Sunday, 26 October 2008

New ride

Well here is my new ride, an OS Bikes Blackbuck singlespeed. What another singlespeed? Don't you have one of those already? Well I do but the Solly will be rocking a fixed gear, 42c CX treads and optional bike packing gear for epics, mixed terrain rides and stuff. The BB will be for shorter rides (sub-8hr say) and messing about on. The freewheel and dual disc brakes makes it a little more friendly for technical riding and group stuff....no one likes being dropped on a fire road downhill in the first 50m :)

I had followed with interest GuitarTeds testing of the BB on twentynineinches.com with a variety of different forks. The geometry is pretty different from "regular" 29ers with a 74deg head and seat angle, 435mm forks with 51mm rake (tail about 55mm, vs 70-80mm for most other 29ers) 612mm top tube is spot on for me and the 18" seat tube fine as well. The EBB is the closest fitting I have see on a production frame and makes it easy to adjust the chain tension. Ah hell, read G-Teds write up, he's better at it than me.

I managed to get it built up on Friday night but had to wait until Saturday to finish it as the Avid rear hose was 10" too short (the front was only just long enough on a rigid bike!) and the top-hats in the Race Face BB needed replacing after the original ones shattered when I installed the cranks. I did read, understand and follow the instructions but still they fell apart. After the silly easy fitting of the Deore HTII cranks to Becca's bike earlier in the week I was a little miffed but that's life. Oh and they don't spin too easily, I hope that this will bed in a bit.

First ride was a 2hr social jaunt over Breadon hill, starting with a nasty climb to gain height then taking in grassy descents, mud, singletrack, wet roots and psychotic trail dogs. The handling felt really stable to start with, I could even manage some no-handed riding on the road and kept the front end from wandering on the stiff climb up the fields. When I got it on the twisty trail however the handling was super sharp and a real "think about it and its done" sort of response that saved me a couple of times (mainly turning in too sharp on wet, muddy grass)

I need to fit a shorter stem (90mm vs 105mm on there) and slide the saddle right back. Colour co-ordinated stem spacers. A seat clamp that holds the post a bit better as the QR one slipped a litte with me bouncing on the saddle, aided by the hefty Carradice Glentress seat pack (filled with tools, tube, pump, jacket, over trousers, food and camera!) A surly Constrictor might fit the bill nicely.

The saddle pack and a spare SQR block on the Solly allows me to carry enough for most day rides (along with 2 bottles on the frame) and easily move it from bike to bike depending on the ride. The frame bag will be fitted for big stuff and when I really need to cart the kitchen sink about! Talk today was of a bivvy at Afan and possibly the West Highland Way next year over 4-5days with some side route diversions.

Finally a pic, with the Titec bars looking really odd, well odder than normal!

Alex

Monday, 13 October 2008

Touring bike for sale: Dawes Horizon.

A friend at work is selling his touring bike he has just finished renovating. Specs and contact details below.

Dawes Horizon touring bike, recently re-built with lots of new stuff and hardly used.

classic reynolds 520 db lugged cromo frame and forks (early 90')
Tiagra x-type semi compact c/s 50/34t
Tiagra rear mech
Sora 09 9speed sti shifters and front mech
Brooks B17 special saddle std black copper rails/rivets
3t bars
LX cantis
Mavic Ma3/open sport rims rebuilt on rsx highly polished hubs
new chain,bar tape,cassette,seatpost,cables etc.

Every thing new except headset and tyres.

£300 collection only from Cheltenham.

email giles.g1 AT googlemail DOT com or call 07852219455



Sunday, 12 October 2008

Slacker...

Lack of energy, motivation and err, umm, eloquence? Despite the lovely weather I have not been out on the bike. Yeah, I should I guess but when a habitual early riser sleeps in until gone 10am on a sunny Sunday something is wrong. Today has been a relaxing one, some light DIY, bike fetting and zombie killing on the Wii.

The winter bike project is well under way. I have an OS Bikes Blackbuck frame and forks on its way from Mark Slate (WTB / Cunningham fame) and a stack of Titec, DT, Race Face, WTB and Avid parts sat at work ready for the frame to land here. My cousin Nicky has expressed an interest in building up a bike so I might see if he wants to give me a hand putting it all together (wheels included) one weekend. Its cool to help people learn stuff...might have to miss out on the beers and metal while doing it ;)

The plan for the bike is to be a low-geared freewheeling bike with "normal" bars for messing about on over the winter while the drop-bar Solly is fitted with 42c tyres for long mixed-terrain rides and bike-packing.

Speaking of bike packing, there is a new site / forum on that subject (MTBR.com missed a trick there) that is worth checking out. A nice mix of newbies like me and seasoned vetrans so there is a good spread of experiance and some cracking ride reports.

My friend, best man and bike-adventure vetran Matt sent me a great present, a photo book made up of photos we all took on the GDR ride with captions. Its great to have a hard copy of the shots and once we get a coffee table it will look cool on there :) Thanks Matt!

OK, enough blather from me. Have a nice week.

Alex