First of all, my girlfriend and all around superstar Katerina Nash not only won the women's division at the Lost and Found gravel race, she'd have been 14th in the men's race and beat some seriously talented fast men. Wonder Woman, indeed. If only she'd return my calls...
There's no real argument that cycling products have advanced in the past several years. My personal list of improvements would begin with the wealth of choice in good alloy rims, then go to improvements in tires (encompassing width, compounds, tubeless stuff - basically tires are just better now than ever before). It's about 6 years since Jaroslav Kulhavy first showed that dual suspension 29er was the way to go in XC, and I'm super on board with that.
That said, to paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of this week's stuff making last week's stuff obsolete are highly exaggerated. And it seems the media is on board with this. Take this one quote I pulled off of Bike Radar this morning:
"As with every new product released in the cycling industry, the (redacted product's) technology follows the Daft Punk theory of innovation and are better, harder, faster and stronger than their predecessors as well as the competition."
If you added up all of these "quantitative" but seemingly POSB* (*Pulled Outta Someone's Butt) performance gains over the years we've been tracking this stuff, your average 2017 bike would be better than George Jetson's car. Claimed miracles have become the staunch enemy of dogged incremental improvement. And let's head over to Competitive Cyclist for a product description that Mike or I could have written (heck, we probably have) for a current wheel deal:
"Despite what the industry hype machine might have you believe, aluminum is still perfectly viable for race wheels. Case in point: Easton's tubeless EA90 SLX Road Wheelset. As our "aluminum is still perfectly viable disclaimer suggests, the wheels are defined by the rims. They're alloy, which means they're more equal than carbon to the abuse of everyday training across chipseal and in early spring conditions where damp roads leave your brake tracks covered in grit."
Despite our ongoing love affair with Easton's component rims, we don't happen to love the qheels in question - they're fatally underspoked, the rims aren't nearly as nice as R90SLs, and the hubs are regrettable. They're a rollup of every fashion victim "trying to make a splash" item we try to avoid. But, take that paragraph and apply it to any build we do and we call it valid as charged.
Of course it's easy to make a big splash with new this and 43% better that, but to us the simple fact remains that quality stuff, assembled and executed diligently and with great skill, is sexier, valuable-er, and more noteworthy than other stuff. RFSW3s (ceramic is back in stock, btw) are a great example of this - a mix of good new stuff with good old execution. It's hard to compete with the flash value that some stuff brings, but those are our windmills to joust with every day, and our stance is resonating more and more each month.
Finally, the new kit turned out better than we'd hoped. More or less everyone who's seen it wanted us to do a reorder (to which, I mean, we told you so...) so we're doing one. You can order yours here. But before you do, please look at the SIZE CHART - in some jerseys I'm an XS, in these I am a large.