Easton wheels 2008

I got a glimpse of the 2008 Easton product line-up, and the wheels are sexy. Every single wheel seems to be new except for maybe the rim. I figure that they must have been throwing some big bucks into development this past year or two.

First of all, I’d like to comment that their product catalogs, since the wheels have their own catalog separate from the other components, do a decent job of explaining a product line jam-packed with new items. As a retailer, I freakin’ loathe product literature that is confusing or inadequate to consumers. I’ll just touch on some of the wheels, but maybe I’ll mention the components once I get to hold them in my hand at Interbike.

In designating their product, Easton employs an alphanumerical system that gives material, relative level in the line, and either a weight or purpose designator. For instance, any product that has an EA at the beginning has no carbon component to it. EC means that at least some carbon fibre is used. An EA90 is top of the line for non-carbon products, with EA70, EA50, and EA30 in descending order of cost and presumably performance. Finally, an EA90 SLX is lighter than an EA90 SL, while an EC90 Carbon Aero is an all-around wheel while the EC90 Time Trial is meant for you guessed it time trials. This system holds true for all Easton products, not just the wheels. Got that? Great, back to wheels specifically.

The biggest differences in the wheels are the new hub designs across the line. Gone are the old Velomax twin-thread hubs where the spoke threads into the hub and also into a nipple at the rim. Instead all the hubs rely on straight pull spokes that insert at the hub and run to a nipple at the rim. The hubs look especially clean and are well depicted in computer drawn exploded schematics towards the back of the catalog. I don’t know how these hubs will hold up in actual use, but Easton does seem particularly proud of their design. They market a time trial specific front wheel with a narrow spoke bracing and air-foil shaped axle ends to reduce drag. For my tastes, the coolest hubs are the TKO track hubs which apply the 21st century aesthetic to the traditional high-flange track hub. They somewhat resemble Cane Creek’s hub except that they have the nipples internal at the rim instead of the hub. And the TKO rear hub uses the splined track cog and Hyper-glide type lockring system that I first reported from last year’s Interbike. For track riders, this means lightning fast cog changes with just one tool.

Easton seems to be using in-house built 56mm deep carbon rims for their EC90 track, time trial, and all-around wheels and introduces a new low-profile carbon rim for their EC90 SLX climbing wheels. The climbing wheels have external nipples, while all the deep wheels have internal. And all of the all-carbon wheels are tubular, though there is an EC70-something wheel that uses a structural carbon section co-molded to an aluminium rim. That wheel seems like the wheel I’ll most likely be pitching to customers since it combines an aerodynamic 38mm depth with the convenience of clinchers and the reliability of an aluminum brake surface. However, I’ll personally be gunning for the Aero Carbon and the TKO wheels, and hopefully I’ll be able to evaluate them for Bikehugger in the future.

The wheels seem to top out around $1600 or so, which seems pretty competitive in this day and age.



Sears Bike

When I spotted this Sears Bike, it wasn’t exactly the one, but close to what I rode as a kid. My parents ordered it for me from the catalog, it had 3 speeds, was brown, and I rode it everywhere during my Evel Knievel phase.

sears_bike.jpg



Too Drunk to Shift

“Too drunk to shift” was recently heard as an excuse for not winning a sprint, which was hilarious at the time, and rather accurate. That excuse is right up there with “my clothes were still wet” for missing a team ride, “being boxed in” for getting pipped in the sprint, and “air pressure was low” for not taking a big, fast pull or the classic

“Eamon adjusted my brakes into my tire”

I admit one time to having my girlfriend at the time (later my wife) call the team leader to say I wasn’t going to be there (that resulted in weeks of ridicule) … what’s your best ride excuse? Either that you’ve heard or used.



Retrotech with the Fat Frank

This cruiser spotted at Eurobike sports the Fat Franks by Schwalbe. It’s all super retro looking with disc brakes.

See more Eurobike photos uploaded by Novara.

from the Bike Hugger Photostream.



I Can’t Make this Stuff Up: Patrick McHenry and the Energy Bill

Since every other blog in the universe has posted on it, I thought I should as well. Maybe I’ll take a different tack than others.

Anything pertaining to cycling lifestyle is of interest around here and we, like other cyclists, took umbrage last week as this video circulated. McHenry’s speech is ugly and insulting, but it’s also incredibly lame and that’s what offended me most deeply. When a motorist runs down a cyclist because “bikes are stupid,” he may be using violence in place of argument, but at least there’s violence. McHenry’s got nothing. Bear with me while I expound.

First, let us take note of Rep. McHenry’s intellectual method of critiquing the Democrats’ provision in the energy bill.

None whatever.

There may well be lots of things wrong with the Democrats’ energy bill or their specific proposal to offer tax incentives to bicycle commuters, but rather than point any of them out, use logic, or offer an argument, McHenry substitutes a sarcastic tone. It’s Argumentum ad Muntziam. He’s not actually criticizing the Dems, he’s just pointing and sneering.

Note also, that he has his facts grossly wrong. The Democrats aren’t offering a 19th Century solution to a 21st Century problem–they’re offering a 19th Century solution to an 18th Century problem. The phenomenon of Supply and Demand was well know by the time Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations, as was international trade. McHenry seems to believe that he has uncovered a new and unprecedented problem: a resource sought by the American public located somewhere other than here. God help us, how will we untangle such a Gordian Knot?

Of course McHenry and the Republicans are at a loss in the face of this problem. Over the last 60 years the party has assiduously worked to lobotomize and emasculate itself, laying down tools like trade and all-out war that could solve such a dilemma.

Barry Goldwater was the last gasp of intellectual solvency and self esteem in the party, which were finally abandoned as part of his throwing in the towel. After his failures in 1964, the religious conservative wing of the party heaved a sigh of relief, knowing they would never again have to offer evidence or argument to support their positions. Not long after, the party castrated itself rather than suffer any longer the label “Hawk”–a vicious aspersion which they have since spent the last 50 year attempting to disprove through one incompetent military action after another.

Patrick McHenry of course is the ultimate payoff for the Republicans’ hard work: empty political bluster, lamely delivered, proudly proclaiming a total absence of ideas without even mindless, reactionary war mongering as a redeeming virtue.

Plus, bikes are cool and he’s short and his hair looks funny.

Try the veal, I’m here all week!



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