Home Cycling Quantity Knobs – Bike Snob NYC

Quantity Knobs – Bike Snob NYC

Quantity Knobs – Bike Snob NYC


Again once I nonetheless had time to do stuff like spend the entire weekend driving simply to journey my bike for 45 minutes I used to partake in cyclocross. Whereas I used to be actually dangerous at it, I additionally actually loved it: the races are brief and intense, they take a look at your bike-handling expertise (or lack thereof), and whenever you’re accomplished you get to hold round and watch the higher riders present you the way it’s accomplished. Additionally, the bikes themselves are nice, and plenty of are versatile sufficient to see you thru the remainder of the winter with only a few minor modifications:

For all these causes, plus frugality, I by no means had a elaborate cyclocross bike. Critical racers used tubular tires so they might run super-low pressures, they usually used completely different wheels and tires for various situations, they usually even had spare bikes to maintain within the pit. I used to be by no means practically good or formidable sufficient for any of that stuff to matter, and fuel was costly sufficient. So I used the identical pair of clincher tires all season lengthy whether or not it was dry or muddy, and I rode cheap cyclocross bikes that have been simple to winterize, just like the one above. But my cyclocross bike was an important one, since not solely did I’ve few bikes on the time, however the idea of the “gravel bike” hadn’t even been invented but, and so it stuffed within the large hole between my street bike and my mountain bike. It was even the bike I took on my first e-book tour:

[Via here.]

However then I finished racing, and I went on to accrue many various kinds of bicycles, and so for the final however-many years I haven’t even owned a correct cyclocross bike, since I haven’t actually wanted one. Positive, every so often I’d bounce right into a race to humiliate myself, however on these events I’d simply journey one thing else as an alternative:


So when Paul at Basic Cycle requested me if I needed to journey this one for awhile I used to be like, “Yeah, why not?”

Its arrival turned out to be fairly well timed, because it confirmed up simply previous to Thanksgiving, and its sporting nature compelled me to spend a lot of the lengthy weekend utilizing it as a turkey-burning assist.

As I talked about final week, this was the staff bike of 1 Zach McDonald, and you may learn extra about him right here:

[Photo: Paul Johnson]

Some issues in cyclocross by no means change. For instance, carrying your bike is carrying your bike:

[Photo courtesy of the Classic Cycle collection]

However different issues are fairly completely different, and whereas the cyclocrossers of yesteryear as soon as noticed decorum to the purpose that they wore neckies…

[Photo courtesy of the Classic Cycle collection]

…at this time that decorum is nowhere to be discovered:

As for the bikes, as in each different self-discipline, they’ve gone from metal to aluminum to crabon, and from rim brakes to discs. This specific bike is sort of a decade outdated, and as such it represents the final gasp of the rim brake, however it’s current sufficient to be crabon by means of and thru, proper right down to the wheels:

Whereas I wouldn’t essentially hunt down such a motorcycle, particularly now that my racing days are far behind me, I nonetheless get a kick out of using one. It’s mild to the purpose of feeling insubstantial, and it’s nearly like using nothing in any respect:

And but it feels surprisingly secure offroad, to the purpose the place it nearly appears self-righting in comparison with what I’m used to from a cyclocross bike, that being principally a street bike with canti bosses, barely slacker angles, and a better backside bracket. (As I perceive it, excessive backside brackets on cyclocross bikes have been principally a vestigial function from when riders nonetheless wanted ample clearance for toe clips.) In the meantime, in keeping with my post-ride analysis, this bike has a relatively low backside bracket and a very slack headtube angle, which might account for my impressions, although the tubular tires you don’t have to fret about pinch-flatting is also an enormous a part of it:

The truth is the bike was confidence-inspiring sufficient that I saved attempting to take the bike additional and additional offroad, and in the end it was the dearth of enough tire quantity for the actually rocky sections that saved me from getting too carried away.

The brakes are additionally excellent, although mini-vs should not with out their quirks:

Whereas these are the high-end TRP fashions, functionally they’re no completely different from the cheap Tektro model you see on my outdated bike on the high of the web page. What’s nice about mini-vs is that they’re very highly effective, they’re extraordinarily simple to arrange, they’re largely resistant to chatter and among the different side-effects that may generally plague cantilever brakes, they usually remove the necessity for cable hangers on the body, fork, or steerer tube. What’s not so nice is that it’s a must to run the pad fairly near the rim in the event you don’t need your levers to backside out, which isn’t nice for mud or wheel out-of-trueness or ease of disconnecting the cable for quick wheel adjustments. Additionally, the stopping energy comes on fast, so in the event you’re ham-handed with the levers it’s simple to lock up your wheels–not solely do you get one-finger braking, however you kind of have to brake with just one finger to keep away from overpowering the wheel. For mountain biker sorts who like numerous stopping energy on faucet that is perhaps a plus, however in the event you’re an outdated fuddy-duddy seeking to replicate the predictable really feel of your rim brake street bike you’ll in the end be happier with a pair of excellent cantilevers. However we’ve all skilled frame-and-canti mixtures we are able to’t get to work it doesn’t matter what we’ve tried (when the 18th particular person suggests toeing in your pads you critically ponder killing them) and in such circumstances mini-vs symbolize nothing lower than deliverance from perdition. (Please be aware that for the needs of this dialogue we’re pretending disc brakes on cyclocross bikes don’t exist.)

Gearing on this bike is a 46/36 within the entrance:

And an 11-28 within the again:

Folks accustomed to wide-range gravel drivetrains may discover the absence of actually low gears shocking, however there aren’t any lengthy climbs in cyclocross, and in the event you can’t journey up one thing in your 28 then odds are it’d be quicker to run it.

In terms of built-in shifting, the single-lever SRAM strategy has by no means been my favourite, however I do get why individuals prefer it:

The Purple levers even have a pleasant strong click on to them. Sarcastically, racer-types used to reward a lever if it had a strong really feel that required a little bit additional effort to interact the gear–individuals would spend lots of extra for Dura Ace simply to keep away from the “mild motion” of the lesser shifters, an attribute they noticed as amateurish. Then digital got here alongside, and all of the sudden every little thing’s alleged to be simple once more, go determine.

After all as a traditionalist who prefers bikes of metallic I discover the fork nearly comically bulbous:

It appears to be like like a bodybuilder flexing:

I’m additionally deeply fearful of the BB30 know-how:

However this isn’t a motorcycle for middle-aged retrogrouches. It’s a racing bike for skilled bike racers, and whilst you might not care to personal one, in the event you can’t get pleasure from using one you is perhaps a little bit bit useless inside:

It appears to be like quick standing nonetheless, and it makes me really feel quick simply sitting in entrance of it:

I really feel quick using it too, however objectively I do know this to not be the case. Good factor the season’s ending. The very last thing I would like is to join a race and spoil the phantasm.



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