Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Fork Weekend (Razzo and Cross Check)

I've been looking at a new fork for my Razzo for a while now. I wanted to experiment a bit with something a little longer than the 465mm Fargo fork I had on there. Plus, I wanted something that blended a bit better with the Razzo's oversized head tube. $78 later on ebay, and I had this 485mm X Lite aluminum fork:

My quick demo ride was a bit uninspiring: the front end felt higher, even though the bars were in the same position relative to the saddle, and the steering wasn't great. But since it was dark and about 7F out, I didn't go too far. I planned for a longer ride today, hoping that would give me a better understanding of the new geometry, but in the event, that didn't work out the way I expected.

Of course it was due to the snow. Although it was warmer today (20s!), we still have 3-4" of snow on the ground from earlier in the week. I was just heading out to my little trail at Avery Park:

My first lap was tough, forcing me to stand up to power my single speed, even on the pancake flat ground. After I smashed down a bit of a trail, the next few laps were better, but the snow was still enough of a factor that I couldn't pick up on any of the finer points of the new fork. I was mostly focused on trying to keep my Knard pointed more or less forward. On the way home, I thought to finish with a lap around the perimeter of the park. That mostly worked until I got to the east side, where the snow had been drifting against the fence:

With 6 or 7" of powdery snow, I was hoofing it as much as pedaling. I cut my perimeter loop short, and just powered across the soccer fields to get home. It was good to be out, but kind of a washout for a bike test. My biggest conclusion is that I hope this type of riding will be a lot easier when my new fatbike gets here.

I did one other fork swap this weekend. Jodi never attempts to get me bike stuff for Christmas, so I usually end up picking something up myself. I shoot for ideas with the gift ideal: stuff I would like to have, but normally wouldn't splurge on. You could make a good argument that most of my bike purchases fall into this category, but I can draw a mental boundary the separates my everyday purchases with something special. One year, I picked up a White Industries two speed freewheel for my CC, for example. This year, I got something equally shiny for the other end:

It's a low trail conversion fork. With 65mm of rake, this drops the trail on my CC from 67mm to 45mm, exactly the same as my 650B Trek (and 5mm less than my Camargue). I like the way low trail bikes handle, front end load or no, so I figured it would be a nice change for the CC. Plus, it was on sale.

While the kids played in the snow:

I rebuilt the front of my CC:

The flipped over Mary bars probably won't last, but I need to think about what I want to put on here. The extra 50mm of steerer tube lets me experiment some more with bar options. Maybe drops again.

The Soma fork also has more braze ons than my stock fork:

And a nice flat crown:

No real ride report yet, since it was starting to sleet as I got this finished, but I expect it will enliven the front end of my Surly. When my bike fund recovers, I may add some Compass Barlow Pass tires to see how this setup compares to my 650B'ized Trek.

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