Sunday, November 30, 2014

ERB as a 69er, Sette Razzo, and Velo Orange Camargue update too

After a blast of cold, we had a relatively warm weekend, which means I was able to get out for some biking. Saturday, I took the ERB Freakbike out for its inaugural ride at Alum Creek:

As usual, there were good and bad points to report. The bike has a very lively feel, and seems to get up to speed and move down the trail quite quickly. On the other hand, it's not as stable and smooth as my carbon 29er Sette Razzo. My biggest is that the seatpost kept slipping down:

ERB specs a 32.0mm seat clamp, but doesn't include one. I ordered a cheapie ($5) off ebay. No expense spared for my builds! However, even tightened to where it felt like the bolt was about to snap, AND using carbon friction paste on the post, it still slipped. Later, I measured the seat tube, and it looks to be closer to 31.8mm, not 32.0, so I ordered a Surly Constrictor clamp in that size.

But for yesterday's ride, I had to stop every ten minutes and raise my saddle about a half inch. The ERB is all about pedaling efficiency, so I hate the feeling of being too low. At least it gave me time to rest and take pictures to show some more of the frames details:

- The rear triangle has fender eyelets. You can also see I installed my N gear jump stop, which worked fine, of course.

- I'm liking my hydro brakes more now, at least as long as I'm not bleeding them:

- Some of the hardware (nuts and bolts) used on the ERB look like they came from a hardware store, which I find has a kind of endearing garage project vibe, and replacements should be easy to source as well:

As setup, I found the handling to be quite nimble, perhaps pushing the border towards twitchy, even. But my biggest issues--after the post slipping--was the riding position. The bar was too low, too far forward, and much too narrow. Unfortunately, there's no extra room on my fork to raise it any more:

This morning, I did some back to back loops on my tiny Avery Park trail with both the ERB and the Razzo:

I've recently changed the bar and stem around on the Razzo, and I found this setup a bit low and forward as well. I found myself constantly sliding forward on the seat. So, I replaced the 100mm x 17* stem with a 70mm x 6*, and raised it all the way to the top of my steerer tube (about 20mm up from where it was on the above picture):

This was spot on comfortable, with the grips about 10mm above my saddle. But man, I hate the way that 90mm of spaced out steerer tube looks. Carbon hardtails, perhaps not surprisingly, seem to be made for fit XC races, so that even my XL frame only has a 125mm head tube. I like pretty much everything about my Razzo, but when I sell it, blame the head tube (the short head tube is made worse because I'm running a relatively short 465mm fork. With a long, 100mm travel sus fork, it would be a bit better story)

As I mentioned above, the ERB had fit issues as well. I started with this:

Riding back to back with the Razzo really exposed how narrow the On One Mary feels to me now. A trip back to the garage, a spare/borrowed fork, new stem and bar, and the ERB was much, much better as a mountain bike:

The Knard slowed the steering down, a bit too much for my taste, but it was still acceptable. But the new cockpit really let me enjoy hammering down the trail on the ERB.

I'm thinking about how to proceed here. I may try a Dirt Wizard 26 x 2.75" tire on the Fargo fork on the ERB. That should keep the steering quick, while allowing me to keep the bars up there. I might sell the Razzo, which would leave me in the odd position of having the ERB as my sole mountain bike. I'm getting an urge for a fatbike, but I think that will pass if I get a chance to demo some at next week's Global Fat Bike ride. A Chinese ti bike with a 160mm head tube and room for 3" 29er tires, on the other hand, has me thinking pretty seriously about that option. Again.

On the road side, I took my Camague out for a quick library run before dawn this morning:

I have a generator hub, but I'm using a battery light. Go figure.

I'm still enjoying my Albastache bars, though I dropped them down about 15mm from where I initially installed them:

Still not quite ready to tape the bars yet, though. I had a thought that by applying canti brakes on the rear (and then maybe the front, to match), I could fix my clearance issue on the rear fender, where the V brake cross cable hits the fender:

However, when I actually tried that today, the canti brake was so incredibly weak that it barely slowed the bike at all, much less was able to skid the tire. So the V brakes will go back on, with the hope that the new, narrower tires I ordered (at the same time as my new seat clamp), will allow me to space the fender down for better clearance. I'm hoping these new tires will also restore the Camargue's lively handling, which was made notably clumsy by the fat Schwalbe tires.

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