One thousand most humble apologies for the delay in posting this entry. I sorted out these photos at the Charlotte, NC airport early this morning, during the last of my red eye flights from Las Vegas. I had the best intentions of posting the article as soon as I arrived home today, but a power nap, a longish bike ride, another power nap and errands, all took precedence. Excuses over, enjoy these photos. Now, it’s time to sleep, East Coast time.
Giant makes some nice CX bikes, but their tire clearance isn’t optimal for uber gravel grinding. Their Revolt series of bikes continues for 2015, and offers a full 50mm (2 inches) of tire clearance! Finally, a manufacturer who has got one thing right. The bike features full length cable housing, and is not run internally. Rather, Giant runs the cabling beneath the “X-Defender” downtube guard; in other words, it’s a tacky looking plastic box designed to protect the downtube, and hide the cables a little. It’s a good idea to protect the paint, but in reality, totally unnecessary. I understand the need for smooth shifting, but internal cables, or perhaps cables run below the top tube could keep the smooth shifting intact… or run electronic shifting.
“Gravel” and CX bikes are meant to be beat up, and aluminum is a good material for this type of bike. Sorry Giant, I’d rather have a few paint chips vs an ugly plastic box beneath my downtube. On the positive, this fame design has obviously inspired another manufacturer whose name begins with J, if you check out my Interbike Day Two gallery.
Giant also has some nice women’s CX and gravel bikes in their range, good to see, and they weren’t excessively pink.
Felt, what are you thinking with your “gravel bike”?
FATLABS not so fat, fat bike. 29+ maybe? 3″ tires on this lovely titanium (prototype) beast, with American Classic’s fat bike hubs (only available to OEMs, not individual retail sales). This bike is sweet. I rode it for a couple of minutes as Interbike was being shut down – at 11.2kg, or about 24.5lbs, it’s light, and felt agile. I’d love to get some more time on this rig, but with drop bars. It could completely crush courses like Hilly Billy Roubaix. First there was the CX bike… then the Monster CX bike… now… the Mega Ultra CX bike.
KHS’s CX550 is in the gallery because I took a liking to it’s simple and clean look, complete with classy skinwall tires. This isn’t a bike for riding serious sludge or gravel, but I’m certain it would be a competent performer on a CX course, if that’s your thing.
The Opus Stelle CX 1.0 is another bike that may ride well on dirt and gravel roads, but a little more tire clearance could help it’s cause. Obviously aimed at CX, versus my favorite type of CX cycling.
Wolf Tooth’s goodies are made in the US of A, namely Minnesota. The 40 tooth cogs pictured, are intended for either a SRAM or Shimano 12-36 or 11-36 10-speed cassette, where you need that little bit extra lower gearing. To make this work, you remove one of the loose cogs from the cassette (most people ditch the 15 or 16), and throw the 40 into place. The ultimate bail out cog. Dr Pain will be trying one of these aboard his Monster CX rig, which is equipped with a 48 / 34 crankset. A 34 x 40 gear should be capable of scaling a telephone pole… or you can walk. Wolf Tooth also also make 42 tooth cogs.
Kask Helmets – I personally own the Bambino TT helmet, but have zero miles on any of their regular road helmets. If they’re anything like the Bambino, they are sure to be minimalistic on my head (who likes a bulbous helmet?), and stylish. I hope to try one of these in the future.
Thanks for reading!