The news isn't good concerning shipping, and COVID in the world, for that matter, which is affecting shipping. We heard last week from an industry contact that China's largest shipping port is closed due to the pandemic. Manufacturers are still sitting on huge quantities of finished products in the Far East with no means of getting them to Europe or North America. Furthermore, this has caused some factories to cut down production, since they cannot get raw materials to produce products, or get finished goods off the docks.
I would assume that unless product is 'on the water', which is shipping parlance for 'already on the way', that many things we need here will be delayed until late in 2021 or early 2022 at the soonest. It would appear that, by reading through things I have heard and seen, that 2022 will be a 'lost season' for bicycles for several companies. The so-called "Big Four", (Cannondale, Specialized, Trek, and Giant) may have some bikes showing up, but several smaller brands are shut out due to the scarcity of parts and the raw materials to make them. Some of these brands will, no doubt, have to wait until 2023 to have new bikes to sell.
Thursday, Shimano sent out a communication to dealers and LBS' to say that the Malaysian factory shutdown is indefinite, (it was to be reviewed on 6/28/21) and that this will affect all groups BELOW 105 and SLX, wheels, hubs, and some cassettes and free wheels. This means that the severe aftermarket shortage will be extended, but more than this- the 'meat of the bicycle market', will be adversely affected as well.
As the Delta variant of COVID rages throughout the globe and a Winter of uncertainty looms in terms of flu and further COVID outbreaks, this situation remains fluid. One bright spot- The Evergiven, the ship that plugged the Suez canal back in March for about a week, has finally been released and is sailing to Europe with its cargo. A small pittance, but at least something to cheer about here.
|Lachlan Morton- Image from Twitter|
You've probably heard about Lachlan Morton, the Pro road rider that is raising funds to help get bikes for World Bicycle Relief. His attempt to run the entire 2021 Tour de France stages solo, self-supported and ride all transfers, has raised a lot of kudos and awareness amongst the roadie cognoscenti. Many are ballyhooing all this as being quite remarkable and noteworthy, and while I would agree to some extent, I have a question. "Where were you when Stamstad, Curiak, Matthew Lee, Mike Hall, and literally thousands of others were doing exactly this?"
I don't take anything away from Morton's efforts, but the way the Pro roadie press would have you believe things, this is an oddity and 'new'. That's my observation and my only nit against this story. It isn't anything new, excepting the specific format, which, in a way, is kind of ironic in that Morton is beating the peloton to Paris as we speak.
These sorts of efforts often are held to be a throwback to what some think of as 'more pure forms of competitive cycling'. You know, like the Tour was supposed to be way back when. But I disagree. This is one way to ride a bicycle competitively, and others have their ideas. As a fan of cycling, and as a sometimes participant in competitive events, I neither have to participate, nor pay any attention at all to any of it, no matter what some say about 'purity' or what have you. I only wish that reporting on this particular feat would have a bit longer perspective and not be so shallow historically speaking.
|Image courtesy of Trek|
Bontrager RSL MTB Handlebar/Stem Introduced:
Every few years or so we see a company, this time it is Bontrager (again), that tries a one piece bar/stem combo in carbon for road or MTB. Bontrager has just dropped the RSL level MTB handlebar/stem for $349.99. The bar/stem is made in OCLV carbon, has a 0° or -13° stem angle options, and comes in a few different lengths of stem reach and two bar widths, the longest being 820mm. the bars can be customized for length by cutting them down at prescribed trim lines at 40mm from the ends.
Comments: Impressive weight savings, (214-250 grams, depending on model) carbon feel, and a sleek look with the addition of integrated Bontrager "Blender" mounts make this a sweet choice if..... If you like the angles and the specific choices available. Want to rotate the bar a tad to meet your preferences? Too bad, you cannot do that.
And that, ultimately, has always been one of the biggest downfalls to one piece bar/stem combinations. That and any damage to the bar means you have to get a stem as well. Or if you want a 10mm longer stem, or a 5mm shorter one, well...... You know. It seems like a great idea until these things come along. But for those who can get around all that? Here you go..... They are available now online or from a Trek dealer near you.
|Image courtesy of Wolf Tooth|
B-Rad Everywhere Base Introduced:
Just when I go spouting off on alternative bottles and cage mounts, here comes a product in the same vein from Wolf Tooth, the B-Rad Everywhere Base.
Obviously, not a new idea here, but the B-Rad Everywhere Base does do it a bit differently by utilizing the tried and true B-Rad aluminum base and silicone backed straps. There are two hole and three hole styles to accommodate traditional water bottle cages or those triple boss, cargo style cages.
The aluminum base can also be used as a traditional B-Rad cage mount to offset a cage 'by up to 22mm', which in my case would have been great. However; I am using a different B-Rad mount I already have. Had I known this was coming out? I may have opted for it as it is a really versatile product from the looks of it.
The B-Rad Everywhere Base kit is available now from Wolf Tooth at $24.95
And that's a wrap folks! Have a great weekend and get some riding in! Thanks again for reading Guitar Ted Productions.