Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday News And Views

Less expensive, 1 X 12, will be seen everywhere
New Bike Season: It is that time of year when new stuff for the new bike year, (2018 in this case), starts to trickle out. We've seen a few things already, like the new Ultegra and Niner's new SIR 9 model. Another recent intro that I haven't mentioned is SRAM's new, more wallet friendly version of 1 X 12 Eagle in the GX level. Said to be a direct competitor to XT, GX Eagle will be seen on a ton of new 2018 bicycles.

SRAM made sure you'll know it is GX Eagle because the new GX crank arms are flat and wide. Perfect for a huge "GX" logo. One of the other GX Eagle components is a grip shifter. I know that seems odd ball to many of you, but to my mind, a grip shift 1X 12 is a perfect fat bike set up. Think gloved hands, cold air, and keeping your digits warm by ganging them together in an overmitt, or under a pogie. Triggers can be a bit much in those situations whereas a grip shifter is much easier to operate under those circumstances.

Of course, the big expense in the flagship Eagle component group is the (almost) one piece, carved out of a block of steel, cassette. GX gets a pinned together set of 12 cogs. I've used a similar 11 speed cassette on my fat bike and it worked fine. So, it isn't marvelously light, but it certainly isn't heavy by any stretch of the imagination.

An entire Eagle GX groupset can be had for under $500.00, so it isn't a bad upgrade for anyone running an 11 speed SRAM 1X group. Again, I'm not necessarily a fan on all fronts. I totally get 1X for fat bikes, due to the nature of how a front derailleur ends up becoming a focal point for muck collection. (I use a fat bike for wet, muddy, slushy excursions.) I don't necessarily agree with 1X from the standpoint of chain efficiency. I still think there are times when a 2X is a better choice. I like Shimano's thinking in this regard.

The Otso Cycles, Lithic brand, "Hiili" model carbon gravel bike fork.
More Clearance:

The move to make a gravel bike, (read "fat road bike") your "One Bike to Rule Them All" bike, lately has spawned all sorts of oddball stuff that no one was dreaming of 5 years ago. In fact, had anyone introduced a 400mm axle to crown fork that fit a 29" X 2.1" tire, they would have been considered nuts. At least there would have been a lot of "WTF" going on.

But then again, maybe there still is a lot of that thought going on! 

Anyway, there it is. Otso Cycles has this very fork. It can be stuffed with all sorts of fat tired, different diameter wheels, and it could be just the thing for cyclo crossers looking for the maximum mud clearing front wheel holding device. That said, I would think a strut would be better then. Probably would look too weird, eh? But then again, there is the Lauf fork......... Who knows?!! 

Okay, so I am older, I like classic parts, and so this fork doesn't bother me so much since that huge arch looks more like a sloping investment cast crown than a uni-crown fork. Uni-crown forks are obviously a very structurally sound way to make a fork out of metal, but carbon is supposed to be able to be formed into certain shapes and retain strength. Why not approximate a sloping crown steel fork in carbon? Now that would keep some folks hair raised, I am sure, but how cool would that be?

Anyway..... My main beef with carbon forks is that they typically are brutal to ride. I sure hope this fork is not one of those forks, if ya know what I mean. Hopefully more like the TRP CX fork I got to try, or the 3T fork I heard was nice. But that isn't all Otso had to tell of......

They now are a component brand to the consumer and industry. They will be selling this fork and a handle bar, and wheels, and fat bike rims under the "Lithic"brand label.

Fatty hasn't been the same since.......
 Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational News:

I have been pretty quiet about this so far this year, but now it is getting closer and I've got plans to share. The next GTDRI happens on July 29th. (YES, I know that is the last day of RAGBRAI. That's on purpose....) That Saturday we will be going on a "tour of dirt roads" Iowa style in Tama County.

The inspiration for this route is from my friends in the Pirate Cycling League who do their own "Tour Of Dirt Roads". I thought it might be fun to try that up here.

It's a huge risk, because if it rains it will be a re-route fest and it could become a wild, weird day of wandering instead of cruising cool dirt roads, but whatever happens happens. I'm going for it.

So, as of now I am planning on the following for the route:
  • Distance- At least 100 miles, but not more than 120.
  • Starting Point- Traer Iowa. We will loop back to here to end the ride as well.
  • Pass Through Towns. (Subject to change) Toledo, Garwin, Reinbeck
  • Ride happens rain or shine with or without anyone showing up.
  • This is a free to attend ride. Anyone that thinks they can hack it can show up. 
More soon...... Stay tuned.

Have a great weekend! Ride your bicycles and stay safe!

1 comment:

KC said...

That Lithic fork definitely has my interest piqued. It reminds me of what I was after as the dream fork for my o.g. Vaya - more compliant than the stock steel without sacrificing tire clearance.