24 June, 2019

Two New Rim and Fender Designs!

by Igor

Friday was container day, so you know what that means: restocked parts and accessory inventory, tasty group lunch, and temporary cardboard box offices. With this shipment, we received several new products that we are particularly proud of, and I think you'll be quite pleased. Jump down for all the details!

Voyager Rims

A good set of rims are the cornerstone to any good wheelbuild. With nearly two years of R&D, prototyping, factory visits, and extrusion tooling, the Voyager Rims are finally ready for their launch. This was a super fun collaborative effort with wheelbuilder extraordinaire Tommy from Cutlass Velo in Baltimore.

While the Voyager looks like a traditional box section rim, it is packed with modern accoutrements including tubeless compatibility, stainless steel eyelets, and generous tire fitment of 38mm-61mm(2.4"). Magnifique!

Tubeless Compatibility

Having a tubeless compatible rim means that the tire bead and rim hook are able to interlock, and stay interlocked, without a tube placing external pressure on the inner casing of the tire. There are several design details which make this system work.

The valley of the rim must be sufficiently shallow to create a seal between the rim, tubeless rim tape, and tire prior to attempted inflation. While in theory this may make tire installation tougher, we have tested about a dozen mainstream brand and tire combinations, and have not noticed any difficulties.
The next step in the tire and rim, ehm, relationship is the bead shelf. Notice the small protrusion along either side of the valley. Basically what happens is that once air is forced into the valve by floor pump or compressor, the tire bead expands outward ramps up the bead shelf and once the bead makes the jump, snaps into the hook of the rim with a satisfying *snap*.
Once the tire is properly seated, remove the valve core, inject the manufacturer's recommended amount of sealant in (often based on tire size), replace the valve core, and do the sealant dance. I encourage everyone to have a sealant playlist. Mine has a lot of Elvis. Be sure to read your sealant and valve manufacturers recommendations for all the details on how to create a perfect and reliable setup.

All that said, you can still use a tube in a pinch (pun intended) or if the tire you want is not tubeless compatible.

While it can take a bit more initial time to get it all done (with the swishing and swashing), the reward is eliminated or significantly fewer debris and pinch flats and a lighter system without tubes, with the latter having the biggest benefits with the widest sizes of tire. The Voyager Rim is available in 26", 650b/27.5, and 700c/29er in 32 and 36 holes.

Enterprise Rims

While the Enterprise Rim is technically a new rim, it uses a modified RAID Rim extrusion with a single stainless steel eyelet instead of the traditional double eyelet style.
A bit of history: double eyeleted rims were sought-after back in the day because they could better distribute nipple tension within the rim than single eyelets. This was especially useful for randonneurs and tourers as this design led to less chance of rim cracking and premature replacement.

Today, double eyelets simply aren't necessary. Everything about high-quality modern wheel and tire manufacturing is better. Alloys are stronger and more durable, nipples and spokes are more resilient and longer lasting, and tires are consistent.

We switched to a single, stainless eyelet for each hole and dropped a bunch of weight. These new rims will gladly accept tires ranging from 23-38mm in 700c and 27".

650bx58mm Smooth Fenders

We had quite a number of folks asking for a Smooth variant of our Wavy Fenders. While I think the Wavy Fenders may be the coolest design we've released, I can understand they may not fit everyone's build aesthetic.

If you're going with a clean and modern or traditional and simple look, this Smooth set will be perfect. Available in Silver and Noir.

700x38mm Smooth Fenders

In an effort to dial in our fender offerings, we developed this 38mm fenderset to be compatible with tires up to 30mm. They're great for modern road bikes with fender mounts (I love that more companies are offering this feature) or older roadies with fender clearances.

I'm very much aware that we currently offer a 37mm fenderset, you'd be surprised what 1mm of clearance can do for road bike applications. Sometimes you need to make an incremental adjustment to provide the best product going forward.

Available in Silver and Noir!

18 June, 2019

Weight Wise - Pound Foolish

By Scott

There seems at times to be a divide between two sides in the cycling world. No, I'm not talking about flat bar vs drop bar or 650B vs everything else under the sun, but rather those cyclists who weigh everything they put on the bike vs those that just put parts on and don't care.

I'm brought to this thought as a month back I took my rear rack and rack bag off my touring bike. I'd had that rack for all 17 1/2 years that I've owned my bike and I've had the rack top bag for almost 12 years now. I never really gave them a second thought. They were where I put my spare parts/tubes/cell phone/wallet/keys when out on a ride.  However, this past year, my wife has been training for a 1/2 ironman triathlon on a carbon fibre tri bike. On the weekends, we'd go out and do training rides, with her on the tri bike and me on my touring bike. I never really weighed anything until we got Melissa's new-to-her bike and she was curious about it's weight. We weighted it on our industrial scale we use for heavy shipments, and it came out to right around 18lbs.

As Melissa's training for the triathlon increased, the distances and speed increased as well. So in an effort to try and reduce the distance between us, I thought I would take off the rack and bag and start using our Mini-Rando Handlebar Bag instead.  So the net result was that I lost 4 lbs off the bike and I still have the tubes/wrenches that I carry every ride and room for the phone/wallet/keys as well.

What have I learned? Well, perhaps paying attention to weight can be an advantage. I've not caught up to Melissa, but I have cut down the gap between us. I still have all the stuff I need with me should I get a flat or such on the ride, but without the weight penalty. I'm not planning on a tour this summer, so I don't need the rack and bag. I don't really see much else on the bike that can be taken off and replaced or just left off.

Are you a weight obsessed cyclist, weighing the rack and bag to get the lightest possible combination or are you more concerned with the look of it/compatibility of it all and weight be damned? Let us know in the comments.

10 June, 2019

Trail Riding with the Crazy Bar'd Piolet

by Igor

In between family riding this weekend, I took a fresh Piolet build out for a spin through some of Brunswick, Maryland's local trails. Rooty, flowy, steep, and narrow are all characteristics of classic Mid-Atlantic mountain biking, and this little system had it all in spades. This also allowed me to try out the new camera system, so that we can deliver even better photos and content in the future.

While these new, upcoming Voyager Rims are only really rated for up to 2.3s, I successfully tubeless'd up some Maxxis 29x2.5 Aggressors. While Maxxis actually offers the Aggressor in rear only, I made sure to flip the front tire around so everything is copacetic.

These grips are offered by All-City and are designed to be affixed to track drop handlebars. This'll do.

Shimano SLX components take care of shifty and cranky bits.

Sabot pedals mate well with my trail hiking shoes.

Our new Grand Cru Quick-Release Skewers as a brass cam keeps our hubs in place.

And also match well to Blue Lug's Brass Stem Cap and spacer combinations.

Our new Mini-Rando Bag is a super versatile and easy to use setup for the Crazy Bars. Notice how I moved the cords to the upper loops. This kept all of my gear secure and safe.

I love the Day-Tripper Saddle Bag. Packs up nice and secure.

Bonus family riding photos:

 Adrian was riding her Neutrino prototype. More photos of that one to come!

Theo fell asleep while riding on the C&O. We may invest in Thule's stuffed animal crossbar attachment pillow for the future.