Friday, June 18, 2021

Friday News And Views

The Juiced Cross Current electrified bike. Image courtesy of Juiced
 A Recent Experience With An HPC:

 So since I work at Andy's Bike Shop, I get to see some of these electrified HPC's (Hybrid Powered Cycles) and really get to see how they are made and this time, how a particular model rode. Let me tell you- there is a big disconnect between what endemic cycling brands say and what reality is. 

So, the mainstream story on so-called 'e-bikes' is that there are three classes regulated so that anything outrageous, too fast, or anything you do not have to pedal is relegated to licensing and insurance, like a motorcycle. They call the rider-assisted type HPC's "pedelecs". Okay? So, the prevailing thought is that this whole segment is regulated and safe and orderly now. 

No, no, no! This segment is anything but well regulated. In fact, it is the wild, wild West, if it is anything. And- there is zero policing of rules anyway- so they are meaningless. Case in point- the Juiced brand model I worked on the other day. While it does have a 'pedelec' factor in that there is assist when you pedal, it has a throttle, and you don't have to pedal it. So, a hybrid of a hybrid. Anyway, this 56lb beast, (yes, that's what Juice claims, but it actually may be heavier), goes 28mph and gets to that speed in a very unnatural time. The pedal assist, while adjustable, is also very unnatural feeling- to me. 

Now, I get it- "It allows my________ (fill in the blank) to ride where otherwise....." Yes. Fine, I am onboard with all of that. Does it get 'more people out riding more often'? Maybe. I'm not convinced numbers are up around here because of HPC's, but maybe..... These people are getting the same 'work-out' as people riding 100% human powered rigs? That's a very dubious claim. After riding one of these and seeing how little effort is required? I am extremely doubtful of those statements. 

Also- This rig goes for $1600-$1700 depending upon options. That's a lot less than most 'bike shop brand' HPC's and- in my opinion- still too expensive for the general non-cycling or casual cycling public. The very people that HPC advocates are saying these cycles will appeal to. Plus- they are heavy, not very well spec'ed, and aren't serviced by many shops. Now we at Andy's do work on them, but I know most shops in the area will not touch these things. Of course, that's extremely helpful to the cause of the HPC (sarcasm alert). But this is the future. Sooner or later all shops will have to figure out how to work on these things. May as well start now.....

And that's my take on things HPC at this point.....

The HED Wheels Emporia GC3 carbon rimmed wheels. Image courtesy of HED

HED Wheels Amps Up Inner Rim Widths For Gravel:

I've opined on rim widths for gravel/back road wheels before, so I am not going to bang on about that a lot here, but HED Wheels' newest offering is another example of the 'wider is better' philosophy with its 26mm inner rim width. 

The 'other trend' this wheel set represents is that of lowering costs for carbon rimmed wheels. The mainstream brands are finally recognizing that many consumers are looking at and buying carbon rims from places like Nextie and other Far East firms which sell rims for not a lot more than what aluminum rims sell for. So, complete wheel set prices, for carbon rims, used to all be 2G+ and now we're seeing those prices float down to 1500 and in some cases, around a thousand bucks. The Spinergy GX wheels being a great example of that. 

Now, of course, you have some compromises when you spend less from the major brands. That HED wheel set is 1500+ grams, so it isn't going to wow you with incredibly easy to spin up feelings like, say a sub-1300 gram, super-expensive wheel set would. But at 1600-ish bucks? That's not bad. But you can even find less expensive wheels than that at about the same weight, like these from Bontrager, which are about 300 bucks less than the HED wheels are.  

In a time when everything is hard to get and when you do- it cost a lot more- this trend in carbon fiber rimmed wheels is nice to see. Will it last? Hard to say. My guess is that we will see things stabilize and maybe creep upwards in price, especially if places like Nextie start to move up on prices from where they are now. But if not, this competition is good for the buyer, and with all the quality options out there now, there are certainly more reasons than ever to check out a carbon wheel set for a gravel bike. 

The new Cannondale "Dave" jump bike. Image courtesy of Cannondale
Cannondale Debuts New Dirt Jump Bike:

You know that the shortages are real when a dirt jump bike with a single speed drive train and 26" wheels is 'big news' for a major brand. Usually this sort of introduction would get very little notice, but with not much else to talk about, the marketing 'paint brush' was all in on painting the picture for us in regard to the Dave and what it is for. 

