Sunday, May 12, 2013

Recommended Reading

If you haven't already, the Tim Bird ride report, "Boggle Hole and Back," Spring 2013 Bicycle Quarterly 47-60, is a real treat.  That's a ride report by a guy who knows how to report.

Whenever I read that sort of report I find myself surfing the web looking at the rando-specific rigs like those custom-built at Boulder Bicycles and Firefly, this cool new titanium maker to which D__ alerted me.  You know the type -- tires fatter than the tubing, bars level with the saddle, full integrated fenders, maybe even friction shifting on the down-tube, bar-ends or grips, and generator hubs.

Time for the views of the commentariat:  let us look for justifications!  I (we all, let's admit it) have different bikes for several purposes, up to and including "in case Sam comes to visit."  (This despite the reality that my best performances in biking and triathlon all have occurred on the Gunnar -- perhaps the least likely rig in my stable, per modern marketing literature.)  Does a world exist in which it makes sense to purchase, to build, or some combination thereof, a _pure_ rando rig? If so, what does one need and what can one leave off?


sam said...

Will check out the ride report when I get back home.

I struggle with the rando rig question. Ultimately, I've yet to feel sufficiently compelled. The three interesting facets are fixed, rigid fenders, clearance for wider tires, and the generator hub.

But Habanero #2 fits 28s just fine (Heine would say those are skinny racing tires, but I think they're pretty wide). I could build up a generator hub wheel for it (and am tempted to do so), so that leaves fenders. And honestly I don't want fenders on /all the time/.

The rest of it.. handlebar bag, goofy shifters, etc.. seems unnecessary. And a real rando rig is expensive. While it's true that the Huffman Bicycle Club stable is full, I'd wager most of those were relatively affordable, or used existing components/wheels/etc.. A new custom rando build? Probably $4K at least.

Lots of people claim that the fit on a genuine long distance rig is better. But I've got 300K rides on the Cannondale and Kestrel, 1200s on both Habaneros, and 200Ks on a much broader range. Those bikes all have very different fit characteristic, but I don't recall any of them being especially uncomfortable...

So in my opinion, a real rando rig is not that interesting. Outfitting a real bike with a few concessions for longer distance, though, makes all the sense in the world...

Max said...

Well, the 200 on the orange fixie was a little uncomfortable.

You ignore the benefits of pure beauty. Rando setups remind me of the old MG. Chrome for chrome's sake!

But it comes after the breakaway, and the ultralight kestrel, and the titanium rig with red hubs, skewers, bottom bracket, headset, and seatpost collar.