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Mar 30, 2021

This week Randall and Craig discuss the new ENVE Custom Road Project, SPD Power Meter Pedals from Garmin and what vaccinations are going to mean for our own group riding.  


ENVE Custom Road

Garmin Rally SPD Power Pedal


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Full Transcription:

[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to another episode of in the dirt from the gravel ride podcast i'm your host craig dalton i'll be joined shortly by my co-host randall jacobs.

[00:00:10]Every two weeks Randall and I discuss how gravel cycling is fitting into our lives in that particular week. And also look at recent product drops and events being announced in the industry. It's been quite quiet over the last few months, but I feel like with vaccinations coming, we're starting to see new product launches and a lot more talk about events. In person later this year.


[00:00:35]If you're a first time listener. Welcome. In the alternating weeks, I have long form interviews with product designers, event organizers and athletes. With a goal of shedding light on the ever nuance sport of gravel cycling.

[00:00:50]We've got quite an extensive back catalog of episodes with about a hundred already recorded. So if there's an event or product or an athlete that you're curious

[00:01:00]About just scroll back in your podcast feed. I think you'll find we've covered a lot of territory over the last two and a half years. The podcast is sponsored by a small number of supporters, but mainly by listeners, like you. Simply visit, buy me a gravel ride.

[00:01:19]And choose how you'd like to support the show. Your support is greatly appreciated. With that said let's dive right in to this week show. [00:01:30] 

[00:01:30] Randall. Good to see ya.

[00:01:33] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:01:33] Good to see you as well. Craig, how have you been?

[00:01:35] Craig Dalton: [00:01:35] I've been well , for some reason it feels like I haven't talked to you in a long time this week.

[00:01:40]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:01:40] I have been largely off grid. So, I on a road trip was in death Valley with my colleague, Sam, and then now I'm in Southern Utah and where I've been for the past couple of weeks.

[00:01:50] So it's been a good amount of time since we,

[00:01:53] Craig Dalton: [00:01:53] yeah, that makes sense. That's awesome. I forgot that you were intending on meeting up with Sam. Did you guys end up camping and doing some riding together?

[00:02:00]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:02:00] So we left bikes at home and I've actually left my bike at home entirely for this roughly four week trip intentionally.

[00:02:06] So a lot of trail running and hiking and long walks and so on. Just because of. Yeah, I figured it's one. I have a Prius camper and so I can fit the bike, but it's a lot more work to pull it out and then put in, pull it out, lock it up, outside the car to camp and then, throw it back in and so on.

[00:02:21] But then also I just wanted some time away from the bike to, so I could fall back in love with it. And I've been really enjoying trail running and going up a little bit of light mountaineering and things like that on this trip. And so. So yeah, time away. So they do

[00:02:34] Craig Dalton: [00:02:34] not take away your gravel cyclist membership card if you cycle for a month.

[00:02:40]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:02:40] I think I think I got a lifetime membership for the amount that I've put into this particular space. Hopefully people will forgive me for being off the bike for a bit. Yeah. It

[00:02:48] Craig Dalton: [00:02:48] often feels that way. I think, I growing up in the eighties as a cyclist, more primarily in the nineties, obviously.

[00:02:56] There was this going sort of vision as a [00:03:00] cyclist that you just have to ride all the time in order to be a cyclist. So it's, I'm stuck in that mentality. I sort of start to get itchy. If I take a prolonged amount of time off the bike.

[00:03:12] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:03:12] Yeah, I'll be honest. Like I, my relationship to the bike is very different than it used to be.

[00:03:16] I used to have that kind of compulsive need to put the miles in, but I'm really enjoying both the change of scenery, change of lifestyle, still working on the road, of course, but just a completely different Headspace and out of my usual routines and the bike being one of those. When I get back to the Bay area, I'll definitely be doing plenty of riding.

[00:03:34] And then again in Boston when I'm out that way, starting probably in may.

[00:03:38]Craig Dalton: [00:03:38] Yeah. I mean, the thing is, and the truth is, and everybody listening knows it. Like the bike is always there for you. And that's the beautiful thing about it. Certainly when my son was born that first year, I was pretty light on the bike and that predated my interest in gravel cycling.

