Friday, 30 November 2012

A Winters Ride...

We can no longer deny it - the days are shorter and the temperature is dropping. Winter is well and truly upon us. So some of you may be pulling the trusty old Raleigh Super Sport out of the shed so as not to have your pride and joy covered in filth. But what if you were to do it properly? By this I mean a full blown winter-only hack bike. I have recently finished building my new Pearson EasyComeEasyGo and am now reaping the benefits of a perfect winter steed.

"The Clanger"

Steel is Real

I've opted for our frame as it utilises a Reynolds 631 tube set as used on our "I May Be Some Time" touring frames. We chose this particular tubing during the prototype phase due to its compliance properties, performing like 853 (the top-of-the-range tube set for this type of bike) and being heat treated to deliver a stiffer ride than its predecessor - 531. It also allows the material to be tig welded instead of using the traditional lug method of construction. The frame is a great shape - high at the front and short across the top which allows me to easily set it up according to my CycleFit.

Rider comfort is everything on this type of bike. It features braze-ons for full mudguards and rack. As this is my daily commuting bike as well I've fitted both. There is clearance for bigger tyres to ensure better grip in the typically wetter winter weather and a longer wheelbase for greater stability. We run a slacker headtube angle on this frame to further the stability and reduce toe overlap when running mudguards. With double bottles and a handy rear mounted pump, a complete frame weight tips the scales at just over 2kg, but for a training bike any additional weight is never a bad thing! In the winter your muscles burn more energy just keeping warm and are therefore less efficient. So riding a heavier bike through this grim period means getting back on my shiny MineGoesToEleven in the summer will make me even faster...or so I hope! Mine has been custom painted and renamed "The Clanger" - an inside joke between myself and some of the other staff.

The Spinny Bits

The wheels I've selected for this build are the excellent Mavic Ksyrium Elites. These offer the most "bang for your buck" in the Mavic range. Being lightweight, stiff and weighing in at a mere 1565g for the pair, they certainly retain a substantial tart factor. I've always loved Mavics. They go on for absolutely ages, the bearing quality is great and they star true for aeons. If I'm completely honest with myself, a good set of hand built wheels like Hope Hoops probably would have been more suitable given the type of abuse this machine is likely to receive, but I fancied something a little livelier for some of those steep Surrey hills. Ksyrium Elites are sold as a "wheel-tyre system" so they actually come with light weight racing tyres. I'm going to run these into the ground before swapping them out for a set of Vittoria Open Pavé CGs for better grip and puncture resistance.

Italian Stallion

I've opted for a mish mash of Campagnolo components for this build. Having a firm loyalty to the Italian maestros I find it hard to use anything else. I'm running 2010 Veloce shifters and a 2010 centaur 53/39 chainset. The rest of the build is current Veloce which I've found to be cheap, durable and functional. Just about any transmission would suit this kind of build so what I've opted for is purely personal preference.

Sun in a Jam Jar

The Strada. Also, note the thermos in the cage for those chilly rides!

For the shorter I've selected two different lighting options. For the commute I'm running Exposures excellent Flash and Flare rechargeable set. I adore these lights, they're lightweight, super bright, easy to fit/remove and all in a nice unobtrusive unit.

Exposure Flash Flare

For my main lamp I've also decided to fit an Exposure Strada Mk7. This little beauty chucks out 480 lumens of good quality light. It has three different brightness settings, a flashing mode and a battery indicator all integrated into one unit. Running the Strada allows me to put in the extra miles even when it's pitch black. It throws a wide, focused beam that'll light up even the dingiest of Surrey lanes.

The LED display on the back of the Strada notifies the rider of which setting they are currently using as well as the remaining battery power

No Zip Ties Please

SKS P35 Chromoplastic mudguards are a very popular choice among many riders offering full protection from the rubbish thrown up from the roads. They're lightweight, durable, easy to fit and keep both you and your bike clean. Chromoplastics are also a lot more secure and do not rattle as much as the plethora of 'half guards' out there. A lot of riders have fitted the Crud Road Racer 2. However, I found these to be much flimsier than the P35 (I snapped the front one in the first week!) but they do offer decent protection if your bike doesn't have eyelets or sufficient clearance.

I commute with panniers so I've fitted a Tortec Velocity rack. A relatively lightweight, yet streamlined and good looking offering - not much to say about this other than it allows me to carry bags without spoiling the lines of the bike. On to this I've attached a single Ortlieb Front Roller Plus pannier. This smaller bag is actually designed to mount to low riders on the front of a touring bike, but I preferred the smaller size seeing as I don’t carry a huge amount into work. These are the de rigueur bag for most touring cyclists as they're extremely durable and completely waterproof - almost to the extent that you can submerse them in water thanks to their seamless construction and roll top closure. Bars, stem and seatpost are basic models from Deda and they're finished off with a Fizik Aliante saddle and Fizik tape.

In my opinion this is the ultimate winter bike. It's smooth, relatively lightweight, fun and inspiring to ride. The EasyComeEasyGo is a custom bike so you can build yours however you wish. They are available to purchase from both our Sutton performance and Sheen performance stores. Frames retail for £499.99 with complete bikes starting at £999. Demo models are available and, if you're lucky, I may even let you ride mine!

Happy hacking!

written by: James Thomas - Sutton Pro Shop Manager

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