Techie cyclist can just be so dramatic. Marketing professionals too. Not so long ago the industry as well as many opinionated cyclist announced the death of the 26" wheel. First to the 29'er, then the 27.5, don't forget everyone's favorites the 96'r (yeah you forgot so quickly, you're welcome). Just today I saw the cover of Mountain Bike Action magazine touting the newest, latest, greatest... a mix of a 29" and 27.5" wheel. Sigh.... Relax folks. I can promise you that though there's a lot different choices out there, none will totally dethrone another. Which brings me to my point (I know, you just want me to make it... But the way I see it is you're reading which sorta makes you my captive audience...) 26" wheels ARE STILL RELEVANT. I can hear the collective groans...
That's right... You heard it heard it here first. And no, I'm not smoking anything funny... Or edibles. Or any other strange chemicals... Except caffeine, yeah a bunch of that... 26" wheels are alive and well. Witness the above photo. You're looking at three different wheels there. The furthest wheel is a 27.5 x 2.8, the middle is a 27.5 x 2.35 and the foreground is a 26 x 2.8. Photo's can really make it difficult to judge the size differences but let me tell you... the 27.5 x 2.8 is a fair amount bigger than the 26". I know, who cares???? Well, I do. Why??? Well I'm currently building a bike for a fairly, well, ummm, short (vertically challenged or whatever the PC term is) woman. A 27.5 x 2.8 or 3 ends up making a bike that just has too much stand over height. With the 26" x plus size, I can reclaim almost 3/4" of standover while providing a plus size tire!!! That's pretty significant! What's more, if the rider is feeling like she wants to go into Jane racer mode, she can slap on a set of 27.5 x 2.2" tires and toe the start line while having the same BB height, handling at a loss of weight!!! Hmm, sounds like a win to me!
Just because the industry say's 29'r are fast doesn't mean at 5'2" you should be riding them... Instead, let's get you on some hoops that allow you to not only stand over your bike but be confident in it as it fits perfectly! Yeah, Yeah... The pundits will claim that a 29" wheel rolls over stuff better... It does! But if you're so short that standing over a 29'r becomes a genital rearranging experience you may want to look elsewhere! Anyway.... There's plenty of options out there folks. Explore them with open minds!
I know I'm asking for trouble here... But go ahead, drop your thoughts and comments about having a bike with a wheel size that actually fits you down in the comments!!! Especially looking for comments from folks 5'3 and below as well as 6'2" and above!
I'm going to try something slightly different for this blog... Lot's of graphic content, few words... With that said, Enjoy! As always drop a comment, ask a question, ride your bike!
I'm not really going to give you many words, Instead a picture... The start of a truly custom paint job! It's what we do and just one of the many things that will make one of our bikes uniquely yours! This fork belongs to a gravel bike. It's a beautiful light blue with a sky blue inlay. Trust me, pictures don't do it justice! What colors do you dream of for your next handmade bike?
One of the things that I pride this company with is that our frames are truly "custom" frames. Made by hand, thoughtfully, one at a time. Many hours are spent talking with clients about their wants and needs, then sitting down to design a bike that matches our discussions. Some companies and shops have diluted the term "custom" by calling bikes that customers can pick and choose paint colors and parts custom... So instead of fighting that term, we're going to just reword what we call ourselves a bit... We are a "handmade" bicycle maker. Each one different. Each one individual. Each one just for the person who ordered it! All this said, I've worked on a new graphic that will start delivering on the bikes. Here's the first iteration... Let me know what you think!
Ton's been going on here in the shop... Lot's of fabrication and paint work. I thought I'd take a second to show you a quick glance of the latest project!
You're probably saying "great, what am I looking at"? Well this my friends is a gravel bike. Clearance for nice plump tires, which all the cool kids seem to be running while maintaining room for both a 1x or 2x crankset! Not exactly an easy feat!
In other news... Been messing around with some paint! Big bad metal flake stuff! Check out the video below!
Ok, a little follow up for those of you interested in the Conti GP5000 TL tires. I've put some miles on them over the past week and here's some measurements. (All taken on 25mm ext rim, 18 internal @ 80PSI)
Schwalbe Pro 1 700 x 25 - Actual measurement: 29.4 mm
Schwalbe Pro 1 700 x 25 - Actual measurement: 26.3mm
Continental GP5000TL 700 x 25- Actual measurement: 26.4
Subjectively, I feel that the Schwalbe are slightly more comfortable riding. Begs the question if it's the added width making them feel smoother. The Continental feel a bit harsher compared to the Schwalbe. Unfortunately there are too many things going on (different casing volumes, different TPI) for me to try to suss out where the ride difference is coming from.
