Friday, December 4, 2009

Magic *and* Tragic

As a self confessed gear whore, I spend an inordinate amount of time mewling and hand-wringing over gear selection.  Two ways too.  Selection for purchase and selection per outing.

As such I thought I'd share a bit of magic and a bit of tragic of late.

The Magic:
Loeffler Colibri Überhose.

Really. read that twice if you need to.  Überhose.  With a name like that you just KNOW you're headed for the top box of the podium.  Ok, so you're probably not wearing rain pants if you're racing, but hell, we all need a little more umlaut in our lives.

I've had a pair of these Goretex cycling overpants for almost a decade, during which they've seen loads of saddle time on tours, long spring & fall rides and they're still going strong. They're getting a bit fuzzy beyond the edge of the reinforced seat where the saddle abrades the fabric a bit but so far they're still 100% intact, waterproof, breathable and THIS is were they excel over anything else I've seen.
They are really light and super packable,  like maybe it'll rain, I'll just throw them in a jersey pocket light.  Cause they are so packable they will actually fit in one jersey pocket without poking out the top.  At a little under 250g they're comparable weight to regular tights.

The legs are slightly long so they manage to cover the tops of shoes and keep them covered without bunching up around the cranks. The adjustable cuffs keep them from flapping around too much or getting hung up on anything and they're way comfortable.

Deadly magic.

Down side.  Nearest place I know to get them is Munich.  or München if you wanna get all Deutsch sprache over it.  They are aus Österreich after all.

Still, follow the link above through to the Loeffler  site and maybe it'll come up with something more local to you.

The Tragic:
Sidi mega dominators

I'm on my second pair of these shoes now.  The first were warrantied because the sole started peeling away from the upper.  ..or vice versa.  anyway.  I chose them initially because they have a great reputation, lots of people I know love them.  They fit me really well, comfortable and are reasonably stiff.
Pretty good mix of capabilities. (I have a hard foot to fit well so not too many shoes fit well)
The cons are that the buckles,  while they do make for a very secure fit that can be cinched up without losing so much as a pedal stroke can get fouled with debris and make getting the shoe off nearly impossible.
This can be really bothersome if you're fighting off leg cramps at the end of a ride and have to contort yourself to get the buckles to behave as they're supposed to.
Another down side is that the soles have really poor traction.  They look a mean game with an aggressive tread, but I swear they're made of congealed vaseline.   Slick like snot on a door knob.  Not so great around here where it's a lot of exposed Canadian shield and mud.

Still, so far the pros outweigh the listed cons for me.   Until this:

This is the second pair I've had this happen to.
Its not shown in the photo, but the retension plate for the screw in studs is floating around in there loose because it's opened up that far back.


This happened in a little over one year of riding mixed road and mtb.

Absolutely Tragic.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Magic or Tragic?

Its just come to my attention that the venerable Phil Wood bicycle co. has released a  limited edition track hub set.

24k gold plated.

Yeah. I'm not shitting you. real gold..  

on hubs.
for sale via a few select stores.

Holy crap.   Words barely convey how ridiculous I think this horror show is.  
(You're welcome to disagree via the little x to the right of the browser tab)
 I just lost some respect for Phil Wood bicycle co. **   for what appears to me as a vain, ego driven ploy to create a status symbol "collectible" by taking a mature fully developed product and making it stupid expensive and elitist simple by adding an expensive commodity as a coating.   The product is otherwise unchanged but for coming in a different colour is suddenly loads more expensive.


..this further offends my inner weight weenie, as gold is known for several things, and light isn't one of them.