But let's be honest here- Do we really need anyone to tell us about this bike? It is a 'big-person's BMX bike' and that's about all you need to go on. You know, tricks, jumping, hopping, general hooliganism. That's what Dave is all about. 

Have you heard those pundits that say "All Bikes Are Gravel Bikes"? Let's see them do a metric century on a Dave and ask them about that afterward. Ha! But the point is, this bike telegraphs its intended use quite well without any further explanations. Marketing just doesn't have a whole lot to do of late, so- you know- they have to justify their salaries and come up with something. (Again- sarcasm alert

I've seen bikes like these before come through my work stand. Frankly, they are nothing to get worked up about. They are tools to be used up, and most of the time, that's how they appear when I've seen such bicycles. Used up, ridden hard- put away wet. A hammer for those inclined to pound the bike park or urban landscapes with. If it is your cuppa tea, then this might be interesting. 

Oh, and by the way, Andy's Bike Shop is now a Cannondale dealer too. Full disclosure here...... 

Reminder On The Trans Iowa T-Shirt/Book Fund:

Last week I floated an idea by you all. It had to do with the series "Trans Iowa Stories" being put into a book format at some point and a way that you, the readers, could help that along a bit by buying a Trans Iowa v14 logo shirt. 

Click that link to learn more. What I wanted to do today was twofold- remind you of that opportunity to get in on the t-shirt and help out, (done), and there is one other thing I wanted to run by everybody here.

I was thinking the other day. "I'm writing this book, but I am a part of the story too. (Big part? Small part? Am I dreaming I ever was a part of it? You decide.....) I was thinking that what this project needs is a voice with no real horse in the race that could maybe ask some Trans Iowa riders and related folks what their take is on me, my part in things, and Trans Iowa in general. I do not have the proper perspective to undertake such a task. Plus, this book, if it happens, needs that angle to be interesting and complete. 

So, if you are interested in taking that on, or if you know anyone that might be interested in such a thankless task as looking into my contributions to Trans Iowa and the event itself, then comment,or contact me at and I will discuss the idea with said individual. I cannot promise the efforts will result in anything but an experience to learn from, but you never know.... 

Okay, that's a wrap for another week. Get out and ride! Thanks for reading!


NY Roll said...

I rode a Divvy eBike in Chicago this past weekend. I am scratching my head at people whom say these things are not motorized. I may be a pedal masher, and I like a slow cadenace, but hte amount of effort I was putting vs the speed I was at, was absurd, there was very little assist, and more of keeping it going once up to speed. HPC is a more accurate take on eBikes. It is a ePed in reality.

Tim said...

A daughter lives in Chicago and has used Divvy for years. They recently upgraded the ebikes. They now have more speed. She usually uses full pedal, but when in a hurry and not wanting to sweat the eDivvy cannot be beat, in her opinion. Next visit to the city I may try one.

Scott said...

I think the Dave is an important bike for Cannondale's mtb image. They've invested in Josh Bryceland and his crew. If you are familiar with Bryceland, a DJ is absolutely necessary for the image they are trying to portray. I agree it's not necessarily big news for the industry but I think Cannondale was smart to add it to their lineup.

GreenDog said...

My friend has riden dozens of gravel centuries on a rigid single speed On One Inbred. It looks very similar to the Dave.

Blain said...

I live in a fairly bike centric area and see lots of throttle ‘e-bikes.’ They’re really not much different to 50cc scooters in that they can’t quite keep up with traffic, but aren’t quite bicycles either. I have a Bosch e-cargo bike (19ish mph pedal assist limit) for shuttling kids/groceries/me around town and LOVE it. No, I don’t care to see them on human powered trails, but as a transportation tool to minimize consumption they’re fantastic. Even if they’re zipping along at 28mph(+).

Guitar Ted said...

@GreenDog - I happen to have two On One Inbred single speeds and they are worlds apart from a Cannondale "Dave" in design. I've actually used one of my Inbreds as a gravel bike several times as well. They do the job quite nicely.

DT said...

Who was that author that covered those "outrageous" sports, and had a chapter on Trans Iowa? He shadowed you for 24+ hours, maybe he'd be willing to lead the interview process?

Guitar Ted said...

@DT - That would have been Zach Dundas He wrote “The Renegade Sportsman “. He gets actual money for writing which, ah…. Let’s just say he might be a bit more expensive than what I can afford.