[00:03:53] And when I came back and discovered gravel cycling, I just sort of grabbed hold of it and was all in again.

[00:04:00] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:04:00] Well, one thing I will say that I'm quite excited about is vaccination. So you got vaccinated.

[00:04:05] Craig Dalton: [00:04:05] Yeah. So I'm one shot in.

[00:04:07] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:04:07] Yeah. So you have the next

[00:04:09] Craig Dalton: [00:04:09] one coming up. Yeah. The next one's coming up, I think April 15th.

[00:04:12] And it was quite a powerful experience actually. I took the time to talk to a lot of the people who were volunteering at the vaccination site and they were like, you wouldn't believe it. Like we have people burst into tears of relief. Just to have started that process. And I definitely felt [00:04:30] that, I mean, by no means am I being cavalier in my life and my protection at this point, one shot in, and obviously my family is not vaccinated yet, but I have a sense of hope.

[00:04:40] I'm really excited about more of my friends getting vaccinated and just slowly returning back.

[00:04:48] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:04:48] I definitely feel that the combination of the, having the pandemic and then having the long, cold winter and both of those lifting and having the thing really excited about as well.

[00:04:59] I'm here potting with friends who are themselves vaccinated met up with a couple other friends who were in the medical field and are vaccinated. And we took precautions, but we could relax a little bit and. By the time I get to Boston, I hope that group rides can be a thing again, granted with appropriate precautions and so on and trying to not have too many people out and keep some distancing and so on.

[00:05:18] But with some  responsible protocol, that being a thing. Yeah.

[00:05:23] Craig Dalton: [00:05:23] Curious to learn sort of how we all have appropriate protocols. I know that the ridership forum, one of the members posted an article originated from USA cycling, but also offered and layered in a lot of his. Personal precautions and experiences and riding throughout the pandemic.

[00:05:41] It's just going to be strange. I went on a ride over the weekend of my largest group ride in, 14 months, six people, three people vaccinated. So obviously we were massed up and trying to stay distanced, but it's weird. It's awkward to sort of be half in half out. And I think we're all going to go [00:06:00] through with this.

[00:06:01]The next four or five months potentially, and it's just important that we stay strong and conservative so that we can go into the winter as a country in a good, in good position.

[00:06:14] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:06:14] I think the other thing that we need to be mindful of is that these vaccines are very effective, but are not 100% effective and with new variants and so on, we might need boosters.

[00:06:25] And, some degree of precaution protocol will be necessary for awhile, but to be able to know that the worst of it is over or hopefully over is an immense relief. So yeah, absolutely. With you there. I think we get mine in April when I'm back in the Bay. I think California is going to. Offer them to everybody starting either on the first or the 15th of April.

[00:06:44] Craig Dalton: [00:06:44] Yeah. This is the 15th of April. It's open to everybody. And I do think, the it was like an assembly line where I went, it was in a high school gymnasium and they were just pumping people through, which is great to see. So I do think if you're motivated, you're going to be able to get in there.

[00:06:59] And I, I hope my wife has sort of similarly is just going to get in on the earlier side of April yeah. To get our household vaccinated. Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. But this is not a pandemic COVID medical podcast. We're here to talk about gravel bikes as usual. I feel like a few companies are starting to put new things out there, which is exciting because a few more products coming to our desks.

[00:07:22] I know you sort of, one of them caught your eye and a couple of caught my eye that we should talk about.

[00:07:28] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:07:28] Yeah. So mine would [00:07:30] be the Donna plugger from Dyna plug. And not that it's anything radically new, it's just a much less expensive solution to their already great Dyna plug set up. And I've been using the bacon strips just because I found the dyno plugs cheap, even though the dyno plugs are.

[00:07:45] Arguably more effective or less, less fussy with this, I really have no excuse and I think neither does this will be something that I'm recommending to pretty much all of our right well, to all of our riders from here on in 25 bucks comes with four of the plugs. You can get the replacement plugs as well.

