This week we sit down with Dave Rosen, founder and CEO of Sage Titanium. After connecting at the ENVE Custom Builder Round Up, we sat down to talk about the Titanium Storm King, its performance goals and the multiple finishes that adorned this show bike.
This show was presented by ENVE.
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Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos):
[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton.
[00:00:07] This week on the podcast, we've got Dave Rosen, CEO, and founder of Sage Bicycles out of Oregon. Dave. And I happened to meet at the ENVE builder Roundup, and this is one of five episodes related to the NV Roundup that happened at the end of June in Ogden, Utah. I have to reiterate. If you're known for the company, you keep.
[00:00:29] ENVE is known for exceptional relationships. That room was filled with outstanding builders from all over the world that chose to spec their custom creations with ENVE components and parts, including their adventure fork stems bars. And of course their wonderful gravel wheels. If you haven't already followed ENVE on social media channels.
[00:00:54] Definitely do. And I highly highly recommend you seeking out imagery from the grow Dio event. So many beautiful bikes, so many beautiful paint jobs really worth looking at and keeping on your calendar for next year. If you happen to have the opportunity to race the grody. Event. It was an amazing ride out of Ogden, Utah.
[00:01:18] That really checked a lot of boxes for me. It was both technical and challenging and scenically. Beautiful. Definitely one to have on your gravel calendar for 2022. With all that said let's dive right in to my interview with Dave Rosen, from Sage bicycles. Dave, welcome to the show.
[00:01:39] David Rosen (Sage): Thanks Craig.
[00:01:40] Craig Dalton: Great to see you. After seeing you in Utah at the ENVE builder, Roundup, what a, what an event. It was.
[00:01:46] David Rosen (Sage): It really was fantastic. I had such a good time. It was so much fun.
[00:01:49] Just being able to reconnect with friends. Doing industry stuff. Again, it just, it was way too long. And to be able to, meet new customers and that kind of thing, it just, it was just, it was great. And then just riding bikes, it was all about bikes. Just everything we did from to the little short track event, it was a really good time.
[00:02:08] Yeah. I thought it was
[00:02:09] Craig Dalton: funny that some of the builders were actually taking the bikes they built and racing them or riding them in the grody event.
[00:02:15] David Rosen (Sage): The next. Yeah that's what I did with mine. It was just, that's why I brought it. It was it's meant to be written. It's meant to be raced.
[00:02:22] Although I really wouldn't classify my writing as racing so much as it was surviving at my own pace. So I can make it back in time for beer. There was a bit
[00:02:31] Craig Dalton: of that survival strategy in my day as well, but it was a great reminder and seeing all these great builders that I've wanted to have more of these conversations and particularly excited to talk about Sage Titanic.
[00:02:43] So why don't we just start off with learning a little bit more about what led you to start the company and when it was started?
[00:02:50] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, so I started the company officially on paper in 2012. My first inventory was produced in 2013. At the time the original intent with the brand was to actually make the frames overseas.
[00:03:06] For that in the beginning with the idea of offering a lower cost price point, competitor to what was out there. I knew I wanted to do titanium. It was always about titanium. I've been in love with titanium as a frame material for ever since the eighties, when I would see, titanium, Italian bikes rolling around and, central park, New York city, which is where I'm originally from not central park, mind you, but New York city.
[00:03:28] And for me, it was always about Thai, but in this instance, I thought, it might be good to do a price point. And what I realized is over the course of that first year is the quality suffered. And, the reality is you get what you pay for. And yeah, the pricing could be cheap, blah.
[00:03:44] There's a reason why it's cheap. And so the quality of the bikes suffered, the stuff we put out was fine, but we had more failures than we had successes. And, we've taken care of all of our customers that have had issues. And then there are others. Never heard from him. Everything's fine.
[00:03:59] Wasn't it. Dave, was there a particular
[00:04:01] Craig Dalton: style of bike that you targeted at that time? It was a bit early, obviously for gravel in those days in 2012.
[00:04:07] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, we did actually a while we did have a road bike it was more about the cyclocross bike and we actually had a commuter bike that would be the precursor to the current gravity.
[00:04:20] It was designed around larger tires. Not as massive as what you're seeing today and their geometry was more relaxed than a road bike, similar to a cross bike, but with a longer wheel base. So it really was very versatile and we actually marketed it more as a commuter bike both a drop bar and a flat bar version, basically the same frame, just different builds.
[00:04:40] But it showed the versatility of the bike for what it is. Gotcha. So in
[00:04:44] Craig Dalton: that first year, you were unhappy with the production partner in China that you had. Yeah. It could very easily have been the end of Sage titanium at that point. But what did you do?
[00:04:54] David Rosen (Sage): I basically just stepped back for a moment and analyzed what was going on.
[00:04:59] People, customers. The concept of our brand. They liked what we were doing as a small builder, or, the just the ability to offer it's this Oregon, the Oregon brand connection, all that sort of stuff. The bikes were authentic. The designs were good. But it was just, they liked what we were doing, but they didn't necessarily like the maiden China aspect.
[00:05:21] And so it really. Yeah, you're absolutely right. We could have folded up right then and there and not known what to do, but instead I made the decision to push forward with maiden USA. And so in 2014 is when I pivoted the brand. And instead of being more of a budget focused, mid tier titanium brand, I was like, we're going all in on the premium stuff.
[00:05:43] And that's when we started our relationship with ENVE and instead of buying. Shimano 1 0 5, we're now buying Shimano duress. And it's all carbon this, then it's just, we're going high end and frames are made in USA. That is always the key and being able to push that out and and get that out there.
[00:06:00] And then as we've, as the brand has moved along, we've been able to slowly evolve it. So the designs have gotten better. The line has expanded. We found our niche. Gravel bikes in particular. And then the mountain bikes are doing really well for us. But then we've been able to expand with now our finishes.
[00:06:16] And so we've been able to continue to evolve the brand over these past from where it started nine years ago, to where it is now, the brands, It's a complete turnaround. Other than the name there, there's not much, that's the same between the two,
[00:06:29] Craig Dalton: interesting. So can you talk to the listener a little bit about why you love titanium as a frame material with a particular eye on the gravel market and what makes it a great material for gravel bikes?
[00:06:40] David Rosen (Sage): So the reason I love titanium is it was always for me growing up, it was that space, age material, it was the stuff that was used in the space shuttle and, fighter jets and that sort of thing. So it's got this mystique about it, if you will. It was back in the I'm trying not to date myself, but back in the eighties, it was like, It was sexier.
[00:07:04] It was it. Wasn't nothing wrong with steel. I love steel. I love aluminum. I love carbon. Everything has its place for where it should be, but the tie bikes back then there was just something mystical about them. You'd see plenty of steel bikes riding around plenty of aluminum bikes, but it was very few titanium bikes.
[00:07:22] When you saw one, it was special. And so that always made an imprint on me kind of thing. And that's where I initially fell in love with it. The. What has drawn me to it from a builder standpoint? And the reason why I only focus on titanium is because of the durability of the material.
[00:07:38] The the, how far it can bend the fatigue, resistance of the material. If the fact that it's rust-proof it's, I live in the Pacific Northwest, steel bikes are awesome, but they can rust if you don't take care of them. And if you take care of them, they're fine. But if you don't, they can rust titanium.
[00:07:55] Doesn't rust. Titanium has a higher fatigue resistance point where you can bend the tube farther in titanium and it'll snap back before it breaks versus steel or aluminum for that matter. So inherently, then it then gives itself this ride quality. Again, maybe this is an old term, but it was called the magic carpet ride because it just smooths everything out.
[00:08:19] And it's one of those things that when you're on it, if you ride a carbon bike on chip seal or an aluminum bike on chip seal or even steel for that matter, but then you write a tie, it there's a vibration, but if you ride titanium on chip seal, it mutes it out. It's just, it's really amazing what the material can do.
[00:08:36] And the fact that it can be repaired easily. It's the forever bike. You're going to have a tie bike for 20, 30, 40 years. The only reason to change it at some point is just because it's outdated and that's, and even then, that's not really a reason to change it. Cause there's always, the desire to keep those historical bikes.
[00:08:55] So yeah, my
[00:08:56] Craig Dalton: father's got one sitting in the garage with, I think a mag 21 fork on it and cantilever lever brakes.
[00:09:02] David Rosen (Sage): And he'll never get
[00:09:03] Craig Dalton: rid of it, a reason for him to replace it, other than he doesn't know what he's missing, because he's never written disc, disc brakes at this point.
[00:09:11] David Rosen (Sage): Exactly. But beyond that, it's just, it's a bike he's going to keep, and he's got a lot of good memories for it.
[00:09:17] Craig Dalton: early it's at Sage, thinking about the cross-market and the commuter market. When did gravel start to become a thing? When did you start to see those trends start to appear and what your customers were asking for?
[00:09:30] David Rosen (Sage): I would say I started to see it in 2015 2014 and 2015. So the, our first USA frames were 2014.
[00:09:38] We had a road, we had a road frame and a cross. Which we brought up, we improve the designs based on what was originally made in China, made some refinements to it okay, we've took, we've taken our learnings and move forward. The commuter bike we dropped. And it just, it wasn't where I wanted the brand to be it.
[00:09:54] Wasn't where I wanted the brand to focus on. And so drop that and just started with the two bikes to begin with. But it left this hole in the line of where I felt we needed to another bike in place to round things out. And my friends and I, at that time would go out on these rides. We take our cross bikes and we were going and doing gravel rides on our cross bikes.
[00:10:15] Some guys would use their rode bikes and they, 25 mill tires was considered a fat tire back in 2014 and 2015. And we'd go out and go ride gravel. And, some buy, somebody would get a flat sometimes. You wouldn't and sometimes, we'd get into some gnarly stuff and that's why you wanted a crossbite, cause it had bigger tires, but then the road bikes always beat you to the gravel, and so it was just this weird mix of what's the right bike. And there were quite a few events. Grind Duro is a great example of one where it was very much about choose your weapon. And because there were, there's plenty of paved road and grind. But then there's plenty of crazy stages of, single track and gravel road and what's the right bike.
[00:11:01] And so people were bringing all these different bikes and there was no specific bike that you could just point to and go, that's the type of bike I need for this event. And there was, it was a wild west kind of mentality, which is really kinda cool. And I still think the gravel segment the way it continues to evolve.
[00:11:18] Exhibits that kind of, bring what, run what you got thing and, and modify what you can, but it was around them that I started seeing that desire for something along those lines. And for me here for where I live in Beaverton, Oregon, which is just outside of Portland, I'm a little west of Portland.
[00:11:34] Yeah. There is, there's plenty of good gravel, like 10 miles from my house. So I'm not going to drive to the gravel. I'm going to ride my bike to the gravel. So the initial gravel bike I designed was really around the concept of, I wanted it to be fun on the road. And when I got to the gravel, I could tear up the gravel and then go ride for 40 miles on the gravel and then come back home for a 20 mile paved ride or whatever it was, wherever it dropped me off.
[00:12:00] And so that was the Genesis of the first gravel bike. It was, you had to ride it to the gravel. It wasn't, I get people have to drive sometimes, that was the idea. And was
[00:12:09] Craig Dalton: that the
[00:12:10] David Rosen (Sage): Barlow? That was the Barlow correct.
[00:12:13] Craig Dalton: And so what sort of tire size capacity did the bar
[00:12:16] David Rosen (Sage): Barlow accept?
[00:12:17] It's always accepted 40 millimeter tires. 700. Or six 50 by 50. There weren't a lot of tires in that size when it first came out. I use the ENVE all road fork as the fork of choice for the Barlow, because it was it's designed around a 38, but we can actually squeeze in a 40. So we've done it.
[00:12:34] It's certain tires, it works great. Some tires not as great because the fork is designed for what it is. The frame clears a 40 no problem. But it's, the fork is a little bit of a. But we designed the bike around that. And so that gave us the ability to really push the envelope. So where everybody's saying, oh, 30 and 32 millimeter tires of the gravel, I'm throwing 30 fives and who's got the fattest 40 millimeter tire I could find.
[00:12:58] And at the time that was great. And so the Barlow was really ahead of the game in that regard. And then
[00:13:04] Craig Dalton: subsequently you introduced an, another model, the storm chaser. When did that come into the world? Sorry, storm. Storm king my bad. When did the storm king come into being and what were the sort of the drivers from the industry and riders that you were seeing that said, okay, the Barlow is one thing, but the storm king is going to be this other thing.
[00:13:25] David Rosen (Sage): So I, I have a rider I sponsor he's a retired former world tour pro and he. He w he still races for me kinda thing. He does mountain, and he does gravel, and those are his focuses. And he took the Barlow to Unbound before it was relaunched as Unbound when it was DK.
[00:13:44] And this was back in 2018, I believe if I remember correctly. And he took the Barlow there and he used, he was using the Barlow and all the gravel events that were popping. And he was encountering challenging terrain would be the best way to put it. Just, big rocks big, just nasty, just eat your tires up rocks kind of thing.
[00:14:07] And he came back and he said, okay here's my opinion on everything. We need bigger tires. And I need a little bit more of an upright riding position as opposed to not quite as well. Cause the Barlow is is a little bit more aggressive. It's not as aggressive as our road bike, but it's definitely slacker and a little bit more upright.
[00:14:25] But he wanted it even more. And so that was the main driver because it was based on race input. So it was, is doing skull hollow, one 20 and DK at the time were the two big ones, other events, it was working great. But for these other events these, just these handful of them. Where the terrain was nuts.
[00:14:44] He said, we need something bigger. And I saw the writing on the wall as there's more of these crazy events that are starting to pop up, we're going to need a bike. That's going to be able to compete in those events. Not just SBT is a great example of the Barlow's perfect Belgian waffle ride. The Barlow works perfect.
[00:15:02] It depends on which Belgian waffle ride right now. But anyway, that was the gig. I find that
[00:15:06] Craig Dalton: fascinating for someone at that end of the spectrum of the sport, a professional athlete, noting that bigger fatter slacker is actually going to be faster in these events, because I think it is something that the listener can really take away.
[00:15:20] It's really easy for you to think, oh, being on one of these road, plus bikes is what's going to make me faster, but in a lot of these events and particularly for the more average athlete who spending a longer time in the center, A more comfortable bike, a more stable bike with buy bigger tires could actually be the bike of choice.
[00:15:38] David Rosen (Sage): would agree. If you think about it, if you're choosing between a 32 millimeter tire versus a 40 millimeter tire or a 36 and a 50, whatever it may be. And you're thinking the smaller tire is going to be faster because it's less rotating weight and it's going to roll faster for the tread, whatever it may be.
[00:15:57] Yeah. You're probably right. How many flats are you potentially fixing and how much time are you going to waste with flats? Whereas the rolling resistance of the larger tires, isn't really that far off of the smaller tires. Yes. You're carrying more weight, but if you have more assurance that you can go faster through the rough stuff without damaging the bike, you're going to be faster overall.
[00:16:18] You look at the, you look at some of the pros like Ted king and those guys, I think they're always trying to push as big a tire as they can run without it being. So early slower,
[00:16:28] Craig Dalton: that seems to be the trend. And for me, like I'm spending 30, 40% more time out there on these courses than the pro athletes are.
[00:16:35] So I've got to think about the general wear and tear. My day is probably more akin to an iron man triathlon than American Don,
[00:16:42] David Rosen (Sage): you and me both 12 hour days for you. Exactly. Yeah, me too.
[00:16:47] Craig Dalton: So let's talk a little bit more specifically about the storm king and the type of tires it can access.
[00:16:52] David Rosen (Sage): So it's designed around a 700 by 50 six 50 by two point.
[00:16:58] Oh, I'm sorry. 2.2 is usually pretty good. Because we can make, because we make each storm king individually, one at a time, the customer really has the opportunity to specify, I am going to run this size tire kind of thing, so we can modify the rear end of the. To accommodate the tire, obviously picking the right fork is always key.
[00:17:19] Of course. In instances we just had a customer, he sent us the wheel, the full wheel and the tire, and it's okay, great. And then we just, we throw it in the frame and make sure it fits. So this way we can truly customize it to what's the worst case scenario you're going to run on this bike.
[00:17:34] Craig Dalton: Do you have a stock chain stay length that on the storm king or does it going to modify based on those criteria that the customer entrance.
[00:17:43] David Rosen (Sage): It's gonna, it's gonna modify based on it's this no, no stock chain stay length. It's gonna modify based on the based on the wheel size, the tire size and actually the drive train and the dry train specifically.
[00:17:57] So is it GRX? Is it Eckhart? Is it force wide? Is it Altegra stuff like that kind of thing? All of those factors we actually play in to to designing the chain, stay length because if you get it wrong and you make it too short, you run into clearance issues that it's you're stuck, but if we know what you want going into it, we can build it specifically.
[00:18:19] And we really we're dialing in the process. We continue to do it every day or making it,
[00:18:23] Craig Dalton: That might be a good segue into just describing for the listener. What does that customer journey look like if they want to get on a storm king, what does the process look like? How long does it take to get one?
[00:18:34] David Rosen (Sage): So the process usually begins with the customer, listening to this podcast, seeing a review online or an ad in a magazine or something along those lines. And then pretty much reaching out through the website is usually how it works. It's very rare. As crazy as it sounds that somebody will buy a bike, sight unseen through the website, it happens, but it's, a complete stock build. Here you go. This is what I want. And that sort of thing. That's, it's rare because this is a very personal purchase. And so usually the customer is going to reach out through the contact form on our website.
[00:19:10] Usually usually it's me who is responding, but it could be one of our other folks here. But nine times out of 10 it's usually me that everybody's speaking to. And they'll reach out through email, I'll respond back and we start a dialogue and it could be a case of let's get on the phone and talk it through and what's understand what the build is you're looking for.
[00:19:30] And we can really customize the spec and the bill. You know of the complete bike. Some customers are only looking for a frame or a frame set, and that's fine too. And it's, let's go through the specs of that. And the process is quite a bit of email quite a bit of phone calls if needed. When the customer's ready to move forward, they put a deposit down and then the design process begins.
[00:19:51] Usually if the customer has a fit that they've done recently and they want to use those fit numbers, then we use. If they're here local in Portland, then we have them see our fitter and we get, they get a professional fit done. And if they want to come into town, I've had a couple people actually fly in from Northern California, for example and have fits done here.
[00:20:10] And then I get the numbers and, go to town on designing the frame and lead time on frames right now, I'd say is about four months from when we actually, when the design is. So that doesn't include the lead time. It doesn't include the time that we spend talking prior to and dialing in all that sort of stuff.
[00:20:28] When the design is handed off to my welder right now, we're at about a four month lead time for framework.
[00:20:34] Craig Dalton: Are there limitations in terms of the areas of the bike that can be customized? Head tube, size, top tube lent anything that's off the table or is everything on
[00:20:42] David Rosen (Sage): the table now everything's on the table.
[00:20:44] I've had one or two customers that have been very vocal about, I want the head tube to be this, and I want this to be the seat angle and that sort of thing. And it's a process we go through and I'm more than happy to accommodate the customers if they're, sure. That's what they want kind of thing.
[00:20:59] But usually it's a case of, if I get your X, Y coordinates from your fit, I'm going to build you a storm king. And that's what it's going to be. If you want something that's completely dead. I'm working on an iron man bike for somebody right now. And that's a totally different bike than anything we offer.
[00:21:15] So then that's much more of a personal process of what are you looking for and how do you want it to be, rather than I know what I want the storm king to be, and I'm going to make a storm king that fits you. Gotcha.
[00:21:25] Craig Dalton: Let's talk about that. Beautiful storm king. You brought to Utah, it had a lot of different finishes on it.
[00:21:31] It did. Really and is that is for, we didn't have paint on it as well. It had cerakote. Okay. So let's go through, I think it's amazing that the number of options you offer and certainly the execution on that bike I'll post a picture of it because it was beautiful. Everybody needs to look at it, but let's talk about the different options for finish on a titanium frame.
[00:21:50] David Rosen (Sage): We have four different options. We let's see, let's start with the standard finish that you see on most of the bikes on the website is our brushed finish. It's a raw titanium. It's very silvery looking. It's shiny. It's great for just durability. If you scratch it, you can take a Scotch-Brite pad and little shoeshine motion, then you can buff it out.
[00:22:12] It's a great it's a great finish and it's just the classic titanium finish. That's finished. Number one, finish number two is bead blast where we basically put the frame in a giant cabinet, if you will, a sealed cabinet and we shoot it with a what's called media and media can be anything from glass beads to Walnut shells.
[00:22:33] It just depends on what. And it, it impacts the frame and it changes the appearance and the finish and the texture of the frame itself. It doesn't damage the frame in any way, but it changes the finish. So a bead blast is usually a it's just, it has a different look to it. It's more of a dull look to it from there.
[00:22:53] We then start getting into colors and that's where we've really exploded this year for the options and the custom work that we've been doing. If you look through our social media feed and as well as our custom page, we have a custom bike page where every custom bike gets a photo shoot and we do all that sort of stuff.
[00:23:08] You can see the differences, but we've been doing a lot more with cerakote and with anodize for the frames anodize is if you seen the Chris king parts, they're blue they're purple. They're good. That's all anodized aluminum kind of thing. It's dipped in a bath. That's electrified. It comes out at a certain voltage.
[00:23:26] It gives you a color.
[00:23:27] Craig Dalton: I think it's interesting David to drill into. I've seen some super intricate anodized look. Unlike the Chris king headset, which is, orange or red or whatever they do, you seem to have a technique in which you've got the titanium frame, which is maybe the, the brush titanium or whatever, and then small areas that are animated.
[00:23:45] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah it's just a matter of the artwork that we do every custom frame that we do short of it just being, I just want logos done, but if there's artwork involved I have a graphic artist on staff. It has been in the art world for quite some time. He's a cycling buddy of mine. We've known each other for years, but he's an artist, a true artist kind of thing.
[00:24:06] Like he does art shows and all that sort of good stuff. And he designs all the bikes. So every single bike is never repeated. Each individual bike is a rolling piece of art. If you want the bike, you're seeing the show bike that we have on the website, I can do something similar, but it'll never be that again.
[00:24:23] It'll be it'll be sister bike. It won't be an identical twin kind of thing. But yeah we get a little crazy with the finishes that we do. And then we mix all of that in with Sarah code, which is we've. We been using paint, wet paint for quite some time. And paint's awesome. It, you can color match with it and we still do wet paint.
[00:24:41] If a customer requests it, you can color match very specifically. To a specific item. If you have it, you can mix colors and that sort of thing. What we found with paint though, and with gravel bikes in particular, is it's not as durable as we would like. And the problem is that if you get a rock strike on your titanium, gravel bike with paint it is possible.
[00:25:02] It could chip. And so that's not really an ideal situation. So we switched to cerakote, which is a ceramic coat. That's cured onto the frame and it's actually used on guns tanks, rocket parts, jet fighters. As whenever you see the paint that's on these vehicles and these, munitions, if you will that's cerakote and it's super resistant to heat damage from any sort of debris flying out of it.
[00:25:29] I Heck if somebody can shoot a gun at a tank and the, the tanks spine cause of the Seroquel. That sort of thing. I'm pretty confident the bike is going to be okay from a rock strike. And and yeah, our painter is able to actually mix all of these all of these four different finishes together.
[00:25:44] And we're able to make these incredible bikes of just total variety of just really just pushing them. The
[00:25:51] Craig Dalton: cerakote was the one I was least familiar with. And a couple of builders were using it out there in Utah at the end of the builder Roundup. How has it actually applied? Is it applied like a paint or a
[00:26:02] David Rosen (Sage): no it's more of a paint it's sprayed on.
[00:26:05] So there is a masking process that goes on. The masking actually takes the most time for the bike itself for the actual paint work to be done. And basically once the bike is massed up, you pretty much split. As, you peel off the layers and as you spray it and that sort of thing. And then when all is said and done, you cure the bike it goes into an oven to cures and it can be sprayed in the morning, cured by lunch and ship out in the same day in the afternoon.
[00:26:30] And it's done. Like you don't have to worry like the paints, soft, or it needs to still time just it's ready to ship. So it's pretty crazy. And it's super. And is
[00:26:39] Craig Dalton: it something that you can apply, in almost any design on the bike to any part of the bike,
[00:26:44] David Rosen (Sage): just about any design? It's really the limitation of the, of my artist and of the painter and being able to mask it.
[00:26:51] Sometimes there are issues with tube shapes and that you're people thinking, people think of art and they think in a two dimensional sense as a flat canvas and the arts applied to it. But the reality is bicycles are three-dimensional rounded. There is no hard point to start and stop here and there.
[00:27:10] So sometimes you have to make decisions and you have to make choices about how the artwork is going to lay on the frame itself. Because sometimes it may not work even the best intentions. It's eh, just not going to look right. And the tubes aren't exactly large like a canvas. So you have to think those things.
[00:27:28] Yeah. I think that's
[00:27:29] Craig Dalton: The value in having. Artists be also a cyclist. They understand how the bike is constructed and the tube shapes and everything and also how it plays out, how it's going to look visually from within a Peloton to out there on the gravel road.
[00:27:42] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, absolutely.
[00:27:43] No he's fantastic about making the bike stand out for sure. And this particular show bike is I think it's, I think it's one of my favorites, period. There are some others that we've done that are pretty amazing as well. It would be hard honestly, to stack them all up next to each other and pick one.
[00:27:59] So it's a rough thing. So I'll take this one for right now and go. This is my favorite for the time being nice. Are
[00:28:05] Craig Dalton: there other trends in the gravel market that you're looking forward to exploring?
[00:28:09] David Rosen (Sage): I think I'm interested to see where suspension goes. It's I'm not saying I'm fully.
[00:28:17] Committed to suspension and I think it should be on all bikes. I think it's certain applications in certain arenas and I don't necessarily think it should be a mountain bike fork. For example, that's just slimmed down. I think it needs to be its own technology because I think gravel is different. And I think there needs to be different engineering behind the design of the fork itself.
[00:28:40] It needs to be lighter. It does need to be sexier. And it needs to, it's minimal travel. We don't need, you don't even need a hundred millimeters. Yeah. Travel for a gravel bike. It's, at some point again, I always go back to the original. My Barlow of you have to ride, you could ride from your house on the pavement to the gravel ride back to the pavement, ride back home.
[00:29:00] So the bikes should be able to handle both. Other than that, if it's just only good off road, then it's really a drop bar mountain bike at that point. I'm interested to see where that goes. I think dropper posts will continue to I think that's more of an immediate trend that's coming.
[00:29:16] I just, I see the value of it and, I saw it a grow DEO. There were guys that were just bombing down those descents baby head rocks, and just blasting down them on 50 mil tires and the dropper posts because they got the saddle out of the way. And it. It, it does add to the capability of the bike.
[00:29:32] And then when we got out on the road, they pop the seat back up and everything was fine. Yeah.
[00:29:36] Craig Dalton: That was my technique. I knew I was going to get gapped off on all the climbs, but I had a hope, I had a hope if I rode my bike card with that dropper post down on the dissents, but I might just bridge back up to the group that just dropped me.
[00:29:47] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, exactly. No, it
[00:29:49] Craig Dalton: works great. I too. And the listener well knows. I'm fascinated by the idea of suspension in ground. All your points are spot on. It's going to have to be this delicate balance, to not take away the capabilities. We're not trying to build mountain bikes here. They still need to be bikes that can get fast on the road, but to each their own in terms of gravel, right?
[00:30:09] We've got listeners all over the world whose experiences are dramatically different. And what I hope is that it just becomes this type of thing, where you look at someone who has a more aggressively set up gravel bike. You just understand that's probably what they have in their backyard and someone who's, riding the Barlow with 30 twos on it, that could be totally capable.
[00:30:30] It could be overkill for the types of gravel roads they ride, but to each
[00:30:34] David Rosen (Sage): their own. Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. It's, it's we see the same sort of thing with mountain bikes. There's this trend towards not a trend. It's here. I wouldn't call it a trend and I'm a big fan of it.
[00:30:45] Big hit long travel bikes with slack, that angles that basically five years ago were downhill bikes. And now they're single crown and Duro bikes. And guys are, we're doing, I'm doing crazy jumps on the weekends and all that sort of stuff, but does the person in Florida, for example or Texas where it's pancake flat for the most part and I'm sure there are technical steep places where you need it.
[00:31:07] So I apologize. Not, I'm not trying to characterize the entire state that way, but generally speaking Florida is pretty flat. So do you need a long travel, slacked out bike? Probably not thing. And to your point about the gravel, there's places where that, a 32 mil tire is going to be perfect there, and there's other places where a 50 mil tire and it's their backyard.
[00:31:28] So yeah, I would totally agree with that.
[00:31:30] Craig Dalton: You'll start to get that feedback next season in 2022 for people running time. Front suspension, forks on their bikes. And it would be curious to see, much like your professional athlete gave the feedback that ultimately led to the storm king. We may see that feedback coming back saying having a little bit of suspension on the front simply makes the bike faster.
[00:31:52] And if it's faster, people are going to go for it from a race perspective.
[00:31:56] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, no, I would agree. At some level it is 1990 for mountain bikes. But at the same time, it's the gravel bikes of today are far more capable than those. What were mountain bikes back then? And it's pretty impressive with how the bike is evolved.
[00:32:10] Yeah, I totally
[00:32:11] Craig Dalton: agree with you. I had that same feeling back in the early nineties around mountain biking that every year, every month it seemed like a new idea was being put forward and people were testing and learning and it took, it was this great and super enjoyable journey. If you were involved in it to watch it out.
[00:32:28] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, no, absolutely. It was a lot of fun. And it's, I think gravel is going through the same sort of, evolution
[00:32:34] Craig Dalton: actually. We're all here. We're all listening. We're all involved the communities as all eyes on the innovation. Super exciting time. I appreciate you joining me today, Dave, and giving us a little more of an overview, a deep dive into Sage titanium.
[00:32:48] I loved the work that you showed in Utah, and I wish you all the.
[00:32:52] David Rosen (Sage): Thanks. I really appreciate it. This was a lot of fun. Thanks for having me.
[00:32:55] Craig Dalton: Cheers.
[00:32:56] Big, thanks today for joining us this week, I have to say, I really do love that storm king. It takes a lot of boxes for me, the finished work was beautiful. The clearances are right up my alley, and I think it would be a hell of a lot of fun to ride that bike. Also another big, thanks to ENVE for sponsoring the podcast this week. And for sponsoring this entire series, it's really been a pleasure. Getting introduced to a lot of their partners around the world, looking through their componentry and touring their factory. I've mentioned it on earlier podcasts, but I was very impressed with the amount of testing they do. In-house and just the fabrication process in general, in Ogden, Utah, the attention to detail.
[00:33:40] The passion of the employee base. And everything about ENVE's work there in the United States just really makes me happy. So be sure to check them out.
[00:33:49] When you support our podcast partners, you're supporting the podcast itself.
[00:33:53] I wouldn't be able to continue doing what I'm doing without their support.
[00:33:57] And I wouldn't do this without your support. The gravel community has been super embracing of what I've been doing.
[00:34:03] And I've loved getting to know some of you in in-person events. But more broadly through the ridership community. If you're not already a member of this free community, just visit www.theridership.com. We'd love to have you. And if you're interested in supporting the podcast further, please visit buy me a coffee.com/the gravel ride.
