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Bike Glamping with B-Turtle

Sat, 07/14/2018 - 15:46

You heard about bike camping right (touring, but whatever)? Well, here’s bike glamping with B-Turtle as seen at Eurobike and from the Gentle Tent. I didn’t make the annual bike industry trade show in Europe, but I did spot this luxurious micro-caravan for e-bikes in my friend’s posts.

The B-Turtle is made of a lightweight aluminum construction and weighs 30kg. It consists of

  • Aluminum bike trailer (Length: 110cm, Width: 79cm, Height: 58cm)
  • Drawbar with Weber coupling
  • Integrated transport tray inside the bike trailer with a load capacity of about 120 liters (Length: 104cm, Width: 45cm, Height: 26cm). A waterproof PVC bag is protecting its content and can be completely closed via a zipper.
  • The tent sits on top of the trailer and connects via a Velcro strap (Pack size in turtle mode – Length: 105cm, Width: 79cm, Height: 15cm)
  • Two aluminum support struts provide greater stability for the deck platform.

In camping mode, the tent offers

  • An inflatable stable deck platform made of drop stitch material (Length: 210cm, Width: 130cm, Height: 15cm)
  • The actual air tent above the deck platform provides a pleasant interior height of about 130cm in the entire tent. Ventilation and light is ensured by a window on the rear wall and two windows with mosquito nets on both sides.
  • A connected awning serves as an entrance area and provides plenty of headroom and a fully rollable doorway. The storage space inside the bike trailer is easily accessible from the awning. (Length: 110cm, Width: 130cm, Height: 200cm).

To enable a weight load of up to 200kg in camping mode, the wheel axle is enclosed on both sides by the B-Turtle’s frame. Unlike conventional quick-release axles, The B-Turtle retails for €2.990.

The B-Turtle isn’t the first bike camper we’ve seen from Eurobike or last. There’s also this camper and the Kevin Cyr concept seen in 2009.

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DJI Drones on Sale for Amazon Prime Day 2018

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 12:20

While Amazon is trying to create a new national shopping holiday day, Prime Day, in the past they’ve fallen short in actual deals. Besides, enormous TVs from a brand you’ve never heard of or a crazy price on spatulas…this year it’s different, at least in the camera market because DJI has announced a $300 discount on the Mavic Pro Fly More Combo ($999 after the sale price) and a $200 discount on the Mavic Pro drone ($799 after discount).

The Spark Fly More Combo is also on sale for $499.

Sure, DJI isn’t a Sony product (the brand I shoot with and write about), but I’m using them along with my Sony kit to produce video with Digital Photo Pro

and here on Bike Hugger.

During the Prime Day sale, refurbished DJI drones are also on sale. See the list below. Prime Day starts on July 16th.

Refurbished Pricing Refurbished Product Name Promotional Price (USD) Original Retail Price (USD) DJI Phantom 4 Advanced $819 $959 DJI Phantom 4 $599 $699 DJI Inspire 2 $2,199 $2,399 DJI Inspire 1 Pro $2,199 $2,399 DJI Inspire 1 $1,129 $1,399 DJI Goggles $259 $279 DJI Spark $259 $279 DJI Spark Combo $379 $439 DJI Osmo Mobile $89 $109 DJI Osmo $259 $279

I haven’t seen any bike-related PR about Prime Day yet, but if there are sales, you’ll find them here. One of Amazon’s best offers is a 30-day free trial. So, you can get all the Prime Day deals without paying the subscription price.

The post DJI Drones on Sale for Amazon Prime Day 2018 appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Mission Workshop Pavement and Gravel Collection

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 08:39

While the landscape and culture of cycling has changed, demand for technical materials has not. And, Mission Workshop brings their aesthetic to the adventure and gravel niche. Mission’s entry into what became of the road market is also well-timed for those maybe not as into Rapha as they once were and for any cyclist looking for gear that’s understated.

Mission tags the collection as PNG for pavement and gravel and dropbar bikes. I expect it to be so comfortable, you’ll find it on single tracks as well. Let’s hope they add a baggie overshort and be done with it, Assos is making mountain kits now.

The Mission kits are made with fabric that includes ultralight Japanese weather-resistant material, a unique Italian 4-way-stretch fabric, Dyneema fiber in the bibs, and 37.5. That’s where it gets really geeky

37.5 fabrics use microscopic microporous particles derived from volcanic sand and activated carbon to regulate water vapor from the skin before it beads into sweat, moving moisture more efficiently than any other fabric.

If 37.5 it works better or even close to what Gore is doing, I’m in.

PNG Jersey

The portable network graphics jersey—no, wait it’s Pavement and Gravel—has a clean look and features stealth black reflective details, three rear oversized drop-in pockets and one zippered rear keeper pocket for money, credit cards, vape pens, whatever. The chest port is for sunglass storage or headset cable access for headphones. The MSRP is $180.

PNG Jersey Features
  • 37.5® Ultra-high-performance vapor management technology
  • 3 XL drop-in back pockets
  • 1 zippered back pocket
  • Chest sunglasses holster/media port
  • Front and back black reflective strips
  • Odor-resistant
  • Breathable
  • 4-way stretch
  • Machine washable- Performance features never wash out
  • 55% Polyester, 34% 37.5® Polyester, 11% Spandex
  • Made in the USA
PNG Bib Shorts

The primary fabric of the short is 4-way-stretch textile with a dry hand and matte finish and just the right amount of surface friction for long days in the saddle. This textile has less stretch but breaks in over the first 2-3 rides and molds to your ehape. The result is a garment that feels like it was tailored just for you– minimizing rubbing and hot spots. The outer thigh area include Dyneema®-reinforced panels. Dyneema is one of the lightest and strongest fibers on earth and provides extra durability in key areas without adding weight (again, make it for MTB please). The MSRP is $265.

PNG Bib Short Features
  • 37.5® Ultra-high-performance vapor management technology
  • Center back drop-in pocket
  • Molded chamois
  • 4-way stretch
  • Machine washable- Performance features never wash out
  • Upper body fabric: 55% Polyester, 34% 37.5® Polyester, 11% Spandex
  • Made in the USA
THE INTERVAL : PNG

Mission’s microlight windshell jacket is constructed from a Japanese-made ultralight nylon fabric engineered to be wind and water-repellent while offering an unusually high level of stretch and breathability for a woven nylon textile. Designed for maximum versatility, this lightweight shell layers perfectly with the rest of the PNG collection or any Mission Workshop base layer for use in a wide range of temperatures and conditions. Does it breath? We’ll find out soon enough. The MSRP is $205.

