Is matte black the new black? We went with nude carbon for the Wheelhouse because we didn't want to add the 200g or so of weight that paint and heavy decals carry, but could have opted either for gloss black or matte black. We chose matte, in part because we preferred the aesthetic, but also because it was a little less common than gloss black. Was being the operative word here. I named my first son Gavin a decade ago for the same reasons - I liked it and it was uncommon. But my epiphany was shared by parents across the country, and he has since had another Gavin in his class on three separate occasions (all of whom were different Gavins).
Now I'm not implying for a minute that other brands are following our lead. If they were, they'd be selling their top of the line matte black bikes for under $3K, not over $8K. But matte black is making a run on the outside right now, aiming to get a gap before turn 4. To wit:
- Competitive Cyclist reviews the 2012 Wiler Zero.7
- Bicycling Magazine offers a sneak peak at the $10K Felt AR-1
- Here's the Specialized Venge
- Trek Madone 6.9 SSL Schleck and Spartacus editions
Since we typically zig when the industry zags, does this mean we'll switch to gloss black in 2012? It sure doesn't - we like the stealthy look of the matte too much. But we will go to the other end of the visual spectrum for 2012 and offer the Wheelhouse in a gloss white version as well, for people who don't groove on the raw carbon look and don't mind the extra couple hundred grams. I'll have pics for you soon.
The other trend I'm noticing on pro bikes is the increasing appearance of carbon fiber bars and stems. We know that carbon is more common in frame materials because it can be made stiffer than other materials and still offer superior vibration damping, and it does so with less weight, all which would also be appealing in a cockpit. But so far, the weight advantages of carbon bars and stems are justified by the considerable added expense. Maybe we can change that. No, we can't make carbon cockpits any lighter - that's not our style. But if anyone can make them less expensive to you, we can. We've just ordered some samples from the fine folks who supply our Wheelhouse frames and our carbon rims, and will soon begin testing carbon bars, stems and posts. If we like, then you may be able to pimp your ride with them for a lot less than what a carbon cockpit currently runs you. If we do go to production with them, our carbon cockpits will be available in your choice of matte black.