Monday, February 18, 2008

Review by Gordon - 650b winter bike

As promised from last week, ride report from Gordon. The below is the full text that Gordon sent me, I did not change a thing.

For those who do not know Gordon, he is from Scotland and you will know once he speaks with you. He is an excellent mechanic and works at the north store (Laurel and Mason) of Lee's Cyclery in Fort Collins. If you would like to speak with him direct, visit the store during Friday to Monday, his winter work hours.

Here is what Gordon has to say: 

hi Renold, thank you very much for loaning me the  white rando bike.  It was the the perfect bike for  the time of year  i took it for some longish rides  well long for this time of year  and it performed  beautifully.

I made some minor modifications from the bike you delivered to me , i swapped out the  Brooks saddle  for my own one that has been broken in a bit , i put on a couple of water bottle cages and attached my carridice saddle bag,  changed my pedals and i was good to go.  

My first impression of the bike was how attractive it was with the ornate lugs, custom stem and matching white fenders it drew a lot of admiring glances wherever it went.  i rode it around town for a couple of days when i fist got it to get used to it before going on any big rides. i was struck by how stable the bike felt even with my saddlebag swinging around behind me i was able to confidently ride no-hands while adding or removing clothing, eating stretching whatever. the tires took a little getting used to as they were about twice the width that i normally ride and to be honest i would probably change those out for something a little smoother and narrower like a nifty swifty, especially if i was going to riding primarily on the road. The first decent ride i took it for was over rist canyon ( about a 10 mile climb) and then back to fort collins via masonville about 55 miles, i was nervous about  doing the ride  at this time of  year as there are some icy patches, and a lot of gravel or salt on the roads and it also features some fast twisty descending but i need not of worried, the bike handled really well and the disc brakes helped me stay in control at all times. I also managed to hang with a racer out training on his light full carbon bike on the way up the canyon which was big surprise for me i thought i would get dropped like a stone as i'm sure i was on a much heavier steed.
The only things i didn't like on this ride were the position of the right shifter which was on the top tube and was fine while you were in the saddle but when climbing out the saddle would cause you to hit it with your knee  causing  the  rear derailleur to shift you into higher gears  which would reduce my progress to a crawl, the only other thing that annoyed me was a noise during every rotation of the wheel but i traced that to a low spot on the front tire which i fixed quickly when i got home and was never a problem again.
I also took the bike for some longer rides (around 80 miles) up the poudre canyon and the bike was very comfortable and i could have ridden it all day long had my fitness been a bit better. Another thing i would do if it were my bike would be to put a 48 or 46 tooth large chainring on the crank as this would give me more useful gear ratios as i found i was cross chaining a lot when i was in the big ring.
All in all this is a great bike to ride and one that will give somebody years of great riding in almost all terrains and weather conditions.

As a reference to Gordon's comment, I want to add that he had been riding a full carbon race bike for the past 2 years and he is planning to sell it since he had just acquired an older Tomassini in steel and going back to the roots with down tube shifters and all. I was excited to learn this about 2 weeks ago and knew that he is planning to do the next PBP too.

His comment is very spot on and I think my test of the top tube shifter has just concluded, if I were to do it again, I would either have to move it closer to the head tube or to the stem, but for the next one I am currently building, it will be on the down tube.

A slideshow from before.