The Interval : PNG Jacket Features:

  • Fabric: 89% Nylon 11% Spandex
  • Anti-odor
  • Anti-static
  • Wind Repellent
  • Water Repellent
  • Welded cuffs and hem
PNG SS Base Layer

The base layer breathes exceptionally well with seamless construction enables the torso section to be knit in one piece minimizing bulk and friction spots. It features multiple fabric thicknesses for optimum insulation and breathability. The seamless construction means there’s no scratchy labels either. MSRP $95.

PNG SS Base Layer Features:
  • 37.5® Ultra-high-performance vapor management technology
  • Seamless knit technology
  • Odor-resistant
  • Breathable
  • 190 gsm
  • 4-way stretch
  • Machine washable- Performance features never wash out
  • 60% Nylon w/37.5®, 30% Polypropylene, 7% Nylon, 3% Elastane
  • Made in Portugal
RUNBIKEHIKE Socks

Combining 37.5with olefin these socks promises to keep feet cool, dry, and comfortable all day long– no matter the activity. To me olefin is too hot, but we’ll see. MSRP $20.

RUNBIKEHIKE Sock Features
  • 37.5® Ultra-high-performance vapor management technology
  • Odor-resistant
  • Breathable
  • 4-way stretch
  • Machine  washable – Performance features never wash out
  • Made from 37.5® Polyester, Olefin and Spandex
  • Made in the USA

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Alchemy Goods Gets Into Denim

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 08:09

The Seattle company, Alchemy Goods, best known for upcycling bicycle tubes into bags and accessories just announced a Denim Travel Collection. The collection uses salvaged workwear denim that would otherwise be headed to the landfill or into walls as insialtion to create soft goods for travel.

The Denim Travel Collection includes a duffel bag, dopp kit and the Brooklyn backpack with a laptop sleeve.

It ships this September with only 50 of each item available. If you pre-order now you can reserve a piece and save 25% per item or 30% on the entire collection.

Being that limited, I’m sure you won’t see anyone else with that bag, backpack, or dopp kit in your travels.

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Bontrager Daytime Running Lights

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 14:29

Bontrager has updated its daytime running light selection with a smaller, more powerful set that has a longer battery life and added functionality. The updated Flare RT is 36% smaller and 30% more powerful. The new Ion 200 RT packs the same technology into a 200 Lumen front bike light.

Both lights are USB rechargeable, include easy-to-mount brackets, and feature a distinctive flash setting that is visible from up to 2 km away. ANT+ tech is included to control the lights with a Garmin or other devices.

The 2018 Trek Madone with DRL
pic by ©kramonJust over 2 years ago, Bontrager launched DRLs, and a set is attached to  my daily whip. Why city bikes don’t ship with them built in is another topic, but Bontrager’s work well because of the research that went into their design.

The research project with Clemson University showed that the best thing a rider can do to be more visible on the road is to ride with a flashing light. Studies have shown a 270% increase in driver recognition of a cyclist with a flashing rear light compared to without. An additional study showed a 33% decrease in accidents for cyclists equipped with daytime running lights.

Product Features
  • Specifically designed focus, flash, and range for ultimate daytime visibility
  • Flare RT provides ultimate visibility for any road, city, or path
  • Ion 200 RT provides 200 Lumens of visibility via high-power
  • CREE LED bulbs
  • Integrated light sensor auto-adjusts brightness to your environment
  • Connect with Garmin® and Bontrager ANT+ devices for always on, battery status, and wireless control
  • Easily attaches to your handlebars, helmet, or bike mount
  • Includes Ion 200 RT, Flare RT, Quick Connect Mounts, and mini USB charging cable

The Ion 200 RT / Flare RT Light set retails for $114.99 and is available at a Trek dealer near you.

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On the 4th, 3T Announces a Strada 2x

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 19:19

I started my day on the 4th emailing Gerard Vroomen about the 3T Due.  Before the day drinking and BBQ started, I wanted to know why 3T retreated from their strong, 1x stance with the Strada and announced a 2x.

Gerard replied promptly and said,

Nothing has changed, we started a year ago with what a road bike would look like in five years, and we always knew it would take that long to reach 100% penetration. Tech and people need time. I fully expect that in five years, virtually all road bikes will be 1x, and 2x will be considered “vintage”. But in the meantime, we knew that there are people who want to ride Campy, who want to ride Shimano, and who are not well served by any 1x options. And we cannot launch everything at the same time, we’re a small company. So it made sense to launch 1x first as a frame, then add the complete bike, and now add the 2x.

Sure…that’s a reasonable response and consistent with what 3T shared with me when the Strada launched.

I guess it also has to do with the fact that SRAM hasn’t got an Eagle-like 1 x 12 road group out yet too. That last time Gerard and I hung out, he brought that up, joking that

I don’t know when Campy or SRAM or Shimano are going to put a thirteenth cog on…or maybe I do and I’m just not going to tell you.

Whenever 1×12 arrives, I’ll revisit 1x road and if you didn’t already know, I don’t run it now on my Open, but absolutely do on my One+.

#nodeadlines and #nofucks

A post shared by Byron (@bikehugger) on Apr 23, 2018 at 5:53pm PDT

The reason is the jumps between cogs are too large. That doesn’t matter so much on dirt, but on the road I feel it and you’re always cross chained if you’re going up hill. That’s not a big deal in the Seattle area, but would you want to ride for a week long vacation in France with a single ring?

No.

The pros racing on Stradas have to choose what front chainring would give the least compromise for every stage/race. When you change chainring size, you also need to change chain length or you’re going to drop chains. Then, if you’re running cross chained all day, you also blow through chains and cassettes.

That’s just too much to think about on a week in the summer with a holiday and it’s not raining.

The Due frameset costs $3800. 3T did not say in the press release when it’ll ship.

The post On the 4th, 3T Announces a Strada 2x appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Cannondale SystemSix Is the Fastest Road Bike

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 08:53

Today on the eve of the Tour, Cannondale announced an all-new SystemSix that resembles the Specialized Venge, Scott Foil, 3T Strada, and any number of Cervelos. They claim it’s the fastest road bike ever.

Considering how good bike companies are at making bikes these days, it makes sense that like car companies, their product designs would eventually homogenize into similar and familiar lines.

