Friday, November 23, 2012

Saddle bags do not look pro

Let's face it, a lot of people ride around with giant saddlebags dangling off the back of their saddles.  Besides ruining the lines of the bike, it rubs against your legs, and it swings back an forth like a...well you know.  Seriously, it's an embarrassment.

Seriously, what are you doing?
If I see anyone riding around with a giant saddlebag, I am just going to assume they also have Trucknutz on their car.

Obviously, you've guessed that I don't like saddlebags.  However, since going full time on my 'Nago, one of the problems is that it only comes with 1 bottle cage mount.  Now, this looks totally pro, but forces me to carry my second bottle in my jersey's center pocket.  This isn't really an issue, but in the interest of weight distribution, I had to move stuff out of my pockets.

Thus, I recently stumbled upon a tidy and totally pro looking solution using an old nylon watch strap.  A double layer of electrical tape is wrapped around the folded tube's circumference to prevent damage from the saddle and seatpost.  This also means I always have 8 to 10 inches of electrical tape on hand, which is really useful.  The nozzle is threaded onto the CO2 cartridge until it just tightens but doesn't puncture.  It's then held in place by a small piece of electrical tape (see a pattern here?  I love this stuff). Finally, a small piece of electrical tape covers the open end of the nozzle to prevent road debris from getting in there.

So far it's proven really robust, with no movement even over rough roads.  Also the whole package is very narrow, so there's no rubbing during pedaling.  Nice.

Rad and pro.  Perfect combo.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Acciaio e Carbonio: Colnago Reborn

With the demise of the Ksyriums for the time being, and the Fuji taken apart (and sold), my need to tinker turned to the Colnago. The Fuji was my race bike, so I've decided to race the Colnago in the DC area crits next year instead. This meant shedding some grams, sharpening steering, improving the aerodynamics and most importantly, looking fantastic.  All these goals were accomplished by swapping to a threadless carbon fork and some full carbon deep aero wheels.

"Deep aero wheels and carbon fork on a vintage Colnago is crazy!" you might exclaim and you'd be right. But as my girlfriend will tell you, I've never let something like that stop me. The new wheels and fork have changed the demeanor of the bike in some very noticeable ways. It's not a night and day difference, the essence of the bike-the long haul grand tourer-is stil there, it doesn't constantly chomp at the bit to go to threshold the way the Fuji did. But just beneath the surface there is a darker, more sinister undercurrent to the ride that wasn't there before. I find myself jumping out of the saddle to shoot for the top of climbs that I would normally spin up. Maybe it's the wooshing of the carbon wheels, maybe it's the slightly muted stiffness of the carbon fork, or maybe it's the slightly more aggressive saddle/bar position. Who knows. If the old version was an Aston Martin DB9, the Colnago 2.0 is a DBS.

I'm also not going to pretend that I'm not a vain roadie (because I am). Looks are important, especially when the frame is vintage. I know that this bike isn't everyone's cup of tea but to my eye, the mix of old and new, steel and carbon, the naked frame with visible brazing and modern drivetrain is just sublime. It looks as at home whether I'm wearing Rapha and out for 200km of discovering new roads or in full team kit chasing prems at a local crit. Not too shabby for a frame that's older than me and was destined for the scrap heap.

A few more snapshots:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Unsinkable Ships...

...sometimes sink.  A nasty pothole on a rainy commute home put a big dent in the of my rear Ksyrium SL.  The wheel wasn't even out of true, and I made it the rest of the 10 miles home without any issues.


For now, I've moved the ROLs over to the Colnago, and the Ksyrium will go in for repair soon enough.  The Fuji is is disassembled down to just the frame, fork and bars awaiting a new parts group and wheelset (DA or Red, Zipp or Enve...yeah gonna be a dream bike build).

Cleaned up real nice-like
Artsy shot of the group for eBay.

In other news, my buddy Ryan over in Italy just bought himself a sweet rig, a Legend Fedala.  Handbuilt Marco Bertolleti steel, Rival/Force mix, Fulcrum Racing Zero wheels.  He says his search for Italian Steel was inspired by my Colnago. Right on.  Congrats, Ryan.  Go forth and crush miles, my son.

Al white, so Euro.