Force 1 Arrives at Kona

Kona 1x

Two athletes running Force 1 this weekend at Kona

Ironman Kona is the World Championships for long-course triathletes and increasingly where manufacturers show off their tech as the road season winds down for the year. Today, in SRAM’s Kona PR, spotted an interesting bullet point:

SRAM Force 1 is a single chainring drivetrain that delivers the perfect gear range in a simpler, quieter and more secure design.

It’s interesting to note that Force 1 evolved from MTB and Cross to Tri bikes and not the other way around, as we’ve seen with wheels and aero road bikes. One chainring systems are really being pushed across the board for performance, even for cutting edge road bikes. As Mark V has chronicled, we’ve been running various 1x iterations with SRAM road levers and MTB derailleurs for years and are currently running aCX1 setup with hydro for cross. Off-road, 1x was done to avoid derailleurs getting torn off in muddy conditions; you don’t need that many gears for what amount to grass crits, and when cold hands turn to frozen blocks, shifting a front lever can become nearly impossible.

As much benefit as was derived from these early drivetrain hacks, they required finesse to get the right shift, were finicky, and sometime under geared on hilly course. Chains tended to fall off, too! CX1 from SRAM was welcomed; 1x11 brought us more gears and pie-plate cassettes to fix that undergearing problem. The new single-specific chainrings and clutched-derailleurs keep the chain on in even apocalyptic conditions, and as a system it just works. CX1 does what we wanted the hacks to do, but much better.

Photos: Andy Bokanev

Allez Sprint with Force 1. Photo: Andy Bokanev

We didn’t expect to see Force 1 spec’d on triathlete bikes or crit bikes, but it makes sense in these days of a bike for every niche. We’ve rarely had to shif a front derailleur in a crit and while not triathletes, we’ve ridden the roads of Kona and that’s as long and lonely a stretch of lava field highway as one could ever encounter. Simplification makes sense. One less thing to worry about while trying to ride, eat, and keep focus on the 112 mile bike race to the marathon start.

New Addict CX with CX1 and Hydro

It’s a different way of doing things, and it’s probably not something you’re going to wind up with on every bike in your garage, but when 1x is the right choice, it’s the perfect choice. No extraneous distractions or complications, just the gears you need. Make sure you spend time on it and get used to the feel, and that you’ve got all the gear ratio bandwidth you’re going to need if (or when!) you bonk, though. No more bail out gear safety margin. Cards on the table here; multi-sport racing isn’t our thing, but so much tech carries over now, we’re paying attention to the racing this weekend.

SRAM’s Kona involvement is extensive, and includes Zipp wheels, cockpits, new eTap electronic shifting, and power meters from Quarq.

Follow the action from Kona on Twitter and Insta. I’m watching for what ZippSpeed teased last week. What can they do after Firestrike?

For a recent take from me on getting in race shape with Quarq, see my Swakane Canyon story in Issue 25 on iTunes, the Web, or Medium; and Mark’s posts on 1x

Spencer Green at Canyons Edit

Grass-roots racer Spencer Green enjoying the runs at Canyons before the snow @4_SPENNY. Shot/Edited by Stephen Graham @SGBIKER464 with C4H Media @C4HMEDIA Song Magic Wands, Space. Bike: Pivot Phoenix Carbon DH.

Night Weasels Cometh Highlights 2015

From Dirtwire TV and Cross under the lights….

Cambium in Kansas

Just when I was looking for some light, Friday content, this Dirty Kanza 2015 video from Brooks popped. Not sure, I’d want to ride a Cambium C15 for 200K, but they sell it well.

Out of the Newsstand Onto Your Home Screen

iOS 9 brings many changes to Mac devices, including the Newsstand where our magazine was previously located. After the update, our mag app works the same with ad-free content and in-app recurring subscriptions. Subscribers can now move apps out of the Newsstand folder to their home screens and from there into whatever folder they like. After upgrading to iOS9, the previously undeletable, standalone Newsstand folder becomes a regular folder. In there you’ll find us and whatever other Newsstand apps you have subscribed to, like the NY Times.

As we talked about when the change to Newsstand was announced earlier this year during the WWDC, we welcome this change, along with our publisher 29th Street, who has made more Newsstand apps than anyone. The Newsstand created too much friction for readers and, as much as we believe in a mobile-app, content strategy in these ad-blocking times, we “should’ve never been buried in a weird little corner” on people’s devices.

Now you can get the content you want from us, as a Bike Hugger app, instead of a Newsstand one. Speaking of the content, our latest issue is about food, like this, and dropped last week.


Tasty like our content

Find us on the App store and the Web too.

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