Ask MBT

By MBT Staff

Question of the Month

Dear MBT:

What ever happened to those egg-shaped cogs that supposedly made pedaling more efficient from the 80s? I think Shimano made them.

Thank you,
Colton Dowery


Colton,

You're right on- those ovalized chainrings made famous by Shimano were called Biopace and while the science behind them was never strong enough to convince all riders, they did hang around for quite a few years. They aren't manufactured anymore but that doesn't mean development of oblong chainrings has ceased.

You may want to check out a company called Absoluteblack - they have been producing an oval chainring that's been getting some decent reviews. It's not quite as egg-shaped as the old Biopace but the company claims running them will improve traction, reduce stress on riders' knees and net more speed per revolution when compared to a a traditional ring.

Best of all because the rings can be produced with numerous mounting patterns, they'll work with just about any crank you're running.




Dear MBT:
Well it finally happened. This was the year I was going to finally upgrade my late 90s 26”-wheeled trail bike and I literally could not find a modern day equivalent. The closest I could find for my budget was a hardtail 27.5”. Are the 26ers really going extinct?

-Richard Kline

Richard,

As much as it pains us to admit it, it certainly looks that way. CG talked about this very subject last issue in his Das Rant column. The more wheel sizes introduced (and lately there are many), the farther out to the fringes it's pushing yesteryear staples, the 26” and 29” wheels.

Sometimes we feel like our editorial staff is one of the last great 26” trail bike holdouts but even we see the writing on the wall. The 27.5” wheel is steadily becoming the standard.

Dear MBT:
Just a word of warning to anyone out there buying into the hype that 1x drivetrains are the end-all, best thing ever invented. I've got almost a full season under my belt since the conversion and find that I'm constantly pushing harder gears. Maybe some people won't see this as a bad thing but this is definitely one of those things nobody seems to mention beforehand. Let your readers know, there will be a whole lot less spinning happily up steep grinders if they go 1x.

-Jimmy Adatountus

Thanks Jimmy

You just let our readers know for us.

Dear MBT:
TMF Group brand ambassador, Sir Ranulph Fiennes has just returned from climbing Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe. He has already successfully summited Mount Everest in Asia (2009) and Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa (2004) as well as reaching both the North and South Poles by crossing the Antarctic continent and the Arctic Ocean.

In a race to secure the record before anyone else, the 72-year old will climb four more mountains in less than a year; Mount Carstensz in New Guinea (Australasia), Mount Vinson in Antarctica, Aconcagua in Argentina (South America), and finally Denali, the highest peak in North America and one of the world's most dangerous and difficult mountains to climb.

Sir Ranulph's progress, photos and videos related to the Global Reach Challenge can be tracked on a dedicated website, http://www.tmfglobalreachchallenge.com available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Sir Ranulph outlined his reasons for undertaking the challenge: “In 2009, I was the first person to complete what was then The Grand Slam, which was, and was established in the New York Explorers Club and everywhere else, as being the first person to cross the Arctic Ocean, on the surface of the Arctic Ocean, and the Antarctic Continent, and the highest mountain, Everest – known as the third Pole.

“However, I then learnt that the goal-posts had been moved by the global adventure community. And now The Grand Slam has been expanded so that it is the Arctic, the Antarctic and, not just Everest, but the highest mountain on all seven continents.”

Along with the goal to achieve the world record, Sir Ranulph is also on a mission to raise funds for Marie Curie, a UK-based charity that provides vital care and support to people living with a terminal illness and their families, across the country.

“Climbing four mountains in a short space of time will definitely be a challenge,” explained Fiennes. “Especially Denali in Alaska, which only had an 18% success rate during this year's season. However, with local expertise and know-how, I would really like to have a go as this endeavor also raises money for Marie Curie – a very worthwhile cause.”

The Global Reach Challenge is financially sponsored by TMF Group, a leading provider of global business services that specializes in helping companies to expand into new territories and invest across international borders.

Fiennes went on: “Our sponsor is TMF Group who, for any company or even individual who wants to set up in remote areas or expand their company, has the expertise of dealing with local people and local problems to enable companies to set up abroad. So like our sponsor, we need to do everything meticulously in a remote area and that's what we're good at.”

Frederik van Tuyll, CEO of TMF Group added: “Sir Ranulph Fiennes is the world's greatest living explorer. He has inspired many for generations with his perseverance and dedication, and has pushed himself to the extreme to complete some of the world's most grueling and difficult challenges.

“He has shown that to succeed in remote areas requires not only tremendous ambition but also detailed local knowledge and expertise - so he surrounds himself with a strong team, all experts in their field. TMF Group understands this too, and is excited to be part of the Global Reach Challenge team.”

-Genesis Mendoza




Genesis,

We shy away from cold and mountain climbing here at MBT (unless perhaps you can give us a wonderful granny gear and heated undies) but appreciate the update. Plus Genesis is a really cool first name.

Question of the Month

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Thank you,
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Dear MBT:
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August & September 2016 Issue

Welcome to the August & September issue of Mountain Bike Tales where your ever subservient editors have apparently missed the memo explaining that summertime is meant for riding while winter is best for writing.

This issue we're stacked with reviews on everything from Elevenpine's convertible shorts to Bontrager's newest jersey tech. We send Ryan on location to tell us all about Winter Park while new contributor Elliot Leslie shares his words and images on Colorado's scenic Fraser Valley. In the meantime DLR returns with his views on the riding in Portland, Oregon.

Of course, we also return with all of our usual rants and goodies. Check it out, and as always, we welcome your feedback. editor@mountainbiketales.com