[00:07:59] It's super lightweight and it just works. And it's way better than having to pull off your wheel and pop a bead and dump out your ceilings and pull a valve or pull a valve STEM out and so on and throw a tube in. So. Yeah, good job, Donna plug in making this more accessible.

[00:08:15] Craig Dalton: [00:08:15] Yeah, I think that's cool. Just to drive that point home.

[00:08:17] I mean, they brought the price down from 50 or 60 plus dollars in their original kits that I'd been using previously down to what is it? 29 95. So that's awesome.

[00:08:28] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:08:28] 24 99, I think with these. And I believe that they're made domestically as well domestic to the U S so that's cool.

[00:08:34] Craig Dalton: [00:08:34] Yeah, that's awesome.

[00:08:36] It was funny. I was out Riding Laurel Del maybe three weeks ago. And I had just. I had gotten the GoPro max camera. So I've been playing around with my three 60 photography and my buddy, Jason, shout out to Jason. If he's listening, he is bombing down. There's no tomorrow through Laurel Dell having the time of his life.

[00:08:55] I think he was thinking I was going to catch him, but his speed and velocity was [00:09:00] so intense. Like I kept getting close to them, him, and then losing him again. And he blasted through the rock garden at the bottom before the Creek crossing and the tire just explodes upon crossing the river.

[00:09:17] So we were he was like, that was just the greatest five minutes of my cycling career. And we're like, now it's going to be the worst four hours of your life. As we hike up to the Ridge and try to find your way home, et cetera. But we had it, we had a couple of plugs which is why I'm mentioning it.

[00:09:35] We plugged the tire, but it was too far gone. He'd actually dented the rim and we did have to pull it out. We put a 700 by 30 inner tube for a six 50 by 43 tire. So it was sort of overinflated on the inner tube in, and quite a bit wonky on the way out. But, we were able to ride all the way home, which I considered a victory.

[00:10:02] He finally reflated again, right when we got to mill Valley. So someone was able to come back and pick them up.

[00:10:09] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:10:09] Now it makes me think. He might want to add another solution, which is we have a few riders mentioned my friend Isaac before who's in the ridership and he uses the foam inserts. I can't recall which ones he's using.

[00:10:20] It's the air force or one of the others, but these detonating tires and denting rooms in the process, maybe that's something to add into the package.

[00:10:28] Craig Dalton: [00:10:28] Yeah. I think if you're a larger [00:10:30] rider, That seems to make a lot of sense. I didn't really think about it in that context, Jason's definitely well, over six foot tall, a bigger guy, so he's hitting things hard.

[00:10:39] Those crushed core or other types of foam inserts might be something of interest.

[00:10:44] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:10:44] Yeah. I actually just recommended it to one of our riders who wanted to start exploring lower pressures with our carbon rims. And it's well, they're very robustly made. And when you run them too low and you hit a rock, it's going to be a very expensive repair.

[00:10:58] So, yeah. Yeah, the people I know who ride them really like them adds a little bit of weight, but if you're riding that aggressively, who cares, you're already on a very efficient machine. Yeah.

[00:11:07] Craig Dalton: [00:11:07] Particularly if you're a bigger guy or gal, like why not? Right. Yeah. Yeah. The other thing that I have here, yeah.

[00:11:14] I was going to say the thing that I've picked up over the transom was these new power meter pedals from Garmin, they're called the rally power meters. And they're built on an SPD chassis, which to my knowledge is the first sort of SPD style, power meter pedal that's existed.

[00:11:36] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:11:36] I feel like there may have been another one made by Expedo or some, one of the other Taiwanese pedal makers.

[00:11:44]Don't quote me on that, but these definitely look really well-made SPDs, as I ride them. I'm a big fan. They're ubiquitous. They're a little bit heavy. It adds like relative to an XD. I'm seeing XDS at 170 grams a piece. These are 220 grams. So an extra 50 grams per [00:12:00] pedal. But dual-sided power meters.

