Monday, December 10, 2012
What we will be riding in 2016.. Zipp, ENVE, HED, Neuvation, Reynolds, Cole, Mavic, Stan's, Continental, Vittoria
Let's look at some seemingly independent trends in tires. First off, fat is where it is at. In Europe they have been on 25mm tires for years, scoffing at our obsession in the USA with 23mm wide tires. At first it was just the big guys, but by now you've read the facts on rolling resistance and stability on corners, and everyone is going for wider tires. 25 is the new 23.
The second trend is strikingly similar to the first; wider rims. 19mm is out, 22 and 23mm are coming in. For reasons I cannot fathom, nobody is offering an aluminum rim that I can lace to a Classic 32 hole Chris King hub. I'm thinking that the company that offers a wider version of the classic Mavic Open Pro or the DT Swiss RR 465 that is available in a variety of drillings will corner the market. Neuvation offers a 24 spoke rear wheel with a 23mm wide rim, but I haven't seen the rim offered as a standalone product.
The third trend is the move toward tubeless road wheels. It makes so much sense we wonder why it took so long. The only thing holding this back is that the rims that Stan makes are so prone to cracks it isn't funny. I know other companies are making tubeless wheels, but only Stan is betting his company on tubeless. The other thing holding us back is the complete lack of 25mm wide tubeless tires. Because of this, tubeless may be the future, but it sure isn't the present.
Cyclocross has a trend as well, Disc brakes. But wait, I want wider (22-23mm) tubular rims with discs. I know my current set up will be passé in just a season or two at most. Cyclocross is a bit of a wild hare anyway, so we'll just keep that discussion on the shelf for now.
Here in 2012 I don't want to find myself feeling like George Hincapie at Paris-Roubaix. George rode carbon wheels on the cobbles before almost anyone else. What did he get for his troubles? A broken wheel and another year spent thinking, "what if?" Then he rode a Trek bike with a carbon steerer only to come to the same conclusion (along with a broken clavicle). The idea was right; the technology just wasn't mature enough
Here we are with some companies focusing on wider rims, some focusing on tubeless and some spending all their energy just copying each other. What we need is some forward thinking.
In 2016, or maybe before, there will be 23mm wide rims with 24, 28, 32, and 36 hole drilling that are tubeless ready, just waiting for any of the awesome selection of 25mm wide tubeless tires available from all the top tire manufacturers. When that happens I'll buy new wheels for Hottie and my road bikes. Until then I'll just watch those guys keep scratching their heads and wait until they get there.