In other words, there are few to no outlier designs in the bike biz and more specifically, a once-innovative aero road bike is now a standard product offering from a brand. And, with a checklist of incrementally updated features that meet or beat other brands.

It’s the same thing with crossover SUVs, cameras, and enduro-style mountain bikes. While a critic like me, laments the staleness of the aero genre and how the engineers are distracted by the lure of more profitable ebikes, for the cyclist into performance, pick a high-end bike and you’re gonna get much for your money.

Like the brands before them, Cdale launched the SystemSix with a white paper proving how fast it is.

Don’t doubt it’s fast.

All aero road bikes are breathtakingly fast—the Look I rode last year, I swear went uphill for a bit without pedaling.

What you need to know is, base your buying decision on a brand you have an affinity for, the fit (does the geo match your body measurements), and ride quality. To that point, missing from Cannondale’s marketing language about the frameset is the term “comfort.”

They do that with the tires instead.

Some brands more than others use frame layup techniques to “dampen” the ride—done so with shaping, inserts, or materials woven into the carbon fibers.

As shared when road disc first arrived to market, there are no new molds being ordered for rim-brake bikes. The promise of disc was less the increased braking power and modulation, but freeing engineers from the constraints of calipers. See this post from Mark V about the topic and why we now have dropped chainstays.

The disc-brake only design freed SystemSix from the constraints imposed by rim brakes, allowing engineers to achieve new levels of drag-reducing integration between the frame, fork and wheels. Precisely truncated airfoil profiles in the frame, fork and seatpost maintain air flow attachment across important yaw angles and minimize drag, while delivering world-class stiffness and ride feel.

For what it’s worth, 3T did the same thing with the Strada, and took it a step further by removing the front derailer. You tune the ride by tire choices: stock are 30s and you can likely stuff a 32 into it.

What I appreciate about Cannondale’s offering here, is they’ve realized what should’ve happened with disc brakes from the get-go. Sure, the SystemSix will, “Climb faster, descend faster, sprint faster and draft easier.”

Don’t expect a bike in this price range to do anything less.

Find the SystemSix at a dealer near you. The line-up ships in 4 mens models and one womens with pricing ranging from $4 to $11K.

 

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Veer Split Belt

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 10:08

Admittedly, a Veer Split Belt sounds like the way millennials wear their pants now. I don’t know exactly, but I guess with a belt that’s split down the middle and looks fancy, but according to Sean Hacking

The Split Belt came out of necessity.

because he was bootstrapping development for alternative belt drives, and couldn’t afford to buy even one or two bikes with a split frame.

According to Hacking, the splice design is the only method that allows use of off-the-shelf timing belts and retains the same strength as a chain. It’s also user-installable and remains as narrow as other belt drives.

While promising to not stain pants with grease and requiring zero maintenance belts haven’t gain much traction in the market. That’s partially because they require a split in the frame to install. A chain has a masterlink, where a belt is installed in one piece.

Distributing Forces

The Split Belts are spliced into a ‘V’ shape that distributes force along the entire length of the splice, allowing it to retain the same strength as a chain (the PR offered no testing results). By inserting rivets through 20 teeth, they are locked in place with clinched and splayed ends. The belts are custom-sized to any frame and Veer’s sprockets utilize an updated tooth profile that allows for lower belt tension than other belt drive systems.

To adjust the Split Belt, Veer offers a tensioner that can be used with vertical dropouts, full suspension bikes, and tool free adjustment and removal. Veer is promising to release a Split Belt Pro kit this fall with an more optimized design, adjustability, and compatibility.

While skeptical of their tech, without riding it first, it does seem applying to small builder and for specific use cases.

And, hey if a split belt interests you, then check out the Zipper Tire.

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The Greatest Race in History: Fabs v. Phil

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 18:29

I’m totally biased on who I want to win the Greatest Race in History, also the most important gran fondo ever. In what amounts to a grudge match between the celebrated-as-Spartacus Cancellara and a former cookie-eating pro malcontent what’s his face, I’m rooting for Fabs.

That’s because I hung out with him during the Gore launch, like sat next to him during Paris-Roubaix, and we would’ve ridden a group ride but it was snowed out.

Fabs watching the finish with us as Sagan wins, Dillier second, “He’s a bastard (Dillier) but in a good way, he’s unpredictable.” #ParisRoubaix @fabian_cancellara

A post shared by Byron (@bikehugger) on Apr 8, 2018 at 1:20pm PDT

I’ve never met Phil Gaimon, have heard a few racing stories, and reviewed his book. There’s a paragraph in that best seller (it is a great read) that upset the world of cycling. It accuses Cancellara of motor doping and calling him a fucker.

When you watch the footage, his accelerations don’t look natural at all, like he’s having trouble staying on the top of the pedals. That fucker probably did have a motor.

When we were in Park City, the Fabs v. Phil feud wasn’t mentioned. And, even though Boonen was in the press also saying there are motors (or were) in the peloton. Considering that Cancellara is retired and at work as a brand ambassador and I met him during a launch, I don’t think it was appropriate to ask him about the topic.

When he saw an official tagging Sagan’s bike for x-ray testing for motors, he scoffed at the TV and said to me, “That’s so dumb.”

That was it and good enough for me. If you ever meet Cancellara like I did it seems entirely impossible that’d he cheat.

I also believe there were or are motors in the peloton and written many posts about the topic.

This weekend, these two will race each other, in the name of charity and because Fabs called Phil out. It’s not going to settle the matter, but should be very entertaining.

Hi @philgaimon, I actually don’t know you, but I kindly invite you to beat me at one of my 8 #ChasingCancellara races, by next year 2018. You choose the @chasecancellara -date out of 5 countries. I am very curious to see how much watt you can push!Start training!#nomotorneeded pic.twitter.com/cxNzKaCG4Q

— Fabian Cancellara (@f_cancellara) November 17, 2017

Read Cyclingtips for more of the story on this tremendous event.

With July looming, it is time for the cycling community to cast its focus on the preeminent and most controversial race of the season — the gran fondo grudge-match between Fabian Cancellara and Phil Gaimon. That highly touted but poorly understood contest between two retired pros of considerably different pedigree will take place this Sunday in the hilly southwestern corner of Switzerland.

 

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Bike Helmet Ratings

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 08:16

It helps to know that helmet development was driven by UCI rules requiring pros to wear them (after a death in the peloton), which meant the design focus was on lightness and later aerodynamics, but never really safety protection. For a time, pros could ditch the helmet before a climb.

