First up is the obvious- the Ergon SM-3 saddle. It's white and looks nice on the bike, but the ride is what matters. That will be decided upon later, but this is a saddle I have wanted to try out for awhile. The mtb version is one that agrees with my behind. Hopefully this one should be the same. The seat post was a component I was going to consider swapping out here, and I still may, but for now the groovy little Raleigh branded number on here stays put.
The other components here are the WTB Nano 40's which I am running tubed to get a direct comparison with other tires I have been using. So far they are really good. On dirt they are fantastic, but then that shouldn't be any surprise to those who have run Nanoraptors on their mountain bikes. The gravel performance is quite good. Maybe a bit squirrelly in comparison to the Gravel Grinder tires I am also checking out. The tires are very comparable to Clement MSO 40's, but for one thing, and that is on hard packed road and pavement. The Nano 40's knobs deflect just enough that they steal a little bit of energy on pavement or hard dirt. I can tell there is a huge gap in speed in comparison to the Gravel Grinder, which rolls much freer on harder surfaces than the Nano 40's do. Again- that shouldn't be a big surprise. The Gravel Grinder has a diamond file tread, which is very minimalistic, and edge knobs for stability/cornering traction, which do not hit the road unless the terrain is loose, sandy, or muddy. Of course, if you lean the bike over, they will contact the ground as well.
|The Ugly just got Uglier|
Open Letter To Shimano:
Hello! I purchased a bicycle with Ultegra 6800 11 speed parts which was equipped with a "mid-compact" ring set of 52T-36T. Fortunately I was happy to find that Shimano produced a 46T ring for this FC-6800 crankset which suits me more for my style of riding. Thank you for that choice!
However; the 46T ring, while fitting the BCD of the crank perfectly, does not at all fit the look of this crankset. The asking price of this ring, which is easily twice that of other rings its size for competing crank sets, is such that I would expect a seamless look with my crank arms. Not this travesty of visual presentation, which is so far removed from the look of the 52T ring as to suggest that the ring could not have possibly been designed for this crank set.
May I suggest that it is for reasons exampled by the above- and more- why consumers often have a poor opinion of Shimano cycling products? I cannot fathom how one of Shimano's premier road components could have such poor visual integration which is totally uncharacteristic of Shimano and belies its heritage.
Fortunately I can report that the crankset shifts and functions perfectly, but at the price the ring sold for and due to my high expectations for Shimano Ultegra components I must say that I am extremely dissatisfied with this chain ring and crankset combination. (Ring model FC-6800 46T-MB YIP498050)