By David DeRosa
Erik Leamon spoke to CAB members and guests at Bears Den on Tuesday, January 7th. He addressed the latest technology across the various biking platforms – road, mountain, gravel and eBikes. This bike talk is becoming an annual event among area cyclists. CAB members and guests fellowship to discuss what’s happening on the bike scene while eating pizza provided by CAB.
Disc brakes, once reserved for mountain bikes for their superior breaking, are showing up on road and gravel bikes. Not only are they showing across platforms, the breaks themselves are becoming more advanced, with cables being replaced with hydraulic fluid. With more disc brakes, we are seeing the need for “through axels.” Through Axels create a more precise and secure mounting which ensures proper alignment for the disc brakes. For an article that explains the pros and cons between rim and disc brakes, read this article.
For years, tubeless tires have been used on MTB bikes, but are now showing up on road and gravel bikes. Without a tube to pinch when you hit a rock or landing a jump, tubeless tires allow you to keep riding. They also allow you to ride with lower tire pressure for more traction on MTBs and more comfort on the road.
A Long Time Coming
Electronic shifting first arrived on the biking scene in 1990; however, it took almost 20 years before it became commercially available (reliable) with Shimano’s Di2 in 2009. Other manufactures followed years later. It is amazing technology but just now becoming more common place. For a history of the evolution of electronic shifting, read this article.
Shifting to E
e-Bikes represent another significant evolution in biking. Like electronic shifting, it has taken years of engineering to research and development. e-Bikes can be the equalizer between two riders where one is a stronger rider than the other, allowing them to go farther together. As with a lot of technology, e-bikes will likely become lighter and more economical with time.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough…
Mountain biking is really growing in popularity as riders are looking for ways to avoid sharing the road with motorists. Here in Arkansas trail development has grown tremendously. MTB technology is also growing. We are seeing wider handlebars that offer benefits from more comfort to improved balance and torque. Off-road rides are improved with shocks with longer travel. Travel refers to the amount of compression and rebound of the shock. In other words, the distance from standing position to compressed. Bigger tires are also improving the comfort and performance.
Best of both worlds
Gravel bikes are the latest breed of commercial bikes. They often look just like a road bike except with bigger tires. These bikes, like MTBs, are giving riders a way to get off-road and avoid motorists while also getting the longer distances that road riders love. A nice feature of gravel bikes is that you can swap out the larger gravel tires for road tires which give you the option to use your bike for both road and gravel.
As Conway grows, interest in cycling grows as well. Bike technology grows too. There are so many positive aspects, so join the Conway’s growing cycling community. Find a group, find a ride, find a bike platform that suits you and get out and ride.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955), physicist who developed the general theory of relativity