I was supposed to be on the road today, but I was feeling a little ill last night. Almost certainly too much sun – ironically, having taken all precautions to protect myself from sun and dehydration while cycling, I forgot to do it while chilling out in Fernie. Anyway, its an opportunity to update things before I set off for Montana.
Following multiple requests (ok, from Stephen and Cass), here are some pics I took of the bike just before setting out. As I only just worked out how to use the timer there are no ‘action’ pics yet, but hopefully they will come!
This is the bike – a Robin Mather steel frame (with S&S couplers), on a Rohloff hub and Magura forks. Its set up here with the frame bag, gas tank and handlebar bag from Porcelain Rocket (i.e. Scott). So far, they have been great – the handlebar bag in particular is fantastic, so easy to use, great capacity.
This is the Rohloff 14 speed hub, its about 7 years old now, taken off my previous bike – still as good as new. The rack is Tubus.
The rims, appropriately enough, are Rigida Grizzlies.
The crankset is Shimano, with a 42 tooth ring. I’m already regretting this, with some of the climbs I think I may change to a 38 tooth ring when I get to the States.
This is how I carry some of my water – just hose clips and bottle cages. And sadly, they are water bottles, not for beer. The front brake is an Avid hydraulic disk brake – the rear are Shimano XT Vees.
Thats Eli in the background, contemplating a break for freedom. In the foreground is the view I’ll be seeing a lot of the next two months – the Jeff Jones H-Bars and the bags (note the nifty top tube map holder Scott russled up for me).
Kit is carried in my two Orblieb panniers, a compression bag on the rack, and the frame/gas tank/bar bag.
So far, I’m very pleased. The only riding issue is that the forks seem very ‘floaty’ with the heavy handlebar bag. At first I thought there was a problem with the shock, but I think its more a case of getting used to having a load high up on the bike, more than its designed for. It makes it feel a bit sketchy going downhill, but I’ve started lightening the amount of kit in the front bag and it feels better.
The only mechanical issue I’ve had so far is with the rear brakes. I found the bike on its side after a stop at a shop – I suspect some kids had messed with it when I was inside. I had to reset the brakes completely (which meant doing some riding with just the front brake). Its working fine now. The only other thing is a minor one – the top coupler seems to get loose, but thats easy enough to deal with, I just tighten it every morning if necessary.
As for riding comfort, it is great. The Jeff Jones bars in particular are by far the most comfortable I’ve ever had. The Cane Creek suspension post is working well. And the frame is behaving exactly as it should – stiff where it should be.
So far, so good (as far as the bike is concerned)