Fixie Inc have sent us over some sneak peek pics of their new QuickRelease Mudguard System that'll come as standard on the 2011 Peacemaker. Mudguards? On a belt drive fixie? But what about the clean lines?
Well, as they've always made plain, both form and function matter to the guys at Fixie Inc – people are often dazzled by the form bit when it comes to their bikes, but bottom line is that they are engineers and function matters to them. Sometimes they conflict. On the one hand, who wants to spoil the sleek, pared-down look of a belt drive Peacemaker with a set of mudguards? On the other, wet feet and a black stripe up your back isn't such a good look either.
Fixie's solution is this new mudguard system. You may have already spotted that there's only one actual 'guard (is that enough to qualify it as a system? Maybe the "system" bit refers to the method of fixing and their solution to keeping water thrown up by the front wheel off your feet, but more of that in a mo). The rear guard, which isn't a full one, fits to the bike using three mounting points on each stay. According to Fixie the guard clips home on to these in a one step process. They hope that in future the three boss fixing point will become a standard used by all framebuilders.
Only riding the new Peacemakers will tell us whether the rear 'guard rattles buts as the fitting point is part of the bike you'd hope that the connection between mudguard and frame is going to be tight enough to eliminate annoying rattling… who wants rattles when they're riding on a silent belt drive?
So that's the back covered – well most of it – and this is where things start to get really different. Fixie have done away with the front mudguard and instead have fitted a cover to the bottom of the downtube and the back of the seat tube. The cover is a thick Velcro strip – a system used in the wheel arches of trucks to cut down spray. Recep Yesil from Fixie explains how it works:
"If you've ever ridden in the rain without a front fender, you will have noticed that it's your feet which get wet, and that the reason for this is not the water coming from the tire but the water dripping from the downtube! So, the Velcro on the downtube (and the seattube as well) is kind of a minimal fender, which catches water coming from the wheels and leads it down to the BB instead of letting it spray in every direction. Same system you can see on trucks, for instance. Your feet will stay 80% drier."
Possible downsides? Well, maybe Recep is being over optimistic on his 80% claim. Only a ride in the rain will tell us that. Shame I don't have one now cos when I finish writing this I'll be heading out in to the torrential rain of a British summer. We'd guess you'll need to keep the Velcro clean so that it doesn't become clogged with road gunk. You, wouldn't want to snag your merino jersey on it either. And, of course, there's the look of the thing; a front 'guard might spoil the Peacemaker's clean lines but some might find the that Velcro strip aesthetically off-putting too – like your bike's got a hairy chest or, dare we say it, waterproofing pubes. On the other hand, if it works maybe all bikes will come with a Velcro'd downtube in the future.
Possible upsides? Apart from drier feet, it's a Velcro strip – why not stick stuff to it? We've already suggested to Fixie that you could stick an extra guard to it for people that want maximum protection. You could possibly stick a pump on too.
The mudguard system isn't the only change on the 2011 Peacemaker. There's also an ingenious looking new integrated seat clamp which allows the top of the seat tube to be cut closer to the top tube, and two new pulley choices for the Gates belt drive – 20 and 22 tooth – which Fixie say will increase the range of the bike. Oh, and there's a new colour too.
There are plenty of changes in store for the rest of the range, but sadly no photos available just yet. What we can tell you is that their Chip Race 953 road bike won't be 953 for 2011 it'll be titanium (never really saw the point of Reynolds 953 anyway), and there'll be a 26in wheeled version of their entry level Backspin fixed bike. The Pure Blood 'cross bike has been completely revised while their are some subtle changes for the very lovely Betty Leeds road bike.
We'll be bringing you pictures and plenty more technical info on all that next week from Eurobike.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.