Sunday, June 14, 2009

Enabling the Addiction

Update: As of 8/25/09 these packages are no longer available. Maybe next year.

The nice thing about cyclocross is that you can get into it without too much cost. Throw some skinnier tires on your mountain bike and sign up for the nearest "C" race. Stop by the LBS and get one of the many entry level options out there for cross, and along with a passable race bike, you'll end up with a versatile commuter as well. My first cross bike was an old touring frame I got from a coach with a bunch of mismatched parts I found at a swap meets.

Thing is, once you get a taste of cross and it goes from "something to keep me active in the off-season" to the highlight and focus of your racing schedule, excuses to buy more and expensive bikes and equipment make themselves apparent and even the most frugal among us tends to amass quite a collection of cross stuff.

Assuming you have a decent frame and components, wheels and tires are probably the most important x-factor in how the bike performs so allow me to highlight a few scenarios where upgrades could be in order:

That off-camber at Granouge where your tires couldn't hook up (even though you were running your clinchers at a precarious 34 psi) and you lost a few places as you slid halfway down the hill and into the course tape. Could have used some nice supple tubies.

The next day at Wissahickon where you dropped the pressure to 31 psi and pinch flatted coming onto the pavement transition and you didn't have a spare set of wheels in the pit. Again, tubulars and/or a spare set of wheels, would have really helped.

At the Mercer cup mud fest where your box section rims got bogged down in all that mud and sand. Could have really used some deeper carbon rims to mitigate the mud bog vacuum effect.

And again at Mercer where the course was so unrideable that you had to carry your bike for half the race. Those heavy stock wheels weren't making it any easier.

Now that I have some horrifying, race ending scenes rattling around in you head, let me offer some solutions and enable your addiction. Introducing the Revolution Wheelworks cross packages: The most cost effective way to out fit your "A" bike, your pit bike and maybe even your other pit bike and make sure you always have the right tire for the course.

Package 1: The Cross Package

2 sets of REV-25x cross tubulars - Retail: $1040
2 sets of Challenge tires (choose from Fango, Grifo and XS) - Retail: $360
4 Wheelbags - Retail: $140
2 SRAM OG1070 cassettes - Retail: $190
1 set of Swissstop Yellow King brake pads - Retail: $50
2 pair of REVWW socks (included with wheels)
Shipping: $70

Total: $1850
Package Price: $1600 ($250 savings)
Use the savings on: Enough PBR to last you and your team for the entire cross season.

Package 2: The C2 Package

1 set of REV-25x cross tubulars - Retail: $520
1 set of REV-50x carbon cross tubulars - Retail: $960
2 sets of Challenge tires (choose from Fango, Grifo and XS) - Retail: $360
4 Wheelbags - Retail: $140
2 SRAM OG1070 cassettes - Retail: $190
1 set of Swissstop Yellow King brake pads (included with 50x)
1 set of valve extenders (included with 50x)
1 Spoke tool for internal nipples - Retail: $15
2 pair of REVWW socks (included with wheels)

Shipping: $70

Total: $2255
Package Price: $1900 ($355 savings)
Use the savings on: Yeungling for the team and a few cases of DogFish Head 90min IPA for you.

Package 3: The C1 Package

2 sets of REV-25x cross tubulars - Retail: $1040
1 set of REV-50x carbon cross tubulars - Retail: $960
3 sets of Challenge tires (choose from Fango, Grifo and XS) - Retail: $540
6 Wheelbags - Retail: $210
3 SRAM OG1070 cassettes - Retail: $285
1 set of Swissstop Yellow King brake pads (included with 50x)
1 Spoke tool for internal nipples - Retail: $15
1 set of valve extenders (included with 50x)
3 pairs of REVWW socks (included with wheels)
Shipping: $105

Total: $3155
Package Price: $2595 ($560 savings)
Use the savings on: Victory Lager for the team and a few cases of Ommegang for you.