[00:34:24] There's any number of ways in which you can support what I'm doing here. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels
More episodes from "The Gravel Ride. A cycling podcast"
In the Dirt: Question and Answer Part 2
33:59Part two of our first Q and A episode. Randall and Craig tackle questions submitted via The Ridership community. Support the Podcast Join The Ridership Episode Sponsor: Athletic Greens Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): 00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to in the dirt from the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host. Craig dalton i'll be joined shortly by my co-host randall jacobs. [00:00:12] Today's episode is part two of our Q and a episode series. Go back in your feed, a couple episodes to find part one. You can certainly jump right into this episode as we're going question by question. And they don't necessarily. Have relation to one another but if you're interested in part one either after the fact or before you listened to this episode go ahead and jump back and listen to that episode. [00:00:36] Today's episode is brought to you by our friends at athletic greens. The health and wellness company that makes comprehensive daily nutrition really really simple. [00:00:44] A G one by athletic greens is a category leading superfood product, bringing comprehensive and convenient daily nutrition to everyone. Keeping up with the research and knowing what to do and taking a bunch of pills and capsules is hard on the stomach and hard to keep up with [00:00:59] To help each one of us be at our best. They simplify the path to better nutrition by giving you the one thing with all the best things. [00:01:06] One tasty scoop of ag. One contained 75 vitamins minerals and whole food sourced ingredients including a multivitamin multimineral probiotic green superfood blend [00:01:17] And more in one convenient daily serving. The special blend of high quality bioavailable ingredients and a scoop of ag. work together to fill the nutritional gaps near diet. Support energy and focus. Aiden got health and digestion and support a healthy immune system. Effectively replacing multiple products or pills in one healthy delicious drink. [00:01:38] I think by now, you've probably heard my personal jam. I like to take athletic greens. First thing in the morning is to get a jumpstart on my hydration. As well as my nutritional needs. And i'm big ride days if i'm feeling super depleted i'll come home and have a second glass so on a saturday or sunday i might double up my servings [00:01:58] If you're open to giving athletics greens, a try, simply visit athletic greens.com/the gravel ride. [00:02:05] Athletic greens has agreed to give a free one year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs to any gravel ride podcast listener. So be sure to visit athletic greens.com/the gravel ride. To give it a try today. With that said let's jump into part two of the q and a episode with randall [00:02:26] Craig: Next question was on optimizing the adjustment and float intention on SPD pedals. I don't think there's much we can add there cause it's a little bit of trial and error. In my opinion. I don't know about the float. I don't even know if mine has like float adjustment. For me it seems like it's just the tension. So I, how hard or easy it is to get in and out. And that's been something maybe I've amped up over time as I become more confident, but certainly starting them out with them. Fairly easy to disengage is perfectly acceptable if you're not comfortable with Clifton riding. [00:02:57] Randall: Yeah. In terms of tension, I would definitely start with a looser engagement and then tighten it down as you get more confident, Especially when you're first starting out. And what else? Patrick and I actually talked about this in the bike fit episode. Hey recommending shifting the cleats back. So if you're running mountain style shoes, which the gravel bike probably should be if you can run them in the back, the bolts to the back then sliding the cleat. Pretty much all the way to the back. Now if that doesn't feel right, you can always move it forward a little bit, but whereas this new real problem with going too far back there can be issues with going too far forward in terms of biomechanics and so on. And in terms of the float, you want to be in the middle of the float and you never want to be in a position where the you're you're not able to peddle in a natural motion where you're using the cleat positioning to restrict your motion. That is a a good way to end up with an injury. So definitely don't do that. I generally will start with the cleats. In a position where it's restricting my inward motion so that my heel can't hit the crank arm. And then I'll peddle from there and see am I in the middle, middle of the float? Am I in my restricted any part of the pedal stroke? And if not, then that's a good starting point. But to really get this right again it is hard to do this on your own. It's hard to see knee tracking. In souls or thing you want to invest in, in order to help align the full stack from hip to knee through the ankle. And this is where listen to the bike, fit 1 0 1 episode and consider working with a bike fitter. [00:04:30] Craig: I was just going to say the same thing. It's like one of those things like, oh, bike fit, you don't necessarily go to clique adjustment, but so often when I've observed it, cleat adjustment happens in a bike fit. [00:04:41] Randall: And it doesn't happen first, right? Everything else has to be right first. So if your saddle's too low and your arches are collapsing and things like that, you're already starting with things out of alignment and are going to have some trouble, but at least the advice that, that I just gave will prevent the worst issues. But again, go get a bike fit. [00:05:01] Craig: Yep. [00:05:02] The next [00:05:02] question. Yeah, The next question. [00:05:05] was about what's the best technique for using a dropper post? How does this help with the physics of the ride? [00:05:14] Randall: I'll let you go first. I certainly have an opinion on this one. [00:05:17] Craig: This is a dangerous one for us. The listener, the avid listener knows we can go into a deep dropper post where I'm whole, but let's try to offer some quick advice. One of the things I like to remind people about with respect to drop her posts is that it's not just a, all the way up or all the way down product. You've got the full spectrum of range, which means you should use it frequently. Obviously when you're in heavy tactical descents with steep, dicentric, you're going to slam it. [00:05:45] But I quite frequently lower it just a centimeter to just give myself a little bit more room on terrain. Maybe it's a road descent or something that I'm super confident on, but it gives me a little bit more margin for error. And as I'm feeling maybe more nervous about the speed. I'll go down even further just to give myself again a bigger range of just a bigger margin of error. So practice, and no, there's no right or wrong, use it frequently and you'll figure out what feels best for you. [00:06:15] Randall: You've seen my technique with the dropper. I'm a bit more extreme. So for me, I use the dropper all the time. I have it down all the way on a high-speed road descent, and I use it to allow me to, move my mass around on the bike in a way where, if I want the front end to be more planted, I can put more mass on the bars, but then I can shift my weight down and back over the rear axle to lighten up the front end for say, traversing, really rough terrain. Provides that distance between the bike and the body where your arms and legs can act as suspension. Your front wheel is rolling in sailing. Your rear is doing more of your speed control. And in this way, it really radically. Improves the capability of the bike, not just off-road, but I would argue on road as well. I descend much faster because I know I can grab a handful of both brakes and not be pitching over the handlebars. So for me, even on the road, I'm dropping it all the way in a lot of situations. [00:07:08] Just because I like to go that much faster and it gives me that margin of safety. [00:07:12] Craig: All makes sense. Next off, we're going to an area work. Gosh, Randall I almost think we need an entirely new category in the ridership forum just about tires. What do you think? [00:07:25] Randall: We've been asked for this for a while. By the time this episode airs, if we don't have a channel in there, somebody yell at us in the forum, we'll get that up. [00:07:35] Craig: The first question comes again from Tom boss, from orange county unicorn tires, lightweight, puncture resistance, fast rolling with lots of grip. What comes closest for you? [00:07:45] Randall: I'm not getting in the weeds on this one. I defer to the hive-mind and the ridership on this. I can tell you what I ride. But I'm gonna make no claims about it being the optimal. [00:07:56] Craig: Yeah, do. What are you writing in these days? [00:07:58] Randall: so currently I'm writing just a WTB Sendero upfront and a venture in the rear. And these aren't especially fancy casings. They're not the most efficient tire. But they're pretty robust and they have great grip and I like the mullet setup. I'm a big fan of going with something NABI or upfront and like a file tread or even a semi slick, depending on your terrain in the back. [00:08:20] And yeah, that's the way that I go. We actually just brought in some maxes, Ramblers and receptors. So we go a rambler small knob front and a receptor in the back. And I like the six 50 by 47 size. There are situations where I wish I could have a little bit more volume, other situations where I wish I had a little bit more efficiency, which tells me that I'm right in the middle of the range for most of the writing that I do. [00:08:40] Craig: Yeah. For me. And first off, full disclosure to everybody, I'm a Panorai sir, brand ambassador. So I want to put that out there. The gravel king S K was a tire that I got on my first proper gravel bike. And I just fell in love with it. Then I left for many years and went on to more of a setup that you had rocking the Sandero up front. [00:09:01] Thinking I was, riding more challenging terrain and could appreciate the knobs, which I did. [00:09:06] But recently I've gone back to the gravel king as Kay. And I do find it to be a wonderful all around tire because I feel super fast on the road and it does everything that I needed to do in most of the situations that I get into. [00:09:21] Randall: Yeah, sounds about right. And then there's always, if you're, if you had a really long ride out to the trail you could always, bring the pressure up a smidge on the way out there and then give it a little at the the Trailhead. [00:09:34] Craig: Yeah. [00:09:34] And again, it obviously comes down to where you are and one thing I'll just note really quickly, and we've talked about it before is Riding fully select tires at a fat with has been remarkable to me how performance they can be. Off-road you think you need knobs, then all of a sudden you realize where you do need them, but actually if you change your riding style a little bit if you've got a fat rubber tire on there, you can go and do a lot of things. [00:09:59] Randall: Yeah, the dropper helps a lot with that. In terms of just being able to be more nuanced with your body English as you going over stuff. But yeah, I run 700 by 30 tubeless tires and I'll go out on hard road drives and then I'll pass it on to see a trail and be like, oh, what's over there, I must find out now and then to see. Go and do a little bit of adventuring. And you gotta pick, you gotta pick your lines. You gotta be careful not to hit anything, square, a square edge. That's gonna, bang up against your rim. But if you're if your pressure is high enough and you're gentle enough with your writing, you can do a remarkable amount. Most of the stuff that we've written in Marine together up written on slicks. [00:10:36] At one point. Yeah. [00:10:38] not saying it's a good idea, but it's doable. [00:10:41] Craig: True. And you enjoyed other parts of the ride and leaned into other parts of the ride, presumably more because that's, what the bike was oriented around on that particular day. And maybe you needed to nurse your way down Blazedale Ridge or something, but you got through it. [00:10:55] Randall: Yeah, and it's definitely more of an uphill thing than a downhill thing. [00:11:00] Craig: Yeah. [00:11:00] Randall: go uphill on dirt and then downhill on, on road, but okay. The, we went on a proper tangent there. [00:11:07] Craig: Yeah, sorry. next? [00:11:08] one. Next question is from Josh, from east Texas. It's around suppleness. Suppleness in tires is desired by riders. So how do I choose a simple tire without having to buy it and write it with no published measure of scale of suppleness on a given tire from the manufacturer we are left with only this tire field strop sample is TPI and indication. [00:11:30] Why don't manufacturers provide consumers with this information? [00:11:33] Randall: So I'm going to volunteer Ben Z and Marcus G in the forum as to people who seem to have written. Every tire I've ever heard of. And some that I haven't. And there are others in there that have as well. But yeah, I think this is a matter of finding out what other people like and kindly asking their opinion and experiences with it. [00:11:52] Craig: Exactly. I think that's a good recommendation. [00:11:55] Next question is from Tom Henkel and it's around tire pressure. He acknowledges that he tends to ride harder pressures than a lot of people seem to recommend, but he's also dented REMS and had to wrangle the, straighten them out enough to complete a ride. So he's nervous about bottoming out. How do you know how low is too low? Given the weight of the rider and width of the tire? Also, how does this vary by terrain type? [00:12:17] Randall: The indication of how low is too low is really. He's denting his rims. And pinch flatting as well you can have two riders of the same weight on the same tires at the same pressure on the same terrain, one we'll be a little bit better at picking lines or at shifting weight around. And we'll be able to push the limits a little bit more. But if you're ponderous and steamrolling through things, then you might need to run higher pressures in order not to bang the rims. Now, if you're not already running the highest volume tires that will fit in your frame, start there for sure. And if you are, and you don't want to have to replace your bike, tire inserts, which is something that we haven't really talked about much. And is in its early days in gravel, but it's increasingly popular in mountain bike. And I'll be getting a set of these to try out. Isaac S in the forum loves his and he rides hard. He used to ride his gravel bike like a full-on mountain bike, and even cracked a rim once, and after he put in inserts he never had any trouble and he was actually pushing his pressures even lower. So those would be the recommendations. I have go biggest volume. You can and get some tire inserts. [00:13:25] Craig: Yeah, that makes sense. [00:13:26] It's all trial and error and I am eager as, as well as the listener, I imagined to hear what you think of tire inserts. Cause I do think It's yet another interesting part of the equation that some riders may be able to play around with successfully. [00:13:40] Randall: Yeah, it has the same effect as adding a little bit of suspension. If you can drop the pressure that much lower and have a two tiered suspension effect where you have the travel of the lower pressure tire, and then right before it bottoms out on the rim, you have this protective layer. So yeah, I think it makes a ton of sense, conceptually. So I'm excited to try it. [00:13:58] Craig: Yeah, interesting stuff. [00:14:00] Next question is another one from Kim brown. How do you go around choosing the right tire for the ride? [00:14:05] I guess I make more like quarterly or seasonal decisions around this and live with it. I certainly have brought my beef feed set up bike two places in the middle of the country that didn't require such an aggressive setup. But it is what it is like I, I'm not super concerned but I imagine if you have the wherewithal and interest you can dig in and find the right tire for every single outing. [00:14:32] Randall: Yeah. And you definitely again see people who seem to do that. And that's great. For me. I have a bicycle company and I have two wheel sets and I leave the same tires on until they burn out. I'll even take the Sendero Nabil upfront and when it starts to wear a little bit too much, I'll just move it to the back and put on another Nabil upfront. [00:14:49] I mostly rabid I got, and I got the two we'll set. So I have 700 by 32 blitz and a six 50 by 47 mullet set up. And it's really more of a choice of which wheel package I'm going to go with then. Swapping around tires and things like that, which is a more seasonal or annual decision. [00:15:05] Craig: Yeah. [00:15:06] Yeah. Yeah. Same. [00:15:07] Next one is probably I could've sat in the maintenance section of this conversation, but how do I deal with a pinch flat or puncture or some other common issue in a tubeless tire? [00:15:16] Randall: Punctures. Dynaplugs, bacon strips. Make sure you have a good amount of sealant in there. And have a spare tube as a backup, if all that fails. If you've got a pinch flat in a tubeless tire if it's on the sidewall, then you know, you do what you can to get home. Sometimes a plug will work, but if it's in the sidewall, you're probably going to want to replace that tire versus in the meat of the tread where the rubber is a lot thicker, a plug can last for the remaining life of the tire. And last thing would be, if you really have a problem and you have a tear in the sidewall, a boot or even just jam putting a dollar bill or something in there so it doesn't continue to spread, just so you can get home, and maybe running lower pressure so it doesn't blow out the sidewall. [00:16:00] Craig: Yeah. [00:16:02] If we assume the question came from someone who knows how to change a two-bed tire and has been through that experience, just a couple of other things I would highlight that may not be known unless you've had to go through it. If you are replacing a tubeless tire with an inner tube, you do need to remove the valve core. [00:16:19] First. And you can expect that if you have ample sealant remaining in said tire. It's going to be a messy situation. [00:16:27] Randall: Yeah. [00:16:28] Craig: I don't know what the right thing to do is if you leave the sealant in there, but it's going to be all over you. It's going to be all over the place. It's just something you have to deal with as you get that tire and get your tube in there and find your way home. [00:16:41] Randall: Yeah, all the more reason to get plugs and just have plugs with you because oftentimes you can get by with those. [00:16:48] Craig: Yeah. A hundred percent. The first time you plug a tire, it's like a Eureka moment and you just top off the tire and continue on your way. And when it goes beyond that, then you're a very sad. And you will have to deal with quite a mess. [00:17:02] Randall: There's a picture that think Isaac in the forum shared where he had a hole plugged with eight different plugs in the sidewall and he kept riding it for a while apparently. So Bravo maybe change that casing a little bit sooner. So though. [00:17:18] Craig: Related to tires, we're going to move into a section on wheels. And matthew Wakeman ask, what kind of situations would be worth considering three wheel sets versus just two for do most of it? Bikes. [00:17:32] Randall: So my thinking is the first wheel set is probably a wide 700 that can take everything from road to gravel tires and then a even wider six 50, that's more focused on gravel and adventure riding. And then an even wider two Niner that would be your mountain bike setup now, then. Then, that's getting into two bikes. So you have two bikes, three wheel sets between them. If you're just with one bike for everything, then if you're racing or if you're constantly switching between very focused road experience to a fast, hard packed gravel experience to a rugged. Bike packing adventure sort of experience, then it would make sense to maybe have two, seven hundreds and 1 6 50 B. It really would be another 700 slotting in the middle. There. [00:18:22] Craig: Yeah, for me, it's really around. Tire selection on those wheel sets and yes, it would be a luxury and a full disclosure. I do have three wheel sets in the garage and I'm splitting hairs literally. It's because I'm too lazy to change the tire. And I have the luxury of having the third wheel so that so I've got my sort of NABI. Fairly narrow 700 C off-road sat that will only take me a limited amount of places from where I live. I've got my one that I spend most of my time on which presently is six 50 by 43. And then I've got a 700 with a 30 road tire on it. [00:18:59] And it's more like Totally when I only had two wheel sets, it was all good. Just choose between road and mountain and don't worry too much about it. [00:19:07] Randall: I don't even have three wheels. That's Craig. Bravo. [00:19:10] Craig: Next question comes from Craig. Oh I'm curious on the difference between six 50 B and 700 C and confused about boosts standards, wheels, hubs, rotors and whether it's worth the investment to pursue or just stick with my current wheels. Ideally, I was interested in putting faster, thinner type tires on my 700 C wheels that came with the bike. [00:19:29] For all their road rides and a second set of six 50 B fatter grippier types for off-road fun. I think we've talked a lot about six 50 B versus 700 C on other podcasts and also on this podcast today. But I was interested in this question around standards, as someone who has a mountain bike, I was aware of boosts standards. [00:19:50] What is going on with that with respect to gravel bikes and do we see a path towards a boost standard for gravel bikes or are there specific design considerations that make that not likely. [00:20:03] Randall: So we have one it's called road boost and it seems to have been driven by the emergence of e-bikes as a major category. And what boost does is it increases the spacing upfront 10 millimeters in the back. I believe by six. And it allows the flanges and the hub to be space more widely apart, so that you have more of a bracing angle and more lateral strength. So the same amount of spokes gives you greater lateral stiffness and strength. So that's the benefit now, does it matter for, gravel bikes of, running up to say like a 2.2 tire or even a 2.4 without suspension. It's pretty minor gains. [00:20:46] I do think that we're going to see a transition towards road boost, which is a one 12 by one 10 upfront and a 12 by 1 48 in the rear. There's, trade-offs one of them being a well for pure road bikes. It's going to be trivially, less Aero, there's always the arrow marketing story . And then two in the back to you end up potentially having to increase the Q factor. Of the cranks. So most people actually benefit from more Q factor than the super narrow ones that used to be common on road bikes so it's not really a problem for most riders, but it's just like another design constraint. There's trade-offs is, are you have to fit a lot of things in a tight package and that's the issue, but it's out there, you see a couple bikes with it. Especially E road bikes and gravel bikes. And I think over time, you'll see that transition, but don't consider it an upgrade that you need to swap your bike to get. It's not mean it's not a meaningful thing in that regard, and you can get most of the benefits by just doing asymmetric rims, which, that's why we and others do asymmetric rims to downs the spoke tensions and angles. [00:21:49] Craig: Gotcha. I'm going to slip a personal question in that I'd put in the forum. How often should I grease the threads of my through axles if I change wheels frequently? [00:21:58] Randall: Often enough so that there's always grease on them and no dirt. And if you have any where on the threads you should be doing it more often and use a FIC. FIC Greece. But if you get any dirt in there, like if you drop your through axle or something like that, now you have basically a grinding compound. In the threads. So you want to clean that up. But yeah, that, as with any interface, it will wear over time. So Greece is your way of allowing that interface to last longer than the bike. [00:22:26] Craig: Yeah, great. We've got a question from Alex, from Tifton, Georgia. What's happening in the gravel scene to involve youth. [00:22:33] Randall: You seem to be taking out junior. Fairly often on whatever kids bike with whatever tires it's got on there. I think that counts. [00:22:41] Craig: Yeah, I just want to expose my son to riding off road. And so he's still on a 20 inch wheel bike, but I've put some monster, like two, one tires that I found on it's like a monster truck for him, which I think he enjoys. I think it's the key to bring the youth through mountain biking and discover gravel versus prematurely introducing drop our bikes. [00:23:06] Randall: Yeah. I'm of the same mind. I've a niece that I take riding in the same way and it's just like she has a 20 inch wheels kid's bike. And I just take her out on the dirt and get her comfortable riding on those surfaces and pushing her comfort zone to try new things. But then also just instilling this deep love of the adventure experience, which for me what we're calling gravel is really all about. It's like going and exploring the area where you live from an entirely different angle than you would get in a car or on foot. [00:23:36] Craig: Yeah. Agreed. [00:23:37] Randall: And then of course NICA. We have some coaches in the listenership. Then the new England youth cycling association, actually Patrick in Lee likes bikes are doing a skills clinic with them in October. [00:23:48] So you have that. And then urban off-road bike parks. Lotta our kids in the city don't have access to trails. And so just providing that access, I think is critical. And there's an example of a McLaren bike park in San Francisco. It's in a part of the city that is pretty far from the bridge and pretty far from the Santa Cruz mountains. And so this would be it, and there is plans potentially to expand that. And building more urban bike parks I think is a big part of that as well. [00:24:20] Craig: Yeah, for sure. And you bring a huge skill gain to gravel if you come from the mountain bike side. [00:24:27] Randall: Yeah. Yeah. And starting with a hard tail or even a rigid flat bar bike is a great way to go. [00:24:33] Craig: A hundred percent. Next question comes from Alex in Columbia, Missouri. And it's a question about frame design. With the growing market of gravel. Where, when does the Aero slash race versus endurance market become two separate markets? Also how far do you think it'll go narrower tubing, et cetera. There seems to be a split already forming with Aero features being added to gravel bikes. [00:24:57] Randall: I have strong opinions here, so I'm going to let you go first. [00:25:00] Craig: Yeah. I think the brands are already splitting hairs with these categories as it is. And part of it is positioning vis-a-vis other competitive brands. Part of it is just the designer's vision for what this bike is intended to do. And those lines are blurry and murky and are going to come down to individual brand managers to execute on. So I think it's already a total disaster. [00:25:27] Randall: I think most Aero claims, especially in gravel are entirely bunk. And it's marketing. And I'll give you an example. So on a road bike, a designer can control almost all of the parameters except for the rider, which ironically is the biggest one more than 80% of the aerodynamic profile, the tire with being a big one, right? So you can have your rim with, and your rim depth matched to the width of the tire. You can have the down tube optimized for that tire to end up really close to the front leading edge of that down tube and the down tube, it can be really narrow. So you have a smooth transition between, rim to tire, to frame in a way that minimizes turbulence. So with a road bike, it's more of a controlled system. And even then the gains are very marginal. And if you look at the. What marketers are usually claiming. If you add up all the Watts that you saved, you'd be traveling at a hundred miles an hour on all the different components you can buy. On gravel, it's worse because you, you have really wide tires. And so you'll have a deep section rim. With a big old tire on it and the tire is much wider than the rim. You're already having detachment of airflow as soon as it comes off that tire. There's a rule which folks can look up the rule of a hundred, 5%, which says that as long as the rim is a hundred, 5%, the width of the tire, then you can generally get good attach flow over the rim, regardless of that rims shape with certain shapes being marginally better. But that one oh 5% rule being more important. But if you have a big old tire on an arrow rim, all that at error rim is doing is adding weights and potentially increasing turbulence, especially in a crosswind where it's going to make it harder to steer. So that's my take on wheels. And then obviously handlebars and all that other stuff very marginal gains, especially given that it's not being designed as a system around the tires and so on. [00:27:14] Aero helmet and rider position, rider positions the biggest thing that you can do, if you want to improve your. Arrow. [00:27:20] Craig: Yeah. And I was looking at the question more, less, so about like aerodynamics and more just marketing and bikes in general. And seeing that. There's just a spectrum of bikes that are marketed in different ways. From endurance road bikes, to Aira road bikes, to arrow gravel bikes. I totally agree and understand your comments, and my comments are more just related to the market in general and how there's a plethora of things being directed at consumers and it's ever more confusing to figure it out. [00:27:50] Fortunately with most quality gravel bikes, you do get this one bike that can do a ton of things. And bikes that you can configure in the way that you ride them. [00:28:02] Randall: Yeah, I think you'll see the incorporation of some functional arrow. There's no reason not to do a tapered head tube or certain other things, but it's such marginal gains. And really, it's hard to build an Aero bike if you're not controlling for the tire volume and given the divergence in tire sizes that these bikes use that's not a really a controllable variable in design. [00:28:24] Craig: Yeah. So the final question comes from our friend Marcus in Woodside, California. What are your guesses about the big bike tech quantum leap forward coming next, similar in magnitude to. [00:28:39] to e-bikes and olive green bib shorts. [00:28:42] Randall: Marcus is a good friend. And I was definitely on trend with the big shorts there. Really, how do you top that? How does the industry come up with the next thing after olive green shorts? [00:28:51] Craig: Nothing can make a rider faster or look better than all of Deb's shorts. [00:28:57] Randall: So that's it. Marcus? I think that's the end of innovation in the bike industry. Yeah, this is a space that you know, that I've put a little bit, a bit of thought into. I'm going to let you go first here as well. [00:29:07] Craig: I think that makes sense, because I agree this is a tailor made Randall question. I do think the continued use of electronic componentry and other electronics that we all use, has to lead to more integration in bicycles, whether it's like battery packs that are embedded in the bikes that can power both my components, my GPS computer, my headlamp, all these things. I feel like it's a natural point, just like we're seeing in every other element of our lives, where battery and power is required. These things start to appear in more innovative ways. So I think that's interesting. [00:29:46] I think on the e-bike market, we're starting to see more and more of these bikes that not only is the battery removed, but also the engine, the sort of the motor part of the componentry comes out. So you start to get this bike that has assemblance of ability to ride without the component of it and it's not going to match a pure performance bike, but it may, for some people While still having that opportunity to use the e-bike functionality. So I think those are things that trends that we're definitely going to continue to see. And. And some more forward thinking thoughts. [00:30:21] Randall: Yeah, I agree with that, and I have a little bit more nuance to add but I want to start with the big, low lying fruit, and we started doing this, Basic things like proportional, crank length. I find it nuts that the industry up until recently didn't really make anything smaller than a 1 65 crank and continues to not offer shorter cranks for shorter riders. [00:30:41] This is one thing that we did, and then you now see FSA has done a good job of having offerings down to, I think 1 45. To accommodate smaller riders and so proportional, crank length. Proportional wheel sizes, I think is a big opportunity. There's no reason why, it's really small riders. Shouldn't have their wheels scaling to some degree. We already have a 26 inch size, so maybe for the biggest higher volume on an extra small bike, you'd run a 26 by 2.2 or something like that. You do need more tire options, but otherwise it would help to make that bike perform more like the bigger ones with a bigger rider on them. So those are two that I would really like to see. [00:31:18] I'd like to see continued innovation on integrated quick on and off storage solution. So I think lightweight bags and so on are really slick. And I think that we'll continue to see innovation there. You mentioned electronics. I agree. And it's getting ridiculous with the number of batteries you can have on the bike. [00:31:34] If you have a wireless shifting system, you can have a battery in each hood battery in each front and rear derailleur. You can have sensors on the bike each with separate batteries, a heart rate monitor, or the separate battery two lights with separate batteries, computer. It's silly and it adds a lot of cost and weight and complexity the system. So I think there should be a single battery on the bike and that there should be a universal standard that all components use. I don't think this is going to happen because everyone everyone wants to trap you into their particular walled garden, but that's a conversation for another day. [00:32:04] But yeah, those are the big ones. And then lastly, self-contained bike systems that leave nearly nothing behind, maybe some sort of lightweight regenerative braking for this one battery. I would like to see. But first things first and then subtler suspension designs, which I think we're already starting to see with more compliance, like flexible components, you. [00:32:24] Bar handlebar is built with a little bit of flex or a suspension stem versus going whole hog with a full on suspension fork, just to get 30 or 40 millimeters of travel. [00:32:33] Did I answer your question? Marcus, let us know in the forum. Hope, hope you're satisfied with the answer. And what is the next color of big short. Greg, what do you think. [00:32:41] Craig: That's putting me on the spot. Maybe like a tan might do something that makes you a little bit nude. [00:32:47] Randall: Ooh. Yeah, that would be that everybody would be really comfortable seeing that. Yeah, I'm with [00:32:53] Craig: dangerous territory. [00:32:54] Randall: we will have various options to match everyone's skin tone. So we all look like we're riding in the nude. [00:33:02] Trend leader, Craig Dalton. [00:33:05] Craig: This was a heck of a lot of fun. [00:33:07] And it would not have happened without the community. So big shout out to the ridership community and to everybody who submitted questions. I'd love to see us do this again. So we'll probably set up a channel down the line and put the question out there again and see what's gets generated because it was a lot of fun chatting with you about these questions. [00:33:25] Randall: Yeah, it's what we do on our rides only we've recorded at this time. [00:33:29] Craig: Yeah, exactly. That's going to do it for us this week on behalf of Randall and myself, have a great week. And until next time here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels. [00:33:42]
Sea Otter Round Up Episode
