the comic in its pre-christmas edition, featured a short discussion on the efficacy and encroachment of the thru-axle that seems to have arrived as accompanying baggage with the disc brake. several frame builders have previously attempted to offset the one-sided, torque driven effects of such powerful brakes on standard, quick-release wheelsets by directing the dropouts rearwards, but the thru-axle, despite my initial misgivings, does seem to be a most effective solution.
for those unfamilar with the mechanics of thru-axles, basically the front fork legs and rear stays no longer own open ended dropouts, but fully enclosed holes, with the rightmost featuring a threaded insert. of course, this means that the system requires a wheelset with large holes on the hubs into which these thru-axles fit. though this system hardly lends itself to lightning fast wheelchanges, currently the sole road discipline for which discs are sanctioned is that of cyclocross and wheelchanges do not form part and parcel of that particular branch of the sport. however, if as seems likely, the uci finally allow disc brakes on road bikes, this is a hurdle that will receive much in the way of technical thought.
meantime, true to form, it has become once more a question of standards, with frame and component manufacturers often differing on the axle widths and diameters. it promises to be the bottom bracket scenario all over again, with 135mm vying with 142mm and 15mm against 12mm. for the sake of neutral service providers, the sooner they sort it, the better. then they just have to argue over the diameter of the disc rotors.
sometimes, however, standards arrive of their own volition, almost by osmosis and without members of velon sat round a table with representatives from the uci. take the humble musette for example; granted i have not conducted an in-depth survey of the precise sizes used by world tour teams at the feed stations, but with even a cursory glance at race footage, i'm sure you'd agree they all look pretty similar in size? after all, how large do they need to be to encase a few rice cakes, a couple of bidons and a smoked salmon salad sandwich?
as members of the slower and arguably less competitive cognoscenti, the cubic metreage of a musette is of less concern. let's face it, not only are we unlikely to consume the contents of the average musette and throw it in the direction of an unsuspecting pedestrian, but there's the distinct likelihood that we might like to carry a bit more than your average professional. but even here, there is an unwritten requirement for some sort of vague standardisation as to the carrying capacity of even the most stylish of musettes.
as one who has conducted endless research into just such a set of measurements, i feel i have arrived at the ideal conclusion. in order that we know precisely where we stand with regard to this situation, i might volunteer that any cyclist's musette worthy of the nomenclature ought to at least have the ability to swallow a 3kg bag of green city jumbo porridge oats. in order that i prove the efficacy of just such a standard, i successfully carried just such a cargo from debbie's all the way to washingmachinepost croft with nary a flicker of doubt or hampering of progress over the 9km distance.
yorkshire's restrap kindly sent a hand-made camouflage style, waterproof cordura musette bag for review in the hebrides. also available in black or grey, this item of restrap bicycle luggage features a nylon lining, sturdy poppers at the top and an adjustable strap that appears to be made from the same fabric as used for car seatbelts. short of being nibbled by deer, i figure you could put a massey ferguson tractor in this musette and the strap would carry it uncomplainingly.
i confess that the camouflage pattern would not have been my first choice of style, but in point of fact, considering the wilderness through which i frequently pedal, it may well have been the most apposite. my sole criticism of the restrap musette would be an apparent lack of reflectivity anywhere about its person. my saturday ride took place in conditions of low visibility due to a heavy mist that prevented the saturday aircraft from arriving from glasgow and i'd have been happier if there had been a smidgeon of reflectivity advising following cars of my existence.
mind you, i did have a flashing red tail light, so perhaps i'm worrying over nothing.
the restrap musette promises to last considerably longer than the time gap between bradley wiggins biographies. it is particularly well-made and arrives with a card signed by its builder (thank you jade). restrap were also kind enough to send a tin camping mug, one that is ideal for a quick brew behind the holiday cottages at saligo when nobody's looking. fulfilling every inch of their superbly typescripted slogan 'carry everything', restrap offer a wide range of companion products including a range of backpacks, bar bags, belts, woolly hats, t-shirts, dry-bags and frame bags. and more.
if the fellows from yonder journal ever decide to base themselves on this side of the pond, i'll be sending daniel wakefield pasley the web address.
the restrap musettes, with a carrying capacity of just a smidgeon more than a 3kg bag of green city jumbo oats, retail at £19.99 each in black, grey or camouflage. the tin camping mug costs a not unreasonable £9.99. in my opinion, worth the price of admission for the script logo alone.
sunday 8 january 2017..........................................................................................................................................................................................................