Monday, 7 September 2015

1 x 2 = 4 seasons?

A few months back there was a very brief post covering new wheels and bike consolidation. The size of the quiver remains and the Boardman continues to be the go to bike. The lack of miles is also a constant. The Boardman did have a predictability about it, you knew what to expect - it never did feel that sprightly. It's the bikes ability to overlap conditions and surface that kept me coming back to it.  For someone who is lacking fitness and time to ride any bike, dependability versus outright performance is acceptable..... You know what is coming next, a cyclist with a test/plan in mind.  I want to reduce the number of bikes and have to accept that a few compromises may be made along the road less travelled. The Boardman's dependability is all very well and good, but some things had to change. It is now even more enjoyable to ride thanks to the Hunt hoops. This may be a bit biased, but I also think the deeper section rims and clean, considered graphics have made the bike even easier on the eye.

Those of us that have fitted new wheels will no doubt be in similar territory and will question - will the new wheels offer any improvements over the old? In the case of the Mason x Hunt 4 Season Disk Wheels, improvements are most certainly the case. I'm not the heaviest rider, but I make up for this by not being blessed with a deftly level of bike handling finesse. 1585 gram wheels, 24 spoke count and 35ish psi Schwable Sammy Slicks may not be the best choice for some of the mtb focus trails that I find myself on, but they are fantastic on gravel, tarmac (smooth & awful), grass, etc, etc.

clean and prior to Sammy Slicks being fitted
The increase in acceleration and lack of effort required when keeping up the pace is very noticeable. The front end of the Boardman is more road geo (73ยบ) than cross and the extra speed carried into bends with the new wheels can easily upset the balance. I've found myself deliberately locking up the back wheel, letting in slide out, turn in a little opposite lock and slide through gravely corners. A little extra rpm of spinning rear wheel can be felt when sprinting out of such bends. This can be attributed to the tread of the Sammy's, but I have the feeling that the new set up encourages you to play. Apologies for the skid marks.....

no need to feel blue
The Boardman does kick you in the back, this becomes noticeable after an hour. Hey, it is a cross bike with road geo! The harshness can be contributed to a number of factors, main culprits being the aluminum box section chain stays and wishbone seat stay. We have no doubt read reviews of wheels that offer compliance, comfort and claims of %off your best time, ever. Up until now, the only wheels that I can confidently say met those claims were my sorely missed Dura Ace C24.  The 4 seasons wheels offer a subtle improvement with the overall comfort, the bike feels energised and ready for its next chase doon the lanes. 
Judging by the strava feed, I'm also covering the ground quicker. Google the RRP, they are half the price of the C24s.

The plan/test is set to continue with the fitting of 28mm Conti 4 seasons for longer rides over quiet local roads, lanes and sustrans no 7. When the leaves begin to fall, I may attempt to go tubeless with Michelin Mud 2s. Can 1 pair of versatile wheels with 2 types of tyres make a bike for all 4 seasons? Time will tell.

Stay upright

just because...

a few guffers travelled across the pond during summer. I forgot to post this beauty from NYC

full sus basket & seat

Sunday, 9 August 2015

first of the year

It is not uncommon for there to be reference to the weather on this guff post and here is another post making the same point. Moaning. Again. Yes the weather has indeed been guff this so called summer. So much so that it has taken until this weekend, that's 8 August 2015 for this guffer to experience a bike ride that started and finished in short sleeve jersey, shorts and without getting wet. That's not quite true, I should say without getting rained on. There was plenty surface water running off from the fields to contend with along the way. And it wasn't that warm either come to think of it.
I blame the jet stream for taking a detour through La Manche/English Channel and pulling round some cold Siberian air. Correction. I blame climate change, not as it is often mistakenly called, global warming, since the change of direction has left us here experiencing what can reasonably be called indifferent weather where we are unable to distinguish between any of the 4 seasons. There is a certain irony in this complaint given the eco benefits of cycling. Looks like those telephone holding tunes are going to have to be replaced. No longer will we have the jaunty Vivaldi but instead something a bit more monotone. Come to think of it it has been a wee while since the sounds of Stereolab have graced this house.

Monday, 27 July 2015


no trip to arizona is complete without a visit to the grand canyon. in the reading prior to going the guidebook pointed out that it can make a pleasant bike ride 25 miles from grand canyon village to the east rim exit. strange how an idea gets planted, takes root and won't leave. quite glad about that.

that's not cgi honest

nice view

Sunday, 26 July 2015

just messing

this north american trip has revealed a few new experiences. remarkably supportive drivers who moved across already wide roads to give the rider room and the chance to enjoy the scenery.

humphreys' peak

Thursday, 23 July 2015

still in a different place

more fun in usa. this time on highway 89a that runs between flagstaff and sedona. the roads are what we in scotland would call heavy. the surface quite rough and the roads rolling with occasional hills like this one leading to oak creek vista point.

Friday, 17 July 2015

another place

the guff post has enjoyed a diversion this year.
Another continent and another bike but the beauty remains

highway 180 arizona usa

that's quite high up

Friday, 24 April 2015

4 Seasons in one bike

This time last year the only thing that was spinning was my head, the thought and planning invested in a major house renovation doesn't leave much room for anything else. In the passing months, my bikes have gathered more dust than miles and my house gathered more dust than expected. Thankfully, the majority of works have been completed, but I still find myself searching for opportunities to enjoy the bike.

Running has been the main focus for exercise and I planned for this pursuit to assist with the cyclocross season. Last season has come and gone and I don't recall even watching a race, except eurosport coverage of the worlds! For me, the almost immediate access to running is a difficult draw to avoid. I would say that any cycle adds at least 30-60mins of faff/prep time. Look out gels, decide upon what kit (inc. bike - potentially fix/service chosen bike), clean bidon, camelbak....come home, and dependent on ride conditions, clean and lube bike.

Time off a bike does provide an opportunity to analyse what you have in the quiver, and if truth be told, I have too many options and this is part of the problem. Consolidation is now the name of the game, but it is not any easy undertaking and it still costs time and money. The 'go to' bike for the past year or so has been a Boardman CX Team. The bike has surprised me on a number of occasions, it's basically a great, inexpensive (relevant) all rounder. 

The bombardment of road less traveled, gravel racing, off road touring etc etc headlines making the rounds are certainly keeping the bespoke and mainstream manufacturers busy. I can understand why - is there such a thing as a do it all bike? That question is probably best answered by thinking about what your requirements are. For me, it's currently very simple, just get out on any bike and ride the bloody thing! The Boardman is now the basis for an experiment - can I ride this bike for road, cross and a spot of touring? There is however a concession, there will be two sets of wheels. Tom Marchment of Hunt Wheels has been extremely helpful in tempting money out of my pocket and a lovely pair of MASON x HUNT 4 Season Disc Wheels have recently arrived. If the 4 seasons work out as good as my all time favourite name sake road tyre from Conti I will be very pleased, in fact, I'll be delighted.

Stay upright