24:44This week's episode is a quick round up from the 2021 Sea Otter Classic featuring quick conversations with BMC, Specialized, Alchemy Bikes, Kogel, Sage, USWE, Panaracer, CushCore, Scott and T9. Support the Podcast Join The Ridership Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): Sea Otter Round Up [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: [00:00:09] Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host, Craig Dalton. If you're a regular listener, you may have been expecting part two of our fun Q and a episode. Building on last week's part one. I had the opportunity to head down to the sea Otter classic in Monterey, California on Friday. And I was able to pick up a few short interviews that I thought were worth sharing. There's some great imagery and stories coming out from that story to vent that I thought it would be good to share in a timely fashion. [00:00:40] For those of you who aren't familiar with the Seattle classic. It's an event that's been going on for, I believe 31 years in Northern California. It's got a rich history, starting with mountain bike racing and later added almost every discipline you can imagine to its four day weekend calendar. [00:00:59] It's also become quite a large consumer show for the bike industry. So there's booths from hundreds of manufacturers from around the world. [00:01:06] I took the opportunity to catch up with some old friends and do some quick interviews with some gravel companies that I think you might be interested in. This will also serve as the jumping off point for a few longer form interviews i'll do later in the year. [00:01:19] This year is October date was pandemic related. The event normally takes place in April. [00:01:24] So we'll be coming back around on our calendar shortly in 2022. [00:01:28] Of note, the Sea Otter classic was purchased by Lifetime back in August of 2021. So this is the first edition produced by the seawater team owned by Lifetime. [00:01:40] Regardless of what type of cyclist you are. If you don't mind a huge crowd, the Sea Otter classic is a great place to geek out over great parts. Watch some killer racing and enjoy the Monterey bay peninsula. With all that said let's jump right into my 10 interviews throughout the sea Otter classic [00:01:59] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): Yeah, this is Andrew here with BMC USA. And what are we looking at here today? We're looking at our brand new URS LT gravel bike. That's ready for any trail you can throw at it. Yeah. Tell [00:02:11] Craig Dalton: us about some of the features. [00:02:12] The frame's been in market for maybe a year last season, but it's got some significant upgrades that I can just tell by looking [00:02:20] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): at it today. Totally. Yeah. So the new addition at the end of the name there LT for long-term. Comes with our new MTT fork, which is micro travel technology. [00:02:28] Craig Dalton: The, tell us a little bit more about the [00:02:30] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): suspension. So with the MTT on the rear, you have a carbon flex chain stay that allows for 20 mils of rear wheel travel, damned with an elastomer that's at the top allows you to maintain traction while you're on. But the new edition with the pork here is a new partnership with Hi Ride , which is a high-end a there come from the motor sport side of things, and they've made a new damper, which has allowed for 20 mils of oil dam suspension that allows it to not overheat like a spring driven system would be, and still has the capabilities of locking out all in a lightweight package. [00:03:03] That doesn't affect the geometry whatsoever. Now for [00:03:06] Craig Dalton: the uninitiated, when you look at this bike, you may not notice where the suspension is happening. Can you tell us it's not the two telescoping fork legs? Can you tell us how it's happening? [00:03:15] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): Yeah. Happening all essentially in the steer tube. So the entire damper unit is at the base of this. [00:03:20] Makes it so that it's super clean, simple, doesn't disrupt the lines of the bike, but still has a super effective method of getting you a more traction on the trails. Nice. [00:03:29] Craig Dalton: And the bike is made out of what frame material [00:03:32] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): a to full carbon frame, and even the fork itself has carbon lowers. So carbon it's full suspension. [00:03:38] Craig Dalton: Nice. It's a great looking bike, great execution, and I appreciate the time. [00:03:41] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): Awesome. Thank you for having me. [00:03:43] Craig Dalton: Okay. Can I get your name and company name? [00:03:45] Ard Kessels (Kogel): Yeah, I'm art with Kogel bearings. [00:03:48] Craig Dalton: Thanks art. And what are you showing here at Sea Otter? [00:03:50] Ard Kessels (Kogel): We have a line of fully gravel approved oversized gorilla cages. So we build them super stiff so he can take him off. We just introduced a line of custom colored titanium bolts. [00:04:01] So you can get your entire bike matched up. [00:04:04] Craig Dalton: I was just talking to one of your colleagues. Cause one of the things from the outside, when I've looked at these products was the complexity of installing it. Could you describe like what you need to do to your existing rear derailleur to install the. [00:04:16] Ard Kessels (Kogel): The installation of an oversized cage requires you to take your derailleur apart. [00:04:20] So not just remove it from the bike, but completely take it off in pieces. It's, there's no set procedure. So depending on your model of derailleur, some are super easy. Some are definitely recommended to bring to a bike shop, [00:04:33] Craig Dalton: and it's really just removing the existing cage. And depending on how, whether it's SRAM or Shimano, how complicated they make that process, that's really what. [00:04:42] Complicated or not complicated. Is that correct? [00:04:44] Ard Kessels (Kogel): Correct. Yes. And there is no line, one derailleur from a brand might be easy and the same derailleur from or another deter from the same brand might be complicated. And just [00:04:54] Craig Dalton: really quickly, could you tell the listener, what is the advantage of going for one of these bigger polices? [00:05:00] Ard Kessels (Kogel): Absolutely. The idea behind it is to open up the chain. So by using a bigger wheel, the chain doesn't have to articulate as much as it has around a small pulley. Bending a chain takes it takes energy. So by this, you reduce the friction by about one or two Watts. [00:05:16] Craig Dalton: Awesome. Thanks Ard. Thanks. [00:05:19] All right. Can I get your name and company? [00:05:21] Bed Edwards (Specialized): Yeah, sure. My name is Ben Edwards. I work with Specialized and part of the road and gravel team. [00:05:25] Craig Dalton: Nice. Ben, can you tell us about the new crux we're looking at? [00:05:28] Bed Edwards (Specialized): Yeah, we're super stoked to bring the all new Crux to riders. This thing just dropped yesterday and I think people know the crux as a cross bike, right? [00:05:35] This is like a world champion for in cross bike, but the little, the kind of the dirty secret crux all has had is that it was a bad-ass gravel bike. And so the new. While it retains a lot of that performance heritage from the cross side is really embracing that, that gravel identity. But beyond that, we've used our Athos which of any of the writers know the Athos it's a 585 Graham road frame. [00:05:56] We found a way to make these crazy light and incredibly riding road bikes at a carbon. We've now taken those learnings to the crux. So the new crux, the frame set for S works 725. And you're looking at a complete bike at 7.2 kilos, which is almost unheard of on the roadside, with a stock bike. [00:06:16] And that's what we're doing in gravel now. So that's a key thing that makes that bike. The unbelievable ride quality it delivers is that incredible, lightweight, which is pretty unheard of. And gravel beyond that, we've added some incredible capability by making sure it has room for 47 C tires. So you can, Hey, you want to race on the 30 eights. [00:06:34] Awesome. You're going to get into some rough. It's got room for this 40 sevens on their incredible capability. For [00:06:40] Craig Dalton: sure. Nice. I was going to ask you about some of the additional capabilities that have been built in this model versus the older kind of more pure crossbite crux that people had. [00:06:49] Bed Edwards (Specialized): Yeah, for sure. So that, that, that tire clearance is a big one. We know. For awhile there, 40 was thought of as Hey, 40 is the right size for gravel. We know now these bikes are capable of so much more. So we really feel like to unlock the bikes. Potential riders have to be able to say, Hey, maybe I want to put a 47 on it, or with a bike like this 725 grand frame. [00:07:08] It's pretty amazing on the road. If you wanna have another set of wheels and throw a set of 20 eights or thirties on it, you've got an amazing platform that allows you. If you thought [00:07:16] Craig Dalton: about the gravel market on a spectrum from sort of a road plus bike to an adventure bike packing bike, where would you describe this new crux is sitting? [00:07:25] Yeah, [00:07:26] Bed Edwards (Specialized): this thing is it's honestly the perfect compliment to our day. With that Diverge, you've got that incredible suspend, the rider, really compliance without any compromise with that future shock. So that's really what we're looking at. As I say, like adventure explore bike, or like crazy long miles when that comfort's key. [00:07:40] This is really sitting on that performance side of the spectrum, right? When you went that more stripped down, super new. Race day or just real fast gravel riding. That's really what that crux is holding down for us now, while we should also mention this is still what our world cup, cross riders are going to be on. [00:07:55] And we've had writers like Jed next D bar, world cyclocross champion. He'll be racing this bike as his key cross bike. [00:08:01] Craig Dalton: Awesome. Thanks for [00:08:02] Bed Edwards (Specialized): the time. Yeah, no problem. Thanks for taking in. [00:08:04] Craig Dalton: Okay. Can I get your name and [00:08:05] Jason (USWE): company? Yeah, Jason McCune with a USWE sports. Thanks, Jason. What are we looking at here today? Today we've got our line of epic hydration backs. We're looking specifically at the epic eight for those of you that are familiar with our brand our kind of our claim to fame as the hardest. [00:08:19] It's a one buckle harness system. You've got four way adjustability on all four sides and it's got elastic built into it as well. So you can really cinch it down and move around on the bike without the pack, moving on you that's really what people, who are riding mountain bikes and doing all these activities really want to. [00:08:35] Yeah. As I've seen [00:08:35] Craig Dalton: some of the athletes like Amanda nom and ride it, that crossover strapping mechanism is what's most visually noticeable about the pack. And now that I've gotten the overview from you and looking at it more closely, I do see how that the sort of the hip side straps are highly adjustable and tuneable. [00:08:53] Jason (USWE): Yeah. So you can adjust from the sides that go into the yard. That come that way. And then also over the shoulders. So it's really nice. And even when you get it tightened up, up on you, it's got elastic. So when you're moving around on the. Yeah, it allows the freedom of your body to move. [00:09:08] And the packs just stand where it's at. That's the beauty of it. It's not bouncing all over the place. It's just becomes really part of your body. [00:09:15] Craig Dalton: The first pack you showed me, do you still get access to a typical cycling Jersey pocket? [00:09:20] Jason (USWE): So I'm glad you asked me that because yeah, like for, especially for like gravel enthusiasts and stuff like that, the packs are designed, so they sit up high. [00:09:28] So if you're running late, And you still want access to your pockets to get goose or something real quick. Yeah. All that stuff's totally accessible. And that's what makes that's part of the beauty of it. Awesome. Thanks for the time. Yeah, no worries. Thank you. [00:09:41] [00:09:41] Craig Dalton: Okay. Can I get your name and your company? [00:09:43] Bryce (Alchemy): I'm Bryce with Alchemy bicycles. [00:09:45] Craig Dalton: Bryce, what are we looking at here today? [00:09:47] Bryce (Alchemy): This is our all new alchemy rogue. This is the latest addition to our gravel lineup. We still have the Ronin, which is going to be our kind of racier, fast steeper geometry, gravel bike the rogue. [00:09:59] We want it to be more of an adventure offering. This bike is going to have a little bit longer wheel base Clint clearance for bigger tires. We wanted to build it with the SRAM, Ugh, H so that you get a little bit more peace of mind. You don't have to worry about throwing your chain. You don't have to worry about that rear drill. [00:10:16] You're taking knocks so much and a lot slacker geometry. So we've got a 70 degree head tube angle on this thing. So it can really be a lot more capable and stable on that. We also designed it to have a lot more compliance than the Ronan. So you'll notice the scallop seat stay as well as the drops or sorry, the scallop seat tube, as well as the drop seat stays. [00:10:38] That's going to give you a lot better comfort rugged terrain designed it with capability to run a wireless or hydraulic dropper post. Still has a big beefy bottom bracket shell. So when you get out of the saddle, you're going to have that powertrains for that you want. Nice. [00:10:53] Craig Dalton: Can you specify what tire size, the speical at [00:10:56] Bryce (Alchemy): least 700 by 50 C. [00:10:58] You could probably get a little bit bigger on that depending on your wheel and tire combo, [00:11:02] Craig Dalton: plate size there, and talk a little bit about your manufacturing process and where you're doing that. [00:11:06] Bryce (Alchemy): So we manufacture this bike in Denver, Colorado. This is a. Semi mana cock construction. We produce the tubes individually, so like the down tube and head to our one piece the bottom bracket, shell and C tube, as well as the chain stay, yolk are one piece. [00:11:23] And then we wrap those tubes together in an overwrap process to join them. So we also do all of our own painting house. This bike is completely fabricated from the design stage to finishing right in Denver. [00:11:36] Craig Dalton: Amazing. Now this rogue model is, has stock sizes. Your own and model is also available in custom sizes. [00:11:42] Is that. [00:11:43] Bryce (Alchemy): That is correct. So the rogue, we're trying to hit a little bit better price point and make the bike more accessible to people. We are offering a lot more stock sizes than we offer typically on our other bicycles. The rogue is gonna come in an extra small, to an extra large the Ronan is available in sock sizes, but we can do custom geo on. [00:12:03] This [00:12:03] Craig Dalton: rogue we're looking at as a beautiful finish to it. Can you talk about the finish? I think there's something unique about the way it's [00:12:08] Bryce (Alchemy): applied. Yeah, so we have started using cerakote. It's been around for a little while in the bicycle industry, but as far as I know, we're the first people doing it in house as a manufacturer. [00:12:19] Sarah coat is a pretty remarkable material in that. It's extremely thin and at the same time, extremely true. So we get a really lightweight finish. We get something that you don't have to worry so much about your tire throwing rocks up into, or leaning it against a tree. It's gonna hold up really well and it looks pretty phenomenal, too. [00:12:41] Awesome. [00:12:42] Craig Dalton: Congrats on the bike. It looks great. [00:12:43] Bryce (Alchemy): Thank you very much. [00:12:45] Craig Dalton: All right. Can I get your [00:12:46] Jeff (Panaracer): name and company? I'm Jeff Zell and I'm with Panaracer. Jeff. Good to see, [00:12:51] Craig Dalton: let's talk a little bit about the gravel king tire lineup. And specifically as the gravel king has grown in size and a recently introduced a 700 by 50. Can you just talk about the trends you're seeing and why panel issues go in that direction [00:13:04] Jeff (Panaracer): now? [00:13:05] Yeah, it's a really good question because we've been around with gravels since really the inception or the idea of the concept of gravel riding. And at that time, a lot of people were using cross bikes or other bikes with lower frame clearances that even at 32 was big four, but as the popularity of the sport grew, and because we had seen what was happening, we were able to respond to that and create. [00:13:26] Wits that we're going to correspond with what frame manufacturers were doing because everyone wanted wider tires. So we went with a 35 people, thought we were crazy. We went with it with 40, and that we ended up doing a 43 with people. Thought we were really nuts today. 30 eights are really the goal, 30 eights to forties depending. [00:13:45] Who's making the tire are really the go-to for the tire with, for people. And we continue to see the need to go bigger, which is where the idea for the 700 by 50 came from what type [00:13:56] Craig Dalton: of ride quality is a 750 providing for the rider? Is it, what type of solution is it creating sort of suspension and volume and traction are those, all the things you're keying. [00:14:06] Jeff (Panaracer): It is, and there's a little bit more to it than people really think one of the biggest questions that we always get or are, is what PSI should I ride my bike at? And so much of that is dependent on the type of riding you do, what kind of writer that you are what the terrain is that you're riding on and what you're looking to get out of it. [00:14:24] When you go to a 50, you're looking for something that's going to end up being a little bit more comfortable that you can run perhaps at a little bit greater pressure than you might normally. On a lower or sorry, on a smaller diameter tire. Sorry, not smaller diameter, but smaller width tire. And that allows for a little bit more room to dial in exactly what you want with it, and also load your bike up more for people that are wanting to take their gravel bikes more on adventures rather than just a two hour gravel ride or gravel event. [00:14:53] Yeah, [00:14:54] Craig Dalton: I think it's really fascinating as the frame designers have began to embrace those bigger sizes. You may run a 700 by 50 during certain parts of your season. Maybe it's the off season when you're doing bike packing, and then you can easily go a little bit narrower and go back down to that 700 by 40 for your race [00:15:09] Jeff (Panaracer): wheels. [00:15:10] That's exactly right. And we want to have a tire there for everybody's need. [00:15:13] Craig Dalton: I'm a big fan of the gravel king and I'm a big fan of Panorai sir. And I just wanted to acknowledge and appreciate the amount of support you've provided the gravel events seen over the years throughout the pandemic. [00:15:23] I know that you guys continued to back a lot of the. Race course event organizers throughout the pandemic, and you've done it in 2021 and we'll continue to do it. So on behalf of this gravel rider and racer, thanks to Panorai, sir, for all that great support. [00:15:37] Jeff (Panaracer): You're very welcome Craig, and thanks for what you do too. [00:15:39] It's great to have you getting all the news about gravel out there. [00:15:42] Craig Dalton: Cheers. [00:15:43] All right. Can you tell me your name and company? [00:15:46] Dan (CushCore): Yeah, I'm Dan . [00:15:47] Craig Dalton: Dan, can you tell us about CushCore and how the product is evolving to support gravel? Cyclists? [00:15:52] Dan (CushCore): Yeah, so we launched a product or an insert for gravel bikes Kush cores engineered foam insert. So wraps inside your tire. So it's the tubeless system. [00:16:03] You still use sealant if you need it. And it's designed to do a few things. The obvious benefit is going to protect your rim from big impacts, but it's uniquely shaped and it's part of our patents like a wedge shape. So push it against the tire sidewall. So you get a stiff sidewall, even at low tire pressure. [00:16:21] So you can run the lower tire pressure without that getting a squirmy tire and also without dinging your room rim or getting a pit. [00:16:29] Craig Dalton: Nice. And are you seeing riders run lower pressure now because of this type of [00:16:34] Dan (CushCore): product? Absolutely. A lot of feedback we get from gravel writers is that they can definitely run lower pressure and not, like I mentioned, eliminate that squirm while cornering and and haven't got flats. [00:16:47] Yeah, [00:16:47] Craig Dalton: that rigidity of the sidewall seems appealing. Cause obviously we've been lowering our pressure progressively to get more compliance, but there is a bottom line to that you can't go further than [00:16:58] Dan (CushCore): for sure. That's another way we described the product as it was designed to solve the tire pressure dilemma. [00:17:04] So high tire pressure. Is good for stability and I stable tire and less likely to ding your rim or get a pinch flat, but it's a bouncy ride. So you actually, it's a high rolling resistance actually, because it's not conforming to the road. And then, but low tire pressure is great for traction compliant, tread patch for comfort, but it's the. [00:17:24] Pinch flat. It's easy to dinger him, et cetera. So with Kush core, you can solve both of those problems. Get the best of both [00:17:31] Craig Dalton: worlds. What does the installation process look like? It's a completely sealed unit. So obviously I've got my raw rim and wheel in hand. What's next? [00:17:40] Dan (CushCore): Yes. Yeah. Like you mentioned, the Kush core is made in the mold, so it's not zip-tied together. [00:17:44] Strapped together. And it's designed to fit tight against the rim. So we'll Mount the insert on the rim first and then basically draped the tire over that. And then start with one side by tucking the beat in with your hands. You get to the tight side, you might need a tire lever to finish that law was a little bit [00:18:01] Craig Dalton: off. [00:18:02] And when I'm doing my sealant insert, I'm pushing that through the valve core. Is that still possible? [00:18:09] Dan (CushCore): That's how we do it as well. And then our valves are unique. It comes with a set. It actually has three holes. The normal let's say longitude, no hole. And then there's whole holes that go crosswise. [00:18:20] So that allows the sealant to get in. It allows you to set the air pressure with the cush core would be normally on top of a valve. And then also that allows you to clean that out really easily. Right on. Thanks for the overview. Yeah. Thank you. [00:18:34] Craig Dalton: All right. Can I get your name and company? [00:18:36] Dave (Sage): My name is David Rosen and my company has Sage titanium bicycles, Dave. Good to [00:18:41] Craig Dalton: talk to you again, I'll reference our earlier episode in the show notes for people, but it did want to stop you here at sea Otter. And just talk about the new storm king GP. [00:18:50] Excellent. [00:18:51] Dave (Sage): Happy to chat. What. [00:18:52] Craig Dalton: First thing since we're we have listeners, not viewers. You've got that Rudy suspension fork on [00:18:58] Dave (Sage): there. Ultimate's this mentioned four. Yes, it's fantastic. It's 40 millimeters. That trap. Gravel fork. It's really progressive. Like it's not what I was expecting it to be. [00:19:08] It was in the past other suspension forks that I've dealt with are a little bit harsher in terms of the travel. This is a lot smoother and it just, it works great on washboards. That's the easiest way to describe it [00:19:21] Craig Dalton: about the beautiful storm king that you brought to the envy show earlier this year. [00:19:26] How have you modified the storm king in lieu of the spec with the explore group? Oh, and the suspension fork. [00:19:32] Dave (Sage): So this one, I actually suspension corrected the geometry of the frame. So the axle, the crown on this is taller than a standard envy adventure fork, which I would use normally on the regular storm Kings. [00:19:45] And so as the reason. I actually slackened out the head angle by a little bit, I think a quarter of a degree if I remember correctly. And then just changed up some of the other geometry measurements of the bike to really offset for the taller fork. The reach is actually similar on the handlebar reach on the regular storm king versus the GP is similar, but the actual top tube Blaine on the GP is. [00:20:11] So I'm having you run a shorter stem kind of more mountain biking style because of the suspension fork and just accounting for dive in the fork and larger tires and that sort of thing. So an evolution of the standard storm king. When you [00:20:26] Craig Dalton: were thinking about the GP versus the storm king storm Kings was a very capable bike. [00:20:31] Still is an incredibly capable bike. What were you thinking differently? What type of rider were you thinking about when you came to the storm king GP? [00:20:40] Dave (Sage): A similar rider. It's definitely for adventure style, riding bike packing, long days in the country, that sort of thing. GP actually stands for Gifford Pincho which is actually the Gifford Pincho national forest, which is in Southern Washington. [00:20:53] So it borders right up against Oregon. And it's, I forget the numbers, but I want to say it's hundreds of thousands or a hundred thousand square miles or something crazy. Look it up online Gifford Pinchot national forest, and there are the stats and, but there's plenty of gravel, plenty of mountains, streams, lakes, all that sort of stuff. [00:21:10] And it's a lot more back country adventure. And it's the same rider who was getting the storm king originally. But now with the added suspension, it gives you a little bit more comfort for further adventures of just going deeper into the woods kind of thing. And so that was the purpose. Building a suspension corrected bike [00:21:29] Craig Dalton: right on Dave. [00:21:30] I appreciate you being progressive in thinking about the new types of riders that are entering the sport, the new types of things we're going to continue to do with these drop bar bikes as always the finished work is exceptional on the Sage bikes. I encourage everybody out there to go seek out a picture of this bike and UHIN. [00:21:47] Dave (Sage): Thank you very much. Yeah, it's up on our website, Sage titanium.com. Swam has it. There's it's floating around on social media. So just look for the storm king GP and it's the one and only right on. [00:21:58] Craig Dalton: All right. Can I get your name and company name? [00:22:01] John (T9): I'm John D prey from both shield T9 [00:22:04] Craig Dalton: John. I have to stop by. Cause as I was just telling you T9 is my favorite lib. Can you just talk a little bit more about what's behind the T nine [00:22:10] John (T9): loop? Absolutely. This is the thing about T nine is it's both the protection and the lube and it's good in dry or wet environments. [00:22:19] It's a wax base. The carrier evaporates away after a few hours and you're left with just a wax coating. So if your chain gets dusty, it'll just rinse rate off. If it gets wet, it'll sluff off. You can use it in the winter, snow won't stick to it. Everything good about T nine is everything that's good about T nine? [00:22:37] Craig Dalton: Yeah, just for clarity. It's a wax based loop, but it isn't the type of solution that you have to remove the chain, soak it in wax and put it back on. It's a lot simpler than that. It's [00:22:46] John (T9): Old school in the sense that it's wax, but it's new school in the sense of the internet to dip it into a pan of wax on your stove. [00:22:53] Truth story. [00:22:55] Craig Dalton: Exactly why I love the lube. I appreciate you coming out. I hope that you have a great weekend here at Seattle. Oh, cool. Thanks [00:22:59] John (T9): man. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the event. [00:23:02] Craig Dalton: So that's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. I hope you enjoyed those quick interviews from the sea Otter classic. [00:23:09] I'm really excited to dig in deeper on the BMC bike. We talked about the alchemy bike. And that Scott, hopefully we can get those guys back on the show and do a little bit deeper dive. Into the intention behind those bikes, all three of them were quite sexy. [00:23:24] In general, I had a blast down at seawater. [00:23:27] Between the 9,000 odd athletes competing in the hundreds and hundreds of spectators around it's quite a big show. So it's not the same as going off to some of those gravel events. We love often the mountains where you get the serenity. But if you're a fan of the sport and a fan of geeking out over bike parts, and you like to see the latest and greatest. [00:23:46] The sea Otter classic is a great place to visit. It's like wandering around one giant bike shop. So that's going to do it for us next week. We'll be back with part two of our fun Q and a episode. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels. [00:24:03]
In the Dirt 24: Part One - Questions and Answers
38:11This week we tackle our first Q & A episode from The Ridership Community. Randall and Craig tackle your questions in part 1 of 2 fun filled episodes. The Ridership Support the Podcast Book your free Thesis Bike Consult Automated transcription (Please excuses the errors): Episode 24 [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to in the dirt from the gravel. The ride podcast. I'm your host, Craig Dalton. And i'll be joined shortly by my co-host rental jacobs In this week's episode, we're tackling our first Q and a episode. [00:00:14] We've mentioned the ridership community on a number of occasions on this podcast. It's a community that's full of vibrant questions all the time. So we thought we'd put out an ask to say, what are the things you want to learn about what should Randall an IB discussing? And we were overwhelmed by. By the number of questions we received. [00:00:34] So much. So in fact that we're going to break this episode down into two parts. So today we'll focus on part one. And in the coming weeks we're released part two. [00:00:44] Before we jump into this week's episode, I'd like to thank this week. Sponsor Thesis bikes. As you know, Randall Jacob's my co-host in these, in the dirt episodes is the founder of Thesis bikes. Which you might not know is it's the bicycle I've been riding for the last let's say year and a half. [00:01:01] Over the course of this podcast, I've had the opportunity to ride many bicycles and I keep coming back to my Thesis. As my number one bike in the garage, it really does deliver on the promise of a bike that can do anything. As many of, you know, I operate with two wheel sets in the garage. So I've got a 700 C wheel set with road tires on, and my go-to six 50 B wheel set for all my off-road adventures. [00:01:26] In the many, many hours of conversation I've had with Randall, I've really come to appreciate how thoughtful he was in designing this bike and everything that goes in the Thesis community. Randall and the team are available for personal consults, which I highly recommend you take advantage of. If you're interested in learning more about the brand and figuring out how to get the right fit for your Thesis bicycle. [00:01:49] In a shocking statement. I can actually express that Thesis has bikes in stock. It's something we haven't been able to say about a lot of bike brands these days during the pandemic. It's October as we're releasing this episode and they have bikes available for November delivery with the SRAM access builds. They also have frame sets available. [00:02:10] So I encourage you to head on over to Thesis.bike, to check out more about the brand, the story. Cory and the product and book one of those free consultations with a member of the Thesis team. With that said, let's dive right into this. Week's. Q and a episode [00:02:25] Craig: Randall, how are you today? [00:02:26] Randall: I am doing well, Craig, how are you my friend? [00:02:30] Craig: I am doing good. I'm particularly excited for this episode because it essentially came entirely from the Ridership community. We're doing our first ever Q&A episode. [00:02:42] Randall: Yeah, people have a lot of trust in us, maybe too much in terms of our knowledge here. So we'll try not to get over our heads in terms of uh what we claim to know, but a lot of good questions here and hopefully we can answer most of them. [00:02:54] Craig: Yeah, I think that's been one of the cool things about the ridership is I see these questions going on all the time and I quite regularly. See them answered by people Smarter than you and I in a specific area of the sport. They have particular knowledge about a specific region. So it's really cool to see those happening in real time, every day for the members of that community. [00:03:17] Randall: Yeah, everything from fit related questions where we have some experts in there. Professional fitters like Patrick Carey, who I just did the episode with just before this one, I was in there answering questions, but then also if you've got a question about tires, nobody's going to have ridden all of them, but somehow every one has been written by someone in the forum there. And it's one of our most popular topics. [00:03:38] Craig: Yeah. And I've seen some really detailed, help transpire between members as well, just like random disc bait break problems or compatibility problems. And I'm always shocked when someone raises their hand digitally and start to answering a question saying, no, I experienced that exact same weird problem in combination of things. [00:03:57] Randall: Yeah, it really fits into the spirit of The Ridership in which embodied in that word was this idea of fellowship, like writers, helping writers. So it's been super cool to see that community develop organically. And so thank you all members who are listening, and to those who aren't in there yet, we hope you'll join us. [00:04:15] Craig: Yeah. just head over to www.theridership.com and you can get right in and start interacting as much, or as little as you want. I think the uniqueness of the platform is it is designed inherently to be asynchronous. So you can put a question in there give it a little time to marinate and a couple of days later Get lots of answers. [00:04:35] This is pretty cool. [00:04:36] Randall: And in addition to that, there's also rides being coordinated. So myself and another writer here in the new England area or leading a ride. And we have about 10 or 15 people who chimed in wanting to join. And we've seen quite a bit of that in the bay area as well. So that's another use case for this in addition to sharing routes and general bicycle nerdery. [00:04:54] Craig: Yeah, it's super cool. [00:04:55] So this episode, we're clearly going to jump around a bunch. We've tried to organize the questions, so there's, there's some pairing around them, but these are questions that all came in from subset of individuals. So They are what they are and we wanted to jump on them. So with that, let's let's dive right in. Okay. [00:05:12] Randall: All right, let's do it. [00:05:14] Craig: Cool. So the first question comes from Keith P E. And he says, every time I go out for a gravel ride, I think why is this roadie where I'm like Rhonda trails when there's no podium to win or anybody watching. What is this obsession with wearing skin tight clothing in a sport that resides in the dirt. [00:05:31] Randall: I don't know about you, but I'm just showing off. [00:05:34] Craig: Your physique. [00:05:35] Randall: My, my Adonis like physique, sure. It's just more comfortable for me. And I like to go pretty hard and I'm sweating a lot. And if I had baggier gear on, I would tend to have, potential issues with chafing and the like so for intensity I definitely find that the Lycra is a lot more comfortable. [00:05:54] Craig: Yeah, I'm sorta with you. Like I do I desire to be that guy in baggy shorts and a t-shirt, but every time it comes down to it, I'm grabbing the Lycra. I think for me, there's a couple of performance things, definitely on the lower body. I appreciate the Lycra just cause I don't get any binding and less potential for chafing. So I'm like, I'm all about a big short for riding, unless it's a super, super casual outing for me. [00:06:21] And then up top. I think it comes down to, I do having the pockets in the Jersey. So that sort of makes me tend towards wearing a Jersey, even if it's just solely to carry my phone in my pocket. [00:06:34] Randall: And if you really want to be pro show up to an elite race and like a led Zeppelin t-shirt and some cutoff jorts, and hairy legs and just rip everyone's legs off that would be super impressive. But for the rest of us, [00:06:45] If you ha, if you have those sorts of legs, [00:06:47] Yeah, it would be very impressed. Send pictures in to the ridership. If you actually do that . [00:06:50] Craig: Yeah. So you'll see me. You'll see me. Rock a t-shirt you. As a performance t-shirt instead of a cycling Jersey on occasion. And I just jam stuff into bags, but yeah, nine times out of 10, unfortunately I'm that Lycra. Reclad. Gravel cyclists. [00:07:06] Randall: MAMIL, I think right. [00:07:08] Middle aged man in Lycra. [00:07:11] I'm right behind in the age category. [00:07:13] Craig: Second question comes from Tom Schiele. And forgive me if I mispronounced your last name, he'd love to get our insights into winter riding, especially tips for those of us in new England who go out on cold dark mornings. [00:07:29] I'm going to, I'm going to go out on a limb here and Randall and say, it's probably not the guy. [00:07:32] from California that should be offering this advice. [00:07:34] Randall: Let's have you go first for that reason. [00:07:38] Craig: Look. I mean you, new Englanders will throw hay bales at me and make fun of me, but I do find it cold here. And it's all about layers. [00:07:48] Randall: Okay. [00:07:48] Carry [00:07:48] Craig: all about layers. [00:07:49] Actually, in fact, I just got some great gear from gore and I was Scratching my head because it's really designed for way cooler Temperatures. [00:07:58] than I have available to me. So a fleece lined tight is something that's just outside of the weather that I'm going to experience as much as I'll complain about it being cold. But I do appreciate a thermal Jersey for the Dawn patrol rides and things like that. [00:08:12] But for me, it's always come down to layering. And as someone who's Been around. [00:08:16] the sport for a while, what I really do like about my wardrobe today is I think I have a really good understanding about what to layer on for what temperature And having been in the sport long enough. I've just acquired a lot of clothing along the way. So I even go down to having. [00:08:32] Like a thicker vest. Than just a standard thin, vast, and they're very nuanced and it's only because of, I had decades worth of clothing kicking around that I've really started to understand and embrace how each garment is for a particular degree temperature. And the layers will get me to a certain point. [00:08:51] Randall: Yeah. I'm a hundred percent with you on layers. I like to go like Jersey and then maybe a base layer or older Jersey underneath add to that thermal sleeves a vest that has a wind breaking layer on the front. A balaklava. Is also a great thing to have when the weather gets a bit colder, one to keep your head warm and your ears warm, and to keep the wind off your face, but then also you can breathe through it. So you're preheating the air and when it gets bitingly cold, which I don't know, you may not have experienced this, but I've definitely written around the Boston area and five degree temperatures and you got, ice crystals forming on the front of it, but at least you're getting a little bit of that preheating first. [00:09:29] Definitely wants some wind breaking booties. Wind breaking layers on the front of the body. Generally when it gets really cold. If you must, you could do like heat packs on the backs of your hands. So over your arteries, delivering blood. If you're in real extreme conditions, [00:09:44] Let's see, Tom also mentioned riding cold dark mornings, which means low pressures for grip. And then also lots of lots of lights, lots of reflectivity. You definitely don't want to be caught out and that's a good general rule, but especially riding in dark conditions when people might be tired. [00:10:00] And then what else? [00:10:02] Craig: Going to add the other big thing that I really enjoy is a thermal cap with the little flaps over the years, I find that really just, keeps the heat in there. [00:10:11] Randall: Yeah, that's a nice intermediate solution before it's too cold to expose your face. [00:10:16] Going that route. Other things pit stops with hand dryers. So I knew where all the Dunkin donuts were along my routes. I could just go in there on a really cool day and just dry off and heat up. People around here sometimes like in embrocation, gives you like a Burnie tingling sensation on the skin. [00:10:30] Vaseline. It's actually a big one. It helps with insulation on exposed skin and helps it from getting dried and raw and so on. So I'll put Vaseline on my face and that actually makes a big difference in keeping me warm. And I don't find that it has any negative effects on my skin, my pores and things like that. [00:10:48] I'm trying to think. Did we miss anything? Oh, tape the vent holes on your shoes. That's a big one. 