[00:12:02] You can transfer them to any bike. They install really easily and you don't have to buy a set of pedals because these are your pedals. So, in all those regards, it makes sense. They're a bit pricey. I think there a thousand

[00:12:13] Craig Dalton: [00:12:13] bucks. Yeah. Over a thousand bucks. So definitely pricey. I mean, I think, yeah. Well, you would know better than I, what can you get into a crank ARM-based power meter for,

[00:12:23]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:12:23] so if you have crank arms that have a flat inner surface there's a good chance that four I's power meters will work for you. And this is what we recommend to our riders. Cause we have our cranks are hollow, forged aluminum, so it's a smooth surface on the back.

[00:12:37] And so this is like a nine grand power meter that you can get either with a coin cell or rechargeable. They both have their upsides and downsides. I like the coin sell myself cause it lasts a really long time and you replace it really easily. And there's no port to get contaminated, but different strokes for different folks.

[00:12:54]And it's 300 bucks. Now the downside is that you have to remove your crank set and ship your crank out and be without your bike for two weeks. So that's a bummer, but it works really well. It's single sided. So it's not giving you. You an average of the two sides. It's not giving you a sense of any sort of imbalance, but most people are pretty balanced and frankly, like it's accurate enough for you to understand your progress.

[00:13:17] And I think that's really the critical thing.

[00:13:18] Craig Dalton: [00:13:18] Yeah. Imagine if you're a professional athlete, knowing about a little bit of imbalance between your legs is something you can work on with your coach. But as the average athlete, as you said, we're, hopefully mostly balanced [00:13:30] and it works itself out in the wash.

[00:13:32] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:13:32] Yeah. Yeah. And as far as the weight is concerned, nine grams. So you could actually buy the cheapest Shimano pedals, like the M five twenties, which I recommend all the time, because it just bomb-proof add one of these nine grand power meters and be at $300 versus a thousand dollars and still have a lighter setup.

[00:13:49] So I think that's something to consider.

[00:13:52] Craig Dalton: [00:13:52] Yeah. Now that you're mentioning it, cause I, I thought, Oh, this would be really cool to be able to swap between the two, but you might as well at $300 price point.

[00:14:00] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:14:00] Get one, one, three different bikes. You have a hundred dollars to buy yourself a nice meal.

[00:14:05] Craig Dalton: [00:14:05] Exactly. Have you ever trained with power?

[00:14:08] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:14:08] Oh yeah, I trained, I had the original wireless power tap with a, an old school Garmin edge, seven Oh five, which was like the big unit back in the day. Yeah. And it was it was pretty radical at the time. And I remember reading I think it's Andrew Cogans book training and racing with the power meter and then Joe Freels book the mountain bikers Bible or something along those lines for a title.

[00:14:33] And it just I'd always trained with heart rate. And hardware gives you a lot of great information and you can correlate that with your perceived exertion and your cadence and so on and learn a lot. But adding power to the, I mean, power is just such an absolute metric. Like I weighed this much.

[00:14:52] I can put out this much power for this much time. And how does that correlate to my heart rate? And how does that correlate to my cadence and how can I optimize those things in [00:15:00] my body, temperature manager and my fueling strategy and so on to get that power number. As high as possible, as long as possible.

[00:15:07] Craig Dalton: [00:15:07] Yeah. I think that's what always interests me about it. There's a purity to a power number that you just can't get anywhere else.

[00:15:15] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:15:15] Yeah. At the end of the day it's if you're in an event keeping all else equal, like power, is it though granted? One of the beautiful things about training with power is it kept me from over-training.

[00:15:26] Right? So now you have all of these ways of looking at being in a certain zone for a certain amount of time based on your. Your threshold power and your max power and so on in this kind of a curve. And then you can see. And so, like I, I found when I first started training with power, that was over-training.

[00:15:41] And so I backed off and focused on recovery more and did more intensity before major events and it actually made a huge difference.

[00:15:50] Craig Dalton: [00:15:50] And were you using the power meter while you were racing off

[00:15:53] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:15:53] road? No. Back then power. The only. I think it was the SRM. And then there was, which was a crank based, very expensive, very accurate but very expensive.

