Thursday, January 26, 2017

Non-Standard Modifications

Those dratted SRAM bits have been removed.
I spent Wednesday doing two things, mainly. One was dealing with the wet, sloppy return of Winter here. Shoveling snow which is the perfect consistency for snowman making is.......heavy work! Once in the morning, once in the evening. So, my day was sandwiched with that.

In between, I did some work down in the Lab. Not cleaning this time, although that is ongoing. No, this time I did actual work on bicycles. Yesterday's menu was all about documentation and swapping parts. Mainly that was focused on my Twin Six Standard Rando.

When I got the bike, initially as a review bike for RidingGravel.com, I liked the fizik handle bar just fine, even though it was based on a traditional road racing bar with no sweep or flare to the drops. However, after last Winter's shoulder injury, that bar was not comfortable for me at all anymore. I couldn't ride the Standard Rando for much more than a half an hour before my shoulder would get so painful I was in great discomfort. Flared and swept drop bars on my other bikes seemed to relieve me of this issue to a great enough degree that I considered swapping out the fizik bar to something else. First, I wanted to give my shoulder some time to recover. It did get better, but the fizik handle bar never did agree with me after the injury.

It had to go.

It doesn't take much flare and sweep to make my shoulder feel better, the Cowchipper has plenty of both.
Enter the Cowchipper Bar from Salsa Cycles. The Cowchipper is basically a "more of", the Cowbell Bar,  in terms of features. More flare and more sweep. I get along with my Cowbell Bar just fine with my shoulder, but I wanted to try a Cowchipper Bar on something other than a Fargo. I know I get along with a Cowchipper Bar since I use one on my Gen 2 Fargo.

So, that change was precipitated now since I had to get a bar to replace my aging Cowbell on my Black Mountain Cycles rig. (Another Cowbell Bar there, of course.) That and the Gevenalle stuff going on the Tamland made switching drive train parts and handle bars at the same time a good idea. It all came together and I made the swap of bars and bits on the drive train yesterday.

I replaced the shifters and derailleurs and also replaced the cables while I was at it. Once I get my hands on a new 11 speed chain that will be installed. Then I should be good to go on gravel rides. Well......once I get clear roads to ride on, that is. That may take a while.

In the meantime I decided to cruise up and down the snowy sidewalks yesterday afternoon to check how the Cowchipper would feel. And ya know what? I think we'll be getting along just fine.

7 comments:

MG said...

I agree 100% on the Cowchipper... It's an excellent bar. You bike is looking good, Brother!

Guitar Ted said...

@MG- Thanks Brother!

Jacob Hueber said...

I'm also with you on the Cowchipper, my favorite bar.
Concerning the Rando, I'm considering selling my Nature Boy disc, love the bike but a tad small for me, and getting a Standard Rando frame and setting it up single speed. I've entered DK200 this year single speed and plan to switch my Ti-Warbird over ala Chad Ament; if I could pull off the Rando before then, that might be my bike to ride. Any thoughts on this or on the Rando as a single speed machine. Thanks

Dave said...

Aging Cowbell bars? Do they really wear out if properly torqued/no crashes? Just curious. Love my Cowbell 3 btw.

Guitar Ted said...

@Dave: Metal fatigues with every ride. Aluminum fails in a catastrophic way, most times. Sometimes you get lucky and catch it before it completely goes away. See this post I did not long ago: http://g-tedproductions.blogspot.com/2017/01/failure-mode.html

I figure it is cheap insurance after this many years of gravel travel, which is harder on things than road biking is.

Guitar Ted said...

@Jacob Hueber- Whoops! I am sorry I missed answering your comment concerning the single speed capabilities of the Standard Rando. Hopefully this isn't too late and that you see it.

You know, they say that a higher bottom bracket is more conducive to single speeding any particular bike. Two reasons for that, I think, are that the higher BB allows for longer cranks and the higher BB also makes getting leverage over the bars for climbing easier due to the lower stack height.

Does that make either bike you are considering a "bad" choice for SS? I cannot really say, because that all depends upon what you are going to do with choices like cranks, handle bars, stems, etc. I imagine that if you are going to a 180mm crank that the Standard Rando isn't going to be the best fit due to the 75mm BB drop it has.

But you could make either bike work as a single speed, I think.

Jacob Hueber said...

@Guitar Ted--Thanks for the insight. I've always wanted a Fargo, a bike I know you enjoy, setup single speed so that might be the way I'm leaning. Just trying to find a 2014+ with a carbon fork and alternator dropouts.