This is an amazing way to compare bike geometry

http://gearinches.com/blog/misc/bike-geometry-comparator

Here’s my Haanjo Comp (M, 53 in Green) compared to my Double Cross Disc (M, 52 in Red). I set up the Haanjo by eyeball to be slightly higher and it’s funny to see how close they ended up. I think I’m a little too crunched up on the Haanjo but I’m still trying to decide if it’s a saddle position or a stem issue.

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Quick notes from today

https://www.strava.com/activities/833505532

Deep cyclic breathing is important and seems to help reduce heart rate drift after a few hours of riding.

*deep inhale/deep exhale * regular breath*regular breath * deep inhale/deep exhale

Coconut oil and almond lotion is an amazing chamois cream. Also a delicious combination if you wanted to make a candy bar.

Two naps and a box of mini-cornettos will really give you the energy to have a good ride.

The draft from passing cars probably has the biggest effect on average speed.

Best Practices for Front Loading High Trail Bikes

  1. Load should be as far back as possible. Ideally behind the front hub, even an inch makes a big difference.
  2. Load should be as low as possible. My front rack is only about 20mm above the front tire and actually touches the front fender.
  3. Ride the bike. A lot of the “poor handling” mythos comes from lack of time on a bike. I’ve found that high trail front loads don’t handle poorly, they just handle different. The more you ride, the more natural it seems and the better the bike feels.

I’m not currently set up for or interested in front panniers but I think I’ll try them out once it gets warmer. May add another wrinkle but we’ll see.

Most front racks are pushed too far forward by the fork crown support. I’ve been looking at rack and setups and it’s obvious that with most racks mounted as recommended there’s no way not to have your load in front of the hub.

Here’s a good set-up. Even though it’s low-trail (high fork rake) the rack is as far back as possible, it’s too high but there does not appear to be any adjust-ability as this is most likely a rack designed for 700c being used on a 650b bike.

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Here’s a poor set-up. Rack is too high and too far forward due to poor fork crown attachment design and overall poor rack choice.

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Here’s my bike, it’s nice and low and far back. I can get most of what I carry behind the hub so handling is close to neutral.

I love this bike now

Added a front rack to my Haanjo Comp today. Perfect day for it too. 67 and warm when I left and 47 with rain by the time I got back.

Made it super easy to carry all the clothes I needed and extra tube. I’m going to figure out a better solution than a hip-pack in a ziploc bag but for right now it’s still awesome. Handling is a little different – bike wants to turn instead of lean but it’s not too bad and certainly not as bad as I would have thought after reading all the Bicycle Quarterly stuff about low and high trail and front loading.

Today was just another one of those days where I feel like I can just pedal forever. Such a good feeling,  always forgot how much easier and more fun it is to ride when I’m skinny instead of chubby. Like my legs always have the same strength no matter my overall weight.

I can’t wait to ride some more and see how it works with different load outs. Rack is a Sunlite QR-Tec that mounts 100% to the quick-release. It has a anchor point for the brake caliper hole but I just cut that off and ziptied the back of the rack to the front fender stabilizer.

Winter Clothing Considerations and Other Stuff

This is kind of dumb but I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit.

So I’ve been riding in a cotton t-shirt with a wool/polypro pullover on top and have been much warmer than previous years where I wore a jersey and baselayer.

I’m wondering if I’m just acclimated to the cold or if there’s a difference between relative warmth of a slightly looser baselayer/top and a tight fitting jersey.

I’m thinking my body does better by being insulated through tiny warm air pockets near my skin from looser fitting tops than it would by a thick(er) layer right against the skin.

I remember getting up early to ride in November dressed in regular kit, coasting down the hill out of my apartment and getting blasted by a freezing wind that cut right through my kit. Turned around, went home and went back to bed. I have yet to have that knife-edge wind wearing looser tops. A lot of the polypro clothing I have is just cold feeling too. I’ve never gotten out of a shower during the winter and been like “Oh man I really want to put on one of those 100% poly racing t-shirts.”

They’re just colder I guess.

But really maybe this is just a renaissance of going back to how I used to ride. Cut-offs, t-shirts, a hat and my bicycle.

Which moves me to another thing I’ve been thinking about. When I first, first started riding if someone asked me how my bike rode I would respond like this:

“Man, fixed gear riding is so fun. It feels so fast and looks so cool. I got wide tires (lol @28s) and they ride really well and sometimes it’s bumpy and sometimes I feel slow and shitty but I really like riding and going places I’ve never been and seeing how fast I can ride sometimes.”

Now? Someone asks me and I respond like an asshole:

“Well, 650b is obviously more cush than a 700c tire but I’ve found it to be slower as well. I like the cornering on pavement but the back end seems to be a little too stiff, look at those chainstays. I think overall the blend of road and mountain technologies is a good thing but it’s not quite perfect yet. The bike feels good on most terrain but I think the stiffness of the frame and especially the front end give it sort of a dead feeling on gravel and rough terrain. It doesn’t necessarily plane for me but in some instances it performs really well.”

‘Course this is just symptomatic of the bigger issue of having 6 bikes, discretionary income, and no real time obligations outside of a job. Back when I was poor, unemployed and living at my mom’s house “things” were a lot easier because there wasn’t any other option. Try to find a job, spend time with my family and ride my bike. It was nice I guess.

Haanjo Comp Update

Right under 2,000 miles/6 months on my Haanjo Comp so I have a little update. Overall the bike is still riding fine. Spent quite a few hours riding in the rain this week and blew through the stock pads on the front spyres pretty quickly. Replaced with Shimano B01S pads and performance is significantly better. Here’s a nice little post from another blogger that was helpful:https://accidentalrandonneur.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/replacing-pads-on-a-trp-spyre-mechanical-disc-brake-caliper/

I did have an unusual issue on Monday; riding in the rain and dark I took a little shortcut in behind a strip mall where all the dumpsters are and ended up riding through an invisible trash pond that went up past my hubs. I have two bright front lights but it was so dark and wet I just didn’t see the huge pond/puddle that had filled the road caused by a series of blocked drains. I managed to ride it out but almost right away my rear shifting had degraded significantly and my front shifting has show a little chain suck as well.

As few days later I noticed my brakes were sticky and took a lot more pressure to squeeze the levers. Nothing else seemed to be affected but I wouldn’t be surprised if the wheel or bb bearings were affected as well, but not much to do about those now. Anyway, I fixed the rear shifting by cleaning the guide area under the bb and adding two turns to the barrel adjuster on the rear derailleur. Front is ok but not 100% like it was before. I know riding through a huge trash pond is unusual but I would still question the wisdom of routing cables under the bb on a gravel bike.

Anyway, the brake issue was a lot more surprising, I cruised through my apartment complex and when I went to brake at the gate I squeezed the lever and nothing happened. OH SHIT!

After a quick panic I SQUEEZED the lever and and felt a solid click/clunk and then the brakes were working ok but took a lot more pressure than before. I suspect the capillary action drew water up into the housing and started the cable rusting or housing corroding. I spent a few days trying to lube it but back to perfect function but I went ahead and just replaced the cable and it works fine now. I didn’t see any rust on the cable but did see a little bit of white corrosion on the cable were it would be under the handlebar tape which is really weird and makes me wonder if there is a hole in the housing? Anyway, weird and unusual and I’ll try to stay out of such deep water in the future.

So, the bike is riding fine and I still like it pretty ok. Wish it had a front rack.