It’s the dark time of the year, and I have piles, so riding my bike(s) is out for the moment. Instead, I have been working on a design for a friend for a semi-recumbent folding trike. This is a tough one, with a lot of tinkering involved, but what struck me was the simple validity of Mike Burrows’ design philosophy when building recumbents (and any bicycle, by extension) that the best way forward was the FRT, or Fat Round Tube. His simple designs use a single large, ROUND tube as the basis of the construction. It is stiff, strong and lightweight. What made me think was the huge number of bikes you see out and about which choose not to use this design. Any other shape of tubing simply doesn’t work as well, and yet major manufacturers are constantly telling us that their new, super expensive, frame design is superior to everything else because it has non-round tubing in this section or that section. We are expected to believe that this non-round shape will give a stiffer, sharper performance, or alternatively, a smoother, more comfortable ride. This, they cannot do. Bizarre tube shapes are no more than a marketing trick. The sales people force the designers to come up with something different, so they have to tinker with the tube shapes. They can, of course, get away with it to a degree, by limiting their tinkering to the seatstays and the top tube, neither of which take a huge amount of load during normal cycling. In this way, the reduction in performance caused by the non-optimal tube shape is minimised, and the sales and marketing people can come up with some fancy name for it (like “Edge Technology”), and flog it for exuberant prices. The daft thing is we keep falling for it!
Keep it real – keep it round!
After their recent announcement that they had become official distributors for SRAM, I was very excited to browse through the new range of SRAM MTB parts that my supplier, Raleigh, now has in stock.
I have had access to a limited range of SRAM parts before (mostly those Raleigh fit to their bikes, and thus lower-end stuff), but now the flood-gates are well and truly opened. I am looking forward to getting my often greasy mitts on XX and X0 parts, as well as Avid brake systems, Truvativ finishing kit, and RockShox adjustable seatposts.
It has been a while since I got excited about anything in the MTB world, but this opportunity is too good to pass up on, so SRAM bedecked mountain bikes will be rolling out of my workshop very soon… Hmm. I’ve got an old Raleigh Special Projects full-sus frame that needs updating…
Interesting to note that many of the riders in the Giro opted for the slightly wider 25mm tyres to cope with the trying conditions of Northern Ireland. I am very much of the opinion that this is something we all could benefit from, especially with the current road conditions hereabouts! It certainly worked for me riding the Lakeland Loop sportive recently… (5hrs 42mins of blissful riding on my Clutterbuck Cycles steel frame tourer, including my best ever time up Hardknott Pass!)
It’s about time, many would say! Finally, I have got around to bringing Cyclewright’s on-line presence into the current century. Whether I will be up to keeping a blog running is open for debate at this point, but the intention is there, and with much goading and/or assistance from Caroline, I will attempt to make regular posts here. The topic could be anything, but it will mostly be bicycle related, so if that’s your bag, check in regularly. You might read something interesting!