About 15 years later (fast in UCI time), we finally have a standards body testing helmets and rating them.

And, they found that some helmets protect better than others. While the CPSC does have standards for helmets, they’re no more than an anvil hitting a wall at speed. The CPSC doesn’t consider concussion-level forces when approving a helmet for sale in the US, just the smash test.

To develop their test protocol, Virginia Tech and IIHS consider a more realistic approach that includes the rim of the helmet

For the ratings, the lab tests each helmet at six commonly impacted locations, including two at the rim. Helmets are dropped on the anvil at two speeds taken from studies of real-world crashes — the median speed at which a rider’s head is estimated to hit the ground and a higher speed equivalent to the 90th-percentile speed in the real-world crash studies.

The best-rated helmets, include MIPS, that creates a low-friction layer inside the helmet to keep it on your head during a crash. I’ve never found a MIPS system that’s comfortable, so let’s hope product designer get to work on getting the best ratings while making a helmet comfortable, airy, and aero.

Bicycle Helmet Ratings

These are the best rated helmets, at 5 stars, and linked when available online. You can also find them at your local bike shop.

  • Bontrager Ballista MIPS
  • Garneau Raid MIPS—$59 on Amazon
  • Bell Stratus MIPS—$159 on Amazon
  • Specialized Chamonix MIPS

The very good, 4-star rated helmets include

Find all the ratings at Virgina Tech’s site.

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Tern Adds New, Updated GSD Model

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 13:14

We’re traveling back from Sitka, Alaska today, but wanted to get this news out. During Eurobike, Tern announced an update to their GSD line, equipping a new updated model with the most sought-after features.

Read about the GSD in this post from the launch. It’s an electric cargo bike that’s designed to help cyclists do more like take their kids to school, go shopping, get to work faster; and, can also be used for commercial purposes such as delivery or rental.

The updated model includes:

  • Bosch Performance Line CX: Features the best drivetrain available with just a bit more torque for really heavy loads. It also delivers more powerful walk assistance, so riders can easily maneuver the GSD on steep slopes.
  • Bosch 500/1000 Wh Configurations: With Bosch’s exclusive dual-battery technology, riders can choose either a standard 500 Wh or an upgraded 1000 Wh configuration – with the latter providing a range of up to 124 miles (200 km). Every GSD comes with dual-battery wiring, so riders who choose the standard 500 Wh configuration can upgrade to 1000 Wh at any time by adding a battery.
  • Enviolo N380x Hub: An infinitely variable transmission with a gear range of 380% lets riders easily change gears under load and at standstill, delivering a smoother ride in stop-and go city traffic. A Boost thru-axle and beefed-up internals deliver improved service life, even in demanding commercial applications.
  • Abus Wheel Lock: Uses the same key as the battery locks and is perfect for when the rider has to leave the GSD for a short time to make a delivery or run into a store. A heavy-duty Abus chain can be added for additional security.

For fans of the GSD, including me, this is great news. The GSD S00 will retail for $4995 and will be available in stores in Q1 2019.

 

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Pivot Firebird 29

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 06:36

When asked what to buy, I tell everyone get a bike that’ll run both wheel sizes: 27 and 29. My personal bikes do that: road and mountain, but in an increasingly homogenized marketplace, marketers gotta make some distinctions so here we have the Pivot Firebird 29. And, in their words

The Firebird 29’s big wheels gobble up miles with ease, roll right over the gnar and add insane levels of traction to the mix. But this is no monster truck. The Firebird 29 is a lightweight enduro machine that boasts a poppy, lively feel long-travel 29ers have never possessed. Until now.

The best part…it’ll run 27.5 too, with a flip-chip.

Available in sandstorm with orange highlights or steel blue with yellow accents, the Firebird 29 features

  • Bomber—yet ultra light—full carbon frame featuring leading edge carbon fiber materials and Pivot’s proprietary molding technology
  • 162mm of supple-yet-efficient dw-link suspension
  • Equipped with burly, 44mm offset 170mm-travel Fox 36 FIT Grip2 Factory and Performance Series forks
  • Ultra-adjustable Fox Float X2 (metric) and DPX2 rear shock options
  • Long-and-low geometry for a confident, stable stance Short, 431mm (16.96”) chainstays make easy work of the tightest trails
  • Adjustable geometry with a flip-chip upper link mount and lower headset cup
  • Compatible with both 29 and 27.5+ wheelsizes without compromise thanks to the adjustable geometry
  • Fits tires up to 29×2.6” or 27.5×2.8” wide
  • 12 x 157mm Super Boost Plus rear spacing adds stiffness and control
  • Hassle-free, full-length, internal cable routing
  • Fits riders between 5’4″ and 6’7″
  • 10-year warranty

While I may roll my eyes at the over-the-top marketing language, I’m sure it’s what many fans of Pivot have been waiting for and they can order the Firebird 29 in 8 different configs, ranging in price from $5 to 8K.

If anyone is going to get the geo dialed for a long travel 29r, it’s Pivot. For another take on the Firebird 29, see this article from my friends at Bike Mag who wrote

A sure-fire way to help a bike with going uphill fast is to make a light bike. In the long-travel 29er market, this has proven to be tough. Nonetheless, Pivot gave it a shot, and complete bikes start at 29.7 pounds. A sub-30 pound, 160-millimeter 29er is impressive.

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Cheap Gear for the Bike Commute

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 05:12

Yesterday NYT ran a story about cheap gear for the commute. I could do without the MAMIL stereotype, but the author AC Shilton told me that was a joke. Follow that convo here and, Shilton mentions a bunch of great gear.

It was a joke! I want EVERYONE to feel great on a bike. And sometimes folks say to me "I don't want to wear spandex." That was my way of saying, hey, you don't need to wear spandex! You don't need fancy things!

— AC Shilton (@ACShilton) June 20, 2018

The thing about the bike, what makes it a unique product, is how it serves a very wide swath of people from the low to the high end and infinite niches—there’s now fly fishing kit for cyclists. I’ve not seen one monolithic group besides “roadies” or “triathletes” or “mountain bikers.” If there are MAMILs at least around here, they’re riding gravel and getting out into the trees instead of in a bike lane or riding along the side of a highway.

Anyway, here’s the gear Shilton recommends via Wirecutter.

I’ll add to the list a must-have bell like the Spurcycle or Crane.

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3T Strada Official Haute Route bike

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 20:08

Fondos with themed bikes, sure why not? And, the 3T Strada just became the official Haute Route bike.

