New Bike Day

New Bike Day.  It’s like Christmas, when you’re a kid.  And if you are one to piece together, and build your own, the fun level is even greater, up to that moment you jump on and take it for the first ride.

I was one of the ones slow to accept electronic shifting.  It seemed gimmicky, possibly pointless.  Fixing a problem that doesn’t exist.  Even 11 speed at first seemed a frivolity.  Until I noticed the ergonomics of the new levers, and the superb and effortless shifts of the new Shimano groups.  Then, on my mountain bike, I experienced hydraulic disc brakes.  So then, the big “S” decides to do Di2 and Hydraulic, in the same package.  Sounds weird and futuristic, but interesting.

So, I pulled the trigger on a Bish Bash Bosh.  It’s a Gravel/Adventure bike, from On One/Planet X.  It has through axles, disc brakes with internal routing, and is designed for mechanical or electronic shifting, if you so desire.

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Initially I thought I would be just moving components onto this bike, from another.  But the lure of the ST-R785 DI2  proved too great.  Especially for this kind of bike.  Shifting that is forever spot on accurate, with no gritty cables to foul things up, a self contained brake system that is, simply, astonishingly good – a bike that can be ridden on all kinds of roads and surfaces

– tarmac, concrete, soft hard and wet dirt, gravel, agricultural access fire forest service minimum maintenance roads, all kind of dry wet rooty rocky flat and technical trails – with little to no ongoing maintenance or tuning required.  It makes sense.

So, I have to admit, even before riding I was converted, but after a few rides, even more so.  Di2 is awesome, it is fantastic.  Just like everyone has been saying.  And paired with hydraulic brakes, of which Shimano’s are the tops, it is dynamite.

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And the frame – the Bish Bash Bosh?  I’m liking it, liking it alot.  This size really suits me, with a 55cm top tube, which is a big thing.  And I am really liking the handling/geometry as well.  While I appreciated the stability of higher trail bikes, I was starting to realize I wanted something with snappier handling.  And this seems to be it.  71.5 degrees plus 52 mm fork rake, yielding 62mm trail with 700×35 tires.  No white knuckle gravel downhills yet, but so far, so good.

And one more quick note about the new bike – the wheels.  I am a wheel builder, by the way.  H plus Son, maker of the popular Archetype (and other) rims, has a new offering, called the Hydra.  It is a disc specific rim, with a tubeless inner profile.  It comes with an anodized finish, in grey or black, with the same kind of good looks H+Son is known for.  The exterior width of the rim is 24.5mm, and they actually come heavier than they have been spec’ed at, about 460 grams.  And so, these rims very suitable, if not perfect, for tubeless tires in the common gravel/cyclocross/mixed surface sizes.  Which, by the way, if you ask me, if you aren’t yet running tubeless tires on your gravel bike, you really should, because you’re kinda’ missing out.

I built the Hydra rims up with Wheelsmith DB15 straight pull spokes and DT 350 Centerlock hubs.  Just over 1600 grams. Nice.  Running currently Continental Cyclocross Speed tires.  I know, they aren’t supposed to be tubeless.  Low pressures, way low, is the way to go.

I build wheels.  @customwheelsmpls on Facebook.