'cause even with booties sometimes the holes will still, oftentimes the holes will still be exposed. And so close that up. Otherwise you just going to get air flow into the shoe and you'll know exactly where it's coming from. Once you get on the road. [00:11:08] Craig: Yeah. And I remember. When all hell broke loose. I would even stick my foot in a plastic bag and then put it in the shoe. [00:11:16] To get a little extra warmth. I don't necessarily recommend that. And I do know and aware em, aware that, you can get like Russ socks now in different kind of obviously wool is a great material to have underneath your shoe. It, yeah. [00:11:28] Randall: I love wool and I'll take like old wool sweaters and stuff and cut the sleeves and then put it in the dryer to shrink. So it's tight against the body and that'll be a base layer. Cause it's just great for loft and for wicking. So if you're trying to be cheap, that can be a way to go about it. [00:11:43] Craig: I'm Now like off in my head, imagining sleeveless Randall in a tight fitting wool sweater. And it's more reading burning man then cycling performance. [00:11:54] Randall: with the jorts, I might show up at a race near you. [00:11:56] Craig: Our next couple of questions are from Alan Collins and the first one's around everyday carry. What do you always carry with you on every ride tools, parts, spares, pumps, hydration, snacks, gels, et cetera. Are you traveling light or packing an RV? [00:12:14] Randall: So I'm now back in new England, so I'm often relatively near civilization, so I'm not as comprehensive as I would be say, like riding in Marine where I might be a good five, six mile walk over some mountains to get to anywhere. But critical things. I bring plugs like tire plugs. In my case, dynaplugs bacon strips, same deal. [00:12:36] Spare tube. A tool that has all the critical things I need. If you're one of our riders, make sure you got a six mil on your tool because that's what you need for your through axles. What else? If there's any risk whatsoever. Me getting caught out in the dark. I'll have lights front and rear might as well. [00:12:54] I'm trying to think of anything else that I always bring along. That's the key stuff. How about you? [00:12:59] Craig: Yeah, I'm a mid-weight packer. Like I've really embraced that quarter frame bag. So I just tend to be ready for most eventualities that I expect. And obviously I gear up depending on the amount of hours I plan on being out. I tend to bring one nutritional item per hour that I'm going to be out. Obviously if I'm going out for an hour, I tend to be forgetful about hydration and nutrition. I don't really think too much about it. [00:13:26] But I do think about it in terms of the number of hours I'm going to be out and then building Certainly my nutrition and hydration on top of that. [00:13:33] my basic everyday carry same with you. I just want to make sure I can handle. [00:13:37] the most likely kind of repair scenarios out there on the trail. And I don't go overboard with it. There's probably many more things I would bring on a bike packing trip than I do on a five-hour ride. [00:13:50] Randall: Yeah. [00:13:51] And one thing I forgot to mention. [00:13:53] Yeah, we did the everyday carry in the dirt episode nine. So listen there. That's where we go. Deep nerd on all the things. If you want a comprehensive list of what you might bring. The other thing, I don't know if I mentioned a pump. Duh. So I forgot that one there. [00:14:06] Craig: Pump and CO2 for sure. [00:14:07] Randall: Yeah. Yeah. [00:14:08] But otherwise it really depends on the ride. These days, I'm doing mostly like hour and a half, two hour higher intensity rides actually oftentimes even shorter, lower intensity rides. So I don't need to bring as much. But I'll where you are, you have micro-climates all over the place on Mount Tam. [00:14:23] Craig: Yeah. Yeah. So. I'm always rocking like a full spare jacket in there, unless I'm going out mid day, which is rare these days. I just figure if I'm going downhill, I might as well be warm and it just makes it more pleasant. So that's why, again, like I have that quarter frame bag and I just jam it full of stuff. [00:14:40] After our everyday carry episode, I did get a magic link. Cause it's it's nothing like this. Obviously no weight. And I just threw it in there. [00:14:48] Fortunately, I haven't had to use it, but it's there. If I ever did need it. [00:14:51] Randall: Oh, you don't have the technique for breaking the chain and being able to piece it back together without the magic link. [00:14:57] Craig: I'm fairly skilled at that, But I don't have a chain breaker that I bring with me. [00:15:01] Randall: Got it. Okay. [00:15:02] Craig: Yeah. [00:15:04] Alan's next question was, do you have any tips for prepping a gravel bike for competition in road, gravel mix or cyclocross? [00:15:11] Randall: Don't do it the night before. [00:15:14] Craig: Yeah. I I think there's a couple of different ways to go with this question, right? Obviously if you're a cross specialist, there's going to be lots of things you're going to do. For me, if I got the courage to raise cross again, I would just show up with what I got and I wouldn't really mess with it too much. [00:15:29] Randall: Yeah, I would do basic checks. A couple of weeks out, I would just be making sure that I don't have anything that's about to fail because especially now parts are a challenge to find in many cases, even brake pads. And in fact, if you don't already have a set, get some extra brake pads, just have them around just in case. [00:15:47] But otherwise checking chain lengthen and the lubrication making sure the sealant and the tires. I'm having all my gear and kit and nutritional stuff laid out, making sure the brake pads have have enough life in them. This sort of thing would be the basics. And I would do this several days in advance and I would make sure to get a ride in before I actually did the race, just to make sure that I didn't mess up anything that's going to bite me later. Like the worst thing you can do is be working on your bike the night before, or the morning of, and then, potentially miss something or break something or have to replace something. [00:16:18] Craig: Yeah, I forget who I was listening to. It might've even been kate Courtney or perhaps a professional female gravel rider who was saying they arrived at actually the Sarah Sturm. Sorry. She arrived at the start line of an event and realized that her brake pads were totally thrashed. And her mechanic slash partner said. [00:16:39] I'm going to change them right now. And that would stress me the heck out. [00:16:43] But he did add new successful. She's Thank God. because I never would have been able to stop on the way downhill. I was swapping bikes from one, the one I had written the other day and just didn't think about it. [00:16:54] Randall: All right, everyone you've been warned. [00:16:57] What have we got [00:16:58] Craig: reminds me, I need to get an order in for some brake pads, because I'm definitely reaching the end of the life of the current ones. [00:17:06] All right. So the next couple of questions are from Ivo Hackman, and he's asking thoughts on red bull entering gravel with a race in Texas. I don't know if you caught this Randall, but it was calling strict Lynn and pacing pace and McKell then. I have bonded together and are doing a race out of Marfa, Texas that red bull is sponsoring, which is, I a natural because both of those athletes are red bull sponsored. [00:17:31] Randall: So I'm assuming like extreme gravel jumps, flips things like this. It's just the evolution of the sport. [00:17:38] Craig: Exactly. I think, both those two guys are so grounded in the culture of gravel racing And in my opinion have been good stewards of conversation as we bring these mass star gravel events forward. I think it's great. I think the bigger question probably within this question is about is red bull coming in as an, as a quote unquote, an Advertiser and sponsor of the event. Is that somehow changing the Experience, is it becoming more corporate? Is it something other than the community wants to see? Again, with those two people involved. I think it's a positive thing. [00:18:12] Randall: Yeah, I don't see it as a problem, even if it's not not any, my personal thing, for me, I love the really local. Really community oriented events that are much more like mullet rides and yeah, this is a little bit of a competition going on upfront, but it's not a huge deal. [00:18:27] And, we definitely do see more of a professionalization of gravel. There's a space for everyone and there's a space for different types of events. So I don't see them displacing the events that are even more kind of grassrootsy. So yeah, I don't have a problem with it, especially if they end up doing flips. [00:18:45] Red bull. [00:18:47] Craig: The next question from Ivo is how to transition from weekend warrior to competitive rider. [00:18:54] I feel like I'm better suited to answer the reverse question, to move from a competitive rider to weekend warrior. That one is easy. [00:19:02] Randall: Yeah. Let's see. Step one. Have a kid. [00:19:06] Craig: Yeah. [00:19:07] Randall: That'll That'll take care of that in a hurry. [00:19:09] Craig: Yeah. For me, this trend, it's all about structure. [00:19:13] Like I, and I don't have any or much in My writing anymore, but I recognize in listening to coaches and Talking to them, it really is all about structure. And Even if that structure just means. You have one specific interval training session a week, and then your long endurance rides on the weekend to me, by my likes, I think you'll see a lot of progression. And as you progress, I think then you start to see the potential for coaching, more multi-day structured program in your week, If you're willing to go down that route. But to me, from what I've seen first stop is intervals. [00:19:50] Randall: Yeah. Structure. Intervals is. Is one. And then within the context of a period iodized training program, Which is to say you do different types of training at different times during the season, based on the amount of training time you have available and the events that you're preparing for, because there's no sense in doing a lot of intensity several months out from a race and then, be firing on all cylinders, say, three months out and then just be totally kicked by the time your van comes around, you have that build, you do base training, and then you're doing more tempo. And then towards the events, your hours are going down and your intensity is going up and you're really trying to peak for that specific event. [00:20:33] The book that was one of the Bibles when I was racing some time ago was Joe Freels I think it was called like the training and racing Bible or the mountain bikers, Bible or something. A book like that would be a good starting point. And then if you have the budget working with the coach, especially early on to really just accelerate your learning and to get someone to bounce ideas off of, and to use them as a way of learning your body. And that last part I would add at the very least heart rate monitor, learn how your body responds to stress, but then a power meter as well It's just a tremendously helpful tool and they're cheap. Now you need a four I power meter bonded onto a lot of cranks for 300 bucks. So there's really no reason not to make that investment if you're spending all this time to train and to, go to events, 300 bucks is pretty low lying fruit. [00:21:25] Craig: Yeah, it is a great source of truth. Having a power meter. [00:21:29] For sure. [00:21:29] Randall: yeah. One last thing would be a bike fit, actually if you haven't done it already, I think everyone should invest in a bike fit if you're doing any reasonable amount of riding, but if you're gonna be racing and training and trying to squeeze out every last bit and not get injured go get yourself a bike fit. [00:21:44] Craig: Next question, moving on to what we've deemed at components category. JC Levesque probably pronounced that wrong. Sorry jC, appreciate the question he's asking. What about handlebars? There's a move towards wider flared bars and gravel and a few odd ones out there. There's the kitchen sink candle bar from our friends at red shift. The coefficient bar. From our friend, Rick Sutton. Obviously he's mentioned the canyon hover bar, although that isn't an add on it's integrated into that bike. [00:22:14] But he asked him maybe worth going over the different expectations are for drop bar bikes that is tackling. Gravel versus pavement versus term. [00:22:22] Randall: Sure you want to. Take a stab at this first. [00:22:26] Craig: So for me, I think we're going to continue to see more and more riders explore Wider and flared bars. Like when I jumped on that trend and went out to a 48 millimeter with a 20 degree flare, I immediately felt more comfortable. My orientation as a gravel cyclist is towards rougher terrain, More like pure off roady kind of stuff. So I really appreciate. Appreciated that with. [00:22:52] It is a pretty easy component to you forget about when you get a bike, right? So many things are going through your mind when you're buying a bike. The handlebars just the handlebar it comes with. If you're working with a good shop from a good direct manufacturer, they're going to ask you appropriate questions about what width you should get. But I do think there's going to be this continued trend towards exploring these different types of bars as the gravel market continues to see people ride these bikes in different ways. [00:23:21] Randall: Yeah, I generally agree. And I think it's a good thing. I'm not sold on the extremes of flare. I just don't see it as necessary. There's not so much torque being delivered through the steering column when I'm riding, even on technical terrain that I'm finding myself needing more control. With a dropper post of course that's the big caveat, right? Cause that's lightening up the front wheel taking, mass off of that front wheel, putting it on the back, allowing the body to access suspension more. So that helps a lot in reducing the need for leverage. We do a 10 degree flare and I find that for me, that's the max I can do with a traditional flare and I was still having my hands in a comfortable position. And I actually find that flair is helpful in terms of my risk comfort in hand comfort. [00:24:06] And you see this as a trend, actually on road bars to, four to six degrees of flare on road bars starting to happen. You also see a trend towards leavers coming standard with a bit of kick out a bit of flair at the lever itself which goes along with these trends. The thing that I'm actually really interested in is bars like the 3T Aero Ghiaia. I think that's how it's pronounced. [00:24:26] This bar has a pretty compound bend. So it's relatively standard on the hoods, but then flares out below the hoods and gives you that extra leverage while at the same time giving you more of a roadie position on top. And I really like. Sticking with this one bike trend and making, keeping these bikes as versatile as possible, just because they can be. And in the case of that bar, it's also that arrow profile, I don't think is super important. Frankly, people overblow the value of arrow and we can talk about that. But, it's certainly not a problem. And that arrow profile probably gives it some more vertical flex. [00:25:02] And I think that's actually a great way to get some additional compliance on gravel bikes is to have some flare in the wings of the bar. [00:25:10] Craig: Yeah, I think you're right. I think people are going to continue to explore that. It's a market that I think is tricky for manufacturers to play in because people are so entrenched with what they know and have, and exploring some of these new trends can often be costly. It might be $100 to $300 to get a handlebar and try it out. [00:25:31] Randall: Yeah. For. $400 plus in some cases you can spend a lot of money on a carbon bar. [00:25:36] Craig: Yeah. Yeah. A related question comes from east bay grants. Just question on Aero bars and gravel. [00:25:42] Randall: Yeah. Pretty trivial gains. All in all. If you're going to be spending money on, even just on arrow, get an Aero helmet. I think that would be a bigger impact. Then arrow, handlebars. These are just very marginal gains and I wouldn't at all compromise ergonomics or control in order to go arrow. So if you're already getting a new bar and there's an arrow version and a non arrow version that you like. And there aren't any other compromises sure. Go with the arrow version, but I don't think that this is where your low lying fruit is. [00:26:17] Craig: Yeah. I was reading it as arrow bar extensions on the handlebar and my perspective is it just depends on what you're doing at the end of the day. If you're hauling across the Plains for 200 miles, I understand having a variety of hand and body positions is required and useful, and I'm all for it. If you're ripping around Marin I think you're going to find that you never. [00:26:39] You never set your arms in a gravel bar if you're actually in the dirt, but that's just where I live. [00:26:44] Randall: Without, now that you've reframed the question. Yeah, they definitely has their place. And in addition to offering another hand position that's particularly useful if you're just bombing down a really straight road and into a headwind it can be a real aerodynamic advantage there. It also gives you another place to secure gear too. So if you're doing extended bike packing tour. It has that added benefit. There's a place for it, for sure. [00:27:08] Craig: Yeah. Next question comes from our friend, Tom boss from Marine county bike coalition. He was out riding and he mentioned that he was thinking about how things get named in the cycling world. And how his gravel bike. If he thinks of as an adventure bike effectively, the way he rides it. And then he had a funny note is just about why clipless pedals are called clipless when there's actually no clip. [00:27:32] Randall: Yeah. [00:27:33] Craig: Actually. Yeah. So anyway. I think this is something you've been on about the naming convention in cycling, just about these bikes being adventure, bikes, more than anything else. [00:27:42] Randall: Yeah, it's really like adventure is what we're doing with it. Gravel is one type of surface that we're riding. And I like the idea, granted not only a subset of bikes fall into this category, but we call our bike a onebike. And I think bikes like the the allied echo, the servo, a Sparrow, and a few others fall into this category of being, an endurance road or even in the case of the echo, [00:28:07] borderline, crit type geometry that you can achieve. While at the same time being very capable for adventure riding. And for that type of bike, you could call it a one bike, but then otherwise, what is being called a gravel bike on the more off-road technical end of the spectrum. I think it's an adventure bike. [00:28:23] And in fact even if it doesn't has have bosses and other accommodations for bags and bike packing. A lot of these bags and so on, or you can strap on or mountain other ways. So you could go and do some adventuring with it. [00:28:36] Craig: Yeah, I think they, these names. Of category starts to take hold at the grassroots level and then manufacturers just get behind them. And certainly in the early days of the quote unquote gravel market, It was just easy to call it gravel as opposed to road or mountain. [00:28:54] Presently, obviously we can acknowledge there's so many, there's so many nuances there and there's this spectrum of what gravel means. So yeah, they are adventure, bikes, plain and simple. But I guess I understand where gravel came from. [00:29:06] Randall: What's good though, is we have another category, right? So we can get you to buy an adventure bike and a gravel bike and endurance road bike, and a crit bike and a cyclocross bike. And even if all these bikes could be the same bikes. Let's not tell anyone because that gets them to buy more bikes. I think that's the marketing perspective on some of the naming conventions. [00:29:26] Craig: Next up comes a series of questions from Kim ponders. And we should give a shout out to Kim because she's the one who really set this off. She actually recommended and suggested in the ridership forum that, Hey, why don't you guys do a Q and a episode? And I immediately thought that great idea, Kim, I'm all about it. [00:29:44] Randall: Yeah. Thanks, Kim. [00:29:46] Craig: So our first question is what should I do not do to avoid damaging a carbon frame? [00:29:52] Randall: So I'll jump in on this one. Carbon is strong intention, but not in compression, so never clamp it in a stand or sit on the top tube, use a torque wrench, always. And avoid extreme heat sources like car exhausts, which generally isn't a problem with frames because they don't end up in the main stream of the exhaust, but is definitely a problem with carbon rims. [00:30:13] We've seen a number of molten rims. And it's usually they fail at the spoke holes first. Cause there's just so much tension on those spokes that as soon as the resin starts to transition. Into more of a liquid glass it immediately starts to crack at the rims that'd be my main guidance for carbon generally. [00:30:32] Craig: And as we've talked about it a little bit before on the podcast, I think as a frame designer, You're layering in carbon, in greater, greater levels of material in more sensitive areas. [00:30:44] But you are. Yeah. [00:30:45] So like your, your down tube and by your bottom bracket. They can take a ding from a rock and they're going to survive. [00:30:52] Randall: Generally. Yes. So if you're kicking up a lot of rocks, adding a layer of thicker film is definitely a good idea. We put a very thin film on ours. It's mostly to protect the paint. And then film on the insides of the fork plates seat stays and chain stays where the tire passes through. [00:31:08] I can save you a lot of grief. If you end up with mud caked on your tires. Cause that'll just grind right through the paint and potentially to layers of carbon. So we do that stock for that reason. And it's a good idea. If you don't already have it, get yourself some 3m protective film. [00:31:22] Craig: Yeah, and for me, I actually run it's essentially a sort of protective sticker layer from a company called the all mountain style and they just, in my opinion, do great visual designs. And check them out because personally, I love when you look underneath my, down to that, you see this. Digital cammo kind of thing on my nice pink bike. [00:31:43] Randall: Yeah, it's rad. It's definitely a way to pretty things up. [00:31:47] Craig: Next question from Kim is their basic regular maintenance checklists that I should be aware of. You things I should check every ride every month, every season, every year. [00:31:57] Randall: Yeah. When you got. [00:31:59] Craig: I think there's a lot there, obviously, we've talked about the importance of making sure your chain is lubed your tire pressure. Those are the things I check every single ride. Be aware of how your brakes are changing and performance. So keep an mental eye on. [00:32:14] Your brake pads and how they're wearing, I'm not going around tightening bolts at all. Unless I've removed something, I'm not really messing with Any of that. I do find my Thesis to be pretty much ready to go. As long as I'm paying attention to the tire and the chain lube. [00:32:31] Randall: Yeah. Yeah, that's that's about right. I would add to that, check the chain length every so often. And there's a question in here about how to do that. Get one of these go-no-go gauges. I've got the the park tools, CC three. [00:32:44] There's a bunch of good ones out there. And if it has multiple settings to check, go with the most conservative one. Swap your chains early and often, because it will save you a lot of money on your expensive cogs and cassettes. [00:32:58] And it'll just make everything perform better. And then every so often, if you feel any looseness in your headset, that's a common thing that will come up over time, potentially just, just check that every so often. If you feel any looseness, you want to tighten it up early. So it doesn't start to wear down the cups or things like that. [00:33:14] Craig: Yeah. And if you can afford it and you don't have the skills in your own garage, definitely bring it in for an annual tune-up. I think the bikes are going to come back working great and you've got some professionalize on them. [00:33:26] Randall: Yeah. [00:33:26] Craig: Next question. Kim asked was what's the best way to pack a bike for air travel. [00:33:31] Randall: So if you try to be. The cheapest option for the packaging. Cardboard box. And if you're not doing it frequently, that's a good way to go. [00:33:41] Craig: Yeah, agreed. There's a reason why every bike manufacturer in The world is shipping with a cardboard box. As long as you protect the bike. Inside the box with some bubble wrap or some additional cardboard, they generally arrive where they need to go intact and safe. And I've had multiple occasions where I've used the cardboard box on an outbound trip and the box is Perfectly intact for the return trip. [00:34:05] Randall: And we should say specifically. Carbo box that a bike would have come in. Cause generally this'll be a five layer corrugated box. It'll be a thicker material. And if you need to reinforce it with some tape, At the corners and so on. And if you get, if it gets a hole in it, patch up the hole, but you can go pretty far with the cardboard box. [00:34:24] I have a post carry transfer case, which I love, it's a bit more involved. I got to pull the fork and it takes me usually about 15 minutes or so. 20 minutes to pack it up, and to squeeze some gear in between the wheels and the frame and things like that. [00:34:38] But I generally get past any sort of oversize baggage fees and I have the bigger of the two bags too. So oftentimes I don't even get asked what it is and if I get asked, it's oh yeah, it's a sports gear. Massage table. Yeah, whatever. [00:34:50] Craig: That's the key for me that post carry bag or or, okay. This is another company that makes one of these bags where as you said, you've got to do a little bit more disassembly, whereas typically it might've been take the handle Bazaar off the pedals and your wheels, and you can get into a cardboard box. Would these particular smaller bags, you do need to pull the fork, which seems incredibly intimidating. When you first talk about it, but in practice, it's actually not. [00:35:15] Randall: It's not too bad. Probably the biggest issue is if you have a bike with integrated cabling, Then it can be a real nightmare. And in fact I might even go as far as to say, if you don't know what you're doing, don't mess with it. A bike with external cabling, or at least partially external, like our bike, you just have to be careful not to kink the hoses. That's the big, probably the biggest city issue, kinking the hoses, or bending the housings and cables in a way that affects the breaking or the shifting. [00:35:44] Craig: Yeah. Yeah. If you've, if your cables are particularly tight, It then becomes a problem. I think my routing is just on the edge. I do feel like I'm putting a little bit of stress. On the cables when I'm disassembling in that bag, but so far so good. [00:35:58] Randall: Yeah. Yeah. [00:35:59] And then of course you have the full sized bags where if you don't care about paying the airline fees, then get one of these was it Evoque I think makes a really nice one that has good protection there's a bunch of companies that make good ones where you just [00:36:11] Craig: Yeah, I've. [00:36:12] Randall: the front wheel and throw it in. [00:36:14] Craig: I've got a Tulay one that is like bomber. It's got like a through axle slots, but one it's hard as hell to move it around. And two, I got dinged on both weight and access size on my trip to Africa. It's out. I was pretty ticked. [00:36:31] Randall: Yeah. And then the other thing is on the other end can you get it into the trunk of a cab. And so that's actually another advantage of bags like the post transfer case in the oral case ones is you can. I think I know the post one has backpack straps, and then you can fit it in the boot of pretty much any vehicle. [00:36:49] Craig: Yeah, totally under emphasized attribute and benefit of those types of bags. Totally agree. [00:36:54] Like you can get into a sedan. With a, a Prius, Uber Lyft driver and make it in. No problem. [00:37:00] Randall: Oh, yeah. [00:37:01] [00:37:01] Craig Dalton: Pardon the segue that's going to do it for part one of our Q and a episode. I thought that was a great time to break and we'll jump into another half hour of questions and answers in our next episode of, in the dirt, which we'll release in the coming weeks. As always, if you're interested in communicating with myself or Randall, [00:37:20] Please join the ridership www.theridership.com. If you're able to support the podcast, your contributions are greatly appreciated. You can visit, www.buymeacoffee.com/thegravelride to contribute in any way you can to support the financial wellbeing of the podcast. If you're unable to support in that way, ratings and reviews are hugely appreciated. [00:37:46] On any of your favorite podcast platforms. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels.
Kav Helmets - Custom 3D printed helmets with Whitman Kwok
36:34This week we sit down with Kav Helmet CEO and Founder, Whitman Kwok to discuss the companies' innovative 3D printing technology that can produce a custom fitted helmet for every rider. Kav Helmets The Ridership Support the Podcast Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos) Kav Helmets [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride. Podcast. I'm your host, Craig Dalton. [00:00:08] This week on the show, we've got Whitman Kwok the founder and CEO of Kav Helmets. [00:00:14] Kav Helmets may yet to be a household name in the cycling industry. But you'll learn. The team has a rich history in the cycling helmet market. They're innovative approach to manufacturing. Using 3d printing technology is a novel approach. And creates a uniquely custom helmet for each rider. I'll let Whitman get into the ins and the outs of the technology but i'm a big fan of the approach as additive technology just opens up a lot of possibilities for where material is laid in the helmet. [00:00:45] If you're planning on attending this year, sea Otter classic in Monterrey, California, the Kav team will be showing off their 3d printing technology. There they'll even be 3d printing, some key chains, which I think will showcase how the process actually works. If you're not in the area or not attending seawater, be sure to visit the Kav website as they're opening up orders for all. [00:01:08] Before we jump into this week show, I need. To thank our sponsor. Today's program is brought to you by Athletic Greens, the health and wellness. Wellness company that makes comprehensive daily nutrition really, really. Simple. [00:01:19] With so many stressors in life, it's difficult to maintain effective nutritional habits and give our bodies the nutrients it needs to survive. Our busy schedules, poor sleep, massive gravel rides. The environment works dress or simply. Not eating enough of the right foods can leave us deficient and key nutritional. [00:01:38] Areas. by athletic greens is a category leading superfood product. That brings comprehensive and convenient daily nutrition to everybody. Keeping up with the research, knowing what to do and taking a bunch of pills and capsules is hard on the stomach and hard to keep up with. To help each of us be at our best. They simply provide a better path to nutrition by giving you the one thing. With all the best things. [00:02:03] One tasty scoop of AG1 contained 75 vitamins minerals, and whole food sourced ingredients, including a multivitamin multimineral probiotic, green superfood blend [00:02:13] And more in one convenient daily serving. [00:02:16] The special blend of high quality bioavailable ingredients in a scoop of AIG one work together to fill the nutritional gaps in your diet, support, energy, and focus aid with gut health and digestion and support a healthy immune system. Effectively replacing multiple products or pills with one healthy delicious Drink . [00:02:36] As many of you know, I've been an athletic greens subscriber for about the last five years. So I truly appreciate their support of the podcast. If you're interested in learning more, just visit athletic greens.com/the gravel ride. The team at athletic greens, we'll throw in a free one-year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs with your purchase. [00:02:59] Again, simply visit athleticgreens.com/thegravelride to take control of your health and give AG1 a try today. [00:03:08] With that said let's dive right into my conversation with Whitman from Kav Helmets. It's. [00:03:13] Whitman. Welcome to the show. [00:03:16] Whitman Kwok: That is correct. Really looking forward to our discussion. Yeah, me too. [00:03:20] Craig Dalton: The manufacturing and additive tech geek in me is really looking forward to this conversation. [00:03:26] Definitely want to learn how calf helmets came about and what your journey is to creating this bike helmets. And more importantly, what the benefits are for riders in the gravel scene. So let's jump in and let's just in your own words, let us know about cab helmets, how it started and what the vision is. [00:03:46] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, absolutely. There's a lot of impact, even in that simple question. I think fundamentally the vision was. Oh, providing a concierge service to athletes. I had always, as a competitor cycles in college, tweak my gear, adjusted everything from crank buy-ins to handlebar lengths and all, everything to get the most performance and also just make the bike an extension of myself. [00:04:10] And I don't think anything has changed in the intervening years. And I think in all the sports that we talked to, whether it's a hockey players or something the gears are really important part of the athletic experience. And so for cab it was obvious to us that the helmet market is really large. [00:04:26] It is a largely at this point a undifferentiated product where there isn't a dominant player per se. There isn't a apple or a Tesla or a Peloton where people just all grab it gravitate to. And as long as you. For the last 30 years, there's been a lot of tweaking and incremental improvements on injection molded foam helmets. [00:04:46] And I think what we bring with Kav is this generational leap like Tesla's done with electric cars to a whole new mode of thinking around making a helmet or anything for that matter. That's completely custom to the individual. And the moment you do that there's a whole bunch of benefits that we're able to realize. [00:05:06] There's the obvious ones around comfort that there's 8 billion sizes that we can provide one for every man, woman, child on the planet. And but there's a huge number of performance. Benefits and protection is always top of mind when you're talking about helmets. And the fact that we can tailor the protective characteristics to. [00:05:23] And individual and how they ride, how fast they're riding the weight profiles, things like that gives a massive potential improvement in protection over just a standard kind of one or two or three size fits all. I'm fortunate. I have a number of co-founders and colleagues that we found in the company together. [00:05:42] And I think we all had different experiences, but the same. Echo and voice in the back of our head, that there's just a lot better way to do this. And so I'll do a quick shout out to there. And obviously there's a lot of different areas that we can talk through. But Mike Lowe is our VP of products and he was the VP of events, concepts at Euro bell. [00:06:03] He also worked closely with Ridell. He did early work with Lance Armstrong's time trial helmet, and worked on all the iconic bike helmets. Since. He's been just fantastic to learn from that whole industry or the homicide. There's a lot of honest, non-obvious quirks and things in the industry. [00:06:20] And it's a very close knit industry. And so there's a lot of great people that we've been able to meet and work through Mike. And on the technology side, they started migrating. Amazing technologists from Google small company called Google and relatively early employee there, I'm working on search quality and YouTube, one of their, two of their smaller products. [00:06:39] And and he brings this immense knowledge, not just in software, which ironically is where 78% of our IP is. But also a really great understanding of hardware and kind of physics and mechanical engineering. You really have to. That kind of polymath approach in order to build something like a superior helmet. [00:06:58] So anyway, it's a long-winded way of talking. It's on the people we work with our early vision and some of the high level benefits and can let you pick and choose your own adventure from there. [00:07:08] Craig Dalton: Yeah. So I alluded a little bit to it in the intro, but just so we don't lose this concept right off the jump, because it's easy for the listener to think about this as a traditional helmet, but let's talk about how it's manufactured because you didn't specifically mention that. [00:07:24] And I think it's one of the most fascinating parts of the process. [00:07:28] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, no I do that a lot because I think we always think of it from the N and consumer's perspective. What did they get? And how we get there is really intriguing from an engineering perspective. And I often gloss over it. [00:07:42] Yeah, we we blended a bunch of material sciences additive manufacturing and software in order to develop the helmets. And I'll speak a little bit more of the additive manufacturing sites since you asked about it, but yes, each of these helmets is 3d printed here in Redwood city, California for the individual. [00:08:00] And so everything is made to order that has huge implications to everything. Not just manufacturing, but the whole customer. That's alluding to and being kind of concert servers are giving people exactly what they want. And so when an order comes in, we're taking measurements and we dynamically generate actually all the engineering terms, all the CAD files, the dimensions and everything for the helmet. [00:08:25] And it's not the case that we're just taking three or six or even 12, like shells and then like carving something. We are literally building the helmet from the inside out. So I think, whereas the current concept, the off the shelf is you get two or three sizes and you've got the shell that defines the helmet. [00:08:46] And then you got to force fit your head into that use foam padding, or several lock things to just sense your head loosely in this kind of bucket idea. And for us you're actually taking the meds. We dynamic create that we define all the offsets that we need to generate and ensure the level of protection than we want for that rider. [00:09:06] Then we send it through our own what we call printer management software. So we actually have a farm of these 3d printers. So you can imagine it being like analogous to like a data center except of having all these servers slotted in these racks. We've got 3d printers slotted in the. And it basically just creates like all the different parts that you need for your helmet. [00:09:26] And we have a QA process throughout to measure and make sure what we're printing is exactly meets specs of what we want. And we have to build a lot of that in dynamically because each helmet is custom. And then we do a kind of final finishing process that's done by hand. So you get the best of both worlds of this precision 3d printed. [00:09:47] But hand-finished and lovingly made here in our shop in Redwood city. [00:09:51] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I imagine for some of the listeners, this might be a mind-bending discussion because a lot of people haven't seen 3d printing inaction, no one way to visualize it. And this may or may not be a great way, but since I have a seven-year-old in the house if you imagine sort of building from Legos and you're building from the ground, And you keep building successfully on top of each other. [00:10:15] It's in my mind how 3d printing works, right? You've got the material that's in this printer and it's being laid out layer by layer. And this is based on the very customized measurements that you've received from the future owner of the helmet. So again, the, in the interest of helping to visualize it's being built from the ground up around your individual, Once you've placed the order. [00:10:43] Whitman Kwok: That's right. And the analogy I like to use is making a soft cone right. Or going into the yogurt machine. And yeah we basically, it can imagine we're taking our proprietary polymers and it's coming out of this very high-tech yogurt machine. But rather than having, it dumped like eight ounces of yogurt into the cup. [00:11:00] We're a precision layering, at a fraction of a millimeter at a time. These very intricate engineered what we call energy management system and your helmet. And and so it's a little bit like growing the part on this bed. And we're, as you say, we're creating a slice at a time. [00:11:17] That's a fraction of a millimeter and kind of building up. And each layer is being laid down by this very sophisticated yogurt machine. And and at the end of the. Yeah, exactly. You have a helmet. That's not on a custom fit, but it's not solid. Like it's not like an injection molded part where you're just dumping a bunch of plastic into a mold or or foam where you're like exploding blowing up the foam into a mold we're actually creating like this really complicated, polygon and hex structure within the helmet which is designed to Trumbull really efficiently to provide good. [00:11:51] But also takes up the fraction of the weight because most of your helmet actually turns out to be air in this case. [00:11:56] Craig Dalton: Yeah. That's an interesting, you hear the phrase fits like a glove, but this is even the next level of that it's like fits like a glove that has been specifically designed for your personal hand. [00:12:08] Whitman Kwok: That's why it would be like an iron man glove, right? Like it's one thing to have a fabric that you stretched over your head. It's quite an honor to have this in case structure that still has the same sensation of a security right. And being fit like glove, but it's hard right on the outside to protect you. [00:12:25] And so it is a next level sensation. [00:12:28] Craig Dalton: So when I think about, the helmet I have in the garage, I think about, it's got some internal kind of frame and a dial that helps it fit. I understand from your earlier discussion, I can throw that piece out because I don't need that piece anymore because the helmet is built to order to the shape of my personal head. [00:12:46] I then, if I think about the exterior of the helmet, I often have a hard plastic layer and then not knowing a ton about the interior, but it sounds like we're injecting molding. We're injecting foam. Into a Kavity that kind of creates that if you, if that's accurate and feel free to fill in any details there, but why don't you juxtapose what the outside and the inside of the cab helmet effectively, how that differs and how it changes? [00:13:15] Whitman Kwok: Yeah. I think the cycling analogy would be it's almost like a monocoque structure, right? If you have a psych, a carbon fiber cycling frame, where for all practical purposes, Like all the tubing and lugs and everything joined in a way where it just behaves as one monolithic well-balanced, machine in terms of and in the traditional process, like you said that in the higher end helmets, you have a, typically like a polycarbonate shell, that's a couple of mils thick and they injection mold, some EPS foam into that have some type of density or multiple densities and The nice thing. [00:13:49] And so each of those things play a part and they're trying to compensate for different deficiencies in the foam. And so is not it sticks to cement, right? And so you don't want that because it's going to cause bad rotational energies on impact. It's also not very durable and gets eaten up. [00:14:05] So you have to then create this one millimeter shell to protect it. With all the venting that you put in, it's pretty common now to put like a plastic interior chassis to keep the helmet together on impact. And so I just suppose that with additive manufacturing or 3d printing, because what we're doing is integrating everything into one coherent design, right? [00:14:26] And so when we're laying down each layer of plastic, we are actually. Integrating the shell with the crumple zone with the chassis, so to speak. And by integrating it just like a well-made carbon fiber frame, we can reduce all the interfaces. And so the helmet's more compact. You don't have air gaps, so to speak. [00:14:46] It's a lot lighter because we're only putting material where it's needed. It's like the old steel frames, or living on frames where they're double butted or triple butted. We can reinforce it in the right areas. And and it gives us a lot of ability to fine tune each aspect of the helmet. [00:15:01] So that instead of saying, having a universally, a universal density of foam across the helmet for different impact zones and we learned a lot of this actually from our experience in hockey