Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New bits for the Rocky

Early Spring found me pouring over websites for sales of any kind but particularly bike components. I had been eyeing several different parts but I wasn't making any purchases unless the price was right. I was sure if I waited long enough, what I wanted would be priced right.

I've been longing over some bits from Diety Components (http://www.deitycomponents.com/) for like ever. I love the Enoki grips as well as some of their bars and stems. I found out they were having a closeout sale on last years Dirty30 bars and the lifesaver bar ends. I jumped at the chance, I think the bar ends cost me $10, the bar was $25 and I think the grips were $20. Normal price for the grips but the bar and end caps were half off!

Okay, so now I needed a stem. There was a local guy selling a used Race Face Diabolus D2 stem for $45. The thing was practically brand new! It was also what I was looking for 70mm length with zero degree rise, 1.25" stem and 31.8mm clamp. I wanted something similar to my current stem, which was 50mm with zero degree rise, but just a bit longer so the front end wouldn't dance on steep climbs. The stem looks sick too, it's a perfect match for the Diety bits.

My first real ride with these parts was at Cunningham Park. What a difference from the last time I was there. The steering was so crisp, almost felt like when I had the triple crown up front. The bars, because of their width, also put me almost always in the optimal position. Helped keep my chest open for effective breathing and put my torso in attack position. I felt really confident riding with this setup and man does it look sweet!

Monday, April 11, 2011

What's Your Bike of Choice for Early Season Riding?

Finally after months of inactivity (for the most part) there's no more snow on the trails and the weather is finally warm enough to ride comfortably. So the question is what bike do you ride? I know not everyone has more than one bike, but the true addicts like myself do. So which do you choose? Do you take the roadie out first and try to get your legs and lungs back in shape before hitting the trails? Or do you choose the XC hardtail with a shitload of gears so that you can ease into the riding season? Maybe the freeride bike with 6 inches of travel?Yeah it only had a crapload of gears because you removed the big ring for the sexy RF bash guard, but man isn't that ride plush with all that travel? Or maybe the singlespeed? That's right I said the singlespeed. "Why the singlespeed?" you ask..."Isn't riding this so early in the season basically the equivalent of kicking yourself in the nuts?" "Why yes...yes it is." I answer. But it's good and I'll tell you why.

My Soul Cycles Hooligan
There's been alot of debate over the years about gears vs no gears, the 29'er crowd is going through the same thing right now. Before I tried it I was like how is this better than gears? IMHO it's not better...just different. Look, I love all my bikes the same and they all have a specific use or they do one thing better than the others. The bottom line is the singlespeed bike is a fitness and skills building machine! Nothing else will get you in shape quicker than a singlespeed. Momentum is the key, if you don't want to walk up the hills you have to ride faster. Because you have to keep up your momentum, you become better at choosing good lines. This is crucial if you ride rigid. Up until this year thats what I've been riding, a rigid singlespeed, which is basically a bike with one gear and no suspension. Unfortunately, the tendinitis (tennis elbow) that plagued me last year will not allow me to ride the rigid fork...at least not for a while. No huge benefits to riding rigid anyway other than a lighter bike, slightly improved steering response, and no fork maintenance. Well, maybe to some those are huge benefits. Personally I like a little cush up front when riding some of the rocky and rooty terrain we have here in the NE. It's actually amazing how such a low tech piece of equipment can make you a better rider. No pain no gain I guess. So that's what I am riding right now, how about you?

Spring is here!

Section of skinnies at Schenectady Central Park on April 2nd.
FINALLY! The nice weather has arrived! Yeah I know, we've all been dying to get out and ride but be careful. There is nothing worse than showing up to ride your favorite trail and find it all rutted out and destroyed because others rode it when it was too soft. Try and walk the wet sections or avoid them all together, it'll make riding later on in the season so much better.