Friday, April 21, 2023

Friday News And Views (SOE)

 NOTE: Today is Day Two of Sea Otter which is happening at the Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterrey, California. The "FN&V" will feature several news bits from the show as a result. 

State Bicycle Company partners with Taco Bell (Image courtesy of State Bicycle Co.)

State Bicycle Company And Taco Bell Collaborate On Bicycle & Apparel:

Taco Bell - You may have downed a few products from this fast food joint after a ride session or two over the years. I remember Taco Bell as being my mainstay food source as a young mechanic back in the 90's. ("Bean & Green"!) Well, jokes and anecdotes aside, the restaurant chain has a new collaboration out as of yesterday with the State Bicycle Company. They used their "DGAF Klunker" as a canvass to do a livery on reflecting the purple, yellow, white, and pink colors of Taco Bell. The bike will also be available with accessories like the $69.99 tank bag, (shown), and even a bib short and jersey set will be for sale along with the bike. (The kit actually isn't bad looking, by the way)

Comments: No price on the bike. Hmm... Anyway, this probably will sell out. While I no longer am a fan of Taco Bell, due to an unfortunate experience in their Waterloo, Iowa outlet, I suppose the popularity and novelty of this will help sales along just fine. You don't see a lot of collaborations that aren't (a) done on the worst quality bicycles, or (b) that aren't extremely expensive to buy. This is one that actually makes sense and is (kind of) cool. 

WTB Introduces The "Gravelier" Saddle:

You've seen this saddle before. No, really! You've seen it several times here on the blog before its "official" release yesterday. This is the saddle I currently have on my Twin Six Standard Rando v2 since, oh, mid-March, I would guess. 

That aside, the saddle was released to the public yesterday at Sea Otter. I have a review of it already along with some input from MG who also got one of these to ride. That can be found at Riding Gravel. 

Comments:  Well, I resisted the "wide-short" saddle thing for years thinking I had already found what I wanted in WTB's Silverado saddle in the medium width. However; last year I grew to love that new Ergon saddle which is one of these new breeds of saddle and now that I've tried this one, well.... 

It's really quite good. I think that the Ergon saddle edges this one out only because the foam that Ergon uses for padding gives you a bit more comfort than the WTB one does, but had I never ridden that Ergon one, yeah.... It's the bees knees. 

As a side note, WTB sent me the carbon railed version, which is something I'd not tried before. I guess its okay. I mean, it's crazy light! It isn't any stiffer, really, and maybe it does something to attenuate vibrations, but I don't know. I mean, I don't get on it and think, "Wow! These carbon rails are the bomb!", because I simply do not notice them. AND - I hope I never really do, if you know what I mean!

Chris King re-introduces 3D Violet (Image courtesy of Chris King)

It's NOT Purple! Chris King Makes 3D Violet Available Again:

While not technically a Sea Otter release, Chris King has announced that you will now be able to get any of their current component offerings in the famous 3D Violet hue once again. 

This includes the reintroduced 6 bolt disc hub line. So, anyone out there that doesn't like Center Lock, well there you go! 

Comments: Did you know that, according to the press release I was sent, that Chris King made their first 3D Violet parts back in 1988? It was in response to what was going on in the BMX world, where the anodized color was taking off. I did not know that until I received that presser. 

I just remember "violet" (purple) anodizing being a huge deal in the early 1990's MTB scene. Of course, then there were the other colors that followed. Probably the next most famous being turquoise ano, (blue) which dominated for about a year. Ah! Those days were the days, right? You could get anodized bits in all the colors of the rainbow. And now? Well, quietly, colored components have made something of a comeback, and I can't say that this makes me sad.

Limar Air Atlas (Image courtesy of LIMAR)

Limar Introduces Revamped Helmet Line:

Limar helmets have revamped their entire helmet line and there are several enhancements to the new helmets. The most "gravel" of the choices being the "Air Atlas" helmet which is Limar's aero, super-lightweight offering. 

It features their "Fidlock" magnetic buckle, seven front air vents, four NACA vents, six rear vents, and six inner air channels. 

There also is an optional aerodynamic fairing attachment for the rear of this helmet that Limar calls "UFO". It helps with airflow over the helmet and Limar claims that in wind tunnel testing that it can save up to an additional 0.7 watts at 40K/hr over just the bare Air Atlas helmet. 

