Monday, January 23, 2017

Happenings Of Late

January.....no snow, no ice, and lots of mud and water!
This is a period of time now where Winter has gone AWOL and we are left with foggy, drippy, cool weather which has depleted the snow. We are now back to the "Brown Phase" and everything looks sullen and dreary.

The ice storm from last week has also had all of its effects melted away, creating another issue- flooding. Since the water that melted and the rain that fell had no where to go in to the soil, due to frozen ground, it ran into all the rivers and streams instead. That has caused ice jams and flooding that is more akin to early March weather than mid-January fare. Hey, at least it isn't below zero!

So, I've been back to riding just recently since being sick. I have been spending most of my time on fat bikes and will continue to do so until I feel better and especially if it snows again. It might do so Tuesday. Anyway, with the water sitting around, and with what little ice there is, it all dictates that I ride the fat bike, which is more sure-footed. It doesn't have a tendency to sink in the mire in a couple of places where I have that on my commute.

I felt good enough to spend Saturday going down to see what was up at the Iowa Bike Expo in Des Moines. Plus, I got to eat lunch at Krunkwich Ramen House, which I highly recommend if you find yourself in Iowa's capital city. Anyway, following are a few of the highlights of the show from my viewpoint. I'll add a bit of commentary as we go here.

Bombtrack Bikes are from Germany, but distributed out of Ames Iowa.
I first came across a Bombtrack Bikes "Beyond" model that caught my eye. It is pretty much a take on a Gen I Fargo, so I was happy to actually get to take a look at one up close. The frame tubing is Columbus CroMor double butted, and seems to be a good thinner walled spec. The bike nails the vibe of a Gen I Fargo, but every time I check out the Bombtrack geo chart on this bike I kind of shake my head. A 72.5° degree head tube angle and a 38mm offset seems really weird. But.......if you load the thing down on the front wheel with gear? Maybe that is what Bombtrack had in mind.

Possibly a gravel rig here?
The Bombtrack Hook-2 model was also present. The "all-road" offering looks the part of a gravel rig, but once again, the geo chart leaves me scratching my head. The Hook has a head angle that is a half degree slacker than the Beyond, which is weird in itself, and the bottom bracket drop is merely 60mm. Way too high for my tastes. Crazy high, I would say. I took a peek at the 36mm Clements and they had just enough mud clearance to get by, but a bigger tire would be a no-go. I'm thinking this is an off the peg cyclo cross frameset here. Sure looks that way at any rate.

The Bianchi "Allroad"
I spied a patch of celeste blue and knew immediately that I was coming up on some Bianchis. That brand's signature color is their calling card. Fortunately, besides a bunch of road rockets, I found the Allroad, Bianchi's take on what would be good on gravel roads. The geometry is a bit too cyclo-cross-ish still, with a bottom bracket drop of 68mm and the head tube angle is 72°, which is acceptable, but not pushing any boundaries. Okay, so how's that tire clearance?

Ha! Not good. 35mm tires were mounted and that's all you are squeezing in between those chain stays. Moving on now........

My daughter liked the Cannondale 27.5+ bike on display, the Beast Of The East.
The Salsa Cycles Timberjack was in the house.
Specialized's Sequoia
Later into my walk around the expo area I found the Specialized Sequoia, a bike that is getting a lot of press as a bike-packing/touring/adventure vehicle on two wheels. I was pretty curious on this one so I took a much closer look.

It is quite evident once you get up close and personal that the Sequoia was meant to be a beast of burden. Big, beefy chain stays, stout tubing, and that massive front fork are obviously made to be stiff under load and track straight while carrying you on down the road. That said, a carbon fiber touring fork?

We had a good time there, saw a few friends, and zipped on to other business that had to do with the rest of the family.

6 comments:

Kenny Cyphers said...

Those tires on the Sequoia are VERY impressive. I run them on my black mountain cycles monster cross and they give the best mix on on road feel and speed combined with off road traction and cushion of anything I've ever used. The reverse herringbone tread seems to hook and grip into just about everything I throw at. The only fault I can find is that I want a set in 50mm width!! Wondering if you've tried these ted? Before these I was running the soma cazaderos and the specialized sawtooths are better in every category. Even on long road rides they don't feel sluggish.

I have been waiting for a good review to pop up and no one has done it on the tires yet. I hate pretty everything specialized but somehow they always do good tires.

Guitar Ted said...

@Kenny Cyphers- You are right, Specialized does do good tires. I was able to test several models they released as 29'er tires back in my TwentyNineInches.com days and I was almost always impressed.

I did note the tires on the Sequoia. I have not ridden those, but perhaps it might be a good idea to get a set in to test for RidingGravel.com. Your description of them is encouraging.

Andy Stockman said...

+2 For those sawtooth tires. The comments above are spot on. The tires roll well, mount easy, measure a touch big, and air retention (when set up tubeless) is excellent. They are available in a tan-ish side wall, if that's your thing, and are quite affordable at $40 msrp. As a reader who values your reviews I would be curious to read your take on them.

BluesDawg said...

I am very happy with the Sawtooth tires I've had on my AWOL for a few months. Very tight fit on Roval Control Carbon 29 rims. Easy tubeless setup with Orange Seal. In fact, they pumped right up with a floor pump and held air overnight before I even added the sealant.
Very smooth and quiet ride on pavement and smooth, hard packed dirt. They start slipping a bit on loose, dry sandy surfaces and thicker gravel, but in predictable ways.
They ride much more comfortably at lower pressures than I would have expected. The sidewalls are pretty stiff with their flat protection, so I guess that keeps them stable. I'm usually running 25psi front and 32 rear. (170 lb rider)

kev said...

GT, did you happen to get a look at that other Bombtrack in the photo, with the WTB Nano tires? According to the website, it is built on 650b wheelset with 2.1" tires and has a 70mm BB drop. It looks like the HTA varies by size, some steeper, some slacker, relative to that blue Bombtrack... which seems odd.

kev said...

http://bombtrack.com/bikes/hook-ext/