Friday, September 22, 2023

Friday News And Views

Image courtesy of Matt Gersib
Shimano 12spd GRX On Test:

Recently Shimano announced the 12 speed GRX groups. Well, back in August my good friend MG went to Bend, Oregon to get a preview of the group, and then Shimano set him up with a 12 speed GRX group with wheels as well. 

MG just posted his thoughts on the test of the group so far which you can check out HERE

Comments: It's interesting to note that MG mentions a few times that he likes just being able to hop on the bike and ride without any concerns or worries about battery life or having to carry spares "just in case". We both come from an era "pre-device" when things like "charging cords" meant you had to jump start your truck or trickle charge your 12 volt battery from your car. Everything else you just used, if it wasn't required to plug it into the wall.

Yeah.....cordless, rechargeable stuff is cool too. But when it comes to "the Freedom Machine", as Twin Six would call the bicycle, "freedom" is less free when you are tethered to electronics. I get that, MG gets that, but younger folks who have never known anything but USB cords? I wonder if they even understand the freeing feeling of being "device-free" these days. 

Maybe some do. 

Anyway, the point being here that some younger folks probably think mechanical group sets like the current GRX 12 speed stuff is from the dinosaur age. Maybe not, but if they do, I'd rather ride with the dinosaurs myself. Your mileage may vary.......

The Moots Express eBike (Image courtesy of Moots)

Moots Goes Carbon & Electric With The Express:

Speaking of devices.....

Moots just did two things maybe no one thought they would do. First, they made a bicycle out of something other than titanium. (To be fair, older, original Moots were steel, but most folks don't know that.) Secondly, and maybe a little less shocking, they made an electrified bike. 

Dubbed the "Express", the new Hybrid Powered Cycle (HPC - my term) is powered by an integrated battery and Shimano gear from the motor to the drive train. The battery life is said to be so good that riders can expect to squeeze out around 100 miles, maybe more, depending upon rider weight, wind, terrain, and amount of power assist selected. 

The controls are a bit unique in that the 1X drive train is operated by the right shift lever while the left lever controls the level of power assist. Total vehicle weight is listed at 33lbs for a medium sized Express model. Cost? If you have to ask what a Moots cost, well...... Okay, it's a penny less than 10K.

Comments: Surprising? Yes, coming from Moots. Not surprising? Yes also. Moots has to cater to its customer base, which are mostly well-heeled, older people that fit the assisted pedaling profile. Making a titanium bike look sleek with a battery pack? Probably not all that possible, and it would be heavy. Carbon was the correct choice here, despite the total dissonance with its brand identity.  

I'm not saying younger folks don't buy a Moots nor that younger folks don't want pedal assist bikes. But I also don't see a lot of Moots underneath the folks I ride with at events. So.... It is my opinion. Change my mind if you care to....

The Otso Voytek 2 (Image courtesy of Otso Bikes)

Otso Announces Voytek 2 - Highly Adjustable Geometry:

Otso Cycles features their patented "Tuning Chip" rear drop out which can allow a rider to adjust the wheel base and affect bottom bracket height and head tube angle a bit as well. They've taken that concept a bit further by offering a similar idea which they are implementing at the head tube. 

Called "GeoChip", it is a combination of aluminum inserts which are fitted at the positions you might normally associate with a top and bottom cup set for a head set. There three sets of "flip chips" which can be used to alter the head angle, reach for the cockpit, or both. 

The Voytek features multiple wheel size capabilities and still has that narrow "Q" factor bottom bracket. N.Y. Roll has an original V1 Voytek and seems pretty happy with it. This new version promises more to the owner with a true "one bike" off-road cycling solution for year-round riding. 

Comments: My my! What a versatile frame set. But, typically most folks are going to "set it and forget it" when it comes to this feature. But for those who like to tinker, well....there ya go

My only concern would be that here you are introducing two aluminum bits which sit in a carbon pocket in the frame at a high-stress area. Those bits are going to move ever so slightly while riding, and this may induce noise at some point. Maybe not, but it would not surprise me if that is something that crops up with this design. 

Also, at well over 3K for a frame and fork, I kind of cringe a bit. I'd maybe opt for something in metal at that point and forgo the versatility options available with the Voytek 2. But if you think of this as a mountain bike hard tail and a fat bike all in one? Then it makes a lot more sense. If that's you, then you can read more about the Voytek 2 HERE.

This image is from an old "Geezer Ride", by the way.

New Podcast Is Up:

N.Y. Roll went up and did the Colesburg event over the Labor Day weekend recently and his partner, Morgan, a new-to-gravel rider, was kind-of-sort-of talked into doing the 25 mile route.

Well, "things" happened and I thought it would be great if we could get Morgan's perspectives on, not only her event, but on gravel riding and gravel events in general. Coming from someone very fresh to the scene, I figured that I might get some new insights and learn from Morgan through he experiences. 

And I was rewarded with much to consider.

I know that enthusiasts from any genre of sport, recreation, or vocation tend to "gate keep" and be ignorant and insensitive to new folks coming in. That said, hearing it from a new rider to gravel is a bit more impactful and, I think, important to heed the message we hear from Morgan. 

Give it a listen HERE, or wherever you get you podcasts from. 

With that I will sign off for now. Thank you for reading Guitar Ted Productions and have a fantastic weekend!


MG said...

Yes… Freedom is priceless. Thanks for getting it, Brother. I knew that you would.

Nooge said...

Electronic groupsets appeal to people for several reasons:

1. Many people don’t really know how to best shift their 2x setup. Or find it mentally taxing to do it correctly. Electronic can be set up to have just button for lower and one for higher gear, shifting both derailleurs automatically. This is the most common reason I see.

2. Relatedly, many people don’t have the tools, skills or inclination to properly maintain their mechanical shifting. Of course if they don’t maintain it, they will have a poor experience. And integrated cables into steer tubes make this much more daunting.

3. Some people like it because there’s less lever force needed. That helps women, anyone with small hands, arthritis or numb hands from poor bike fit better operate the bike. It also helps when wearing bulky gloves in cold weather.

4. The cool factor. Marketing, being used by pros, being part of the top end groupsets, state of the art technology, etc.

I suspect that the cool factor is not the primary motivation for more than half the sales.

Personally I still ride mechanical. But I’m a 40yo mechanical engineer with big hands that likes to wrench on my bike. And I’m cheap. I’m not paying more for something that isn’t solving a problem for me. That said, I would certainly ride electronic with no reservations.

Guitar Ted said...

@Nooge - Thanks for the comments. Having been around electronic shifting since it came out from Shimano, I know "why" people like it. That's not my point in the post today. (See MG's response)

Skidmark said...

Greets GT, I’m stubborn, but if the choice is between cable housing that goes into the handlebar out thru the stem down the head tube into the downtube around the bottom bracket out the chainstay…I might go Wireless electronic, -or maybe single speed.

Derek said...

I'm starting to shift my thinking/ speaking to companies "selling" manufactured goods rather than "making" them. If no part or process of a bike/ shoe/ tool/ phone is actually made/ performed by your own company, but rather 100% outsourced, it's hard to justify the "makes" wording.

Daniel said...

With how cyclical the bike industry is I wonder if in 10 or 15 years mechanical groupsets will make a big comeback. Same with rim brakes. I can see a company like Specialized "rediscovering" rim brakes and marketing them as a lighter and easier "new" way to slow down.