Friday, February 12, 2021

Friday News And Views

SRAM AXS Force- Could a Rival version be on the way?
 SRAM Pricing Increase And Rumors:

The mechanic's world is all buzzing about a 15% price increase across the board for new SRAM replacement parts and groups which reportedly went into effect February 1st. As I have speculated all along, parts prices would be rising due to materials costs and shipping issues all throughout 2021. 

This should also translate to complete, new bikes for 2021 and 2022. What this means for the consumer is that at the lower, entry levels, price increases will be keenly felt. We are seeing it already. "Bike shop quality" bikes are going to probably start in the $500-$600 range now going forward. I also cannot imagine that box store bikes, or "Mall Wart" bikes, as I call them, won't be a lot more expensive as well. Just from a tariff standpoint, because tariffs went into effect on good from China, now including bicycles, on January 1st.  Not that any of those bikes have SRAM parts, but some do. 

Another tidbit being tossed about online is a SRAM Rival AXS group announcement, which some are claiming will happen this Summer. (UPDATE: Some sources are now confirming it is on the way) For the record, I don't know anything and I am not breaching any embargo, since I never was contacted about this. The fact is, many are chattering online about this, and it makes sense. This bodes well for those wanting an electronic group on a new bike at a lower price, but much of this will get offset by rising costs, so a Rival AXS may not have quite the impact it would have had in, say 2019. Additionally, now I am seeing that the mere existence of a Rival AXS may in fact push mechanical drive train parts by the wayside. So, this is indicating that once you go 12 speed, at least in SRAM's ecosystem, you will have to go wireless and electronic.

Speaking of AXS, SRAM announced earlier in the week that they had a 36T compatible AXS for road now, which was obviously necessary since they are up against Shimano GRX Di2 which has already been out over a year now and has been dominating spec on gravel bikes for 2021 and likely 2022. And speaking of Shimano.....

Not to be missing out, but there is a TON of scuttlebutt running amok online concerning Shimano's newest Dura Ace Di2 being wireless, or partially wireless, which would be considered a direct response to SRAM since SRAM has been wireless on electronic groups from the start. Time will tell, but at least 2021 seems like it will reveal a lot of promise for 2022 bikes. 

The Velo Orange Crazy Bars v2. Image courtesy of Velo Orange

Velo Orange Announces Crazy Bars v2:

If you've been a reader here for a long time you know that I have a certain affinity for weird handle bars. I like to call them "Alt Bars", but they are typically handle bars out of the standard box of risers, flats, and roadie drops. 

Well, Velo Orange announced last week that they are coming out with a redesign of their Crazy Bars. While I wasn't a big fan of the first version, this new version looks very intriguing. They tweaked the angle of the sweep to be at 35° and that compares to a Jones Bar which is 45°. I have thought that the Jones Bar had a bit too much sweep, and so this new Crazy Bar sweep is interesting to me now. The extensions, or 'horns' as Velo Orange calls them, which look like old, old school Moots ends, (the OG of bar ends), is something I don't know I'd need. Maybe if I tried that? Maybe. But the good news here is that Velo Orange is going to offer the same bar without the 'horns' and call it the Seine Bar. 

They are going to offer these in silver and black as well, so you can get your black handle bars, if you must! But don't get your hopes up just yet. Velo Orange isn't expecting these until Summer, and the way things are going, that may get pushed back a bit. 

I'm thinking I'd like to try these though. They are wide enough, have a very interesting sweep, and not a ton of rise, so they could be set up in a way I would like them, I think. I'd likely put these on my One One Inbred or maybe even a set could be had for my Blackbuck, but without the horns on that bike. i think they'd work very well on either bike. Now, if these were ever to be made in carbon, which I highly doubt, since this is Velo Orange we are talking about here, I'd put them on my fat bikes. But I will not entertain the thought of alloy bars for my fat bikes anymore. Carbon just keeps my hands a LOT warmer in Winter, and I am not willing to give that up. 

Froome: Not a fan of the road disc scene.

Meet Chris Froome - Retrogrouch:

I don't usually post anything about Pro Roadie personalities here, but a recent story about Tour de France winner, (amongst other high profile races)  Chris Froome, was interesting since he was commenting about components. 

It's only natural for a Pro road rider to be concerned and intimately familiar with how components work. Froome, having spent his career mainly on caliper brakes, has had to make the switch to road disc since he now rides for a team bike sponsor that does not offer a caliper equipped bike. 

At a recent press meeting where Froome was going over the finer points of his new Factor race machine, he mentioned that he wasn't a big fan of disc brakes on road bikes. He didn't like the disc rub, pistons not retracting right, the fussing with his mechanics, and he's not convinced the current road disc brakes are up to severe use as seen on fast, long mountain descents. Hmm......where have I heard those things before? 

It is ironic because when the whole road disc thing happened several companies and entities were saying the same things yet the industry pushed the idea ahead anyway because 'change equals new sales and old technology gets deleted to support more sales.'  I've said it all along- disc brakes are overkill and unnecessary on gravel bikes, but I will also add that wheels are far more swappable with big tires and in different diameters. Something that is difficult to impossible with cantilever based brakes. 

Otso Cycles finally offers a SS option for the Tuning Chip drop out.

Otso Cycles Offer SS Chip For Metal Bikes:

Back when I reviewed the Otso Warakin stainless steel bike I told Otso Cycles that they should offer a single speed option for their Tuning Chip drop outs. It was so obvious that this would work that I was a bit surprised to find out at the beginning of the review that Otso didn't have that option. Not only that, but they didn't seem too interested in doing one either. It seemed so obvious that it would be a benefit to them to offer the option that I thought they were making a bit of a mistake. Otso however was convinced that there just wasn't enough interest in the idea to make it happen.

Well, be that as it may, I liked the Warakin. It was, and still is, a really great bike. I may have gotten one had the single speed option been there before. That said, Otso Cycles has it now and it makes the Warakin even more of a compelling bike. It's got a nice geometry, big tire capability, and it rides nicely in the stainless steel version. You can even get a titanium version of the frame now, which is expensive, but cool. 

Obviously, Otso Cycles finally made the decision to do the single speed option. They claim that they had gotten a lot of interest in the idea. (It is NOT for their carbon bikes though) Again, I can't believe it took nearly four years to happen, but at least it did. Maybe someday there will be room in the stable for a Warakin, and maybe someday I'll get one.  

Podcast And Reminders:

Just a few end of week reminders for you all. First up- The Riding Gravel Radio Ranch posted up two new episodes this week. One featuring endurance athlete legend John Stamstad, who I mentioned last week. The LINK 

You can also find the podcast on your favorite podcast feeds.  

Also- don't forget that there is still a few jerseys and hats left from the C.O.G.100. You can peruse the selection on my Garage Sale page.  I try to keep that list of inventory current, so what you see there is what is left. Own a piece of gravel grinding history!

Finally, I will remind you that merch reflecting the 15th year of Guitar Ted Productions can be had by clicking THIS LINK.  A portion of every sale goes to support my daughter's artistic efforts. I've seen a few of the offerings there on people and they look great. Have a look and see if you want to fly the G-Ted logo (As seen to the left here) 

That's a wrap for this week! Stay warm!

1 comment:

Tomcat said...

That warakin looks lovely. If I hadn't just built up a wolverine, this would be high on the list.