Monday, January 30, 2017

Soma Pescadero

The Soma Pescadero all built up and ready to roll through the woods. Photo credit: The Soma Blog


Soma plans to start selling its Pescadero frameset in March 2017.  The price has not been announced.

The Pescadero is Soma's update to the Soma E.S. ("Extra Smooth") road sport frame.  As we said back in 2009, the Soma E.S. "is a quality steel frame for someone who wants to build their own commuter or touring bike. It has a relaxed geometry, which should make for a comfortable ride."  David even snapped a photo of his sister's Smoothie and posted it here.

So why is Soma fixing something that ain't broke?  According to the Soma Blog, the primary reason for the update is that the new Pescadero can run wide, supple 42c tires.  To accommodate the tire width, the frameset fits 67mm long reach brakes.

On the topic of brakes, Soma Blog had this to say about the Pescadero:


Some people feel that long reach caliper brakes just aren't quite responsive enough.  I can't say that I agree with that, since I've been riding them for years, but to those people I'd say you have two options to consider:

Option 1 is to just go for the disc brake friendly Fog Cutter and embrace the future, man.  But if you're the wool wearing, pipe smoking, Robert Burns reading type of cyclist consider...

Option 2. Centerpull brakes! Remember those? Mafac, Weinmann, Dia Compe? Even Shimano used to make them. Anyway, Paul Components up in old Chico, CA makes some and they are just bitchin. Great stopping power, tons of fender clearance, stiff as a metaphor, and boy-oh-boy do they look nice.  We even included a special cable hanger in the back so you don't have to use one of those dangly ones.

Nice. This is some of the best bicycle product writing since Grant Petersen was at Bridgestone.  That line about the "wool wearing, pipe smoking, Robert Burns reading type of cyclist?"  It's like they really know us!  And speaking of Petersen, the Burns mention is the best literary reference used in conjunction with a new bike release since Rivendell came out with the Betty Foy, a mixte named for a character in a Wordsworth poem.

Here are the specs for the Pescadero frameset:

- Tange Prestige heat-treated butted CrMo steel front triangle; butted CrMo rear end
- Road sport geometry (inbetween road race and cyclo-cross bikes in handling responsiveness)
- Rear rack, front mini rack & fender mounts
- Designed with Paul Racer center mount, center pull brakes in mind. Also fits 57-73mm reach dual pivot caliper brakes.
- Lugged crown CrMo steel fork included
- Stiff and light Breezer-style dropouts
- 1-1/8" size headtube
- 27.2mm post size
- 6 sizes: 48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61, cm
- 4.25 lbs. (51cm)
- In Colonial Blue


And here's some Robert Burns, circa 1786:

Lines To An Old Sweetheart

Once fondly lov'd, and still remember'd dear,
Sweet early object of my youthful vows,
Accept this mark of friendship, warm, sincere,
Friendship! 'tis all cold duty now allows.
And when you read the simple artless rhymes,
One friendly sigh for him -- he asks no more,
Who, distant, burns in flaming torrid climes,
or haply lies beneath th' Atlantic roar.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Surly Big Fat Dummy


This is what a Big Dummy looks like.  Courtesy Surly Blog

The Surly Big Fat Dummy, a long tail, fat-tired cargo bike, will be available around April 2017.  Price TBD.

If you're familiar with Surly, then you know this bike was inevitable.  Surly's Big Dummy has been a dependable long-tail cargo bike for years (yet somehow we never managed to discuss it here). 

And then Surly began to roll out one fat bike model after another: Moonlander, Pugsley, Ice Cream Truck, Wednesday, along with fat do-it-all bikes like the Troll, Ogre, and ECR.  In fact, we imagined Surly making the following pitch at a QBP product meeting:

QBP Head Honcho: OK, let's talk 2016 products.  Surly, go ahead.

Surly: Fat, fat, fat, fat. As you know, we're all about the fat bikes.  And we just keep getting fatter.  Like land-on-the-moon fat.

But Surly wasn't done getting fatter, and we should've known that.  The Big Fat Dummy will take 26x5.25 tires!  Complete bikes will ship with 26x3.8 tires.

The Surly blog has a long post with everything you need to know about the Big Fat Dummy. So if you're interested, check it out.

Farm Fresh. Courtesy: Surly Blog

Monday, November 28, 2016

Specialized AWOL Expert

The Specialized AWOL Expert is a do-everything bike. Photo courtesy: specialized.com
The Specialized AWOL Expert retails for $2,500.

