Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Bikes Of 2016: Twin Six Standard Rando

Used quite a bit this year.....
The time of year has come that I will be reviewing the bikes I used the most throughout 2016 and why. The ups, downs, changes, and more will be discussed. 

 Twin Six Standard Rando: This bike was a review bike for last year and I liked it so much I purchased it. I reviewed it in this series last year here. I still really like it, but there were two rather significant changes which made the bike really special this year. 

First was the switch to 650B wheels. I had the opportunity to test the WTB Horizon 47's this year, but I lacked a proper wheel set to do that with. Velocity USA came to the rescue with a set of Aileron rims laced to their own branded hubs.  Once the wheels and tires were set up, I put them on my Raleigh Tamland Two first. However; I switched them over to the Standard Rando after a while. I then discovered that the ride feel with 650B, "Road Plus" rubber was pretty compelling. The Standard Rando got lowered, felt smoother, and spun up ridiculously fast with these wheels and tires. I really had no reason to swap out that tire until a more fully featured 650B, "Road Plus" tire came along, and it did in the form of the Terrene Elwood 650B X 47mm tires. Now I am liking this wheel/tire combo even more with this bike. 

The second thing was the swap to a Brooks Cambium C-17 saddle. I had heard mixed reviews on this newer Brooks model, but my good friend, MG, had five of them, so I knew there was something to the hype. Well, it wasn't love at first ride, by any means. 

The C-17 felt stiff and a bit unforgiving. Even after a couple of gravel outings. I was about to consider how I was going to pawn it off when after the third longer ride it suddenly became super comfortable.  The compliance was 100% better than when new. Even co-workers were surprised when I rode the bike into work and we compared another new C-17 we had in stock with my broken in C-17. Night and day difference. The saddle has been primo ever since then. 

I mentioned last year that the stem, handle bar, and seat post were apt to get changed, and I still mean to get to that. However; other than a swept bar, I cannot see those things really making the bike better. The wheels, tires, and saddle have just been a major improvement. The ride quality has been enhanced, and the only negative is that I have had a few pedal strikes due to the lowered bottom bracket. 

The Aileron rims have been really great so far. I may pick up a 700c sized set and swap the bigger diameter  tires in  from time to time. That would be nice when I need a higher bottom bracket or the characteristics of a 700c set of wheels over that of a 650B, "Road Plus" set up.


Doug Goodenough said...

Interesting on the c17 as I got rid of mine quickly due to how hard it was (and it squeaked). I was led to believe there was no break in on these but sounds like there is.............darn.

Smithhammer said...

Funny, I had a similar experience with my C17 - it was an ass hatchet when I first got it. I used it on JayP's Gravel Pursuit last year and that was the only part of me that hurt the next day (probably also partly due to wearing a crappy liner short). I was also told that the cambium saddles, unlike a leather saddle, don't "break in" over time - they are comfortable out of the box, or not.

I was on the verge of getting rid of mine, which I was particularly bummed about, given how much I had spent on it. But then I gave it another try and somehow it was a different saddle - I can now happily sit on it all day long. One thing I have found is that the 'sweet spot' is a bit smaller on the C17 vs. the B17, and getting it positioned just right for my sit bones seems more critical than on the B17. I'm glad I stuck it out with the C17 - it's a great saddle, and nice to have a Brooks that I don't have to worry about in the weather.

Guitar Ted said...

Yes, I was surprised as well. I was under the impression that Cambiums were "broken in" when you get them. We got a few in earlier in the year at the shop, and to be quite honest, we weren't impressed. They felt stiff, wooden, and unyielding. I put one on a custom Straggler build and it wasn't bad, actually. I was confused. Maybe you had to have them mounted to get the benefit?

The only thing I am sure of is that mine broke in after three rides, or about 100 miles or so. It has been awesome ever since that time. So, at least in my case, there is a break in period.

BigE610 said...

Any problems with the pressfit bb? Been looking at this bike but am apprehensive about the bottom bracket.

Guitar Ted said...

@BigE610: None whatsoever.

MG said...

The C17 isn't the best MTB saddle ever, but for gravel or fat bikes, they're the most comfortable perch I've found. Long days in the saddle hurt just a little less due to the comfort and ride quality it gives me.

Cheers, Brother!

thegeoffphillips said...

Mr. Ted,

If you had to choose between the Tamland and Standard Rando for your only gravel bike, which would it be?

If the Straggler and Space Horse were also available, would it change your decision?

Thanks for your articles and expertise!

Guitar Ted said...

@thegeoffphillips- Easy. That would be the Tamland. Reason being is that it takes a much larger sized tire than the T-6 can.

The Straggler and Spacehorse are too overbuilt, in terms of frame tubing, for my tastes.

thegeoffphillips said...

Thanks! Is the lack of a replaceable derailleur hanger on the Tamland anything to be concerned about?

Guitar Ted said...

@Thegeoffphillips- Mountain bikes made of steel got by for years without need for a removable hangar since the drop outs could be tweaked without major loss of strength or risk of catastrophic failures. Removable hangars were brought out as a way to preserve aluminum frames since aluminum is not a metal amenable to being bent and then re-bent back in place again without failing or major loss of strength.

So, no!

thegeoffphillips said...

Decision made. Thank you sir! I was on the fence and wanted an expert's opinion.