Friday, May 26, 2023

Friday News And Views

The new KS Suspension Ether Carbon Gravel Bar. (Image courtesy of KS)
 KS Gravel Ether Handlebar- A Mystery:

I saw last week a cycling news site pushing a post about a KS Suspension gravel handle bar. What?! KS Suspension?  The company that does dropper posts? Yes - Them! 

So, I tried to check this out and it seems that information is a bit all over the place as far as the details go, and even when the bar came out is somewhat in question. In fact, it may not even be available......yet!

Here's what I could find out: There are two widths- 42cm and 44cm. There is flare, but I cannot find where any site has that information as to the degree of flare. The riser section is 18mm, which comes off the 31.8mm clamp diameter and then takes up all of the tops section. The bar specs for reach are also not online that I could find, but the images seem to show a bit more than most gravel bars. 

Weight was listed in one place at 270 - 275 grams but at another site it was listed as 230 - 235 grams. ??? Price?? Seems like "Ether" was an apt name choice for this handle bar. 

A new version of the Getaway is out. (Image courtesy of Challenge Tire)
Challenge Tire Introduces New Getaway XP:

The Challenge Tire Getaway model, which I reviewed for Riding Gravel here, has now been upgraded with an extra puncture protected layer which runs sidewall to sidewall. It also is available in a 45mm or 40mm width. 

Sorry! No skin wall in this version. The cost is $94.99 for each tire. 

Comments: Seeing as how the Getaway with a single layer of puncture protection was about the most difficult tire to set up tubeless that I've tried, I cannot imagine this being any easier to set up. If you buy, get a bike shop wrench to do the mounting. Whatever they charge will be worth it. 

And how about the price?! Challenge tires are always pretty dear, but this is a bit surprising, especially with regard to surplus discounting on many items everywhere in the cycling world right now. That said, I really enjoyed the Getaway tire's ride, lightweight, and speed. I did not like that Challenge specifies their sealant, and they weren't wrong to do so, because when I tried something different it immediately started leaking through the sidewalls of the tire. So, that's a bit limiting and there are just too many great tires out there that are easier to mount, cheaper to buy, and can use many brands of sealant without issues. 

Maybe this one is different than the Getaway I tried? Hope so.....

Image courtesy of Gravel Worlds
 Gravel Worlds Athletes Promote Rainbow Bands On Their Jerseys:

Many of you may not know that in 2017 I received a cease and desist letter from the legal consul for the UCI. That's right. Me. Why?

Because the UCI thought I/Riding Gravel were the promoters of Gravel Worlds, (Another reason I quit doing the race calendar. It made people think I put on ALL those events!) and the UCI wasn't digging that Gravel Worlds used the rainbow stripes on winner's jerseys and in promotional material on their website, etc. They threatened me with legal action if I did not comply and take down those stripes. 

Well, my Riding Gravel business partner sent back a quick note explaining that we had nothing to do with that, and I took the opportunity to forward that to the Gravel Worlds team. Subsequently Gravel Worlds took the stripes off the website and jerseys. So, if you noticed, there are no stripes on the 2018-2022 jerseys. That's why.

Well, now a solution has been found which turns the stripes into "bands" and the former winners of several Gravel Worlds categories are now sporting their "bands" on their jerseys these days. The press release states the following:

 "The Pirate Cycling League, host of the annual Gravel Worlds gravel cycling event, announced today that current and former champions are leading a movement by choosing to wear the Gravel Worlds rainbow bands on their jerseys in 2023. This new initiative signifies the wearer's status as a past or present Gravel Worlds champion."

Comments: I love it! I'm not saying this is what the PCL/Gravel Worlds team thinks of the bands, but it is kind of an "in your face" gesture to the UCI after all these years since 2017 and for what the UCI is doing now with their "Gravel World Championship Series".

Spinergy Offers Wheel Trade-In Program:

I received a very interesting press release the other day from Spinergy. It is concerning their new wheel trade-in program where Spinergy will take off $200.00 from normal retail for the trade-in on an alloy wheel set or $400.00 on the trade-in on a carbon wheel set. 

The presser states the following:

" In these tough economic times, finding the
resources to upgrade your bike is challenging to say the least. With the unprecedented inventory levels the cycling industry is experiencing, selling off
your old equipment isn’t an option. Spinergy has decided to help out by offering to take your old wheels, and that means any old wheels, in trade for credit towards a new set of Spinergy Road, Gravel, MTB or E bike wheels.

Comments: Well, at least someone is saying the obvious part in the industry! I read that inventory levels are at unprecedented levels and this promotion pretty much confirms that to be the case. What is bad - beyond the obvious - is that this will only further entrench the idea that the cycling industry is "on the take" and everything has always been somewhat of a rip-off in terms of pricing. That couldn't be further from the truth, but I am betting that this will take years to overcome in the marketplace, if we ever get over it. 

As seen on social media. RAGBRAI sandals are back!
RAGBRAI Sandals Are Back:

Years ago now, maybe back around 2002/2003, a Shimano rep told me that Shimano only sold its SPD compatible sandals in Iowa and surrounding Mid-West states and only before RAGBRAI. So, when they said they were discontinuing them, it was because Shimano thought that they weren't popular anywhere else and the small amount that they did sell just was not worth the bother.

And then the hue and cry went up. Shimano reissued the model, but with several unpopular changes. They stuck with it for a bit, but then they went away again. 

A few years back, they did a limited edition run, and that must have lit a light bulb in Shimano headquarters because now they are purposely making a short run again with the RABRAI logo right there on the sandal. I mean, it only took them 20+ years to figure this out! 

I'm of the opinion that sandals went out with the Romans. I kid! But seriously, they are not my style at all. But hey- if you ever wanted sandals for gravel riding, there ya go!

That's a wrap for this week! Thanks for reading Guitar Ted Productions!


MG said...

So, it sounds like you’re saying I should wear my SPD sandals for the ride into Emporia next week!! LOL… Love ya’, Brother!!

Guitar Ted said...

@MG - If itz yer bag, just do it! :>) Love you too!

Rydn9ers said...

Never understood open toed shoes for gravel or in general really but to each their own I suppose. We often joke with those that ride with us that they are Man-dals and have dubbed them the Mandal mafia.