Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gravel Grinder: Light bulbs and switches

Thought I'd put up a few revelations I've had while ironing out the particulars on my monster cross/gravel grinder.  I've had a chance to get a few rides under my belt.  Each time you learn a little more.  Either in preparation or out on the ride.  Here's what I've found.

Things I need to change :
     1) Water reservoir, hose length.
     2) Tire choice
     3) 32tooth chainring to a 34 or 36.
     4) Waterbottle cage
     5) Water reservoir that fits better
Things I might need to change :
     1) seat
     2) seat bag
     3) lighting set up
     4) pedals

Things I'm digging :
     1) Yipsan Spinner 650b
     2) Garmin 705 GPS
     3) Retroshift levers and shifters
     5) Luxy Ragley dirt drop bars
     6) clipless( again )

I noticed on my first long ride I didn't drink hardly enough.  One of the main reasons had to be because of the short hose on my water reservoir.  It just wasn't convenient to grab and drink.  Solution: I added a Camelbak Thermal wrapped hose.  Making it about three feet longer.  I haven't ordered new tires yet.  I'm pretty much set on Maxxis Crossmark tires.  Just need to get them bought and on the bike.  During the ride in Scottsbluff I noticed I only used the top four gears.  Solution : I'll try a 34 and 36 to see what works better.  My super cool Yipsan/KingCage water bottle holder just doesn't work with the Revelate Designs Tangle bag.  Solution: Get a Specialized brand side loader bottle cage.  Friend of mine has one and it should work well.  Last on the list is a water reservoir that fits better.  I tried two of the newer Camelbak reservoirs and neither fit very well.  I even modified a new 2L reservoir to try and make it fit better, by cutting the rib in the middle.  Letting it "round" out more.  This didn't work at all.  I searched for a reservoir that was longer and not as wide.  I found that in the Platypus Hoser resevoir.  Fits great.  Just need to get a refilling option that works better.  Pouring thru the tiny opening isn't gonna work well. 

My seat isn't totally agreeing with me.  I'm going to try a few things that I have on the work bench to see if they feel better over long distances.  The saddle I have on there now just doesn't feel right sometimes.  Not like the saddle on my Monocog.  The Monocog saddle is much stiffer with less padding/gel.  It's fit has always just been...better.  Less shifting around looking for a comfortable place.  I don't know how it'll feel after 20miles or 40?  Guess I'll find out.  I'm going to mount it up and ride it on my next long training ride.  The fox seat bag just needs to be a tad bigger.  I'd also like it to be more secure.  However all the other seat bags I've seen attach pretty much in the same way.  My lighting system is old.  I bought it cheap, and it's a good light.  It's just lacking in battery longevity and output.  It's enough to get me thru the race.  It's just a part that I'd eventually like to upgrade.  Battery technology has come a long way since the Nimh rechargeable I have.  Lipo batteries are much better at power distribution, hence there longevity.  For the price, there awesome.  Just old.  The pedals are the one's Renold left on for a test ride.  I've just been too lazy to switch them out.  I have a old set of Shimano's that are in decent nick.  I'll throw them on and see if they work better then Renold's pedals.  The right one seems to be a little sticky.

The bike it's self over all is working out stellar.  A few more fitting tweaks and it'll be dead on.  My Garmin 705 GPS is one of the funnest toy....erh tools I've had for training in a long time.  I should have bought one a long time ago.  The Retroshift levers and shifters are excellent.  One super minor problem that I hope to have cleared up soon.  The Luxy bar is working out good.  I jumped on my Monocog the other day and it felt very foreign.  Not sure if that's a good thing or not.  Pedals fell on two of the lists above.  While I think I need better pedals, I also love the benefits of the clipless pedals.  I've ridden them before in the past.  It's good to have that pull stroke for the hills.  I miss that with flat pedals.  I don't think the clipless pedals will make it on my Fivespot however.  I'm just too comfortable with flats when truly on the mountain.

So there's where I am right now.  Still trying to figure everything out.  Having a blast doing so.  I'll be on the trainer for the next few days while the snow melts.  Hoping this weekend turns out nice so I can get in some miles.

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