Matt Hunter: Elbows Out

Rode with Matt once, at Snowbird, and he torpedoed off the trail so hard, came back up with a branch in his face. Pulling the branch out, he asked how bad it was. We said, “you’re fine,” and finished the ride.

He’s seen here in this video with elbows out, dragging against the trail, and nope that ain’t special effects.

Chris King XD driveshell and the evolution of cassette cogs

Everyone wants to talk about whether the latest mountain bike drivetrains have one rather than multiple chainrings and the range of the cassettes, but not much gets said about how the cassette interface dictates those choices. When SRAM introduced their innovative 1x11 mtb, their concept hinged on having an ultra-wide range cog cluster in the back of the drivetrain to replace the need to have multiple chainrings on the crank up front. The XX1’s cogset is like a wide-range 9sp cassette bookended by a 10T and 42T cog, both of which required some re-engineering of the cog/hub interface. The result is what SRAM calls an “XD cassette driver”, and it is both a great advance in design and an impediment to market acceptance.

In the last thirty years or so, there have only been seven other significant cassette designs. Shimano’s Uniglide hubs integrated the bearing and ratchet mechanism of the freewheel directly into the rear hub; the cogs slid onto splines except the 1st-position cog that threaded on to the cassette body to hold rest on. The later Hyperglide replaced the thread-on 1st position cog with a lockring that fits the female-threaded body, and the splines now included a narrow spline to align all the cogs relative to each other. This would ensure that the shift ramps of adjacent cogs would be properly positioned from end to end of the cassette. Other than one little abortive idea at the beginning of the 10sp-era, the only thing Shimano has done since is make the Hyperglide body wider to accept more cogs (6/7sp to 8/9/10sp to the recent 11sp width). Suntour’s cassette spline pattern died with the company; Mavic wisely abandoned their own proprietary spline pattern to make their hubs and later wheel systems compatible with products from people who actually know how to make drivetrains.

Out of the Twisties in Santa Cruz

Estes Two

Estes out of the Twisties

Spent two days riding in the Santa Cruz mountains with Specialized. Will tell you more about that and what I was riding this weekend and in the 12th issue of our magazine. Yesterday was 80 miles and 8K feet of climbing and today 60 miles and 6K. Many of these miles were with Sean Estes, from Spesh, seen here riding out of the twisties on a descent. We climbed and descended so many different hills, lost track, but I named one, Mt. F’ing Hard.

Spurcycle’s sweet little bell

Spurcycle Bicycle Bell

I saw this keen little bell on a bike today and discovered it came from a Kickstarter project by Spurcycle. Besides having a loud yet not unpleasant tone, Spurcycle’s bell had what is surely the cleanest, most elegant mount I’ve ever seen on a handlebar bell. This is a bell that would would not disgrace the aesthetics of the most posh pedal-powered exotica. At $35, it’s not a bargain per se, but it is quite reasonable for such a unique, handsome, and functional item. Available in stainless or black steel from Spurcycle.

Spurcycle Bell Install from Spurcycle on Vimeo.

In the Trenches Before Santa Cruz

Nature break

Nature break

Timed the ride for a sun break, kitted up, stepped out the door to a few drops, then within 5 minutes a torrent with soak through in another 20 minutes. So it was back into the trenches for another ride. I ducked into a park to get out of drops so big and cold, they might as well have been hail.

For some relief from the wettest Spring recorded, wetter than when dinosaurs splashed in the Sound and cavorted around the Space Needle, I’m in Santa Cruz later today. Spesh hasn’t said for what exactly and as I much as I like the Roubaix, looking forward to riding a different bike, towards the sun.

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