Mark V talks trends: A Better Crank To Grind Gravel

Seen here, a unique Rotor crank optimized for gravel riding, but what I talk about in this post is how the market as a whole will respond to the need for better crank designs for gravel bikes.

Gravel-grinder, all-road, and adventure bike. Not without a certain controversy, these are all terms associated with a growing segment within the cycling industry. They’re selling a romance of riding long stretches of dirt paths that have yet to lose their frontier flavour….or perhaps its retracing the crumbling and forgotten roads of a previous century. If consumers want to write long, meandering love poems to crushed gravel, the cycling industry will sell them the quill.

In general, these gravel bikes tend to be frames with somewhat relaxed angles and rider position, as well as generous tyre clearance . Cyclocross bikes fit that description to an extent, and indeed the first wave of gravel bikes offered by the big brands were little more than their stock CX bikes with wide-ratio cassettes. Since then, designers have lowered the bottom bracket heights for additional stability and added clearance for tyres bigger than what is allowed by UCI rules for cyclocross. Tyre manufacturers are now fully exploiting those changes by introducing a selection of tyres with low-profile treads, bigger on volume than a cyclocross 700Cx33 but smaller than what could be considered a 29er tyre. The next major development will be in the drivetrain, specifically the crankset and chainrings.

Bottom Bracket Tools

I am ever so excited that the bike industry has devised yet another bottom bracket standard. As I understand it, the new T47 standard solves every problem ever faced by manufacturers, mechanics, and consumers with no nagging drawbacks, unlike all the previous designs that promised the same thing. I am confident about this because of all the positive feedback from people who’ve seen a photograph of one on the internet. Such a long and unbiased track record is….like, gold or some shit.

And I really hope that Shimano gets on the T47 bandwagon, because I just love collecting tools. Shimano managed to create new bottom bracket models on an existing standard that required two new tools for installation, rather than use the nearly universal tool for 24mm spindle & external bearing bottom brackets (that they themselves invented over fifteen years ago).

In the photo above is a part of my growing BB tool collection, for external bearings. From the left is the BSA30 for Rotor external bearing BBs that fit traditional English or Italian shells but a spin a 30mm spindle, the old Shimano external bearing BB-style tool, the new one for Shimano Ultegra and lower-level BBs, and the one for the newest Dura Ace 9000 BB. Not shown is the tool for FSA’s EVO386 standard, which is quite similar to Rotors BSA30, but of course take a different tool. I have a hoard of other tools to fit various square-taper BB, but I’d rather not admit to it. I don’t want people to think I support their decision to adhere to archaic cycling technology.

Pacific Northwest Flow Trails

Plenty of flow in the Pacific Northwest like this video shows, and after a week in Vegas on the camera tech beat, looking forward to riding this weekend—rain or shine. If you’re into cameras as much as we are, my stories about the new FujiFilm X-Pro 2 and Suddenly Shooting a Wedding are on Medium.

Suddenly a Wedding Photographer in Vegas

That Paris-Nice Sprint

While in Vegas for a photography tradeshow, missed the #ParisNice sprint everyone is talking about. The story from the BBC. Michael Matthews wins stage after Bouhanni disqualified for not holding his line, obviously.

Animal Encounters: Ostrich

Had my share of animal encounters, even dedicated an issue of our magazine to it, but being chased and drafting off an ostrich is next level. The uploaded of the edit shared

Suddenly, I spotted a white ostrich on my left, then this beast jumped on the road from the right and started chasing my friends! It was a little scary at first, but then I thought I gonna fell of my bike from laughter. The ostrich didn’t have any problem to keep up at 50km/h and apparently they do 70km/h with no sweat.

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