Friday, February 23, 2024

Friday News And Views

 Welcome to an "electrifying" version of the FN&V!

Congress debating New E-Bike Battery Regs:

A news story this week concerning the dangers of lithium-ion battery fires and laws for regulation of those batteries was noted in several social media posts this week. A link to an excellent story on this comes from which you can read HERE.

Apparently there has been an over 1000% increase in battery related fires in New York City since 2019. That and the rate of deaths due to these fires has prompted New York City and the State of New York to take some rather dramatic actions in the form of laws limiting e-bikes and battery refurbishing, a main source of concern in New York City.

But this is gaining nationwide notice as fires related to e-bike batteries becomes more prevalent across the nation. The fact that Congress is getting involved shows that this has become a serious issue for people outside of NYC as well.

Comments: With a flood of cheap e-bikes and electrified scooters available at cheap prices from China, many of which have known quality and safety issues, it seems that it is about time for some regulation. Combined with lawsuits regarding the safety of e-bikes and their construction and design which are ongoing, I would expect that the reins will be tightened on these more budget, entry-level items in the future. 

What the ultimately looks like is anyone's guess now. But if the Feds get the low-end electrified market regulated that will probably drive up prices and make these bicycles even more expensive, maybe even in line with mainstream brand offerings. And that will pretty much make electrified bikes the province of fewer and fewer people due to the high prices.   

Image courtesy of Cannondale

Cannondale Debuts New Moterra SL Electric MTB:

Boasting the most power, longer battery life, and all wrapped up in the lightest weight package than any other current electrified MTB, Cannondale showed off its latest effort on Tuesday of this week. 

Dubbed "Moterra SL", the bike comes in three versions with a range-topping LAB71 series Moterra SL checking in at $14,00.00. The Moterra SL 2, shown here in read, is half the price and the entry into the Moterra range. There is also a Moterra SL 1 at $8700.00. 

Comments: So.....what exactly is "lightweight" for a bike like this? Apparently 43lbs is "light". Okay then.... Let's hope that battery lasts for the entire ride because pedaling 43lbs of MTB without assist would be no fun. Again with the super-expensive pricing. I really have a hard time with electric MTB's at this price when one could buy a brand new Honda 125 MX'er for $3500.00. Anyway....

Image courtesy of Wolf Tooth

Wolf Tooth Offers Aero GRX Rings

Tuesday also saw the announcement from Wolf Tooth that they now have "aero" GRX chain rings. These rings come in 46T-52T sizes in oval or round styles to fit 4-bolt GRX crank sets in the 1X configuration only. 

Prices range from $81.95 for the oval rings to $84.95 for the round rings. You can see these and learn more at Wolf Tooth's page for the rings HERE

Comments: Aero chain rings for gravel? Going all-out roadie on us here! Anyway, I would think that these would be - at best - only very slightly "aero", if at all. I do think they look kinda cool. But other than that? Well, you can get big rings, for gravel time trialing, I suppose, but yeah.... Not my bag, but maybe it would work for you? There ya go..... 

From Jason Boucher's social media.

Tumbleweed Announces Hire Of Jason Boucher:

Tumbleweed Bicycle Company announced on Tuesday that they have hired Jason Boucher, former brand manage of Salsa Cycles, as an employee who will be tasked with internal affairs, product development, and coordinating Tumbleweed's dealer network. 

Comments: I have to divulge here that Jason is a good friend of mine, although we don't see each other often, and so I am a bit biased when it comes to this news.

I feel that Jason is custom-made for this role and my feeling is that he will thrive in this role. Tumbleweed and Jason are both about the "adventure by bike" ethos that Jason forged into his previous role at Salsa. I'm excited for Jason and where this might take him going forward. 

I also want to say that I had no idea whatsoever that this was in the cards while I was doing my Big Dipper handle bar review, so there was no influence on what I had to say in that review from this decision, since I was out of that loop.

Image courtesy of GT Bicycles

GT Bicycles Announces Changes In Brand Direction:

GT Bicycles, the brand once part of the Dorel Group, is now owned by The Pon Group and recently has announced that they have made a change in brand direction.

Now headed up by Jason Schiers, who was one of the  founders of Enve Composites, (Then know as Edge), GT Bicycles has been removed from Disck's Sporting Goods stores and will focus exclusively on the independent bicycle dealer network going forward. 

First up on their agenda for products is to get into the full suspension MTB market with a range of bicycles at the upper end of the market. Schiers mentioned in a recent "Bicycle Retailer and Industry News" article on this story that he feels all FS MTB's will be electric in the near future. 

Comments: I think repositioning GT as a brand with a more upscale appeal is probably a good thing, but I don't look for this to be a huge mover in the bicycle landscape at this point. I'm sure GT's team has a good plan, but I would imagine it is modest and has smaller goals in mind in the short term. Dealers are reticent to buy any inventory at this point so getting GT bikes in front of consumers may be a difficult task until this glut of inventory clears itself out of the pipeline. 

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


Joe said...

Big congrats to Jason!!!

Derek said...

"one could buy a brand new Honda 125 MX'er for $3500.00". Not quite, but valid point. New YZ125 2-stroke 7k, YZ250F 4-stroke $8,899, plus $550 destination charge on either model.

Doug M. said...

Long past time to regulate e-bike batteries. "Who could have seen this coming?" one could ask rhetorically, having seen it coming 10 years ago. Thankfully my wife charges her Bionix kit bike (and Chevy EV) in our ancient, sacrificial detached garage.

Guitar Ted said...

@Derek - I checked prices on Google for this post, so apparently some places have the Honda at that price I stated. YMMV.

But I think we can all agree that eMTB and MTB prices in general have gone through the roof to a point that is ridiculous in some cases.

Derek said...

Yeah so the CRF125F is $3500, but is an entry level off-road motorcycle, not a motocross bike. Like the bike industry, the old tech becomes the cheaper, more entry level stuff. Sorta the equivalent of an Altus/ Acera mtn bike, which is what, $600? And yes, the upper end of bike and component pricing is crazy to me.

Daniel said...

I'll never buy one or need one but those aero chainrings do looks cool.

MG said...

I’m super stoked for Jason… and for Tunbleweed. They now have perhaps one of the absolute best guys in the adventure bike business on their team. They will be unstoppable. Whether people know it or not, Jason was behind the re-legitimization of Salsa Cycles after QBP acquired them. His strategic vision is undeniable and his passion for the sport is unmatched. Win-Win, 100%.

Congrats to everyone involved. I predict very good things to come.

Guitar Ted said...

@MG - Yeah, I agree. It's criminal how little regard Jason gets for the vision he crafted at Salsa and for the innovations and niche-creating he was responsible for while there. I've only heard about a tiny bit of the story, but only because Jason is too humble to share it.

I agree with you - He and Tumbleweed's crew will do great things together.