Friday, October 06, 2023

Friday News And Views

Image courtesy of Ergon
 Ergon Redesigns Flagship Grip:

Ergon announced yesterday that their iconic "winged" design grip has been refreshed and released for use. Using a manufacturing process that reduces waste to near-zero, and using refined rubber and natural cork (GP-1 BioKork Evo) , this grip represents a responsibly produced product that is 100% manufactured in Germany and is SGS certified. Using SGS certified, pollutant-free, medical grade rubber, the grip meets German toy and food standards. 

In the case of the BioKork GP-1 Evo, the grip contains 40% organically grown cork from Portugal and the rest is manufactured to SGS standards in Germany. 

The aluminum clamp is integrated into the GP-1 Evo and BioKork Evo grips and now features a hidden hex head clamping bolt. 

Prices are $39.95 for the GP-1 Evo and $49.95 for the BioKork GP-1 Evo. These are available now via Ergon's Amazon partners or from bike shops with a Quality Bicycle Products account. 

Comments: the much-copied, flagship grip from Ergon gets a long awaited refresh but it seems to have retained its basic features which made it a revolutionary grip in 2005 when it arrived on the scene here in the US. I know that I have personally gained much from having these grips installed on my bicycles since 2005, which has increased comfort and reduced hand numbness for me to a great degree. 

Interesting from my viewpoint is that Trans Iowa was Ergon's first sponsorship activation in the USA back in 2005. Ergon supplied each of the starting riders a set of the then unknown grips. It is safe to say that this sponsorship not only enhanced Trans Iowa as a concept for an event, but set Ergon off in an upward trajectory with endurance cyclists and mountain bikers immediately. Ergon also graciously allowed Jeff and I our own sets of GP-1 grips which was how I was introduced to the grip's benefits. 

Check out the Ergon GP-1 grips here. Thank you to Ergon for the information and image used in this post. 

Guitar Ted Podcast Episode #30:

Well, we've put up another episode of the "GTP" again, and we covered the discontinued  Cross Check model, plus a whole bunch of other stuff. You can listen HERE if you care to. I'd be honored if you decide to listen in on any of our episodes. 

This Cross Check thing kind of caught me by surprise. The discontinuation bit and the reaction from riders. Apparently, Surly doing this struck a nerve in many of you. Has Surly done a disservice to its original ethos? Has Surly "lost its way" lately? Seems that many of those who are lamenting the loss of the Cross Check, 1X1, and the Long Haul Trucker seem to think so. And what about the old Pugs? That's gone too. 

My feeling is that this all started back in the early twenty-teens. I spent time in the bowels of the QBP mother ship at different Frostbike gatherings and I could see the "foundation issues" within the organization. Any company worth its salt has a strong core of people. Humans that drive the thing and have passion for that mission are necessary for the end product's appeal to the customer base. Those "foundational" people all started to fall away in the twenty-teens. The mold had been cast for what has happened now, to a degree. 

Of course, a world-wide pandemic, economic upheavals, and other factors come into play here, but a lot of what we see now is the fall-out of stuff that had its beginnings over a decade ago now. That's my take. But the reasons why we are at where we are at with Surly's products have just served to lead us to the current state of affairs. That's all it is. That's something that cannot be undone. Things change, times end, and so I remember the Cross Check with fondness for where it took us.  

Image courtesy of Mavic USA.

Mavic Introduces All-Road Wheels & Shoes:

Mavic. Remember them? Well, they are back again and now have a USA office. They just introduced two sets of wheels and a couple of shoes for riders of gravel and dirt. 

What is interesting is that Mavic decided to enter the complete wheel market in the entry level. These are aluminum rimmed wheels with the patented Mavic FORE rim design which leaves no spoke hole drillings which would require rim tape. These rims don't need that as the rim well is solid aluminum. 

The hub for the rear wheel uses what Mavic calls "ID360" design, but basically what it is is a star ratchet system. DT Swiss used to have the exclusive patent on that design but it has run out now, so you will see that offered in several wheel designs in the future and this is one of them. 

The wheels are not what you'd call "impressively light weight". The All Road S weighs in at 1700 grams and the SL version weighs 45 grams less. However; there is some versatility in the axle standards as Mavic says that you can get 15mm end caps for front wheels and a QR end cap for rear wheels in this range. (Note: It wasn't clear if a QR end cap is available for front wheels.) The wheels ship with the now standard 12mm through axle compatible end caps. Prices set at $530.00 USD for the All Road S and $830.00 USD for the All Road SL wheels. 

Image courtesy of Mavic USA

The shoes I would be interested in are these Cosmic BOA SPD kicks with a faux leather upper and a fiberglass reinforced Nylon sole. The BOA dial is the one that you can micro-adjust on the fly, which is a nice feature. 

The perforations promise some air flow and the rubber walking tread areas on the bottom promise safe walking in convenience stores when you are looking for that savory slice of Casey's pizza! 

These come in a brown (shown) and black, but since Jeff Kerkove told me about dark shoes making your feet hotter I have been wishing for lighter colored footwear. So, that's a bummer here because you cannot get that with these shoes. 

