Brevet Bike: round 1

30 03 2007

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With the first brevet this weekend, yesterday was a dry run with the beta version of the brevet bike. Basically, I’ve taken my cross bike and added a double chain ring in the front (39×53) with a 105 derailleur and lever and hefty 25c tyres. At present I’m running by American Classic cross wheelset, though they’ve seen a fair bit of abuse and will be replace with a sturdy 32 spoke set of DT Swiss wheels.

I picked up the bike at 5:30 and got a 1.5 hour spin around town in before the sun went down. I tried to take it at a near tempo pace to get the feel for the bike. The verdict, it feels like I’m riding a cross bike around. I’ve been getting used to my light and sprightly road bike, and this set up felt a bit sluggish in comparison, but it also felt sturdy and comfortable, which I think will be the far more important characteristics come August.

There remain a few things that I might change up on the bike as time goes on. I’ve always wanted to change out the horribly anodized stem that turned from black to bronze the first time I rode the bike in the sun. This is a pretty low priority issue from the standpoint of the fit and performance of the bike, but I will have to stare at that thing for thousands of miles this year! I’m going to pull off the cross levers to clear up a bit more space on the bars. I like the ability to stop from up there, and it might be nice to have an extra breaking mechanism at 2AM, but it comes an a high price in terms of cockpit real estate. I’ll certainly be changing out the saddle; I’m now running the mid-range Bontrager saddle that came on the bike just because it was what was around. Its not bad, and fine over 45 minutes of cross racing, but its heavy and not particularly comfortable over a whole day of riding. There were some negotiations at the bar last night to get a hold of an Italia Trans Am Gel Flow which will find its way onto this rig or the new IF (a ProLink will grace the other). To complete the comfort region of the bike, I’m thinking I may also switch out the seatpost (a Thompson aluminum or *gasp* something carbon might be nice; this has about the same aesthetic importance as the stem, so it probably won’t happen).

Of course, there are a few changes that absolutely must happen between now and the 400K. The Poprad has eyelets in the back for a proper fender and rack. I’m still looking around a bit for lightish options on that front, and the enigmatic Charles Carter has said he could fashion some custom racks though I may not be able to wait his standard 4 year turn around on custom orders. The Alpha Q fork in the front doesn’t leave many options for attaching fenders, so I may go with the race blades up front.

We’re off tonight to begin the epic . .

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