It is amazing to me the selection of cyclocross equipment now. The bicycle industry has really stepped up here, even though a lot of the stuff is never going to make them any money because the sales are always going to be relatively small.
Yesterday the package from TRP brakes arrived in the morning with the new CX 8.4’s. Then yesterday afternoon the box from Belgium showed with the handmade FMB tubulars with Michelin Mud 2 tread. Both of these items are really works of art. They look so nice and hopefully function just as good as they look.
Less than 10 years ago, the selection of equipment was nothing. Back in the 80’s, you had to nearly fabricate your own equipment.
I trained with the Czechoslovakian National Team in the winter of 1985 before the World Championships in Munich. They were the best cyclocross riders in the world, by far. A mechanic from their team made custom cleats that had threaded holes for spikes in them. The spikes were behind the cleats, since we were riding toe clips. The guy told me he would make me some cleats but couldn’t get any aluminum to fabricate them. I thought, what’s the big deal. So I took the train into Prague to get a couple aluminum blocks. I ended up spending two full days there going from business to business and never located enough aluminum to make the cleats. A week later, the mechanic came up to me and presented me with some cleats for Worlds. And they were very much needed in that race. When I think back upon it, that was probably the most memorable part, of nearly a month in Europe, going from shop to shop and meeting up with just regular Czech guys and seeing how commerce worked behind the Iron Curtain.
Anyway, it is always cool to see innovation in equipment. TRP is obviously innovative with their new brakes. FMB is really not innovative, they are making custom tires, which to me seems incredible, no matter what the price is. It is a super cool aspect of cycling.