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 2×10 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 29-30×34
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 22×23/25/27, 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…