Friday, July 28, 2023

Friday News And Views

MicroShift "Sword" (Image courtesy of MicroShift)
MicroShift Appeals To Techno-Grouches Out There:

 MicroShift could be said to be that company that does the things that neither SRAM nor Shimano are interested in doing. For years now the company has been best known as the "alt" gear company that does those oddball bar end shifters, 8/9/10 speed derailleurs, cassettes, and now, a gravel group set. Of course they did a gravel group. 

But hold on! They did the "microshift" thing here as well and made the stuff ten speed in 1X or 2X which can be converted from 1X to 2X and back again, with a parts switch or two. Oh! And this is decidedly mechanical. No weird electronics or hydraulic fluids here!

Looking though their site, I find many of their features for this group, named "Sword", by the way, as being very "Shimano-esque". The textured hoods (GRX), the high-pivot brake levers (again - GRX), and the crank set bolt pattern, (very Shimano looking) Makes one wonder.... 

Even their front derailleur cable adjuster looks like a direct copy of Shimano's. Of course, we all know they are not copying SRAM here with anything front derailleur related! Ha ha! It's almost as if MicroShift is the secret "backwards Skunk Works" division of Shimano. But I have no clue what is really going on with the company. It's just that their stuff has a very heavy Shimano vibe. 

Ten speed...... Okay, other than tickling the retro-grouch's fancy, I am a bit in wonderment as to why they chose that format to go after. My inclination would have been that 11 speed is that level at which current riders are at where they are maybe saying, "Why do we need 12 speeds anyway?"The question about 11 speed was answered a decade ago, so going backward to 10 speeds? Okay then....

The Velo Vetta Monarch aero shoe. (Image courtesy of Velo Vetta)

Now Your Shoes Can Be Truly Aero:

It used to be that throwing on an aero-bootie cover on your shoes was enough for those times where you were time-trialing or doing a triathlon. Well, now there are areo-shoes so your bootie thingies are now out of fashion. (I guess)

Yep! These shoes are from a company called Velo Vetta and retail for about 400 bucks. The design moves the BOA type closure dial to the back end of the shoe and that bit is then fared into the shoe, kind of like a boat tail. The uppers then can be more sleek and smooth. 

I'll be waiting for the gravel version. (I'm only half joking)

California Proposes Law To License eBike Riders:

In an effort to reduce and prevent HPC/eBike deaths and injuries amongst minors, California law may soon prevent anyone under the age of 12 years to operate an electrically assisted bike and would put in place a licensing procedure for anyone using a HPC/eBike who already was not a licensed motor vehicle operator in the state. (Story here)

Comments: I've stated for years that electric motors and bicycles would eventually lead to a similar situation which moped operators found themselves in back in the 1980's. 

In those days there were no licensing requirements to operate a moped and they went about the same speeds as a Class 3 electric bicycle. Eventually enough of the youth, who were the primary users of said vehicles, were injured or killed that laws came into effect, essentially classing those motor pedelecs with motorcycles. They were subject to the same laws and licensing requirements, and then, well.....moped ceased to be a thing in the USA. 

We are on the same trajectory regarding electrically assisted bicycles and also with UTV's, which are drawing scrutiny for similar reasons in rural areas. Eventually both will be required to be licensed, insured, and classes will be required, just as with any motorized vehicle, to gain the privilege of using one of these things. 

Will that "kill" the market for those vehicles? Not likely. But it will prevent many from engaging in operations of those vehicles.

Fizik Debuts Shoe With Late 80's Vibe:

The new Vento Ferox Carbon shoe from fizik is probably the shoe Don Johnson would have worn had he ridden a bicycle on "Miami Vice" . This color scheme is totally 80's with the grid pattern, the pastel color palette, and grey soles. Honestly, I think I've worked on a few Huffys with this same color scheme and it makes me feel a bit annoyed! 

They paid attention to detail with this scheme though, I'll grant them that. Look at the toe cleat plugs. They are the same sickly-aqua/greenish-blue that the accents on the uppers are. Also - These are a perfect shoe for my pink BMC MCD bike. If they weren't 300+ bucks, and if I already didn't have like six pairs of really nice cycling shoes, I might get them just for that reason alone.

Salsa Cycles' Marketing Snafu Reveals New Name For Fat Bike:

Embargoes on information are commonplace in the bicycle business. I think I'm sitting on info for at least three embargoes right at the moment. It would have been four embargoes except for a mistake made by someone in Salsa Cycles marketing department.

Sometime mid-morning yesterday, I received an email from a reader here that was very strange. The email he forwarded me, that is, was strange. It was a typical embargoed information email I usually see from Salsa Cyles, except that the reader who sent it to me was a friend, not in the media. 


So, there was a bit of time which passed, as in a few hours, and then I got the email my friend got. THEN even more hours passed and another email lands in my inbox from an actual person, apologizing for the snafu, and still insisting the embargo be adhered to. Umm..... The cat's been outta the bag for half a day now. Right?

Anyway, another email went out to consumers explaining the mess and which told them briefly that there would be news about Beargrease and Heyday! (Yes, the exclamation point is part of the rebrand) Anyway, the whole thing is goofy now and well...... It's not as though these bikes are anything "new", it's paint changes, some spec news, and a new name for an old model. Which the original email consumers weren't supposed to get - but did - details specifically. (Hint: That bike in the image sent to consumers is not a Mukluk, even though it may look like one.) I'll have more details next week in this space.....

That's it for this week! Have a great weekend and ride those bicycles!


Phillip Cowan said...

Like Obi Wan Kenobi to Princess Leia, Microshift may be the retrogrouches' only hope. I think Shimano and Sram are making a big mistake by taking such a hard starboard towards the car-ification of the bicycle. They're abandoning a large slice of the market. I wouldn't be surprised to see Microshift grab a much larger slice of the OEM market. I personally am developing a lot love and brand loyalty towards Microshift.

Guitar Ted said...

@Phillip Cowan - I might agree with the exception that Shimano does have CUES coming out soon which, despite a couple of missteps, is probably going to be very popular with some of the same people who are not all about more speeds and electronic controls.

Had Shimano made it so that CUES would have worked with their legacy 7,8,and 9 speed stuff, I think it would have been a home run, but who knows? Maybe there is a work-round there that someone will discover. CUES hasn't hit the marketplace yet that I have heard, but it is coming soon.

That said, MicroShift is doing some very interesting things and their quality level has improved since I first started seeing their stuff on bicycles in the early twenty-teens. I just wish that something cool like this new gravel group would have had an 11 speed option. I purged my fleet of 10 speed stuff years ago. To go back and rebuild some of that would not be appealing to me.

baric said...

That E-Bike thing and licensing was and is going to be inevitable everywhere. California has had laws on such things at least since the 1960's. When you would take the freeway to wherever you were heading which was frequently, every on ramp had a sign posted with a list, No Mopeds No Hitchhiking etc. and motorcycles were required to have at least a 150cc or larger engine so they could keep up and not endanger traffic. California was also one of the first states to require turn signals on new motorcycles starting in 1971. This is going to happen with E-Bikes as well. Turn signals, brake lights, a real genuine "approved" headlight which will be required to be on at all times. No more riding on the sidewalks or pedestrian/bike trails either. And then as you have stated in the past the pedals will be the first thing to go and Voila! instant electric motorcycle. AND one more thing, the price of admission will skyrocket maybe to the point of unobtainium.
Just my opinion and prediction....

Guitar Ted said...

@baric - Yeah, for me it is the human nature side that leads me to believe that we're witnessing another evolution from pure bicycle to motor vehicle. Basically, it's all about "being easier" to do one over the other.