Rolling- Yeah... both are freaking fast. If you haven't had the opportunity to ride the new breed of road tubeless, do so! You're in for a treat! I've been a die hard tubular fan for many years but honestly these two tires have me totally rethinking that! Here are two links to instrumented tests for the rolling resistance of both the Schwalbe and the Conti:
Puncture resistance- I don't have enough time on the Conti to make a fair assessment. I can say that after a few hundred miles, the tires are void of any nicks and slices that I sustained on the Schwalbe. Speaking of... I have only had 1 flat with the Schwalbe... and it was a catastrophic one. As in so big that an inner tube wasn't going to fix it! That said, the beads on tubeless seem to be tight enough and I rode 12 miles on a flat front! Adviseable, no... Getting back under my own power... yes.
Weight: Yes I scale my tires... Perhaps I need a hobby. Conti weighed in at 297 g. Schwalbe weighed in at 264g.
So, what do you think??? Drop a comment below with your experiences!
To be continued!
2019 has arrived and here at Ferretti Cycles I felt it was fitting to start the years off with a bike that is sure to become my favorite (or hopefully yours). You see, this bike has been brewing in my head for several years now. It was conceived when I asked myself what my favorite bike was. The contenders were numerous as I've lost tract of how many bikes I've owned over the years. Ironically, it was super easy to whittle away at that mass of bikes and come a few that I really loved. So you ask, what/who were my contenders??? In no particular order 1. Batavus Competition (year unknow), 2. Bridgestone RB-1 (1990), 3. Schwinn Paramount (1994). Yup, there it is... my dream list.
Though completely different bikes, all three had some common traits. All were steel, all were lugged and all were "all day" type bikes. So that's what I set out to do... Build a Lugged steel bike using modern alloys, modern components, having "neutral" handling, a beautiful old school look that rides like a million bucks!
Frame- The first question people always ask me is "what tubing is it"? Well I hate to break this to you folks but the brand... well it really doesn't make that much of a difference... I know, I know, you think you like Columbus or Dedaccaia or Reynolds... but truth be told, you can't tell a difference riding... What makes more of a difference is if the builder takes a thoughtful approach by utilizing the proper tubing diameters and butt profiles to optimize a bike for the potential rider... now that makes a difference! In fact, it makes a palpable difference! All this said, to answer what you really asked is this bike is a combination of Columbus Spirit, Columbus Zona and Deda Zero. Are you happy now??? Oh, and you need to see this frame in person... It's got an amazing paint job. It's Metal flake silver with Candy Blue accents. Photo's don't do it justice!
Geometry- Oh another area people like to geek out.... What's the head tube angle? What's the chainstay length? Rarely the more important questions of what's the trail and the bottom bracket drop? Never the most important question of was this build centered off of a professional, known good fit? So since this is my blog and I'm writing it (I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, you would cry too if it happened to you), I'll tell you... In my humble opinion any great riding, great handling bike starts out with a design that is centered around a great fit!!! And this one was designed around a fit performed by Noel at Bonkwerx. I've spent several hours with Noel, fine tuning my fit and coming up with a fit that works. From that fit, I'm able to design a bicycle where my mass is where it's supposed to be, without the use of super short/long seatposts/stems, excessive seat seatbacks, 100 stem spacers, so and and so forth... So there... Now for what you think you want to know... Parallel 73 degree angles, 72 mm bb drop, 405 stays (if you want trail you'll have to ask nicely). ;-)
Components- I'd say "nothing special" but the more I think about it, they are! I selected all parts that are super solid, affordable and will last a good long while! Drivetrain duties are handled by Sram Rival 22 with a 50/34 crank and an 11/32 cassette. So much has been written about this stuff that I'm not going to bother with another word. Wheels- My own brew! I work with a manufacture that produces carbon rims to my spec. These happen to be 38mm carbon rims that are tubeless compatible. Though compatible, these are set up with Michelin Power Competition 25mm tires, my current favorite. Hubs are Bitex and offer a great way to get an awesome set of wheels for an affordable price. Cockpit duties are handled by Whisky Parts . I've utilized their fantastic No.7 6F bar. It's aluminum and has a shape I find to be very agreeable! I've continued with the Whisky line, utilizing their No.7 seatpost and stem! Nothing super fancy but they offer a great performance to value proposition! The seat is a Fabric Scoop. I wish I could insert a heart emogi there because that's how I feel about their saddles... That pretty much wraps up this bike... Oh, a silver King headset. Enough said about that.
The ride- Well, I just went for a quick spin on it. Let's just say I had to get off it quickly!!! You see, I actually built this bike as a demo bike for Rochester Fitness and Cycling . Being a dealer/rep for my bikes, I wanted to be sure that the shop had a bike to show folks! Anyway, that's what ended my ride so fast... I could tell that if I kept riding, this bike wasn't going to make it to the shop. It would be added to my quiver of bikes... And If you know me, you know that Michelle will kill me if I bring another bike home. So, do me a favor and save me from myself! Stop by Rochester Fitness and Cycling to test ride this machine! If it fits you, it's for sale. If it doesn't fit but you have a dream bike, hit me up!
