Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wayne's Rawland Sogn and ride impression

I (with help of Wayne) pretty much finished the build this past weekend (here is the parts list), and I tweaked a little more during the week before handing it back to Wayne later this week. The build was pretty standard, except for the STI shifters/front derailleur/crankset combination. Wayne preferred STI, so I tried to make it work. It requires Shimano road derailleurs. I wasn't sure whether they will work with the old Shimano crankset (FC-B124) we have. After playing around with it, I was able to make it work, although not in the same click-pattern as how STI generally works--normally, a triple front shifter has 5 positions: one for each chainring and two intermediate positions. Normally, from the small chainring, the first click brings one to an intermediate position for trimming, and the second click brings one up to the middle chainring. However, on this crankset with Sora triple front derailleur, the chain won't go on the middle chain ring until the 3rd click, although from there one can down shift one click and remain on the middle chainring. One uses the remaining one click to shift up to the big ring--it works, but a little bit differently. I am convinced that if we have ramped-and-pinned chainrings, this irregularity will go away.

M. and I went out for a short ride up the Berkeley Hills this morning before work. I adjusted the seat height on the Rawland and took it out to see if everything works ok on the bike on a more strenuous ride. Here are my impressions of the bike and the ride

The Rawland is a very capable climber, I rode a route that we do regularly and find it comparable to my personal bike, which is a great climber. We rode up a hill that has 20% grade (which is really steep) and the Rawland performed just fine. On winding descend, the bike performs wonderfully, as the wider (than usual road tires) tires do their job, grabbing the road well. On the flat, I wanted to see how the bike accelerates. True to its cyclocross design, the Rawland accelerates pretty well, and does an adequate job of keeping speed. The bike also has a very stable front end; I can ride no-handed even on relatively rough pavement. Overall, i can see why it has received such good reviews.

If the bike were mine, I would have used bar-end, paul thumbies, kelly take-offs, or down tube shifters and use at least 42mm tires (is anyone using Hetre with his/her Rawland). But this is my friend's bike and his first serious bike nonetheless. He took it out on a short spin over the weekend and enjoyed it. Hopefully we can go on a longer ride soon.

You can find more pictures of the bike here.
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