If you follow bicycle retail, you've probably noticed some interesting models labeled "adventure," "bikepacking," "gravel" or "offroad touring."  These are bikes like the Soma Wolverine, the Salsa Marrakesh or Vaya, and Surly's Troll or Ogre. They take wide tires, they tend to be made from high quality steel, and they come with disc brakes. Basically, they're designed to handle the rough stuff while carrying a load.

Specialized's offering is pricey, but it has it all: dyanamo-powered lights (add it to Edwin's list!); fenders with mudflaps; front and rear racks; disc brakes; really wide (comes with 700x45) tires; and a many gear combinations.  You could ride across the continent on this, or you could just ride to work. It will do whatever it is you want it to do.

Here is a 2014 review from Bicycle Times. 

Here are the specs:
    • FRAME

      Heat-treated custom-butted Premium Cr-Mo tubing, internal light cable routing-ready, Adventure Geometry, post disc mount, fender/rack mounts, kickstand plate
    • FORK

      Butted premium Cr-Mo, unicrown, heat-treated
    • FRONT HUB

      Shimano Dynamo hub, Center Lock disc, 32h 
    • REAR HUB

      Shimano Center Lock disc, 32h
    • SPOKES

      Stainless,14/15g w/self-locking threads
    • RIMS

      Specialized 29" disc front, 6061-T6 aluminum, 32h
    • INNER TUBES

      Standard, Presta valve
    • FRONT TIRE

      Specialized Borough Armadillo, 60TPI, 700x45mm
    • REAR TIRE

      Specialized Borough Armadillo, 60TPI, 700x45mm
    • CRANKSET

      Shimano Tiagra
    • CHAINRINGS

      50/39/30T
    • BOTTOM BRACKET

      Shimano Tiagra
    • SHIFT LEVERS

      Shimano Tiagra
    • FRONT DERAILLEUR

      Shimano Tiagra
    • REAR DERAILLEUR

      Shimano Tiagra
    • CASSETTE

      Shimano, 10-speed, 11-36t
    • CHAIN

      KMC X10EPT Anti-Rust, 10-speed, w/reusable MissingLink
    • FRONT BRAKE

      TRP HY/RD, hydraulic disc, 160mm rotor
    • REAR BRAKE

      TRP HY/RD, hydraulic disc, 160mm rotor
    • HANDLEBARS

      Specialized Adventure Gear AWOL, alloy, 125mm drop, 70mm short-reach, 12-degree flare-out
    • TAPE

      Specialized Adventure Gear S-Wrap Canvas Tape
    • STEM

      Specialized, 3D forged alloy, 4-bolt, 7-degree rise
    • SADDLE

      Body Geometry Phenom Comp, hollow Cr-Mo rails, 143mm
    • SEATPOST

      Specialized CG-R, FACT carbon, single bolt, reflective, 27.2mm
    • SEAT BINDER

      AWOL forged alloy, CNC, stainless bolt, 29.8mm




You can ride it in the country; you can ride it in the city. Photo courtesy: specialized.com

Monday, July 11, 2016

GT Traffic 1.0

Traffic 1.0 is GT's top city bike.  Photo courtesy of  GT Bicycles.



The GT Traffic 1.0 is an aluminum 8-speed with disc brakes that retails for $660.

In a recent review, Adam Newman of the Bicycle Times sums up Traffic 1.0:

The Traffic is a solid platform for getting where you need to go and fun enough to take you a little bit beyond. While I will admit to being spoiled by some of the high-end bicycles we get to demo, I was impressed with the value of the build. Included are Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, full coverage fenders and even a bell. Add some lights and a lock and you’re off.

I would add that the Traffic 1.0 is built for wide tires.  It comes with 700 x 40c Schwalbe Roadcruiser tires that feature reflective sidewalls and puncture resistance.  These are quality tires -- I think they go for about $25 apiece -- and they should offer a cushy, flat-free ride and last for a long time.

