Thursday, October 09, 2008

Drop Bars, White Parts, And Other Random Musings

<====Quad XC "Dime" brake caliper and rotor

I'm giving you all a sneak peek at my latest project which I suppose should be called "Project White", but could just as easily be called "Project Resurrect Raleigh" . The Raleigh XXIX+G has been languishing in the corners of The Lab for months all torn down to the bare frame after I whacked the derailleur off of it late last winter.

I recently have come up with the idea to build it back up using a Origin 8 Black Ops fork that I got in a shorter axle to crown that should make the Raleigh much like the single speed version of the XXIX. A little steeper in the head angle with a bit more offset than the Reba it came with should result in a snappier handling rig, much like the old XXIX I had only this one fits me! The old XXIX was a size too small as it turned out.

<===The Quad XC Dime brake lever and white crowned version of the Black Ops fork.

I'll also be getting a white handle bar and stem, a carbon fiber seat post, a new X-9 rear derailleur, and a red Salsa LipLock seat collar for it. The build will be featured in both Twenty Nine Inches
and The Bike Lab. I probably won't have this ready yet for awhile since I am footing the bill for the whole she-bang myself on this one. It looks to be ready sometime in November. Yeah.......just in time for winter, I know! Oh well, my timing may be off, but it should be a killer looking rig.

Drop Bars For Mtb: I have those web tracker bots on this blog, (Yeah! I know where you are coming from! Muwahahaha!) And ........anyway, I see something hitting the top of the keyword charts daily lately. That is anything having to do with drop bar mountain bikes, Gary Bars, or Midge bars. It is pretty common to see that pop up some here on the list at any time, and since I have done several posts on that subject, it shouldn't be surprising. However; since the introduction of Salsa Cycles Fargo model, the drop bar searches have gone berserk. From all over the U.S.A to the U.K. and even some in Europe. It's crazy to see how much drop bar interest there really is out there for mtb's.

So, what questions do ya'all have? C'mon! I know you are searching anyway, and I will definitely answer any comments about the subject folks leave today in an upcoming post guessed it! Drop Bars for Mountain Biking. Everything you wanted to know and a bunch o stuff you probably don't. Beware! I have some fairly strong opinions on the matter based upon my delving into history and my own personal experience. Again, if you have a question regarding drop bars for mountain bikes, or the Salsa Fargo in particular, drop the question in today's comments. Even if you folks don't leave a comment, I'm going to do the post, so you might as well leave the question, mmmkay?

So, regarding the Fargo, I see my Crooked Cog colleague Tim Grahl authored a post about the Fargo as a commuter rig on Commute By Bike while we were at Interbike. The comments were.....interesting. Folks were balking at the price, which is set at $650.00 MSRP on the frame and fork. They were saying they would rather use a Surly Long Haul Trucker or a Cross Check since they were cheaper. Well, let's take a look here at some facts, shall we? The MSRP on the Fargo is.....well, a suggested retail. Street prices are likely to be somewhat less, but then again, they may not be much less due to the Fargo's high initial demand. Surly's are selling for a shade over $400.00 for Cross Check frame and forks and as high as $450.00 for a LHT frame and fork. So, lets say the difference is about $200.00 between the Fargo and the Surly rigs.

Okay, $200.00 is a lot of coin, but the bikes really are not even in the same league. The Surly examples are built upon road bike ideals: horizontal top tubes, geometry of road bikes, cantilever brakes, limited tire clearances with fenders, and lighter, road specific forks. The Fargo, on the other hand, is built from a dirt perspective. Tougher frame details and fork design, more stand over clearance, a better position for the drop bar for off road, ( ie: higher), better clearance for fat tires and fenders, disc brakes, and better handling in the rough stuff due to it's off road bred geometry.

It might not add up to $200.00 difference to you, especially if you will never ride your bike on mountain bike type trails, but if you would, the Fargo makes way more sense. Also, a person might consider the Fargo his or her mountain bike and commuter bike, which you can't do with the Surly bikes mentioned. Oh! Yeah, you could ride a LHT off road, or a Cross Check, but the Fargo would smoke either one, given that the terrain was truly mountain bike worthy. At any rate, try taking your $200.00 savings and buy a mountain bike frame and fork half as good as a Fargo. It ain't happening.

So, I found it funny that folks were stuck in the "commuter bike box" when looking at the Fargo. Especially when they had no qualms about a touring bike or a cyclo-cross bike as a commuter. I guess the commenters weren't mountain bikers too, or they may have taken a different tack on the Fargo.

But that bike, the Fargo, defies conventions, and a lot of folks are having a hard time getting their minds wrapped around the concept of it. Then again, a lot of folks are "getting it", and I suspect that the Fargo will be a very popular rig in 2009.

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