Friday, January 20, 2023

Friday News And Views

The RP Designs "Smart-Cockpit Bar" (Image courtesy of RP Designs)
 Electronic Devices In Your Handle Bar:

RP Designs has announced their "Smart-Cockpit MTB Edition" handle bar which is made from carbon fiber and has an integrated computer with a 5" touch screen embedded into it. 

The website for the product has the following to say about the computer features: "The exposed weave carbon fiber body is completed with fully-integrated Smart-Cockpit custom touch screen computer. Apple Carplay/ Android Auto connectivity and Cytech training app (powered by Strava) are pre-loaded on the system to provide you with all the training information and motivation you need for that next PB."

The bar also features fully integrated brake hose routing and instant cred due to that fancy outer layer of carbon with a weave that will definitely let all those in the car park know that you have a carbon bar. The price for such notoriety and electronic technology? $790.00. 

Comments: When I saw this, I figured this guy would be totally on-board with the idea. (sarcasm alert - "this guy' rants about electronic shifting, et alia, on social media a lot)  Anyway, yeah...... Whoo! I guess if I were really out there doing the MTB thing, my thought would be that this touch screen thing is going to look a lot like a smashed window, and if not that, like a mass of swirly scratches, in pretty short order. 

Troubles On Morgan Hill:

Last week it was widely reported in cycling media that Specialized has laid off 8% of its work force world wide. Reports out of the U.S. and U.K. seem to indicate that the layoffs were across several job types. 

Specialized put out a statement which read, in part, the following:

This past week, Specialized made the incredibly difficult decision to say goodbye to 8% of teammates around the world. With the global economy changing faster than anticipated and rapid changes within cycling, the organisation adjustment will allow the brand to be adaptive whilst still investing in innovation.

One report stated that some in the cycling industry are speculating that signs are pointing to Specialized readying itself for a purchase. The company has brought in several new C-suite people and coupled with the trimming of staff, these signs have many in the cycling world troubled.  Also noteworthy is the severe over-stock situations being noted across the cycling industry which only adds to the negative outlook.

 Comments: With recent news that Giant has asked for a delay of payment to suppliers, and news that sales of bicycles at the U.K. retailer Halfords has fallen below pre-COVID levels, the scene is set for a rocky 2023 in cycling retail and wholesale. What will happen will be affected by a large degree on consumer spending habits come Spring. If we don't see consumers spending on new bicycles and gear at least at the levels we had seen in 2019, as in the case of Halfords, I think the U.S. cycling industry is in for a very bumpy ride. 

Oh! And on the same day the Specialized lay-off news hit, Specialized was also feted in another news article telling of the company's purchase of Pearl Izumi's former digs for a cool 14.9 million bucks. Not a good look there, I would think. 

New Podcast Alert:

N.Y. Roll and I recorded another new podcast and it posted on Monday evening. This time we speculate on the 2023 selling season for the bike industry, we talk about retail experiences, and more. You can check it out HERE

Also- We are trying to amplify under-the-radar gravel events with the podcast, so if you know of a cool event that needs a boost, let me know and we'll try to keep that segment of the podcast going as a standard bit. We also would appreciate any suggestions for interview. You can comment here or, as always, hit me up at 

Thanks for checking the podcast out!

IRC Announces Partnerships With Belgian Waffle Ride, UNBOUND:

An announcement in the form of two separate press releases hit my inbox this week letting me know that IRC Tire had become the "official tire" of both UNBOUND Gravel and the Belgian Waffle ride. The presser specifically called out the Boken DoubleCross model. You can see an image from the UNBOUND  announcement alongside here. 

Comments:  IRC said in the release that IRC "designed the Boken DoubleCross for this event". Hmm... I smell "Marketing". 

It doesn't take much sleuthing to find reviews of the Boken DoubleCross going back to 2019, so whether IRC had the Flint Hills in mind when they designed this tire or not is debatable. They could have, of course, but it could also be out of convenience for this sponsorship.The presser makes it sound  like this is a new development. Okay..... 

The other thing I think about here is "What does anything like this sponsorship mean other than money/support for the event?" By my count this is the third "official tire" the Kansan event has had over the years. (IRC, Panaracer, Teravail) The name gets plastered all over the event page, anywhere the event is advertised, and provides a "feather in the cap" for social media marketing for IRC, but does anything like this make a real dent in rider choice of tire? Hmm..... I'm sure IRC would like to know that as well. 

And that little "seal of approval" that the BWR and UNBOUND post on these releases- Does that have any real bearing on what works on their courses? Maybe. Maybe it is fluff. Hard to know since there is no metric to go by on that. And maybe nobody really cares....

Okay, that's a wrap on another FN&V. Have a great weekend and try to get outside and enjoy yourself!


MG said...

Yeah, the next year or two are gonna be wild. I suspect things will look quite different within the industry once the shakeout occurs. It seems to me that the big S is wildly grasping for straws that’ll give them a little longer life.

Guitar Ted said...

@MG - Yeah, I see where the Pros Closet just reduced its workforce again. Tough times and this may be just the beginning.