Friday, October 24, 2008

Gear 10/19/2008

I am a big fat gearhead. I love cool stuff and always have. I'm not talking just about bikes, but for this place....bikes it is!! I thought I'd share the cool things I see on the web. I also thought I'd post up links to those for sale items I see that seem like real bargains or unique buys.

Please stop back to this weekly. One post per week, updated all week long. I may not always update these things, but when Ive seen some cool things I'll post new.

Here's a sweet looking track bike from Winter cycles. Functional or stiff or just eye candy You decide.

As some of you know I am trying my darnedest to get my own line of electric bicycles to sell. At one end are the el cheapo ones on Amazon and on the other is this state of the art bike from Schwinn in collaboration with Toshiba.

I'll be somewhere in the middle, but quality is number one.

Group buy on BB30 alloy frame for $400? YOu betcha!!! But heres an idea for you all to consider. What if an American company went to American frame builders and said, here an order for X number frames. What can we do for this amount of money? I dont have a problem with products made overseas. Heck I buy them all the time and so does everyone else. Underwear to cars, its a fact of life. But how cool would it be if I gave some work to those US based bike builders instead? Thats my other project. Small batch US made frames. Steel and Ti cross bikes probably at first, then move to road and mountain bikes come spring.

Heres an example of what I am talking about. This UK based company buying frames made in the US and selling them at a great price. Sure no custom geometry, maybe a bit less tube manipulation and internal butting, but that saves money for us off the shelf bike guys.

I am mountain bike crazy!! I want to ride all the time. I'd love to try a 29er too, but Kirk Pacenti has introduced his 27.5" wheel size amidst the final acceptance of 29ers (and the established 26" wheel). The 650B as its called has had rave reviews from magazines, blogs and the boutique brands have started to make frames while the mainstream tire and wheel manufacturers are very quickly warming up to it as well.

In a nutshell, whats all the hub bub about? Well a 29er presents geometry and fit headaches to builders when trying to fit these large wheels (almost identical to a road 700c) to 16" and smaller frames (like women specific). Niner has 29 inch wheels pretty well dialed though. When you talk full suspension and 4" to 6" travel bikes that are all the rage (called trail and all mountain bikes) now 29ers present new issues. The bikes are usually restricted to 80mm of travel. Some say for 29er wheels that's enough. Some like full suspension or demand it for the style they ride.

Here's the deal, 29ers are superb over really rough terrain. They roll over things that 26" wheels get stopped by. Or require much more finesse by the rider to get over repeatedly. I have heard stories from a couple local riders who say they clear sections at Vultures knob, etc, that they never could on a 26" wheel bike after years of trying. First time on a 29er-done!!

650B wheels are 1.5" taller than a 26" and 1.5" smaller than a 29", but require virtually no modification on the part of the frame builders (and shock and fork manufacturers) to incorporate. Though Kirk does not recommend this nor do some brands of forks, but you can actually fit 650B wheels on many current frame/fork combos to try them out. WHAT does that mean? To ME this means you can build a 650B wheel bike for people who are 5'8" and shorter without the 29er issues. You can also build a big hit bike with loads of suspension travel. Now WHY would you do this? Very simple, a 650B wheel rolls over obstacles very much like a 29er the magazines and initial users say. But the bikes, rigid to big hit full suspension are almost standard geometry and the wheels are lighter than 29er wheels too. I for one like the idea, but like the 29er when it first came on the stage, its a hard sell to the real guys and gals who have been pounding it out on the single track for years or decades.

I'll let you make up your mind. btw-I'd love to have some 650b bikes made in smaller sizes and women specific to prove my theory. Maybe put one under an emerging or top female mountain bike racer and see how it does. Look at what Katie Compton did for Primus Mootry!!

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