New Ride: Traitor Wander

I've been on a bike buying binge this fall. I spent most of the summer selling bikes: the Raleigh Pardner went to Indianapolis, the Raleigh Kodiak went back to Raleigh, the Rockhopper became a winter beater for a local, and my old Raleigh Technium is hanging from the garage rafters, waiting in vain for another Technium fan. At one point this year, I was down to just two bikes: my Karate Monkey and my Black Mountain Monstercross.

Of course, that situation couldn't last. As mentioned in my previous post, I picked up a Niner ROS9 to handle my hard charging mountain biking duties, and now the KM is back to its normal rigid and single lifestyle. For a while, I ran my BMC as my city/camping bike, but that didn't take. I like to have a lightly loaded road bike for solo rides, and something good for running errands: upright position, racks and fenders and baskets, that I don't mind banging on bike racks.

Which brings us to my latest buy, a Traitor Wander frameset.

Traitor bill…

Niner ROS9 First Ride

After I returned the Raleigh Kodiak, my bike fund was again flush. Temporarily. I came across a reasonably priced Niner ROS9 frame on ebay. I was actually looking for another SIR9 for a another 650B+ conversion--I kind of miss my previous one--but I figured the ROS9 will let me do the same thing while trying a more modern geometry package.

Plus, it was purple, had a huge head tube, and came with a dropper post. All good.

My build got off to a slow start. There were two change points that had me worried going in: my rear wheel had to be converted from quick release to through axle, and I had to increase my fork's travel from 100mm to 120mm. The wheel change turned out to be dead easy, taking less than five minutes. The fork travel change, on the other hand...  I remember some Rock Shox forks used to have a U turn knob to change your travel. Super easy to adjust. But probably to save cost and weight, X fusion relies on a spacer on the spring shaft to control travel. Taking the fork …

Raleigh Kodiak 2 Review

I've been riding more with my fast buddies Chris and Marc this year. Our trail of choice is Chestnut Ridge, which is increasingly deviating from our traditional, hand made twisty singletrack of central Ohio into a roller coaster ride of berms and jumps. My Karate Monkey, which works so well in the tight and twisty stuff, isn't quite so confident when the trail gets fast and steep. I've been changing it how I can: first, I swapped the single speed drivetrain for 1x10, then a longer rigid fork to slack out the front end, then a suspension fork, then a suspension seatpost. This setup works OK, but once I got it into my head that I needed a full suspension bike like Chris and Marc, I found myself scouring the sites online every evening, looking for dually deals.

I finally ended up ordering a Raleigh Kodiak 2, using their widely available corporate discount. With an additional 5% discount they sent me after ordering my Pardner fat bike, the total came to just $855. Shipped. Th…

A Summer Fling with Clem

I had another brief fling with a Rivendell this summer. Occasionally my positive bike budget will intersect with a bike I've been thinking about now becoming available, and that happened this past June. Post-Jones, my bike fund was pretty flush, and the RBW bike list had a fellow looking to sell a Clem Smith Jr, my size, my favorite color, but up in Ann Arbor. Time for a road trip, then.
Of course, I immediately had a volunteer to accompany me, and that was honestly a good sized chunk of my motivation in this endeavor. Henry and I made the three hour drive to Ann Arbor on a Friday I took off work. The bike test ride left me a bit ambivalent, but after a three hour drive, it was hard to walk away. So I didn't:
I had googled pizza buffets beforehand, so we stopped at a local spot for lunch before hitting the road for home:
Lunch was also a bit underwhelming, but we had a pleasant drive back, listening to our audio books and snacking on junk food.
What I ended up with is basical…

Henry's S24O

After Sam's solo backpacking trip, Henry lobbied hard for a camping trip of his own. I was sick last weekend, so we had to delay until it was now the last weekend of summer. After raining hard Friday, Saturday was clear and perfect, and we loaded up and hit the road.

Unlike most previous S24Os, Henry was riding his own bike and even carrying most of his own gear. Progress! We took some well earned breaks along the way to camp:

I was riding my Rockhopper and pulling my Burley Travoy trailer. For my camping load, I greatly preferred this Travoy over our old kiddie trailer. Except for the weight when climbing hills, it was almost unnoticeable. By comparison, the kiddie trailer was always noticeable due to the herky-jerky effect it put into pedaling, and the sail-like wind drag. I don't miss it, even though we had many good years with it.

My Rockhopper wasn't quite as transparent for this trip. The bars felt too low, not helped by our slower pace. Also, I had just installed my…