650b thoughts for road cycling

It’s been an interesting summer for my road bike. I’ve ridden a lot of different roads and done some serious distance exploring the mountains north of me. Some of the deficiencies that were masked or I was just not aware of have really come to light.

  • Rough riding on poorly maintained/chip seal roads.
  • Inability to handle gravel found in Paulding county
  • Inability to fit fenders with tires larger than 25c
  • inability to carry anything
  • Shitty braking in the rain

These definitely aren’t stopping me from riding but they are limited my sense of exploration. A lot of the roads I’m mapping out rides on are not on Google street view and it’s not clear if they’re dirt/gravel/paved. Earlier in the summer I had a series of pinch flats on gravel due to the narrow tires I was running in order to fit fenders. Now whenever I hit any stretch of gravel I tense up and ride slow, trying to avoid a flat. I also carry three additional tubes since I had to cute a ride short due to pinch flatting twice and only having two extra tubes.

As I ride longer I also need more food. I can currently carry enough food for about 8 hours but it’s kind jury rigged with a bunch in my pockets and a bunch in an old busted saddle bag strapped to my camelbak. I definitely struggle to carry any clothing or a rain jacket. As the weather goes from hot sunny bliss to more chances of rain and cooler mornings this is going to be a pretty annoying issue to face.

I’ve been planning to buy a Elephant NFE but as the order queue seems really long (I’m 30th for like 7 frames) I decided I can wait for low trail but going 650b now would be half the delicious 650b/lowtrail sandwich, to steal a phrase from a post I saw on tarckbike.

About two weeks ago I noticed a crack in my frame at the seatstay/seattube junction. This combined with recent gravel stress propelled me into ordering a full set of parts for a 650b build. I had initially expected to build a frame-up and use the fork from my DX350 but now I think I’ll just through the 650b wheelset on the DX and see how it goes from there. I bought a custom set of wheels from the Universal Cycles wheel builder. All told took about two weeks to get to my door. Frame I picked was a Soma Double Cross Disc but for now that’s kind of irrelevant. I’m pretty excited about the change. I’m kind of expecting to be just as fast or even faster with the Hetres tires I ordered. 42mm is actually pretty huge but they’re light and apparently super supple so I guess I’ll find out tomorrow. I’ve got a bunch of buildup to do tonight so I’m hoping everything goes well.

Here’s my wheelset. Should be right around 1650 grams for the set.

2015-08-12_14-01-14I got two pinch flats on the same tube at the same time? About 5 inches apart, really blew my mind. I ended up walking a mile of so on gravel to get back to the road since the grease in my pump was dry and crusty and couldn’t output more than about 45-55 PSI. It was a very exciting ride back as I was all out of tubes!

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