Thursday, August 08, 2019

Dialing In The Set Up

The Fargo Gen I on the old Shirey Way.
Yesterday I spent some time setting up the Fargo Gen I for Gravel Worlds. I added a sixth bottle cage, took off the Revelate Tangle bag, and set the bike up with an alternate set of wheels I have sitting around. The wheels I want to use will be set up with the new Schwalbe G-One tires I have coming in which should be here tomorrow.

That said, this wheel and tire combo is one I would not mind using. The wheels are generic Formula hubbed, Weinmann rimmed affairs that came stock on my Tamland Two. They are not "bad" wheels at all, but they are not tubeless either, or at least I never saw anything that said they were rated for tubeless usage. So, I have them set up with some old, out of production 29" X 2.1" tires that I have always thought should have been marketed as gravel tires, but were ten years too early to market for that.

That tire would be the Vulpine, an XC racing tire that never really caught on with the MTB crowd. I got a pair to test for the old site I ran, "Twenty Nine Inches", back in 2008, or somewhere around then. Anyway, I recognized right away that this tread pattern was/is a great pattern for gravel road use. By the time the Vulpine had arrived on the scene as a 29" tire, I had the Fargo, and I put these very tires on the bike back then. Suspicions about the tire's performance traits on gravel were confirmed, and as I moved on to other tires for the Fargo, these Vulpines went on my custom Pofahl drop bar single speed. In fact, I set them up tubeless. (They are not tubeless rated), and then after a long while I pulled them off and these tires sat dormant for several years.

As an aside, (as if I weren't going down a rabbit hole already), I kept bugging WTB to make these again and make them for gravel bikes. My contact back then was Will Ritchie, and I pretty much wore him out on this subject. Ironically, just before Will left WTB, they found a single, NOS, Vulpine in their storage facility, (shed), and Will had it sent to me. Nice guy, that Will. (Thanks again, in case you happen to see this.)

If I told you this was the latest in gravel tread design, you'd probably believe it. It is over a decade old!
I think these Vulpines would survive another Gravel Worlds, so if the Schwalbe experiment looks sketchy, I will default back to these tires. Yeah.....I'll probably replace one of those old Vulpines if that needs to happen and put it on the rear. But we will see.

I rode the Fargo loaded down with all the water bottles filled and decided I needed to tweak on the Ragley Luxy bar a bit. Lately my hands have been sensitive, so I have moved a couple of my bars of late. Just a touch more downward angle to the extensions seems to do the trick. Then I also discovered that the "jerry can" bag I have on the top tube by the seat post bothers me when I pedal. My shorts juuuust graze the bag and it drives me up the wall. Like something is tickling me between my thighs and it ain't good. So, I am taking that bag off and since it holds repair stuff, I may dig out my Topeak aerobag and stick that behind/under the saddle. That should solve that issue.

I also think I will get some new brake pads installed. I don't know when the last time it was I put pads in those calipers. Maybe never? Brakes are good, so I better take care of that. I also need to put a new battery in the CatEye Velo 9 and re-calibrate it with whatever tires I end up going with. The CatEye is deadly accurate when you use your own roll-out number in the set up. Plus, I don't have to remember to turn it on, and it gives me exactly only the info I want. Mileage and time. I also need to install my Bar Yak cue sheet holder. Otherwise I think the bike is good to go

I've got one brand new one if I need it.
So, we will get those minor things attended to and wait to see what those Schwalbe tires can do. If I am not fully impressed I won't go with them. The Vulpines, or a set of tubeless 2.1" Nanoraptors I have, would be the go-to back up tires. That will all be decided upon this weekend and then I'l have a few days to make sure I am 100% dialed then Friday next week I will be on the road to Lincoln, Nebraska.

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