Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday News And Views

Nice cyclo cross bike, Scott. Oh! You say it's a gravel bike?
Calling It What It Is:

The other day I was forwarded a press release from Scott Sports about a new 2016 bike dubbed the "Addict Disc Gravel Bike". Now I'll leave the "addict" part out as it relates to the inferences to doping in Pro cycling and just focus on the fact that this "new bike" was introduced earlier at Sea Otter as the CX-10, a full blown cyclo cross bike. It's a nice bike, the CX-10, and the Addict Disc Gravel is identical to it in every meaningful way, with exception to the name.

So.....what exactly makes this a gravel road bike? Okay, I'll give you that Scott says it will fit up to a 40mm tire, so there is that, but it has a 68mm bottom bracket drop and a short rear center, both of which are not nods to stability in loose gravel and dirt. Quite the contrary, actually. That is great for cyclo cross, but not so much for gravel. Scott did nail the head angle, which is 71° on this bike, and I like that. However; the rest of the geometry will make this bike feel a lot more squirrelly than it should, or needs to be. So, no Scott. This is definitely not a gravel road bike, no matter what window dressing you put on it and marketing blather you spew about it. It is a full blown cyclo cross bike. Call it what it is.

I've written here for years about what would make for a good gravel bike, and that is a lower than cyclo cross bottom bracket, (below 70mm), that slack head angle, (71° is about spot on), a long fork offset, (51mm at least), and longer rear centers for stability. Not crazy long, touring bike stays, but right around 425-435mm, adjusted for size, would do it. Keep the big tire clearances too.

The Raleigh Tamland is in the ballpark here, and as far as what a low bottom bracket can do for you, look no further than the Twin Six Standard Rando, which sports a 75mm bottom bracket drop and feels super stable in corners. Those are just a couple good examples. I've also pointed out that if Trek would open up the tire clearances on the Domane, it could be a top notch gravel rig as well. Check out the geo charts on that one some time.

A ghastly single speed apparition outside the house.
Missing Dirt:

With all the focus on my gravel exploits this Spring and early Summer, I have forsaken the dirt of late. Even my fat bikes are gathering dust. It's been all gravel-all the time here for months. Not that I am complaining. You see, ever since about 2007, when I got sucked in hard doing all the Twenty Nine Inches review stuff, I have focused on riding in the dirt whenever I could to get in the time I needed to get in to actually produce something relevant from an off road biking perspective. That said, 2007 was a stellar year from the viewpoint of gravel riding. Especially early that year. I really missed it.

So, spending all this time in the dusty mode has been great. That said, I miss dirt too. I ended up going through my Buzzard and my Inbred single speed recently getting them up to snuff for some dirt riding. The problem has been that every time I have a slice of time for the dirt, it rains, or just did rain. My time will come soon though.

I've got a couple more single speeds to spruce up and I think I'll be ready for some single trackin' fun. Hopefully that will happen, but with the GTDRI, Geezer Ride, and Gravel Worlds coming one right after another, I may not get back on dirt till Fall!

New Bike Season: I believe we will be hearing about some awesome new bikes real soon here. I know about a few, and they will, mostly, blow yer socks off. I know of one I'd like to put into my stable right now, as a matter of fact. I'm keeping my ears and eyes open for anything new coming from the dealer only shows that happen around about now. If I get enough dirt, I'll post another "New Bike Season" post. Stay tuned........

Stay safe and have a fun weekend!


Boudin said...

Aw, man... Not another "Cross bike not Gravel bike geometry" old man rant! Talk about a dead horse.

Just bustin' you a little bit. Get Off of MY LAWN!!

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate your knowledge and insight. I think the biggest take away from this is the new tubeless Schwalbes. I'm surprised you didn't pick up on that and run with it. I know I am super excited about them.

Unknown said...

How does overall wheelbase fit with head angles and for offset?

Take the twin6 vs Warbird vs tameland

twin 6 and warbird have same offset of 45mm but the warbird had 1.5d slacker angle giving it an overall longer wheelbase?

I assume bb drop is just lowing center of gravity for more stability?

Guitar Ted said...

@YtterbiumUK: Over all wheel base fits in with how your weight sits over the wheels, so the "front-center" and "rear-center" are the main points to consider here, which head angle/offset play only a part in.

The fork offset on the Tamland is actually 50mm, and not 45mm. The head tube angle on the Standard Rando and Warbird are the same for my size, (57/58cm) and so is the offset, (45mm), but the Raleigh differs with a .5° slacker head angle and 5mm more offset.

Trail figures, (depending on tire size) will be similar for all three, but the slightly slacker head angle of the Tamland puts the fork at a better angle to track the gravel roads with, and in my opinion, makes the frame work better in terms of ride quality. Of course, frame materials and spec of tubing all play a big part in that quality as well. It is very complicated and cannot be pinpointed down to "this or that" in terms of geometry, frame tubing, or tires, etc.

Lower bottom brackets lend greater stability in cornering, but you do run the risk of pedal strikes in ruts if you get too extreme with that. That's why cyclo cross bikes keep their BB's higher, so riders can pedal through rutted corners without pedal strikes. Gravel doesn't present such issues so that's why it works for a gravel road rig.