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Podcast: Has the bike industry reached peak gravel?

It's been a big week in bike tech, giving the Geek Warning crew plenty to discuss.

Hoo boy, it’s been a big week in tech, and our resident geeks had a lot to talk about.

It was just a matter of time before Cervelo jumped into the e-bike market, and that day has finally come with the new Rouvida. The same frame is used for two road and two gravel models, but Cervelo has incorporated flip chips in the front and rear dropouts to adjust the geometry accordingly. Despite the sizable battery hidden away inside the down tube, the carbon fiber frame looks pretty good, too – not entirely unlike Cervelo’s original Soloist Carbon, in fact. All versions are powered by Fazua’s Ride60 mid-drive motor for smooth and quiet running, and James has just received a gravel test sample so stay tuned for a proper review in the weeks ahead.

Looking for some marginal gains on your SRAM Transmission-equipped mountain bike? CeramicSpeed has released a new version of its OSPW oversized pulley cage assembly with 14T upper and 20T lower pulleys, smooth-running hybrid ceramic bearings, and a novel self-cleaning design. But while the eye-watering price is getting all the attention, what you might really want to think about is the lifetime warranty.

Fulcrum’s new Red Zone Carbon+ mountain bike wheels tick a lot of boxes: low weight, an inventive rim design that supposedly produces perfectly even spoke tensions, a solid outer rim wall for easy and reliable tubeless setup, and low-friction adjustable angular contact hybrid ceramic bearings. The pawl-type rear hub engagement is on the slower side, though. Does that matter? Maybe – or maybe not. It depends.

Gravel bikes have unquestionably been the hot segment of the bicycle market for the past several years, and the progression in the product has been astronomical. But with such a narrow gap between road/all-road bikes and XC mountain bikes to fill, how much space is there really for innovation? Not that it’s at all a bad thing to reach this level of maturity this quickly, but have we already hit peak gravel?

The geeks are rarely in agreement over everything, but in our Pick One! segment this week, there’s surprisingly little debate among us when it comes to our favorite mountain bike pedals.

James just received a bike he’s especially excited to test, and it’s also one of the least-expensive ones he’s tested, too: Trek’s entry-level Marlin 7 aluminum hardtail. It might not be fancy, but it’s arguably far more important than any bike that costs ten times as much.

And finally, Wiggle has dramatically contracted its business, the MADE handmade bicycle show has also announced its dates for the 2024 event, Strava has launched a new direct messaging functionCampagnolo is out of the World TourAg2r moves to Van Rysel bikesTotalEnergies is now on Enve, and Bora is supposedly switching to SRAM components.

You can listen on iTunesSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Or click play below.

Of course, we have more over on the whole Escape Collective podcast network.

Timestamps:

3:24 – Cervelo’s new Rouvida e-bike looks pretty good
9:40 – CeramicSpeed is coming for your Transmission rear derailleurs
18:03 – Are Fulcrum’s new Red Zone Carbon+ XC mountain bike wheels fast (engaging) enough?
23:09 – Has the bike industry reached peak gravel in terms of product development?
31:55 – Pick One!
38:12 – Cheap bikes are good
42:40 – Wiggle’s mighty fall from grace
44:22 – MADE is coming back for 2024!
45:27 – Strava is sliding into you DMs
46:33 – Pro team sponsor musical chairs

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