Friday, January 01, 2021

Friday News And Views

Not a fail- as much as I thought originally. (Arrow points to a drainage)
Drainage Detected:

A while back I made some sharp criticism of the bike path reconstruction as it relates to the eastern end of the University Avenue Project. Well, on a ride on December 27th, I discovered what may be a drain for runoff on the Southern end of the tunnel which is carrying the bike trail underneath University Avenue. 

If this is what I think it is, at least the South side of the trail should remain fairly passable. However; I have yet to see anything like this on the North side, which traditionally is really bad anyway, and this new construction looks to make things worse. If this doesn't get drained it would be a major oversight as that end of the trail at the butt-end of Falls Avenue has been under water since the project began. Even throughout the drought. So, they really have no excuse.

Hopefully there will be some sort of drainage put in on the North side, and I will keep on looking as this construction progresses toward its end. That won't likely pick up again until Spring, so until then, I don't expect any progress on this front. 

Interestingly, they did open up the new four lane to traffic again, so the road is humming with cars and trucks once more. Mrs. Guitar Ted and I checked it out and the new roundabout at Fletcher and University is going to really throw folks for a loop. (pardon the pun) I still don't understand why people get so freaked out about these things, but bringing up the subject of roundabouts is like stirring up a hornet's nest here in regard to these new road features. 

Will this be a necessary document to enter races in 2021?

How Will We Know in 2021? 

When do you know it's okay to ride in an event this year? Obviously, this all hinges on who gets vaccinated and if that level of folks that decide to get vaccinated quashes the spread of COVID-19. But how do you determine when the level of spread is low enough to allow for folks to gather? When is it okay, if it ever will be again, to allow outside of an area people to mingle with residents of another area? And how will that affect the elderly and those 'at highest risk' folks? 

Will we need to have 'vaccination confirmations' to gain entry to events, or gatherings? Or do we just assume it will all work and run off headlong towards the way things used to be without a whit given to lessons learned in 2019? These are all valid questions going into 2021.

It is one thing to say, "This too shall pass." I agree that it will, but when? Where is that line that we cross? Is there a line? Should we even care? These are big questions to ask as we get on with going back to events and participating in bicycle rides 'en masse'. Obviously, a way to guarantee that someone has been vaccinated goes a long way towards assuring those who are running events that they are doing so responsibly, but how do you assure that? 

I've got a lot of questions, and no good answers as we get on into this new year. I'm sure answers will come to light at some point, but as of now, I do not see anyone asking these questions. I think they are rather important to consider.

I've heard about a 'slow boat from China', but this is ridiculous.

Not To Beat A Dead Horse, But....

Just making sure that I document that in 2021 bike availability, parts availability, and prices are all changing from what we're used to. 

I've made the point about shipping times, but prices for shipping have - in some cases- quadrupled. Guess who THAT will be passed down to? If you are thinking, "Why, that's me! The Consumer!", you'd be correct. Doubly so if demand stays consistent with 2020 levels, which was unprecedented. 

Again- don't expect to waltz right in to a shop and pick up a fresh 11 speed chain, lube, a spare tube, or a new set of tires. The shop you use may not have exactly what you want. Best to call ahead. Also,be prepared to pay a lot more! Shops don't have spare reserve inventories that they paid for just sitting around, so don't expect any deals either.  It's going to get ugly in that respect, I am afraid. In fact, buying what you can get now, and stockpiling it might make sense, since prices haven't really been jacked up yet, but if you wait? Lord have mercy! Don't say I didn't warn ya! 

Here's a great, concise warning from a MTB brand that should give you some sense of what I am trying to convey here. Also, a web/brick and mortar store owner laments the lack of available inventory HERE. Interestingly, the dealer lament is pretty revealing as he shows actual dealer portal screens for two major brands so you can understand what bike shops are up against. The consumer reactions he refers to are rather revealing as well. Good reference point going into 2021. 

Comments: My take on 2021 availability for bikes and parts is this- Expect mid to late season 2020 stock levels to persist all throughout the 2021 season. Repair parts will be sparse to non-existent. I say this because 2021 model production is either (a) being held up by lack of available parts from vendors like SRAM, Shimano, etc and (b) production has already shifted to 2022 models. 

It is quite likely that 2021 will be, or already has been, written off and all bets are being placed on 2022 as being when the industry gets back on track. This may seem improbable to those of you that do not understand the bicycle industry. However; as parts procurement has been disrupted, and seeing as how all designs and specs for 2021 were signed off on long before last year, it makes sense that production figures for 2021 would actually either be the same as 2019/20 or even less since parts may not show up at factories in enough quantities to produce 2021 models. This would mean those parts would then go on what will end up becoming 2022 models. 

Either these 2022 models will be carry-over 2021 models that weren't fully produced or they will simply just paint frames in new liveries to match 2022 spec. The bike industry works in a 'three to five year plan' time space with the 'ideas' phase being one year, prototypes being the next one to two year phase, then actual production planning takes place. After this, models get spec parts lined up and then everything moves to production. By this time you are into "Year Four" from the very beginnings of the model year line conceptions at the long end and by "Year Five" you have product hitting dealer floors. So, with this in mind, some 2022 bikes were conceived of back in 2017. (!!) Given this, maybe a 'quick adjustment' may be given to what demand might actually be by 2024, and you can see that 'just pumping out more bikes' for 2021 isn't just a crazy idea, it is a factual impossibility due to the way the industry works. The earliest I could see any real increases in bike inventory happening in traditional bike channels is maybe by 2022, and brands are going to hedge their bets and I am thinking that they are thinking the boom won't hold up for that long.

An example of the new Singular Peregrine
Singular Cycles Re-Introduces The Peregrine Model: 

Singular Cycles, run by Sam Alison from the U.K., has been on the down-low for several years. His company has been known for making some really fantastic, classic looking frames. Both MG and I have owned different Singular models throughout the years. (I still have a Buzzard MTB frame in the Lab) I used to own a Gryphon, which was designed at the same time as the Fargo and in many ways 'out-Fargo-ed' that bike. (I think MG still has his?) Anyway, the Peregrine was the lugged drop bar bike that Singular made which was a classic design and well loved by many. Unfortunately, I heard that some Peregrines broke, and eventually it was withdrawn from the line up. Then Singular faded from view and well, that was that. 

But now Singular has revitalized itself and brought back the Peregrine model. It has, of course, been redesigned and updated to modern specs with through axles, a slight increase in tire clearances, and now will have a sweet, bi-plane fork. (!!) I love bi-plane fork crowns. The geometry is 71° front/74°rear with 445mm chain stays and a 75mm bottom bracket drop. Pretty interesting in that it claims to be able to handle a road crank double and still clear 29" X 2.1" tires or 650B X 2.2" tires. 

Pre-orders are open now for mid-Summer delivery. See the website here

Okay, that's it for this week! Happy New Year to all you G-Ted Productions readers!


MG said...

I do still have my Gryphon, as well as my Rooster 29+ prototype and two v.1 Puffin fatbike (one frameset; one built). I’d love to find room in my stable for a Peregrine.

S.Fuller said...

I definitely don't need another bike, but man...