Thursday, May 27, 2010

Race bike to Euro-mule conversion.

This is how the Casati looks all loaded up.  Thats pretty much exactly how it will look for the next couple weeks in Switzerland and Italy.    Actually, I'll be on top of it most of the time, but it looks better without my ugly ass in the frame..

The bags are Epic Designs from Alaska.   The seat bag is a 'Mountain mini' model, the bento box thingy is a 'Gas tank' (size small) and the frame bag is custom fit to the Casati.
These packs are pretty incredible.  The Seat bag which carries all my clothes at ~11lbs weighs less than a unloaded pannier rack and thats not even counting the pannier(s).  I think there is a little over 13lb total on the bike shown.  Only counting the bags and contents so that doesn't include water.

I did a short ride on it a few evenings ago, and the handling is really quite neutral considering.   There is a very slight pendulum effect towards the rear that can be felt when rocking the bike during standing efforts but otherwise it's surprisingly "normal".   
Seated climbing is completely unaffected apart from the weight and standing climbs or efforts are totally fine provided the cadence isn't too high and/or you move yourself over the bike rather than move the bike under you.  If you've ever done loaded touring you know what I mean.  Same effect but much less of it.  Higher cadence and associated faster rocking back n forth of the bike causes the seat bag to sway a little so Tom Boonen type efforts aren't advised ..but really, it is surprising how unaffected it is.

The bike is now disassembled and packed into Fritz's Pika packworks bag which is another really impressive piece of kit.  You can see Fritz's post on the Pika bag here.  

It will be interesting to see how the fine people at Casati  react when they see one of their race bikes turned into a mule for a thunder-arsed Canadian in a few days time..    stay tuned.

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