[00:16:01] And then there was the power tap, which was a hub based system. And so I had built up a set of wheel aluminum wheels, training wheels. It was back in the day when you had training wheels and race wheels. Now, everyone just has really nice wheels with disc brakes. Cause you don't really have to worry about wearing them out.

[00:16:16] Peters work well in carbon wheels are relatively inexpensive now, but yeah, only on the road bike for training. And then I would just use heart rate and perceived exertion in my events.

[00:16:26]Craig Dalton: [00:16:26] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you sort of see the road racing the road, racers, [00:16:30] looking down at their power meters and you understand, how scientific the coaching staff can be back in the cars because they know exactly what kind of power numbers these athletes can put out.

[00:16:42] They're like, okay,  go ride the front. We'd add such and such Watts and keep it there because we know you're capable of doing that. And we know you can do that for 20 minutes. And at 20 minutes in one second, we're going to pop you off. We're going to slot the next athlete in there.

[00:16:59] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:16:59] Makes me think back to the conversation.

[00:17:01] I had a few weeks ago with Ted Kwong and he was talking about you have different racers and it's they're feeling good today. Well, you can actually verify that with a power number. Like what, how has somebody's training been? And, we now have things like 24 hour heart rate monitors.

[00:17:15] So you can see how heart rate variability is a reflection of training recovery and all these things, and really make a science out of it to a much greater degree. It's pretty impressive. I still just like to go out and ride my bike. I actually have a power meter on my bike and I haven't charged it for awhile, but But, for training for events and so on, or just understanding how your body works and how it responds to stress.

[00:17:38] It's

[00:17:38] Craig Dalton: [00:17:38] it's really useful. Yeah. For me. Yeah. At most it would be a curiosity. I do think it, part of the thing that I love about gravel is I do feel like skill plays such an important role in your performance. Vis-a-vis other athletes at events, or even in group rides. Like I can't tell you how many more powerful riders I ride with.

[00:17:58] That just don't have the technical [00:18:00] skills to navigate the terrain we have here in Marin County.

[00:18:03]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:18:03] Yeah. One last thing that comes to mind on this topic is in terms of the benefits for say an experienced rider, who's not racing, which is where I put myself versus a obviously a racer. This would benefit there.

[00:18:15]But then the other end, somebody who's relatively new. Who has the budget power meter together with a heart rate monitor really helps you to understand how hard to go. And so, as an example, imagine going up a 20 minute climb. And at the beginning of the climb, you're relatively fresh and you go a little bit harder.

[00:18:32] And by the end of the climb, you're really, suffering quite a bit and maybe your power is way off. And had you just backed off at the beginning and spread out your effort more over the course of the ride, you would end up with a much better overall time up the Hill and end up feeling better.

[00:18:47] But that's something that has to be learned through experience.

[00:18:50] Craig Dalton: [00:18:50] Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, I think every new cyclist has, is going to go through that climb where they absolutely blow up a quarter of the way up and realize they went out way too hard. And yeah, maybe having that power data helps you understand that in advance and you don't make this rookie

[00:19:05] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:19:05] mistakes.

[00:19:07] Yeah. Disciplined really disciplined and understanding your own physiological response to stress.

[00:19:13] Craig Dalton: [00:19:13] Yeah, exactly. So I've had a buddy come to town who only has a road bike. So I've been out on the roads and I've been sort of surprisingly happy with the riding I've been doing when he originally came down and he was like wanting to ride.

[00:19:28] I was frustrated [00:19:30] thinking I'm not riding off road. I'm all about the gravel riding, but it has been nice getting back on the road and sort of feeling that efficiency of riding on the road. And it's opened me up a little bit to, maybe I should spice it up a little bit more because oftentimes I feel like.

[00:19:47] I'm overly abusive on my body with all the off-road riding idea and a little like phone and get in road riding would do me. Good.

[00:19:55] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:19:55] Yeah. You do you still have a dedicated road bike?

[00:19:59] Craig Dalton: [00:19:59] I don't. I don't. And the reason I bring it up is twofold. One. I sort of have been road riding with a little bit of chagrin being the gravel cycling guy and going out on the road.

