|Used quite a bit this year.....|
Twin Six Standard Rando: This bike was a review bike for RidingGravel.com 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.