Is Matte Black the new Black? Oh, and carbon cockpits.

Behind the Curtain Trends & Technology

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:

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. 

 

 


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  • Mike May on

    Hey Steve-We like the shallow drop too. The ones we are testing have a reach of 76mm and a drop of 130mm, almost identical dimensions to the Deda Presa carbon bars.

  • Steve on

    Would love to see some of those shallow drop bars like alot of the pros are riding now.

  • Mike May on

    I never said "way too heavy" Nick. If we were hyperfocused on the weight of the graphics we wouldn't put the full "November" brand on the downtube. It would just read "Nov" or maybe "11". Dave and I are talking about some modifications to the decal scheme for 2012. At the very least, next year's bikes will probably include the "Wheelhouse" name on them. In a small typeface of course, since 18 pt is 25% lighter than 24 pt. The other option we looked at was to inlay a scrim of UD carbon in the top layer of the 3K weave on the downtube, carved out as the as the "November" logo. That way, the "graphic" adds zero weight at all, and actually acts as a structural component since it is also carbon fiber. Plus it ends up being black on black, which is even more stealth than our current look. It would bring the price of our frames up 150% to $2400 each, still a bargain compared to the bikes I linked to above. Ultimately we decided not to go that route, since neither we nor our customers are idiots.

  • Nick on

    Hey, guys! How about a matte UD carbon finish on the Wheelhouse? Finish it off with some matte white accents (but not a lot, cuz that would be way too heavy, right?), outlined w/ gloss black and add a gloss black November outlined w/ matte white to the downtube. Or…just leave it as it.

  • Mike on

    Interesting, I always assumed the allure of carbon cockpit stuff was weight, now I know otherwise.I was lucky in that I have a 1/2" of wiggle room before the bend in my Masterpiece, but I was sweating it while setting the bike up.



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