Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Bikes Of 2015: Twin Six Standard Rando

Although it wasn't my bike then, it is now!
This one is a surprise for me. It all started out as a review bike for RidingGravel.com. I figured that I might like it, but after I started riding it, I parked just about everything else I owned and rode this bike fairly exclusively until September when I figured it would have to go back. Then something strange happened.......

I asked Twin Six if they'd sell it to me and for how much. 

I'd pretty much never done that in a decade of reviewing stuff. But, I liked this bike that much. I just am very surprised that it rides as smooth as it does and with such stability and yet has a certain snap. Hard to 'splain it, but all you need to know is that I like it a lot.

The Bike: Twin Six Standard Rando. It is a bike with many purposes, but it seems to suit my gravel travels quite nicely. Here's a quick run down of what it has on it and one thing it will have on it soon....
  • Frame/Fork: Twin Six ain't sayin' what kind of steel this is, but it rides really well.
  • Drivetrain: SRAM Rival 22 w/mech disc brakes.
  • Bars/Stem: fizik with Torx fasteners. (Why?!!) 
  • Wheels: Here's the part I didn't buy when I got the bike. I am building up some White Industries hubs to WTB KOM rims. Stay tuned.....
That last part is why this bike hasn't seen the light of day for months. I now have the rims and the hubs are on the way. Sometime this Winter this bike will have wheels again. Why didn't I buy the wheels? Because they weren't what I wanted. Frankly, I don't feel that they were the right way to go in terms of where wheels and tires are headed these days.

Other than that, I probably will end up ditching the crazy fizik stuff and especially that saddle. I see a set of Cowbells headed for this bike, a different stem without Torx bolts, and lighter seat post. But first the wheels and tires will get done. I have a saddle as a replacement, but the rest will come much later.

11 comments:

Jay Robinson said...

Thoroughly enjoyed following your reports on this bike. I've had a dream of a Ti gravel bike. I know that Twin Six is rolling one out soon with this geometry. Wondering your thoughts on how that will change ride quality. I'm guessing it will be a bit lighter. Have you ridden much Ti on gravel and how does it compare?

Cheers.

Guitar Ted said...

@Jay Robinson: First off- Thank you for the compliments on my T-6 Standard Rando posts. I appreciate that, and am glad that you enjoyed reading about my thoughts on the bike. I think you will also enjoy the riding of it even more.

It's hard to extrapolate how a titanium bike will ride from what you've read about a similar steel bike. The two materials are often lumped together when speaking of ride quality, but in my experiences, titanium has something different going on when it comes to how it deals with vibrations. It also has a uniqueness to how it flexes and how your energy is or is not working in harmony with titanium is something very different from steel bicycles. Of course, we're talking about high-end, technologically advanced tubing, not your garden variety steel or Ti frames here.

What T-6 will bring to the table in regard to the titanium Standard Rando may work well.......or not. Hard to say until we've ridden the bike, and only then can we make any educated commentary on the two varieties of this model. As far as weight is concerned, don't assume it will be lighter. It could be lighter, but again, what tube set T-6 specs will determine this metric. It could also turn out to be a similar weight, or even heavier. This may all be independent of a better or worse ride quality as well. Take my Salsa titanium seat post, for example, which by any measure, is heavier than competing Ti posts, but rides every bit as smoothly.

So, long story short- We just don't know at this point what we are dealing with in terms of how the Ti Standard will ride, or how much lighter it might be, or not.

Twin Six did mention at one point that they may have a sample sent to RidingGravel.com for testing. Hopefully that is the case so we can get to the bottom of this.

Jay Robinson said...

Great stuff. No shortcut for riding a bike! Thanks for the input and thorough response!

jb said...

Hi,

I saw your previous comments about the rock n' road tires in your reviews. They definitely look like a tight fit. I was curious about rim widths and the Twin Six. Is there room there for a modern tubeless wide rim, like 23mm? or even 25mm? I'm thinking Stans or WTB KOM as examples.

Thanks!
JB

Guitar Ted said...

@jb: I'm going to find out shortly. I shall soon have my White Industries hubs in hand, and those will be laced to the WTB KOM rims I have already. My plan is to mount some 40mm tires to these rims once it is all said and done. Stay tuned.....

Steve Chan said...

Do you think that you could go with a much fatter tire with a 650B conversion? Maybe get close to a 2" wide 650B tire?

Guitar Ted said...

@ @Steve Chan: I have not tried any bigger 650B tires in the frame to know. Perhaps I shall give that a try when I am building up my new wheels for this bike.

Adam Van Dyke said...

Thanks for the good review, I've been following along and interested in this bike as a possible rain bike replacement for my bean green 2001 crosscheck,(with a nice fairly light component mix) geometry seems similar to my 56CM Cross check,but with a lower BB and longer HT, and 5mm longer TT, which would be nice, a couple less spacers and or drop my stem, and the lower BB might be nice. I've had the cross check a long time, but I live and ride in western WA so disc on the winter/rain bike would be nice, less time spent cleaning wheels, and checking/changing brake pads would be nice. I could also get a good team deal on a Raliegh or Kona, but this seems to have a nicer component group than most in this price range, though I'm not sure about how good the Stans wheels are? I know your waiting for your own wheels to be made, I'm around 6FT but not too heavy @ about 165#.

Thanks,
Adam

Guitar Ted said...

@Adam: I think the quality and performance of the Stan's wheel set is really quite good. I just wanted to go a different direction with my Rando.

Jana said...

Hi,

How do you think this bike would do as 95% pavement use road bike with 28mm tires? I am thinking of having the frame retrofitted with S&S couplers for travel. Do you think it is a good candidate for that? Thanks!

Guitar Ted said...

@Jana- #1- Just fine, maybe a tad low on the bottom bracket, depending upon your riding style. #2- Anything can be done with enough money, but I would look hard at a Co-Motion offering first to see if you would not be better off going that way. if that was too much money, why not look at a Surly Traveler's Check? Both options I have given are for bikes designed to be S&S coupled bikes, and you would not have to incur the cost of retrofitting a T-6 frame, nor have repainting costs. Keep in mind that the T-6 was not designed as a travel bike and putting S&S couplers in would be expensive and require a new paint job.