When you think of Thomson you probably envision stems, seat posts and maybe handlebars at this point. But with Thomson’s latest project, you might just be left thinking single speed drivetrain. In addition to the components themselves, the concept for how the single speed parts will be sold would be unique to Thomson. Creatively named the Crate Motor concept, Thomson’s marketing manager David Parrett envisions the entire single speed drive train to be sold in a single box. That would include the forthcoming Thomson crank, bottom bracket, bash guard, true single speed chain ring, chainring bolts, chain, their new single speed cog system with 2 ratios, clear acrylic cassette body spacers, and a lock ring for somewhere around $700.
Of course, the parts would be available separately as well including the new single speed crank. Why would Thomson make a crankset? Part of the idea is to offer a cohesive single speed drivetrain package that also just happens to match the rest of their components. It’s also a chance for Thomson to do some interesting things with the design like coating the crank arms in Keronite instead of anodizing them. The Keronite coating not only wears better than anodizing but doesn’t effect the total part’s shelf like anodizing. Other touches will include a nickel plated spindle, steel helicoil inserts for the pedals, and standard 104 BCD. Some details are still yet to be worked out, but Thomson plans to have the forgings done in Taiwan with the machining done in the US.
The other big part of the Crate Motor is the new single speed cog system. Aluminum. Steel. It has it all…
When it comes to single speed cogs, aluminum cogs with wide bases are ultimately the best for the sake of your freehub body. Steel on the other hand is usually better for the cog’s teeth themselves thanks to the added durability. Thomson’s single speed cog kit combines the two with a the added ability to switch out gear ratios with an allen wrench instead of a lockring wrench and chain whip.
The aluminum spider slides onto the freehub body just as any other single speed cog. Attached to that is a steel cog that is angled to emulate the design language of most disc rotors and held in place with 4 small bolts. This would allow riders to remove the wheel and switch out the cog only with an allen wrench which could be beneficial depending on the situation.
Crate Motors will likely be available in either 32, 34, or 36t chainrings while the rear sprockets will range from 16-22 t in both even and odd. Retail for the single speed cog kit alone with 2 ratios is planned for $99. It’s important to point out that these parts are still very much prototypes, but should provide a pretty solid idea of the final designs.
In other Thomson news, the 100mm Thomson dropper posts are now available, coming in at 495g without the remote and cable. David says there will be a cartridge retrofit available to make current 5″ posts into a 4″ post, but at a cost for the service.
Thomson has also confirmed that they are playing with designs for a road/gravel dropper which they plan to co-launch with a new titanium gravel bike.
Still some 6-9 months out, Thomson is working on a new road setback seat post design that will provide 25mm of offset. It will first be offered in 27.2 and 31.6 with plans for aluminum and carbon.
You may have already seen the details here, but yes Thomson has a small line of branded titanium bikes they designed that are made by Lynskey. Currently limited to a 27.5 hard tail and a 29er single speed hard tail, the frames are all designed with better than average mud clearance (think 2.4″ tire with plenty of room) 44mm head tubes, 73mm threaded bottom brackets, and a totally bitchin’ head tube badge.
Sold as a complete for $5800 or frame kit which includes Frame, stem, bar of choice, headset, seatpost collar, covert seatpost, and Thomson branded WTB saddle for $2800. To Thomson, the bikes represent what they are looking for in a bike while blending a number of US made parts from both Georgia and Tennessee.