Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rawland ride report II...

If the first ride on the Rawland dSogn did not disappoint and the second ride put a stamp of authority on how well this bike rides. A small group of us headed out in the pre-dawn cold for a dirt ride. It had rained overnight so a set of SKS mud guards were in order. The one rider who didn't have something similar ended up with a face and backside full of mud splatter.

The first part of the ride consisted of some steady, steep at times, climbing. Not having near the fitness I used to have when I actually rode a bike nearly every day, I plugged away in the granny gear. I had consolation in my butt-dragging though as among the four other riders, one commuted 40+ miles every day on his fixed gear bike from West Marin to Larkspur (or sometimes all the way to the city), one was the overall women's A winner of the Bay Area Super Prestige cross series, another finished 4th in men's A in the same series, and the fourth was just fast.

As difficult as the climbing was, the bike did everything well. Even with all these fast/hard folks, there was one short climb up a slick root/rock encrusted section of the Olema Valley Trail that I cleaned where at least two of the other riders had to dismount. Felt good about that one. I've always prided myself in my ability to clean steep technical climbs.

But again, where the bike really stood out was on the descent. I can't say enough about how well this bike handles a fast descent - wide open or semi-technical. There were some slippery corners where going into them at speed put the bike in a super-fun two-wheel drift. Two-wheel drifting on a bike is a pretty cool experience when it's somewhat in control. It's similar to getting the back-end of a rear wheel drive to start coming around (not that I've ever had fun doing this in my old 64 V8 equipped Nova...). The bike always seemed to find traction just when it seemed like it was drifting a bit too far.

After 3 1/2 hours, and a nice stop for a shot of scotch whisky, I had to cut my ride short and head back to town to open the shop. Even with some fat 2.2 tires at about 28psi, the bike rode great on the road. I fear that if I had continued, facing a 1,000 ft climb, my legs would have totally blown. As it was, I was totally fried the rest of the day. But it was a good hurt.

I find the Sogn to be one of those new bikes that calls you out to ride even when your mind is waffling. It's a good motivator and looks pretty good made up with a bit of a cleansing mud bath.

(What's playing: KWMR's All Day Music program - well at least until 10:00 a.m. - and Grand Master Flash's The Message)


Guitar Ted said...

Gotta agree on that 2 wheel drifting thing. That is very fun when it happens just right.

On the Nova: uie the sleeper there! With all those suspension mods, one would think that you plan on going around corners or something. Back here in Iowa, we'd just point it down some straight blacktop and mash the accelerator down to the mat while hlding on for dear life. Corners? Maybe in about 20 miles or so!

MMcG said...

That's such a great looking bike Mike.

Can you give me the lowdown on the stem, bars, and brifters you are using on that set up?

I'm in the process of converting an old 1995 Kona Fire Mountain into a CX style bike using Midge Bars and I'm still undecided on shifters, levers, stem etc.


Mark if you want to email me a reply!

blackmountaincycles said...

Bars are 46cm Salsa Bell Lap. Stem is a Dimension 125 degree x 120mm: both 26.0. Brifters are old Ultegra 9-speed.

If I was using a Midge bar, I would run bar end shifters.

misterbbq said...

you were riding the large frame? i'm a little unsure on the sizing on these tall are you?

i'm 6' 1" and wear a 32" inseam trouser. would the large be too tall for me for use with a 700 x 40 wheel/tire combo?

Gary said...

Me too.
6' 32 inside leg would the large fit?

blackmountaincycles said...

Sorry, I missed misterbbq's comment and to address Gary's comment, I think a 32" inseam would probably fit a large Sogn quite well. I'm 6'3" with a 38" inseam (36 pant length) and you can see that I have "a lot" of seat post showing.

All that is contingent on finding a Large Sogn.