we can tailor the impact behaviors, of the based on location of the helmet as well, It just gives us just like carbon fiber and forensic gives us a lot. [00:15:20] The analogy is like the layup, right? The carbon fiber. And what carbon fiber is you use and the residence. We have just a lot more control than just pumping a bunch of foam beets into a mold. [00:15:31] Craig Dalton: Yeah. That's interesting. And maybe it goes back to some earlier podcasts I've had in discussion around carbon fiber frames and just talking about, how you. [00:15:40] Layer something differently where it needs more protection, maybe under the bottom bracket, whereas you don't need to use those same layers elsewhere in the frame where you want to have a little bit more compliance. So I imagine given the team's experience in helmet design, it was really liberating to just freely. [00:15:57] Think about how, and where do we want to put material, because really the sky's the limit, right? You can optimize around. What's going to be best. For impact protection, both on the, hard impacts like hard and fast as well as slower impacts. I imagine you can, you're free to really design something that performs well across a couple of different factors. [00:16:21] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, no, that's exactly right. Like we have a lot more control in the general use case. And I think in the future as we've done a little bit of this on hockey and we'll bring it into the bike market. What the individual characteristics actually matter a lot, because at the end of the day for a cycling helmet, we have, twenty-five maybe 30 millimeters of offset we can work with. [00:16:42] If we make it much larger than that people balk at what they look like, there's certain brands that are known for safety. But they're also known for making your head look like a mushroom, right? We don't want that. We want people to love, frankly, we're in the homeless. [00:16:53] We want to attract people who, frankly, don't wear helmets into the market. I'm gonna do that. We need a thinner profile. And so the way to actually make a safer helmet is have information about what they're riding, right? A commuter, ride with I commute every day and finish going like 1230 miles an hour. [00:17:09] That's a very different profile than. A road sort of groundwater going downhill at 30, 40 miles an hour. There, that's a factor of three difference in velocity. And if you think about kinetic energy, the velocity is a square root, right? So that's like a, that's a nine, almost an order of magnitude difference in impactful file. [00:17:27] So there is gain and exactly what we just talked about, but there's an even bigger gain because we know the athlete and we have that relationship like moving forward. Knowing that their commuter or their downhill racer and their weight, their mass makes a big difference to a kid who weighs a hundred pounds. [00:17:44] It's just going to be way different than someone who's 220. And again, you have a two X factor there that isn't something, that's a comedy for an issue where it's one size fits. All right. [00:17:55] Craig Dalton: Now the business has been selling helmets for over a year and a half. Primarily in hockey and most recently in bike, do you want to talk about why hockey was the entry point and maybe some of the things you've learned across the customers you've been serving in that space? [00:18:11] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, no, absolutely. So there are a couple of factors that came into play. So one was frankly, what w what could get it to market the quickest. We just wanted to provide value to people as quickly as possible. The second, where was where's the biggest need? And between those two, and there was a little bit of a personal reason as well. [00:18:29] But the first two were clearly the overriding. From a technical perspective, it turns out making a hockey helmet is just easier than making a bike helmet. One of the characteristic reasons just wait is not quite as big of a factor in the hockey. And so we wanted to basically use the hockey market as our Tesla Roadster, right? [00:18:48] Knowing that it's a limited market, it's smaller, but people are willing to pay for the equipment. They're willing to pay the premium. And and we can launch quicker. The second piece of why they pay a premium is that as you can imagine, the concussion rate per activity hour in hockey is almost parallel or equal to. [00:19:03] And meeting quite high, whereas in cycling, it's somewhat incidental, right? If you get in a crash and get an, a concussion in hockey, 3, 5, 10 times a game, you're taking impacts to the head and getting pinned against the board and falling on the ice. And so we thought that the market would benefit significantly from our protective technologies in that space. [00:19:25] And. The third reason, which just made me very cognizant of it was my son plays hockey. And when we started the company, his team had six concussions on it. And they were only 12 years old at the time. And there was just an outcry, I think with the parents and all the clubs that I talked to did not feel like there was enough being done. [00:19:42] And the. Equipment manufacturers and hockey are generally about two to three generations on behind any of the other helmet markets as well. So the need was greater. The products were even further inferior and and we thought we could help people sooner in that market than any other market. [00:20:01] Craig Dalton: You talked about how as a company and the way you're producing the helmets, that you can evolve with the market and you're understanding. Yeah. Within the hockey market, since you've been there the longest, are you doing things differently for a child's size helmet versus the NHL players that you work with? [00:20:20] Whitman Kwok: Yeah yes. Besides the fit we've actually made modifications to, I should, I would draw the analogy that it's a case that a surprisingly large number of the benefits for either of those extremes helps. And so they now Joel users in the late nineties, early two thousands car manufacturers are realizing like women had difficulty like getting their groceries in the trunk. [00:20:40] And because the trunk actually came all the way up to the top of the back and they now if you open the trunk of a car, it, the trunk dips down past the lights right down to the bumper. There's this carve-out. And so you don't have to lift your groceries, like over a wall, so to speak, you can just slide it in. [00:20:53] Watching. Buy groceries at the time was like a motivating factor for that. But we found that obviously that benefited everyone. Like I don't, I'm lazy. I don't want to list the groceries I don't have to. And so I'll give a kind of example that, which is kids wears glasses, a lot. [00:21:06] And so we ended up putting in little cutouts for people wear glasses so that it actually just slides in. So a hockey helmet actually comes down further than a. And traditionally, there are pads that go up against your temple. And so you can imagine if you wear glasses, you're literally shoving these glasses into these temples and that the pads are forcing your, the sidearms or your glasses into your temples for an hour and a half while you play hockey really uncomfortable situation. [00:21:35] And we did that and that ended up bending, benefiting a bunch of adults rests and things that. It turns out like the ice rinks are really dry. So like wearing contacts, it's not always actually comfortable. So say, and vice versa, like there's been a bunch of benefits because obviously the professional levels that impact are taking it's just an extreme example and it really drives some of the protective technologies. [00:21:58] And even if they No, the squirts and mites don't necessarily have the same level of impact there. There's still a deeper understanding. I think of the types of checking that goes on that informed our products for the kids. [00:22:11] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. Obviously, given your pedigree as a cyclist and your co founders coming to the bike market was something that you were eager to do. [00:22:19] Can you talk about the introduction of the first bike helmet and what the goals were there and how for the list of. They should think about whether a cab helmet is right for them. [00:22:32] Whitman Kwok: Yeah. It's interesting because the engineering side of me and product matter one, be very specific about the goals. [00:22:38] Oh, we want to hit this weight target and this usability. But what we ended up doing is taking a step back and asking the conceptually what do we want to, what's our mission, right? A reminder, what's our mission of the company on this build the best protective gear on. And as a very important corollary that the best gear is no use of no one wants to wear it. [00:22:54] So it's got adjust look and feel fantastic. And when we're doing these new technologies, I think it was important for us to blue sky it and not bound herself by certain things. So our goal is just make the best helmet possible. And this. An all road category, right? So with a focus really on gravel and road cyclist, but with the knowledge of knowing that, a lot of cross-country mountain bikers use road helmets, and a lot of commuters would ultimately use it. [00:23:24] But if we looking at personas and interviewing people, we focus on the road and gravel side of things. And then from there we really just built around it. And I think honestly I'm glad we've done it that way, because we found a lot of surprising things that I think if we constrain ourselves early on, we would not have done. [00:23:39] One of them being, for example our interior fit pad system is just radically different from a traditional fabric fit pack. And it would not have come if we said yeah, we just want sweat management, whatever way moisture at this level or thermal capabilities. [00:23:56] But anyway, I happy to go into the details of that, but what we ended up coming out with, I think is we've focused on fit and the protective qualities, what we ended up with was the ability to make something that as least as dynamic as other helmets out there is significantly cooler. Riding. [00:24:15] And has all the protective qualities. And again, it has some of these comfort features built in on the inside. That, again, we didn't necessarily envision, but the advantage of having a new prototype every week, that we're all riding is you tend to iterate quite quickly through, and I think we're on version 32 right now. [00:24:30] And 33 is like on the printing press. It's going quick. [00:24:33] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think that's one of those really cool things about doing both additive manufacturing and domestic manufacturing is that you can continue tweaking the product to optimize it based on consumer feedback which is really powerful. [00:24:50] Whitman Kwok: Yeah. [00:24:50] Know that's right. We we have the benefit now that we're far enough along and we're starting to include like a larger and larger swath of people into the kind of the test. And so we had our Kickstarter about a month ago and we had a 20 plus like early adopters sign up through that. [00:25:05] And we were shipping out shipping helmets out to them and looking forward to get the next wave of feedback and and just improving. And in real time, before we ship out our production ones at the end of the year, [00:25:16] Craig Dalton: yes. At the process of ordering is a little bit different than, traditionally you might use. [00:25:21] No your size, small, medium, or large, and put an order in, or go to your local bicycle retailer for the cab helmets. You're sending out a kind of measurement fit kit and actually working at a concierge level with the purchaser, right? [00:25:38] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, that's right. We the fit process has been really interesting for us. [00:25:42] I think we're on our third version of the process. Fundamentally, I'm you sign up, we send you this fit kit and it's a caliper and a tape measure. And that allows us we take six points off of your head. And with those six points, we actually map it to a database of 3000 head scans that we've accumulated and basically a little bit of like machine learning type of thing. [00:26:07] Where we're then extrapolating footnote 16. Other aspects of your head in terms of, the curvature and more details and maybe those six points would initially seem to provide. And we then send out basically we call it like a fit cap and just fun looking, little cap that we 3d print. [00:26:24] And you can just literally stick it on and wear around the house and slept getting a fine suit, where you get your initial measurement, you put on that. And then you use just some minor tweaks oh, you know what the arm hole just a little bit bigger. Or for me personally, like I like it a little more snug, around the waist. [00:26:39] And so that, that fit cap gives us some of the subjective feedback, that, that individuals tend to have in terms of how they liked their helmets and fit. And then from there, yeah we generate the the helmet for them and send it to them and ride straight their doorstep conveniently. [00:26:52] And and then they can enjoy it. And. We've actually found quite a few hockey players. I'm surprisingly, I've gotten multiple helmets because they liked it so much. And it's not a common thing actually in hockey to do that. But they've gotten like different colors and versions of the helmet. [00:27:06] Craig Dalton: Interesting. Interesting. And then this sort of manufacturing geek in me asked to ask, so the, each helmet presumably comes out of one machine is built in one single process. [00:27:19] Whitman Kwok: So we actually do you want to in parallel, so we break up the helmet into sub segments and that allows us to print individual pieces. [00:27:27] It also turns out it gives us some additional engineering design flexibility that you don't get when you print them all as a monolithic structure. And then we basically bond them together. Again, carbon fiber resident type of analogy, holds true here that there's a little bit of. Attachment mechanism and then we adhere everything together. [00:27:44] And the effectively the joints end up being, stronger than the sub-components and and then, yeah, and then we attach on the straps and do some final QA checks and literally sign off on the box and and then send it on its way. [00:27:57] Craig Dalton: Nice. One of the sort of visual elements that you'll see for the listener when they go over to the website, which I can include in the show notes is there's a. [00:28:06] Honeycomb look across the sort of front and middle of the helmet. Is there a sort of design rationale behind the honeycomb? [00:28:16] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, it is. It's it's an engineer circles. It's w it's known as one of the most efficient energy absorbing structures. It crumbles really well. Which is what you want, obviously in something like that. [00:28:28] And even better than foam because in foam, what you tend to have is what's called a densification phase where after the foam, if you've got, let's just say 20 millimeters of foam or 20 millimeters from once you start getting past about a third if you've ever been in an accident, looked at your home and you'll see this it'll crack. [00:28:46] And the foam doesn't compress any further. And so you can think of it like suspension on your mountain bike or your gravel bike. If you have suspension on it it's all about the travel, right? At the end of the day, to absorb the impact you want the most travel without bottoming out. So when you hit a bump, you want to utilize whatever the 30, 45 millimeters of travel that you got. And do you use the full 45 millimeters? You will have had the best ride that you could possibly have had, for that circumstance if you bought them out, obviously not good. Particularly we're talking about your head and if you only do 10 minutes, 10 millimeters of that trial, Then you're not fully utilizing your equipment. [00:29:19] And so foam has that issue where once it densifies at some point it doesn't compress any further. And so you tend to only get a fraction of that travel. The nice thing about the hacks is that you get nearly the full travel. So the full offset of the helmet can be used to compress it and protect you. [00:29:39] It also turns out to be quite. And has this other really important ancillary benefit, which is you may not necessarily always be able to see it when someone's riding, but the honeycomb structure extends into, on the interior as well, which means you have an open face structure on your head. And so he can dissipate really easily away from your head as opposed to foam, which is obviously known for beer coolers and other things that has insulating properties, that trap heat. [00:30:05] So we actually had early versus the helmet that didn't even have venting on it. And the helmet was actually quite cool. I wouldn't say it's the coolest, but it was comparable to the other eight helmets. I have sitting in my shed that I used for testing purposes. And then in the moment we opened it up and added the actual venting, like it's a game changer total game. [00:30:25] And particularly these last like week or two where we've had some hundred, a hundred degree days, you really feel. [00:30:31] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. The the sort of follower of me on Instagram, might've seen me Dawn, one of these helmets a few months back when we were able to meet face to face. It is really, you can definitely feel the weight difference. [00:30:46] It's marginal, but it's absolutely there and our conversation around crumple zones and that idea of. Protection travel in a helmet is super fascinating via the honeycomb design for those listeners and may fall in this camp. What's the guidance by the industry in terms of how frequently you should replace a helmet? [00:31:09] Whitman Kwok: You know what I do think that varies. The most common I hear is somewhere in the range of three to five years. I think the challenge though, is it's like how often you need to change your bike. It varies so much by your circumstances, meaning if you're like me and somewhat klutzy and you're pulling your bike out and you're dropping your helmet and the process, or my helmet, I don't know how many times my helmet has fallen off my handlebars. [00:31:31] Every time it's fallen, like you could have, imagine that impact just compresses the foam just a little bit, right in that one area. And honestly, one or two times it isn't going to be the be all end, all. For me, it's a little unsettling to not know, it's not like my toothbrush that has a wear indicator. [00:31:47] It says, okay. Time to change those bristles. And so the nice thing with the 3d printing, the polymers that we're using, the design that helmet is that there's a step function aspect of it. Like we've designed it so that if you're dropping it casually, it doesn't activate any of that travel. [00:32:02] Like it, it stays rigid. And it's going to Maintain that performance indefinitely. And so you don't really have to worry about it. We offer a five-year warranty on our helmets and and because we're confident around that which I think is an industry leading whatever warranty. [00:32:20] So I think, again, I think that the. Wisdom is three to five years, but I think it varies really significantly and it, and I think it's tough to provide [00:32:29] Craig Dalton: that, that makes sense. Yeah, that makes sense. I think, there's a lot of us maybe who have been fortunate to, to not have crashed and you don't see the. [00:32:38] Obvious bits of damage to your helmet, but I'm definitely one of those who, whenever I have a conversation about how much and how much the technology, I think to myself, gosh, almost everything in my garage is a PR is probably a pretty long in the tooth in terms of when I should be considering making a replacement. [00:32:58] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, that's right. It's it's one of those pieces of equipment that's easy to ignore, right? Cause it's not like your bike bond brackets squeaking. Your rim brakes rubbing. It's not going to do that and tell you right. That it needs maintenance or help. Yet obviously it protects the most important part of your body. [00:33:13] And so it is pretty critical to have at least inspect it and have some regular interval that you swap it out. [00:33:20] Craig Dalton: Yeah, absolutely. It's a good reminder to everybody and women. I really appreciate you joining us on the podcast and talking us through this technology. I think the. The tech geek in all of us can really appreciate from listening to you how different the 3d printing technology enables you to think as a helmet manufacturer. [00:33:41] And it's very comforting to know that you've got smart people around you, including yourself and veterans of the industry who have just been thinking about this helmet from the ground. And how to make the best possible experience for consumers. So I know you I'll send people over to the website where they can find more information about the helmet. [00:34:02] Are these available for new orders at this point? [00:34:05] Whitman Kwok: We will be taking new orders in about two or three weeks. I'm not sure when this is airing. We wanted to make sure that all the early backers on our Kickstarter were well taken care of. And so we've, we're in a good shape there. And then we'll begin opening up borders. [00:34:20] We'll be at the Seattle classic. So for anyone who's there it'd be great drop by our booth. Look out for us. You can see that the helmets firsthand and we'll be definitely taking orders at that point. [00:34:31] Craig Dalton: Amazing. Yeah. I've seen that. I've seen a couple of people in my Instagram feed who were clearly some of your earliest supporters. [00:34:37] Who've gotten their helmets in already. So that's exciting to see. So once again, Whitman, thanks a ton for this overview. I really appreciated it. And I hope everybody listening got a lot out of this conversation. [00:34:51] Whitman Kwok: Yeah. Thanks. Thanks Dan and Craig, I'm always happy to talk helmets or anything related to the cycling. [00:34:56] So thanks for having me. [00:34:58] Craig Dalton: So that's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. Thank you very much to Whitman and the cab helmets team for joining us and talking all about 3d printing helmets. I think it was a fascinating discussion. Definitely check out their website. They're over at calves, sports.com to see a little bit of behind the scenes about the process. [00:35:18] The guarantees. Auntie's around the helmet and just what a custom fitted helmet could do for. You're cycling enjoyment. As always, if you're interested in giving us feedback and encourage you to join us over at the ridership. Our ship, just visit www.theridership.com. [00:35:35] That is our free global cycling community for gravel and adventure, cyclists, to talk about the products and experiences and trails and events. We all love. If you're interested in supporting the podcast, ratings and reviews are hugely helpful in the podcast game, our read everything that. You put out there and appreciate it very much. [00:35:57] If you're able to financially support the show, simply visit buy me a coffee.com/the gravel ride. I've put a number of options out there. From one-time support as well as a monthly subscription that simply. Helps underwrite this broadcast. [00:36:13] So that's going to do it for us. Until next time here's to finding some dirt under To your wheels
Trek Travel - Girona Gravel Tour with Ewan Shepherd
40:11This week we sit down with Ewan Shepherd from Trek Travel to discuss their upcoming Girona Gravel Tour trips. We learn about the city, the cycling community and the abundance of gravel that surrounds the city. Trek Travel Gravel Tour Girona Join The Ridership Support the Podcast Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): Trek Travel [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. [00:00:06] This week on the podcast, we're joined by UN shepherd European logistics manager for track travel. Based out of Girona Spain. [00:00:14] As the longtime listener knows I've been super keen on the idea of gravel travel and super excited to see this industry grow up. [00:00:22] We had an earlier discussion with Juan De La Roca about Southern Colorado and building that up as a gravel destination. And now we're seeing events like LIfeTime’s Rad Dirt Fest crop up over there. We've also talked to event organizers over in Europe, around the gravel epic series that was conceived. During the COVID time and didn't actually get to get its races off the ground. [00:00:46] But one of the locations we talked about in Europe was Girona. Now for road cyclist, Girona has long been part of the discussion about where professional athletes live. And there's a reason why they live there. Amazing road, riding all over the place. So I was really excited to learn originally from the gravel epic team about Girona as a travel destination for gravel cyclists. [00:01:11] But even more excited to learn about this trip that Trek travel is putting together their Girona, gravel bike tour. [00:01:18] They've got a couple more departures this year in November that you can still sign up for as well as a whole host of dates for 2022, starting in the spring. [00:01:28] After talking to you. And all I can say is sign me up. It sounds amazing. I'll let him explain it in his own words, but it sounds like Jerome has a very special place for cyclists of all kinds. [00:01:39] And the opportunities for gravel cycling are abundant outside the city center. [00:01:44] I'm excited for you to learn more about Girona and gravel. With that said let's dive right in to my conversation with you and shepherd [00:01:52] Ewan welcome to the show. [00:01:53] Ewan Shepherd: Hey Craig, thank you very much for having me and thank you everybody for listening. [00:01:58] Craig Dalton: I appreciate you joining us on a Friday evening over there in Spain, I'm super excited about the topic we're going to discuss today as the listener or the longterm listener has known. [00:02:08] I've talked about gravel travel as something I'm super excited about because as we all know, it's such a great way to explore the world and the idea of packing my bike and going somewhere exotic, like Girona Spain is super exciting to me. So when I got the opportunity to connect with Trek travel, Dig into this trip and dig into Jarana grab gravel jumped at it. [00:02:31] So you, and thank you for joining me. And let's just get started by a little bit about your background. [00:02:37] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, no worries. Thank you again for having me. And I guess we share something in common that we both enjoy eating well by bike. So gravel travel is definitely evident between us all. Huh. So Bob, my background it's been varied. [00:02:50] I started off as a kid, not really enjoying the power of two wheels on my own preferring Moda, power of motocross, bikes, and motor sport, and pursue the a career in motor sport. I am, I'm only 29, so it's not, it wasn't a long career. And then I decided to jump into the cycle career really because my brother threw me on an old racing bike of hairs and said, we're going trick racing of what is this. [00:03:14] And yeah. That's how I got into cycling and kind of started to learn about it. Then love cycling, all things cycling really threw me on the amount of bikes for the first time. He threw me on a cyclocross bike for the first time, took me to attract for the first time. And just more and more, I ate it up and started falling in love with with cycling and And then I thought, why not help out in my local bike shop? [00:03:37] Because I was in between jobs and bugging the owner and the mechanic calling in on the bike and asking for them to help me with this, or could they get pots or for that? And then they were like, Hey, we need an extra hand here. And you're pretty mechanically minded. Can you want to come and help us out? [00:03:53] And that's how I, it. Wrenching in a bike shop. And from there, it took me to I was actually living in Australia at the time and working in a shop debt. And then I started working for the initial prompt and dealer in Australia, which was pretty fun and interesting. Little folding bikes, which were going all over kind of the Australasia and New Zealand even send a bite that prompted the Fiji. [00:04:17] And then I moved back to the UK and was starting working for old mountain bike brands that maybe some of your listeners have heard of head of pay cycles. They're one of the first UK monocyte grants set up by, by a young family at the time who did same as me. They love motocross and enjoy bike riding. [00:04:38] And they wanted a bike to, to train on during the time that they weren't racing on the road. And so they imported mountain bikes yet to important Gary fishers at the time, because there was nothing else in Europe and or in the UK. So he, Adrian is the main designer of the car. And he designed his own on mountain bikes. [00:04:57] Did y'all say 100, was that famous plus bikes, square tube. aluminum that they rooted out pots of the frame to make it lighter. So I started working for them after they did the whole amount of bike brand and we They had two shops at the time that they just started and started in rental centers. [00:05:14] So I joined them a running one at that shops. And then they got back into the frames. And that's when started to learn more about frame design, different bikes, and the whole Enduro scene was mounted bike and jurors scene was growing. And that was something that we were really interested in the time. [00:05:34] And. I was starting to cyclocross race at a time. I would go off a weekend, so cyclocross race and come back to work. And we were designing 29 S slack long, low amount of bikes. And we also had a total. Version cause Adrian and his wife happy love to go off to all sorts of places. [00:05:53] The, they did Chile, they went and wrote the Santiago combo skeleton and Northern Spain, all of these cycle touring. And he adapted one of the hardtail Enduro steel mountain bikes and put lugs on it. So he could take. And I was like, I liked the look of that bite, but I don't really I don't want to put drop bars on it. [00:06:14] Can I put drop bars on it? Let's try it. And so here I had a 29 mountain bike slack long, whoa, with with a draw bar on it. And I was like this pretty cool. And they were looking to, they already had an exi carbon bikes. I was like, can we do this a bit lighter? Because. Yorkshire is, I know you're you have family that Craig and it's up down. [00:06:35] Dale is Dale is a small valley and it's really steep at each side. And I live in between the two national products of the north York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales. And they have so many of these little Dales. So riding across that, you'd go down and it's like down 25% down to a flat valley, then literally back up the other side, 25 to 30%. [00:06:57] So I wanted something nice and light, but to go all day across the Dales and the malls And so we were making this and thinking, oh, this could be a cool and gravel was coming on the scene at the time. And I was interested in bike packing with it and just testing out something that was a good touring bike. [00:07:18] But at the same time, I just saw touring at the time as being something that my parents did or all the people did when they retired. So I wanted something fun cause I still enjoyed enjoy mountain biking. So I wanted to take it down some trails at the same time as doing a hundred K on it, which I certainly wouldn't do on my one 60 mil. [00:07:36] Enjoy a bike, do a hundred K, but so that's where I discovered this cyclocross gravel mix. That we all call gravel today. Which Adrian at the time was like, we used to race on my, on a bikes would drop handlebars XC and downhill back in the 1980s. Cause inventing anything new it's all coming round in circles, the wheels going round, as they say. [00:08:00] So that was really my early years in the cycling industry playing with that. And then. Being honest, Googled cool bike mechanic jobs in one places which took me back to Australia. And then I wanted to go back to Europe and it took me to the warmest place at the time, which was the Canary islands which was great for gaining some exposure of just massive cyclists all at once. [00:08:24] Thousands of people on the road, just riding the bikes, having fun on holiday guided, worked in rental shops. Love the Canary island lifestyle. And then I just stumbled across Trek travel. I told the global logistics manager at one day, I was like, I want to come work for you because I want to help out on some of your big trips. [00:08:41] They were doing tour de France and big Pyrenees trips and out trips. And I just really liked the idea of offering support to. To other people, not the I'd been guy, a guy that I wanted to support the guides. I knew all the tricks of all the problems of being a guide. So I wanted to help them most of all, help back help their guests. [00:09:04] And that kind of leads me to here where I'm the European logistics coordinator for Trek travel and in our home base of drones. [00:09:11] Craig Dalton: Amazing. It's such a, it's so interesting. As people who have been around the sport of cycling for a long time to trace back when you first started doing the thing that later became gravel cycling. [00:09:25] Because obviously as you've indicated, as we've discussed before, People have been riding drop bar bikes off-road for a long time, but it was this kind of gradual progression of componentry, frame, design, methodology, tires, brakes, all these things combined to making what was once somewhat a hacky type experience where you were maybe bringing a bike that wasn't exactly suited for the job to where we are now. [00:09:53] That depending on where you are and how you want to set up your bike. There's such a wide variety of ways in which you can configure these bikes to ride on the roads and trails wherever you live in the world. [00:10:05] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. It's always fascinated me coming from like a motor sport design element. [00:10:10] Always into aerodynamics working with formula two, formula three. And then I had to, I always had a love for kind of classic cause I raised something in the UK or Europe rally cross, which I don't think you have in us, but it's it's exactly that it's a cross between this second is gravel road and dirt, and you drive a little bit of each and we always used to race the classic mini Coupa's. [00:10:35] That was my classic love of cause. But yeah, that was a tangent. Sorry. [00:10:40] Craig Dalton: No, it's an interesting perspective. I hadn't, no, one's brought that up before, but it's totally true. There's parallels in that experience because you had to have a car that drove well on the road. Capable off-road and presumably every driver, just like every rider had to make those difficult choices of, okay. [00:10:57] Do I want it to be higher performing on-road or off-road and what's that happy medium for me as a, as an athlete. [00:11:04] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. And I think that changes with your with you personally, you may be a road cyclist, but you have that instinct to what's down there and it's a gravel road to go off road and explore it. [00:11:18] And you want to feel safe and comfortable. You don't want to necessarily take your 23 mil tires, cotton road bike down a. The track you want a bike that's comfortable and safe to do it all. [00:11:31] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. Talking about Trek travel specifically, obviously with the track name associated with it, people associated directly with the brand, but the company itself as Trek travel. [00:11:43] Can you tell us a little bit about its origins and how long it's been operating? [00:11:47] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah it's actually a 20th year of fun. 2020 years since charter travel was thought up in the, in Trek itself where it started with just three people brought into to en enhance the experience that people were getting when they were not just buying a bite or buying into the Trek brand, which. [00:12:09] Is ride bikes, have fun, feel good. And Chuck just wants to get more people on bikes to have fun. And one of the ways was to offer them a trip of a lifetime of vacation, of a lifetime to somewhat. And that idea grew over the last 20 years studying in the U S and then Trek bought into the protein of yeah. [00:12:30] Trek. And they started running a VIP trips to the total France and bringing clients across. But that specifically to see the tour and see the classics that the ring in Europe have the outs to, to climb out west, to do Mon Von to go to the pyramids and do the tour of my life. The real bread and butter of your. [00:12:51] And that's grown just more destinations, more places to ride more great experiences by bike. And yeah, that's brought us to now at 20 years [00:13:01] Craig Dalton: old. Yeah. And for those of you who have not done a bike tourism trip, it really is amazing. And a luxury. It's obviously a luxury to be able to afford it, but to be able to go over and do this and to have someone plan out the best of the best to plan out the best roads, the best routes when you're coming off the Tourmalet or a mom volunteer to knowing the right cafe to stop in having extra gear for you, having a guide that, speaks the language, but more importantly can help you get integrated into the culture in my personal experience, having done several trips over and yeah. [00:13:37] It was just such a great time. If you can afford to spend that time on your bikes, spend a week on one of these trips. It's just so amazing, which is why I remained super jazzed and excited to talk about the gravel tours that track is introducing. When did you first start to see gravel cycling as something that you could package a trip around? [00:14:01] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. I don't know who or when the first kind of the idea here's what talks about it. Cause I'm sure it's been something we're always looking at new trends, new you, new ways to travel that that people want to do. And new experiences and to we're primarily on the road, we started with mountain bike trips. [00:14:20] Think I wouldn't say five, six years ago. And dos were in small pockets in Iceland, Norway, and that's a great way to get completely off the road. But then we found a a lot of people. They still want it to, they still want it to do a bit of everything. They want it to go on the road still. [00:14:38] They wanted to do the classic climbs as well as being off the road. So it was like that mix of, we took you to this beautiful forest, but actually you want it to be on the road as well in the same week. And, but you didn't want to do it on the amount of bike. And at the time there was no real bike that we had. [00:14:56] Do it and then as the Demani that tried to money evolve, it's got this name as being the, do it all bike. Whether it's ISO speed and its ability to take why the tires it's really comfortable Fabienne Cancellara famously designed the bike to to win Piru bay and and Flanders of all the couple and mixed terrain. [00:15:14] Yeah, this this is a bite that we can use for multipurpose. And three years ago we started using it as just guides and company. People would come to drone and all they say is, Hey, can we go right gravel with, we don't want to ride the road round here. We heard the gravel is amazing. So we'd stick some hybrid tires on the demand and off we'd go, just exploring off the beaten track. [00:15:36] And that's. Where it came from and grew from that with into a week long trip here in Barona. And yeah that's why I came. That's [00:15:46] Craig Dalton: great to hear it. It's interesting to hear that it came from the riders up and great to hear that you, as a company, listened and started to build more experiences around that, as we've talked about a little bit offline, Girona for anybody who's follows. [00:16:01] Professional road. Cycling has always had this huge allure as a destination for a lot of pros live there. So we presume there's a lot of great road riding out there. Do you feel that in the city, is, are there a ton of road cyclists around every week? [00:16:20] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, I would say there's, I wouldn't say there's a ton of road cyclist. [00:16:23] I'd say there's thousands of cyclists in general. On any given weekend, you can see mountain bikers road bike as gravel bike is like trick bikers nowadays. But. All the time. You can see people on bikes. It's a city which has a big network of city bikes and like docs every way. When you can pick up the city bikes for three years, you can rent the bike for the day to ride around town. [00:16:47] It's not a no that we call it a town. Although it's a city, it's very, it's a small, condensed old town. So it's great to explore by bike with all this small streets and things. And yeah, as you said it's known it's gotten more well-known because of all the professionals that live here modern, the bike roads you