Friday, May 27, 2022

Friday News And Views

Tweet from Neil Rogers seen last Thursday
Outside Media Lays Off A "Significant Number" Of Employees:

Within the last few years, Outside Incorporated had annexed several publications under its media umbrella, including Cyclingtips, Beta, and VeloNews. Industry rag, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, and registry company athleteReg were also gobbled up within the last few years. I was hoping that the typical thing that happens to media conglomerations wouldn't happen, but it appears that it has, indeed, gone down as many had feared. 

Since COVID hit the scene, a lot of upheaval has occurred in the economic landscape and publishing was not immune to the effects. BIKE Magazine folded in 2020 due to the pandemic, but many of the staff were invited to start up the publication called, BETA, which was online only and subscription based. Sounded like a great idea, until- apparently- it wasn't. In the thread under the Tweet I have shown here, a commenter mentioned that BETA had been shut down. It also was reported in the Tweet thread that Outside Incorporated is planning on reducing print media by 60% or more.

It also appears that Ben Delaney, a columnist for VeloNews, was let go as his Strava post was also shared on that same Tweet thread. Corporatization of media has traditionally led to such blood-lettings of talent, and - it would seem- Outside Incorporated is no different in that regard. 

Comments: I'll be honest and upfront here: I don't like mergers, I don't trust big corporate boards, and media conglomerations under one roof are never a good idea. Now we have less talent, and apparently less outlets to read from, and the 'narrative' will only get more monetized as we go forward. Sorry for the dour outlook, but really? I'm not sorry. We should know better. 

More details emerged later Thursday regarding the lay-offs.

As far as digital content, I am not sure how that will work. Obviously news and features will get cut back since attention spans are measured digitally and when someone clicks out, they note that time. That is conflated to mean that the person is not reading through long form articles, so that style of news and features gets cut. Whether or not that is actually true, or merely self-fulfilling prophecy is not known. I know I'll read a longer piece in a magazine at my leisure, but trying to read from a phone, or tablet, is not pleasant, and you get distracting pop-up ads, prompts, and mayhem of all sorts on many of these sites. Paper is 'calmer', and I think, easier to read longer times with. 

I notice this with this blog. My stats show the vast majority of you read this on a PC. Some tablets are used and almost no one is using a phone to read this blog. Guess which sort of device most people use to engage digital content with now? 

Phones don't lend themselves to comfortable, longer timed reads, so mass media gets this, and you get more sugar-coated candy with a side of pop-up ad and distraction. Have fun with that and those 'empty calories'..... 

Another interesting perspective on the current print media landscape and this Outside Incorporated layoff can be read here:

Ere Research "Tenaci" grip system

ere Research Shows Drop Bar Grip Idea:

Scrolling through the innergoogles, as one does, I came across this new company called 'ere Reseaerch' which I had never heard of before. Looking at tires first, I came across a more interesting product offering from this company called Tenachi Handlebar Covers.

I gather that the bottom part, which goes on the extensions and up into the drops, is one piece and then the rest from the lever perches on up to the tops is pretty much standard tape. ere says, "They are designed to give as many pressure-relieved hand positions as possible and are exceptionally suitable for long days in the saddle."

Comments: So, this is kind of like track grips and bar tape together. Not a bad idea, really. I could see where this idea could not only provide a better, more secure grip in the drops, but that with the right materials, that it could be a vibration damper as well. I did actually test something similar years ago but those were stick on pads, and did not encompass the handle bar

I actually tried to order some of this but apparently the company doesn't ship to the United States. (??) I couldn't find that option in the drop down menu, at any rate. So, maybe later......

2022 Cutthroat, Warbirds Announced:

Salsa Cycles released the new colors and specifications for their 2022 Cutthroat, Warbird, and Warroad models. I won't bother with the Warroad bikes as they are not my cuppa tea and are not really all-road/gravel bikes. (They kind of are, but....they are a weird niche bike, in my opinion)

2022 Cutthroat GRX 600 (Image courtesy of Salsa Cycles)

Colors and specifications on bikes that have not fundamentally changed in what? Four years now, Five....? Not that it matters much. I mean by that to say this: The Warbird and Cutthroat don't really need to change much, if at all. The designs are pretty dialed and unless you are going in for some radical change, (and why would you?), these bikes seem to be pretty much at the pinnacle of their design evolution. 