A Fatbike named Ullr
So for those of you following along you already know that I got a bug up my butt to build a fat bike... And if you haven't been following along, you really need to pay more attention, you better do some homework and catch up... That's three Hail Mary's and a Lord's prayer for you. Anyway, this couldn't be "just a fat bike", it needed to be something special! So, I jumped right into the latest fatbike trend a 27.5 x 4 wheeled bike. In theory, it sounded good. My gut said it would be fun, so why not??? Well, fast forward a few months and let me walk you through what I ended up with!
So to start with, a nice steel frame. A question that everyone alway asks me is "What kind of steel"? So we will save you some effort and I'll tell you before you ask. Dedacciai. What, you've not heard of it??? Well shame on you, what kind of Italian are you??? Oh wait, you're not... Anyway, let's just say Dedaccaia is a really nice tube from Italy. More importantly, they offer the tubing butting profile that I was after. To go deeper will most likely bore you to tears but suffice to say, this bike is made with an oversize tubeset that was picked to match up with my size, weight and riding style!
If you've ever purchased a handmade frame before, you'll know that one of the most difficult parts of the process is choosing the color scheme and graphics. Well, this build was not different. My plan started as a gray bike with a gray panel and red components. Yeah, in my head that seemed perfect! Then the cheap side of me came out and I considered using paint I had left over... So the bike (in my head) evolved to blue, orange and white. But then I thought better of it and decided to return to my original scheme of gray on gray... Oh, then I went to the store to buy some paint. Yeah. Well, needless to say I came home with baby blue and white, so yeah, don't ask. Anyway as you can see it's a fairly classic and typically "Ferretti" paint job!
Then of course comes the fun of spec'ing out all of the components!!! So again, to know me is to know I like practical, durable and well designed parts... I don't want to totally bore you with the tiniest of details as well as why I decided to select that component so I'll give you a brief overview here and then a bunch of pictures!
Frame: we talked about it and if you didn't read above, shame on you...
Wheels: Whisky 80W Carbon 27.5 x 80mm rim, Industry Nine hubs, Sapim Spokes/nipples. 45NRTH Vanhelga tires.
Drivetrain: Sram GX Eagel
Cockpit: Whisky Bicycle Components fork, stem, seatpost and handlebars. White Industry headset. Fabric saddle.
Ride: Well, all I can say is man, this is light for a fatty... You can definitely "feel" the lightness when you ride... I used a short rear center and a fairly long front center meaning this fatbike handles like a modern mountain bike. In fact, I had someone comment that this bike rode like a mountainbike, not a fat bike... Enough said... No more words here, you need to experience it! So without further ramblings browse through some pics and enjoy! As always, if you have questions, don't hesitate to reach out with them!
Whisky 80W 27.5 Fat Rim
If you've been following along on our other social media outlets you'll see that I've been building a sweet fat bike... Which means that I've been researching what's new and where I think the market may be going. At this point the biggest thing I see changing is wheel size... So, I present to you my newest addition to my rim stable, the Whisky 80w carbon fatbike rim. Did I mention these are 27.5? Yeah, I'm going to buy in on the 27.5 fat movement.
I thought I'd take a moment to share a quick glimpse under the hood of this new offering! Let's get started, shall we?
Width- Whisky keeps things pretty simple when naming their rims. Browse through their website and you'll find that their naming conventions contain either a "W" or a "D". "D" denote rim depth, "W" denotes rim width. Easy peasy, right??? These rims, named the 80W would seemingly then measure 80mm, right??? Well, almost...
But heck, 83mm is close!!!! Frankly, I would have called it the 83W but that's just me... And to know and understand me is to embrace my weirdness... Ok on to what really matters, the internal width. This is the measurement that directly influences the width that your tire mounts up to.
That's a nice, respectable 77mm. More importantly, math will tell you that each bead wall is 3mm thick, pretty beefy in this world of "I've gotta have the lightest carbon bit on my 30 lb bike..." But trust me I'll rant more about that in another post! Back on task... I'll drop another post in the blog once these wheels are built up and I've mounted some tires pertaining to actual width.
Now, that's not all when it comes to weight... Whisky Parts shipped these rims with their own rim tape, washers and tubeless valves (Oh, did I forget to mention that these rims are natively tubeless compatible???). So good on you Whisky, good on you. I know I've got the correct length valve and the correct width tape! Sometimes it's the little things that give the impression of quality! Anyway, back to my scale...
If you really want to geek out and save a few grams, you may be able to find a nice aluminum tubeless valve stem for this particular application. Speaking of tubeless, the profile of this rim looks to be great! Now, I don't goof around with ghetto tubeless, nor mounting non-tubeless tires. That said, I've got a set of tubeless compatible tires heading here. I'll post up a video of mounting them up so you'll hopefully see the ease a dedicated tubeless set up is.
Ok- that's all I have for you right now! I'll follow up with pictures, weights and thoughts once the complete wheel build is done! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!
David is either found riding his bike or in his workshop working on them!