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