I know how to build a bike so that it's ready to ride right out of the shop door. I worked for a mountain bike race team in the mid-90s and know what it takes to build a bike or work on a bike and promptly send it out for a race with the confidence that it's going to work like it's supposed to. So, when I built myself a new cross bike, and didn't get a chance to put any local miles on it (beyond a couple one mile commutes), I didn't have any worries about how it would function during its first ride on the Meet Your Maker Tour.
True to the confidence, the bike performed perfectly. No mid-ride cable adjustment. No handlebar tweaking. No seat position fiddling. Just clip in and ride. The real question is how did the US made frame ride compared to the Taiwan made frame? Honestly, I don't know. And by "I don't know," I mean I didn't notice any difference. I would say the two are pretty equivalent.
But, you certainly noticed something different, right? Yes. Yes, I did. First, the bike is noticeably lighter because I used much lighter parts. Not sure what the weight difference is, but I know the wheels are lighter and that probably is the most noticeable aspect. I'm super pleased with the Pacenti SL23 rim/White Industries combo. I built the wheels with DT Revolution spokes in front and on the left rear. The right rear spokes are DT Competition. DT alloy nipples were used front and rear as well. I used the Pacenti rims because after building up several sets, I know they are nice to work with and the channel profile is tubeless friendly. I wrapped two layers of tubeless tape and set up the Bruce Gordon Rock 'n Road tires tubeless with Orange Seal sealant with 40psi. I'm going to have to play with air pressure a bit, but 40 psi felt pretty good. I don't particularly care for the lower pressures that makes the tire feel squirmy.
One thing I do know is that on the descent down Coastal View Trail where many folks pinch flatted, I had not problems.
The other concern I had after riding my previous cross bike with a triple was the double I have on the new bike. I worried that I wouldn't have that perfect gear for climbing moderately steep grades. With my triple, that gear is my middle (34t) with the 30t large cog in back. I didn't even think about not having the "right" gear on the new bike as they all seemed to be right what ever the situation. I spent 99% of my time in the 40t ring in front and up to the 32t in back. There was a point climbing Diaz Ridge where I dropped to the 28 and used either the 25 or 28 in back. Overall, I was really pleased with the gearing choices. Some might say 40/28 with an 11-36 cassette! But I use my cross bike as my mountain bike and ride where most folks mountain bike so the range is needed. No, it's not cross racing gearing, but could be if needed.
The other aspect that worked well is the White Industries VBC crankset. I had no luck running 10 speed chains on White cranks a year ago or so. They just didn't like the narrower 10 speed chains. Didn't matter if the chain was Shimano, SRAM, or KMC, or if the derailleur was Shimano or SRAM. Now, I'm happy to say it works great. I spoke with Doug White earlier this week and asked him about this. He said they change the outer ring to work with 10 speed. He said it works great with 10 speed, provided the front derailleur is Shimano. For some reason, the SRAM front derailleur just doesn't work properly. I was running a Shimano CX70 front derailleur and it worked flawlessly.
The final note about the bike that I noticed was the SRAM Type 2 rear derailleur and that the chain was pretty quiet riding through the choppy stuff. The Type 2 derailleur has a clutch type mechanism in the B pivot that keeps chain tension high. As evident by the chainstay photo, there was little chain slapping on the chainstay. I like a quiet bike.
Overall, I'm quite pleased with how the bike performed. I pretty much dig this bike and look forward to riding it a lot more.
Looks good with some dust.
Not much chain slap going on.
(What's playing: KWMR Shorty's Bunkhouse)