Been fun playing around with the drop bar bikes this year, and for two of them using them off road has been something new. These 3 bikes are more or less ideal for their rolls...
29+ drop bar;
I also briefly tried the Salsa Woodchipper drop bar/stem/levers and shifter, from the Karate Monkey on the black Pugsley 29+ KramPug...
The ride was nice with the bigger cushion of the 29x3" tyres on 50mm wide rims. This wheel size i love for xc trails. but i felt the Bottom Bracket hieght felt a bit high for this bar set up. So happy to use the Pugsley 29+ KramPug with regular MTB bars.
I would love these drop bars on Surly`s latest 29+ concept-the ECR which has a lower BB hieght than the Krampus.
At £699 -discounted £100 in January at the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative the Cdf is a bit of a bargain.
The bike is stock with just the seat swapped out for a £100 Brooks, £12 brown bar tape (which matched the first saddle swap-a brown Charge spoon) and a £30 Audex rear rack and some fenders added along with tools. bottle cages etc. The bike is good value and is my `Sunday bike` for country roads riding and light green roads use, and it can double as a commuter...
For this the bike is ideal. But the thing that strikes me with this bike is the lack of no clearance for full mudguards. This is a real lack of foresight being marketed as a UK budget Cyclocross style commuter/light tourer.
Other details like having mounts for a down tube MTB fender-but poor down tube cable routing that fouls the cables on a fender unless it is spaced out away from the frame makes me ask the question of who is this bike actually aimed at?.
I emailed Genesis about the lack of full lenght mudguard clearance. The second email to them-the other was about if 29+ wheels will fit their Caribou Fatbike before it was released, and after no reply for either emails i have been left thinking this will probably be the last Genesis i own then... and that is sad as this is a British company. But like many British companies they seem to do themselves no favours with their marketing and customer service.
Not enough clearance for UK mud- not enough room for wider 700c tyres, and not enough room for full lenght mudguards for daily commuting :(
It does look nice in Cornflower blue though!, but be nice to have a wider tyre option clearance with full mudguards, On One can do it on their budget CX style steel frames.
Surly Cross-Check fixie commuter;
This frame set has been a superb purchase, not because i am Surly biased and have a fleet of their Fatbikes, but because it is a real nice bike to ride every day on my commute to work. I ride it daily and it ticks all the boxes as an ideal commuter for my 9 mile round trip what ever the weather and wind speed etc...
The Fixie CC is ideal for a low maintenance commuter...
Off road and a revelation;
It has been riding this bike off road on some of the same easy green lanes, old roads and trails as the Genesis Cdf which has shown how harsh a ride the Genesis Cdf is compared to the Surly CC. I think it is the straight fork. I just get sore wrists on the Genesis from the vibration through the bars. Both bikes are very similar in their build spec, esp the wheels and tyres.
The Fixie has the same wheel width and 35mm tyres at same pressure. yes i know that 700c x 35mm wide tyres at 60 psi are only going to offer a limited amount of comfort, but the fork of the Cross-Check deft gives a lot more comfortable ride. Like the Karate Monkey and Pugsley Surly deft make some frame that are real nice to ride.
An Ideal solution?
So then a disc brake Cross-Check would be ideal right?, err yep probably!. So maybe the Genesis Cdf frame set will probably be sold in the future and replaced with a Surly Straggler frame set?,
Image from Surly website;
If i did manage to source one, then i would still keep the Fixed Cross-Check as a winter commuter with full mudguards and I would run fatter 700c tyres on a Straggler than 35mm, after a few days being rattled to bits off road on 700x35c tyres at 60 - 80psi.
Some friends ride CX bikes and love them. Not really my cup of tea i have discovered having been rattled to death on rough roads and not as easy or fun to ride on tight techy trails as my drop bar 29er (see below) but for easy off road stuff they really fly and zip along.
I cannot imagine a slightly wider tyre dragging much more yet would do imagine the ride to be so more comfortable on fire roads and shooting tracks, Some 700x41mm Surly Knard tyres on a bike of this type for geared off road riding could be ideal indeed, we will have to wait and see on that one cash wise for now...
Surly Karate Monkey 29er with Semi drop Salsa Woodchipper handlebars;
And it has been because of this bikes drop bar concept that i want a more comfortable ride than 700c x 35mm tyres off road. Maybe not as fast rolling as a CX tyre the 29er offers way more comfort and grip off road.
I really really like this bike in it`s drop bar 29er concept. I call it my `Flexible Fargo` it is a fun and comfortable ride on the trails around East Lothain...
This film from back in Spring shows how well this bike rides on technical trails, it clears the ditch on the `Secret trail` at Tyninghame no probs...
This bike has of course been swapped about with gear options and more recently with a MTB suspension fork and handlebar swap option giving Two bikes in one...
Ideal 29er MTB...except;
For mountain biking i cannot drop the seat post due to the remains of a carbon fibre seat post that split then sheared off when i tried to remove it from the Monkey-will be the last bit of carbon fibre i have on an off road bicycle!..
The remains i pushed down trying to split it with out damaging the frame, now it is down at the kink in the seat tube allowing me to fit another seat post but unable to drop the post for fast downhill type stuff.
Another 29er frame;
In an ideal world i would purchase a cheap secondhand Surly Karate Monkey frame and adding a few parts build another MTB which could share the wheels from the drop bar KM 29er-except you try finding a secondhand medium size Karate Monkey frame for sale...so i opted on a cheaper budget new 29er MTB frame. More on that in the next blog post...