Monday, March 24, 2014

Tamlanding

The maiden voyage was to work on Friday
It was all shiny and new, but now, this Monday morning, the Tamland is all dirty from a weekend of flogging. Obviously, with the background I have with this bike's history, I was eager to find out if what I'd been hearing about it was really true. That folks were really excited about the way it rode. I'd heard from the brand manager at Raleigh that the company prez was so smitten with the bike, that after he got a pre-production sample last year he quit riding anything else and rode the Tamland exclusively for weeks. I heard that dealers that had tried it out were pretty stoked about it. That's cool, but you know, you always want to find out for yourself, especially when many of the things about the bike were influenced by your own ideas.

So, when Friday was turning out to be a glorious day, I cut outta work an hour early and headed out for the gravel roads. Not far from work I got a sinking feeling that my tire pressures were off. Too low! Especially the back, it felt so soft, so smooth, like a low tire. The thing was, it rolled fine and pedaled without extra resistance, which you would expect with a low pressure tire. But the road was gone. There was no feeling from the back end of the bike, like any bumps and vibrations were being zapped before they got to my backside. Uncanny it was, so I stopped finally and checked the rear tire.

Barns For Jason

The tire was fine! Wow! So the Tamland is smooth then? Yes. Very.

I went on out of town to the North and cut across Eastward on Bennington Road. It was super nice out. Above 50 degrees and little wind. I felt a lot better and so I was hammering the bike over every roller. I slowed to get an image of a barn for Jason, and then I rolled a bit further down to take some detailed images on the road of the bike. The roads were primo. Only a few wet spots now and no dust. All the rock, for the most part, has been scraped aside by snowplows over the Winter leaving super smooth and fast dirt in its wake. That won't last long!

Back in town
I got back into town after 20 plus miles and felt great, if not a bit tired, but that was a great ride after being so cold for so long. It wouldn't last long though. Saturday was forecast to be colder by about 20-25 degrees and a lot windier. I still purposed to get a ride in despite the forecast of doom.

As foretold, the day on Saturday was brutal. Back into layers and heavy gloves for a slog in upper 20 degree temperatures. At least the Sun was out! Had it been cloudy the day would have felt a lot worse. I had intentions of riding part of the T.I.V10 course, but I didn't go that far down, and ended up driving to Traer and unloading there for what I hoped would be a fun, 20+ miler in some big hills.

A brutal wind cut my ride short
I left Southward, with the wind, and that part was a blast. Essentially a repeat of Friday, until I turned West. Gah! I lost a lot of speed, and the wind was battling me hard. The weather said it was an 18mph wind with 24mph gusts, but it was more like a 25mph wind with 30mph gusts! I mean, if it almost stops you in your tracks when the gusts come, that is a powerful wind.

Or I am really weak now! Could be.......

Whatever it was, it sucked, and I was really going to start hurting from working so hard to keep the bike going. I thought about how I had done an unplanned for ride the day before, and decided that I didn't want to sink my ship so soon after getting it above water. Being sick so long has made me a bit wary, perhaps. At any rate, I decided to cut the ride way short, turned North, and about had a fit. I mean, the wind, now in my face, was so strong I couldn't get above 10mph. It was nuts.

Barns For Jason: A round one!
What can you do? I just decided to roll with it. Heck, I was in no hurry, and so I tried to take what the ride would give me. I stopped and photographed whatever I wanted, and took my time spinning as much as I could. It was slow going, but it was going!

Eventually I got back to the truck and made it home. A good call on cutting that ride short too. I was feeling it in my legs the rest of Saturday and Sunday. Sore! So it was a recovery day on Sunday and I decided to clean up the Tamland and see if it needed any tweaking.

So, do I like it? So far it would be a big "yes". The bike has elements of a couple bikes I love rolled into one here: Steel, compliance, low bottom bracket, and stability. I don't like absolutely everything about the Tamland. There are a few components I think I will eventually swap out, starting with the handlebar. It isn't terrible, but by its very nature, it inhibits use in the drops and I don't like that. The drop section is okay, with its progressively curved tubes, but the reach to the lever from the drop in order to brake is unnecessarily too far. I know how to fix that, and the solution is named "Cowbell". There will be one coming for this bike quite soon!

The saddle I expected to hate, but hold on......it isn't too bad! The wheels are another thing. They are "okay", but I foresee something nicer taking their place eventually. Something a lot lighter. So, minor nits, nothing at all due to overall fit or design here. Just normal wishes and ergonomic complaints. Oh.....and one more compliant. When is it going to get warmer! Friday was such a tease!

2 comments:

Warren Kurtz said...

So with nearly everything else besides drivetrain being equal between level 1 and 2, is the Ultegra group worth the $700 asking price?

Guitar Ted said...

@Warren Kurtz: The 105/FSA spec is 10spd vs 11, so there is that. Plus, there is a definite difference in shifting quality.

Ultimately it all comes down to whether you want to jump to 11spd now, or if you are okay with 10spd and the lower quality of shifting.

And color. Don't forget the colors! ;>)