Today was a momentous day. Morning. Project Pink has stepped into phase whatever, aka the “it rolls” phase. I did a little initial ride around downtown which included some bike lane, my favorite pedestrian bridge, a bit of levee/dirt riding, and a quick stop on my second favorite pedestrian bridge for a photograph.
Here are my initial thoughts: The Twin Six Standard Rando frame works well with Road Plus tires, almost as if it was built for them. Steel is Real, and it rides like a good steel frame should, and had a great fit/feel right off the start. It handled comfortably on pavement, but when it was time to climb up onto the levee south of downtown is when it really shone. The smaller wheel diameter mixed with the 47mm WTB Byway tires took on dried up ruts (ala B-roads) like a champ, even thought I was expecting less than spectacular handling compared to a 700c wheel. It was a little choppier, but ate up every big rock, rut, divot, and bumpy grass line I fed it. The custom Enve/White Industries/Son28 wheel set spun up to speeds quickly, but felt like they were lacking a little momentum. Time and miles will tell, as this was only 5 miles of riding, but the momentum issue could come into play on long flat stretches. As far as climbing goes, on the one short hill I encountered, this wheel set is as expected: Grand Champion. Light weight, spins up to speed fast, gets the job done and looks pretty hawt while doing so.
This is my first foray into the SRAM Road 1x universe, and I’m still a little skeptical. It shifts well (as well as I had it set up, that comes up later…), and I do love the simplicity of one shifter. I am running 42 up front with 11-36 in the back, and I feel like that might be about right, maybe a little heavy, for riding down in the Southern Iowa gravel.
I topped it all off with some of my classic favorites, a Brooks B-17 Saddle, Salsa Cowchippers, Thomson seat post and stem, Lizard Skinz bar tape (still needs to be installed), and Crank Brothers Candy pedals (my old test Mallets are shown here. I keep the orange ones in the shop because they are easy to find haha). The familiarity of the cockpit keeps the adjustments to a minimum. At least it was supposed to…
The issues that came out during the test ride:
- The rear tire did not seat fully on one side, so I had a fun little “hop” going on during the flats. It was enough to kind of toss me around a bit. Whoops.
- The stem is too short. This was great for riding on the hoods, but put the bars in a spot that made riding on the tops a little cramped. Problem solution: the Fargo could use a shorter stem for the aero bars on it currently. I’ll do a little swap meet.
- The shifting was a little wonky. I decided that there was too much slack in the chain while installing and took a link or two out. This was a mistake. After I had everything together, I noticed that you could tension the chain via a set screw on the back of the Rear D. MAKE SURE YOU READ INSTRUCTIONS AND MAYBE WATCH A VIDEO WHEN INSTALLING UNFAMILIAR COMPONENTS. Another whoops. I will be patching the chain back up with a quick link, which should make the large cog shifting a bit better. Other than needing some adjustment, the Rival 1 shifter worked great.
- The seat tube bottle could stand to be lowered. I am not sure why all companies making “adventure bikes” don’t adhere to the “get your bottle cages as low as possible” ethos set by (I think) Salsa. There are adapters out there, and I should be able to lower the bottle to fit a Large Revelate Tangle bag in there.
- The Brooks saddle, which was a father’s day present from my awesome daughter Justine, might not be the right saddle for this bike. I’m going to swap it for the Selle Anatomica on the Tandem and see how that rides. The Anatomica is definitely not the right saddle for the Tandem, so hopefully this is a solid swap out.
- My LBS sold me a set of non-compatible rotors for the brakes, and they require proprietary brake pads from the maker. Stopping is not great, but I found another set of Avid rotors and will be swapping those out. I’ll keep the other rotors for replacement on a bike that is getting near “that time,” and order the correct pads for the setup. I read they are great rotors, but not when using the wrong pads.
Overall, Pink is almost ready for some mixed road travel, this thing blurs the lines between a road-touring bike and gravel grinder. The build will give more options for detours than my road bike, which was a main point of the project. I will fix the aforementioned issues, wrap the bars, and throw a light system on from another bike, then I’m looking at doing a little cross country attempt at catching up with the Brai tomorrow.