Edinburgh has had a rumoured one and a half hours of sunshine. In June. As in the last 12 days. (This was originally typed 4 days ago. Again, so it goes).
Not been riding much. Not been doing much of anything except mopping and drying, but i know friends who are dealing with much larger volumes of flood water in their lives so no more on that.
Instead i've been reflecting, sorting through things. Thinking and scheming. There has been a little trail building and overall i'm pleased with the results. A master plan calls for some more. We'll see.
Been messing around in a non-serious fashion with less swept bars. The things that strike me at this early stage are:
1) you get crossed up pretty easily in slow speed, high body english scenarios. i think this is because of 2).
2) you ride with elbows locked out (or semi locked out, absorbtion coming from the shoulders) far more.
3) you cant move your weight as easily to and fro - you *can* do it, but not as easy.
4) they do look more normal.
5) you can brace against impacts more - sort of pushing the bars away from you as they rush inwards. I'm not sure if this is good or bad.
6) you can resist high speed trail inputs on the steering more easily i think.
7) your arms are bent through bigger ranges of motion with your wrists at odds with your elbows. Hard to explain...but it feels awkward when you come to lower your body mass over the bike.
In short, for higher speed/short ride/DH type applications i think wider, flatter bars are probably a good thing. For low speed, woodsy riding where you are moving all over the bike, i think there is something to be gained with high sweep bars.
BUT... More work needs done.
I have been following the introduction of the XX1 group with interest. There is a lot to like there, for me at least. I'm skeptical that no front chain guide is needed SRAM claim the alternating thick/thin teeth profiles on the chainring should keep everything ship shape, but particularly for suspension systems that lead to a lot of 'chain growth' i'm not so sure. The clutch mech will mitigate some bounce and the 'only-horizontally' movement should mean less system noise from terrain, but I'd be for belt and braces. CEN also seems to require a guide for sale of bikes in europe so we'll see how that goes. But overall, larger range cassettes are a pretty good idea.
I'm also interested in the 'new' path of movement of the rear derailleur. What i have not read about is whether this is allowed due to limited chain length variation (because there is no front derailleur) or necessary because of the geometry of the enlarged cassette. Would it be useful for all derailleur based systems?
Image is Steph's: apologies for previous lack of credit.
It will also be interesting to see Shimano's response - if any. The above cassette body is the DT swiss version. Not sure it will fit capreo (unmodified). I would not use SRAM gears: Shimano have always been better in my experience, function and longevity and im fine with my 34 or 35 - 11-34 at the moment, in the UK at least. But Shimano already has Capreo (as i mentioned in a previous post) and various folk are offering disc hubs or in the case of Canfield Bros, options to run the group as a 10 speed system.
2013 bikes are beginning to crop up. Refinement is the name of the game, but 650b/27.5 is throwing a spanner in the works: some companies (Scott) are not offering 26" in some models anymore. A bold move for sure but one that in my opinion will pay dividends - i cant see any reason to keep 26" wheels except for DH. Even then, if wider bracing angles could offset the inherent weakness of a bigger rim, i think it would be worth the slight increase in diameter.
I also made myself a new tool. It works very well indeed and will save a few moments of frustration every time i fit a new chain.
That's it for now. Singletrack weekender this (last...) weekend. Hoping for blue skies for it all to go down as it should.