If watching drone videos from the Oregon outback, wasn’t enough to take you away from the craziness in the world today, how ‘bout a look at Groningen: The World’s Cycling City
It’s no secret that just about anywhere you go in the Netherlands is an incredible place to bicycle. And in Groningen, a northern city with a population of 190,000 and a bike mode share of 50 percent, the cycling is as comfortable as in any city on Earth. The sheer number of people riding at any one time will astound you, as will the absence of automobiles in the city center, where cars seem extinct. It is remarkable just how quiet the city is. People go about their business running errands by bike, going to work by bike, and even holding hands by bike.
Holding hands by bike and a bike mode share of 50 percent—that’s the stuff dreams are made of.
Brooks enlists some of the world’s best bike makers for new 150th Anniversary “Dashing Bikes,” and they’re shared here as they were presented to us.
Brooks have stipulated a single theme that will unite them all. The theme is ‘copper’. The simple rationale is that copper is a versatile and elegant material with which to work, and has long played an integral role in Brooks products. The copper rivet on a Brooks England saddle, for instance, is as iconic as any other single element of its, or any design. It remains to be seen how each of the builders will interpret this theme, but Brooks is busy preparing special saddles and accessories to complement the special paint schemes, head badges, and other details on the finishing kit of each bike.
The program is called Dashing Bikes and the list of collaborators is impressive. From the veritable Condor, itself a firm fixture in the history of British cycling, as well as that of Brooks’ own history, to Brompton, the brand synonymous with the words “folding bicycle”. Stalwart collaborators Pashley and Moulton as well as Canyon Bicycles who prepared a very special edition of their futuristic Commuter are also along for the ride.
On a Monday, when the weather is nice, it’s not raining….this view of the Gorge Roubaix. That’s one of those gravel rides you’ve been hearing us and other media talk about, and what bikes like the Trek Boone and the triple 3 fab are about. Lovely as the aerial photos are, they don’t share what it’s like on the ground, where the rubber hits the road. For a few words about that, on a ride just east of Seattle, read this article on Medium and in Issue 32.
As I said last week, this bike is road disc thru and thru. Here’s another at the Wilier Triestina GTR Team Disc in B/W and what I’m riding this weekend with a report, review, and my take on it in the next issue of our magazine, number 34. A little bit about the bike now is it’s their endurance model and will fit 28 tires, which will suffice for the less gravely, gravel rides…..
SRAM officially revealed their new 1x12 XX1 group, named Eagle.
In a nutshell, Eagle XX1 is not so much of a revolution as it is a maturation of the 1x concept. Imagine a 50T bailout gear added to the 10-42T cassette of the original XX1 and a lighter crankset optimized for XC combined with a very sophisticated chain construction. It is a flagship race gruppo that has gearing flexible enough for any sporting rider, not just professionals or people who ride less vertical trails. The direct-mount chainring takes 1x rings to the next level, addressing user complaints about noise and wear with the widely-copied 1st-gen X-Sync narrow-wide rings.
It is easy to say that SRAM is pushing 1x because they can’t make front derailleurs, but it is more accurate to say that rather than being inept at front shifting, they’ve just always been one step behind Shimano in that arena. With 1x, SRAM is making front derailleurs irrelevant. Sure, we can say that Shimano 2x10 and 2x11 drivetrains work great, and tell ourselves that SRAM is painting themselves in a corner by abandoning MTB front derailleurs. But 1x is the natural corollary to saturating the rear cluster with 12 cogs. Why would drivetrain designers add another cog if they weren’t going to ditch the front derailleur? Don’t try to say we consumers don’t need an additional cog. We probably don’t, but history predicts that we will buy it regardless.
If anything, the real reason for SRAM Eagle is that bike designers don’t want to build bikes with front derailleurs. Without accommodation for front derailleurs, bike manufacturers have a lot more freedom to design fatbikes, plus-size tyre bikes, and rear suspension. Consumers will buy 1x drivetrains because that’s what is going to hang on the new generation of bikes that have more tyre clearance, more travel, and are lighter. You can argue all you want about the virtues of front derailleurs, but that’s a conversation that only lives at bike shop water coolers and online forums, not bike companies.
That ship has already sailed.
XX1 Eagle groupset has a claimed weight of 1456gr and will retail for $1417. X01 Eagle (1502gr) will cost $1193. Expected availability for both groups is this June.