New year new stuff same focus

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A mistake that the bike industry so often makes is that it decouples use experience from ownership experience. So much top level use experience comes from emaciated pros who ride at improbable speeds over inhospitable terrain, and then having crossed the finish line hand their bikes to a mechanic who ensures that said bike is perfect for the next stage. Ownership is a little different, and often involves a bit of compromise. Also, pros race on tubulars. Tubulars are so different than clinchers that lessons learned on one are more or less inapplicable to the other, rim-wise.

What we sell over the next year will be perhaps more different than it's been in any year since we introduced the Rail 52 nearly 4 years ago (and a brief "holy cow it's been almost 4 years" on that one). The focus that we've always had on advocating wheel products that offer a tremendous ownership experience, which of course includes the use experience as a hugely significant subset, will steadfastly remain. 

The Rail 52 stays the same, since it's still so well suited to the job of being a very fast road wheel for road bikes. One of the themes at Eurobike, and throughout everything, is disc brakes. We are building and shipping the first round of Range builds right now, and we're quietly confident that we've hit the bullseye on that one. 

Unless HED throws some unforeseen changes in, their rim lineup will stay substantially the same. The asterix on that is that they're doing a little subtraction by subtraction, with the excellent Belgium+ disc tubular going away. The simple fact is that tubulars are a non-entity in the current consumer landscape, with the exception of cross racers. Even in cross, tubulars seem to be tailing off. 

The Easton R90SL rims have elbowed their way into a position of prominence in our order book, and in our esteem. Easton has had a series of hub designs that maybe tried too hard to be innovative, and their factory builds have always been a bit underspoked for our tastes, but the rims are a stunning example of normalcy. They aren't the lightest, nor widest, nor deepest, nor anything-est. What they are is well constructed, of a current shape that makes a ton of sense for their intended use, and as light as they can reasonably be. Anyone self-identifying as a "weenie" of any stripe will be totally non-plussed by them, which goes a long way to explaining why we, as dyed in the wool "normal stuff that works well weenies" like them so much.

As stated before, there is a new road rim that the internet has begun to talk about, which we've been testing for nearly 1000 miles of use now. An ever present challenge is that you'd like to have 10 people of various weights and riding styles and agendas test them for a complete life cycle before you get excited about them. The reality is that reality never affords this opportunity. Since a lot of this rim's story is about aerodynamics, we more or less demanded that they be wind tunnel tested, and we've successfully made that case so we're spearheading a wind tunnel test with them.

Some existing rims are going away and being replaced with new models. We've had the opportunity to beta test a bunch of these (seriously, I either need to spend all day riding or just get a bike that uses 6 wheels) and ultimately time will tell. There are always cases where time has told a different story than the initial "ooh ahh pretty new!" excitement gives, so as much as is possible for a company the size of ours, we put a big focus on getting to the time that will tell as quickly as possible.

 


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  • Fortino on

    How about a little hint as to what this rim is that the "internet has begun to talk about?"Exciting.

  • Joe Bond on

    Aforce toroidal rim?

  • harry on

    or velocity quill once manufacturing issues are resolved?

  • harry on

    revised alloy grail?

  • Marc on

    My own prediction- the H plus Son "Hydra" rim



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