Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Twin Six Standard Rando v2: One Year Review

The current state of the Twin Six Standard Rando v2.

 Today marks the one year anniversary of the first running of my Twin Six Standard Rando v2 bike. So, I thought I would give a long view of owning this bike and what I think of it now. Along the way I will call out a few specific things- both good and bad- about the bike and the components I've used on it so far. 

This bike was originally intended to be a geared bike but it turned into a single speed pretty quickly once the pandemic hit and parts were scarce. Now, I could have gone geared by now, but I probably will not, and that has something to do with the frame on this bike.

The Standard Rando v2, like its predecessor, is made from CrMo steel and it does not have the lightest drawn and butted tubes in the world. Not even close! So a geared version of this bike gets a bit portly in terms of weight unless you throw your credit card at it and festoon the thing with every carbon bit you can. Which, I suppose, is pretty much exactly what I did! So, the point is, this bike has mass and it gets heavy quickly with average parts builds. I did not want that. Single speed kind of takes care of that to a degree. 

Secondly, that very fact of how much mass there is in this frame (No, I did not weigh it, so do not ask!) is actually a good thing in terms of single speed activities. It tends to not twist up and get flexy where that would be a bad thing on a single speed. For instance, no matter how much I have torqued on this frame, (mashing- if you will), I have never gotten the chain to pop off a cog tooth. I have done that on almost all my other single speed bikes. You may not quite know what I mean here, but if you are a single speed person, you know what I know......

From a year ago today and the first ride of the Standard Rando v2.

The other bit, the Wheels Manufacturing Eccentric PF30 insert, has been perfect as well. I have had zero creaks from it, and it has never slipped. Not once. As far as a single speed function goes, this one bike here is pretty much one of the best I have ever had. I did have to tighten the modular drop outs once, but otherwise? Maintenance free riding here. 

The ride is everything I expected. The low bottom bracket (75mm drop) keeps this bike planted and stable on rough gravel, fast descents, and in corners. The bike, for as stiff as it is for single speed, is uncannily comfortable. It feels like it has a longer seat post than it does. The front end is actually stiffer feeling, to me, than the back end is. I feel like the front/center maybe is a tad shorter than I'd like it to be, but that is not a big deal. 

Components were mostly what I had around at the time. I am using a Force crank set with a 1X SRAM ring. Not ideal, but it works. I've used a couple of wheel sets on this bike but the main ones have been the Irwin Cycling Carbon Aon 35 wheels. I have a 650B set and a 700c set all set up for this bike. After riding both sizes of wheels on this bike, I have come to prefer the 700c set, but there are times when that 650B set are nice too. 

The future may hold some changes for the "Gravel Buss". I would like to switch out the crank set to a White Industries one. I'd like to get a single speed specific disc, through-axle hub, so I don't have to tie up a good cassette compatible wheel set. Then I'd be set, but for one more thing.....the handlebar set up. 

The carbon Winston mustache bar may be coming off soon.
I'm almost ready to give up on the Winston Bar. I have fiddled around with it a LOT and I just cannot get 100% satisfied with it, and if I am thinking about that on almost every ride I am thinking about it too much to keep it on there. 

There are times I am in love with the bar, but there are times I really would just rather have some flared drop bars. So, I have a set of Whiskey carbon drop bars sitting idle at this point and they could just be swapped right in on this bike easily. 

Anyway, that really has nothing to do with the Standard Rando v2 in a basic way, but it affects how I feel about riding it some days, and that isn't good. So, I am probably going back to drop bars again and not looking back. Otherwise, this is a perfect bike for gravel single speed use. The extra bottle cage mounts really upped the range of use in that way for me, and having fork mounted cages is a nice thing.

About that fork..... The cage mounts are not symmetrical from one side to another. Now, I don't mind, but I find that really odd. I wonder sometimes if other Standard Rando carbon forks are that way. I would imagine it would drive some folks who are a bit more on the "OCD" side of the scale nutso. I just laugh about it. As long as they work? I'm fine. But it bears mentioning as that seems to me to be a bit of an oversight on a bike from a company with lazer sharp attention to detail. 

Okay, I guess that about wraps up my take on owning this bike for a year. It's a 'keeper', and I wouldn't be thinking of the upgrades I am thinking about if it weren't. I have plans for adventures that include this bike, so there ya go.... An endorsement of sorts. And by the way, I paid for this bike, and I was not paid, nor bribed to give this review. So there!


mack_the_turtle said...

I've been riding a Standard Rando for about nine months now. singlespeed with 650B wheels. I had WTB Venture 47s on it and they were fine until I had a defective bead tape issue. WTB is replacing the tires under warranty, but I decided to try something different: Gravelking SK in 48mm flavor. these fit, but barely. the GKs measure out to 50mm when inflated on Velocity Aileron rims. the fork has more clearance, but I found that just a little mud will get trapped between the chainstays. 48mm GKS are probably fine if you never expect to ride any mud, but I usually ride this bike when the mtb trails are too muddy and I want to explore some mixed urban terrain. The Ventures are a bit smaller, so I'll probably just run a Venture on the rear and keep the other GK as a spare front tire.

DH said...

After posting on following you into the Winston bars … I’ve also been following your T6 Standard Rando v2 saga as well, so the details of all of your set-ups are clearly influencing me a lot!

But the Winstons are not intended this bike (right now). I ordered one last year, in Slate because the Saffron sold out, but I really love the color now. Sam at Twin Six did a great job taking the mostly house build with Rival 1, Velocity 650b wheels, WTB Horizon 650x48, and Fizik Cyrano cockpit and adding an Easton 2x 46-30 crank and 11-36 cassette, for the hilly gravel I had in mind. Of all of this, the matched paint fenders of course always get the most compliments.

The ride is GREAT. Fast, comfortable and smooth, I almost feel it is “planing” while climbing as BQ talks about, but I’m also 205 pounds, so that might be a factor. One interesting thing I also tried was putting a PDW Bindle rack directly on the monostay for a really big seat pack, did a fast S24O camping. Felt a little more flex in the frame but tolerable. Also tried out a set of Hunt 700c dynamo wheels with GravelKings SS for bikepacking, the wheels are a bit tall and I went back to the 650b as you did with your T6 v1.

After going tubeless my 57 cm / 700c / GravelKings SS was down to about 21-22 pounds, which seems awfully low, but I was using a luggage scale so I wouldn’t take it as gospel, though I’m not a gram counter, I was happy about that.

The only issue I’ve had is the cockpit: the handlebars were too low, so I added a Shockstop 30 stem to raise them to level.