Friday, May 12, 2023

Friday News And Views

Pinarello Dogma XC (Image courtesy of Pinarello)
 Pinarello Develops New XC MTB:

Recently the bicycle press has been all gaga over the sighting of a new Pinarello mountain bike seen under Pro riders Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Tom Pidcock. 

The bike, with information from Pinarello, was introduced officially yesterday. It is a full suspension 29"er with what looks to be some fairly commonplace design signatures. While the basics of this design are older, there are elements of the design which are unique. 

Like many early 29"er FS designs, the Dogma XC does not have a pivot at the rear axle. The travel of the rear is adjustable, via a shock change, from 90mm to 100m to accommodate different courses on the Pro UCI MTB circuit. (Likewise they will be swapping from 100mm to 120mm travel forks.)

All fairly standard fare for Pro level XC racing, but when you dive into the details things get a bit interesting. The rear triangle, which is carbon, (natch), is not a single molded piece, but rather it is made in two halves which have molded in "pins" that connect to the main frame at the main pivot point. 

Image courtesy of Pinarello

The bottom bracket area is also triangulated, or braced, if you'd rather, for maximum efficiency and stiffness. The rear triangle is also asymmetric, something Trek and others have done in the past to combat torque induced wind-up of the rear triangle under extreme pedaling pressure.

The rear triangle being molded in two parts also allowed Pinarello to dispose of the chain stay and seat stay bridges allowing for the shortest possible chain stay length. This also allows the Pro riders to choose wider tire sizes if so desired, up to 2.35". 

Drive train set up is 1X, again, natch. But the chain stay design will allow up to a 40T chain ring to be fitted for flatter, faster courses. According to the press release, the Pro riders will also be using 32T front rings for steeper courses. 

The final interesting bit is the dual shock mounting positions underneath the top tube which allows for the changes in rear travel from 90mm to 100m. Otherwise it is all pretty much standard MTB fare: Boost, internal routing, dropper internal route, head set rotation stop to prevent the bars and fork from over-rotating in the event of a crash, and provisions for two water bottles. 

Comments: No geometry or pricing was given to me, but you may find that in other coverage on this bike. I just thought this was an interesting design from a few standpoints. The split rear triangle with no chain stay or seat stay bracing was an interesting choice. Back around 2000 that was common and everyone was ditching that idea for a stiffer, one-piece solution. What comes around goes around, I guess. Oh! And this does not signal another example of the much over-ballyhooed "Death of the Hardtail". Why? Pinarello dropped in the presser that a hard tail was in development for specific courses. 

New Gravel Event In NE Iowa:

Northeast Iowa has a wealth of hills, twisty gravel roads, and beautiful sights. The area would seem tailor made for a gravel event. However; having put on a couple of gravel events up that way in the past, I have first-hand experience with finding routes around Decorah, Iowa. 

That is the city where a new event called Goliath Gravel Grinder is going to take place on September 30th, 2023. You may have heard about the Toppling Goliath Brewery there, and this event is under their auspices. Claiming that they will have a "world-class gravel event put on by a world-class event director" (??) the event will have two distances of 50K or 100K and registration can be found at this link

Cost to enter is $65.00 for the short course and $75.00 for the longer course. 

Comments: Okay, getting back to my opening statement on this, there are few roads that don't dump you out on pavement up that way which you'd have to ride a mile, two miles, or more, to find a turn onto another gravel road. No big deal? Well, it is up there because sight lines for motorists are quite limited which exposes cyclists to the danger of being struck by a driver who didn't see you in time to stop. 

That's my opinion. What Toppling Goliath's unnamed "world-class" RD does is anyone's guess right now, but in my humble opinion there are but a few routes that "work" for the least amount of highway-speed car exposure. Trans Iowa ran from Decorah for its 3rd and 4th editions up that way, so the area is well known to me. In fact, when the Goliath Gravel Grinder event site states that the 100K riders will be redirected at the Satre Store if they fail to meet a minimum time for the event distance, I know exactly where that is from my time up there. 

Anyone that has done Colesburg or the Iowa Driftless, (formerly Volga 100), events also understands that the downhills can be quite dangerous. More so up there around Decorah because none of their roads are straight. I had people wiping out during T.I.v3 despite numerous warnings to take it easy on the downhills due to the high speeds and lack of traction in corners. Bombing a downhill in a straight line is one thing, taking a sweeping dogleg corner at 40+ mph on gravel on a bike is another. 

But that all said, if you are up for the risk, the reward is a fine view or three and a tough day in the saddle with a beer likely at the end, if you so choose to imbibe. 

Waterford Precision Cycles To Close:

On May 10th I was forwarded the email telling dealers that Waterford Precision Cycles was closing at the end of June. A snippet of the announcement can be seen here in image provided. 

The statement went on to say that many employees are reaching retirement which helped precipitate this announcement. Furthermore; the statement went on to give a glimmer of hope that there may be a resolution to keep the restoration and production services going, but that nothing of substance could be shared on that at this point. 

Comments: In case you did not know, Waterford was started in the same facility that used to produce Schwinn's Paramount bicycles in Wisconsin. It has been run by Richard Schwinn for many years as well. So, the company has a lineage going back many decades. It is a historical punctuation mark on part of the story of American bicycle production that has no equal. Well, that is if there is no going forward for the company.

Also this announcement makes me wonder if these difficult times in the bicycle business may produce more like announcements. Time will tell, but with stock at such high levels making some companies dump prices dramatically, you have to wonder if there might not be more fallout in a similar vein to Waterford. 

New Podcast Episode Featuring Michelle Combs Carithers of the Colesburg Back 40:

 The Colesburg 40, as this event was known as for years, is Iowa's oldest and longest running cycling event held on gravel. N.Y. Roll has done the event a few times and suggested we interview current RD of the event, Michelle Combs Carithers. 

We did just that and learned a lot of cool things about the Driftless area and the event. They have even added a 200 mile option which will start on Friday evening. The event this year is slated for Saturday, September 2nd, 2023 and will take place in Colesburg, Iowa. 

It was fun talking with Michelle about the area and you'll see how the conversation opens up when we find we have a mutual understanding of some of the areas roads there around Colesburg. I really enjoyed this interview and I hope that you check it out. Maybe you will want to test yourself against the hills in Northeast Iowa after listening? Maybe. But if you do, bring your climbing legs! (And be careful on those downhills!)

You can find the Spotify site at this link for this episode or look for the Guitar Ted Podcast wherever you get your podcast feed from. 

That's a wrap for this week! Have a great weekend and get in some riding!

1 comment:

R said...

I spent my college years in Decorah (99-2003) and got familiar with the gravel scene during that time (on my 26" dual sus specialized :). I go back at least once a year to do their single-track, and spend a day or two on gravel. Lansing to Waterville. Highlandville to Bluffton. Any loops north of Decorah. The gravels are world class - absolutely beautiful. However, you're right about the pavement connectors - there's no grid system up there - and some gravel roads are just as busy as 2 lane highways (and drivers go fast)... I hate to admit this, but there's also a lot of redneck locals - who aren't exactly welcoming to fancy-pants cyclists. Inside Decorah you'll be treated well - outside, not always the case. I can see where a race director might have more trouble to deal with up there (and yes, those downhills are insane)!