Thursday, February 29, 2024
HomeCyclingQuantity Knobs – Bike Snob NYC

Quantity Knobs – Bike Snob NYC

Again once I nonetheless had time to do stuff like spend the entire weekend driving simply to experience my bike for 45 minutes I used to partake in cyclocross. Whereas I used to be actually unhealthy at it, I additionally actually loved it: the races are brief and intense, they check your bike-handling expertise (or lack thereof), and once you’re achieved you get to hold round and watch the higher riders present you the way it’s achieved. Additionally, the bikes themselves are nice, and lots of are versatile sufficient to see you thru the remainder of the winter with just some minor modifications:

For all these causes, plus frugality, I by no means had a flowery cyclocross bike. Critical racers used tubular tires so they might run super-low pressures, and so they used completely different wheels and tires for various circumstances, and so they even had spare bikes to maintain within the pit. I used to be by no means practically good or formidable sufficient for any of that stuff to matter, and fuel was costly sufficient. So I used the identical pair of clincher tires all season lengthy whether or not it was dry or muddy, and I rode cheap cyclocross bikes that had been simple to winterize, just like the one above. But my cyclocross bike was an important one, since not solely did I’ve few bikes on the time, however the idea of the “gravel bike” hadn’t even been invented but, and so it stuffed within the vast hole between my highway bike and my mountain bike. It was even the bike I took on my first e-book tour:

[Via here.]

However then I finished racing, and I went on to accrue many various kinds of bicycles, and so for the final however-many years I haven’t even owned a correct cyclocross bike, since I haven’t actually wanted one. Certain, every so often I’d bounce right into a race to humiliate myself, however on these events I’d simply experience one thing else as a substitute:


So when Paul at Traditional Cycle requested me if I wished to experience this one for awhile I used to be like, “Yeah, why not?”

Its arrival turned out to be fairly well timed, because it confirmed up simply previous to Thanksgiving, and its sporting nature compelled me to spend many of the lengthy weekend utilizing it as a turkey-burning assist.

As I talked about final week, this was the crew bike of 1 Zach McDonald, and you’ll learn extra about him right here:

[Photo: Paul Johnson]

Some issues in cyclocross by no means change. For instance, carrying your bike is carrying your bike:

[Photo courtesy of the Classic Cycle collection]

However different issues are fairly completely different, and whereas the cyclocrossers of yesteryear as soon as noticed decorum to the purpose that they wore neckies…

[Photo courtesy of the Classic Cycle collection]

…immediately that decorum is nowhere to be discovered:

As for the bikes, as in each different self-discipline, they’ve gone from metal to aluminum to crabon, and from rim brakes to discs. This explicit bike is almost a decade previous, and as such it represents the final gasp of the rim brake, however it’s current sufficient to be crabon via and thru, proper right down to the wheels:

Whereas I wouldn’t essentially hunt down such a motorcycle, particularly now that my racing days are far behind me, I nonetheless get a kick out of driving one. It’s mild to the purpose of feeling insubstantial, and it’s nearly like driving nothing in any respect:

And but it feels surprisingly steady offroad, to the purpose the place it nearly appears self-righting in comparison with what I’m used to from a cyclocross bike, that being mainly a highway bike with canti bosses, barely slacker angles, and a better backside bracket. (As I perceive it, excessive backside brackets on cyclocross bikes had been mainly a vestigial function from when riders nonetheless wanted ample clearance for toe clips.) In the meantime, in response to my post-ride analysis, this bike has a relatively low backside bracket and a very slack headtube angle, which might account for my impressions, although the tubular tires you don’t have to fret about pinch-flatting is also a giant a part of it:

Actually the bike was confidence-inspiring sufficient that I saved attempting to take the bike additional and additional offroad, and finally it was the shortage of enough tire quantity for the actually rocky sections that saved me from getting too carried away.

The brakes are additionally superb, although mini-vs are usually not with out their quirks:

Whereas these are the high-end TRP fashions, functionally they’re no completely different from the cheap Tektro model you see on my previous bike on the prime of the web page. What’s nice about mini-vs is that they’re very highly effective, they’re extraordinarily simple to arrange, they’re largely proof against chatter and among the different side-effects that may generally plague cantilever brakes, and so they remove the necessity for cable hangers on the body, fork, or steerer tube. What’s not so nice is that it’s a must to run the pad fairly near the rim should you don’t need your levers to backside out, which isn’t nice for mud or wheel out-of-trueness or ease of disconnecting the cable for quick wheel adjustments. Additionally, the stopping energy comes on fast, so should you’re ham-handed with the levers it’s simple to lock up your wheels–not solely do you get one-finger braking, however you kind of have to brake with just one finger to keep away from overpowering the wheel. For mountain biker sorts who like a lot of stopping energy on faucet that could be a plus, however should you’re an previous fuddy-duddy trying to replicate the predictable really feel of your rim brake highway bike you’ll finally be happier with a pair of excellent cantilevers. However we’ve all skilled frame-and-canti combos we will’t get to work it doesn’t matter what we’ve tried (when the 18th individual suggests toeing in your pads you severely ponder killing them) and in such circumstances mini-vs characterize nothing lower than deliverance from perdition. (Please observe that for the needs of this dialogue we’re pretending disc brakes on cyclocross bikes don’t exist.)

Gearing on this bike is a 46/36 within the entrance:

And an 11-28 within the again:

Individuals accustomed to wide-range gravel drivetrains would possibly discover the absence of actually low gears stunning, however there aren’t any lengthy climbs in cyclocross, and should you can’t experience up one thing in your 28 then odds are it’d be sooner to run it.

In the case of built-in shifting, the single-lever SRAM strategy has by no means been my favourite, however I do get why individuals prefer it:

The Crimson levers even have a pleasant strong click on to them. Paradoxically, racer-types used to reward a lever if it had a stable really feel that required slightly additional effort to interact the gear–individuals would spend tons of extra for Dura Ace simply to keep away from the “mild motion” of the lesser shifters, an attribute they noticed as amateurish. Then digital got here alongside, and out of the blue every thing’s speculated to be simple once more, go determine.

In fact as a traditionalist who prefers bikes of steel I discover the fork nearly comically bulbous:

It appears like a bodybuilder flexing:

I’m additionally deeply terrified of the BB30 expertise:

However this isn’t a motorcycle for middle-aged retrogrouches. It’s a racing bike for skilled bike racers, and whilst you might not care to personal one, should you can’t get pleasure from driving one you could be slightly bit useless inside:

It appears quick standing nonetheless, and it makes me really feel quick simply sitting in entrance of it:

I really feel quick driving it too, however objectively I do know this to not be the case. Good factor the season’s ending. The very last thing I would like is to enroll in a race and spoil the phantasm.



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