Friday, August 30, 2019

Friday News And Views

Bigger, heavier,because- motors.
The Evolution Toward Heavier, More Durable Parts Continues;

One of the things I've been saying about HPC (Hybrid Powered Cycle) vehicles is that the parts necessary to make these things safe is the antithesis of over a century of bicycle design and engineering. The main point has been to make things lighter, stronger, and more efficient since pure human power is reliant on the maximization of those things for the betterment of the experience. However; when motors were added, these ideals were abandoned.

Now it is becoming necessary to beef up components and make things heavier, since motors introduce forces not seen on a purely human powered bicycle. Magura is the latest to announce such a component. Now they are offering a 220mm rotor and braking system optimized for motorized bicycles. Of course, tires, chains, and wheels have all been beefed up due to the forces imparted by electric motors on those components.

Again, history reflects this in the move to fit gasoline powered engines on to bicycles in the early 20th Century. Parts made for purely human powered transportation by two wheels could not withstand the forces imparted on them by motors. Heavier parts were fitted, frames got beefier, and the next thing you know, pedals were shed. You know the rest of that story.

Oh, and I saw another HPC being hawked the other day in a video where the clip lasted 3+ minutes and the rider did not pedal once. What's the message there? ain't about bicycling. 

Those shoes.
 Gravel Shoes? 

In a time when the industry wants to electrify or gravel "all the things", another item listed as a "gravel ____" (fill in the blank) will cause groans and raised eyebrows. That's how it goes. Marketing seems to always take things just a little bit too far, especially in the cycling industry. (This includes HPC stuff too)

So, when Shimano announced the RX8 as a "gravel specific shoe", well.....yeah right! It's a freakin' cycling shoe, yes? 

But sometimes we get jaded and lose our open mindedness to things that, upon further review, are actually legitimate ideas. Take these shoes, as an example.

We used to always use MTB shoes as our gravel biking shoes back in the day. The alternative? Road shoes.! They did not have a sole to walk on, were far too stiff, and those cleats! Try walking a muddy ditch in those things. Good luck! So, no......we wore MTB shoes because we had to. The "other choice" was not tenable.

Well, there are some things about road shoes that make sense for gravel travel. They typically are lighter, have efficient soles for pedaling, and have great ventilation. MTB shoes have some great attributes. They are walkable, resist scuffing, are easily dried when they get wet, and use two bolt cleats which are minimalist, and work better in mud and grit. So.....why not mix the better attributes of both for gravel? 

 Yes- why not? And Shimano did. Now, you can miss it and throw the thought of these "gravel" shoes away like a bad newspaper, but if you do, you are going to miss some good news. These shoes are the real deal, as far as I can tell so far. They aren't cheap, and they are maybe more "race" than "good times", but they are no joke. I've got a review going up on this weekend on them. Check it out if you have the time.

It's the official pedal of the DK200, dontcha know?
LOOK- It's The Official Pedal Of The DK200:

And speaking of pedaling- LOOK has signed on to be the "official pedal" of the Dirty Kanza 200. Their X-trac pedal being the one featured, not the KEO carbon fiber roadie thing-a-ma-bob.

When I saw that news it rang a bell with me. Yes....yes indeed. reviewed this pedal. It passed with flying colors, so there is that. It's funny, but besides the KEO, you hardly hear a thing about LOOK pedals for cycling. But they are the OG of clipless pedals. They were way ahead of Shimano, and LOOK even had a pretty highly regarded MTB pedal in the early 90's, despite the fact it weighed a metric ton. As I recall, it was, (and maybe still is) Tinker Jaurez's favorite pedal. (You younginz should look up Tinker. MONSTER MTB dude.)

Anyway, I digress.....

Congratulations to the DK200 on picking up a pedal sponsor. It'll be interesting to see what they do to partner up in that relationship.

Labor Day Weekend, y'all! Get sum! (Bicycling, that is) Be safe! Thanks for reading, as always!


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