Here are the specs:

Sizes:

XS, S, M, L, XL
Frame: NEW GT Traffic Triple Triangle 6061 series alloy, smooth welded, and hydroformed (TT,DT), forged drop-outs, chainstay disc mounts, all utility braze-ons
Fork: GT Traffic fork with hydroformed alloy raked legs, Disc brake tabs, rack and fender eyelets, steel steerer.
Chain: KMC Z72
Crank: SR Suntour XCC 48/38/28t
Bottom Bracket: Cartridge sealed
Pedals: New GT high impact nylon platform
Front Derailleur: Shimano FM-191
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Altus RD-M310 8spd
Shifters: Shimano Acera 8spd
Cog Set: Sunrace CSM55 8-spd 11-32t
Rims: Alex R500 disc specific aero profile
Tires: 700x40c Schwalbe Roadcruiser w/ puncture protection and reflective sidewalls
Hubs: F: Formula Disc 32h; R: Formula Disc 32h Freehub
Spokes: Stainless steel 14g
Nipples: Brass CP
Brake: Shimano BR-M355, Hydraulic Disc, W/ 160mm Rotor SM-RT56
Brake Levers: Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brake Lever
Handlebar: All New Melt forged Alloy Ahead type
Stem: New GT 3D forged Alloy Ahead type
Grips: GT Wing design
Headset: Threadless Ahead
Saddle: New GT Traffic saddle
Seat Post: Alloy one bolt seat pillar
Seat Clamp: Bolt type
Extras: Polycarbonate full wrap front & rear fender

*All prices and specifications subject to change without notice.
 


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Raleigh Superbe

The 2016 Raleigh Superbe.  Courtesy: Raleigh USA

The 2016 Raleigh Superbe is a 7-speed that comes with fenders, a chainguard, and a rear rack and has an MSRP of $450.

Last we checked, the Raleigh brand was owned by a Dutch conglomerate after being sold and resold several times.  So it's not the same company that was founded in Nottingham, England in 1887 and once dominated the bicycle industry in terms of quality and performance.  The old Raleighs, like our friend old Binnie, have held up to the test of time.  If you're feeling nostalgic, you should check out this promotional film made at the Nottingham factory.

Nevertheless, the Raleigh brand rides on, and the names of the most famous old Raleigh models are being recycled: first, with the Clubman model and now Superbe.

According to the late, great Sheldon Brown, the Raleigh Superbe model "was always the super-deluxe version of [Raleigh's] top-of-the-line bike."  Sheldon Brown's Superbe looked like this:

Sheldon Brown's 1954 Raleigh Superbe. Courtesy: sheldonbrown.com

The 2016 Superbe is a poor imitation of the real thing.  That sounds harsh, but compare the 2016 model with Sheldon's 1954 model:

The 1954 model came with a dynohub light system.  The 2016 model does not include lights.

The 1954 model had an internal gear hub, protecting those gears from rainy English weather.  The 2016 model comes with a plastic derailer.

The 1954 model had a full chaincase, shielding the chain from moisture and the rider's pants from the drivetrain.  The 2016 model has a chainguard.

The 1954 model came standard with a leather Brooks B-66 sprung saddle. The 2016 model has a synthetic sprung saddle.

The 1954 model came with a pump and pump holder.  The 2016 model comes with neither.



The 2016 Superbe is a useful, functional bike.  It's just not superb, like the Superbe of yore.

2016 Specs:

Frame MaterialSteel
Bike Wheel Size700c
FrameRaleigh Classic Steel, Twin Tube Low Step-thru
ForkSteel 1" Threaded w/ Brake Bosses
CranksForged Alloy, 170mm w/ 42t Heron Chain Ring
Bottom BracketCartridge Steel w/ Oversize Bearings, Chromoly Spindle
Rear DerailleurShimano Tourney 7spd
ShifterShimano 7spd Revo Shifter
Brake LeversPromax Alloy
BrakesPromax Alloy V Brake, Silver
CogsetShimano Tourney 7spd 14-28
RimsWeinmann 700c Alloy 36h
TiresKenda 700x35 Skin Side Wall
PedalsVP Classic Steel Cage
HandlebarAlloy Silver 640 Width 60mm Sweep
StemSilver Anodized 1" Quill
SeatpostAlloy Micro Adjust 25.4x300mm
SeatRaleigh Comfort Saddle w/ Springs
HeadsetSilver, 1" Threaded
ChainKMC
Front Hub36h Nutted
Rear Hub36h Nutted,
Spokes14g Zinc Plated Steel
GripsVelo Black Cork
ExtrasRack w/ bungee cords, Metal Fenders, Silver Kick Stand


http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/city/classics/superbe

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/org/superbe54.html