Is it any wonder that I don't have a working laptop yet? (Let's not get another computer debate going... please... that means you Squirrel.) Friday the 13th... I should've just stayed in bed. AND it rained off and on today so I didn't get to ride today. It rains something like three times a year here and today was one of them... so much for the annual average of 72 and sunny.
Our new Warranty Manager, Pat Crosby, gave me a second bottle of a delicious home brewed red lager- nice and creamy with a very smooth finish. It's yummy and has me excited about brewing up the two beers I've been putting off; I've got an Irish Stout and English Ale that I need to brew up. Now I guess I'll have to... thanks again Pat (yummy stuff).
Thanks to all of you who have either commented or emailed with the corrections/ suggestions to be made to the website. We'll get the glitches worked out soon and possibly add some additional photos and update all of the team news stuff as well (good stuff to talk about).
The cross race season is in full swing and our new cross bike won't be here in time for much racing this year. As much as I have been pushing to get them sooner, it looks like we won't be seeing them still until late November. I know that is too late for some folks, but I struggled with the idea of simply saving the bike as an '08, but decided that I really wanted it in the upcoming range because I wanted people to get the chance to ride it now. Seriously, the bike kicks ass. Just check out the website and look at the spec and the geometries... it's perfect! It's also going to be available as a frameset with frame, fork and headset for those of you who like to custom build your bikes. I have been super-dooper happy with the bike, in the limited riding I've been able to do on it. It's very sweet... even for a road nerd who can barely keep from falling over in the dirt.
Leg humping time; SRAM- Are you listening?
The new SRAM road groups kick ass! I love Shimano and Campy both, but the new SRAM Rival and Force groups are sweet. If the bigshots at SRAM are reading this site again- I need 175 cranks and an 11-anything cassette. I've got a sweet new carbon frame that would look smokin' hot with a Force group... I'm just saying.
Seriously, Shimano and Campagnolo both make incredible parts. Shimano has the smoothest shifting and Campy has the most gorgeous cosmetics, but SRAM blends the two smoothly into one group. Now, that isn't to say that the stuff is completelty "flawless". The only observations I've made that can qualify as "complaints" are that the front derailleur can't be trimmed between the wo chainrings and feels less effortless than the Shimano; if you have already exhausted the available gearing in the cassette on a climb and then try in vain to shift again to an easier gear, it will shift down to a harder gear (learning curve and knowing where you are in the rear) and there currently is not an option for bar end shifters for TT bikes. So far that is all I have come up with. That's it. Not bad at all. Otherwise, SRAM now has the very best ergonomics I've found yet on the shifter hoods. I have pretty darned big hands and the levers transition so smoothly from the hood to the bar top that it essentially creates one gigantic perch for my meaty mits. I could happily spend hours on the hoods of these shifters. The rear shifting is superb- especially coming down the cassette. The Open Glide cog design is awesome- it basically looks like you are missing a tooth on the cog. This is supposed to create a "gateway" for the chain to move quickly to the next cog. All I can say is that you touch the shifter and then the chain is magically on the next cog... BANG! Here's the big and so far unanswered question; what is the durability going to be like and how servicable will it all be? SRAM's MTB parts are known for their durability, so I am optimistic.
Since I was an early cheerleader for the stuff and now get frequent questions about the groups, I plan to update occasionally on what I experience with the parts as well as the feedback that I get from other riders and our retailers. Should be interesting anyway...
One of the best new trends I spotted this year at Interbike was the abandonment of cosmetic weave carbon fiber on bikes and parts. Personally, I've grown tired of that particular look and it serves almost zero purpose on a bike, other than potentially as a protective sheath for the "real carbon" underneath. Cosmetic weave is what we're all used to seeing as carbon fiber- on bikes or other products- but it serves little or no structural purpose... and it just adds weight. Unidirectional carbon is "real" carbon and I personally think it looks so much cooler and "high tech". More and more folks are adopting it... so stay tuned...
Here is my vote for most awesomest and coolest bike part of Interbike 2006; the new PRO (division of Shimano) track disk wheel (it's the white disk in the bottom left corner)! The new PRO Track Lite rear disk is the most amazing piece of track equipment I've seen in many, many years. The cover is a tensioned Mylar (I think) and the hub internals are Dura Ace. The alloy rim is light... and there is nothing inside the disk. It is as hollow as my head! Mike Morrill from Shimano pulled the disk down off the wall to show me how tough it was by placing it on the floor and then stood on the side of it and rocked back and forth! AND... get this... it only weighs something like 760 grams! OHMYGAWD I have to have one! My kids just might have to go to a community college now. Being hollow, it is sure to make a ton of noise... but so what! Being that light and stiff, even if they hear you coming, they won't be able to catch you when you go by! If you race track, you need this disk wheel.
It might seem foolish to say nice things about my competitors, but I have to say that Scot Nicol and the gang over at Ibis still just impress the hell out of me. The products sure look great and on top of it, Scot is still Scot! He's still just as smart and clever as ever... and still funnier than all hell. The new road and moutain frames/ bikes might not appeal to the "Ibis purists" but they sure look cool.
To all of the folks who are still waiting for a reply to an email from me... I swear I'm gonna get to you. I met a lot of great folks at Interbike this year who have sent me follow-up emails and I haven't been able to answer them all yet- especially with the dead hard drive. BUT, I will get back to you. Squid and Team Puma- that means you. Mike Dee and the crew in NYC- that means you. Happy Mutant- that means you. Everybody else- that means you too. Thank you for your patience. For all of you who have been sending emails through the corporate website and have not gotten an answer, I am still working through a pretty big backlog and will get to all of you as well.
Ok, that's all I've got for the moment. Computer is still dead. Emails are still behind. New products are good. New website is great. Stuff is pretty good. I'm going to bed!
(PS- Where the hell are you Meagan?)