This is the Fargo (Gen I) that I've been riding since November 2008. There have been some variations on the theme, but essentially, this rig has seen little change in the almost four years I've had it around.
The other thing that influenced that feeling was my Karate Monkey, which I had dialed in over a period of years previous to getting the Fargo and it was my "ruler" by which I measured all other fits by. I started tinkering around with the KM shortly after I received the Fargo and it has never been quite the same since. I didn't want that to happen with the Fargo.
I know, I know- measurements, yadda,yadda,yadda..... I can't say exactly why it is, but a certain mix of components just makes things "right", and swapping out something, even a minor thing, can really upset the "feel" of any bicycle for me. I should say, sometimes that works in the positive direction as well.
I had installed some Origin 8 Gary II Bars on this bike, and it was a step backwards in terms of the feel of the bike. Even certain wheel sets I've used have made the bike "feel" slower, more sluggish, and others have been great, for no apparent reason other than they were different.
Well, all that to say that putting on Retroshift levers/mounts was a risky proposition. Maybe they wouldn't "feel" right. Maybe I'd like them, but you never know unless you try. That and I'd have to re-cable the bike in the process, which hadn't been done since it was built. (About time for that, huh?) Thursday night I was frantically throwing parts at the Fargo and turning wrenches until at about midnight, I was done.
I would have to wait until morning to see how everything would turn out, but I had high hopes. I was missing this bike, and it has been in limbo ever since I broke it down for the old bar end shifters, which ironically were used to make the Retroshifter mounts work for the "Orange Crush".
For me, I was happy to see the Goats at Retroshift decided to use the awesome Tektro RL-520 model levers as their base for the shifter mounts. These levers have a generous and comfy hood which makes for a nice place to leverage on climbs as well. Another cool feature is the contoured lever blade which really feels nice in the hand versus the original lever, which isn't bad. It's just that the RL-520 is about as perfect as it gets for an off road drop bar, in my opinion.
The Retroshift levers/mounts make for a fail-safe shifting option which can work indexed or friction style. The dead simplicity of the lever makes for a durable, reliable shifting mechanism, and for gritty, possibly muddy gravel rides, this will survive about anything I throw at it. Plus, for cruising on the hoods, you are right there ready to shift at a moments notice, which beats bar end shifters in the normal position.
Today is the 3GR, and I am using the bike for the ride. Should have a good first impression to write about after that, unless I get rained out, that is. Also, I should have a good feel for some other minor changes I am thinking of for the Fargo too. Stay tuned.....
Trans Iowa 13: Soggy Bottoms
4 hours ago