Equipped with the new 3T Torno Crank, THM carbon cockpit, and an orange paint finish, with a ‘fade’ from front to rear, it’ll really pop in the sunshine of the famous Haute Route bike alpine routes.

The 3T Strada’s 1x transmission and Vroomen-designed aerodynamics should make it ideal for Haute Routes new, shorter, 3-day events.

from left to right is René Wiertz 3T’s President and co-owner, Rémi Duchemin, founder and CEO of the Haute Route series, and Matt Holden, COO of Haute Route.

Entrants can buy the 3T Strada PRO together with the race entry fee, for the inclusive price of €5000 or the  Strada TEAM, with  race entry fee, and full hotel accommodation, for €7800.

If you’re into fondos and 1x aero road bikes it’s a nice package deal. Read more about the 3T Strada HR.

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Tern Upgrades Vektron Folding eBike Line

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 09:41

Just over 7 years ago, Tern launched in Taiwan and today they announced an upgrade to their Vektron folding ebike line. The upgrades include

  • New Bosch drivetrains: Bosch’s new Active Line and Active Line Plus drivetrains are substantially smoother, smaller, lighter and more efficient – and they are virtually silent.
  • Updated frame: Features a completely re-engineered frame and frame geometry: cockpit is longer for improved comfort for taller riders; frame has been designed with additional forged and machined elements for additional strength without extra weight; battery now reclines backwards, keeping the center of gravity as low as possible for superior handling; also stands up vertically when folded, making it even easier to roll around.
  • Robust rack with GSDna: With structural cues from the heavy-duty Tern GSD, the new Vektron rack has been massively strengthened and increased in size to reduce flex for more secure handling. Plus, the center of gravity has been lowered, making it much safer when riding with a child in a child seat.
  • Bucketload pannier (optional): Engineered to fit every configuration of the Vektron, it can be used even when the upper rails of the rear rack are taken by other gear, such as a child seat or a basket. The Bucketload folds flat when not in use or when the bike is folded. It is also sized to provide excellent heel clearance without interfering when the bike is folded or being rolled. And during riding, the Bucketload is roomy enough to swallow a large backpack.

The upgraded models will ship to the US later this year and I’ll ride one of them soon. The Vektron Q9 costs $2995, the Vektron P7i is $3195, and the Vektron S10 is $3595. The reason the Vektrons have been popular is the midmount Bosch drivetrains…the bikes are very balanced, zippy, and practical.

Learn more about them from Tern’s website.

 

 

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Kari Traa Svala Tee

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 07:32

Kari Traa recently sent us the Svala tee and Pam has been wearing it to workout and ride MTB. As I shared in my post about Sweet Protection, I like the Norwegian take on kits…it’s the fresh styling, choice of materials, and the fit. They also know about riding in the rain. While Kari Traa isn’t a Sweet brand, it is Norwegian and looks great.

Here’s what Pam told me about the Svala tee in a text

Out of the box it felt thick and I had concerns it would be too hot. After wearing in all conditions that was not true at all. In cold and hot conditions it breathed beautifully. Also, unlike other liners it’s great looking and wore alone on a city ride to  meet a friend for lunch.  Wouldn’t normally do that with an ugly cycling liner. Love the pink color inserts. A seriously functional tee with a feminine touch.

I feel pretty much the same way about the Sweet line, but it has no pink. It’s Kari’s choice in quick-drying stretch fabric that provides some warmth and breathes well, so you don’t overheat. The versatile tee cut is great for layering or for use by itself.

On the cooler mornings, Pam layers it with a vest. What you need to know about the Slava tee is that feminine touch, when so much of sportswear carries over from men’s lines. Kari Traa’s commitment to women is discussed on their site.

Being active in a male-dominated sport, there were few brands for girls to choose gear from. Sponsors provided Kari with black and grey dominated, masculine skiwear. So sometimes, Kari would cut off the logo on her beanies and sew them on to her own designs.

Find Kari Traa at a retailer near you, Amazon, and REI. The Svala tee costs $54.95.

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Mark V reviews: Park PRS-25 Team Issue Portable Repair Stand

Mon, 06/11/2018 - 23:18

Park Tool has been the first name in bicycle tools for decades, at least here in the States. For me worn and weathered Park workstands standing beneath faded pro rider posters are the trappings of every good bike shop. I’ve never worked in a bike shop that did not rely on heavy Park workstands drilled into the shop floor or affixed atop a seventy pound steel plate, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But when it comes to workstands for wrenching at home or  in the field, I haven’t exactly been faithful to the brand. Over the years I have had a few different brands and configurations, and the bikes have changed quite a bit since then. So coming to this Park PRS-25 Team Issue repair stand sorta feels like closing a circle.

The $325 PRS-25 is Park’s top portable repair stand in the seatpost clamp configuration. At just 13-lbs the PRS-25 folds down to 47″ but can put the clamp arm a full five feet off the ground, so you can work on bikes without hunching over. The two-legged  base quickly folds out to form a triangle 36″x36″x45″, giving plenty of stability even when you will swing a bike up vertical to fish cables around the bottom bracket, and the rotation is firmly held in place with a pivoting lever. But the best part of the #100-25D Micro-Adjust clamp to quickly and securely grip a wide variety of tube shapes, including aero seatposts and other non-round tubes from 23-76mm.

 

The cammed clamp lever flips to open or close quickly, but you do the final tightening by cranking the knob. The Park PRS-25’s Micro-Adjust clamp makes working on bikes with proprietary seatposts and seatmasts much more practical.

The Micro-Adjust clamp is tightened with a rotating arm that has a cam, so you can stick the bike in, flip the cam over to close it down fast, and then precisely crank it down the rest of the way. This makes the clamp fast to use but minimizes the chances that you’d accidentally clamp too hard on the tube (crucial with carbon fibre). The clamp’s contact surfaces are notched in the middle to steady aero seatposts and frame tubes without crushing them. This clamp is so much more versatile that I want to replace the clamps of the 35-year-old Park shop-grade stands at work.

Among other portable repair stands, I find the V-shaped base of the PRS-25 to be more stable than tripod-style bases, since PRS-25 cantilevers the weight of the bike over the widest side of the triangle footprint. The stand’s base extensions are very close to the ground when deployed, and I learned that I could pin one of them down with my foot if I wanted some momentarily added stability.