**(not enough to prohibit me from selecting a Phil Woods Ti square taper bottom bracket, mind you, were I to be in the market for one but that decision is would be driven by a rational assessment of the equipment vs. any aesthetic or status symbol consideration)

note: currently there seems to be no information on the Phil Wood site regarding these. (perhaps they're embarrassed?) but they can be seen here,  and here. it too early for April fools?!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Winnie the pooh eats Salsa Dos Niner,

Last Thurs I stopped by Phat Moose just to see the boys.  Nothing really specific in mind but was in the area and hadn't seen the guys in forever.  Good times, of course we talked about bikes and bike stuff and whats new and more bike stuff etc.
I mentioned I was doing the Wakefield, Phillipe loop the next day and in a separate conversation later I was expressing an interest in the whole 29'r thing.  Before you know it without even asking I'm all kitted up with their super sweet Salsa Dos Niner for my ride!   Magic! Those guys are diamonds, the pair of em'.  Thanks guys!

So stoked!  The weather was calling for more cold and meh, and I was doing the ride just to get out and enjoy the rugged isolation of the parc before it gets all snowy and cushy likes.  (it's super beautiful now with all the leaves down, you get to see all the exposed ridges, ravines, outcroppings etc. that are usually obscured by leaves or snow. Striking difference)
And, having a chance to demo new equipment suddenly brought a whole new element of woo-hoo! to the ride.  Even better, it was set up with 1x9 which is something I've been considering as a destination when all my 8spd IG cassettes finally get pooched  (and are irreplaceable).

So, I got to run my first proper ride on a 29'r and also test out whether I dig the 1x9 as a next step from 2x8.

Unfortunately, with all the cool temps and rain we've been having the ground was mega saturated and really slow.  Some sections had a deep sopping wet carpet of leaves too so it was really mucky and slow.  The DosNiner did climb really really well though.  Even on thick matted soggy leaves on top of rock it never had any trouble hooking up.
The bike was set up with Continental Mountain King tires 2.4 front, and I think 2.2 on back running 28psi in both.  I would have liked to have run a higher volume tire in the back but Kent explained that the flattened stays of the Dos Niner softtail  was just a bit tight for the Mountain King 2.4 so it got the 2.2 as it was on hand.  Fair enough.   I'm pretty sure if it were mine to setup for my self I'd put something a little larger with low rolling resistance in the back.  ..but it was run watcha brung time so I got on with it as it was.

As said the bike hooked up on the climbs really well and when I picked bad lines up mossy rocks to test it out it would only rarely break loose, but in a really predictable way.  Nothing explosive so very manageable.
Really when it came down to it, the climbs and descents were the most enjoyable riding.  Anything approaching level ground was so sodden that it bogged down the tires with suction and made for loads more work and slower going than it should have been.
Descending on the Dos Niner was fantastic. Very confidence inspiring and despite the wet leaves on rocks and loose gravel  I was letting it run fast into sweeper corners without feeling like I was getting close to the limit.  That was nice.   The bike felt wonderfully stable and even on a couple occasions where it started to drift a bit it still felt safe.
I did have trouble with working the bike under me though.   Normally I move the bike around under me a lot and pop water bars without much thought or effort but I never got the timing or weight transfer sorted out for that sort of play on the Dos Niner.   Maybe just needs more time to acclimatise or maybe it's an inherent trade off for the stability and other aspects that the bike excels at.   Dunno. More time will tell I suppose, but I did miss being able to work the bike around under me.
The timing issue finally caught up to me on one of the downs closing in on Wakefield where I drove the rear wheel into the backside of a water bar and shredded the tube.  oops.

I only had a 26" tube with me too, but it stretched out ok with only a modicum of cursing and a couple pinched fingers.
This happened on the cleanest, fastest section of trail too.  oh, well. It wasn't raining and all went well.

The rest of the ride was uneventful in a peaceful, isolated kind of way.  I had the whole parc to myself it seemed, and added bonus the rain held off so it was really quite nice despite it being 2 degrees and overcast.
I did however run completely out of steam towards the end due to not being as diligent about taking in calories as my current fitness would warrant.  I used to be able to get away with being a bit lax on nutrition for a 4hr ride but these days, not so much.  not yet.
<- During happy engergetic
But, it felt great to spend the day on the Salsa turn myself inside out and leave it all on the trail.
Thanks again to the guys at the Moose for the loan of their ride and also mucho apologies for returning it in the state it was. Yucky mucky!   After happy dead ->