Dirticorn!

Long time no whatever!  I hope that everyone is kicking a bunch of butts-on-bikes out there in the finally-not-winter weather.  Central Iowa has been a veritable wonderland of snowless cycling enjoyment. I’ve personally been able to get into the 200+ miles-per-week range finally, it’s been super rad to get some real miles in!

Quite a few new developments have uh…developed since my last post. I’ve started a new Cyclist Not Biker podcast (episode 1 is up on Anchor.fm now, with other services to follow shortly), in which I plan on talking with some of my favorite cyclists about things like gravel, dirt bagging, ultra events, bike tech stuff, etc. (if you’d like to be on the show, email me).  Episode 1 is a 26 minute solo brain dump from me, mainly focusing on the Unicorn of Dirt Drop Bars, the Ragley Luxy.

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Luxy #3 found a new home already

I recently acquired this Dirt-Icorn,  one of the rarest and best dirt drops out there, and pontificated for half a podcast about where they might end up.  The post person showed up about 30 minutes later with said handle bars, and they immediately ended up on my refurbished 90’s GT Tachyon. I’ve done two rides on this setup in the last 24 hours, and they are definitely where they belong.  Now it’s time for some bar tape and probably some sort of write up glorifying said bike hahaha.

Some of you may be asking yourself “what in the hell is a Ragley Luxy bar?” Here is an article from good friend and gravel fiend Guitar Ted which explains its origin and extremely short history.  Read it, learn it, live it.  There are nearly impossible to get, requiring years and months of internet scouring to find one available, and when found the price is usually out of control.  I have seen a pair of Luxy’s go for over $200 on eBay. Yeah, oof.

ANYWAY, it’s time to get back out on the bike so let’s wrap this up.  LISTEN TO MY PODCAST. It will be available on Apple, Google Play, Stitcher, and more in the next few days and I will post updated links for you.  Until then you can listen on Anchor. fm

RIDE YOUR BIKE

CNB

ESI RCT Wrap: First Blood

ESI RCT Wrap: First Blood

9146g8ituul-_sy550_I recently decided to bring my Salsa Fargo out of retirement, the poor babe has been hanging on the basement wall for over a year with no rides.  It needed a tune, some cleaning, was getting some new-to-it wheels from the Warbird (which was getting sold), and it definitely needed new bar tape.  I had been running the same orange Lizard Skinz 2.5 tape on the Ragley Luxy bars since the bike was built up brand new, and it was pretty ratty looking after a lot of gravel miles logged back in the day.  I run Lizard Skins on all of my drop bar bikes, it’s has a lot of strengths, but it is time for a change.

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ESI’s RCT comes in an array of colors to match most builds/tastes.

When building up the Mukluk last year, there was a bit of a grip conundrum.  What grips would work best on Jones H-bars while running a Rohloff Grip Shift setup?  After some intense research the ESI Super Chunky silicone grips seemed to be the best for the application at hand.  After a few hundred fat biking miles, they have proven to be tough, comfortable, and look just a good as they did on day one.  They also come in crazy colors, and ESI will even put together custom color combinations.  Did I mention that all of their grips are also made in the USA?  Big bonus.

So… when it came time to choose new bar wraps for the Fargo, taking into consideration the needs of a rough-service bike packing setup, I thought it was time to give ESI’s RCT (Road, Cyclocross, Triathlon) bar wraps a try.  They are 100% silicone, reversible, and are available in the same selection of colors as ESI’s MTB grips.  I have high hopes for the RCT.

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ESI RCT wrap on the Fargo, Silicone Tape on the Aero Bars. 

Wrapping the bars with RCT is a breeze, since they are reversible there is no “tape side” paper to test your sanity (my messy shop floor is also thankful for this), and you can stretch or not stretch the wrap to fit the thickness needed at each hand position/bar bend (LS advises against stretching their tape, regular cork can slide around when not stretched enough).  The bevel in the tape gives you a close-to-exact guide for wrapping also, so it’s even easier to get a nice, even look.

The kit comes with two strips of ESI’s self sealing Silicone Tape (seen here also being used as wrap for the aero bars) to finish off the wrap job. It’s a nice touch, as most companies give you that weak ass branded adhesive strip that usually ends up on my shop floor in favor of the old classic electrical tape. I’ve used this silicone tape to secure dyno hub wiring, wrap parts of frames to guard against chipping/damage, shimming light mounts, I would strongly recommend keeping a roll or two around your home shop, it’s as invaluable as electrical tape without all the tape residue.

 

First Impressions Bullet Point List of TL,DR:

  • RCT has a slightly thicker, more comfortable feel than other wrap.  After the first 200 miles of mixed surface use, it has kept my hands happier than before.
  • It retains all of its grip in rain.  Last week I purposely rode through torrential downpour conditions to test, and RCT more than passed the…uh…test.  Part of the rain test was over some very sketch paved trail to dirt construction zone to trail to dirt, and maintaining control through these abrupt and wet/muddy changes was no problem at all.
  • I personally dig the matte finish of the wrap. It blends in more readily to the hoods of the shifters.  It’s also real stealthy, which is extremely important.
  • RCT is reversible, so you can conceivably cause wear to one side (or dirty up the brighter colors in the line), then rewrap the bars leaving them looking fresh AF.
  • Silicone Tape instead of usual crappy strip of branded tape to finish off the bar wrap job. A very nice touch.
  • Price is in line with other premium brands.
  • The supplied bar end plugs actually stay in the bar ends. Mind blown, really.
  • EASY TO INSTALL
  • MADE IN THE USA
  • Did I mention that it’s comfortable? Settling in to the bars for the first time was like a true “baby bear’s bed” moment.  I didn’t expect the comfort level to be that high.

 

I’m looking forward to tearing these up for many hundreds of miles to come, I’ll let you know how things go!

 

CNB

Disclaimer: CNB purchased this product for personal use and testing, and has in no way been compensated for any writing regarding this product*.

*Disclaimer Disclaimer: The preceding disclaimer was in no way CNB fishing for free stuff, or any other type of compensation. Wink.