This has been an unprecedented quiet spell for the November blog. We haven't been completely silent, as we've been oversharing with the world in the newsletter and on our Facebook page, but inasmuch as we can ever be described as "deep," those venues don't exactly show off that side of us.
So why so quiet? Well, there's a lot going on. The Rail pre-order is steamrolling along until Friday, and we are continually working with the five and change pre-production sets we've got on hand. We're getting closer to announcing our next frame, making sure everything's taken care of with our European Rail partner, and starting a research project that we can't even believe we somehow got ourselves into. Plus, if you didn't notice it's the heart of racing season, so I've been busy getting throttled in my first season of mountain biking as a Cat 1 (it's a rapid and hostile environment, but when I don't flat I'm doing just fine, thanks). The focus shifts to road this weekend, although the course and weather forecast seem to indicate that the transition won't be a clean one - there will be mud.
The majority of my time has been spent getting pre-production Rails built up, tuning up our wheelbuilding team, and making sure every last detail on the Rail is as it should be. Since I don't personally have the capacity to build all of the Rails that we're selling (at least if people want to use them this year), we've been developing a small team of builders. I'm very excited with where we stand on this, from a production point of view but primarily from a quality perspective. Each wheel built of course goes through my stand and I do my worst to it to ensure it's exactly where I want it, and in that process it becomes very evident whether the builder really cared about the build. Building skills I can teach, commitment I can't.
It's been windy lately around here, usually windy enough that you instinctively question whether a 50mm deep rim is the sane choice. What each and every person who's ridden on a Rail has mentioned as a first impression is how calm they are in wind. People are freaked out about it, to be blunt. We knew they'd be good in this regard, we just didn't know how good.
After some initial head scratching I think the braking performance is officially where we'd aimed for it to be, at least. I'll admit, until we learned the ideal set up we heard some squeals that would have made a fire truck take notice, but we've got that sorted out now. Actually coming to a stop was never an issue, it was just how many hundreds of people knew about it. Now that answer is "no hundreds." (my relief at figuring out the brake issue is a nice double meaning for the title of this post)
Stiffness. Umm. These are stiff. Yes sir. They track corners exceptionally well, and they absolutely laugh at the though of my meager (although a lot less meager than it used to be, strangely enough - am I seeing an early rush of old man power??) sprints knocking them out of plane. Quite stiff.
In the next couple of weeks we'll be sending some wheels out on an impromptu road show to get more complete third party impressions of them, but at this point we feel like we've got the whole nut very very dialed in. Full steam ahead.