I mentioned that I have used a variety of portable repair stand configurations before. For a while I thought that repair stands that clamp the fork tips and brace the bottom bracket were the cool way to go, if for no other reason than that all the European pro team mechanics preferred them. But now I am thoroughly in the seatpost clamp camp. For one thing the BB/fork mount stands are really only practical if you only work on bikes that are more or less identical, like a pro team would have. If you work on a variety of bikes with different BB contours, front-center lengths, and front axles, setting up the fork clamp becomes tedious. Since you have to drop the front wheel out, you can’t make useful adjustments to the front brake, especially for disc brake bikes. Those Euro team stands do not accommodate front fenders most of the time either. With the advent of thru-axles, flat-mount brakes, and internal cable routing, there are a lot of reasons that a mechanic might want to put a bike vertical or get underneath the frame for better access, but the BB/fork stands are basically always horizontal and typically much lower than the PRS-25. About the only thing that a BB/fork stand does better the PRS-25 is provide a firm support when really torquing with a threaded bottom bracket, which is hardly a viable selling point to road team mechanics anymore (because good luck finding a road bike with a threaded BB). Park Tool actually makes a top quality BB/fork stand called the PRS-22.2 ($340), but I just think that it is too limited outside of a pro road team environment.

After twenty years of wrenching on bikes, I consider the Park PRS-25 to be by far the most ergonomic portable stand I have ever used. There are cheaper or perhaps lighter stands that fold up marginally smaller, but they concede a lot to achieve that. At this point in my life I don’t have time for those compromises.

 

 

The pivoting lever secures the clamp arm rotation against slipping

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Beyond “Compact” Dropbars Pt3: Compass Maes Parallel 31.8 handlebar

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 18:10

In this last in a series of three posts discussing long reach handlebar alternatives to the run-of-the-mill compact road dropbar, I look at a modern reincarnation of a French archetype, the Compass Maes Parallel 31.8 handlebar.

 

Once upon a time in the mid-20th century, there was a handlebar known  as the “Maes” that essentially established what we today consider the classic handlebar shape for road bikes. Not too much flare, the top flats of the bar running roughly straight outwards from the stem, lower drops not too angled away from the ramps….virtually the picture book definition of what we would define as a “dropbar”. From about 1960 on, the majority of road bikes were equipped with what could be generally considered a “Maes”-type handlebar, even as the brand itself faded away. But eventually the term “Maes” lost its usefulness as a way of differentiating the variety of handlebars that subtly evolved from the blueprint of that Maes archetype. In the context of current products that one can buy, Compass Cycles offers a handlebar that is inspired by the early expressions of the Maes form and yet fits in a modern 31.8mm clamp stem.

 

Compass Maes Parallel handlebar on a Davidson titanium Note the long ramps (part of the bar immediately above/behind the levers.

 

Same bike with a Fizik Cyrano Snake R3 handlebar, which has a traditional bend but far shorter reach than the Compass. Note that the stem here is 3cm longer than the one used with the Compass bar A Bontrager XXX VR-C handlebar, shaped much like a typical compact dropbar but with nearly as much reach as the Compass Maes Parallel

 

Perhaps it is more precise to say the Compass Maes Parallel is patterned off early models of the Atax Philippe Professionnel handlebar from France. In contrast to the later more influential Italian brands, the Philippe Professionnel had a long reach, moderate flare, and nearly parallel drops (relative to the ramps). Whereas the shorter reach and often deeper drop of the archetypal Cinelli models (#64, 65, and 66) reflected the flavour of intense, shorter events that have come to define modern sanctioned road racing, the longer reach French-style bars maintained a certain fidelity to the endurance events and sportive touring activities that found popularity in immediate post-war Europe. Multiple hand positions are the express purpose of any dropar, but the Maes’ long ramps extend the range that hands can roam behind the levers, which was especially important in that era when brake levers were little more than mechanical pivots quite inhospitable to hands.

A vintage Atax Philippe Professionnel handlebar on an Otso Warrikan. The ramps do slope slightly downward before the hook, while the modern replica by Compass has the ramps parallel to the drops

As dropbar levers evolved into integrated brake/shift controls, the levers grew larger and more ergonomically shaped; the ongoing move to hydraulic road levers continues this trend. Today’s ubiquitous “compact” road handlebar attains its short reach by largely eliminating the ramps of the classic dropbar, which is only tolerable because integrated levers are by themselves now large enough to comfortably be the default hand position for the modern rider. Still, a rider who habitually racks up more than 3-5hrs in a shot may be searching for more options to perch the hands. The Maes Parallel allows the rider to shorten up on the bar and sit more upright on a climb, perhaps resting the lower back muscles a bit. Riders suffering from cramped hands may also find relief on this bar. The longer the ride, the more this is necessary, and that is why the Maes Parallel is ideally suited to long distance rides like randonnees and touring.

Oddly enough, this once common handlebar shape had largely disappeared from the market dominated by the compact dropbar.  There has not been a classic Maes-type bar to fit modern 31.8mm stems, even while there are numerous modern copies of those Italian designs. Enter Compass Cycles.

The $115 Compass “Maes Parallel 31.8” handlebar is an adaption of a previously existing 25.4mm version, both of which are made with the utmost quality for Compass by Japan’s venerable Nitto. The Compass Maes Parallel is largely faithful copy of the old Philippe Professionnel, though the dozen or so Professionnel handlebars I have personally seen had ramps that were almost parallel to the drops, while the Compass is exactly so. Like the older French bar, the Compass is relatively shallow drop (125mm) and distinctly flares out below the shoulders. Because of this, the Compass bar is about 4cm narrower at the levers than where it measured at the bar’s ends (so a 400mm  size bar is 360mm at the shoudlers; the 440 is 400). Seen from above the Maes Parallel drops remain parallel at the bottom rather than angling outward. But before you rush to swap out your current handlebar, you need to think about the stem length.

With a reach of 115mm, the Compass Maes Parallel 31.8 have 30-40mm more reach than the typical modern “compact” handlebar. As compact dropbars represent more than 90% of the typical options on the current road market, and I strongly suggest that any potential buyer re-evaluate their stem length choice when they choose this handlebar.  A strong argument can be made that the most relevant aspect of bike fit concerning handlebars is where the lever hoods sit relative to the saddle, and obviously this Compass bar pushes the levers far forward. Where I would use a 100mm stem on a compact handlebar, I might chose a 70-80mm stem for use with the Compass Maes handlebar…otherwise the levers might end up uncomfortably outside my reach. In both cases the lever controls are the same distance:

(100mm stem+ 80mm reach compact bar) = (70mm stem+ 115mm reach Maes) 

…or close enough given that stems usually come in 10mm increments. Keep in mind that if you already use a stem shorter than 80mm with a compact bar, finding a short enough stem is going to be difficult (but not impossible).

