Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More New Bike Stuff

I got some double-secret info that I'd like to share. The new front der mount on the Enduro Sl is something that I've never seen before. It's an e-type without the bracket. It's pretty clean, I think. This position allows it to hit the chain at the same spot relative to the chainrings throughout the compression stroke. Not bad. Better shifting=good. It also frees them up to forge the pivot area without worrying about a front derailleur band. That means lighter AND stiffer. No wonder these bikes are just over 26lbs.

Here is a shot of the spring rates of the new shock from Specialized compared to the old shock (Fox) and a coil spring shock. I can't read the text, but I can tell from the chart that the linear spring rate (blue) and traditional spring rate (yellow) are less than ideal for non-downhill applications on a full suspension bike. The yellow line ramps up too fast (poor small-bump sensitivity), feels too wishy-washy in the middle resulting in diving or simple lack of control, then ramps up too quickly at the end (harsh when you least need it).

One of the many things that I have been accused of being is a Specialized freak. If you look at this site, you'll see a lot of stuff about them, for sure. I ride their mtn bikes pretty exclusively despite having to actually pay for them. The main reason that I'm able to put so much of this info down is that they have the most to share. Rob and Greg at Jamis have been helpful with whatever they have, if I need it, but they just don't have the ability to create and produce their own forks and shocks. Cannondale tests a lot of their stuff to the most rigorous standards in the world (see ad campaign) but I don't have the spreadsheets and data in front of me (hint, hint). What it all boils down to is that I pick the bikes I want to ride each year based on the ride and then I use all of the tech info to try and explain to people the 'why.' When I got off of last year's Sworks Stump FSR 120 it was because the new carbon bike was WAY stiffer AND lighter, not because I wanted a carbon bike per se. It just rides better.

When it comes to bikes as systems, Cannondale and Specialized have done a lot of work trying to squeeze weight and performance out of stuff. I've been riding an SI-equipped six13 for a few months and those cranks feel great and they are light (but they creak and are made by FSA so I have already ruined them and need to get the aluminum ones). The point is, I really like the fact that Cannondale has been thinking outside the box and trying to create products that stand out in terms of rider performance and comfort benefits. Specialized has done this a few times over the years but have really re-committed themselves to it for 07.

What Jamis lacks in ability, they make up with creativity. Look at that fork on that steel 29'er! I mean, who's doing a production steel rigid 29'er for under a grand? Forget it. How about those Coda bikes? Rides like a road bike with the handling of a mtn bike. Fenders, panniers, fatter tires... century, commuting, touring, dirt... those things rock. And how about steel 'cross (Nova) AND aluminum/carbon cross for under $2k? These guys are smart and their product is super accessible. And it rides really well.

Rumor #27: how about an Epic 29'er singlespeed... Keep your eyes peeled on the pro circuit.


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