Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Cyclocross Bike Crazed - Will this ever end?

Hmmm...What the heck happened??? I turned 50 in June (did a great bike ride on my 50th) then it's suddenly October! I'm not sure what happened to summer...well that's not entirely seems I spent my entire summer working on and around our new place (you know building fence, horse pens, horse barns, hay barn, wood shed). All I know is that there was very little bike riding in between all those projects. I still have a few more urgent-before-winter chores to get done. So needless to say my bike riding has greatly suffered, but it seems that my need to test new stuff has not stopped.

Oh yeah, just when I thought I was somewhat over the-need-to-test-and-ride-everything obsession here I am again mildly thrash testing some new stuff. All this is possible only by riding which means I'm back riding again, insanely out of shape, but nonetheless riding until I feel a need to puke on every ride (which these days doesn't take much). First up is my new carbon communter bike, an On-One Dirty Disco disc cyclocross bike. For some reason it looked like a fun commuter bike - and it is...

It's nothing fancy and it is fun to ride to work and on the back roads here. I've become a big fan of cyclocross bikes as the best ride for the gravel rides I like to do. I thought I would like to "try" a cyclocross disc bike since I roast my rim brakes all the time on the steep hills around here. Fortunately or not, my boy seems to have taken a fancy to this bike and he jets around the "farm" on it as if he were in a CX race all the time. Hmmm...not sure about that kid sometimes.

Next up is an All-City steel single speed cyclocross bike. I'm not sure what got into me, but once again I had a desire to ditch my plastic SS-CX bikes and get back on a heavy steel bike. I have no regrets in getting rid of the stupid light carbon bikes since the ride of the steel is soooooo much better. I accidentally gave it a custom paint job (rattle can) since I did not find the original lime green very eye pleasing. A black bike seem to be my thing, Love this bike.

Finally, after repairing or being profoundly unhappy with combo shift/brake levers I decided take a risk (oh sure twist my arm) to try a very unconventional unit that is incredibly simple, not to best looking to some people (I love it), but works flawlessly. Meet the Retroshifter...

I tried it out on my Gunnar as a 1x10 drivetrain and totally love how well it works and I like the cost and the crash replacement deal they have. I am now such a fan of these that I'm thinking of using Retroshifters on my other geared CX commuter bike (the On-One).

I am also testing the E-Thirteen XCX chain keeper up front and have had zero issues with losing a chain since I started using it a few months back.

I wish I could say the same thing about the Pauls Chain Keeper, but I had nothing but problems using the Pauls unit with their extension (which I needed to place the chain keeper properly on my Gunnar due to tubing flare at the bottom bracket). Using the Pauls chain keeper with the extension I lost my chain in several CX races last (using it on 2-different bikes) and I lost chain numerous times just riding or commuting to work. So far I've not had any issues with the Pauls unit (without the extension) on my Stong Frame running a 1x9 drivetrain. Both the Pauls and the E-thirteen are not cheap but at this time I think I have found what works and what does not.

My summer is gone, I'm out of shape (for me), and I guess I'm just normal otherwise in my need to ride and test everything bike related. I wonder what's coming next from my bike obsessed brain and test laboratory? I can't wait to see.


Anonymous said...

Hi Eric,

The 2nd CX race here had 842 competitors.


Anonymous said...

Hi Eric,

I've done 4 CX races already using borrowed bikes. A month ago, I was at a team CX clinic for the jrs when I went DH on dirt, in a dip, then onto a concrete walk. The top and down tubes about 4 inches to the rear of the head tube collapsed. Gunnar refuses to warranty it.

Life happens, but I won't buy their bikes or refer them any longer.


Eric Kop-ski said...

Great hearing from you Ray!

Wow! Bummer about the Gunnar...I'm dissappointed to hear that Gunnar won't warranty the frame. I run my Gunnar hard and have not had any issues yet. I have another ride in the works that should materialize in the next 3-5 months...Volagi is all I can say now (it shouldn't be hard to figure it out). I'm hopefull that it will work out as advertised.