Not that Salsa Cycles is not working on something. I am sure that they are, it's just that it would be hard to understand them dropping Class V VRS or carbon, or all the versatility in these bikes as they are set up. Refine the bikes? Maybe. Ground up redesign? Hmm...... If they can, I guess they will, but it would be hard to imagine what they would do. 

I have seen comments by folks pining for steel drop bar bikes, titanium drop bar bikes, and the same in MTB/bikepacking from Salsa. Here's the thing- they did that and you folks didn't buy them. Not in enough numbers to perpetuate bikes like the titanium models they used to make, like the Ti Vaya, (a KILLER gravel bike, by the way), or the Ti El Mariachi, a quintessential bike packing rig. And steel? Yeah, they dd that too, but you almost couldn't give them away. Only the venerable Fargo has really sold in any significant numbers for a Salsa model that is made from steel. And frankly, I am surprised that Salsa still offers that model in steel!

Finally, availability on the Shimano equipped 2022 models will be delayed until Fall, according to the information I received. That would probably be a good indication of what to expect from other brands as well, but what can be said for sure is that if you want a Warbird or Cutthroat now, it will be a SRAM equipped bike. 

Old Glory waves on a farm North of Waterloo.

Memorial Day Weekend:

This is a long weekend for many and the first holiday which is considered to 'kick-off' Summertime in the Mid-West. The weather, while not having been very Summer-like", has been okay of late and this weekend looks clear so far. 

Of course, it is a busy weekend for many of us as well. Graduations, vacations, and just recreating can eat into your time in a hurry. maybe we get so tied up in the fast-paced activities for three days that we tend to forget why we even have this holiday.

I suggest a slowing down, disconnect, and some introspection might be appropriate. Spend some quiet time considering this holiday, and consider showing some gratitude where appropriate. 

I'll maybe have time on Monday to do a bit of a ride. I hope that you all have a wonderful, safe, and meaningful weekend. Thanks for reading Guitar Ted Productions.


Jeb said...

Just checked the handlebar grip site and it states free worldwide shipping just under the add to cart button.

Guitar Ted said...

@Jeb - Yes, you are right about that. However; when I put something in the cart, and go to check out, there is no option to ship to the United States in the drop down menu. If I go ahead and add my address, a message pops up stating that there is no available shipping to that address and to chose another address. So...... ????

Derek said...

I rarely fire up the computer unless I need to type a document or work on a spreadsheet, so for me, the phone it is!

I wonder why Salsa had lower sales of steel bikes. Around here I see All City steel bikes all day long.

FarleyBob said...

Happy Memorial Day weekend GT!

teamdarb said...

I am of the minority. I only have an unsmart smartphone to see things online. I find it annoying to click on a blog to find a single paragraph or a video. I feel like writing and even photography have become "youtube"....where anyone can start a channel. Most of that content to be filler for clicks. Long format writing on sites is hard to read on my old tech, but so are old books written with words I have to look up the definition to.
Thankfully I discovered "easy read" mode and an App called "Pocket" years ago. It makes reading so much easier.
I do not travel with tablets, laptops, or netbooks (do they still make them). Everyhing becomes subject to moisture or lost.....even books.

teamdarb said...

I had been wondering how much longer Outside would go with all these swallow up and new ventures. They had been advertising hard for those Beta online subscriptions, which to me beats the point of Beta, errr Bike originally- the photos! You really have to have the page in hand to grasp the beauty, similar to National Geo and Time Mag. Every Beta mag cover is worth holding (5 total, I believe). Think classic Bike and Dirt Rag.

Guitar Ted said...

@Derek - Well, according to my stats, if they are to be believed, you are one of the rare readers using a phone here.

Guitar Ted said...

@FarleyBob - Thank you! I hope that you have a great weekend as well.