Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2010 New Gear Report (a.k.a. Tried & Liked)

Look at that, I made it all the way to 2011 without reporting on the new equipment I tried and liked in 2010, despite watching two of my co-bloggers give their reports right on schedule. In my defense, when I look back on 2010, I realize that I didn't try too much new stuff... most of my gear is pretty tried, true and tested at this point. I'm well on my way to being the (ahem) "quirky" guy on your group ride with parts from ten different manufacturers and four different decades. He's also the guy with a tinfoil-wrapped helmet to block the transmissions from the Great Carbon Fiber Marketing Cabal: "I'm telling you, man, it CAN'T be laterally stiff and vertically compliant at the same time! It doesn't make sense! Soylent Carbon is PEOPLE!"

Sorry, went off my meds for a sec there. I did try a couple new things this year worthy of note. First up, I added a folding bike to my stable. If you've been following along, you already know that. If not, turn on some cheesy montage music and enjoy this look back. One part of my folder that I will make note of here is the drivetrain -- I have been more than a little impressed by the not-terribly-expensive SRAM 1:1 rear derailleur and GripShift. It's a far cry from the SlipShift of the mid-90s... very crisp (even with a generic non-SRAM cassette), easy to set up, holds adjustment well, all good.

I also put some tuchus-time on a Wilderness Trail Bikes SST saddle this year. I don't even remember where I got the thing... maybe a bike shop takeoff bin? A swap? I have a vague memory that it cost me all of ten bucks (it's the basic steel-railed model), so it wasn't a terribly expensive experiment. 

I admit, I was swayed by one of them online blog fellas, my pal Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson, who's been known to wax poetic about WTB saddles. Kent likes the ones with grooves for his man-parts, and since he rides them on the Great Divide Race, I certainly won't question that preference. The SST, however, predates the era of man-part grooves... it's a pretty old saddle. I have a vague memory of these things existing back in my 90s shop-rat days, though many of those memories are untrustworthy.

The SST was kind of a nuisance to set up initially (it has a pretty swoopy shell, with a flaccid nose that makes eyeballing dead-level a challenge), but once I found the sweet spot, my junk thanked me. Bike shorts, regular shorts, no worries... a perfectly-shaped butt-cradle for my delicate undercarriage. Sure, I didn't put in a lot of miles this year (see my last post for pathetic proof), but I did extend my commute from 2 miles to 20, and I did a couple straight weeks of "commute every day" on the SST in non-bikey shorts with no complaints from my man-parts or arse-parts. Obviously, your parts may vary.

Being Mr. Settled-In-His-Ways, I don't predict too many radical departures in the coming year. I do have a shiny new pair of Schwalbe Kojak tires hanging in the Velo Palace (thank you, bike shop closeout table) that will take over for a well-worn pair of Michelin Dynamics in the Spring, and I'm thinking about putting my commute load on front lowriders instead of my rear rack, but that's it. Stupid complacency, getting in the way of my gear lust!


Iowagriz said...

Trail is 99% clean and clear, you should get back on that commute again.

bikelovejones said...

"Soylent Carbon is PEOPLE!"

Reading that was worth the price of admission to your blog for an entire year. I laughed so hard I drank my coffee with my nose.

Talk about running what makes sense: ALL of my derailleur'd bikes run pure friction shifters. Out on a ride a few weeks back, a friend on her groovy new 10 x 2 system asked, "doesn't it take forever to find your next gear?"

I shifted into my climbing gear and pushed past her up the hill.

At the top of the hill, as she caught up to me, I said, "Not so much."

Steve Fuller said...

Happy New Year Jason. Don't you have to ride WITH a group to be "that guy" on the group ride? ;)

Maybe we can get out for a SS/Fixed century this year?

Jason T. Nunemaker said...

Steve, do the voices in my head count as a group?

I don't have a fixie or SS in the fleet right now, but if I'm going to need one for a century, I guess I should go new bike shopping. You get to explain it to Carla. :-)

Happy New Year to the whole House of Fuller,

Steve Fuller said...

Don't tell Carla, but there are loaners available here at the House of Fuller.