Monday, October 29, 2012

Quickbeam Update 2/ Bikes: Salsa Casseroll

A few things today.

First off, yet another Quickbeam update in the ongoing process of dialing it.

Quickbeam Update 2
 I had ongoing problems with the Civia Aldrich bars rotating in the stem, even with a four-bolt removable face plate stem, especially when i was standing up and leaning forward.  I measured their clamp area and found that they were undersized--around 25.1mm when they were spec'ed as 25.4mm.  Plus, as I hinted in my last post, I wasn't totally satisfied with the fit on them.  I'll probably contact Civia about them, but for now, I wanted to try something different.

Quickbeam Update 2
So, I swapped back in a NOS 120mm Nitto Dynamic 37 steel MTB stem which I had originally bought to try with the Civia Bars, and used some Masi-branded swept back flat bars I had kicking around.  So far, this setup has been working the best.  Using a proper quill stem allows me to get the bars as low as possible, and their flat-ness provides a little bit of extra reach.  Being a long time roadie and generally liking bars that put your palms more parallel to the bike than perpendicular to it, I was skeptical that I would like the flat bars, especially after not really liking the Bullmoose bars that much.  But, it turns out that hand position aside, this setup provides the best-feeling fit of anything so far, and I think I'll be sticking with it, for a while at least.

Some might feel that the matte black cheapo bars have no place on a Rivendell, but I actually kind of like the look, and I love the overall proportions of the bike with this setup.

For those that are wondering, I acquired the bars from a co-worker at the shop where I used to work.  They had come stock on his Masi Soulville commuter and he had swapped them out for some less-flared low-rise bars. They're definitely the narrowest bars I've tried on this bike, and with the high-trail Riv geometry, it feels really stable.  Almost too stable. 

Also swapped the tires for some 700x37c WTB "Slickasaurus."  Smooth street tires to better fit it's role as city bike, also in anticipation of fenders for the rainy season. 

Secondly, I wanted to post up another one of the bikes in my stable, the one which, along with the Quickbeam, gets the most miles these days: my Salsa Casseroll road bike, built up on a 2008 Frame/Fork.

Casseroll front 1/4
The story on this bike is that it was my first new bike purchase after college, as a gift to myself for finding gainful employment.  At the time, I was seriously into fixed gear and singlespeed riding, even doing long and hilly rides on my Trek 520, setup fixed/SS with a White ENO eccentric hub.  Despite its generous clearances and beefy frame, I rarely rode that bike with anything fatter than a 32mm tires, and its v-brakes were kind of a pain to adjust.  Plus, while it was well designed and beautifully made, the eccentric hub was still a kludge to adjust chain tension, especially if you were flip-flopping a lot like me between fixed gear and freewheel.  So, I wanted a bike that was more optimized for the setups I was using, with long-reach caliper brakes for simplicity and horizontal dropouts.

Enter the Casseroll, which was just then entering its second year of production, and fit these specifications to a T.  It even had long, slanted, Campy 1010-style dropouts that allowed gear changes without brake readjustment.  Plus, even though it was a relatively affordable, Taiwanese TIG welded frame, it had really nice detailing and aesthetically, it just worked for me.  So, it's original build was as a fixed gear road bike for long road-ish rides, but within that general category it went through many different iterations, as I was never fully satisfied with it.  Originally it had On-One Midge bars, then a couple of different versions of classic road bars.  It had a brief trial with the ever-problematic Mustache bars (during which time I was photographed here), before settling on the more straightforward road drop bar setup it's sported for the past couple of years.

Around the same time that I started thinking about the Quickbeam, I also was pining after a geared bike for fast-ish, lightly loaded rides, so I decided to finally take advantage of the Casseroll's derailleur hanger to set it up a traditional geared roadie.  I gathered the parts together and did the swap around my birthday, back in February.  Added motivation was the fact that I signed up with a few friends to do the Solvang Century in March, and wanted to do it with gears.

I have to say, the bike has really come into its own with this setup.  I use it mostly for fun rides with a lot of climbing in the Berkeley/Oakland hills, and it's great for that.  I have a few ideas of how to refine the setup a bit, but I think this is the general configuration that works best for this bike.

Salsa Casseroll
Casseroll rear dropouts
The details:

Frame/Fork: 2008 Salsa Casseroll. 59cm with "semi-compact" geometry, fits like a traditional 62cm.  Color is "Ginger Beer Metallic."
Headset: Ritchey
Handlebar/Stem: Generic Felt-branded 31.18mm short reach drop bars with matching stem, out of a takeoff bin.  Stem has an asymmetric shim in the steerer clamp to allow for some angle adjustability, which prevents running the stem down the steerer with spacers on top, since the upper spacers would be catiwompous (sp?)--hence the flipped-down stem with lots of spacers under it.
Brake Levers: Tektro R200.  The original Campy Ergopower copies.  Love these things, shame you can't find them anymore.
Brakes: Mismatched 47-57mm reach pair--Shimano A550 dual-pivot front, old Dia-Compe single pivot rear.  Just like the old Campy "skeleton" brakes!
Shifters: Shimano 600 8spd downtubers--from the "tricolor" era.
Crankset/BB: Sugino XD2 double, 48/36, on Shimano UN54 107mm BB. SRAM 8spd chain.
Derailleurs: Both Shimano 600, i think the front is from the 6spd era and the rear is late 7 or early 8spd.  I love old Shimano 600 stuff, you can but it all day for cheap and it looks and works great.
Rear Wheel: 32h Campy 8spd (think it's early 1990's Athena) hub, Mavic CXP14 rims, 15g spokes, 13-28 cassette.  This wheelset was a bike swap find, super cheap.  The 8spd Campy indexes just fine with the Shimano 8spd shifters--their cog spacings were only .2mm off at this point.  However, new cassettes might be an issue--they're available, but they cost more than I paid for the wheelset!
Front Wheel: 28h Specialized-branded sealed bearing hub with oversized 9mm QR (kind of weird-the axle doesn't protrude beyond the locknuts, so the hub sits on the QR in the dropouts), Mavic Open Pro rim, 14g spokes.  This was a spare I swapped in when the matching front wheel to the rear had some axle issues.  It was the second wheel I ever built, so excuse the amateur mistake of crossing the spokes over the valve hole!
Tires: Rivendell Ruffy-Tuffy 700x28c.  Love these things, especially their round profile which makes cornering super predictable.  Haven't had the sidewall issues I've encountered with other Panaracer-made tires.  They easily fit under SKS P35 fenders for the rainy season, which I'll be fitting soon.  May try something fatter (Jack Browns?) when/if the fenders come off next spring.
Seat/Seatpost: Specialized BG saddle on Nitto S84 "Wayback" seatpost.

As I said, the bike's really come into it's own with this setup, and I think from here I'll just be refining, not majorily changing the configuration.  The S84 seatpost really me helped to feel more balanced on the bike, but the additional setback, combined with the long top tube (61cm--geometry chart here), definitely makes this my most "stretched out" bike.  I'm contemplating a super short (70mm) stem with some long reach bars I've got lying around, to give myself broader ramps behind the brake levers and bring the bars in a bit closer.

Also, having moved back to Berkeley with its orgy of great climbs, I find myself wanting lower gears while still preserving tightly spaced gears in the cruising range, and i don't want to go to 9 or 10spd, so I'm thinking about a half step + granny triple setup, but that would require some crank and derailleur swapping. 

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