Sunday, May 13, 2012

Detail orientated.

AHHHhhhhh! acai berry juice!....that and goji berry juice are a first class way to get some anti oxidants into a pretty oxidised body after recovering from a bit of a cold.

I thought id better get some updates done.


It is no secret i am big proponent of Jeff Jones designs - both bikes and components. I have been using Jones bars - H and loops - for so long now most other bars feel weird to me. I really like them. Comfort factor is high and the ability to distribute weight fore and aft is unparalleled. However, riding different bikes sometimes benefits from a slightly different set up. B.A (my Vertigo cycles all-mountain - though i'm beginning to dislike that term - hardtail) is slowly evolving, as is my style of riding that bike. When the fox doss is released, it will be added and i have some tyres in the post and there are some due later in the year that i think will complement the hard riding nature of this bike. I have already talked about my thoughts on forks that may or may not end up on B.A. My ponderings have also turned to handlebar and cockpit set up. No surprises that i have tried 5 different stem lengths and 3 different styles of bar on the bike already. But all have fallen short of perceived ideal. I *do* agree that shorter and wider has an advantage in steeper, nastier terrain and it is here that i wonder if somethign a little wider than the Jones' 27" could be beneficial. Of course, to achieve this and still allow comfort on long ride in and ups, a wider 45 degree sweep may not be the best, indeed, after using a 28" wide 31 degree sweep Watson cycles Parkarino on my 'cross bike, i think this may be a useful set up.
As good as the Parkarino is, there would be somethings i would change. Firstly, it would be slightly wider - ideally 29"/740mm. It would be made out of ti, because so far ti bars in my experience have been peerless at soaking up trail vibration, but it would have a bigger diameter centre section to mitigate ti's suppleness that can become a little flexy as the length increases - this is a bar for mid-gnarly riding after all!
The usable grip section would be longer too. One of the truly great things about the Jones loop bar is the huge 195mm length of usable grip. You can place your levers wherever they feel best but have huge swathes of real estate along which to place your hands. This translates to a huge range of weight distribution with little effort and no contorted arm positions and also eases the efforts demanded of you hands and wrists during prolonged rides.
So where am i up to? This is a sort of second draft of the concept. A fair amount of thinkering around how it will be made to come. But i think it might be pretty damn good.
What else? did you know that one of my favourite breweries - New Belgium - and one of my favourite bands - Clutch - have produced a collaboration? Clutch beer, no less. Would like the try that.
I've been garage nerding about tubes again. With the fresh and voluminous Continental rubber now at hand, the volume of tubes and how to best get good feel, puncture resistance and low rolling weight with appropriate durability has been raised for me again. Enve rims make this slightly problematic as they are deep (31mm iirc) compared to an aluminium rim.
I have started using tufo and token 'Vittoria style' valve extenders. These allow you to increase the valve length of removable core presta tubes, whilst retaining the valve's ability to be closed - a boon in muddy wet conditions.
At present the lite 26 and supersonic 26 tubes are 130g and 100g respectively and are made in taiwan, whereas the heavier tubes both 26 and 28x2.5 are made in china and come in at 200 and 230g respectively. Is it true that simply more rubber makes a tube more durable and for a system that can be run at lower pressure? i doubt it, but im coming to the conclusion that it may be somewhat practically associated.
The tube on the left is also new. It is a Michelin DH presta tube. It is ridiculously thick, and regrettably the valve core is not removable, so i will have to fit an alternative extender (in which, the valve core stays open) in order to use it with the enve rims. It will be fitted to B.A when i am going to plough through rockfuck. I have no idea how much it weighs: that is so far from being the point of this tube.
It is also probably no secret that i have very wide feet. VERY. Short and square, knowwhatimean?
Anyway, this limits me for decent cycling shoes that arent in the downhill style...yup: i aint the skinny racer boy type. Still, i do relish a performance shoe...but i *dont* like carbon soles, becuase the riding i do tends to need a fair old bit of portage. So, when my last pair of sidi's lost their souls, i decided to try some other brands. Problem: the mega dominator has been the only shoe that has bloated around my paddles for years. Still, with shimano's new large volume toe box, and the arrival of the giro high volume shoe, i thought i might have an option. So i did what any self respecting but limited cycling shoe fetishist would do: i bought them both. Interestingly, the correct size for me (43, i'm a 42.5 but my toes are so square i need the half size extra) was on the money for both of these brands - certainly not always the case.
The privateer is slipper like to say the least, and fits really, really well. The quality of the shoe seems high, and it is both supportive and stiff enough, whilst giving in a way that allows comfortable walking even on concrete surfaces. High hopes there then. It has a thin sole, and as such you dont feel like your pedals have turned into wooden blocks.
The shimano shoe i chose is the M162 - there's that phrase again - all mountain shoe. It is very snug accross the toe box for me, but roomy compared to so many shoes. In addition, there is no constant loop of fabric accross the whole toe box, so my reckoning is it should give a little (by the by, the privateer also is split in terms of fabric in a similar way so the mesh sections will allow give and movement.
Neither of these shoes are a winter shoe, or even a scottish autumn shoe, but both show promise. The shimano is robust and has a different 'set' on the pedal. It is firm, but again allows walking and carrying with no heal lift. The sole is thicker than the giro and seemingly allows a little less rotational movement on the pedal before what i think must be the fins of the sole force disengagement. its a little sooner than i would like, but the robust and lugged sole may pay dividends in certain terrain. Certainly both shoes provide excellent grip, even on slimey smooth stone.
So: we'll see. All i can say is im stoked to have 2 different pairs of shoes that might fit.
All in all, keeping out of mischief. And i have an incendiary green chile for tea. Aces.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

how many toes do you have?

chrisD said...

nice cankles

dRjON said...

its just perspective....

:-)~

Nick said...

Wow your feet are square. I found Specialized shoes gave me more toe room than Sidis, but the stiff soles probably don't satisfy your portage needs.

Col Benson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Col said...

i had a buddy from Portland ship me over a bottle of that Clutch beer, not as heavy a stout as i would have thought, bit thin on the taste but still more than drinkable, but it carries the name of the greatest band ever so what's not to like!

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