Package 3: The World Cup Package

1 set of REV-25x cross tubulars - Retail: $520
2 sets of REV-50x carbon cross tubulars - Retail: $1920
3 sets of Challenge tires (choose from Fango, Grifo and XS) - Retail: $540
6 Wheelbags - Retail: $210
3 SRAM OG1070 cassettes - Retail: $285
2 sets of Swissstop Yellow King brake pads (included with 50x)
1 Spoke tool for internal nipples - Retail: $15
2 sets of valve extenders (included with 50x)
3 pairs of REVWW socks (included with wheels)
Shipping: $105

Total: $3595
Package Price: $2895 ($700 savings)
Use the savings on: A flight to Belgium for some world cup action.

The packages aren't cheap but of you look at all you're getting, I think you'd have to admit that it's a darn good value. Considering that you can easily spend $3000 for one set of race wheels and tires, $2900 for 3 sets isn't too bad.

These packages won't be on our site (not yet at least) so just email us if you are interested. We'll talk about tire choice, gearing options and possible substitutions. Challenge tubulars tend to get scarce once cross season gets in full swing so ordering early is advised. Also, you'll want to give us about a week to get the whole shebang together for you. We'll try to stock as much as we can, but we may run out of certain tires and/or cassette options and need a few extra days to order them. I can't guarantee that the package deals will last forever (or even through the duration of cross season).

Tubular glue is conspicuously absent from the packages as I don't have a ready source for Mastik One.

Pricing on the REV-25x assumes a build with Sapim CX-Ray spokes since we're almost out of the PSR 1420 spokes we originally used.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mavic R-Sys Deathwatch


It's been a rough week for Mavic as the R-sys explodes under the many of the nation's prominent tech editors. First we had bikehugger's David Schloss, whose first generation, non-recalled R-sys rear wheel lost all it's non-drive spokes. He points out that these spokes are the same as the ones on the front wheel that were recalled and wonders why the rear wasn't replaced under the program as well. The sad truth, of course, is that these recalls only happen when something catastrophic (like having your front wheel dissolve without warning) is likely to occur. Since the rear wheel did use metal spokes for the drive side, even if all the non-drive spokes were to fail, the wheel would not collapse. You might still crash, and the wheel would, of course, be ruined, but the consequences would be less dire. Still, the argument that the rear wheel should have been included in the recall was a valid one.

Then, yesterday, Velonews editor Ben Delaney renders the point moot when his post recall R-sys front wheel explodes while making a left turn. He includes lots of damning pictures and eyewitness accounts to refute Mavic's claim that it was most likely "user error." The fact that a prominent publication would post to their site such an indictment of a major advertiser should give anyone pause before plunking down $1400 for a set of wheels that is more likely than most to break one's scapula.

Today, others have joined in. Dan Seaton at gearratios.org expresses the frustration of many current R-sys owners who wonder what the hell they are going to do with their wheels at this point. BSNYC adds his trademark wit and turn of phrase to the topic and also points out that Competitive Cyclist has already stopped selling the things. I'm sure others have voiced opinions as well, but that was just a sampling of what came across my rss reader in the last 48 hours.

My guess is that the R-sys will not be around much longer. They haven't been selling well to begin with and the constant stream of bad publicity certainly doesn't help. The question is whether they will be recalled again or just left to die. This does leave current owners in a bind. On the one hand, they may benefit if there is another recall and Mavic ponies up with something useful. The more likely scenario is that the wheel will be discontinued, and the current ones, no longer inspiring the confidence required of race wheels, will languish on Ebay. It's not a good sign that you can already get a brand new set of the premium version at $600 below retail.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Filling in the Corners

The bulk of our sales at this point come from word of mouth referrals. We want people excited about our products and telling their friends about us, so grassroots sponsorships have been an important part of our business model. Our sponsorship program has grown tremendously this season and we're just about at capacity but we are looking for teams in certain locations where we're lacking exposure. Specifically, New England, the Pacific Northwest and Colorado. We're looking for teams that are respected in their communities and have a strong focus on cyclocross. Junior programs are a plus. Winning races is always a plus but I find winning somewhat overrated (probably because the last race I won was 8 years ago). But really, we'd much rather have our wheels under pack fill who are eager to share a beer after a race than some jerk who happens to be really fast.

Riders on sponsored teams get a solid discount, schwag, opportunities to test new models before we bring them to market and as much support as we can afford to give for races the team puts on.

The goal here is to establish long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with great teams. If you'd think your team would be a good fit, please fill out our sponsorship application here and send it to info (at) revolutionwheelworks (dot) com.