Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Crosscheck Gravel Style

In the 'grovelling for Grovel' entry I posted some pics of my cohorts gravel rides. Barturtle and Patrick were both sporting new mounts. David in turn was on his trusty, rock solid LHT. I was doing my second gravel ride in succession on the Crosscheck, a bike which has vacillated in moods not unlike my own. I was tired of it last year when in MoustacheBar config and almost sold it. The younger progeny wanted me to keep it on the chance that he would interested in riding it as a teenager, which I thought (and think) was a fine idea. I changed out the 'stache bars back to some Salsa BellLaps that I had around.

The advantage of the CC over the LHT or a 29er is sprightliness of ride. It feels like a springy cross bike instead of a "lumbering" touring bike or mtbike. I really enjoyed it on the HenryOwen ride so I took it on the NewWashington Gravel fest hoping for a similar performance. Schwag with comments:

  • SalsaBell Laps + Salsa riser stem. I *love* a higher position now and this combo did it for me. I never had any hand or elbow problems and felt *really* comfortable all day. I was just able to ride in the drops some too, or at least on the ends. This cockpit is a keeper after debating a move to a new CowBell2 or comparable. No need. Good angle on the brake levers too. Pink tape?
  • Shimano barcons with 46/36 x 12-34 pieplate in the back. This was the first trip of the extended gearing. There were a couple noisy cog matings, but the new cassette made it such that I rode in the big ring most of the day. Other than our one big climb out of the river valley, the gearing might have even been too small. But that one time you need toe granny is a Godsend. My cohorts could spin up the climb in relative comfort. I had to punish myself in the 36 instead of their 24. New SLX worked great!
  • Storage: PlanetBike Gas Tank with grub. It flops around but it's alright. MtFeedBag up front with essentails. Didn't use it much other than pure storage. My mom's purple seatbag. I don't if she knows that I've stolen it. When the jacket had to come off Patrick ended up carrying it, which I think is weak. A cyclist should be self-sufficent, so this storage system didn't really work. The front bags were fine, but big rides like this need a bigger saddlebag or lash point for things like jackets.
  • Like that mudguard? I didn't ask my cohorts if it kept the gunk out of their mouths.
  • VittoriaRando35s: great on rough roads. Fine of smooth gravel. Torture on soft gravel. I had a *terrible* day in the rough stuff. It was all soft and devoid of good lines and these hard tires pummeled me. Frankly I whined about it all day. Based on my experience of these 67m, I decided to ride the 29er for GG. I know I appreciate the ride characteristics of this machine more, but I can't be beaten like that. And watching Patrick and Timothy ride off the front in gravel sections was sobering.
  • Garmin60cx mounted on stem. Worked well although the angle was a little strange. Dave and my routes didn't always correspond, so that was awkward. 



4 comments:

David Crowell said...

The bike looks good. How wide of a tire can you fit? If you could fit a 45-ish tire, I think that would work well on the gravel.

The 29er will do fine on the gravel, but you probably won't be as comfortable.

If you want to borrow my 700x42 Marathons, you can... I'll be running the 700x47s that Patrick loaned me. :)

Tex69 said...

Thanks for the offer. I have the 45c FireCross, but they are fat pigs. They roll quite poorly and are much better at true monstercross instead of road/gravel road rolling. I'm going to try some Kenda HappyMedium 40s at some point. They look like an interesting tire.

I think the 29er will be fine but slow and eventually uncomfy. I'll survive.

Doug said...

The Cross Check is a fabulous...maybe even underated...bicycle. I can't get enough of mine. I've been riding one since 2005. It sees more miles than any of the five bikes I have.

Tex69 said...

@Doug, it's funny b/c I almost sold it; I was done. But then I changed the bar to a drop and used the existing angled stem from the Moustache set-up and it changed things entirely. My old position was too low and hurt my back and hands. The new position is excellent for 60 miles of road/gravel or one hour of 'cross. I'm very pleased. And if my younger son wants a stab at it in a few, I'd be happy as a clam!

Email to mysurly69@yahoo.com