Friday, October 05, 2018

Friday News And Views

Spotted Horse Gravel Ultra:

Well, this weekend is the annual Spotted Horse Gravel Ultra. First of all, good luck to all who are participating. Especially my old coworker and Trans Iowa co-founder, Jeff Kerkove, who is signed up to ride in this thing.

This event is star-crossed for me. I want to go, but every year something else coincides with this that keeps me from attending, either as a participant or as a spectator. This year my son has a football game, and for obvious reasons, family takes precedence over seeing old friends, but that doesn't make that any easier to bear. Last year I forget what it was that kept me from going, but I remember the year before it was the Fargo Reunion Ride which took precedence over Spotted Horse.

Anyway..... I will miss seeing everyone there and I wish you all the best. Maybe one of these days I'll make it to a Spotted Horse! But that said, hopefully this predicted rain won't affect the event too negatively, and also, I hope everyone stays safe!

Tell me they are good for gravel- Okay. Just don't say "gravel specific", please!
It's Getting Silly- This "Gravel Specific" Thing: 

Look........I get it. The bicycling marketplace is suffering. Sales are, at best, flat. The only categories showing growth, if you care to know, are e-bikes (mopeds-motorcycles.....whatever) and gravel bikes. I still think the adoption of "gravel" for these bicycles is short-sighted, but again........whatever.

The point is, this "gravel" deal is one of the bright spots in cycling. So, you know......everyone wants a piece of the action. In that vein, a new cyc;ing helmet was introduced Thursday, which shall remain nameless, which was touted as being "gravel specific". The media outlet which presented us with this farcical idea did its usual job of writing up a story and in the middle of its presentation it questioned what it was that made the helmet gravel specific, answering themselves by saying they didn't know, but maybe it was due to the useless visor attached to the helmet's browline.

See, this is marketing gone awry. I don't mind if a company says, "Hey! Look at this! It might work well for gravel riding!". Okay. That's good. That's fine with me. But when you tell me a saddle is "twenty-niner specific", as fizik did at one time, or that a stupid piece of plastic masquerading as a "visor" makes an otherwise roadie helmet "gravel specific", well you are on very thin ice there. Not buying it.

Titanium May Not Be Forever: 

But Silca says it can be guaranteed for 25 years in a bottle cage form. Yep! Introducing the "Sicuro" titanium bottle cage for $70.00.

Seventy bucks! It had better last for 25 years! That's a lot of dough, especially when you can get what is arguably the best cage in the business, made from titanium, in a King Cage for around $50.00 retail. can move this one around in different mounting positions. Yep! Comparable to the Morse Cage by Wolf Tooth (made by King Cage) at the same price as this Sicuro cage. That said, Wolf Tooth doesn't have a 25 year guarantee.

The bottom line here is that you could outfit an entire bike with three plastic cages, or injection molded cages, for less, so it depends upon your viewpoint. Titanium is definitely durable. Like Silca says, ".....feel free to slam your bottles home with abandon and mount it under the downtube on your gravel rig in the knowledge that it will provide a "Sicuro" hold."

So clever there! Anyway, you'll have to decide whether or not titanium bottle cages are worth it, or if stainless steel is "good enough" (you can get that Wolf Tooth cage for $25.00 when it is in stock), or if none of this nonsense is making sense to you and you'd rather save a bunch of money and use injection molded cages. Twenty five years is a looooong time, so unless you plan on moving the Sicuro cage from bike to bike, you may not ever get the full benefit of the guarantee. Then again, you've got to wonder if Silca would even bother to warranty a 24 year old titanium bottle cage, or even if they would be around to honor that in 25 years. Hard to say......

Floyd's of Leadville to sponsor a Pro Continental Team?
In The "No- I'm Not Making This Up" File:

Pro road cycling still suffers from the stigma of doping, 20 years after the modern day breakout of the big doping crisis in the sport. Many have had their names drug through the mud, have been cast  from their lofty places in the sport, and have lost everything due to doping to gain an advantage on the field. One of these characters, Floyd Landis, announced that he was going to take what was left over from a lawsuit settlement which he was engaged in with the deposed cyclist, Lance Armstrong, and spend it on starting a continental Pro road race team. (Details here)

In an irony of ironies, a former doper is starting a team, in a sport hurting from doping allegations to this day, with money he got from a lawsuit against another doper, and will be sponsored by his own company which sells marijuana based hemp and CBD products. So dope! 

Man, the story just seems tailor made for a comedic routine. I'm sure the jokes are already flying! But, many in the media are trying to look beyond the obvious silliness here because any news of growth in the realm of road cycling is rare these days. That shows you how desperate these times are for cycling. 

Teravail offerings in skinwall.
 Teravail Debuts New Tire Offerings:

Lots of newsy stuff today and here is a bit more from QBP tire brand, Teravail. They have introduced some new variants in there tire model line up.

The two 650B offerings are interesting in that they cover two popular sizes and they are the tread that Teravail has designated as one of their gravel specific offerings. This is big because of all of the new bikes coming out with 650B compatibility. The smaller size should even slot in on bikes which have narrower clearances.  

The 29 X 2.8 Coronado is interesting for the 29+ freaks that want a great looking skinwall option. Of course, you can get blackwall versions, but why would you? Skinwalls till Winter! ha! Anyway, a great option for 29+ bikes. I doubt it will fit the back of many 29"ers. 

Then the Rampart is a tire I am not familiar with, but a 38mm offering is a good size which isn't covered by many companies. It also would be a better choice for some cyclo cross bikes where a 40+mm tire isn't allowing for any mud clearances or just plain won't fit. 

Teravail says these are available now, so see your local bike shop dealer and ask about 'em.

That's a wrap for this week. I hope you all get to ride this weekend.


Doug M. said...

The "29er specific" label was goofy indeed, but I remember thinking that saddle was pretty clever when it came out. 29er DH bikes were (and still are) a bold new frontier, and a sponsoring manufacturer stepped in to solve a problem their riders encountered. Though I wonder how many teams are going to try 27.5 rear/29 front now that the UCI changed their rule on mismatched wheel sizes.

Ben said...

I think the closest to "gravel specific" accessory I've purchased was camelbak dirt series water bottles with their advanced "mud cap technology"! Drinking less mud is always good (although I'm sure I'll use them on other roads or trails also to help keep random schmutz out of the bottle cap)

Rydn9ers said...

I've got that helmet, well not the shiny new gravel version but the now old and outdated non gravel version and really like it... or I did until I discovered it was now useless as a noggin saver on gravel. Us poor folk just wear cycling caps underneath the helmet but even those cycling caps aren't gravel specific so we aren't as cool as we could be.