[00:20:08] It's just giving me a laugh, but I also, this week caught wind of envies new road plus bike. Envy as some of you may know, as a component manufacturer and a tube manufacturer, they've been great supportive company to the gravel cycling scene via their wheels and some great handlebars to push the limits back in the day, but they've come out of their Ogden Utah factory with this new custom road plus bike that accepts I think about to a 35 C tire, but it's pretty fascinating that.

[00:20:42] An Ogden Utah based company is now offering a full custom frame set. So I just wanted to get your thoughts on it.

[00:20:50] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:20:50] Yeah. This thing. So my initial impression was, Oh, here we go, another really expensive bike and it's got a seat mast and so on. Not that interesting, but when I dove [00:21:00] into it, it's custom geometry.

[00:21:02] And so they had to develop a different manufacturing process to accomplish that because usually in a mass produced carbon bike, like our bikes, our frames you would essentially do usually the front triangle in one mold and you'd have five sizes of that mold. And then you do the rear triangle in another mold, and you may have, anywhere from one to three different rear triangles for that to correspond with the different sizes.

[00:21:27] And that's it. And they were allowing, it seems that they're allowing more or less full customization of all the two blanks. And that's that's really hard to do. This is not a mass production process. And so it makes sense why it costs what it does and even the seat mast, which I'm not a huge fan of because it makes it so that a bike has very limited adjustability.

[00:21:47] Well, already this bike is being very highly tailored for a very specific rider. And so in that sort of scenario, a seat mass does offer some very subtle advantages potentially in terms of weight in terms of being able to tune the frame. Just so, it's not a decision that I would make, but I can see why it's done here.

[00:22:07] Craig Dalton: [00:22:07] Yeah. Interesting. Oftentimes we've talked in the past about custom steel builders and that experience when you have the wherewithal to get accustomed bike, it's just a beautiful process. To work with a builder and have it totally customized to you. And to your point, to be able to do that out of carbon is a pretty special experience.

[00:22:29] I'm [00:22:30] excited for the team at envy to have cracked whatever code and put that out there to the cycling community. I'm

[00:22:37] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:22:37] actually very, I would be very curious. They probably won't let me in because I work in the space, but I'd be very curious to see how they're doing the customization. So I'm Craig Calfee is as a friend and I've been down to his workshop down in Santa Cruz.

[00:22:52] And at one time well, I assume he's still doing it this way. He was 3d printing, molds, custom molds for lugs, and then the L and then he would use a carbon tube to lug sort of construction. Which is an older style, which used to see on, steel brace frames and so on, but it allowed him to do a custom carbon setup.

[00:23:11] And in this case it doesn't seem to be, there doesn't seem to be lugs. I'm not quite sure how they're joining the frame joining the tubes. There's no weight figures on here. So I can't even really guess, like if it was on the heavier side, I would think there was probably lugs cause there'd be more overlap and more material.

[00:23:25] So I'd be very curious to see how they're pulling that off. And if they're even doing things with say custom tube, stiffnesses. For different riders have different weights to get the tuning characteristics you want either, something as a little bit more flexible for a lighter rider or an off-road or a rough road rider versus something stiffer for someone who's bigger, more powerful and, or riding more on smooth roads.

[00:23:48] So quite curious here.

[00:23:50] Craig Dalton: [00:23:50] Yeah, it's curious, it sort of reminds me of that Australian company bastion cycles who was doing. Extensive amounts of 3d printed [00:24:00] titanium. So they were 3d printing the whole bottom bracket shell, the head tubes, so they could get the angles as well as the other bits and bobs around the bike.

[00:24:11] And then they were using carbon tubes to bring it all together. Is it possible that envy is actually printing the mold shape custom for the individual and then, doing the process from there. That's I'm wondering if like mold technology has evolved in such a way that, that, that becomes possible.

[00:24:31] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:24:31] I haven't seen anything like that. I could speculate on some possibilities just for fun and see if we if we get it right. But I mean, the way that it's usually done. So it used to be you lay, put the layup on you have a two-piece mold. You lay the carbon in the mold all around, according to a certain schedule, a typical frame might have, a couple hundred plies or potentially more to tune the flex characteristics and so on.