Price for the Air Atlas is $319.95

Comments: I know that for a lot of you this aero thing seems like nonsense, that you are not going fast enough to benefit from it, and that it is too expensive. You are only right on one point. Aero is a thing and if you ride long distances in the country, this is where you will see a big difference. Hey, you can ignore it all you want to, but the science and physics are right there for anyone to check out.

But yeah, at three hundred, nineteen bucks? Woof! That's a lot for a skid-lid. And a lot of aero stuff is also very spendy. So, I get it. Plus, a general rant here on helmet sizing: Ya know, some of us out here have large noggins. I cannot use a Limar helmet as their size Large only goes up to 62cm and my head is 63cm. No go... I guess big-headed folks are out of luck here. (Hint: Bontrager makes a helmet which goes up to 66cm in their Starvos and their aero Circuit Wavecell goes to 63cm. Both fit me perfectly) 

The Salsa Cycles e-gravel bike, the Confluence

Salsa Cycles Surprises At Sea Otter With Confluence E-gravel Bike:

My friend Grannygear is at Sea Otter again this year. He lives near enough that he can drive a few hours and attend, so he generally agrees to do me a favor and scour the show for gravel stuff. Well, this year he came across a surprise find at Salsa Cycles booth.

The booth featured an e-bike called the Confluence which is an aluminum framed gravel bike with a hub drive motor and GRX components in fkat or drop bar versions. Kind of like a high-end Journeyer idea here. Unfortunately, I don't have any more details at this time about the bikes. 

Comments: Salsa Cycles seems to be making a big move toward e-bike models with this introduction, and no wonder, these electrified bikes are all the rage in Europe where it is said that over half of all bikes sold at retail are electric now. Previous to this, Salsa had no real presence in the e-bike area. My instincts tell me that we are due to see a whole lot more electrification from Salsa going forward. 

The booth was festooned with "Salsa Cycles Electric" banners which tells me that the focus going forward will be electric for Salsa. This was kept under wraps pretty well, as I had no inkling of this release, but it does make a lot of sense for Salsa's Euro dealers and the REI Coop customers that Salsa sells to.

The IWAR Team and I in 2020

Good Luck To The Iowa Wind And Rock Riders & Promoters!

This weekend marks the running of the fifth Iowa Wind And Rock event (IWAR). The forecast for the festivities is looking like a typical late April deal. Chilly at night, decent during the day, and yeah, most probably windy. This is Iowa after all! 

The event is run by Sarah Cooper, Steve Fuller, and Dori Jansma. They will be starting out of  the parking lot of a Fareway Grocery store in Winterset, Iowa at 4:00am. Yes.... That's four in the morning! 

I wanted to extend my best wishes for the event, the riders, and especially for the Race Directors and their Volunteers. This event is obviously a take on Trans Iowa, an extension of it, perhaps, and since that is the case, I understand intimately what it takes to do such an endeavor.

So, here's to all involved! May you all see success and gain something you did not have before you started after it is over. I'll be watching from afar.....

That's it for this week! Have a great weekend and get in a ride!


NY Roll said...

Salsa and eBikes? I am really not surprised they have not done it sooner. Looking at how they changed their BB design years ago in their bikes, if looked as if they were planning for eBikes then in 2016-2018 time frame.

Guitar Ted said...

@N.Y. Roll - I think the fact that Salsa is a small company with limited resources coupled with two to three years of supply disruptions has a lot to do with their delay to get into this market. The simplicity of the Confluence is also a testament to that. It probably required the least amount of resources to put together. An e-MTB FS bike would be a LOT more expensive to pull off well.

MG said...

Well, I guess it's good I rode Salsa bikes and raced for their team when the actually built bikes I want to ride. Aside from the Cutthroat and perhaps the Ti Fargo, there's nothing even remotely interesting in their line to me… and those two bikes aren't exactly 'new'.

MG said...

Oh, and I just checked the State Bicycle site. The Taco Bell Klunker retails for $420.69 with the frame bag. Now that's a price I can get into...

Guitar Ted said...

@MG - Yeah, when QBP started bleeding key figures from many of their brands I knew something was afoot. Turns out that the new flavor in town was vanilla. Sells well, I'm sure, but I like my bikes spicy, if you know what I mean. ;>)

MG said...

Amen, Brother… I’m right there with ya.