.

You've got to figure that all this new fat bike stuff will force prices downward for the '16 model year. Look at this Farley 7 and compare it to a Salsa Blackborow 1 and you can see that Trek is quite competitive at about $300.00 less money. Add in that the low end is dragging a lot of consumers to on-line sales, and with consumer direct being a big part of things, the traditional retail outlets are going to have to lower prices/increase value or suffer the consequences. This Trek offering, (and others in the line), show me that perhaps we can expect to see some smokin' deals on fat bikes for 2016.

And speaking of "smokin' deals", I know many dealers are sitting on '15 models and will want to see them go "bye-bye" really soon before all these new announcements make their inventory unattractive. It's a problem in the industry for sure. Yes- it's fun to hear and see all this new stuff, but it instantly devalues what is still this year's product that dealers have already bought and are trying to turn.

From On One's Instagram feed
 Tomac Bikes To Re-Launch With A Fat One!

If you keep up with anything having to do with "The Tomes", you know he's into riding fat bikes. What you may not know is that his namesake bicycle brand, scuttled a few years back, is resurfacing under Planet X/On One's ownership. This fat bike is to be released at Sea Otter.

There was a gravel bike under development for Tomac Bikes as well, but I haven't heard whether that still born project has been resurrected or not. I wouldn't at all be surprised if it was, but we'll see soon enough.

However all that goes down, it seems very odd indeed to me that such an icon of American racing has his name plastered onto bikes made in Asia and sold consumer direct via the UK. Just my viewpoint, having followed Tomac's career since the late 80's when he was still riding Mongeese. (Or Mongooses?) Anyway.........ya know what I mean?

It will definitely benefit the consumers in the UK and Europe if they don't continue to distribute stuff here. It seems that One One is pulling out of the US, by the looks of it, and shipping with conversion to the US dollar makes getting stuff here prohibitive from On One anymore. Maybe that'll change with this announcement....... 

Okay, that's a wrap. Have a great weekend and have yourself an adventure on two wheels!


Tyler Loewens said...

If those Farelys have more tire clearance than they do now, that would remove the one thing about them that I am not a huge fan of.

Bob said...

650big. The new Trek Y bike?

huskerldf said...

I have a question on the Warbird sizing. I currently ride a Trek 2.3, 56cm which falls smack dab between 55 & 56 Warbird geometry. You say that Warbirds seem to run large, which makes me lean toward 55. I am 5'10" tall, inseam 31-32". Do you have suggestions on 55 or 56 Warbird 105?

Guitar Ted said...

@ huskerldf - I would size down to the 55, but again, going to a shop and getting a qualified person to size you is always a better bet. That and riding one first.

Gambit21 said...

I have a Farley 7 on pre-order - to me this model is in the sweet spot.
I'm not seeing the advantage of the 27.5" size - all things considered (including the price). Just doesn't pencil out.
Basically the same outer diameter, but less versatility. How much less rolling mass
are we talking about here? I see this as the typical "they're doing it, so we're doing it too" arms race.
Smart money is stick with the 26" and swap back and forth between 4" and 4.8" configuration at will. Not to mention to get the 27.5" you're forced into a different price tier - bluto, etc.

The good thing is that the frames will accommodate either, so if I choose (if I become curiouser and curiouser) I can get a 27.5" setup as a second, summer only wheel set at some point, or the person with the 27.5's can throw a 26x4.8 setup on.

On another note, the new Barbegazi looks promising. Knard-like knobs down the center for fast rolling, larger more widely spaced knobs on the outside. Might be a 'do it all' tire, as much as that can exist.