name it, there's many triathletes Yan for Dino to name one of the big biggest triathletes pulls this, his house. [00:17:11] And it's yeah, in Europe, it's known as one of the places where particularly I'm going to say foreign writers come from Australia and New Zealand, Canada, us they use this, is that is that personal? And I'd probably say right now in Jarana you have upwards of 8,200 pro cyclists living here which is really high for any city in the world. [00:17:34] Given the amount of pros in general, living in Jonah, and you have three of the biggest teams here locally, you have EDS Israel cycling academy have a small base here. You have a couple of continental teams, a couple of the U S continental teams have their European basis here. So you not only have teams, you have sorry. [00:17:56] You not only have writers, you have the support here as well. And they say, if you just want a massage, it's the best place in the, in Europe. Go from mass massage because of the level is so high, they used the pros. You never get a bad massage here at all because the misuse could have been rubbing right. [00:18:14] Chris from the day before he attends to you, so you get pro service, whatever you're doing, and that's not just in cycling related. I'm sure we're going to talk about this, but the coffee scene, the food scene everything has that little twist towards catering. Which is amazing. Yeah. I think that's [00:18:32] Craig Dalton: super interesting, obviously the writing I want to be doing is off-road, but as someone who's a fan of professional cycling in general, just having that be infused as part of the city, in addition to the culture, which maybe we'll talk about a little bit more. [00:18:46] It's just going to be a fun addition to that trip for us geographic challenged Americans, where Israel. [00:18:53] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, so Girona is it's in Spain. It's in the region of Catalonia which is to the Northeast. We border on Spain. We bought it with Spain and Dora and France. And. Yeah. [00:19:09] And the Northeast, and [00:19:10] Craig Dalton: It's not specifically on the coast, but how far of a ride is it to the coast from Jarana city center? [00:19:16] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, so Girona is it's probably for any cycling destination is really well situated. It's just a 40 minutes drive to them. And 40 minutes drive from the Pyrenees. [00:19:28] So yeah, slap bang in the middle of mountains and see and give you perspective in writing terms. I'm sorry, I'm going to talk in kilometers. But we're looking at about a nice 50 mile loop to the coast and back. [00:19:43] Craig Dalton: Okay. And look at just having Google maps open as we speak, it looks like there is a lot of, kind of national parks base in green space, just outside the city. [00:19:53] Ewan Shepherd: literally the back of the town has a very famous climate song of UVS might be of huddle of L's angels. It's just over seven, 10 K climate just over 6% is always say to the first and last day, you're hearing Jerone. You're going to write this. If you don't write it every day. [00:20:10] And that leads into a beautiful national pocket, the bat at the back, which has miles of more, more challenging gravel all the way to the coast. And then on the inland side of Jerome, just straight into two massive valleys, which just keep going up and up and before, it you're in the parodies. [00:20:29] Craig Dalton: For those clients immediate, [00:20:31] Ewan Shepherd: very little flat writing. [00:20:33] Craig Dalton: Yeah. It's going to ask for those climbs immediately outside of Dharana. How much elevation do you gain to get to a local peak? Is that a thousand feet or 200 meters? [00:20:43] Ewan Shepherd: L's angels is about 600. Elevation was very, to the very peak the closest high point around here, you're looking at about a thousand meters up to the highest peak in Catalonia itself is just shy of 2000 meters. [00:21:00] So the elevation is not super high but you are going from sea level. Most of the time But it's all the little undulations. It's a rolling terrain. I would say, yeah. [00:21:09] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. Yeah, it certainly sounds like those, they jet up pretty quickly as a lot of coastal ranges do so for the writing, when we talk about the gravel riding in Jarana, we've talked about how great the road riding is. [00:21:21] But what does it look like to get on these gravel roads and what are they like? Are they super chopped up or are they smooth or did you get a little bit of both? I'd love to just get a sense for what you're out there. Riding. [00:21:33] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. I think you have a bit of everything we say, Girona is the Disneyland of cycling. [00:21:40] And I first experienced kind of the gravel, as I said, we just. Through some hybrid Taya, some 32 mil hybrid tires on a demise and went straight on lucky living out slightly outside of Toronto. So just 10 K from drone essentially itself. And it's mainly farm lands and going back to my kind of love for cycling in in the UK. [00:22:02] With the Dales and we have things called bridleways and I was in search of these things to start with because it's not well publicized gravel anyway. So you just go out the door and go, okay, take the first, left off the road. That doesn't seem like a road and see where it heads. [00:22:17] And sometimes you end up with a beautiful, smooth gravel track with that. Evidently to S at a, an extra road to people's houses all you get unlucky and you end up and it tends into single track and actually becomes quite flowing. This is actually it's maybe a mountain bike route, and you guys through a single track, really nice employee through the woods can be quiet Rocky in places. [00:22:40] This part of Spain is very Rocky with granite. I'm limestone. Costa brother, the literal translation is like a rugged coastline. So that is evident all the way through. But you have also what they call via Verde green routes, which are smooth, hard-packed almost manmade smooth gravel, Sandy tracks which becoming more and more common. [00:23:05] From Girona itself to the little towns, to get people off the roads from all levels of cyclists, from kids to families, you can see them just packed on these green ones. Which a fantastic to start a new route on, and then you head either to the mountains, or maybe you want to go to the coast and you can just hop off on to onto something. [00:23:24] As long as it doesn't say, don't go this way. Is such a friendly kind of feeling towards cyclists. The even if you I've ended up some days, just going along a little, same little track down a shoot and I'm in the back of someone's garden and raking up leaves. Oh, sorry. That's the end. To direct you back onto the track and you were meant to be down that I take you're meant to go that way, but yeah. [00:23:48] So it's a bit of everything. That's amazing. [00:23:52] Craig Dalton: It's so cool that, to be able to leave the city and choose your own adventure and just have that ability to explore and find all kinds of different terrain that, that sounds like such a special area and not surprising why you guys decided to introduce the Girona gravel bike tour trip, which looks amazing. [00:24:13] Can we talk about that trip and what it entails? [00:24:16] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. So to give you an an idea of the overall of the trip, it's it's a one hotel trip based here in Jarana. Chose to base it right out of the center. We work with a really great hotel, Nord in the center. It's really cycling focused. And we do that. [00:24:33] It's based kind of off our right camp, which not to diversify what I'm talking about. It's all about eat, sleep, ride, repeat. So we make it nice and simple to focus on the writing and it's for four days of writing and it's designed to. The slightly taken on the more intermediate to advanced side of kind of people's levels. [00:24:55] So we say the most people should be have some experience. It shouldn't be their first time writing a gravel bike to get the most out of it. And we have easy days which are, like I say, just using these Greenways, getting out of the city, heading to see some of the beautiful, rugged coastline. [00:25:13] And then we have some more avid days which heads. What's the mountains. And we actually found some of our routes through used to calm. Are you still does? Comes here every year in the spring to do some training before he started his road season. And we'd always wait till he hummed, we see him here. [00:25:30] And then when we're looking on struggling, why did he go? Where did he go? Because he always seems to find some stupidly hard climbs, some great gravel climates. We didn't know that. And we actually introduced some of these to the trip and it's like a, like an outdoor as of gravel, just snaking switchbacks one after the other, up to this beautiful peak point with a big cross on the top. [00:25:53] Yeah. And then you're trying to work out where he went and then you look down the other side and oh, he went down there and you you try it. But then for. For many people, it's probably too much of a Rocky rock garden. So you end up heading back down like a beautiful the switching snaking all the way back down is the safest way sometimes. [00:26:14] But yeah, that's a, an overview of a gravel trip. [00:26:18] Craig Dalton: Nice. I've done trips of my two trips. One. We were moving basically every year. And the second we had a home base and I have to say my preference is for that home base, because I think it allows you to just absorb the culture a little bit more and be a tourist in the city that you're staying in. [00:26:35] You don't have to pack your gear up every night. So there's something nice about having that hub and ride mom. [00:26:41] Ewan Shepherd: Yup. Yup. It definitely just opening your suitcase, getting it, your kid out, put it in the wardrobes and you don't have to pack it again. The following day to move on. I like that it's focused on eat, sleep, right? [00:26:53] Repeat, enjoy your writing. The guy. Take care of everything else. And you're in the center of the city and you're a Stone's throw from the old town. You can go for a walk on the evenings, your afternoons and evenings. yours your own to either relax, take a massage or wander the town, go sit and sip coffee. [00:27:12] Do all the locals. Do any afternoon, go have a beer and get ready for your evening meal. And and that's what people want. [00:27:18] Craig Dalton: Now our writers on these trips typically bring in their own bikes or are you providing a bike for them? [00:27:23] Ewan Shepherd: Just really most people take a bike from us, the Trek demonic. [00:27:28] You can bring your own bike. It doesn't does it affect price? It doesn't affect the price, but we do it because it saves you having to pack your by like in a box and all the hassle of bringing it to the building it. Yeah. All of that. You just turn up and on the first day, your bikes there, it's already set up with your measurements, to your bike from home and ready to go. [00:27:46] You don't need to worry about it. And our guides full train mechanics and take care of your bike throughout the whole week. And particularly as gravel can be hot on your bikes. And you don't want any problems with your own bikes, cause it's only going to compromise your riding, [00:27:58] Craig Dalton: as someone who can be hard on the bike. I appreciate that. So at the end of the day, I can hand my bike off to someone and it's going to come back to me better than I left it. [00:28:05] Ewan Shepherd: Yep. Every day, I'm sure the guides gonna look after that bike and and give you it in the morning. Like it's brand new, no issues, [00:28:14] Craig Dalton: particular trip. [00:28:15] Are you providing the routes like GPX files? How does it work from a kind of a day-to-day practice perspective? [00:28:22] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. So normally day to day, you'd wake up do your morning routine get dressed, go for breakfast. Get a hot tea, Catalan breakfast. Then head down to, to pick up your bikes from the bike room. [00:28:35] Your guides would meet you dad. Give you a kind of a morning briefing. The route has to go. We provide every guest with a Garmin, with preloaded GPS routes. And your guide is going to typically you have one guide on the bike, possibly two, and then a guide in a support vehicle following behind not only any issues that you have, but also by signature snack tables along the route. [00:28:59] So you could be riding through a wood and then suddenly. The van is just there and your guide has gone out a table and put some beautiful snacks out. So right in the moment when you're like, I wish I had put more water in my bottle, I wish that I brought an extra bar. That's when you're going to get to find your guides. [00:29:18] We know those spots well, [00:29:20] Craig Dalton: nice. And, as athletes are going to be coming over with different ability, levels and fitness levels and sort of interest in flogging themselves levels. Is there an ability for, if we look at it a daily route and say I'd fancy doing a little bit more. [00:29:35] I want to come home with my legs broken every day. Are there those types of options and flexibility built into these things? [00:29:41] Ewan Shepherd: Yup. Yup. It sounds like most of our guides they always want to go do more. So yeah, we yeah. Have a standard route for the day and then w what we call that the avid group for the day. [00:29:51] So I guess, Craig, this is for you the extra little add on which could be anything from an extra climb or an extra loop that you just hit the route on your GPS and adult. It'll take you. And we have a, an ethos of ride at your own pace. Yeah. I don't really ride. It's nice, right. [00:30:11] As a group, but also it's nice experience at your own pace. So we definitely encourage that. Guides will move around you rather than you having to stick to your guide. And they'll accommodate if if you've got slow riders or if you want to go up and do the route quite often you're going to have the guide wanting to go with you and show you that extra little climb or. [00:30:30] Take you on a, an extra level route or redo a route from two days ago because you, it was such an amazing experience. Definitely it does something for me. [00:30:40] Craig Dalton: That's good to know. Yeah. For me, when I'm able to carve out this time in my life and I may be unique, but maybe not, when I go on one of these trips, since I don't have the responsibilities that I have at home, I don't have to care for my son. [00:30:54] I don't have to do, I need the things I need to do around the house. All I want to do is ride my bike and really, as long as I can prop myself up at the dinner table that night, that's about all I need to achieve in the rest of the. [00:31:06] Ewan Shepherd: Yup. Yup. Did that have. A full vacation of a lifetime that's that's catered for you. [00:31:13] And that's definitely why I think people do a group trip or an organized talk because you mentioned that if you can afford to do it, but can you afford not to do it? If you've only got 20 days holiday a year, To spend spend your time planning for your holiday, and then once you get that to spend time working out, okay, what should I ride today? [00:31:34] Or where should we stop for lunch? Or where's the best place to have dinner tonight? It's all done for you. You can just make the most of what you want to do, which if you want to go on a cycling holiday and you want to ride your bike as much as. [00:31:47] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And I think it's, it's further complicated when you're trying to ride gravel. [00:31:50] So I did a self guided tour in the Alps and there were it was pretty easy to understand the road routes that were famous to the famous climbs and figure that out on my own. But when it comes to gravel and this is something I've spoken about a lot on the podcast, there's just so much to be gained from having a little bit of local knowledge. [00:32:09] Because you cannot look at a path necessarily. And know, is that a super Rocky path that I'm going to be going four miles an hour on? Or is it actually, a smooth, single track that I'm going 16 miles an hour. And we can't know that from the outside, without talking to cyclists in that local area, while we still want to have that sense of adventure and allowing the ride to unfold. [00:32:34] It's just really nice in my opinion, particularly if you're going to spend the money to go travel to a destination, to just have a little bit of this served up to you and be able to get out there, worry for you. [00:32:44] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. Yeah, no, I definitely agree in something that you spend all the time working out, attract to go down and then suddenly it leads to nothing and you've wasted an hour of your ride to, and then you have to backtrack. [00:32:59] And that's yeah. With a small amount of time in Europe or wherever you're traveling, you want to make money. My [00:33:06] Craig Dalton: Spanish is bad enough that if I end up in your garden, there's probably going to be an international incident. [00:33:11] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. Yeah. But everybody's friendly hand signals are just, yes. It's I like, I think I've written in a lot of places in the world and definitely definitely Spain is a really good for. [00:33:26] Craig Dalton: Yeah. When you have that many cyclists moving through a community, obviously the locals are experienced seeing these people and they realize, they're good for the community. [00:33:36] Hopefully we're good. Environmental stewards and polite cyclists. So it's just a symbiotic relationship for the committee. [00:33:43] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. Yeah. And as we are in a. Company we're based in Madison, Wisconsin. And we've also been in Jerone now for nearly six, seven years. So we have a good hold in the community. We employ, we have lots of people that work for attract travel, who live here locally. [00:34:00] Who are deep rooted in the community. So we often we work a lot with our subcontractors. We work really hard to find the best people who not only have the best winery or the best restaurant, but they have the best ethos to, to work with us and help our guests have the best experience. [00:34:19] It's not just about the product that serving, but how they're making our guests and us as a company feel. So it's really important that local aspect, but everything that's involved, [00:34:29] Craig Dalton: such an amazing opportunity that travel affords the traveler, just the ability to see how things that are important in the culture. [00:34:37] Are manufactured and meet people who are doing them and, meet you, meet the restaurant tours. Like all of that is just what has kept me traveling my entire life and hopefully will have me continue traveling. So a couple of final questions for you. UN what is your favorite local cuisine? What can't we miss when we go there? [00:34:57] And what is your favorite part of Sharona from a tourist perspective? [00:35:01] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, that's a definitely a hard question. I don't even have a closer prepared, good answer. Where do I want to start? Definitely Girona has a lot of local cuisine Catalan cutline cuisine. It's a very simple way of cooking in one aspect. [00:35:18] And why. One thing that people often. Think of it all. I'll Paya, no, throw that away. It's it's not Paya that you'd come to get here. They have something called pinch Hills, which is very similar to tapas and it's one of my favorite local it's not a particular dish. [00:35:37] It's a way of eating and. In the restaurant, you have lots of little plates on the counter with little chunks of bread with on top of them, either fresh fish with with all sorts of toppings or. Saw or booty FADA, there's the sausage which they do in many different kinds of blood sausages. [00:35:56] And lots of little dishes. And often you don't sit down at a table. This is going to freak people out in COVID at times, but it's a great social way of eating because you're taking small plate and you're taking it and you're just standing in a bar basically. With everybody else who's enjoying it, but it's that great atmosphere of eating together in the center of town, which often spills out into the streets on a Friday and Saturday of just people standing out on the streets with small plates and a little what they called Canada, a little glass of the local beer, which they have a lot of really good local breweries here. [00:36:30] Which I know a lot of people love to test out all the local. And Catalonia to the complete other scale of things has some of Europe's best Michelin star restaurants like per area, just in, in Rona, this small area, up to 45 Ks from the center, you have 35 Michelin star restaurants. [00:36:50] For gastronomy it's an amazing place because of all the local ingredients of the winery. You have a lot of cider production with apple and pear farms, which you ride through. One of my favorite rides to the coast air takes you through just miles and miles of apple orchards and tail orchards which is just going to be picked in about a half a month's time. [00:37:13] It's main picking season here. Delicious. Yeah, it's a, and I haven't even talked about coffee coffee, the culture of coffee, drinking. Was brought to your owner with cyclist, cyclists, need coffee, and they need good coffee. And the Canadian Chrystia and Maya was one of the more well-known people who brought the coffee culture and his own roastery of the service costs. [00:37:34] And Lamatsia his his coffee shop. And from dad nearly 10 years ago, it sprung into. That each corner was developing its own taste for coffee. And as the locals really have a passion for it now at brewing really good speciality coffee, which, like I said, we can't live without it. [00:37:51] They definitely have a captured audience. Indeed. [00:37:54] Craig Dalton: This is amazing. Girona has always been tops on my list of places to go and it certainly remains. In that post COVID top slot for me, I can't wait to join you on one of these trips. At some point, I know there's a couple trips left this year. [00:38:09] It looks like November 7th and November 14th are available for departure dates. And obviously once again, in the spring in 2022. So for all the listeners out there, you can just visit Trek, travel.com and just write search for Jeronica dry gravel. And you'll see the trip we've been talking about. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun and you can almost guarantee you that I'll be there one of these days. [00:38:32] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, I will look forward to it. Look forward to meeting in person and hopefully you'll get to experience your own home and it won't be your last visit to drone, or I can assure you for that much. [00:38:44] Craig Dalton: Thanks for all the great information you and I appreciate you joining us. [00:38:48] That's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. Big thanks to you and for joining us and telling us all about that great trip that Trek travel has organized. Again, those dates are November this year. As well as throughout the Springs to go, please visit truck travel.com. To figure out what itinerary might work for you. I hope you're stoked. Like I am. [00:39:10] I'm desperate to get my tires overseas. And sample some of that great gravel in Spain and elsewhere in the world. We'll leave it at that for this week. If you have any questions, feel free to join us over at the ridership. Just visit www.theridership.com to join that free community. [00:39:29] If you're interested in supporting the podcast, ratings and reviews are hugely helpful. It's something easy you can do to support what I'm doing. And if you have a little bit more energy or means feel free to visit, buymeacoffee.com/thegravelride [00:39:44] To help underwrite some of the financial costs associated with this broadcast. Until next time. Here's to finding. some dirt onto your wheels
BikeFit 101 with Coach Patrick Carey
54:51This week on the podcast we tackle Gravel Bike Fit 101. Randall interviews Coach and Fitter Patrick Carey about the fundamentals of fit with key takeaways for every rider. Patrick / Speed Science Coaching Website The Ridership Support the podcast Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): BikeFit 101 with Coach Patrick Carey [00:00:00] Randall: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm Randall Jacobs, and today I'm joined by Patrick Carey. Patrick was on the pod with us in February of 2021. Craig and him had a conversation about the five skills every gravel cyclist needs to master. [00:00:17] Patrick wears a few different hats. He is the founder of speed science coaching. He does full-time training for cyclists and endurance athletes. He's a skills coach with Lee Likes Bikes and Ride Logic, and he travels all over the country, teaching bike skills. He is an SICI. I train bike fitter and their approach is very much integrating some of the thinking from the medical and physical therapy fields into bike fitting. And in a previous lifetime, he was a mechanical engineer, so he really understands how mechanical systems work, including, biomechanics. [00:00:45] Before we get started. I'd like to remind you that if you'd like to support the podcast, there are a few different ways you can do so. Firstly, you can go to buymeacoffee.com/thegravelride and make a donation or become a recurring supporter. [00:00:58] All proceeds, go directly to Craig and offset his costs in producing the pod. Secondly, you can join The Ridership and contribute to the conversations that are happening there. [00:01:06] And lastly, if you'd like to support the work that I do, thesis currently has a limited number of build kits for complete bikes for delivery this fall. If you're a friend you're interested now, it'd be a great time to schedule a consult so we can work together to create the perfect spec for your unique fit, fitness and terrain. [00:01:21] And with that, Patrick, welcome back to the podcast. [00:01:24] Patrick: Hey, thank you. I'm so happy to be back. This is going to be a lot of fun. [00:01:27] Randall: Yeah, this is a conversation I've been wanting to have with you for quite some time. So let's just dive right in. How do we even define a good bike fit? [00:01:34] Patrick: I think that's a great place to start. My take is that every good bike fit starts with the bike fitting the rider, not the other way around. And unfortunately, oftentimes what happens is people are shoehorned onto their bikes and that's really the opposite of what we want to happen. [00:01:50] We want to set every bike up for each rider so that the rider just naturally falls into position on the bike. There's no pain points. You're not running into impingements and you're also not contorting yourself in any way you're not overreaching. You're not bending your wrist some awkward way, and in that same idea, if something hurts when you ride your bike, it's not right. Don't ever let someone tell you "oh, that's just how riding a bike is. It's supposed to be a little uncomfortable". No, it's supposed to be joyful and it's supposed to be wonderful. And when you get your bike set up correctly for you, it can be that. [00:02:25] Randall: This is very much aligned with what I often talk about. We're not creating a bicycle. We're creating a cyborg. And the interface between the animal and the machine is how you achieve that. Let's dive in even further. So different approaches to fit. [00:02:37] Patrick: Probably what most people have been used to it's the throw a leg over it approach. [00:02:41] You literally stand over the bike. If you can clear the top tube, that's probably a good place. And then, when you throw the word fit in there usually what ends up happening is, you eyeball the saddle height, the stem maybe, gets flipped. It probably does not get changed. And then also, a lot of that is relying on fit charts, right? So bike companies put out the fit charts that says if you're five, seven, you should be on this size bike. If you're five, 10, you should be on the size bike. And I personally believe that very often, unfortunately, results in people being on the wrong sized bike. Typically a bike that's too big. [00:03:17] Which means that they are overreaching on that bike and you ended up chasing the front end of the bike. So the front end become somewhat fixed in space and you can always shorten the stem so much. So then that rider ends up being shoved way, way forward on the bike. And yeah, bikes are meant to create enjoyment. This takes away from it. [00:03:35] Randall: And when you go with too short of a stem. It does take some of the mass off the front axle. So for say high-speed canyon carving that front end is not gonna feel as planted. Works fine. Say for gravel. But in a road application, it can really make the bike feel vague upfront. So it's this handling issue as well. [00:03:53] Patrick: It can work okay for gravel, I think one of the beauties of gravel bikes is their versatility. [00:03:58] For me personally, I have a couple of dedicated cyclocross race bikes, mostly because they're the ones that I blast with a pressure washer after every race. But my gravel bike has become my only other drop bar bike. I have wheel sets that I switch around so that I have a set of road tires a set of gravel tires. [00:04:14] But that bike has amazing versatility. And so what you don't want to do is compromise the handling to a point where, okay, it feels good when you're sitting up going slow on a dirt road, but then boy, it feels nervous at speed, down that same dirt road or on pavement. [00:04:28] Randall: Yeah. Let's keep going with this. So we have the throw the leg over it approach. What would be a better approach? Let's go soup throw nuts starting with a new machine. [00:04:36] Patrick: Okay. So if we call the throw leg over the approach the worst case scenario, the best case scenario as a coach and fitter would be to work with someone before they ever buy a bike. So work with the athlete and figure out first what they want to do with the bike. What their ideal setup would be, but then look at their body completely separate to the bike. [00:04:55] First thing we would do is a functional movement screening. And this is something I do for any bike fit, where I'm actually looking at people's ranges of motion. I'm looking at any impingements they have. We're looking at their specific body proportions. [00:05:09] There's a great book called Bike Fit by a guy named Phil Burt, and he worked for many years with Team Great Britain, which is a pretty dominant force in the cycling world, and he starts the book off right away by saying that if you look at just average proportions and you define things off of average proportions, you're only catching about one third of the population you're catching the middle of the bell curve. So you're right away missing two thirds of the population. Okay. If you take that then into bike fit, if you just look at, say someone's height, that doesn't take into account their arm length that doesn't take into account their inseam versus their torso length. [00:05:47] So that's really important to factor in any kind of bike fit and the beauty. When we're talking about this approach is that we can really factor that in because the next thing I would do after that functional movement screening is I would put someone on a fit cycle, which barely looks like a bike. Other than that, it has crank seat and handlebars, but it allows you to move those points in space in the X- Y axis, and that way you can adjust and find someone's ideal position, right? The position where they just fall right onto it. They're able to comfortably generate power. They're able to ride in that position for a really long time. And then we take that position. And we can now compare those points in space against actual bikes and come up with a list of bikes that fit them. So someone might come to me and say, I'm looking at these three different bikes, right? [00:06:37] Either, they tick the boxes. I like the idea of them or they're available right in this day and age. And so then we can say, okay, this is the size for that particular bike. This is the size for that particular bike. And it's quite often they're not the same size, right? Because that sizing, as we will talk about a minute, that sizing is oftentimes misleading, meaningless, right? Doesn't refer to real measurements. So we're able to go by actual, stack, reach measurements like that. And then, depending on what someone wants to do, we can come up with a complete custom build all the way to their custom crank length bar with, everything, or they can buy a bike off the shelf and, we can say, okay, this is going to get us the closest possible, and then we're going to change the stem and that's going to get us there. Or maybe, for some particular proportion that you have, you really do need to change the bars or something like that. But that really would be best case scenario because now you're totally eliminating the risk of someone ending up on the wrong size bike from the start. [00:07:41] Randall: Yeah. And fit cycles the most advanced ones, have quite a few degrees of freedom in terms of what you can adjust. Everything from crank length and Q factor and stance. And you can adjust all these variables in real time, as you're seeing the rider pedal and that ability to calibrate the machine to the rider and see the rider in motion is vastly superior to just having, static measurements and trying to graph them onto the bike. It's a good starting point, for sure, especially if you're trying to just select a bike and know if a bike is going to work at all, you could start that way, but going and getting this functional analysis, this analysis in motion is just next level. I can only go so far. For example, when I'm doing a bike consult for one of our bikes and I can get everyone, somebody the right frame size, crank length. Handlebar with and those types of parameters through asking some questions and having them take some measurements, but stem length I can't get for sure, because that's an output of all these other variables that need to be locked in first, the crank length, saddle height, saddle for- aft and so on. And then also I'm not able to see, what you had mentioned about their flexibility and looking at their physiology and then seeing them in motion. [00:08:50] There really is no substitute for this sort of analysis with somebody with a scientific mindset and a lot of experience seeing lots of riders on bikes. [00:08:59] Patrick: Absolutely. And this is probably some of the best money you could possibly spend. If you're going to make the investment in a bike. We're talking in the range of two to $300 probably is what a complete, pre- purchase fit like this would cost, and that's going to a professional fitter that has a fit cycle. That's going to spend. [00:09:19] Upwards of a couple hours with you laying all this out. And then it's also going to be available to you to walk through the process of buying your bike. Because maybe you come up with some ideal setup and then. Ugh that bike's not available. So now you have to go back to the drawing board. That person will help you through that process. [00:09:34] That is the best money you can spend because even if that represents a significant percentage of what you're going to spend in the total in the end, right? Like maybe you're going to, maybe you're going to spend. $1,500 or $2,000 on a bike. Spend $300 upfront and that bike will fit you better. You will enjoy it more. You will have it forever. [00:09:54] As opposed to you don't spend that money, make a mistake on something and now it's never what it could have been., [00:10:02] And the other extreme of this is the person who spends a lot of money on their gear, gets the Aero wheels, the Aero helmet, and, carbon rail saddle, and all of these things that are really marginal gains at best. [00:10:13] A bike fit, it's not something that you can show off to your friends. It's not something where you can hand the bike off and have people pick it up and be like, Ooh, it's so light. It's so fancy. But it is this animal machine interface and having that just be as dialed as possible unlocks performance in a way that no components can. [00:10:32] Track 2: Absolutely. And I see all the time, I'm always at events, I travel around the country coaching and it's just so often it's actually rare for me to see a person who's bike is totally dialed for them. [00:10:42] I hate to say it, but it is rare. And I oftentimes see people are like, wow, like they would enjoy riding so much more, riding would be so much easier for them. Even if it's as simple as cut that stem length in half. You oftentimes see it, people have their seats slammed as far back in the rails as possible. And it's surprising. Sometimes it just ends up that way and they don't know any better or it came that way from the shop and they didn't know they could change it. And oftentimes you're talking about close to free as far as some of these changes. [00:11:13] Randall: Yeah. And if you have to spend a few bucks to swap a stem or something to get that dialed fit again, some of the best money you can spend. [00:11:20] So we've talked about two extremes. One is how most people end up on the wrong size bike with the throw the leg over it approach the other is this really ground up clean slate sort of approach. But what if you already have a bike, how do we make that bike fit better? [00:11:33] Track 2: Yes. And to be fair, this is probably 80 to 90% of the people that I work with as a fitter. And and this is also probably 90 plus percent of people out riding in the world. We're talking about, if you have a bike that is close to the right size for you, right? Maybe you could have split hairs and said that you should have a slightly smaller, slightly bigger bike, but this is how I work on a regular basis with riders as they come to me for this. We would confirm that bike is a close starting point. And I always use reach as that cornerstone. And reach in the sense of the stack and reach those two measurements to define where the top of your head tube is. That's the thing on a bike you can change the least, reach then affects where your front end is. And yes, you can absolutely can and should change stem length and amount of spacers above or below, or flip the stem, but. Compared to say saddle height, where you can telescope that seat post up and down a tremendous amount, reach actually is the least adjustable thing on the bike, your front end. So we would always start there. [00:12:37] Randall: And how's reach measured. We should probably talk about that. [00:12:39] Track 2: Oh, yeah. Thank you. So reach, if you were to take your bottom bracket, which is the spindle that your crank spin on, and if you draw a line vertically up from that, It would be a measurement from that line horizontally to the center of your top tube. And usually that oftentimes includes the headset cap as well. And then stack is if you measure up, it's where those meet. So it's how high the front end of your bike is above the bottom bracket. So that gives you X, Y coordinates for where your head tube is. That's your starting point. [00:13:14] Randall: yeah. Center of the crank spindle vertically to the line that intersects with the height of the center of the headset bearing. And there's some other measurements out there that people will talk about virtual head tube. Seat tube. We've already debunked the idea of sizing being universal, but let's talk about that a little bit. [00:13:30] Track 2: Oh, yes. I'm glad you brought that up. [00:13:32] Used to be, years ago when we were talking about road and cyclocross right before what we now think of as gravel bikes, road bikes generally speaking had the exact same head angle and the exact same seat angle almost across the board. And you could use quote unquote standard sizing and before that bikes were also what they were called square, meaning the length of the seat tube and the length of the top tube were the same. Some were along the way in the last 20 years that has moved away. A lot of it is that there's no need to have the top tube cranked all the way up. We can get better stand over that way. [00:14:10] But then bike companies have also been shifting around the angle of the seat tube. And so The horizontal top tube measurement can become a seriously misleading thing. If your seat tube is pressed way forward. It's going to create a shorter, horizontal top to measurement. If it's pushed way back, it'll make it longer. [00:14:32] To make it even more confusing for riders, unfortunately, companies have clung to putting number sizing on their bikes, right? So they call a bike, a 54. [00:14:43] Or a 56. And if you look at the actual measurement chart for that bike, or if you take a tape measure to that bike, it's not uncommon that nothing on that bike measures that dimension anymore. They call it virtual sizing. And unfortunately, I'll use myself for example, I'm five, 10, somewhere along the way. Someone told me that someone who's five, 10 belongs on a 56 centimeter bike. So for years and years, I was riding 