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The Great Debate, Digging, and Discovery

-- Anyone in the bike industry is affected on a seemingly regular basis by the proliferation of new industry standards. We have standards for brakes, chainguides, headsets, bottom brackets and now axles. We argue here about thru-axles all the time. Those of us coming from the big squishy end of mountain bikes are stuck to the 20 x 110mm and prefer the Maxle system from Rockshox. Others prefer the new 15QR system on the Fox forks. It’s a great debate, and we get nowhere with it on a regular basis. I’ve recently come across a nice article that illustrates some of the information that you’ll need to make your own decision about the 15QR. Needless to say, we adapt and overcome. We know folks that held tight to the notion that suspension for bicycles was a passing fad. Those guys are no longer (a) relevant or (b) still in the bike business. It’s kind of funny. There isn’t much room for sticks-in-the-mud.

-- Speaking of standards, I spent a portion of my morning commute looking down at a beautiful early ’90s Campy one inch headset. I’ve always admired the luster, the historic Campagnolo jewel-like polish. It’s probably 16-17 years old and still runs as smooth as the day I first installed it. I can fondly remember making sure that I used the tan Campy grease, or ‘grasso’ as they call it over there, when I repacked the bearings after successive rainy rides. That’s been a long time ago, and while I appreciate its dutiful service life and am still in love with it, I’m never saddened by the abandonment of the 1′ threaded steerer.

-- As over-the-top-of-the-cubicle talk goes, yesterday was banterlicious. Part of what was cussed/discussed was an offensive sapling stob on a short ribbon of otherwise twisty and fun trail that we use to shortcut our commute. The guilty plant is was such an insulting breach of the standards by which the trail was built, one had to wonder -- how could this possibly have ended up like this? We know the trailbuilder. He’s many things, and lazy is not one of them. His procedure is generally right to IMBA standards. How then, did this little stump fall through the cracks?

-- Maybe I can speak for everybody, perhaps none, but that stump… oh, that stump pissed me off everyday. Not only is was it right in the middle of the tread, but it ended up being about two and a half inches tall after the tread compacted over the last two seasons. It isn’t wasn’t quite tall enough to see easily, but it is was high enough to bite your sidewall. Yesterday, a brand new 28c road tire fell prey to it and that was all the inspiration I needed.

-- Here’s an interesting question. How heavy is too heavy? How heavy are you willing to accept a bike frame? Is six pounds too much? Many of us ride six pound frames because of the riding that we enjoy. Hard all-mountain use calls for durable equipment. How about six pounds of tires? Niner teamed up with WTB for their new Kodiak 2.5′ 29er tire. It’s a 1400 gram (3.1lb) beast. We’re not sure if we’re ready to push a set of those things over hill and dale.

-- On another 29′ related note. Intense released spy photos of a 29er DH bike they’ve been toying with, the 2951. While it looks super cool, we’re skeptical. We’ll try to not be sticks in the mud here, but we’ll see it when we believe it. You read that right, you’ll have to believe it too, or believe in it. We think it’s a fun experiment, but the bigger hoops will still have some inherent disadvantages to overcome in comparison to 26’wheels. We want to see and read about some factory riders tearing it up on that thing. What will become of it?

-- Somebody ought to hire this guy for some contract design work. Very cool.

-- We’re not scientists, but we think we’ve discovered the leading cause of night blindness for unwary pedestrians. Sorry everyone!