Monday, November 20, 2017

Bikes Of 2017

It is that time of year when I start reviewing the bikes that got me through 2017. Many of these bikes have been tweaked and changed so I will talk about that and why they were important to me this past year.

The bike that once was so unreliable I wouldn't ride it.
 The Surly 1 X 1:

This isn't a glamorous bike. It probably isn't even a "cool" bike, but as far as the bikes I own now, this one is the most utilitarian, and therefore, the most used bike I have.

It is also the lowest maintenance bike I own. Single speed, dead simple wheels and tires, set up tubeless, and old school cantilever brakes. There really isn't much to go wrong here.

I like this bike since I can lock it up and not worry too much about it getting stolen with its bolt on wheels. I need to put a traditional seat collar on it as it still sports a QR seat post clamp, but hey! A guy has to risk something! Ha! But besides that, the main thing I really enjoy are the wheels.

Sure....they are 26 inch wheels. I know some of you find that ironic. But this is a total street bike, not a mountain bike for me. Big difference. I would also submit that this is a 26" plus bike, since the tires are ginormous. That volume makes for a super cush ride. The tubeless part has been really good too. The tires fit sooooo tight on the Velocity Cliffhangar rims and the Surly Extraterrestrial tires are thick so that I think air retention is better than most set ups. Anyway, I've only had to re-up on sealant once. That's a big difference from the wheels I used on this to start out with that had tubed Panaracer tires. I couldn't ride it a mile without flatting. It was so frustrating I nearly mothballed this bike.

I run these tires at no more than 20 psi, for any reason, and the front is a tic under that. The reason I feel these are really "plus sized" 26"ers is that the tire pressure is super sensitive. Too much and the tires get bouncy and lose that smooth ride. Too low and they get real draggy feeling, and all that with only a couple of psi swing either way. Much like plus tires react.

Honestly, if the 1X1 weren't a "legacy bike", the bike that has been passed down from one Europa Cycles mechanic to another, I would probably get rid of it and put these wheels on a Surly Troll. One that was a size bigger and it would have a lot more versatility. But alas, this cannot happen because of the situation. And really, this bike does the commute to work so well in so many different kinds of weather, it wouldn't be the same if it were a brand new Troll. Something about 18 years worth of nicks, scrapes, and stickers that makes it something a bit more special than an ordinary 1X1.


Phillip Cowan said...

It's always fun to me to build something out of damn near nothing. I actually like your 1x1 for that reason. While driving through town recently I came across a bike laying halfway in the road waiting to be run over by the heavy traffic. I figured it was just another Wallyworld BSO that someone had abandoned on the spot. I stopped and threw it in the back of the truck just to get it out of the road. Checking it out later, turns out it was an early 90's Schwinn High Plains. Not a great bike but it has a lugged True Temper frame and a level top tube which I always thought looked better. This might be my winter basement project this year. Maybe an orange powdercoat, a new set of wheels and a Nitto mustache bar out of the parts bin to make it into a faux XO-1. I would love to try the Extraterrestrials but I dont think this frame would swallow them. Anyway thanks for the inspiration. As for 26 in wheels I'm always reminded of Richard Pryor's famous quote "I ain't dead yet motherf*#ker!".

Anonymous said...

We had a Schwinn with a two speed kickback and a gervin flex stem. Still mad I did buy that shop bike.