Friday, September 04, 2020

Friday News And Views

Rendering of the Canyon pedal-car concept taken from the web.
 Canyon Unveils Concept Evolution Of HPC Vehicle:

The electrification of bicycles continues to evolve toward the end states that (maybe) are inevitable and Canyon recently unveiled a concept further pointing to this. Two wheeled vehicles with motors are going to shed the pedals in this evolution. Canyon, with this 'car-like' HPC, have also pointed out why things are going to go the total electric motor route. Car or motorcycle- this is where it will end up someday. 

The electric motor assisted pedal-car is essentially Canyon's answer to "what do riders need in four season climates, or demanding climates, to feel more comfortable using a HPC?" Well, apparently they need four wheels instead of two, for starters. But something Canyon said in their press release is telling:

"How do you bring total weather protection to an e-bike? This is the question our designers and engineers had to answer with the Future Mobility Concept. The solution is a totally-sealable passenger compartment surrounded by an innovative, panoramic capsule that strikes the perfect blend of form and function."

On one hand, you can't blame Canyon. European cities are far more compact, with smaller spaces for vehicles, than America. The electrification of bicycles is wildly popular there with units sold figures consistently breaking records year-to-year. Business is booming. Finding ways to encourage the extension of this wave of HPC popularity then only makes sense from a business standpoint. 

Rendering showing interior concept.
On the other hand, it seems silly to make a four wheeled, recumbent hybrid powered cycle (HPC) which is fully enclosed unless you ditch the exercise bit and go fully motorized. Why? Because motorcars have been a proven concept for well over a century and deal with things like humidity, for one, quite efficiently. Electric powered cars would handle such a challenge far better than having a sweat producing component of providing forward motion involved in the design. Imagine how fogged up the interior of this pedal-car gets on a cool, rainy day, for instance.  

Are there solutions to help overcome humidity and other concerns? Probably- yes. This is merely a concept, and as such, not a working, or even final prototype. Obviously it may never come to fruition. The obvious answer is 'just go to the end game' and make it a motorcar. Also, these vehicles already exist in many forms. They've been available on-line for years. Canyon just happens to be the first big bicycle company to hop in this space. 

Obvious comparisons to Cannondale's failed moto cross bike are not really good ones, but yeah.... The competition for this space- electric cars- is going to be intense and Canyon would be but an insect sized player on the field of behemoths. In my opinion, this never happens, but it is interesting to see Canyon's take on such a vehicle.  

HED Wheels Renames Gravel Wheel Line "Emporia":

The new HED wheels Emporia logo
In a surprise move yesterday, HED Wheels made it known that their "Eroica" line of gravel/back road wheels will now be renamed "Emporia", reflecting the heritage of gravel grinding in the U.S.A. and the influence that "The Event Formerly Known As Dirty Kanza" has had over this genre. Of course, Emporia, Kansas is the home of that now unnamed event. HED said in a press release that: "This change is being made out of respect to the international ride series “L’Eroica”." 

That ride series is focused upon an old school style, European racing bike heritage and while much of what L'Eroica does is off-pavement, it isn't the crushed rock style racing we have come to know in the U.S.A. "Emporia" does seem more fitting then. So, okay.......HED renamed their wheels, (and introduced a carbon rimmed one-  the Emporia GC3 Pro, a claimed 1395 gram wheel set with a 26mm internal rim dimension), but what about the event? Does HED using "Emporia" point to anything here? 

You've got to think that the city of Emporia knows about this deal HED Wheels is doing, right? And in asking about using that name, you'd have to think that there may have been a bit of communication with the DK event folks, right? Maybe, maybe not. I'm spit-ballin' here, but "The Emporia 200" does have a certain ring to it, no?  It is a name that would fit the event and benefit the town, certainly, and it sounds like a race name. It isn't goofy, like "Mid-South", (sorry folks, I am not a fan), and it seems that it shouldn't offend many folks. (There ALWAYS will be someone offended, right?

Check out what else HED said in the presser: 
"In our opinion, no one has done more to promote gravel riding and adventure culture than the people and city of Emporia, KS. From the creation of gravel racing’s most well-known events to introducing many of us to the beauty of the Flint Hills, Emporia has left its mark on American cycling and we’re excited to celebrate the city through the new name of our gravel line."

Anyway, that name for the event seems logical to me. I know......I'm a crazy person. Never mind.  


From a recent Instagram story
LeMond Bikes To Restart Again(?): 

The troubled tale of LeMond Bikes has been a tale of strange accusations, lawsuits, and stop-and-go production since Greg LeMond was still racing back in the late 80's/early 90's. Now it would appear that bicycles bearing the three time Tour de France champ's name will be available again.  

Wednesday, on social media accounts belonging to LeMond, it was teased that the brand would be offering bicycles again soon. And it was stated that they may not be the types of bicycles one would expect from LeMond. Of course, that is the sort of cagey vaguery one might expect to raise expectations. However; if recent posts on social media are clues, (and one would suspect that they should be), then we might make a couple of guesses here. 

Greg showed up at the Chequamegon Fat Tire 40 one year and won on a mountain bike. This has been brought up again recently and why? Also, a Greg LeMond liveried cyclo cross bike has appeared on social media as well. Finally, during the surfacing of LeMond bicycles in 2013, it was hinted at that gravel bikes were on their radar. Seven years later and one might say that this gravel bike idea would be a good one to pursue. 

Obviously, road racing bikes have to be in the mix. I mean, this is Greg LeMond we are speaking of here, right? But when they say, "bicycles you might not expect from Greg LeMond", mountain bikes, cyclo cross bikes, and gravel rigs might be a few items that make the cut. Heck, I recall the Poprad, a very popular bike in the early gravel scene, and obviously this would be a cyclo cross bike offering, but you know LeMond is looking around and seeing all this gravel bike stuff. I'd be really surprised if they didn't offer something for gravel. 

Maybe even electrified bicycles as well. That's the other big mover in the industry now. Ya gotta think something with an electric motor is also on their radar. 

Anyway, I'm keeping my eyes on this. LeMond has always had a penchant for a slightly different take on things which may be a facet of the newest edition of LeMond bikes. Let's hope so. Another "me-too" offering is not what anyone wants to see from Greg LeMond.  

That's it for this week. Have a great weekend- It's Labor Day Weekend in the USA, so get out and ride!

1 comment:

Scott Cotton said...

So LeMond is bringing back the Poprad? Wonder if they are going carbon to be competitive with current CX race bikes. Or they might tweak the geometry and make a gravel Poprad. Because the world has been dying for a steel gravel bike. Nobody else is in that marketspace.

Not trying to be Negative Nelly, but I'm struggling to think of something they could put out that isn't already being done better by someone else. But I guess if everyone thought that way, we would still be riding around on penny farthings.