There is one quirk about the way Nitto manufactured this bar, that it is only 31.8mm exactly where the stem clamps. The bar cross-section tapers immediately on either side, which leaves no room for accessory mounts that need to clamp onto the 31.8mm area. For instance, K-Edge mounts for GPS units won’t fit; you will want some kind of stem mount alternative.

On my own bikes, I have used the Compass Maes for commuting, gravel grinders, road riding, and cyclocross. For cyclocross I use the hoods and drops exclusively because a cyclocross race is always 30-60min of high output. There’s not much point to having more hand positions since there’s no time to relax. Also, the long ramps got in the way of my forearms when sprinting, even though the Compass’ flared drops keep the bar’s shoulders narrow. I liked it best for commuting, with the bar run a higher than on my stripped down road bikes.

The Maes Parallel was for me a mixed experience on gravel grinders. Most handlebars targeted at the gravel market are similar to compact road bars in terms of short reach and shape of the hook, but are generally wider with twice the amount of flare, but my personal preference for narrow bars finds no fault with the 40cm size Maes Parallel. The Compass Maes’ longer ramps really did save me from hand pain during those 6-9hr gravel grinders. With the shorter stem, the bar tops were 2-3cm closer, so I  could sit up higher and relax my back occasionally on the long climbs. Probably due to the long ramps bending like a spring when you grip the levers, the bar has noticeably more flex than typical roadbars…but not so much as to hamper control. On the contrary, the added give made washboard surfaces seem more manageable. Overall the Maes was a distinct improvement for comfort on really long, grueling rides compared the typical compact dropbar, but in my case this was entirely because of the bar’s roomier upper portion.

There was a drawback to the traditional bend of the bar below the levers however. The Compass bar would be my first choice for a loaded touring bike where the bar would be higher for more relaxed cruising, and then the drops could be more accessible for descents or muscling into headwinds. But on the long, rough, and  fast descents common to the gravel grinders here in Washington state, I prefer to ride on the drops for the more secure grip and control. With the Maes bar, reaching that far down and forward put too much strain on my back, and my weight distribution was a little too forward.  Raising the bar height would alleviate that issue, but that would put the levers higher than my preference for fast riding. My ideal bar for gravel riding would have the long ramps of the Compass Maes Parallel but the more ergonomic lower bend of a compact bar, something similar to the Bontrager XXX VR-C. The takeaway is that handlebar shape should match the bike, type of riding, and the rider’s fit.

A rider has three points of contact to the bike: pedals, saddle, and handlebar. Of the those, perhaps the one chosen with the least consideration is the handlebar. The industry tells us to pick one that is light, stiff, and perhaps aero, but does any of that really matter compared to comfort? Almost all road and gravel bikes on the market right now come with a variation of the compact dropbar; the main differences in geometry are the widths and amount of flare at the drops. Taking inspiration from older French bars designed for long distance touring and racing, the Compass Maes Parallel offers riders room forward and aft on the tops of the bar. This allows the long distance rider to alternate grip and body position for happier hands and less back fatigue. The Maes will require a shorter stem, and the traditional bend below the levers makes riding in the drops more of a stretch if you are used to compact dropbars.

Part 1 of the series

Part 2

 

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Assos Introduces the XC Collection

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 14:03

And, if you need any further proof of traditional road being dead, Assos introduces the XC collection for mountain biking.

That’s Assos, a legend of road. The brand that invented Lycra kit.

For me, I think it’s great, as I’m spending most of my time riding in the trees, instead a road shoulder. I’ll have demo kit to try soon enough, until then here’s the news.

Assos launched the line with Women’s sizing too. The shorts are priced at $229 and the Jerseys are $159.

XC Short Sleeve Jersey, Men’s

Crafted using a proven lightweight Stripe fabric, this off-road specific jersey offers optimum breathability, keeping you cool on the steepest ramps. The underarm features an ultra-breathable 3-mesh fabric, while on the back of the jersey, the triple ramp pockets provide ultimate security while riding over rough terrain.

XC Bib Shorts, Men’s

Mountain biking, trail riding, or gravel grinding; these off-road XC bibs are tough, lightweight and highly breathable. Employing the ripstop, high abrasion-resistant and breathable dyneRope fabric (a material stronger than steel), these shorts are highly efficient at wicking sweat away from the body, making them the ideal choice for high output use during the summer months. Paired with a heavier skinFoil base-layer and leg Warmers, the XC Bib Shorts can also be your go-to short as the temperatures drop. The MTB-specific insert sits slightly further forward than its road counterpart and is composed of 10mm memory foam, offering optimum comfort in the saddle.

XC riders, gravel, and really anyone can now experience high-class performance and Assos quality at a lower price point with this new collection.

That price point is the biggest news. Assos regular road shorts cost $219.

Considering the price point, I have Assos kit that’s over a decade old. If you take care of it—hand wash, never dry—they’ll last forever.

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Mark V and the Tale of the Dropped Chainstay

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 08:52

It seems like new gravel bikes are popping up everywhere, including the recently debuted Salsa Warbird version 4 and a lot of them are obviously influenced by Open Cycles’ UP and its design sibling, the 3T Exploro. The key features are dual 700C/650B wheel compatibility and the dropped drive side chainstay, but to be honest neither idea originated with the UP.

As early 2012 Bike Hugger has been interested in dual 700C/650B-capability, but there is virtually no way to fit a 650B x 2.1″-ish tyre AND a 50/34 chainring set without some kind of clever trick at the rear triangle. All gravel bikes that aspire to combine nimble handling with big volume 650B tyres must overcome the problem of the tyre, chainstay, and chainrings competing for the same space.

Assuming a chainstay length of about 425-430mm, the tyre’s maximum width is right where the chainrings of a compact double road crankset sit. Designers of metal frames have sometimes chosen to replace the portion of the right chainstay tube closest to the bottom bracket shell with a plate to make the thinnest possible section in that critical area (example: Kona Rove). Gerard Vroomen and Open Cycle chose to approach the issue as a 3-dimensional problem, using the virtually limitless shaping of carbon fibre to detour the path of  the drive-side chainstay below the point where the chainrings and rear tyre are closest. The resulting dropped chainstay had been used before in a variety of MTB designs, but the Open UP was the design that really made it a thing when combined with dual wheelsize-capability. Since then more and more companies have used the dropped chainstay as a solution for gravel bikes, all while trying to pretend they had not been influenced by Vroomen’s Open/3T designs.