[00:24:55] Just so in stiffness to do custom, I mean, you could do tube to lug if you want. Oh. And then you would put a bladder in, or now the, they use a a foam. And in fact, it's a combination process where it's a foam that is dipped in latex and in that latex creates a bladder. So now you get the best of both being able to force air into a bladder to really push out all, any sort of voids, but then also the foam is expanding too.

[00:25:23] So, the mass production technique is really advanced. Now

[00:25:26]Craig Dalton: [00:25:26] Is that inflation is that to basically push [00:25:30] the. Carbon fiber applies to the outside of the mole, then create whatever the ultimate frame tube shape is going to be.

[00:25:37] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:25:37] Okay. Yeah. It's the, compactified those carbon layers. So all those layers get pushed right up against the inner surface of the outside of the Mo.

[00:25:45]What's the way to explain this this, the outer surface on the inside of the mold, just getting pushed up against there and to the extent that you can. Have more pressure pushing that as it's being cured. You're essentially getting rid of a lot of the voids that are in that material.

[00:26:00] Inevitably, you're still going to have some voids to the extent that you can minimize them and keep them small as well it just makes for a stronger, more consistent frame set

[00:26:10] Craig Dalton: [00:26:10] and talking to you previously. I mean, it's the mold, as you're designing a bike, the mold is a great expense.

[00:26:16] Obviously you've got to engineer what that looks like. But then minting that mold is a big step in the process, correct?

[00:26:23] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:26:23] Yeah. So doing it in granted, things might be getting more expensive. Now, a supply chains, as we've talked about on the pod before are mess right now and the, even the frame vendors are seeing, Much higher than usual demand, which means that they're probably charging more for molds.

[00:26:40] But last I checked from a tier one high volume vendor, a set of five molds would run say 50 or $60,000. And you might spend another say 30 to $50,000 for the molds for the the the foam that goes inside. Okay, so you have this [00:27:00] expanded polystyrene. And so that expanded polystyrene that you're putting in the mold to expand outward and push the carbon applies up against the inside of the steel mold that needs a tool as well.

[00:27:13] And that tool can usually be a bit made out of something like aluminum. That's cheaper as opposed to steel, which is more durable, but much harder to machine. But nonetheless you can easily on a standard say like gravel frame set. Be investing anywhere from 50 to a hundred thousand dollars or even more, if you have, tighter size runs, maybe six, seven, eight sizes in order to launch a new model,

[00:27:35] Craig Dalton: [00:27:35] Right. And then your to tune sort of how you want the bike to perform within that. There's different grades of carbon fiber that you can use and obviously different numbers of layers that you can put on any given part.

[00:27:50] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:27:50] Correct. And of course, tube shapes are that kind of stuff, starting point.

[00:27:54] So a bigger tube is if you have a round tube and you make it bigger, it's stiffness is going to go up exponentially relative to the increase in the diameter of the tube. And so working with tube shapes first. And then from there you can tune flex characteristics, but that mix of tube shapes, and then you can adjust further with the layup schedule the particular modulates of the carbon.

[00:28:17] And you might also want to consider, say using high modulus carbon in a place that requires a lot of stiffness that doesn't have a lot of risk of impact, but then you want lower modulates carbon say on a down tube. [00:28:30] Where you could have rocks kicked up and so on. So there's a lot of considerations in optimizing this complex set of compromises in order to get an optimized structure for whatever you're going for as a product manager or an engineer, which I am not to, by the way.

[00:28:44] Actually, I should just make clear, like I'm a, I am a physics nerd who spends a lot of time in factories. Who's picked up a lot from engineers, both state side and in China. But there are people who know this stuff far better than I do. Yeah.

[00:28:58] Craig Dalton: [00:28:58] Presumably the team at envy, going back to their nice bike.

[00:29:01] Exactly. They've got a lot of smart people over in Ogden. Utah are working on this needless to say, I mean, it's not specifically. Or non-specifically a gravel bike. It's really our road plus bike, but I encourage you and I'll put a link in the show notes for people to take a look at it because I can give them one thing for certain they've produced a beautiful looking machine that people need to put some eyes on.

