More drop bar MTB info

Here are the geo charts for my Thunder Comp and the Double Cross Disc.

Top tube delta is 51mm so I went with a 50mm shorter stem. This seems to be working really well but I’ve also noticed this is probably helped along by the fact that the bars are 5cm+ higher on the TC. They’re also 46cm wide whereas I usually ride a 38cm on my road bike. I think the additional width will be a huge help downhill and on the rough stuff. Narrower bars just don’t feel great off-road to me anymore.

I’m really happy with the bike and excited to race it on gravel but it’s obvious I’d be better on a medium. My testing over at the Cox building’s dirt walking trail showed a high propensity to washout the front wheel under aggressive cornering. I’m just too far back and can’t really do much to weight the front wheel more as my pedaling position is ideal. I’m going to experiment with braking and try to see if that helps. But really this is going to be a non issue for my racing as the corner is generally not where I’m having problems.


Atlanta Sucks

Although I guess it should be “Atlanta Metro Sucks” but the attitude is the same all over the metro area and the city as well. I’ve previously mentioned how much of a barrier the Chattahoochee can be when trying to move around the near northside metro and it’s always bugged me that Johnson Ferry east of the river is awesome, wide sidewalks and a bike lane but as soon as you cross the county line at the river there’s no cycling accommodations. Really sucks because the alternatives are far and steep. Saw this post in a city data thread and just had to sigh and shake my head. If it’s not petty racism limiting infrastructure and creating a mess of surface street routing it’s political infighting limiting the goodwill that can be created between different road uses. This place sucks.


Drop bar MTB thoughts

Previously I was using a 110mm stem with flat bars, went with a 60mm stem for the drop bars. Everything feels pretty good on gravel and dirt. I was getting some front wheel washout at speed but I think that may be just learning the bike and body position required. The gravel was pretty sandy and loose as well.

I’m going to experiment with single-track later this week and see how it goes there. I’m pretty excited for the late summer gravel season. I think this will be really fun to ride.

I still need to tweak some things, in line adjusters for the derailleurs and maybe an extender for the rear brake and I’ll be set. I’d like to adjust the chainrings as they’re less than ideal at 42/32 right now but that may not be in the budget.

Cedartown – canceled

ugh broke my crankarm at the pedal eye at 5:15am and just couldn’t ever recover. I was able to ride back to my car without any real issues. Felt funny as the pedal spindle wasn’t square but it didn’t break apart so that was nice. Then I spent about 4 hours driving. First to my mom’s for a replacement crank and then to my apartment to install and then back to Cartersville to try to salvage my ride. Should have just given up and called it a day. Couldn’t find my center after I restarted, it was hot and bright and windy and the terrain was just not working for me. It was too flat and the hills that were on the route just came without rhythm. There was a road closed detour and my rear derailleur wasn’t working on account of changing my freehub the night before. So basically a crap ride but I had the attitude to match.

Still better than not riding.

Grand Bois Hetres Review

Hetres despise the flatlands. They will fight you every inch if the road is straight and flat. Your pedal strokes will disappear into nothingness and each ride will be an eternity. Pump them too hard and they will flat at every opportunity. They’ll tell you what they want.

Less pressure. Ok just a little bit less.

They crave elevation, rolling hills and steep switchbacks they shine on. Take them to the top of any mountain and they will give you everything they have and more on the way down. Twists and turns warm their blood and give them life.

Lean your bike.


Lean your bike.

There is almost endless grip as you descend. The rough hand of gravity taking you by the throat.

They will change you as a rider. Group rides, everyone will stare but no one will ask about them. Surely you’ll be dropped soon.

Off-chamber hundred and twenty degree turn, asphalt cracked and broken coming up at speed? Bare your teeth as you feel the group hesitate and slow as you fling yourself forward, throwing yourself into the turn, snapping around the corner in a way that others cannot match with their pencil thin rubbers.

You will feel the tires grip, throttling the pavement into submission. They will lead the way for you, absorbing as much as they can, a floating carpet of speed and agility.

If you ride long enough and far enough they’ll start talking to you.

go check out that singletrack

is that a rock garden

take a right there’s a dirt shortcut with some tech

You can go anywhere and you can go there fast. Skinny tires are great if you’re competing against other humans. These tires are the ones you want if what what you’re fighting is bigger than that.


Some more 650b thoughts

It occurred to me on my ride last Saturday that I’m actually just a tourist who doesn’t like to camp. If I made a little more money I would spend every weekend just riding around staying in hotels and exploring. Quite a blow to my self-image as a privateer road/track/mtb racer.

Just needs a huge rear rack and some panniers.
Anyway, was messing with Veloviewer and thought this data was interesting. The GTR is a regular aluminum racing-style 700c road bike, aero wheels and 25/26 tires. The DC D 650b is a disc brake steel cross bike with 650×42 tires. Both were wearing fenders and I weighed about the same and rode about the same level of exertion on both. Interesting that the GTR just kicks ass on long rides with a lot of climbing. To even break 16 miles per hour on 650b I need to keep the ft/mile under 50.


Of course, I’m ignoring the blatant differences but I think they’re just noise. While I was pondering this earlier on my walk it occurred to me that if I wanted to really test this I should just take the DC D 650b and swap in the 700c disc wheelset I have, ride around on 25/26 tires for a while and see what the data says. My next thought:

“But then I’d have to ride around on skinny tires and avoid gravel/dirt/singletrack, stop routing myself into the middle of nowhere and lose the ability to jump curbs, ride off road to avoid traffic and abandon the dgaf style that the 650b tires afford.”

Oh man I’m way down the fat tire rabbit hole. I’ve been seriously considering trying out the 26″ Rat Trap Pass tires. I don’t even have a good reason, just seems like the fatter tires would ride better.

Which is exactly what a fucking tourist would say.