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Sat, 01 Aug 2009

N=N+2 more steel in the stable - 17:28

New Single Speed mtb(fullsize)

New Road Bike(fullsize)

In April, not too long after my house mate had gotten herself a lovely new light road bike I got to thinking about my road bike. For the previous year and a half since my Lemond developed another crack in the frame I had been riding the Cyclocross bike as my road bike. However Cyclocross bikes with road tyres on are sort of neutered not being used for their true purpose (being able to go anywhere, off road or on fast) in my opinion. So thinking how I wanted to run CX tyres on it more and use it off road more I decided to buy a new road bike.

I admit I was tempted by the ultra light weight carbon wonder bikes such as the full Ultegra Jamis Xenith that had recently appeared in the garage or maybe a Scott CR1. However I have a well known tendency to break bikes, and I am a self confessed fan of steel bikes. Mal happened to offer me a good deal on a 2008 (the orange coloured one, not the uglier 2009 yellow one) Kona Kapu steel road bike with full Ultegra. This is a lovely frame, with polished steel lugs and brazing rather than TIG welding to construct it. As they say (in the clever marketing) on the website "A beautiful, old school lugged frame that harks (yep... used the word "hark") back to when frames were meticulously crafted in only small batches by guys named Giuseppe."

And at 9.1 KG it really is not much heavier than a similarly specced carbon wonder bike (maybe 1 KG heavier, all of which is in the frame and steel fork). I am very happy with this new bike and it even continues a trend of orange gear and clothing I was going through about 4 or 5 years ago. I may soon put open pro wheels on this bike and put these open sport wheels on the CX bike, I changed the bar tape to orange as seen to the left and put my preferred saddle and more puncture resistant tyres on it. Lovely bike to ride I must say and no carbon in site.

The other new bike, purchased about 3 weeks ago is my self proclaimed fad bike. When I first built up my old single speed it was just from parts I had sitting around in the shed really. I thought at the time I probably would not like single speeding and would not long after turn it into a geared bike. I was wrong and discovered I really like riding single speeds. One of the things I really missed on my single speed is the disc brakes I was used to riding on other mountain bikes. Then recently when I began to notice the chain tension did not stay as tight as I liked due to the wheel slipping forward in the quick release tightened back wheel I was getting a little annoyed with my SS.

I could have simply put a bolt on axle on and kept riding it without that problem, instead I went and bought a new bike. This is my fad bike as I can claim it has five fads in one bike. First I thought I would try out 29 inch wheels, just for something different, then it is a single speed, fully rigid with Mary bars and disc brakes (the JohnJohn fad). What with this and the cyclocross bike you could argue many of my bike purchases in the last two years have been about making mountain biking harder for myself. However this is a fun bike to ride, the 29 inch wheels are not better or anything, simply different, and different can be exciting anyway. Long term I may become soft and buy suspension for it, also I am undecided on the benefit of the Mary bars, I may put normal bars with bar ends on it eventually also. Chain tension is kept on this with an eccentric BB which allows the discs to be mounted normally with no complexity.

[/mtb/gear] link

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