Comments: I like the shoes, and the wheels are kind of a head scratcher. I mean, yeah.....if my stock wheels on - say a Journeyer - were up for replacement, these would be marginally better for not a whole lot of cash. However; wheels are so competitively priced now that you can get a nice set of carbon rimmed wheels for about the same price as the All Road SL's. So, it's a bit puzzling on that side as to why Mavic would choose to go into the high-end aluminum complete wheel market and not have something on offer that is lighter weight. 

LeMond All-Road Prolog - A Gravel eBike from LeMond?

So when Greg LeMond decided to start an independent bicycle company I assumed, as I am sure many of you all did, that there would be a drop bar bike of some type immediately. 

But there wasn't.

It was electrified flat bar bikes, then a Dutch inspired ebike, and after all that, I figured, well.....maybe LeMond isn't into drop bar bikes anymore. Weird thought, but ya know..... 

Well, then this All - Road bike debuts, and it is kind of impressive. Especially when I think about that Specialized bike I talked about last week. This LeMond bike costs significantly less, has better range, and weighs under 30lbs. Plus it comes with Panaracer Gravel Kings at 700 X 43mm size with room to spare. 

Adding in some proper geometry, and you know what? I'd ride this sans motor. I am not interested in electrified bikes, but a gravel bike from LeMond? That'd be pretty cool.

That's all for this week! Thank you for reading Guitar Ted Productions!


Joe said...

I've been a loyal Ergon user since you and Jeff turned me onto them in 2006. Except no substitute.

Guitar Ted said...

@Joe - That's awesome!

S Sprague said...

GT, I'm curious, would you give the LeMond gravel bike a fair shake if presented the opportunity to test it? I hope they give you one for testing. It could be interesting. I'm not looking for an ebike, yet, but I understand why.

Guitar Ted said...

@S Sprague - I would treat it like I do anything I review. Meaning that I don't try to impress the company, readers, or anyone else with an eye towards "likes", current benefits to "the company", or future opportunities. This is also why some companies will never send me anything to review.

So, yeah..... If they are willing to send one over, I'd give it a "fair shot", which to me is what I would do anyway. Like you, I am not looking for an electrified bike, but you know, maybe an electrified bike might have an appeal of some sort. I don't know that it would, but I grant that there is a possibility for that.

FarleyBob said...

GT, I am looking for a budget friendly lighter wheelset for my 2016 Cutthroat. What are the "similarly priced to the SL" carbon wheelset you might recommend? Thanks!

Guitar Ted said...

@FarleyBob - Define "Light" in reference to what you already have. I don't know what you are running on that Cutthroat nor do I know what that wheel set weighs. Kinda handicaps me from answering you.

But that said, look at the big brand's offerings Trek's Bontrager brand or Specialized's Roval brand both have carbon wheelsets under 1K.

And it depends on what you want to use the wheels for. So, are there lighter wheels for strictly gravel riding, or are they for single track/bikepacking? That all needs to be factored in.

In terms of the wheels from Mavic. I am speaking to gravel bike wheels, not so much MTB, although those exist as well under 1K. (I just got a presser from Zipp Wheels ballyhooing some new MTB carbon wheels they have which are sub-1K)

If you want something a it different, look at Spinergy wheels. Their carbon rimmed wheel set, which I have tested and thought was pretty nice, is well below 1K and they have a 30 day like it or return it policy now.

FarleyBob said...

I ride the Cutthroat mainly as a gravel bike. The wheels on there now are Stan's Rapid ZTR 25's. I have Vittoria Mezcal 2.1 tires on there which I like a lot, but they are tough to get on and off those Stan's rims. Now for some reason I can't get the front to stay aired up tubeless. I keep getting a leak near the valve stem. I've taken it apart and re-taped it and installed a new valve but it doesn't like me! It stayed aired up after a 25 mile ride for like two days and then went totally flat over night.

Guitar Ted said...

@FarleyBob - It might be beneficial to understand that Stan's rims and Vittoria tires use different "diamater standards" (ERTO/ISO) for their products. Stan's notoriously has always used a standard that they created which is *slightly* bigger in diameter at the bead seat of the rim. Meanwhile Vittoris has been a lot closer to the UST dimensions standardized by Mavic, et al, back in the 2000's for UST tubeless.

UST standard is slightly *smaller* than Stan's, so to read that you had a tough time installing the Mexcals on the Stan's rims does not surprise me.

Additionally, Stan's "BST" style bead seat is not the same as a UST type bead seat. There could be problems there. But my advice is to air up that wheel/tire combo and spray it with a solution of soap and water to see where you are actually leaking air. Until then, you are only guessing at what the problem might be. Once you understand where the air is coming from you then can more accurately address the issue.

Good Luck!

FarleyBob said...

Thanks GT, I will check that out. I remember reading on here about the Stans sizing being a bit larger so I thought that may be my issue with those Mezcals. I will do the soapy water business to see what's really going on. I installed new tape and a new valve stem so I thought all would be good, but no. What tires work well with Mr. Stan?
Even if I get this resolved I may still be interested in a new set of wheels that conform to the UST standard to make my life easier!

Guitar Ted said...

@FarleyBob - Stan's originally was meant for setting up non-tubeless tires tubeless. So, any folding bead tire you want to try, or tires that are notoriously stretchy/loose anyway like anything from Panaracer (Including Soma and Rene Herse.)

But with new standards coming very soon, (ISO/ERTO) and those leaning towards UST, I would recommend new wheels for the long term.