Hey folks! Here is my report from Frostbike 2011 in regards to gravel grinder type bikes and equipment that might be of interest. First up is Salsa Cycles, who do support gravel grinding in a big way, so make sure you check them out for your next bike.
The Salsa Cycles Vaya comes in two colors for 2011. In the complete, or frame only you have the Vaya in orange as shown here, or.....
All these should be available in 2011, (the orange is coming in any day now).
Here's a better look at that gray-ish charcoal Vaya color. It goes nuts in the sun, let me tell ya!
And a better look at the orange color for the Vaya. I love that woodcut look with the pepper.
Salsa Cycles should have all the racks in very soon. Minimalist racks are already out there. Check with your local Salsa Cycles dealer for more.
All City, another QBP brand, has already been getting some raves on the "Nature Boy" cyclo-cross bike which is becoming a favorite for some gravel grinder folks. Now they've upped the ante with a Columbus tubed Nature Boy in a classy looking paint job. This new model will have a PressFit 30 bottom bracket, and has claimed clearances for up to 38mm tires. The fine looking red steed in the backround is All City's road bike which also features bigger tire clearances.
All City also has this 700c based "fixed gear free ride" bike called the "Def Wish". You might be wondering, "Why would Gravel Grinder News care about this?" I would answer, "Scorcher, dude!"
In fact, All City's Jeff Frane mentioned that a Def Wish with lighter tubing, bottle mounts, and a couple other mods might be on the way sometime in the future. Ultimate gravel grinder fixie/single speed? Could be.
You can check out All City and their products here.
Finally, on the bike side, Civia Cycles, (yes- another QBP brand!) has a cool rig called the Kingfield.
I spoke with the Civia folks about it and they hadn't really thought of their bike in that vein, but said it makes sense. With stable geometry and tire clearances for up to 42's without fenders, I think that it is really dialed. What's more, you have a trick drive train set up in the belt drive with a bar end shifter on the drops. Canti brakes are light and work just fine for gravel riding in most situations, plus a belt may avoid getting gunked up with dust and chewing up a drivetrain. Hmm...
Look for a possible test on this rig in the future. No promises, but we are talking....
Tires: With commuter tires being the rage now with manufacturers, a lighter, performance tire with high TPI casing and high tech puncture resistance is hard to come by. Nothing new on the horizon out there right now. I will tell you that tire prices are set to go up by double digit percentage rates from all manufacturers this season, so if you need tires........
Wheels: Velocity has a cool new wheel set available in the A-23. It features a slightly wider rim that supports tires better, and comes in three levels as a pre-built from Velocity U.S.A, or you can get rims in 28, 32, and 36 hole drillings and have an excuse for a wheel building party. In talking with the Velocity folks, one of the guys slipped up and told me he put rim tape in a A-23 for tubeless use. Hmm...... While not an "official endorsement", by any stretch, it does make one think, doesn't it?
Look for more on the A-23 here soon.
That's a wrap on Frostbike 2011!