Friday, September 01, 2023

Friday News And Views

Shimano Takes GRX To 12:

Of course, we all saw this one coming. SRAM jumped to 12 speed with their gravel oriented components already and Shimano was due to update GRX after introducing the gravel group set in 2019. 

I posted a story about this new group on Riding Gravel yesterday which you can go read HERE if you care to. 

I'll have more to comment on about what this 12 speed group and its variants means on the blog for tomorrow. Look for that if you are at all interested. 

As seen in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Poor Sales Extend Discounting:

My sources have indicated to me that Summer sales at the bike shops have been pretty lackluster when they should have been booming. Now we are coming into the traditional time when here in North America see sales start to tail off for the remainder of the year. 

That's bad news. Full stop. 

See the graph there? Inventory levels are at all-time record highs. Stuff isn't moving. All that despite aggressive discounting at the retail level. Stuff I've never seen before is happening all around the industry. 35% off retail on selected models, progressive discounting up to 36% off on apparel, half off on POC helmets, and more stuff promoting discounts in my inbox everyday. That's not normal. That's a red flag.

Even the much ballyhooed eBike industry is hitting the skids in Europe with reports of companies going insolvent and sales that are down for the last quarter. Signs are everywhere that the bicyle industry is in the midst of upheaval and I suspect that six months from now we'll all have been affected by the downturn in some manner. 

Even the analysts in the field are saying things akin to "Those who survive this will be stronger in the end.", in a sort of "well....Good Luck!" , wave goodbye to companies facing a doomed outcome. I hope they, and I, are wrong, but the longer this goes on the more inevitable I think those outcomes will be.

Image courtesy of Wolf Tooth Components

Olive Ano Now Available At Wolf Tooth:

So, let me help things along by telling you about a new anodized hue available at Wolf Tooth Components. It's Olive. Weird, but kinda cool too. 

Back in the day, (the 1990's), the anodized craze was kicked off when Chris King, Grafton Tech, and others pushed an ultra-violet hue, or purple, on their components. BMX'ers took to it first and then it infected the MTB side. The bicycle industry, being what it has been, was immediately trying to replicate the success of purple ano with new hues. Soon there was turquoise, then it was a red ano phase, then we saw gold, blue, and green hit the shop shelves. 

It was fun for us as riders, but retailers were often left with "last years", outdated colors and/or old technology. The hue and cry to end the madness was heard, and suddenly everything went black. Black anodized, that is.

But now that things have stabilized in terms of components and technology, to a large degree, anodized stuff makes sense again. Wolf Tooth is one of the companies that has picked up on this and has been successful. They've carefully expanded their color palette of choices over the years and they now have some of the coolest colors out there for pretty reasonable prices. 

I think in many ways the company has out-Chris King'ed Chris King, but again, these things Wolf Tooth makes are not breaking technological barriers. I think it's got a lot more to do with bang for the buck and fashion, in regard to Wolf Tooth, and maybe that's why they have seen success and can take the bold move of offering Olive as an anodized choice. 

Morse Cargo Cage & Straps: Image courtesy of Wolf Tooth Components

And There Is This Cargo Cage:

More from Wolf Tooth. This is their new Morse Cargo Cage, shown with the optional straps. This is pretty similar to the State Bicycle Co Cargo Cage I am testing out now (Seen Here

The thing I like about this Morse cargo Cage is that it has the ability to be mounted up or down on a Three Pack boss, or it can be bolted on at an angle using the offset trio of holes as well. That might come in handy on a fork that has offset from centerline bosses, much like Salsa does on several of their forks, for instance. Or you could have a kind of a "side loader" situation, where access was poor using the standard configuration.  

For  $51.95 you get the cage, hardware, and two straps. You can buy the cage separately as well for less. It seems like a good deal. If it is anything like the State Bicycle Co one I am trying out it should be pretty good performing as well. 

New Podcast Alert:

Episode #26 of "The Guitar Ted Podcast" is up now on your favorite podcast source, or you can just click This Link

We talk about the new GRX, of course, but we also talk about bolts. Yes, bolts. People tend to not think of these little M5 bolts, but they are kind of importnat. 

In fact, the whole thing came up because you dear readers were asking about bolts in the comments a few days ago. So, in a way, it's your fault. Ha! 

So, that's podcast episode #26 for the year. We will likely record about 9 -10 more this year and then we will take a break for about a month. We've grown a lot since starting from zero all over again when it was still being called the "Riding Gravel Radio Ranch" a year ago now. Since then we've recorded over 40 episodes and grown an audience all across the world. It's kind of weird to think about that, actually... 

Just having a "proud papa" moment there! If you've ever listened to an episode, thank you! 

And........Have a Happy Labor Day Weekend! (If you celebrate that) Thanks for reading Guitar Ted Productions!


NY Roll said...

Gonna be honest, I thought what we recorded yesterday was awful dull while in the moment. I have re-listened a few times since (as I always do, to find ways to improve). After a few listens it is a good podcast. Way less over talking by me ;) We have grown a lot in the last year. I am glad you are taking me on this adventure by podcasting ;)

Guitar Ted said...

@N.Y. Roll - Thank You for agreeing to come along for the ride!

Skidmark said...

Greets GT, after yesterdays post I was lookin up: “can stainless steel screw/bolt be heat-treated”.