Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wide Rims and Funky Bars

<===Another Wednesday Outing!

I took the Blackbuck out for a whirl on the new Salsa Gordo/Hope Pro II wheels yesterday. I tell you what, those Gordos will make me a believer in wide rims, that's for certain! The wheels allowed me to run pressures with tubes down to 17psi front and 20psi rear. The tires rolled really well at those pressures and out at the Camp I felt faster because of the increased grip. The rear wheel bottomed out against a few roots and I slammed one tree branch that I didn't see coming due to the sun in my eyes, but no pinch flats at all. I probably will bump up the rear pressure just a tad, maybe something like 22-24 psi for protection against pinching and see how that does. The front, well that was fine, but I may experiment with 20psi to see if that gets faster without losing grip.

The soil at the Camp was pretty damp and again, the tires were packing up just a bit. No matter though, as the Gordos spread out that casing and the low pressures gave me great traction. I did two laps of everything and I was going faster than I had in a long time, so that says a lot to me.

Of course, you have to mention the comfort factor too, since those tires are really suspension at this point. I would love to have had a rigid fork on the Blackbuck yesterday to see how it would have ridden with those tires as spread out as they were and at those low pressures. I bet it would have been a lot less punishing a ride.

<===The Schwalbe Racing Ralph looks ginormous on these rims!

<===That's me on the left, a truck tire track on the right.

So, I think the Gordos are winners so far. They are certainly a stiff rim! I never felt a waggle or any vagueness out of these wheels. Solid!

Finally, I have been using Titec H-Bars on the Blackbuck all summer. While they certainly are one of the most ugly bars I have seen, they are super functional, especially on a single speed bike. I love the way I can climb with them and the hand position works really well. Mind you, these bars are nearly 100 bucks retail now, so they are not cheap. However; I have to laugh at what the "real" Jones H-Bars bring at retail these days. Over $400.00! And now Jeff Jones as some new handlebar designs that are over 5 bills to buy. I don't argue the benefits of his designs, but I tell ya, the price of titanium must be ridiculous, because I just don't see $550.00 worth of work there. I could buy another Blackbuck frame for that kind of scratch, and I know there is a lot more work in my frame than there is in that handlebar. Still, I would love to have one for more "epic" long rides. The way the "Loop" bar is shown with a handlebar bag and lights? Makes total sense.

The H-Bar in aluminum is doing just fine, and for my more "epic" long rides, I think that the Gary Bar, or a Midge Bar will suffice. Actually, they are better in some respects, as the drop bar designs have three "levels" if you will. Lower level, that is in the drops. Upper level, that is on the hoods. Top floor, that is on the bar top, next to the stem. Lots of hand positions, and a handle bar bag works just dandy with those too. I am actually going back to a drop bar set up on my Karate Monkey again soon. I miss that bike with drop bars.

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