56. [00:15:11] And I could not understand why, no matter what I did with adjustments, I had all kinds of neck and shoulder discomfort. I'm talking tingling hands, right? All kinds of tension. And somewhere along the way I went, dammit like all this fit stuff, it's not actually correct. Some of this stuff is definitely outdated. And I got a 54 and lo and behold, it was super easy to get that bike to fit me well, [00:15:35] So that's an important point for riders too. If someone told you in the past that you're a particular size, don't let that guide your future decisions. [00:15:45] Randall: And I want to take a second to hit this from a different angle, and then I can cue you up. One of the things I also want to make clear to listeners that a lot of companies still use number sizing. They'll quote things like virtual top tube, or top tube length or seat tube length, all of these parameters can change without changing the reach, or the stack. And the reason why we use reach primarily, and then stack secondarily, is because these variables don't change. Even when you change the seat tube angles such that the seat tube angle is more slacked back, you could always run the saddle further up on the rails or flip the saddle clamp to allow a more forward saddle position and your points in space would be identical. So this is an important point that people really need to understand. All these numbers that are quoted, most of them are entirely irrelevant. reach most important stack is number two and then stand over just to make sure you have enough clearance. And that's really it. And the rest of it is really getting into how the bike will feel and perform and handle given how your points in space are grafted onto it. [00:16:50] Does that resonate with you? [00:16:51] Track 2: Absolutely. It does. Absolutely. It does. And one more thing that I see, we're finally moving away from it, but there was a period of time companies were making quote unquote women's geometry bikes. Because again, they were looking and saying if you look at the typical woman's proportions. Long legs, short torso. Longer arms. Okay. But if you look at the cross-section of the population, there are so many people that don't line up into that. And there's plenty of guys that line up into that. [00:17:20] I think it's very important to not let labels cloud that don't say I'm a female, I must need a women's bike or I'm a guy I must. Luckily companies are actually abandoning a lot of that whole shrink it and pink it idea which I think a lot of people were really misserved by. [00:17:38] I think that's super important. You are a human being. You are not a man, a woman, a six foot tall person. You're a human being and you have unique proportions that we can address by finding those right points in space. [00:17:50] Randall: Yeah, women's specific was much more of a marketing ploy than anything else. [00:17:55] Track 2: Yes, that's all it was. And I'd like to say too. Most of it was defined by a bunch of six foot tall dudes, right? I always love when those people absolutely are convinced that they know the experience of a five foot two woman. [00:18:09] Randall: Hmm. [00:18:09] Track 2: Okay. Yeah. [00:18:11] Randall: Yeah, I may have seen some of that behind the scenes. [00:18:14] Let's continue on. What's next. [00:18:17] Track 2: Okay. So if we said, okay, we've got the right size bike, we're in the ballpark. Now let's actually come up with a bit of an actionable list of steps. And this first one is probably gonna seem very counterintuitive because it doesn't have a lot to do with the bike. And that would be that your bike fit actually starts with your foot. [00:18:34] If you think about it, you have five total touch points on the bike, right? Two hands, one, but two feet. Your feet are responsible for all your power transmission. Every time you stand up on the bike, they're bearing all your weight. So if we don't have proper support in the form of the correct shoes, and also support in the shoes, you may have issues that will never be addressed by any other part of the fit process. And on that, if you ever go to a bike fit and they don't look at your feet, they don't look at your shoes, they don't leave your cleat position, they just put you on the bike and start adjusting things, they missed a lot. And that's a question you can ask before you even go to a fit. What's your process. And if they don't talk about this, that should be a red flag. [00:19:17] So first and foremost, if you were going to buy shoes, go to a shop, go to a brick and mortar shop. Ideally have your feet measured. If you remember the old Brannock device that we all used to get our feet measured as kids with. I still use one as a bike fitter. They make a Euro sizing Brannock devices. [00:19:36] And that tells you the length of each foot and it tells you the width of each foot. So go to a shop and get the right size shoes. It's so common for me as a fitter to have people come and they've got shoes that are one, two sizes too big. And then they're crushing those shoes down to try and take slop away. It's putting the cleats in the wrong position. And then when I say, how did you arrive at these shoes? They say I bought them online, I tried to match my street shoe size. I bought them online. [00:20:03] Don't do that. Go to a shop. Buy the shoes from that shop, pay them the money because they had the inventory there. They're providing you that service. [00:20:11] Randall: Yeah. you really need to try on the actual shoe and see if it is a good fit for your foot. The measurements may even work out, but it just doesn't feel right. And that is enough reason not to buy a shoe. [00:20:22] Track 2: Absolutely. And some brands are higher or lower volume, a wider or narrower lasts. Yes. You want your foot to slide in. And the closure system is there to just do the final snugging. It's not there to. To crush the shoe around your foot. [00:20:37] Randall: Great. [00:20:38] Track 2: Yeah. And then just by carbon soles if you're going to ride clipless pedals where carbon soles it's only the lightest riders that can get away with either a carbon plate or a thermoplastic sole. You're talking about putting a lot of power transmission and a lot of force through a pretty small area with that pedal. [00:20:57] It's just worth it. And they'll last longer. Sometimes the thermoplastic, so we'll be stiff enough to begin with. And then they will start to gain flex over time and over time, it'll feel like you're standing on golf balls. Because we're talking gravel. Some riders like using flat pedals and shoes. [00:21:12] That works great. Everything we're going to talk about still applies. Use good pedals that have grippy pins. Metal pins and then aware of bike specific shoe, like a five 10 or something like that, because that shoe is actually going to be built in the same idea of transmitting power and supporting your weight. Not to mention, it's going to stick to the pedal. Now you've got these great shoes, right? You've spent real money on them. Don't cheap out here, spend if necessary, spend another, whatever it is, $40, something like that on proper insoles that support your whole foot. If you look at how our feet are made to move, our feet are built not for bike shoes. Feet are built for running, walking. Where you would, your foot would naturally pronate. And I think of that as you would land on the outside of your heel and your foot is going to roll across and your arch is going to flatten as you leave off your big toe. [00:22:04] That's just normal pronation. That's how our feet are built to move. The problem is on a bike you're in a constrained plane of motion and if your arch collapses, what ends up happening is now your ankle collapses to the inside your knee, collapses to the inside. Sometimes that can translate all the way up to your hips, and a tremendous amount of discomfort that people have is just simply because maybe they have higher arches and they don't have high arch insoles. [00:22:30] Randall: And just as a sidebar here this is often the source of a lot of pain and repeated stress injuries. So to the meniscus or to the IT bands or what have you. So this is a an issue that I used to have, and I tried everything I could, but there are other parameters of the bike. And finally, I got some custom insoles made and everything aligned. [00:22:50] Track 2: And I bet you've had those insoles forever, too. [00:22:52] Randall: Coming up on 13 years. [00:22:54] Track 2: There you go. So they probably an expensive investment to begin with, but man, they've changed riding for you over the [00:22:59] Randall: Yeah, I even run within souls and it makes a world of difference. [00:23:02] Track 2: Same here. And so just to put a bow on, that if you pull a rider's insoles out and marks individual marks from their toes that means that they're calling inside the shoe to try and create stability. That can be solved with proper insoles. Sometimes people have a verus twist to their forefoot. I think I forget what the percentage is. It's approaching half the population has this. I certainly do. And so I put a very thin angled shim under my forefoot. Inside the shoe between the shoe and the insole. And the goal here between all of that is to create so much support for your foot, that you pushed down through the entire sole of your foot. And there's no arch movement. [00:23:41] Everything can just move smoothly. You don't want any kind of tension in the foot, the ankle, the knee to try and stabilize that motion. [00:23:50] Randall: So we've talked about shoes. We've talked about insoles. What's next. [00:23:53] Track 2: And now the last part of that is how does that connect to the bike. So cleats and pedals. If I had to put money on what I'm going to see when someone comes to me for a fit, it almost always includes that their cleats are slid too far forward. We're typically talking about mountain bike shoes for people riding on gravel, so if you look at the underside of your shoes, there's two sets of threaded holes for whatever reason most people put their cleats in the front set of holes and then they might even be slid forward from there because there is some sliding adjustment. If you want a catch all for the easiest thing to do, put them in the rear set of holes and slide them all the way back. [00:24:29] They're very few shoes that actually have adjustment ranges that will allow you to put it back further than is comfortable. And you'll know that you're feel like you're peddling behind the ball of your foot. But even in that case, there's no downside to pedaling from a midfoot position. [00:24:44] But there are a lot of downsides to pedaling with the cleat towards your toes. If you think about it, you don't walk upstairs by putting the tips of your toes on the stairs. Cause that would add all kinds of tension to your calf, just to be able to walk up the stairs. So why do we want to pedal from the front of our foot where we're going to have to tense our calf and our ankle with every single pedal stroke. [00:25:07] It's amazing oftentimes just by moving someone's cleats you'll they'll have a history of calf cramps. Just go away. [00:25:15] Randall: Or tendonitis in the Achilles, which was an issue that I had until I made that adjustment all those years ago. [00:25:21] Track 2: Yup. Absolutely. [00:25:23] Randall: I'd add in addition, this is really why getting the right size shoe is so critical because if you have a shoe that's too big, you're not going to have sufficient rearward adjustability in that clique in order to get this optimal position. [00:25:34] Track 2: Absolutely the longer your shoe is the further forward those cleats go and you can't get them back far enough. And then the last part is the pedals themselves. this is this pretty simple, I always recommend people onto an SPD style nothing wrong with the others that are out there. But the reason that I do, if you look at either the Shimano XT or the XTR pedals, and I have no affiliation with them [00:25:57] They have these two small machined areas on either side of the mechanism on the pedal itself. Those are for the tread of your shoe to sit on. So you actually get a massive amount of contact area. I don't even ride road pedals anymore. Again, I said my gravel bike is my only drop bar bike, but I'll go on 200 kilometer rides with my SPD pedals. Because you're getting such a big bearing surface. It's like you have a big road clean. You're essentially getting the best of both worlds. [00:26:27] Randall: Yeah, I definitely second that the SPD style with a bigger platform to interface with the tread of the shoe is really the way to go. I could see some opportunities to improve on that, but maybe that's something that I explore in the future. [00:26:40] Track 2: I would love to see that. Okay. So those things aren't going to feel like they're super connected, but if you miss that, you're going to have potentially knees wobbling all over the place. You're going to have all kinds of little problems that you may never be able to chase out otherwise. So let's come up with an actionable list as far as what would that process look like? This is something you can do at home. [00:27:03] The very first thing to do would be get your rough satellite correct. In my fit studio, I use motion capture software. I use angle measurement device. I do all kinds of things. All of those line up with the heel method where you need to be balanced against a wall or even better on fixed trainer, but the idea is. Be in the saddle and unclip from your pedal. And now push the pedal all the way till it's at its furthest point away from you at the bottom of the stroke and with a totally straight leg, your heel should just be making contact with the pedal. If you're making firm contact your seat's too low, if you can't touch the pedal, your seat's too high. [00:27:45] And when you get it in that range, what happens is when you bring your foot back to the ball of your foot's on the pedal, you end up with a pretty nice knee bend. So that's a really good starting point. And depending on your flexibility, you can adjust up and down from there, but it's pretty darn easy for anybody to get their saddle correct that way. [00:28:04] Randall: Yeah. I'd like to add to this that it can be good to say backpedal and make sure one, you don't have any leg length discrepancies, but also that you're not rocking your hips or otherwise reaching While you're doing that one legged check. So backpedaling we'll help you to ensure that you really got that dialed as well as possible given the method being used. There's another way that this can be done that I often use in virtual fits, which would be the 92% of barefoot inseam. Again, this isn't gospel. This is just a starting point for getting the appropriate saddle height. [00:28:35] But in this case, barefoot against a wall jam, a hardcover book between your legs firmly so it bumps right up against the bottom of your pelvis, make sure it's square and then take that measurement. and 92% of that would be a rough approximate saddle height. [00:28:48] Track 2: Where would you measure that satellite from, and to when you translated that to the bike? [00:28:52] Randall: So center of the crank spindle, along the seat tube to the top of the saddle. Now as you can see depending on whether the fat saddles more four or more AFT, it's going to change the effective distance to the sit bones, right? So it's not a perfect method. It's no substitute for actually going to a fitter, but it gets us in the ballpark in the same way that the bare foot inseam does and combining these two methods, one can have a nice checking effect on the other. [00:29:20] Track 2: I totally agree. And then we're going to talk about some things too, that should hopefully help you tune in from that standpoint? As far as okay. If I'm experiencing this, what do I do? [00:29:29] So the next step, once we've got the rough satellite, we would want to set rough draft. And if you're doing to the measurement that Randall mentioned, you probably want to do this first. So that, that way you're setting to the same point. Years ago. I'm thinking late nineties, early two thousands timeframe, essentially all the leading minds and fitting. Had this idea that we wanted our saddles as far backwards as we could get them so that we would be able to bear all of our weight on the saddle. And this is a case of where they were thinking in terms of physics, not biomechanics. [00:30:03] That really is outdated. What ends up happening is you're pulling your hips back and you're closing up the angle between your thigh and your torso. Most people don't have phenomenal hip flexibility. And what ends up happening is if you're pushing yourself into the back seat like that, you're closing that angle up and you run out of your active range of motion. [00:30:26] And you end up now starting to stretch your hips with every pedal stroke. And if you've been behind a rider and maybe you've experienced this yourself, but it's easier to see it on someone else. If you're riding behind someone down the road and you watch their knee come out to the side with every pedal stroke. [00:30:43] That's their hip angle being too closed up. Now it could either be that their saddles too low, or what I see very often is that their saddle is too far back. [00:30:52] So if we want a good starting point. Start in the middle of the rails. But be mindful too, of how much setback your seat post has. If you have a seat post with, say 15 to 20 millimeters or setback, you may have to set your starting point pushed forward. I'm finding more and more. [00:31:09] That that most riders are best served with a zero setback seatpost, and when you have that, now the saddle generally falls right in the middle of the rails. Okay, so next step, as you're doing this, don't stress out over your knee- over pedal spindle. One it's pretty darn hard to measure yourself, but two, if you use that as a guiding principle, it will oftentimes push you back too far. And you'll, again, end up with those hip impingement issues. I measure knee over pedal spindle at the end of a bike fit, but I don't drive the fit around it. Whereas years ago you would set everything using that. [00:31:45] Randall: And using and doing it in a way that actually ended up putting more strain on the front of the knee. Used to be you would take a plumb Bob from the front of that bony protuberance just below the knee cap and wanted that to go directly through the center of the pedal spindle. that puts more strain on the front of the knee. The newer thinking on this, which is something I've adopted long ago. And I use in my remote fits is a slightly higher and more forward saddle position opens up the hip, and that ends up putting more of the center of the joint over the center of the spindle. Not that it has to be perfectly there, but that more forward position ends up seeming biomechanically more sound, more comfortable or efficient. [00:32:26] Track 2: Absolutely. And it's, and you're just, you're running into these impingements so much less, so it's much easier to get the pedal over the top of the stroke. It's much easier to get into the downstroke, the power stroke. And we want no dead spots in the peddling. And we don't want to be creating them with some of these artifacts of fit. [00:32:43] And then as far as where your knees are tracking, I mentioned before knees flicking out to the side, that's usually a saddle that's too low or too far back. If your knees are diving to the inside, that's usually Back to support inside your shoes. But don't chase those things with side, decide adjustments on the bike. [00:33:04] Certainly never use adjustments in your cleats to try and constrain your body into a certain path of motion. And on that same idea. We all have a natural stance. Some people their toes are pointed out when they're just standing. Some people, their toes are pointed in. There's no good, bad, right wrong there. [00:33:24] Unless you're trying to force yourself out of that natural stance. So don't say okay, I'm naturally a little bit of a pigeon toed, so I'm going to try and crank my cleats or my adjustment to try and straighten that out on the bike. That's the worst thing you can do, because that is how your body was built. [00:33:41] That's okay. And don't let people say, oh, your heels need to track behind your toes. No, your body needs to track how it naturally does. [00:33:49] Randall: Yeah. And forcing it is really where injuries come into play. [00:33:53] And so having your cleats dials right into the center of the float for that cleat pedal system is ideal. There should be no restrictions whatsoever in your natural motion is essentially what you're getting at there. [00:34:06] Track 2: Okay. We've got the saddle in the right spot. So we'll move on to the front end. And this will set the rough handlebar position. And this is the thing it's. It's very difficult to do by feel yourself. It's much easier if you say film it or have someone take pictures or help you eyeball these things. [00:34:25] What you on the bike? Them standing there. In the terms of our goal for upper body position. No matter how high or low your front end is, we want to get about a 90 degree angle between your upper arm and your torso. Within a gentle bend at the elbows. When you do that, you end up naturally bearing your weight so that your shoulders are being pushed back, your shoulder blades are being pushed together. [00:34:52] This carries your weight really comfortably. You don't have to have tension. You don't have to to engage muscles, to hold yourself there. One of the most common ways I see people go wrong here. Is that if you're feeling, say discomfort in your hands or your shoulders or your neck, They will shorten up their reach and they will sit themselves up higher. And the idea is we're going to get more weight on the saddle. We're going to get weight off our hands. [00:35:19] The problem is not weight in your hands. The problem is how you're carrying that weight. And when you close up that angle between the upper arm and the torso, right? When you take that from 90 degrees and you start shrinking that angle. Now if you picture your arms down more close to your sides, when you push up, push your elbow up. [00:35:39] It's now hunching your shoulders. That's not a comfortable place to be. So what you end up doing is you tense your shoulders and your neck to hold your arms back down. And now try holding that for a couple hours at a time, through bumps and while you're always trying to stabilize a pedal. [00:35:56] And so it becomes this losing battle. Oh, I still have a sore neck and shoulder, so I'm going to shorten it even more. And then it never goes away. In this case, don't be afraid to go a little longer and certainly don't be afraid to go lower. I very commonly lower riders front ends, especially if they've been playing this game, as far as trying to get away from that pressure. What ends up happening is when you move yourself into that position of carrying your arms, your upper arms at 90 degrees. From the torso, all your weight almost feels like it disappears. And if you were to do the physics free body diagram of it, there's more weight in your hands. There's more weight pushing through your arms, but biomechanically you're carrying it in the way your body was designed to carry it. [00:36:42] Randall: And that in turn has an impact also on handling. [00:36:46] Because one, if you're not comfortable, it's hard to handle the bike over a long duration ride. That's one thing. But then too, in terms of the planted ness of the front end, if you're constantly going. More and more upright taking mass off the front end. That can work in a straight line dirt descent, but if you're trying to plant the front end on a high-speed road turn, for example it's exactly the opposite effect that you want. So having your body balanced on the bike, so the bike can dance under you in a way that maintains optimal control is also something that comes into this fit component too. [00:37:15] Track 2: Absolutely. And if I put on my bike skills, coach hat for a moment one thing that I see very often when riders sit too far upright, or they push themselves into the back seat, they extend their arms completely. And what ends up happening is when your arms are totally straight, you can't really lean the bike very well. [00:37:33] You end up having to steer instead, and bikes really are not built to be steered. They're built to be leaned. And then the geometry of the bike takes over and does the appropriate amount of steering itself? So by getting a little bit lower and by getting a nice, comfortable, say, 15 degree bend in your arms, and also, then when it's now cornering time, get that little bit lower. [00:37:57] You now have room to reach and lean the bike, which makes a massive difference in how confident the bike feels. And it will essentially, the way it would manifest itself is if your front wheel is constantly washing out on you, you're steering, not leaning. [00:38:10] Randall: That's a great pointer. Let's continue here. So what else? What's next from here? [00:38:14] Track 2: Okay. So now when we're still on the bars There is an ideal angle for your handlebars, and there's an ideal angle for your hoods. And there are two independent things, meaning just because your bike came, with the hood set at a certain place, the hoods, meaning the shifter brake levers. Just because they came in a certain place and they're all taped up and beautiful and neatly packaged does not mean that someone was thinking about you when they set that up. Most of the time, those hoods are too far down, they're tip too far forward, and what ends up happening then is you have to cock your wrist downward. So it almost be like you're pointing your thumb downward and you're creating this pressure in your wrist. [00:38:57] That is not something you want to be doing for hours on end. And when you're on gravel and you're handling bumps like that, man, that is not fun. It can result in a lot of discomfort. [00:39:07] Randall: Or injury. There's a on the carpal bones at the base of the wrist. [00:39:10] I've definitely made that mistake and had to rotate things back to, to alleviate it. [00:39:15] Track 2: Yeah. So the, if you truly don't feel comfortable on taping your bars, you can roll the bars themselves back, but I'm here to tell you don't be scared of bar tape. It's it's very easy. You actually only have to untape as far as the hoses themselves. And then the hoods just have a simple band clamp that holds them in place. [00:39:34] Bring them up to a point where you can put your hand just naturally falls right onto it. [00:39:40] Don't want to have to cock it up down. What you'll also find too. It because it's now coming up a little bit more. You will have a far more secure grip on it. All of my drop our bikes, just by coincidence, have the SRAM hydraulic levers. They have a big horn on top, that can feel pretty secure. Most of the time. It feels like a joystick. When you have them tipped up like I'm talking about. [00:40:02] But on say a Shimano lever that's got a much more subtle horn. When you're going down bumpy stuff, if you feel like your hands are slipping off the front of the hoods, this will make that go away because you'll bring it up to a place where you're actually catching the web of your hand in that. [00:40:18] Randall: Yeah. And one thing I want to throw out for folks too, is that if you have an existing bike, If you're reaching in order to get your hands into that natural position on the hoods, if you're having to stretch and you find your hands sliding back when you are going in a straight line and relaxing that means your front end is probably too long. [00:40:35] And so that would be one way to get some anecdotal indication that your stem length is off or some other fit parameter is off. [00:40:43] Track 2: Yeah. I would absolutely agree with that. And I see that, like I mentioned, most people come to me on bikes that are on the big side for them. And then their hands, their happy place where they're hands naturally fall, was somewhere between 10 and 30 millimeters behind the hoods. [00:40:59] So you want to adjust where your front end is using the stem. That way the web of your hand every time naturally falls right into the bend of the hood, where you're just naturally locked in there and you're not having to grab the hell out of the bars to have a good purchase on the bike. [00:41:15] Randall: Yeah. And you're not constantly moving your hands back on the bars to, to, get comfortable because the natural position is on those hoods. Cause they're positioned properly. Now. There are some other things that, that people can do to get a more dial fit. And I think especially for smaller riders, one of these things is crank length. [00:41:32] Track 2: Yes. Yes, absolutely. Our traditional crank lengths. I'll just go out and say, if they're too long for most riders And the only reason that this stuff sticks around is because we have not as a community been asking the industry consistently enough for shorter stuff. that's really what it comes down to. And so people don't know that they should be on shorter cranks. I'll give a personal example. I just went down a three week rabbit hole, trying to find a set of 1 65 millimeter cranks for my mountain bike. Partly, I was trying to gain a little bit of clearance off the ground with it because it has a low bottom bracket, but mostly I was trying to smooth out my pedal stroke. And I'm someone, I'm five, 10. I literally am a professional writer. That's what I do for my living. I ride bikes and and yet I was finding that one 70 fives, even with decent flexibility, they were just too long for me. [00:42:26] So I finally found one set and bought them. And man, it is like an instant difference. Pedal strokes, moved out, comfort increased. I can spin up faster. It's mind blowing. [00:42:39] Randall: And I'm going to jump on this this soapbox with you for a moment and just say that. from my perspective crank length is the foundation of fit. Meaning you start with crank length in that circle, you get the foot position dialed, then you get your saddle position, dial and then you get your hands in the right position and that determines frame size and so on. But really that circle that you're spinning in is a key driver and should scale proportionally. Saddle height is a good proxy. So the ratio that we use is a 22%. Ratio of crank length to a properly set saddle height. And that works for the vast majority of people. [00:43:14] Now some people will be concerned about, oh, I'm losing torque. [00:43:16] Every five millimeters at that scale is only a 3% difference in torque, but at the same foot speed, your cadence is 3% higher. So you're not really losing power. Torque is not power. Torque is torque. It's a component of power. [00:43:29] So really this is one of those areas that for riders of our scale, I'm writing one seventies, I think you're writing one 60 fives. It has some benefit. Are you on five 11? You're five, 10. [00:43:40] But for smaller riders, especially a lot of component brands don't even offer anything below 1 65. So just finding something that is proportional scale, I do find it an entirely different vendor and then push them hard to create a whole new tool, to create a 1 55 length crank so that we could accommodate smaller riders properly. And that's really unfortunate because there's a pretty large market for riders who are, five foot. To five six that are not being taken care of currently by the market. [00:44:08] Track 2: No. And unfortunately too, if you don't know any better, you just assume that the bike must come with the appropriate size. So in my coaching, I work with a lot of women and I work with a lot of women who happened to be on the petite side, in the five foot to five, four range. And we've had this conversation and they are very frustrated that their bike, an extra small bike is coming with 170 millimeter cranks. And actually, I was just working with one of my athletes this weekend and she was getting low back pain. And she notices that when she rides the pike with one seventies, she gets a low back pain when she rides pike with one sixties. And I'm sorry, not even one 60 fives. So tiny difference note and we have the Fitz dial. It's really just the matter of that, that longer crank really does push out beyond the natural range of motion. [00:44:57] Randall: Yeah. And this plays into gearing. If you're using a one by drive train, and you're concerned about the jumps if you're using a proportional crank, then you're able to spin at a wider range of cadences more comfortably. And so the concerns with jumps go away. [00:45:09] Also when you're pulling your leg up to go over the top of the pedal stroke you're working against your glutes. And so if your crank links are too long, your glutes are pulling even more against you trying to get your foot over and thus impacting your power over time. So there's a lot of benefits that come from going with proportional and for the vast majority of people. Shorter cranks that I guess I'll step out, step off the soap box. At this point, we can move on to the next [00:45:34] Track 2: No. What I appreciate though, there is like you put your money where your mouth is there on that. In that you actually did go out and develop short cranks, right? You were not satisfied with what was available. You spent considerable time and effort to go out and develop short cranks. Actually, when I was going down that rabbit hole, I was like, God, I should just put thesis cranks on my mountain bike. And the only reason I didn't was because the spindle would not be long enough to fit a boost mountain bike. [00:45:58] Randall: Yeah, I believe FSA does a good job here that they recently released some shorter length crank. So if anyone's looking that might be a good place to start. And now hopefully other brands come around on this as well, because it's a place where a significant gains can be had. So what else would we like to wrap up with here in terms of fit considerations? [00:46:14] Track 2: Yeah. Let's see. It. Even though it does not necessarily determine the geometry of your fit. I think a dropper post actually is a contributor to good fit. Reason being, if you're talking about a gravel bike that you want to be able to handle comfortably, in chunky terrain then. [00:46:31] You don't want to run a lower saddle height all the time with a fixed post, just to have more comfortable handling. It's much better to have a dropper post that you can then push down to an even better position. But then the rest of the time, spin on an optical satellite. [00:46:48] Randall: Yeah. I'll often tell folks who are concerned about the weight that you're adding say three quarter of a pound. to be less than half a percent. and you're gaining by having the appropriate saddle height. You're probably gaining more than that half a percent in terms of efficiency and comfort and the sustainability of being in a given position for a long period of time. [00:47:07] And so it's one of those ways along with certain other, other things, wider rims and so on. Bigger tires were adding weight to your bike can actually improve your speed and your performance. [00:47:18] Track 2: Unquestionably. Yup. I absolutely agree. [00:47:21] Randall: How about saddles? [00:47:22] Track 2: Yeah. Saddle shouldn't hurt, man. And I really mean this to female riders as well, because I think that oftentimes, some dude at a bike shop tells them yeah, it's just how it is. Your saddle hurts. No. [00:47:36] Unquestionably no. And this is from also a medical standpoint too, and an injury standpoint. If you have discomfort that you are enduring for hours on end, that can lead to tissue damage, that can lead to blood vessel damage. No, to not do that. [00:47:52] You don't have to spend a fortune on saddles. What you need to do is find one that works for you. And this is again, another place where your local bike shop can really come in handy. [00:48:03] Saddle right. have demo fleets of saddles where say a company will send them one of every kind of saddle in every width, and you can take that saddle home and ride it for a few days and say, oh, okay. I like this, except it's not wide enough. I like this, except it's not padded enough or whatever those things are. And they can help you tune in so that you're not spending money only to find out that you don't like that. [00:48:30] Randall: Yeah. [00:48:30] Track 2: And just, oh my gosh, the seats that come on, a lot of bikes are oftentimes downright horrible. And do not assume that just because your bike came with a certain seat means that seat should be comfortable for you. This is a case of spend a few bucks and you will change your experience drastically. [00:48:48] Randall: Yes. And the other end here is that if you have a saddle that's not comfortable while it may not be the saddle, there's some adjustments. Some tilt adjustment in particular that may need to happen in order feed a, find your sweet spot on that saddle and the right angle and the like. [00:49:03] Track 2: And those adjustments are really minor. [00:49:05] When I'm doing fits, I actually use a digital level because you oftentimes can't see how fine the adjustments are required to make a change. I'm usually making about a half a degree change at a time. You cannot see a half a degree. If you're making adjustments by eye, you're probably oftentimes overshooting. [00:49:23] Randall: Wide nose saddles. The specialized power was one of the first ones there. back [00:49:42] There's a bunch of different ones out there that are using the same philosophy ours included. And these generally can work for a wide range of riders. And they got their start in the triathlon world where you're in that extreme position for a really long period of time. So comfort is that much more important there, but now you're seeing them adopted, in road, in, in cross and gravel and even in the mountain bike spheres. [00:50:03] Track 2: Yeah. And to that point, I actually ride the exact same saddle on every one of my bikes. Once I found the right one that really works for me, I then put it on every single bike. And that includes mountain bike cyclocross. Gravel bike. Find the right one for you because it's out there. [00:50:19] Randall: What about someone's considering getting a new handlebar for whatever reason, maybe it's comfort or maybe they want to try a new flare so on how do they determine bar with. [00:50:26] Track 2: Okay, so this is super common in the gravel world. I think the easiest way to think of it is you want to match your bars to your shoulder width. You can go wider, I would say up to about 20 millimeters. And that would be the measurement at the hoods, that would be your center to center measurement at the hoods. if you want to measure that, what you would do. [00:50:46] Is put your hand on the outside of your shoulder and you'll feel like you're in soft tissue. And then work your way up, just creep your hand up until you come over and you'll feel all of a sudden, a bony protrusion, you'll feel where your arm goes in. And your shoulder bone comes out. Find that on either side. And have someone else measure that on you. you can't take this measurement by yourself. You want your bars to match that and they can be up to about 20 millimeters wider. [00:51:15] Now I'm sure you've seen all the fashion trends in gravel bars lately. [00:51:21] But what's your take on that? [00:51:22] Randall: wider bars. Um, but But if you're looking for my philosophy with these bikes is I want a bike that is going to perform well on road. [00:51:35] And on dirt. And I don't find that I have any handling deficits, even on the most technical dirt that I can tackle with my six 50 by 47 tires and dropper posts, which is some pretty rough terrain. And. What you gain from going wider is that you have more leverage. But if you are shifting your weight down and back over the rear axle and lightening up the front end while you're reducing the torque loads that are being applied through your steering column by the terrain as you're traversing it. [00:52:05] And so really a dropper posts negates the need to go super wide there. But there were other considerations. Some people just prefer it. That's fine. Wider is better than too narrow is a problem. And then also if you're a bike packing and you want to have a huge bar bag up there that can be another consideration as well. [00:52:20] Track 2: are coming in with really flared bars. [00:52:27] I find that oftentimes those lead to more compromises than they than they help. And I'm talking about bars that are 15 to 25 degrees of flare what ends up happening with that? Or in the drops. [00:52:46] But it's very difficult. And it requires a tremendous amount of iteration to try and get all of the positions on the bars, comfortable with those. And then it also, oftentimes even if you can get it there you're crushing your hands with the brake levers when you squeeze the breaks in the drops. [00:53:02] My personal take, I'm riding bars that are 10 degree flared which is not insignificant. But I think that's about the the widest flare, you can go to have really natural use of all the positions on your bars. [00:53:14] Randall: Yeah. I'm with you there. All right in closing, anything that we didn't cover today that you want to bring up. [00:53:19] Track 2: No, I think we went pretty deep. I hope this spurs a lot of thought and some questions in the community. And then, what I'd like to do is keep the conversation going. Let's all get better at this. together. And what's that's a big part of what's so cool about gravel is that, that growth in the community. Do what I say and you'll be happy. This is let's all learn together. [00:53:45] Randall: Excellent. Can you take a moment, just tell folks where they can find you. [00:53:48] Track 2: I made it super simple recently. It's just coach patrick.bike. And so from there you can find all the different things that I do and and all the social links and you can interact with these super easily through that. [00:54:00] Randall: Yeah, this is the bike fitting. This is the coaching. This is the skills camps. And so on. [00:54:05] Track 2: Absolutely. [00:54:05] Randall: Also Patrick is a member of the ridership, so if you have questions, you can definitely jump in there and we will have the episode posted in some conversation around that as well. So if you have questions or feedback on some of the things that we covered today would love to have you join us in that conversation. [00:54:18] Patrick, thank you very much for joining me today. It's been a pleasure chatting with you and catching up, and I look forward to seeing you this summer and hopefully revising my personal bike fit using your expertise. [00:54:30] Track 2: Yeah. I think we're gonna be able to be together in a month or so. I'm really looking forward to that. [00:54:33] All right. My friend. Be well. [00:54:35] Track 2: you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
