Thursday, November 13, 2008

Grumpy retro grouch post of the week

Some of you who are bigger bike-tech geeks than I (and not surprisingly, that's a lot of you) have already read about this:
SRAM to launch 10 speed MTB group

Rant mode on...

-If you want something to be lighter, stronger, and more reliable, you generally avoid making it more complicated. Why not put 7 or 8 speeds on, with super thin lightweight cogs and chain, and reduce the width of the cassette, allowing us to build a stronger rear wheel at the same time?

-In the same vein, the system will apparently (according to, anyway) be a 2x10 setup. Now, if you want a lightweight drivetrain, which do you think would work better:
1. Subtract the granny gear (maybe 35g with bolts). Your lowest gear is now 29-30x34
2. Keep the granny gear and use a ROAD CASSETTE AND (triple) DERAILLEUR. This will save a solid 150g, or more (depending on the exact cassette and derailleur), and provides a super tight gearing setup for those who want closely spaced gears. Best of all, you've got a 22x23/25/27, depending on the road cassette you pick. And less derailleur cage flopping around on the back, too.

-I've seen a decent number of bent large cogs and plenty of broken chains on 9 speed - I can't wait to see how an even thinner set of cogs and chain will hold up. Brilliant!

-Nothing like making the rear shifting even more finicky and susceptible to small cable tension probems.

-Did anyone really notice much when we went from 8 speed to 9 speed (or 9 to 10 on the road)? I certainly didn't start crushing my old record times or winning races... funny.

So to sum up: 10 speed is stupid. But people will probably buy it anyway, just like they'll buy the Campy 11 speed nonsense. Unless they can't afford a $4k grouppo on their streetcorner pencil-selling gig. Which is looking more and more likely as a career for lots of us these days...


evan said...

I think we have a case of the industrial tendency towards quantity, cause quality is too expensive, and doesn't sell as much. Maybe it's the same reason the Patagonia store folds and stuffs their tough threads into cubbie holes, while the weight weenie apparel(the stuff that is more likely to need frequent replacement) hangs proudly in front. It's all aboot big business.

Cranky said...

I completely agree, Walt. 11? That's dumb. 10 on the mtb? Well, the singlespeeders seem to be doing fine, and I have nominally 27 speeds total. I don't use those as it is. 3x7 would probably suffice. I'm a medium to bad rider as it is, and I hereby posit that skill, technique and strength have a lot more to do with a good ride than gearing. Ie, I ride a sh_tbike badly and still do alright. I can't imagine Geoff Kabush would have won Olympic gold if only he had the 10 speed.

Steve Z Photography said...

Oh god I'm officially an old retro-grouch.

10sp MTB = Dumb