Salsa debuted their new Warbird at the Dirty Kanza this past weekend. The Warbird’s dropped chainstay . A dropped chainstay takes a detour underneath the point where the tyre & chainring are closest, here on a 3T Exploro.

 

This titanium Kona actually has far more chainstay clearance than one could ever need for a gravel bike. No gravel bike needs room for a 53/39 chainring set You can see that the portion of the right stay closest to the bottom bracket replaces the titanium tube with a machined plate, which gives better clearance for both tthe rear tyre and the chainrings.

 

Dropped chainstay in Genesis’ Fugio steel frame

UK brand Genesis put a dropped chainstay on their Fugio steel adventure bike, but for the most part you don’t see too many dropped chainstays on metal bikes. Whether steel, aluminium, or titanium, the higher yield strength versions of those respective alloys usually tend to be less tolerant of heavy manipulation, and getting smooth curves without any rippling in the tube is not easy anyways.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Genesis Fugio uses a a non-heat treated chromoly or even “high-ten” steel for the right chainstay, which means thicker wall and heavy. Similarly, I have yet to see any well-known titanium framebuilder attempt to bend a titanium chainstay to that extent, though Seven Cycles recently debuted the “2×2 Scrambler”, a 700C/650B gravel bike that uses a segmented right chainstay. The first quarter of the chainstay is a tube trailing the bottom bracket angled well down to provide the chainstay drop, then a second tube is welded on at almost a 90deg angle to connect to the right rear dropout. In the picture below the bike is seen with a 1x crank, but the Scrambler has the clearance to fit a 50/34 compact road crank.

Seven Cycles’ “2×2 Scrambler” gravel bike has a right chainstay formed from two separate tube segments

While it is true that dropped chainstays pre-date the Exploro, not all dropped chainstays have had a legitimate function. As the venerable Schwinn brand struggled to keep up with a changing market in the late ’80s and early’ 90s, they tried to parlay a “Paramount Design Group” label into a successful mid-priced line of mtb and road bikes. Their mountainbikes’ chainstays had just enough drop to be visually noticeable, though I forget what the purported design goal was supposed to be….I think maybe chainstay slap reduction? You can see in these photos of a PDG Series 90 mtb that the bend in chainstay is too far aft of the chainrings to provide any real advantage for tyre clearance. And anyways, making a rear triangle with 425mm chainstays and clearance for 26 x1.95-2.1″ tyres is a relatively easy compared to the 3T Exploro’s 27.5/650B x2.1″ tyre on 415mm stays, especially considering the Schwinn had smaller rings on a wider chainline. A 50/34 compact road crank puts bigger rings closer to the centerline of a bike, and that leaves precious little space for a chainstay to live between the chainrings’ teeth and a knobby tyre.

However effective the “G-Force” chainstays may or may not have been 20 years before clutched rear derailleurs, the PDG-series couldn’t save Schwinn from sinking into bankruptcy.

A footnote in bicycle history: a mountainbike frame from Paramount Design Group (not made in America) The right chainstay is made from steel tubing and snake oil.

One extreme example of dropped chainstays is the early 1950s Viking SBU Tracker (photos courtesy of Bainbridge Island’s Classic Cycles).  A track bike catering to that contemporary British fetishism for short chainstays, the SBU Tracker used two sets of chainstays placed well above and below the bottom bracket shell. The lower pair of chainstays is brazed onto the down tube which extends well behind and below the bottom bracket. Undoubtedly Viking could have achieved an equally short rear triangle with conventional chainstays, but the SBU is undeniably striking. Surprisingly (or perhaps not), Viking’s track bike design was reputed to be neither particularly stiff nor lightweight.

10/10 style; 4/10 functionality Proof that questionable engineering existed before NAHBS

Conversely, the whole chainring/tyre/chainstay length conundrum can vary drastically by changing either the number of chainrings or moving the chainline farther outboard. In other words, if a gravel bike frame were designed around either a 1x crankset (fewer rings) or a mtb crankset (wider chainline), the whole spatial puzzle would be make the chainstay shaping considerably less complicated.

For a custom framebuilder like Davidson Bicycles, there is the advantage of designing a bike frame for a specific customer and intended drivetrain. That is to say, 1x makes things way easier. If the client plans to only run a single chainring, the chainstay can be moved outboard to leave more room for the tyre. This allows the relatively short chainstay length and the voluminous 650B tyre without than resorting to asymmetric chainstays at all. Though carbon structures can entertain whimsical shapes adequately, lightweight metal structures function better with less fatigue issues when they are kept simple. The Kona Rove’s plate section chainstay is heavy and the Seven Scrambler’s dropped/segmented chainstay has a worrisome amount of welds in a highly stressed area. Ditching the need for a second chainring an expertly shaped titanium tube has an excellent stiffness-to-weight ratio and reassuring weld design. Realistically, the majority of gravel riders will find a 38t-42t single ring more than adequate if combined with a cassette that has a 10t start, like SRAM XD-type cassettes. Why make a bike that can fit a 50/34 double crankset if the customer will never use something that big for gravel? Sure, perhaps your idea of gravel riding does involve a 50/34 crankset, but if that’s the case then you’re probably not thinking of 2.1″ tyres.

Another option is to just commit to using an mtb crankset, since the modern gravel bike’s rear hub is basically the same geometry as a non-Boost mtb….even if the shorter chainstay length accentuates the chain angle at the extremes of the cassette. If the mtb crank’s wider Q-factor is not a problem for you (it is for me), a Ti frame designer can push the max tyre size up a little bit more to perhaps 650B x 57mm or more. The drivetrain details can be a little more complicated if one plans to run a double chainring, but there are various ways to make this work. That being said, 1x drivetrains seem to grab a bigger portion of the market every season; the requirements to support  double chainrings and a front derailleur are rapidly becoming needlessly restrictive with 12sp cassettes with 10-50 and 10-51 on tap for future drivetrains. Who knows? Perhaps the dropped chainstay could even fade away as 1x drivetrains dominate, becoming the solution to a problem that no longer exists.

 

Daivdson custom titanium gravel bike with chainstays optimized for 650B x 48-50mm tyres and 38-42tooth single chainring road cranks.

 

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