Friday, March 13, 2020

Friday News And Views

Could 2020 be the year new bikes are as rare as ghosts?
New Bikes In 2020 A Rarity?

The latest industry scuttlebutt is that the supply chain for bicycles has been disrupted to the point that it is possible that many new 2020 bikes will be postponed or outright cancelled. While I do not expect that there will be no 2020 bikes, it is quite possible that during the peak season months of May, June, and July that a new 2020 bike may be as rare as a hen's tooth.

This is not due to any one thing, but the issues are mostly centered around a perfect storm which includes the Chinese New Year, which factories close down for, and the COVID-19 virus outbreak, which hit right at about the same time in China. So.....not all bicycles are made in China. True. But many of the parts and pieces are that are necessary to assemble them. And if the parts are not accessible, then the bikes do not get made. This can happen for the seemingly most insignificant reasons. Reflectors? Bike boxes? Yes. And more reasons than that.

To read more on this, see this excellent "Cyclingtips" article. Again, I don't think we will not see any bikes, because obviously we have 2020 bikes out there already. But it is the supply of the bikes coming for the meat of the season that will be disrupted. Also, considering that Trek brings in a slew of new models in June, we could see a big disruption of their new introductions as well. We already have heard about product intros being scuttled, dealer shows being postponed, and marketing companies which are scrambling to work around all the chaos.

2020 will be a very odd year for cycling at the industry and retail levels.

 A Word On The C.O.G. 100 Event:

The COVID - 19 pandemic is changing our world by the hour, and it is hard to keep up. Here at G-Ted Productions we have sent out emails to our C.O.G.100 riders and have posted the latest on the C.O.G. 100 site and we will continue to monitor the situation as things progress. I spent the better part of yesterday researching and reaching out to Grinnell officials to get a handle on the situation as it stood yesterday. This is a very fluid situation and as of now we are waiting for a few more days to see where this is headed.

Our feelings are that we want to keep everyone safe and if it means deferring the event until next year, we will do that. As of this posting we have not reached a final decision, and we will definitely be announcing a decision this coming week to allow for everyone to make appropriate plans.

Thanks in advance for all your patience!

Hope is amongst the host of brands with Center Lock Rotors now.
Center Lock Finds Its Reason To Be:

Several years ago Shimano introduced the Center Lock rotor mounting standard for mountain bikes. Most people yawned and went about their business. Center Lock rotors were rare. DT Swiss and Shimano, amongst a few others, were the only sources for them. Hardly anyone actually used them on their own bikes. Rarely did we see these at the bike shop.

Then disc road came along. 

While road disc brake bikes weren't selling like hotcakes initially, we did see that sort of bike come with the more sleek looking Center Lock rotors instead of the warts which are a feature of the six bolt IS type rotor. But still......road disc bikes weren't really a big deal. Then the gravel bike boom hit. Look out!

Suddenly every gravel bike had Center Lock rotors. And of course, flat mount brakes. Did we need all that and the 12mm through axle up front when we had a perfectly good 15mm one? No. We didn't need those things. Not really.

Some will argue that heat management is better with Center Lock and flat mount brakes. Perhaps..... But the latest trends in cycling- internal routed cables, flat mount brakes, Center Lock, and further back, the internal head set, all are really about fashion. They make bicycles look more sexy, and that is what sells. The "new standards" are not mechanically necessary or better than the old ways, not in any significant way, but they do look a lot cooler. I admit it. Things look a lot sleeker than they used to look.

But we still don't need 12mm through axle front hubs and forks. That's just nonsense. But it is what it is. And Center Lock is here to stay as well. Now, as far as the rotors go, I like Center Lock a lot. To me it is easier to deal with, and I would tend to agree that heat management is probably better here. But that flat mount disc brake caliper thing?

You can have that. Give me the older IS caliper post mounts any day.

Matt Wills, aka "MW" as seen at the 2008 Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitaional
 One Hundred One Hundred Milers:

There are accomplishments that every cycling enthusiast knows. The "century ride" being probably the main one that crosses all lines and all stripes of cyclists. If you ride 100 miles on any type of two wheeled contraption, you have the respect of many. Either that or the folks that aren't into cycling think you are certifiably crazy. Probably both......

Then there are the more "gravel specific" type of accomplishments. Say, things like, "This guy finished the Dirty Kanza", or "This gal finished Trans Iowa". Those sorts of things where people nod in respect of the big mileage accomplishment.

Well, I know a guy, (as they say), and he's done all the above, plus some! In fact, Matt Wills, of Lincoln, Nebraska, has done something I've never heard that anyone else has done. He's ridden a 100 mile bicycle ride, on gravel, every month for 100 months, and counting, in a row. Now, that's crazy! Crazy amazing, that is.

The Dirty Kanza has its special cup for finishing five DK200's, and maybe there are some similar deals in other events, but to do something like ride a century ride on gravel every month for eight-plus years, through Winters, hot Summers, no matter what?

I cannot say it enough- that's amazing. Thank you MW. You are an inspiration to many and I am betting you have no idea what your influence is on others in a positive way. I know you've inspired me.

Okay, that's a wrap on this week! have a great weekend and hopefully you get out for a ride! Thanks for reading!


Scott said...

Regarding coronavirus and gravel races. Race organizers seem to be focused on the welfare of the participants, which is good. But I think the more important question should be, "what risk does hosting this large public gathering pose for the most vulnerable members of our community and the communities that racers will be returning to after the event?" Given what we know about how the virus spreads plus all of the unknowns about how well our medical system will be able to deal with outbreak it seems that a healthy dose of extreme caution is warranted.
I would caution organizers against over-reliance on local authorities. Politicians and bureaucrats seem to be at least one step behind and we need to be one step ahead if we hope to slow the spread of the virus. Case in point. My county health department is hosting and promoting a public health forum later today for a community discussion about the coronavirus. YES. You read that correctly. They are inviting the public to participate in a large indoor public gathering. The exact type of event that the CDC and WHO discourages and that many government officials in other states are wisely banning. This absolutely blows my mind. Use common sense. Don't blindly defer to local authorities.
Remember, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". The U.S. has not done a lot of testing. Just because there is no reported cases does not mean the virus is not in your community.
Regarding yesterday's post. I think people need to start translating "postponed" as "cancelled" unless the event is moved out 6+ months. I'm not surprised that DK200 has not been officially cancelled yet but cyclists need to understand that this race will not be happening in June.

Guitar Ted said...

@Scott - Thank you for this considered commentary. It is helpful.

Anon said...

I completely agree with Scott above. As for centerlock, I never even considered that it looks better than IS. I switched to it years ago because of the simplicity. I've never had a problem with it, so I see no need to change at this point. Lastly, huge respect for Matt Wills. That is a monster accomplishment. With all of the distractions/interruptions of daily life (family, work, illness, injury, etc), staying in decent enough physical condition to complete a couple of gravel centuries a year is noteworthy, but this is truly amazing. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Guitar Ted said...

@Anon - Thanks for your comments and reading the blog. I appreciate it. Hopefully MW sees this as well. I know he pokes in here now and again.......

teamdarb said...

100 100s is super nutters!

Ari said...

Congrats to Matt! That is amazing.
I think the distance is a good thing. If we all work at it together it will be better in the long run.