[00:29:27] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:29:27] Indeed. Indeed.

[00:29:28] Craig Dalton: [00:29:28] Yeah. I appreciate you nerding out with me a little bit. I always learn things from our conversations. I hope the listener. Is happy to go down the rabbit hole. I've I find it fascinating just how much can go into carbon bicycles. It's just much more than meets the eye. You think, Oh, you just slap in some tubes together and that's that, but there's so much nuance from, as you describe the layup process, the shape of the tube, et cetera, that goes into producing a great riding bike.

[00:29:58] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:29:58] Yeah. And before we hop [00:30:00] off, actually, there's one, one other topic I wanted to bring up, which is a, B I did my first episode recording in which you graciously provided the platform for. And we got some feedback and we got a lot of good feedback and pretty overwhelmingly positive, but there was one bit of feedback that I thought was really useful and it made me think and that was from a listener.

[00:30:20] Who mentioned that we were talking about because we weren't making a living as a, as professional cyclists, we weren't technical technically professionals. And we said that kind of off the cuff and self-deprecating Lee, but she made the point that I thought it was a very valid point that by that standard, a lot of women racers wouldn't be professional.

[00:30:40] And that was by no mean, the intention of that statement. And I can see why the distinction there. This word professional has a particular meaning and it's really about the level of achievement as opposed to making a living at it. And so I wanted to call that out and just acknowledge that was an area where I learned something from a listener.

[00:30:59] Craig Dalton: [00:30:59] Yeah. That's awesome. No, I appreciate that. Yeah it's hard to sort of. Talk about the disparity in wages, in professional cycling between men and women, and a lot of strides have been made, but absolutely there's a lot of men and women who are out there acting as professionals, being professional cyclists that aren't earning the living that they deserve to make.

[00:31:23] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:31:23] Yeah. Yeah. And maybe didn't, I should give ourselves a little bit more credit too for having a. Accomplish what we did, even if we weren't, [00:31:30] front of the pack making, making our living at it was definitely a great experience. So please keep the feedback coming. We'll be doing a couple more of these episodes in the upcoming weeks.

[00:31:39] Craig Dalton: [00:31:39] Yeah, that was awesome. And we got a lot of great feedback in the ridership forum. If you're not there already. And you have comments about this envy bicycle or power meter training. Definitely go over to the Get your invite and jump in. We'd love to hear from you and get that feedback.

[00:31:56] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:31:56] Yeah, and even more so with the ridership now that vaccine genes are being widely distributed.

[00:32:03]We can start thinking about really facilitating the sort of in-person interactions amongst listeners and in books, amongst members of that community that we've been wanting to with that platform all along. And that's something that excites me immensely, especially as I prepare to go back to the Bay and then go back to Boston where.

[00:32:20] I have a lot of old friends who I haven't written with in years, not to mention a lot of people in the forum who I'll get an opportunity to meet and explore their local trails.

[00:32:28] Craig Dalton: [00:32:28] Yeah. It's been great to see people sharing the roots, which I've been putting in our ride with GPS club. And as you and I have said all along, our hope is to build something.

[00:32:39] That really facilitates real-world interactions. We're not trying to suck people into some digital void where we advertising. We want you to get out there and ride, and we want you to discover new places, meet new people and let's get out there and have some fun when it's safe.

[00:32:57] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:32:57] Yeah, absolutely.

[00:32:59] Craig Dalton: [00:32:59] Cool. Well, thanks [00:33:00] for the time this week, my friend.

[00:33:01] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:33:01] Yeah, always a pleasure chatting with you, Greg. I'll talk to you soon.

[00:33:05] Take care.

[00:33:06]Craig Dalton: [00:33:06] Okay. So that's it for this week's episode of, in the dirt, from the gravel ride podcast. I appreciate you spending a little time with us this week. If you're not already a subscriber, please go ahead and hit that subscribe button. That's hugely indicated of how we're doing at the gravel ride. It means a lot to me. If you're interested in financially supporting the show, please visit buy me a gravel ride.

[00:33:31]Until next time here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels