After a full month plus of complete shutdown, and two weeks at 60% output, Shimano has reportedly re-opened their Malaysian factory components works. A factory said to be responsible for parts production from 105 road level and below, and SLX MTB level and below. The component manufacturer, already behind demand leading into the shutdown, is now further behind on making these critical components for the majority of what bike shops sell here in the U.S.A.
The news, published by a couple of industry specific sites, is good, but with all the critical time lost, coupled with shipping and packaging issues worldwide, this situation has gone from bad to worse for consumers. Things like disc brake pads, disc brake rotors, derailleurs, and wheel components, amongst other bits, are nearly impossible to source.
In the meantime, other manufacturers have been tapped to provide parts for brands seeking to get bicycles into dealer's and consumer's hands. Brands like Microshift, which does complete drive trains, and other lesser known companies, are trying to fill the void where Shimano was once dominant. While some bits seem well up to the task, it is apparent- to this mechanic at least - that many of these components are sub-Shimano quality and likely will not have similar performance or longevity.
Furthermore; it has been whispered that some brands may even skip 2022 model year bikes altogether due to the paucity of parts and shipping woes. Some even say the bigger brands are pushing out the smaller brands for factory capacity to manufacture bicycles. Whatever the truth may be, it sounds a lot like 2022 will be a continuance of 2021 in regard to bicycles and parts.
|The KOM Cycling Saddle Tool Roll on my Noble Bikes GX5.|
Tool Roll Wars:
Recently I was sent a KOM Cycling Saddle Tool Roll for test and review on RidingGravel.com. (Free and at no charge- I'm not being paid for this, yadda,yadda, yadda...) It's a new product for them and for me, it is another 'dreaded tool roll' deal. You see, I haven't been too impressed by this sort of storage idea in the past.
I tried a tool roll once from a company I shall not name, and the thing ended up falling off my bike at unawares after being rock solid on there for over a week and I lost all my good riding tools. Bah!
These things are for the minimal-packing cyclist, but yet they are not all that much lighter or compact than a small under-saddle mounted bag. I should think almost any under-saddle mounted bag wouldn't just fall off your bike. So.....the whole idea of a 'tool roll' was kind of lost on me. But there is a certain romanticized view of such things coming from the road riding world, as I understand it.
Anyway, the tool roll..... I am testing another one. This is a bit like a Silca tool roll, and I was rudely reminded of this by a commenter on an Instagram post I made about the KOM Saddle Tool Roll. "It's a rip-off...", and I'm like, am I supposed to do something about that? It may be similar, yes- probably, but 'rip-off'? So, I figured why not? I ordered up the Silca one as well. (Paid for, not asked to test, yadda, yadda, yadda....)We'll see about the similarities and compare and contrast. Fair and square, without any negativeness or name-calling.
Tool Roll Wars. It's on! Stay tuned......
Sea Otter Australia Postponed:
While to us here in the U.S.A. it may seem as though things are all 'back to normal', the rest of the world is still grappling with the effects of COVID-19. The latest cycling related issue regarding the pandemic is the postponing of the Sea Otter event in Australia to early Fall.
This news comes as case loads of COVID-19 are on the uptick in the U.S.A. Most agree that the Delta variant of COVID is to blame as it is much more contagious than the original COVID strain. It is not engraved in stone that we here in North America won't ever have to isolate, wear masks, or suffer cancellations of events again. This bears watching going forward and things like what we are seeing now in Australia, Japan, Malaysia, (see first entry in today's "FN&V") and elsewhere in the world remind us that despite vaccines being available, this isn't over just yet.
|Cannondale Topstone 2|
Andy's Bike Shop Is Now A Cannondale Dealer!
I've known about this for a while now, but the public statement just went out this past week that Cannondale Bicycles will now be sold through Andy's Bike Shop in Cedar Falls, Iowa. (If you are unaware, I work as a mechanic at Andy's)
Now Andy's Bike Shop sells Kona Bikes, Cannondale, and Reid Bikes. We were pretty happy to land a Cannondale account since it is a brand that has been represented in the Cedar Valley for 30+ years now. After the shop I last worked at went out of business at the end of 2019, Cannondale bikes have been missing from this market area. Not anymore.
Obviously bicycles are hard to come by, but by the end of this month Andy's Bike Shop should know more about exactly when the Cannondales will be rolling in. I don't know exactly what we'll be able to get, but I hope to see some Topstones and maybe.......their new Super Six Evo SE gravel bike. That'd be pretty cool. Stay tuned.........
That's a wrap for this week. have a great weekend and stay cool!