Tuesday, May 08, 2012

What's Up Lately

Now that the whole T.I. thing is behind me, (mostly), I can start delving back into the "regular" posts here again. (I'm sure some of you are okay with that!)

Geared Up- Ready to go!
Well, I have been tinkering with a few bikes of late. The big thing is gearing for the "Orange Crush". I had a compact road bike crank on it with 50/34T gears. I was always in the 50 since dropping to the 34 was so momentum sucking. I would only use it for a bail out situation.

Fortunately, FSA has cyclo-cross rings for the Shimano crank that work brilliantly for what I was wanting for gravel road riding. The gearing now is 46T/36T. This is important for those times when you are speeding up a hill, and momentum is slipping away faster than you can go through gears out back. Then you simply dump the front down, spin away, and hopefully attain the crest of the hill without stressing the power muscles to much.

In fact, I am a "masher" and not prone to switching up gears on a derailleur bike on gravel. I tend to "live with" a gear. The shorter disparity between teeth count up front now is more conducive to my way of riding, since many times I'll just toggle the front chain rings back and forth while leaving the rear end mostly alone. So, I've only gotten one ride on the set up so far, but I am already smiling. This should work well.

De-fendered, back to the steel fork
More BMC changes- I mentioned that I had a Bontrager carbon fork on the BMC for awhile with fenders as well. I decided the Orange Crush needed to be "stripped down" for summer and the fork change was easy enough while I was at it.

I had ridden a 20 miler on a lot of fresh gravel Friday night on the carbon fork set up, so I went out for a "Super-moon" ride Saturday night after switching things out. Here are my impressions on the differences.
  • The Carbon fork is stiffer: The old Bonty fork was definitely not as smooth as the steel fork is on higher frequency vibrations. That's sort of runs contrary to popular opinions on carbon forks, but there it is. The steel fork is simply smoother feeling in a noticeable way. 
  • The handling is.......very similar. I can't say there is any big difference in handling that jumps right out at me. If there is a difference, it is a very subtle one. 
  • On rough, new gravel, the carbon fork "pings" off-line a bit easier. The result is a tougher to keep straight bike with the carbon fork. Make no mistake, the steel fork can and does get bounced around, but not to the degree that the carbon one did. Less fighting the front end, more energy saved. 
So I am pretty happy with the steel fork change back. It will be sticking around on the bike now for good.

Speaking of the "super-moon", I did get out and see it on the gravel Saturday evening. It wasn't anything all that unusual looking to me, but there ya go.

I guess I can say that I got a great night time gravel ride in, and I still need a tripod for night time shots! I made do by sitting the camera on top of my head, but my breathing still blurred the image since I had the shutter time jacked wide open to get as much light time as I could to capture the image. I'm no "photographer", but I am learning how to operate this contraption better. Finally!

I also bled some brakes on a bike Saturday, which isn't my favorite thing to do, because I hate DOT fluid that many of the brakes use. I used to have to work with it a lot in my car repair days, and the stuff is flat out evil. Not a fan at all. Mineral oil is cool, but it is slightly harder to get the air out of that stuff. Not impossible though.

Well, besides that and feeling extremely lethargic after Trans Iowa, that about sums things up around here! Now back to "normal" life, hopefully.

1 comment:

Ari said...

My sugino has a 26x36x46 and I really like that gearing. I find the 34x50 too extreme of a change for graveling.