Friday, November 03, 2017

Friday News And Views

Ritchey finally has their gravel road bike available.
Ritchey Announces Availability Of Their Gravel Bike:

From the company whose head honch said, "All road bikes are gravel bikes", comes a bike designed specifically for gravel road riding.

I know........I know. 

Marketing 180's and trends aside, here are a couple of things I noted about this bike now that it is out and the geometry and spec has been revealed.

First of all, it is a 1X specific bike. (Note- While the videos I saw showed the bike as a 1X I have been corrected and it is front derailleur compatible. Thanks to you commenters for being astute and pointing that out) That is certainly on trend, but it is certainly a deal killer for many folks. We can debate the 1X vs 2X for gravel all day long, but here is my take on that in a nutshell: 1X designs cater to the gravel rider with mtb leanings. Whether or not 1X for gravel makes any sense or not is another debate, but simply from the mtb side, you can see why 1X is being pushed here. It indicates to me that several companies aren't sure what a gravel bike is so they are shooting darts at a target they cannot see. In the end, they interpret the genre' from their viewpoint. Ritchey is based on the West Coast, they are a mountain bike heavy company, and their lens for seeing the gravel world is West Coast based. Taken in that light, I get it. Again- whether or not that is right is some other discussion. UPDATE: So, I got that part wrong. However; as stated all the press release stuff I've seen shows the bike as a 1X with no technical bullet points leading me to believe otherwise. But I never saw the website on the bike, and that's my fault. Sorry about the misinformation here. Perhaps, as one commenter implied on a post earlier, I am getting senile. Oh well! That said, because the bike is featured as a 1X in the promotions for this rig, I will still leave in my take on why the Ritchey folks set it up that way.

Secondly- This bike has zero braze ons. None other than water bottle mounts. This also speaks to the Ritchey design type over the years where a race focused, stripped down, purposeful bike has been the norm rather than the exception from that company. However; in my opinion, it limits the appeal of the bike. The Ritchey Ascent, another "adventure based" design, seems to have all these braze on points, but it is only offered in the Breakaway version which adds a lot of cost to the frame and fork. It looks like "Riding Gravel" is going to get a go on one of these Outbacks, so stay tuned for that if it happens.

I attended a People For Bikes Draft meeting Thursday evening.
 Let's Talk Bikes:

The organization, "People For Bikes", is well known amongst those who stay close to advocacy issues for cyclists. Recently they have helped organize "meet ups" where local cycling communities can gather for beers and conversations to get to know what is up in their area as far as cycling initiatives go. They call it "Draft"

I went to the Waterloo, Iowa event held at Single Speed Brewery. There I learned why the Park Avenue bike lanes seem so jacked up, (they are just a beginning and a work in progress), I learned about a new bike share company called "Koloni", (aiming at getting low cost bike shares at trail heads and communities outside of large metropolitan areas), and how the Cedar Valley Nature Trail needs funds to maintain and repair infrastructure that will make it a complete trail again. Plus I heard from a couple of local State legislators on issues concerning cyclists in Iowa. I met a few folks and hung out with some acquaintances.

Oh......and I had a few beers!

The meeting was well attended and received. I thought I came away from it enriched and more knowledgeable in our areas cycling culture. There will be a Draft meet-up in Des Moines on January 25th, so you folks down that way should show up and check it out. It is good stuff. Draft is also being held in other communities across the nation. Check it out here.

Fairies wear booties. Just ask Ozzy.
Okay......One More Time!

I used to wear booties, or "shoe covers", if you'd rather, all the time whenever the weather got cold. They pretty much sucked. All of them. Then came the 45NRTH boots with the "shoe cover" built in. Wow! What an improvement.

Yes, those boots had their issues, (I still rock them, by the way), but the basic premise was brilliant. While it meant that you had to buy another pair of cycling specific footwear, who doesn't like shoes and boots? Okay, maybe if you are a Hobbit, but otherwise......

So, I swore off booties and I figured as long as I could get these "tweener" season boots, I was going to go that route. Then came these Bont shoes in for review on Riding Gravel. Obviously, going deeper into Fall and approaching Winter fast, those shoes weren't going to be optimal without additional armoring against the bitter winds and cold, frosty air. That's when I figured I had better take another look at booties. (Apologies to those who say "shoe covers". For me, these will forever be "booties")

I work at a Trek/Bontrager dealer so I took home these Bontrager RXL Waterproof "booties". Well, I must admit. Things have changed a bit since I last wore these accursed booties of doom. They are actually not too bad. A big pain to draw over your shoes, but they look well designed and as long as they do not come apart, expose my toes, or get snagged in the drive train, I'll be good. Time will tell.

Okay, that wraps up another Friday News And Views. Take care and have an awesome weekend!

2 comments: said...

What do you mean the Outback is 1X only? It says right on the website that the front derailleur clamp is 28.6, all the pictures show it built with ultegra 2X.

Steve Fuller said...

I've a big fan of shoe covers (or booties if you prefer) for most of my riding. It took me a couple of purchases to find a pair I really liked as well. I like them better than a heavier boot for the gravel / trail riding that I do. I save my boots for fatbike rides where I'm typically tooling around more or might be walking a bunch, as the walking tends to cause the covers to break down sooner. Mine will stay on my shoes from late November on through early spring.