Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Skinned Knuckles

<===The Space Bar. Upside down or right side up, it's a winner!

I spent some time down in "the lab" tinkering with the Pofahl last night. I made a few changes that should really make a big difference to the positive side.

All along I and Ben Witt felt that the Pofahl needed a custom bar that was a take-off of the old "bull moose" style bars popular on mtb's from the early to mid eighties. There was a plan in place to make that happen last year, but the builder that was contacted about the project never delivered and I went forward with the drop bar idea that I originally set up the bike with.

Well, the Gary Bar is a great bar, but the Pofahl wasn't really built with one in mind. The position was okay, but "okay" isn't going to cut the mustard for 200 gravely miles in Kansas. this point was driven home to me on my training ride Sunday. So, off came the Gary Bar to be replaced by the Space Bar. The Space Bar has a 25.4mm clamp diameter and takes mtb controls, which is what makes it attractive on this project, since I can run my beloved Ergon grips. They work really well with the highly swept Space Bar and are super comfy on long rides.

Okay- So far, so good. Now I had to re-configure the other necessities for this ride. The Minoura BH-60 clamp on cage holders and SG-200 "Swing Grip" for the water bottles and lights to be mounted to. The Space Bar worked well with the bottle mounts, but the Swing Grip was a challenge. With all the angles to the Space Bar, the Swing Grip was looking to be a crooked, goofy add on. Fortunately the Swing Grip comes with a long enough band clamp that it can go around my stubby Salsa Moto Ace stem and be centrally mounted to not only look good, but get my Blackburn Voyager 4.0 pointed in the right direction. Once everything was mounted up, I re-attached the brakes to my Avid SD-1 levers and futzed with the brake adjustments.

I found out that my rear disc pad was dragging on my rotor. No wonder the bike felt dead coasting! I thought it was the wind, but after the brake adjustments, I went out for a quick round the block and the bike was fantastic. It rolled like it hadn't in awhile. No doubt, that brake had been rubbing for awhile without making any noises to alert me to the problem. The rest of the set up was waaaay better than before. Everything clicked and I was super stoked. I wanted to head out on a long ride right then and there, but I do need my beauty sleep, so I decided against that!

The conclusion: The Pofahl isn't a drop bar bike, wasn't ever really designed to be one, and is far better with the upside down Space Bar and current set up than it was before. I can't wait to ride it on a long gravel grinder soon!

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