Spooky cycles - the return of aluminum gravel bikes with the ROVR
22:20This week we sit down with Adam Eggeberecht from Spooky Cycles to talk about the resurrection of the brand and how modern day aluminum is crafted for gravel bikes. This episode is presented by ENVE. Spooky Cycles The Ridership Support the Podcast
The Gravel Lot - Repost of Craig Dalton interview
1:28:36This week we are republishing an interview from The Gravel Lot podcast where your host, Craig Dalton gets to share a bit of his journey into podcasting and community building with Jon and Doug of The Gravel Lot fame. The Gravel Lot Web Support the Podcast Join The Ridership
In the Dirt 23: First time gravelers, Rooted Vermont, gravel suspension and more
40:06This week Randall and Craig catch up on all things gravel. We discuss introducing friends to gravel riding and events, suspension on gravel bikes and comparative bike geometry. Geometry Geeks Support the Podcast Join The Ridership
Sage Titanium - Dave Rosen Founder / CEO
34:43This week we sit down with Dave Rosen, founder and CEO of Sage Titanium. After connecting at the ENVE Custom Builder Round Up, we sat down to talk about the Titanium Storm King, its performance goals and the multiple finishes that adorned this show bike. This show was presented by ENVE. Sage Titanium Website / Instagram Join The Ridership Support the Podcast Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): ENVESage Titanium [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. [00:00:07] This week on the podcast, we've got Dave Rosen, CEO, and founder of Sage Bicycles out of Oregon. Dave. And I happened to meet at the ENVE builder Roundup, and this is one of five episodes related to the NV Roundup that happened at the end of June in Ogden, Utah. I have to reiterate. If you're known for the company, you keep. [00:00:29] ENVE is known for exceptional relationships. That room was filled with outstanding builders from all over the world that chose to spec their custom creations with ENVE components and parts, including their adventure fork stems bars. And of course their wonderful gravel wheels. If you haven't already followed ENVE on social media channels. [00:00:54] Definitely do. And I highly highly recommend you seeking out imagery from the grow Dio event. So many beautiful bikes, so many beautiful paint jobs really worth looking at and keeping on your calendar for next year. If you happen to have the opportunity to race the grody. Event. It was an amazing ride out of Ogden, Utah. [00:01:18] That really checked a lot of boxes for me. It was both technical and challenging and scenically. Beautiful. Definitely one to have on your gravel calendar for 2022. With all that said let's dive right in to my interview with Dave Rosen, from Sage bicycles. Dave, welcome to the show. [00:01:39] David Rosen (Sage): Thanks Craig. [00:01:40] Craig Dalton: Great to see you. After seeing you in Utah at the ENVE builder, Roundup, what a, what an event. It was. [00:01:46] David Rosen (Sage): It really was fantastic. I had such a good time. It was so much fun. [00:01:49] Just being able to reconnect with friends. Doing industry stuff. Again, it just, it was way too long. And to be able to, meet new customers and that kind of thing, it just, it was just, it was great. And then just riding bikes, it was all about bikes. Just everything we did from to the little short track event, it was a really good time. [00:02:08] Yeah. I thought it was [00:02:09] Craig Dalton: funny that some of the builders were actually taking the bikes they built and racing them or riding them in the grody event. [00:02:15] David Rosen (Sage): The next. Yeah that's what I did with mine. It was just, that's why I brought it. It was it's meant to be written. It's meant to be raced. [00:02:22] Although I really wouldn't classify my writing as racing so much as it was surviving at my own pace. So I can make it back in time for beer. There was a bit [00:02:31] Craig Dalton: of that survival strategy in my day as well, but it was a great reminder and seeing all these great builders that I've wanted to have more of these conversations and particularly excited to talk about Sage Titanic. [00:02:43] So why don't we just start off with learning a little bit more about what led you to start the company and when it was started? [00:02:50] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, so I started the company officially on paper in 2012. My first inventory was produced in 2013. At the time the original intent with the brand was to actually make the frames overseas. [00:03:06] For that in the beginning with the idea of offering a lower cost price point, competitor to what was out there. I knew I wanted to do titanium. It was always about titanium. I've been in love with titanium as a frame material for ever since the eighties, when I would see, titanium, Italian bikes rolling around and, central park, New York city, which is where I'm originally from not central park, mind you, but New York city. [00:03:28] And for me, it was always about Thai, but in this instance, I thought, it might be good to do a price point. And what I realized is over the course of that first year is the quality suffered. And, the reality is you get what you pay for. And yeah, the pricing could be cheap, blah. [00:03:44] There's a reason why it's cheap. And so the quality of the bikes suffered, the stuff we put out was fine, but we had more failures than we had successes. And, we've taken care of all of our customers that have had issues. And then there are others. Never heard from him. Everything's fine. [00:03:59] Wasn't it. Dave, was there a particular [00:04:01] Craig Dalton: style of bike that you targeted at that time? It was a bit early, obviously for gravel in those days in 2012. [00:04:07] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, we did actually a while we did have a road bike it was more about the cyclocross bike and we actually had a commuter bike that would be the precursor to the current gravity. [00:04:20] It was designed around larger tires. Not as massive as what you're seeing today and their geometry was more relaxed than a road bike, similar to a cross bike, but with a longer wheel base. So it really was very versatile and we actually marketed it more as a commuter bike both a drop bar and a flat bar version, basically the same frame, just different builds. [00:04:40] But it showed the versatility of the bike for what it is. Gotcha. So in [00:04:44] Craig Dalton: that first year, you were unhappy with the production partner in China that you had. Yeah. It could very easily have been the end of Sage titanium at that point. But what did you do? [00:04:54] David Rosen (Sage): I basically just stepped back for a moment and analyzed what was going on. [00:04:59] People, customers. The concept of our brand. They liked what we were doing as a small builder, or, the just the ability to offer it's this Oregon, the Oregon brand connection, all that sort of stuff. The bikes were authentic. The designs were good. But it was just, they liked what we were doing, but they didn't necessarily like the maiden China aspect. [00:05:21] And so it really. Yeah, you're absolutely right. We could have folded up right then and there and not known what to do, but instead I made the decision to push forward with maiden USA. And so in 2014 is when I pivoted the brand. And instead of being more of a budget focused, mid tier titanium brand, I was like, we're going all in on the premium stuff. [00:05:43] And that's when we started our relationship with ENVE and instead of buying. Shimano 1 0 5, we're now buying Shimano duress. And it's all carbon this, then it's just, we're going high end and frames are made in USA. That is always the key and being able to push that out and and get that out there. [00:06:00] And then as we've, as the brand has moved along, we've been able to slowly evolve it. So the designs have gotten better. The line has expanded. We found our niche. Gravel bikes in particular. And then the mountain bikes are doing really well for us. But then we've been able to expand with now our finishes. [00:06:16] And so we've been able to continue to evolve the brand over these past from where it started nine years ago, to where it is now, the brands, It's a complete turnaround. Other than the name there, there's not much, that's the same between the two, [00:06:29] Craig Dalton: interesting. So can you talk to the listener a little bit about why you love titanium as a frame material with a particular eye on the gravel market and what makes it a great material for gravel bikes? [00:06:40] David Rosen (Sage): So the reason I love titanium is it was always for me growing up, it was that space, age material, it was the stuff that was used in the space shuttle and, fighter jets and that sort of thing. So it's got this mystique about it, if you will. It was back in the I'm trying not to date myself, but back in the eighties, it was like, It was sexier. [00:07:04] It was it. Wasn't nothing wrong with steel. I love steel. I love aluminum. I love carbon. Everything has its place for where it should be, but the tie bikes back then there was just something mystical about them. You'd see plenty of steel bikes riding around plenty of aluminum bikes, but it was very few titanium bikes. [00:07:22] When you saw one, it was special. And so that always made an imprint on me kind of thing. And that's where I initially fell in love with it. The. What has drawn me to it from a builder standpoint? And the reason why I only focus on titanium is because of the durability of the material. [00:07:38] The the, how far it can bend the fatigue, resistance of the material. If the fact that it's rust-proof it's, I live in the Pacific Northwest, steel bikes are awesome, but they can rust if you don't take care of them. And if you take care of them, they're fine. But if you don't, they can rust titanium. [00:07:55] Doesn't rust. Titanium has a higher fatigue resistance point where you can bend the tube farther in titanium and it'll snap back before it breaks versus steel or aluminum for that matter. So inherently, then it then gives itself this ride quality. Again, maybe this is an old term, but it was called the magic carpet ride because it just smooths everything out. [00:08:19] And it's one of those things that when you're on it, if you ride a carbon bike on chip seal or an aluminum bike on chip seal or even steel for that matter, but then you write a tie, it there's a vibration, but if you ride titanium on chip seal, it mutes it out. It's just, it's really amazing what the material can do. [00:08:36] And the fact that it can be repaired easily. It's the forever bike. You're going to have a tie bike for 20, 30, 40 years. The only reason to change it at some point is just because it's outdated and that's, and even then, that's not really a reason to change it. Cause there's always, the desire to keep those historical bikes. [00:08:55] So yeah, my [00:08:56] Craig Dalton: father's got one sitting in the garage with, I think a mag 21 fork on it and cantilever lever brakes. [00:09:02] David Rosen (Sage): And he'll never get [00:09:03] Craig Dalton: rid of it, a reason for him to replace it, other than he doesn't know what he's missing, because he's never written disc, disc brakes at this point. [00:09:11] David Rosen (Sage): Exactly. But beyond that, it's just, it's a bike he's going to keep, and he's got a lot of good memories for it. [00:09:16] So [00:09:17] Craig Dalton: early it's at Sage, thinking about the cross-market and the commuter market. When did gravel start to become a thing? When did you start to see those trends start to appear and what your customers were asking for? [00:09:30] David Rosen (Sage): I would say I started to see it in 2015 2014 and 2015. So the, our first USA frames were 2014. [00:09:38] We had a road, we had a road frame and a cross. Which we brought up, we improve the designs based on what was originally made in China, made some refinements to it okay, we've took, we've taken our learnings and move forward. The commuter bike we dropped. And it just, it wasn't where I wanted the brand to be it. [00:09:54] Wasn't where I wanted the brand to focus on. And so drop that and just started with the two bikes to begin with. But it left this hole in the line of where I felt we needed to another bike in place to round things out. And my friends and I, at that time would go out on these rides. We take our cross bikes and we were going and doing gravel rides on our cross bikes. [00:10:15] Some guys would use their rode bikes and they, 25 mill tires was considered a fat tire back in 2014 and 2015. And we'd go out and go ride gravel. And, some buy, somebody would get a flat sometimes. You wouldn't and sometimes, we'd get into some gnarly stuff and that's why you wanted a crossbite, cause it had bigger tires, but then the road bikes always beat you to the gravel, and so it was just this weird mix of what's the right bike. And there were quite a few events. Grind Duro is a great example of one where it was very much about choose your weapon. And because there were, there's plenty of paved road and grind. But then there's plenty of crazy stages of, single track and gravel road and what's the right bike. [00:11:01] And so people were bringing all these different bikes and there was no specific bike that you could just point to and go, that's the type of bike I need for this event. And there was, it was a wild west kind of mentality, which is really kinda cool. And I still think the gravel segment the way it continues to evolve. [00:11:18] Exhibits that kind of, bring what, run what you got thing and, and modify what you can, but it was around them that I started seeing that desire for something along those lines. And for me here for where I live in Beaverton, Oregon, which is just outside of Portland, I'm a little west of Portland. [00:11:34] Yeah. There is, there's plenty of good gravel, like 10 miles from my house. So I'm not going to drive to the gravel. I'm going to ride my bike to the gravel. So the initial gravel bike I designed was really around the concept of, I wanted it to be fun on the road. And when I got to the gravel, I could tear up the gravel and then go ride for 40 miles on the gravel and then come back home for a 20 mile paved ride or whatever it was, wherever it dropped me off. [00:12:00] And so that was the Genesis of the first gravel bike. It was, you had to ride it to the gravel. It wasn't, I get people have to drive sometimes, that was the idea. And was [00:12:09] Craig Dalton: that the [00:12:10] David Rosen (Sage): Barlow? That was the Barlow correct. [00:12:13] Craig Dalton: And so what sort of tire size capacity did the bar [00:12:16] David Rosen (Sage): Barlow accept? [00:12:17] It's always accepted 40 millimeter tires. 700. Or six 50 by 50. There weren't a lot of tires in that size when it first came out. I use the ENVE all road fork as the fork of choice for the Barlow, because it was it's designed around a 38, but we can actually squeeze in a 40. So we've done it. [00:12:34] It's certain tires, it works great. Some tires not as great because the fork is designed for what it is. The frame clears a 40 no problem. But it's, the fork is a little bit of a. But we designed the bike around that. And so that gave us the ability to really push the envelope. So where everybody's saying, oh, 30 and 32 millimeter tires of the gravel, I'm throwing 30 fives and who's got the fattest 40 millimeter tire I could find. [00:12:58] And at the time that was great. And so the Barlow was really ahead of the game in that regard. And then [00:13:04] Craig Dalton: subsequently you introduced an, another model, the storm chaser. When did that come into the world? Sorry, storm. Storm king my bad. When did the storm king come into being and what were the sort of the drivers from the industry and riders that you were seeing that said, okay, the Barlow is one thing, but the storm king is going to be this other thing. [00:13:25] David Rosen (Sage): So I, I have a rider I sponsor he's a retired former world tour pro and he. He w he still races for me kinda thing. He does mountain, and he does gravel, and those are his focuses. And he took the Barlow to Unbound before it was relaunched as Unbound when it was DK. [00:13:44] And this was back in 2018, I believe if I remember correctly. And he took the Barlow there and he used, he was using the Barlow and all the gravel events that were popping. And he was encountering challenging terrain would be the best way to put it. Just, big rocks big, just nasty, just eat your tires up rocks kind of thing. [00:14:07] And he came back and he said, okay here's my opinion on everything. We need bigger tires. And I need a little bit more of an upright riding position as opposed to not quite as well. Cause the Barlow is is a little bit more aggressive. It's not as aggressive as our road bike, but it's definitely slacker and a little bit more upright. [00:14:25] But he wanted it even more. And so that was the main driver because it was based on race input. So it was, is doing skull hollow, one 20 and DK at the time were the two big ones, other events, it was working great. But for these other events these, just these handful of them. Where the terrain was nuts. [00:14:44] He said, we need something bigger. And I saw the writing on the wall as there's more of these crazy events that are starting to pop up, we're going to need a bike. That's going to be able to compete in those events. Not just SBT is a great example of the Barlow's perfect Belgian waffle ride. The Barlow works perfect. [00:15:02] It depends on which Belgian waffle ride right now. But anyway, that was the gig. I find that [00:15:06] Craig Dalton: fascinating for someone at that end of the spectrum of the sport, a professional athlete, noting that bigger fatter slacker is actually going to be faster in these events, because I think it is something that the listener can really take away. [00:15:20] It's really easy for you to think, oh, being on one of these road, plus bikes is what's going to make me faster, but in a lot of these events and particularly for the more average athlete who spending a longer time in the center, A more comfortable bike, a more stable bike with buy bigger tires could actually be the bike of choice. [00:15:38] I [00:15:38] David Rosen (Sage): would agree. If you think about it, if you're choosing between a 32 millimeter tire versus a 40 millimeter tire or a 36 and a 50, whatever it may be. And you're thinking the smaller tire is going to be faster because it's less rotating weight and it's going to roll faster for the tread, whatever it may be. [00:15:57] Yeah. You're probably right. How many flats are you potentially fixing and how much time are you going to waste with flats? Whereas the rolling resistance of the larger tires, isn't really that far off of the smaller tires. Yes. You're carrying more weight, but if you have more assurance that you can go faster through the rough stuff without damaging the bike, you're going to be faster overall. [00:16:18] You look at the, you look at some of the pros like Ted king and those guys, I think they're always trying to push as big a tire as they can run without it being. So early slower, [00:16:28] Craig Dalton: that seems to be the trend. And for me, like I'm spending 30, 40% more time out there on these courses than the pro athletes are. [00:16:35] So I've got to think about the general wear and tear. My day is probably more akin to an iron man triathlon than American Don, [00:16:42] David Rosen (Sage): you and me both 12 hour days for you. Exactly. Yeah, me too. [00:16:47] Craig Dalton: So let's talk a little bit more specifically about the storm king and the type of tires it can access. [00:16:52] David Rosen (Sage): So it's designed around a 700 by 50 six 50 by two point. [00:16:58] Oh, I'm sorry. 2.2 is usually pretty good. Because we can make, because we make each storm king individually, one at a time, the customer really has the opportunity to specify, I am going to run this size tire kind of thing, so we can modify the rear end of the. To accommodate the tire, obviously picking the right fork is always key. [00:17:19] Of course. In instances we just had a customer, he sent us the wheel, the full wheel and the tire, and it's okay, great. And then we just, we throw it in the frame and make sure it fits. So this way we can truly customize it to what's the worst case scenario you're going to run on this bike. [00:17:34] Craig Dalton: Do you have a stock chain stay length that on the storm king or does it going to modify based on those criteria that the customer entrance. [00:17:43] David Rosen (Sage): It's gonna, it's gonna modify based on it's this no, no stock chain stay length. It's gonna modify based on the based on the wheel size, the tire size and actually the drive train and the dry train specifically. [00:17:57] So is it GRX? Is it Eckhart? Is it force wide? Is it Altegra stuff like that kind of thing? All of those factors we actually play in to to designing the chain, stay length because if you get it wrong and you make it too short, you run into clearance issues that it's you're stuck, but if we know what you want going into it, we can build it specifically. [00:18:19] And we really we're dialing in the process. We continue to do it every day or making it, [00:18:23] Craig Dalton: That might be a good segue into just describing for the listener. What does that customer journey look like if they want to get on a storm king, what does the process look like? How long does it take to get one? [00:18:34] David Rosen (Sage): So the process usually begins with the customer, listening to this podcast, seeing a review online or an ad in a magazine or something along those lines. And then pretty much reaching out through the website is usually how it works. It's very rare. As crazy as it sounds that somebody will buy a bike, sight unseen through the website, it happens, but it's, a complete stock build. Here you go. This is what I want. And that sort of thing. That's, it's rare because this is a very personal purchase. And so usually the customer is going to reach out through the contact form on our website. [00:19:10] Usually usually it's me who is responding, but it could be one of our other folks here. But nine times out of 10 it's usually me that everybody's speaking to. And they'll reach out through email, I'll respond back and we start a dialogue and it could be a case of let's get on the phone and talk it through and what's understand what the build is you're looking for. [00:19:30] And we can really customize the spec and the bill. You know of the complete bike. Some customers are only looking for a frame or a frame set, and that's fine too. And it's, let's go through the specs of that. And the process is quite a bit of email quite a bit of phone calls if needed. When the customer's ready to move forward, they put a deposit down and then the design process begins. [00:19:51] Usually if the customer has a fit that they've done recently and they want to use those fit numbers, then we use. If they're here local in Portland, then we have them see our fitter and we get, they get a professional fit done. And if they want to come into town, I've had a couple people actually fly in from Northern California, for example and have fits done here. [00:20:10] And then I get the numbers and, go to town on designing the frame and lead time on frames right now, I'd say is about four months from when we actually, when the design is. So that doesn't include the lead time. It doesn't include the time that we spend talking prior to and dialing in all that sort of stuff. [00:20:28] When the design is handed off to my welder right now, we're at about a four month lead time for framework. [00:20:34] Craig Dalton: Are there limitations in terms of the areas of the bike that can be customized? Head tube, size, top tube lent anything that's off the table or is everything on [00:20:42] David Rosen (Sage): the table now everything's on the table. [00:20:44] I've had one or two customers that have been very vocal about, I want the head tube to be this, and I want this to be the seat angle and that sort of thing. And it's a process we go through and I'm more than happy to accommodate the customers if they're, sure. That's what they want kind of thing. [00:20:59] But usually it's a case of, if I get your X, Y coordinates from your fit, I'm going to build you a storm king. And that's what it's going to be. If you want something that's completely dead. I'm working on an iron man bike for somebody right now. And that's a totally different bike than anything we offer. [00:21:15] So then that's much more of a personal process of what are you looking for and how do you want it to be, rather than I know what I want the storm king to be, and I'm going to make a storm king that fits you. Gotcha. [00:21:25] Craig Dalton: Let's talk about that. Beautiful storm king. You brought to Utah, it had a lot of different finishes on it. [00:21:31] It did. Really and is that is for, we didn't have paint on it as well. It had cerakote. Okay. So let's go through, I think it's amazing that the number of options you offer and certainly the execution on that bike I'll post a picture of it because it was beautiful. Everybody needs to look at it, but let's talk about the different options for finish on a titanium frame. [00:21:50] David Rosen (Sage): We have four different options. We let's see, let's start with the standard finish that you see on most of the bikes on the website is our brushed finish. It's a raw titanium. It's very silvery looking. It's shiny. It's great for just durability. If you scratch it, you can take a Scotch-Brite pad and little shoeshine motion, then you can buff it out. [00:22:12] It's a great it's a great finish and it's just the classic titanium finish. That's finished. Number one, finish number two is bead blast where we basically put the frame in a giant cabinet, if you will, a sealed cabinet and we shoot it with a what's called media and media can be anything from glass beads to Walnut shells. [00:22:33] It just depends on what. And it, it impacts the frame and it changes the appearance and the finish and the texture of the frame itself. It doesn't damage the frame in any way, but it changes the finish. So a bead blast is usually a it's just, it has a different look to it. It's more of a dull look to it from there. [00:22:53] We then start getting into colors and that's where we've really exploded this year for the options and the custom work that we've been doing. If you look through our social media feed and as well as our custom page, we have a custom bike page where every custom bike gets a photo shoot and we do all that sort of stuff. [00:23:08] You can see the differences, but we've been doing a lot more with cerakote and with anodize for the frames anodize is if you seen the Chris king parts, they're blue they're purple. They're good. That's all anodized aluminum kind of thing. It's dipped in a bath. That's electrified. It comes out at a certain voltage. [00:23:26] It gives you a color. [00:23:27] Craig Dalton: I think it's interesting David to drill into. I've seen some super intricate anodized look. Unlike the Chris king headset, which is, orange or red or whatever they do, you seem to have a technique in which you've got the titanium frame, which is maybe the, the brush titanium or whatever, and then small areas that are animated. [00:23:45] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah it's just a matter of the artwork that we do every custom frame that we do short of it just being, I just want logos done, but if there's artwork involved I have a graphic artist on staff. It has been in the art world for quite some time. He's a cycling buddy of mine. We've known each other for years, but he's an artist, a true artist kind of thing. [00:24:06] Like he does art shows and all that sort of good stuff. And he designs all the bikes. So every single bike is never repeated. Each individual bike is a rolling piece of art. If you want the bike, you're seeing the show bike that we have on the website, I can do something similar, but it'll never be that again. [00:24:23] It'll be it'll be sister bike. It won't be an identical twin kind of thing. But yeah we get a little crazy with the finishes that we do. And then we mix all of that in with Sarah code, which is we've. We been using paint, wet paint for quite some time. And paint's awesome. It, you can color match with it and we still do wet paint. [00:24:41] If a customer requests it, you can color match very specifically. To a specific item. If you have it, you can mix colors and that sort of thing. What we found with paint though, and with gravel bikes in particular, is it's not as durable as we would like. And the problem is that if you get a rock strike on your titanium, gravel bike with paint it is possible. [00:25:02] It could chip. And so that's not really an ideal situation. So we switched to cerakote, which is a ceramic coat. That's cured onto the frame and it's actually used on guns tanks, rocket parts, jet fighters. As whenever you see the paint that's on these vehicles and these, munitions, if you will that's cerakote and it's super resistant to heat damage from any sort of debris flying out of it. [00:25:29] I Heck if somebody can shoot a gun at a tank and the, the tanks spine cause of the Seroquel. That sort of thing. I'm pretty confident the bike is going to be okay from a rock strike. And and yeah, our painter is able to actually mix all of these all of these four different finishes together. [00:25:44] And we're able to make these incredible bikes of just total variety of just really just pushing them. The [00:25:51] Craig Dalton: cerakote was the one I was least familiar with. And a couple of builders were using it out there in Utah at the end of the builder Roundup. How has it actually applied? Is it applied like a paint or a [00:26:02] David Rosen (Sage): no it's more of a paint it's sprayed on. [00:26:05] So there is a masking process that goes on. The masking actually takes the most time for the bike itself for the actual paint work to be done. And basically once the bike is massed up, you pretty much split. As, you peel off the layers and as you spray it and that sort of thing. And then when all is said and done, you cure the bike it goes into an oven to cures and it can be sprayed in the morning, cured by lunch and ship out in the same day in the afternoon. [00:26:30] And it's done. Like you don't have to worry like the paints, soft, or it needs to still time just it's ready to ship. So it's pretty crazy. And it's super. And is [00:26:39] Craig Dalton: it something that you can apply, in almost any design on the bike to any part of the bike, [00:26:44] David Rosen (Sage): just about any design? It's really the limitation of the, of my artist and of the painter and being able to mask it. [00:26:51] Sometimes there are issues with tube shapes and that you're people thinking, people think of art and they think in a two dimensional sense as a flat canvas and the arts applied to it. But the reality is bicycles are three-dimensional rounded. There is no hard point to start and stop here and there. [00:27:10] So sometimes you have to make decisions and you have to make choices about how the artwork is going to lay on the frame itself. Because sometimes it may not work even the best intentions. It's eh, just not going to look right. And the tubes aren't exactly large like a canvas. So you have to think those things. [00:27:28] Yeah. I think that's [00:27:29] Craig Dalton: The value in having. Artists be also a cyclist. They understand how the bike is constructed and the tube shapes and everything and also how it plays out, how it's going to look visually from within a Peloton to out there on the gravel road. [00:27:42] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, absolutely. [00:27:43] No he's fantastic about making the bike stand out for sure. And this particular show bike is I think it's, I think it's one of my favorites, period. There are some others that we've done that are pretty amazing as well. It would be hard honestly, to stack them all up next to each other and pick one. [00:27:59] So it's a rough thing. So I'll take this one for right now and go. This is my favorite for the time being nice. Are [00:28:05] Craig Dalton: there other trends in the gravel market that you're looking forward to exploring? [00:28:09] David Rosen (Sage): I think I'm interested to see where suspension goes. It's I'm not saying I'm fully. [00:28:17] Committed to suspension and I think it should be on all bikes. I think it's certain applications in certain arenas and I don't necessarily think it should be a mountain bike fork. For example, that's just slimmed down. I think it needs to be its own technology because I think gravel is different. And I think there needs to be different engineering behind the design of the fork itself. [00:28:40] It needs to be lighter. It does need to be sexier. And it needs to, it's minimal travel. We don't need, you don't even need a hundred millimeters. Yeah. Travel for a gravel bike. It's, at some point again, I always go back to the original. My Barlow of you have to ride, you could ride from your house on the pavement to the gravel ride back to the pavement, ride back home. [00:29:00] So the bikes should be able to handle both. Other than that, if it's just only good off road, then it's really a drop bar mountain bike at that point. I'm interested to see where that goes. I think dropper posts will continue to I think that's more of an immediate trend that's coming. [00:29:16] I just, I see the value of it and, I saw it a grow DEO. There were guys that were just bombing down those descents baby head rocks, and just blasting down them on 50 mil tires and the dropper posts because they got the saddle out of the way. And it. It, it does add to the capability of the bike. [00:29:32] And then when we got out on the road, they pop the seat back up and everything was fine. Yeah. [00:29:36] Craig Dalton: That was my technique. I knew I was going to get gapped off on all the climbs, but I had a hope, I had a hope if I rode my bike card with that dropper post down on the dissents, but I might just bridge back up to the group that just dropped me. [00:29:47] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, exactly. No, it [00:29:49] Craig Dalton: works great. I too. And the listener well knows. I'm fascinated by the idea of suspension in ground. All your points are spot on. It's going to have to be this delicate balance, to not take away the capabilities. We're not trying to build mountain bikes here. They still need to be bikes that can get fast on the road, but to each their own in terms of gravel, right? [00:30:09] We've got listeners all over the world whose experiences are dramatically different. And what I hope is that it just becomes this type of thing, where you look at someone who has a more aggressively set up gravel bike. You just understand that's probably what they have in their backyard and someone who's, riding the Barlow with 30 twos on it, that could be totally capable. [00:30:30] It could be overkill for the types of gravel roads they ride, but to each [00:30:34] David Rosen (Sage): their own. Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. It's, it's we see the same sort of thing with mountain bikes. There's this trend towards not a trend. It's here. I wouldn't call it a trend and I'm a big fan of it. [00:30:45] Big hit long travel bikes with slack, that angles that basically five years ago were downhill bikes. And now they're single crown and Duro bikes. And guys are, we're doing, I'm doing crazy jumps on the weekends and all that sort of stuff, but does the person in Florida, for example or Texas where it's pancake flat for the most part and I'm sure there are technical steep places where you need it. [00:31:07] So I apologize. Not, I'm not trying to characterize the entire state that way, but generally speaking Florida is pretty flat. So do you need a long travel, slacked out bike? Probably not thing. And to your point about the gravel, there's places where that, a 32 mil tire is going to be perfect there, and there's other places where a 50 mil tire and it's their backyard. [00:31:28] So yeah, I would totally agree with that. [00:31:30] Craig Dalton: You'll start to get that feedback next season in 2022 for people running time. Front suspension, forks on their bikes. And it would be curious to see, much like your professional athlete gave the feedback that ultimately led to the storm king. We may see that feedback coming back saying having a little bit of suspension on the front simply makes the bike faster. [00:31:52] And if it's faster, people are going to go for it from a race perspective. [00:31:56] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, no, I would agree. At some level it is 1990 for mountain bikes. But at the same time, it's the gravel bikes of today are far more capable than those. What were mountain bikes back then? And it's pretty impressive with how the bike is evolved. [00:32:10] Yeah, I totally [00:32:11] Craig Dalton: agree with you. I had that same feeling back in the early nineties around mountain biking that every year, every month it seemed like a new idea was being put forward and people were testing and learning and it took, it was this great and super enjoyable journey. If you were involved in it to watch it out. [00:32:28] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, no, absolutely. It was a lot of fun. And it's, I think gravel is going through the same sort of, evolution [00:32:34] Craig Dalton: actually. We're all here. We're all listening. We're all involved the communities as all eyes on the innovation. Super exciting time. I appreciate you joining me today, Dave, and giving us a little more of an overview, a deep dive into Sage titanium. [00:32:48] I loved the work that you showed in Utah, and I wish you all the. [00:32:52] David Rosen (Sage): Thanks. I really appreciate it. This was a lot of fun. Thanks for having me. [00:32:55] Craig Dalton: Cheers. [00:32:56] Big, thanks today for joining us this week, I have to say, I really do love that storm king. It takes a lot of boxes for me, the finished work was beautiful. The clearances are right up my alley, and I think it would be a hell of a lot of fun to ride that bike. Also another big, thanks to ENVE for sponsoring the podcast this week. And for sponsoring this entire series, it's really been a pleasure. Getting introduced to a lot of their partners around the world, looking through their componentry and touring their factory. I've mentioned it on earlier podcasts, but I was very impressed with the amount of testing they do. In-house and just the fabrication process in general, in Ogden, Utah, the attention to detail. [00:33:40] The passion of the employee base. And everything about ENVE's work there in the United States just really makes me happy. So be sure to check them out. [00:33:49] When you support our podcast partners, you're supporting the podcast itself. [00:33:53] I wouldn't be able to continue doing what I'm doing without their support. [00:33:57] And I wouldn't do this without your support. The gravel community has been super embracing of what I've been doing. [00:34:03] And I've loved getting to know some of you in in-person events. But more broadly through the ridership community. If you're not already a member of this free community, just visit www.theridership.com. We'd love to have you. And if you're interested in supporting the podcast further, please visit buy me a coffee.com/the gravel ride. [00:34:24] There's any number of ways in which you can support what I'm doing here. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels