Friday, June 09, 2023

Friday News And Views

GRX goes to 12 speed mechanical (Image by Matt Gersib)
Leaked Images Show Shimano GRX 12 Speed:

In a leaked set of images from the recently run Unbound Gravel event, we have learned what we thought was pretty much a given at thie point. That being that Shimano will be offering 12 speed GRX very soon. 

My good friend MG caught these images and we posted them up on Riding Gravel last Friday. There was another media person that saw the same 12 speed mechanical GRX on a racer's bike elsewhere as well. Following is what I know so far...

There is no Di2 12spd GRX being shown or anywhere in sight as of now. I am betting that probably won't happen this year. Due to over-supply issues in the industry everything is being slowed down and introductions of new stuff will be pushed back until this glut starts to clear out from warehouses. I would bet Di2 12spd GRX will happen, but probably not soon. Meanwhile, we have 12 speed mechanical GRX to drool over, or make fun of, depending upon your point of view.

Some rumors are flying around about this new 12 speed GRX having a MicroSpline hub to accommodate current MTB cassettes. This has been confirmed by at least one site, but not officially by Shimano. So, a lot of current fancy-pants carbon wheel sets could become "old hat" - or "not cutting edge", soon. Further cementing this idea is that the other GRX 12 speed group seen at Unbound had a MTB cassette on it. Rumors are rampant that new GRX will accommodate wider range MTB cassettes for 1X usage to compete with SRAM. This would point toward MicroSpline as well. I think this is a given with the new 12spd GRX. However; that doesn't mean Shimano won't offer a traditional HyperGlide freehub for GRX. All we know now is that new 12spd GRX will most likely have MicroSpline hub compatibility.

Otherwise there is a new design for the brake caliper and a tweak to the brake lever pivot. The pivot placement for the current Di2 GRX is now coming over to 12 speed mechanical. Beyond that there isn't really much to say here other than that it is significant that Shimano released mechanical 12 speed GRX first. 

This should be a shot across the bow to those who are lamenting the death of mechanically shifted group sets with more than 11 speeds. Obviously, that is no longer a worry now.

Wilde Bikes Introduces Steel Rambler Bike:

Wilde Bikes introduced a new model on Tuesday, the Rambler, a made in Taiwan steel frame and fork bike which can be had in a frameset form or built as a complete.

The bike uses a production model that helps bring the cost down to $1200.00USD for the frame and fork. The bike is designed with a bottom bracket height and geometry which will lend itself to being set up with 650B wheels (up to 2.2") or 29"er wheels and tires. (Up to 2")

The frame will have all the common braze-ons we expect an adventure bike to have these days along with the Three-Pack fork mounts also. The frame has a 142 12mm through axle rear, the fork has 100mm through axle standard with a straight 1 1/8th steer tube. Flat mount brakes and a threaded bottom bracket shell round out the design.

Comments: Is this a Black Mountain Cycles Mod Zero? The two sure look close, don't they? There is not a lot of difference between the two geometry-wise either. That said, I'm a BMC guy and the slightly lower bottom bracket wins me over toward the BMC rather than the Wilde. Although that sparkly paint job on the Wilde is pretty nice. 

American Classic Introduces ProjectP4B:

American Classic, now a tire company, more or less, has announced that certain tires in their range will now be available under the ProjectP4B initiative. This is an effort to benefit the People For Bikes organization. 

If consumers buy the American Classic Torchbearer or Wentworth gravel tire, American Classic is earmarking the profits from those tires to a special Community Grants Program by People For Bikes which aims to create safer routes, bike lanes, and community education opportunities, amongst other benefits. 

Intial offerings in this program include the 700c X 30mm Torchbearer and the 700c X 40mm Wentworth tires. Both are tubeless ready, have 60TPI casings, and have special "hot patch" branding designating these as the Project P4B tires. 

These tires are only available via American Classic's Amazon portal and cost $29.99 each, according to the press release. The retail packaging for these tires is also made from recycled materials and can be recycled after use. 

Comments: Wow! That's cheap! And Wentworths are a pretty decent tire overall. Not your top of the range, high-performance tires, but even at their higher price, which is $45.00 each for a 120TPI tire with puncture protection, these are pretty phenomenal values. Now, despite the slightly lower tech spec, these tires are a crazy good value. 

Michelin Power Adventure Classic (Image from webstore)

Michelin's New Power Adventure Tires:

I didn't catch this back in March, but Michelin overhauled their gravel tire range and along with the new Power Gravel model they have a new design called the Power Adventure. 

Available in seven sizes ranging from a 700 X 30mm to a 700 X 47mm, the tire features a smoother tread and a lower treaded edge for grip in corners. Meant for a 80%/20% pavement to gravel mix, the tire has a puncture protection belt and three 100TPI layers of fabric in the casing. Claimed weight on the 700 X 42mm version is sub-500 grams, which is pretty impressive. You can check the Power Adventure line out HERE

Comments:  Power Adventure, Power Gravel...... Did those French marketing folks watch a lot of Power Rangers shows as kids? (HA!) 

Seriously, the trend for smoother treaded "gravel" tires is just another evolution in the market. It is another example that "gravel" is still somewhat misunderstood. You take a look at what Michelin says about the use intents and they mention that the Power Adventure is less about (MTB) trails. 

Huh? See, the entire idea of "gravel" is that we ARE ON ROADS, not mountain bike trails. Unpaved roads preferably, but ROADS nonetheless. This whole misunderstanding of what should have been called "all-roads" is frustrating to me because the industry latched on to a term without considering the consequences of using that term. "All-Roads" is gravel plus other stuff that is road oriented. Single track? No. 

Sorry about the rant, but that stuff gets me going....

And back to this tire, which should work really well on gravel, by the way. We will see. I may have to get a set to try out. If I do, it'll be the classic "tan wall" shown, although you can also get this is black.

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

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